Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Something Sunday: Making Real Mail

I have always loved sending and receiving real mail. But since I have been living in another country, I have been sending out waaaay more mail (and lucky for me, getting more mail too)! These are just two of my favourite cards I've made over the past few months. 

With the above card I didn't have any full pieces of white/light paper left, only scraps, so I just cut and pasted the scraps onto a larger piece of paper. It was very simple, and I think it looks fun too! On the other side I added a little touch of classic Dutch paper! (Why not, right?!)

 I often like to send little notes and quotes along with the letter or card. It's really fun for me to go looking for quotes that I love, or quotes that I think the recipient would love. The card below is probably one of my favourites I've made so far. And I even carved the stamp that I used for the thought bubble, so it's extra hand-made!

To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the previous 'Something's' click here

Friday, March 29, 2013

Carly's Thankful For...

This week I'm thankful for...
- Finding an amazing volunteer opportunity!
- Getting some clarity
- Light already coming into my window when I wake up at 6:30 in the morning (okay 6:45...)
- Brene Brown and all her awesome work
- Skype catch up sessions
- The fact that I'll be in Istanbul in less then 2 weeks!
- My weekly Dutch lessons

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts from Amsterdam, Again

Another new Y-tube video! I'm attempting to make 1 per week for the next little while. Which means an increase of videos poping up over here. I hope that's cool with you. :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless: Focus

To find out about the start of this series, click here.
To see past wordless posts, click here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thoughts on Getting Things Done!

Hey peeps. So remember that time that one of my blog pieces got accepted to be on the Wonderly website? Yes? Well, I've since been accepted to be on the Wonderly website every Tuesday! What? Ya. Pretty cool.

So I figured if I'm writing a new weekly series anyways, I might as well share it over here too! On the Wonderly site the series is called "Carly Talks About". It's going to be a bit of a branch out from what I normally talk about here, but I think it will be a great challenge for me to talk about a wider variety of things.  And hopefully it will help me improve my writing skills (says the girl who just started this sentence with and....).

Anyways, enough rambling, here is my first week of Carly Talks About.

To start this series off, I’m talking about getting things done. I often find myself in a position where I've got a million things to do, and very little time to do them. Lucky for me I love being busy and having lots to do, but it means having to be pretty damn good at managing my time. I’ll freely admit I wasn't very good at this during high school, but over the past 5 years since then, I have learned a lot and have become quite experienced in the field of getting things done. So here are the three main things I've learned along the way.

First, make a to-do list of every little thing you want to get done. Be aware of the time frame for the list; are you looking at things you want to get done just for that day, or for your whole week? I like to list every little thing I’d want to get done for the week, and then I step back and think about what is on the list. Is this really something that needs to get done this week? Or at all? After I've crossed off a few things that can’t or don’t need to get done (ie: plan trip to the moon or start dating Harry Styles) then I pick tasks from the large list and assign each item to a day. This will give you 7 (or however many days you decide to use) to-do lists. This allows you to see all the things you have to do in the week, but makes it feel way more manageable with only a few items per day. It might sound a bit intense, but you’d be surprised by how much it can help, and how little time it takes!

Second, be realistic. If you've written out all you want to do in the week and it’s 18 pages long, well, it’s probably not going to happen. And that is okay! You’ll learn as you go how much you can actually do in a week (or any given time frame), and saying no to projects will become easier. (And a bonus tip: it is okay to say no. Even if the only reason you’re saying no is you just aren't interested in the project/activity/event. If you don’t feel like attending your friend’s aunt’s sister-in-law’s 50th birthday party, then say no! Learning to prioritise what you want to get done, and learning to say no will help you big time!)

Third, don’t get caught up trying to make it “perfect”. Perfection doesn't actually exist. There is no such thing as perfect. I personally find this advice liberating when I’m working on a creative project, such as sewing, editing for youtube, or even writing a blog post ;). I always try and do my best of course, but if I’m sewing a new tote-bag and I realize half way through that it would have looked nicer with a different coloured thread, I don’t destroy the bag or start over, I take note for next time. I’m not going to re-do the entire bag for some simple thread detailing. The same applies to any activity or project, do your best, but don’t get hung up aiming for some mystical land of perfection.

And if all else fails, put it on the list for next week! (And maybe try your best to take on a few less projects, but I know that can be easier said than done.) Good luck!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Effing Pandas!!?!

So, I have to tell you guys something. I don't think it has come up before (which is weird when I think about it), but..... I love Panda Bears. I love them so much. Normal people have a favourite animal, I have a "best freaking animal of all time" favourite animal. I love them so sooo much.

So when I found out this week that Panda Bears are coming to the Toronto zoo, not for 1, but 5 whole years, I freaked out with joy!! Even though I'm not currently living in Canada, I'm still super excited! I know I'll be back next year, and I suspect within the first week of being home, I'll be off to see the beautiful things!

My goal is to visit them at minimum once per year while they visit, but who knows, it could be more! Ah, I am just so damn excited about this!! :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2013 Something Sunday 12: Beach Bag

This week I finally got around to making a bag that has been on my "to make" list for over 4 months. I saw this tutorial, and it gave me the kick in the butt inspiration I needed to get sewing (sometimes Pintrest really does help me get things done)!

It ended up being much bigger then I expected. I was hoping to make a laptop sized tote bag, and instead I ended up with a large beach bag. (I should have known given the dimensions, but I just couldn't envision the volume it would hold). I'm still considering altering it to be slightly smaller, but knowing me, it will stay as it is!

I added little velcro pieces onto the sides of the bag, as a way to try and make the bag smaller without actually unpicking or re-sewing anything. It does kind of work, but I probably should have used white velcro.

The bag has a pocket on one of the outer sides, along with two inner pockets. It also has a hard base to help it keep its shape. I used cardboard for the base, but I would recommend using strong interfacing on the lining and the outer fabric, I think interfacing would work without adding so much rigidity to the bag.

And to give you a better idea of the size, here a is a quick mirror picture of me with the bag. See.... it's pretty big!

To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the previous 'Something's' click here

Friday, March 22, 2013

Carly's Thankful For..

This week I'm thankful for...
- New opportunities
- Couch surfing
- Family visits in the works
- Paris
- Crisp air
- Tulips 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Vlog

I didn't plan on posting two videos this week, but I'm a bit behind on sharing what I've uploaded. I'm trying to aim to share around 1 video a week over on my youtube channel. It's become a really fun way for me to capture my thoughts and feelings about things here. Plus, it turns out I really like filming/editing footage, who knew?! Here is my latest attempt. I'm learning!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless: Paris, You Stole My Heart

To find out about the start of this series click here.
To see past wordless posts click here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Carly's Bucket List

So I have a Bucket List. An actual, physical, scratch-an-idea-down-when-I-get-one, Bucket List. And I love it. Actually taking the time to sit down and write it out was very much thanks to The Buried Life project. They are a group of four guys dedicated to finishing a pretty epic bucket list, and encouraging others to do the same! The short video below explains their project much better then I could describe it. (Side note: I actually got to hear two of them speak late last year and I had them sign my list. It was pretty awesome!)

The only problem is, I feel like it needs more ideas. Many of the ideas I have on there will take a bit of time. But I'd love to have some that are things I can work at doing sooner rather than later. So I'm asking you, do you have any ideas for things I should do before I die? Please leave a comment if you do! I'd love to get the list growing! (Even if they are just silly, or easy, I don't mind!)

I'm happy to note that I am working on number 12 right now (I am learning Dutch) and that I have, since taking these pictures, crossed off number 26!

So send me your ideas! And let me know if you've written a bucket list yourself.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sewing; The Process of

When I made the Owl Coin Purse tutorial last week, I took a bit of footage to document the process. This week I put it together to make a little video of my process. Check it out!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 Something Sunday 11: Little Birdies

This week I was very happy to have finish a lingering embroidery project. I started this a while ago, and had it sitting at 80% finished for over a month. But this was the week that I finally got it out and finished it up!

The different birds, stars etc. came from an embroidery patter, but the pieces were set up in a way to allow you to cut out each piece and arrange them yourself to create your own image. I can say with confidence, that placing the different pieces from the pattern onto the fabric was not my strength. They are aligned all funny, and the whole piece just doesn't really seem to have any flow. I do like each part of this image alone, but the way I have placed them looks strange to me. Oh well!

Embroidery is one of those crafts that I know I like, but I always have a hard time actually picking up and doing. Every time I am working on a new embroidery project I think to myself, this is so nice and relaxing, I love this, why don't I do this more?! But then it's another 5 months before I start up another needle work project. It's so silly! I need to do this more. 

This was my first try with french knots, which I used for the eyes on two of the birds, and I loved the look. I was quite excited about how simple they were to make too! 

Despite the fact that it might not be my favourite thing I've ever made, I am quite happy to finally have a bit of home-made art up around my new place!

To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the previous 'Something's' click here

Friday, March 15, 2013

Carly's Thankful For...

This week I'm thankful for...
- adventure
- that butterfly feeling in your stomach when you do something out of your comfort zone
- sisters
- modern art
- sleeping in
- pizza

Thursday, March 14, 2013

London Baby!

I made a video a few weeks ago about a trip I took to England. (Click here to see that video.) But in the first video I only got around to showing you footage from Manchester. I finally made a part two which includes my time in London... Check it out below if you want to!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless: Forest

To find out about the start of this series click here.
To see past wordless posts click here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Did you know I love Leopard Print?

Yes, you did, because you've obviously read my 11 random things about me post hundreds of times...


Monday, March 11, 2013

Never Stop Playing!

I've recently discovered this amazing site called Wonderly. As they say on their website “Wonderly is a place for innovative, female creators and audiences to meet, collaborate, and celebrate each other’s creations.” How awesome is that?!

Each month they have a theme for people to submit different blog posts (or videos, images, creations, etc). This months theme is Play. And I looooooove to play! I submitted a few posts and they actually ended up using one (what?!). You can see the post here at I was so excited to share my fun little evening with the people at Wonderly.

But it really did get me thinking about play.

What is it about growing up that makes people think you're not supposed to have play time anymore? It just doesn't make sense to me! As someone with a lot of energy I often feel like being silly, or trying new things, or getting outside, or literally just playing. But as I get older (I'm 23 now), I find people are more and more confused by my genuine curiosity and enthusiasm for life.

I've been told before that I am very "in touch with my inner child", and I like to think that is one of my best qualities. Some people might see that as being told you’re a bit childish, or immature, but to me it means I can find the fun in almost any situation, find wonder where others might fail to, and laugh till my stomach hurts at really silly things. 

I feel lucky to still want to play, lucky that I'd rather build a sand castle at the beach then tan, lucky that I want to run barefoot around the park in spring, and lucky that I legitimately still dance alone in my room. I'm lucky because unfortunately as we age we are taught to sit still, calm down, "act our age" and to stop being so silly. And although I'm sure people tried to teach me these lessons at some point, thankfully, they just didn't stick with me!

So the next time you want to play, if you're worried about looking silly or childish, play anyway! Try not to worry about what you'll look like (I know that's easier said than done, but try!) and just play. Who knows, you may even stumble upon a patch of perfectly wet clay, and how could you pass up the opportunity to cover yourself in it?!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

2013 Something Sunday 10: Owl Coin Purse Tutorial

I don't know if owls are still "in" or if they ever were, or how the heck a specific animal can even be "in" but I made an owl coin purse, and I wanted to show you how to make it too!

First you need to pick out your fabric. I like to use one fabric for the body, one fabric for the wings, a solid colour for the eyes, plus black and while for the eye details. (side note: after making many of these, I tend to like the ones where I use only solid colours best, but I've added a picture of all the different ones I've made at the end of this post, so you can decide what you like best!)

Once you have all your fabric picked out, it's time to start cutting it! If you want to print out my simple pattern (really simple, as in, hand drawn) then you can click here to get the PDF. This will give you an idea of the size and shape of the owl parts, but it doesn't have to be exactly the same as the pattern, you can curve the bottom more or less if you want to, or change the size of the beak to be larger or smaller (you get the idea!). If you don't feel like getting your printer all set up to print the pattern the measurements/explanation for cutting the fabric is below.

I would advise reading through all of the cutting instructions before you start cutting!

Cut out:
- 1 square 5'' X 5'' (with the body fabric)
- 2 large circles (with the eye fabric)
- 2 medium circles (in white)
- 2 small circles (in black, or coresponding dark colour)
- 1 triangle for the beak
- 2 oval(ish) shapes for the wings

With the one 5X5 square that you have cut out, fold it in half and then cut from the folded center to the open edge going up, as seen in the image below (left). Then once you have a shape you are happy with use the piece you have just cut as a template to cut out three more pieces the same shape. 1 more with your outer fabric, and 2 with your lining fabric. (I recommend cutting a curve shape that is closer the image on the left as opposed to the smaller curve in the picture on the right)

Now you have to cut out the eyes, beak and wings! Cut the largest circle first (in any size that you think looks good) and then cut the medium and small ones after based on the size of the large circles. To cut the circles I like to keep my scissors fairly still and move the fabric around in a circle shape. The image below is what your fabric will look like after you've cut out the circles using this method.

Now that you have all your pieces cut out, it's time to get pinning and sewing. Start by getting one of the outer body pieces, the largest circles, the wings, the beak and some pins. Arrange the eyes, beak, and wings into a places that looks appealing to you and then pin them down.

 Now, pick out matching thread to each of the pieces you have pinned down. (you will need matching thread for the white and black parts of the eyes as well).

Set up your sewing machine to do a zig-zag stitch; below you can see the settings I used. I had a length of 1 and width of 3. I like the look of these, but you can easily make the stitching less obvious by changing the length to 2, and the width to 2. 

Once you're all set up, it's finally time to sew! I like to keep the pins in until about half of the eye/beak/wing is sewn down, and then I take it out to avoid sewing over the pins. Remember to change the colour of the thread for each piece that you sew. (I kept white bobbin thread in for all the pieces because I'm lazy, but if you want the thread to be really hard to notice, I would change your bobin thread for each piece as well).

When sewing down the wings you only have to sew down the top seam because the bottom will be closed when you turn it into a coin purse. 

After you're done the eye color, you can add the white eye detail, and then the black eye detail. I find it can be a bit tricky to get the small black eye detail sewn down, but as long as you go slowly it should work out just fine!

And now you have your cute little owl ready to be turned into a coin purse!

To turn it into a coin purse follow my zippered case tutorial found here, and just ignore the dimensions in the "what you need" section, and use your owl and the 3 other pieces left. And there you go! A cute little owl case!

If you do happen to make a little owl from this tutorial, please leave a comment and let me know how it went! :) Have fun!

To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the previous 'Something's' click here