Thursday, June 30, 2011

{how to make stairs fun}

In a choice between escalator or stairs, which would you choose?
What if taking the stairs was... more fun?

For the record, I want these stairs for my house. It would be like my own personal Tom Hanks moment in "Big."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

{things organized neatly}

There's nothing I like better than symmetrical groupings of things.
Even awesomer (yes, it's a word) is when there's a website about the symmetrical groupings of things.

I'm addicted to {things organized neatly} because it takes me to my happy place. If you like organizing stuff into pretty patterns and arrangements, it will probably make you happy, too.

via {claquette}

via {Janelle Jones} and {Audria Brumberg}

via {Sarah Illenberger}

via {Jessica Naples}

Mk2 Volkswagon Gulf

via {polonium}

via {things organized neatly}

I'm going to go compulsively organize something now. Ta ta!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

{everyone needs a yeti card}

Doodling cards again this week. My inspiration for the envelopes was from {this awesome post} by {how about orange}.

I think everyone needs a yeti telling them thank you, don't you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

{make a change for the better}

If faced with being a principal of a high school of drop-outs and misfits, what would you do to inspire these kids? What would you do to change their lives. redefine their futures, and make a real difference in the world at the same time?

Principal Tom Horn faced this very problem at Oregon's Al Kennedy Alternative High School. And how did he inspire, educate and change the lives of these kids? Read what the article says:
"The curriculum is wholly devoted to teaching sustainability, ecological responsibility and social responsibility and that the three are linked. The school's 93 students grow and donate produce, work with energy-efficient architecture, restore wetlands, participate in sustainable forestry initiatives, plant community gardens, teach elementary school students, build trails, raise salmon, plant trees, count fish and keep bees.

Students once considered lost causes are engaged. Forty-two percent of them are enrolled in college courses, while still in high school. The dropout rate has fallen from 21 percent to 7 percent. State test scores have risen from literally zero percent passage to the mid-30s."
- Joe Hansen
The {entire article} is really inspirational and I encourage you to read the rest. This is the story of how those few, amazing people share and change the lives of those around them... truly inspirational.

Friday, June 24, 2011

{sleepless in seattle}

Having spent a week in Seattle, I thought I'd share some of my wanderings with you. Unfortunately, since I assumed this to be a business trip, I didn't take my Nikon DSLR with me. I thought it would get left it in my hotel all week (and that's how my last camera was stolen) so all these shots are taken with my little point-and-shoot. Therefore, forgive the lack of awesomeness. But enjoy, nonetheless, a few shots of downtown, cool lamps that remind me of M.C. Escher paintings, a wall covered in gum (gross) and views from the Space Needle.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

{101 bits of summer fun}

The summer solstice was a couple days ago, and apparently in the Pacific Northwest that's the perfect time to have a parade and go on a naked bike ride. I was working all weekend, so I missed out on such festivities, but it sounds both entertaining and uncomfortable.

In the spirit of the start of summer (I hope everyone was blessed with a long, sunny day! I still can't get over that it doesn't get dark here until 9:45 pm!) I'm sharing with you a poster of summer fun, as created by {laura winslow photography}

Doesn't this just remind you of your childhood summers? I wish I were a kid again, playing Capture the Flag with my friends in the woods behind our house, or swimming in our pool late at night to see the stars, or playing make believe while climbing trees, battling dragons, and rescuing the prince. Hopefully even as adults we remember to take the time to enjoy the beauties of summer, and delight in our imaginations.
What were your childhood summers like?

Download this fun summer poster {here}.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

{the hunt for mr. potato head, part 2}

I'm back! I had a pretty amazing week exploring Seattle and rubbing elbows with the company elite, but more on that later. I missed you guys. Are you excited for part two of the Great Mr. Potato Head hunt? Read {part one} first if you missed it!

All set? Ok, good.

Quick recap: I hid Mr. Potato Head at Brandon's house last, and when he tried to hide him at my apartment during my going-away party, Scott accidentally found him in the fridge. Brandon left, apparently having somehow found a new hiding place for Mr. Potato Head in my empty apartment, but I moved across the country and the infamous potato was still MIA...

So now it's flash back time again. Star date, one month ago. Doodle-oo, doodle-oo, doodle-oo!

While my dad was visiting in town, we went on some lovely hikes in the gorge, and I suited him up with Tanner's cache of clothes, boots, and a pack. While unzipping the front pocket to grab a rain cover, out fell a rather oddly shaped plastic thing.... a limb-less Mr. Potato Head.

How this potato had lain hidden for three months, I had no idea, but somehow he was making his appearance once again, and somehow Brandon had snuck him across the country and into Tanner's daypack.
Laughing, I wrote to Brandon, commending him for his ingenuity in getting the toy clear across the United States (I suspected an accomplice was involved...), and asked where the rest of him was? Brandon said simply that "he was glad Mr. Potato Head made his journey safely, and was sure that the rest of him would show up soon."

Busy as I have been, I forgot, once again, about the toy, until a letter from Brandon arrived to me by post last week. It said:

Dear Brittany,
I received this postcard in the mail from Mr. Potato Head. I think he may have been drunk when he wrote it. It may help you though, so I'm passing it along.
I hope everything is going great in Portland. I enjoy checking out Darkroom and Dearly to see what you have going on. I tried my hand at the fancy envelope. I hope you like Billy Ray.
Miss you!

Brandon used my tutorial from my {envelope liners} post to put a magazine photo of Billy Ray Cyrus in his letter. Well done, Brandon. Well done.

The enclosed postcard read:
Hey Brandon,
I made it to Brittany's! Don't worry, I don't have cold feet about the trip and found a familiar place to hang my hat. So far eye have been taking pitchers, trying my hand at real estate, and my other hand is giving a peace sign. Oh how I love Alanis Morissette. Talk about slippery slopes.

A set of clues! Laughing at Brandon's never-ending creativity, I set off through my apartment, albeit dubiously thinking there was no way so many pieces could be hidden without my knowledge.

The first clue I tried was the "eye have been taking pitchers", since it seemed pretty straight forward. Sure enough, in my long-forgotten lemonade pitcher was a set of Mr. Potato Head's eyes, and the hunt was on!

The "cold feet about the trip" led me on a search through the fridge, freezer, and every cooler in the house. No dice. I called Tanner and read him the clues, asking his advice.
He suggested, "have you looked in your shoes?"
I said, "shoes? No... I think the 'feet' clue means that the feet are what's hidden."
He said, "yes, but it says cold feet... that sounds like slippers."
Slippers! I jumped to my closet, and sure enough, inside my down booties was Mr. Potato Head's tongue!

"Familiar place to hang my hat" was an unsuccessful look into my coat closet, and after that, I ran out of ideas.

"Trying my hand at real estate" was equally unfulfilling... the drawer with my rental paperwork was lacking Mr. Potato Head's hand, and I couldn't think of anything else that corresponded with real estate.

"My other hand giving a peace sign" had me stumped, too. I didn't own anything with a peace sign, and the one thing I thought of -- a Beatles Submarine lunch box -- was empty.

The Alanis Morissette line was odd, since I didn't own her CD.
"Do you have a CD of hers hidden somewhere?" I asked Tanner.
He acted offended. "Me?"
That was a no.
"What else could it be, then?"
"How about a movie she's in?" Tanner suggested.
The only one I could think of was Dogma, which I also didn't own.
"What was the name of her CD?" I mused. "Jagged Little Pill. Suppose it has to do with that?"
I dug through my medicine cabinet, but none of my pill bottles came up with a piece of Mr. Potato Head.
"It did seem a little vague," I admitted, but I was out of ideas.

I moved on to the last line. "Slippery slopes" made me think of my ski stuff, but after digging through my ski bag, my ski boots, and all my ski gear, I came up empty.

Feeling like a failed detective, I started aimlessly rooting through stuff in my apartment, hoping to find answers. I got to my game cabinet, thinking surely there was something there -- Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Settlers of Catan..... Monopoly. Lightbulb. "Real estate"! Eagerly I dug it open, but found nothing. Money, tokens, house properties... and then I thought to lift up the plastic holder. Mr. Potato Head's hand was lying just below, like I knew it would be.

When Jason and Elizabeth got back from signing the papers on their new apartment, I showed them my progress with the clues.

"I don't understand the Alanis Morisette line, though," I said, "I don't own her CDs, or her movie, and Jagged Little Pill didn't lead anywhere, either."
"It sounds like a song lyric," Elizabeth noted.
"What does?" I asked.
"The line before. What did it say? 'One hand giving a peace sign.' That's a song by her."
Suddenly it struck me, and we all started singing: "I've got one hand in my pocket, and another one is giving a peace sign..."
Hand in my pocket! Suddenly the clue was unlocked a little further. Unfortunately, there were lots of pockets in my house, and though I was hoping the final clue "slippery slopes" would lead me to which pocket, all my ski jackets and pants turned out empty.
So perhaps we were wrong, after all...

And so the hunt goes on. To be continued... read Part Three here!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

{the hunt for mr. potato head, part 1}

Hi everybody! I'm going on a business trip this week and taking a brief hiatus from blogging. But fear not, I will return, and in the meantime, I'm leaving you with Chapter One of a silly story. You'll get Part Two (and possibly Part Three!) when I return!

Today we're going to flashback to the year 2007. Don't worry. It'll be fun.
Cue the flashback noises: doodle-oo, doodle-oo, doodle-oo!

I was living in an apartment with two friends of mine, Scott and Brandon. The three of us, being the textile, design, and theatre majors we were, were always in the mood for a creative exercise, be it a well executed prank or a fun game.

Living with them frequently brought out hilarious moments. Here are a few of my favorites:

Impromptu choreography and lip-syncing of musical masterpieces.


Funny notes left on the bathroom mirror:

Endless hours spent watching episodes of "The Office", which led to the best birthday present ever: a "Dunder Mifflin" name tag suspended in a jello mold.

Design majors always seem to have a dress mannequin lying around the house, and if you throw in a super-scary Hollywood-original Halloween mask, it's the perfect recipe for a practical joke. One afternoon it found its way into my bathroom, and, needless to say, it scared the shit out of me.

And, of course, endless hours of Halo on XBox 360.

One of the games we played for the longest was an on-going "Hide the Mr. Potato Head." We had a whiteboard in our kitchen which detailed who was currently hiding Mr. Potato Head, who had found him the most times, and thus, who was winning. The first person to find said hidden potato got to be the next person to hide him. Since we had a big house, there were ample spots for him to slip away, and every once in a while we had to leave each other clues.

The game was continuously played for the two years we lived together, and there were always funny spots Mr. Potato Head would turn up when we weren't paying attention.... the freezer... behind books on the shelf.... broken up and hidden in cereal boxes... and my favorite: taped to the top of a shelving unit at the top of the stairs. The only reason he was found was because the tape gave out while I was sitting in the living room, and Mr. Potato Head crashed out of the shelf, bounced down the stairs, and landed at my feet.

Sadly, in 2009 I moved out to spend some time living on a ship, and Scott and Brandon went separate ways, as well. When I needed a place to live upon returning in early 2010, I moved in with Brandon and his new roommate. I had completely forgotten about our Mr. Potato Head until one afternoon I discovered him smiling at me from inside one of the cabinets in my desk. Secretly, Brandon had started up the game again. For six more months we kept it up, stashing the potato in clever spots around the apartment for each other to find, until the sad day when Brandon got a different job and we had to move into apartments all our own.

For the first time since 2003 I didn't have a roommate, and I thought the games were over. But while on a bike ride one afternoon, I discovered a familiar friend: Mr. Potato Head was hiding in my saddle bag. Somehow Brandon must have stashed him in there before I moved out, and from then out out, the game became a challenge. When we hung out at each other's apartments we found the sneakiest ways to somehow leave Mr. Potato Head behind. He showed up in shoe boxes, under the sink, in cabinets, and hidden in Trivial Pursuit boxes. He became a presence and a character all his own: like that little garden gnome in Amelie who sends postcards back from around the world.

When I took my job in Oregon, I had a sad goodbye night with my friends in my empty apartment. Brandon, thinking ahead, tried to hide Mr. Potato Head in the fridge, but Scott discovered him prematurely and the game was up.
As Brandon left for the night, he cleared his throat, patted his pockets and said loudly, "well, I don't think I forgot anything.... nope..."
When he left, Courtney, Tanner and I tore my already bare house apart, but to no avail. The few cabinets I had were empty. Where was Mr. Potato Head?
I wrote to Brandon, telling him, "you better give up his hiding spot... in two days I move 3,000 miles away and Mr. Potato Head will be gone for good!"
But Brandon said simply, "you'll find him. Don't worry."

And so I moved. Unpacked all my stuff. Checked in pockets, corners and hidey-holes. No sign of the toy. I figured the game was finally up, but Brandon had another trick up his sleeve.

The story continues... catch Part Two of the Hunt for Mr. Potato Head here!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

{father's day}

For those of you who are still pondering the perfect Father's Day gift this year (June 19th, in case you forgot) and can't seem to think of anything, my suggestion is this: give him such an awesome card that he won't even remember the gift.

Here are a few of my faves.

See the tutorial at {little birdie secrets}

via {Laura George}

via {Kathryn Whyte}

via {wit and whistle}

via {wit and whistle}

If you can't already tell, I'm pretty much in love with {wit and whistle's} little card shop. Her {blog} is pretty awesome, too. (Bonus: she's from my hometown!) I may or may not have spent most of yesterday reading her archives and giggling over the cute and clever posts. (Hint: I did) Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Monday, June 13, 2011

{oh, won't you be my neighbor?}

I have company here at last!
Tanner finished his job out east, is starting his journey cross-country (and routing his drive through every Chick-fil-A he can find, by the way. The last one is in Boise, and after that... no more. We're not in the South anymore, Toto). He'll be joining me soon (yay!) but the company I'm actually referring to are my friends Jason and Elizabeth. You may remember them from my {going-away bonfire}.

As it turns out, they both work for the same company I do, and when a job opened up in Portland, Jason applied, and got accepted at the same branch as me! I can't tell you how ecstatic that makes me, since (though I love Portland) it has been really lonely living here by myself. I miss my old roommates, my friends, my family, and old coworkers, and have been slowly adjusting to life alone.

With Jason and Elizabeth, who arrived this week, and Tanner on his way, I suddenly have a network of old friends to fill my spare time. We've spent hours this week discussing hikes we want to go on, trips we want to take, the house we want to rent together. We've stayed up until 3:00 am every night like college kids, watching episodes of Top Gear that made us laugh until we cried, and -- dare I say it? -- got shamelessly addicted to Glee, wasting five hours every day simply watching episodes. (Shh... Jason doesn't want to ruin his masculinity by admitting he's an experimental vegetarian and watching Glee in his spare time. Don't tell Tanner. He might take away his man-card.)

Unfortunately, though the plot line of Glee is a little too high-school dramatic, the songs are addicting. Elizabeth spent most of her afternoon researching the characters on IMDB, and generally our conversations started to sound exactly like this for each episode:
Me: I want to have Matthew Morrison's adorable Broadway babies.
Elizabeth: Did you know that while he did musicals in school, he was also a soccer player, president of his high school, and prom king?
Jason: Oh my God, I love this song!

Also hilarious? Playing Lego: Star Wars on the Wii and being admittedly, pretty horrible at it. (Which is sad because it should be the easiest Wii game ever, but literally every five minutes we were begging Elizabeth to look up cheats online to help us get our of whatever room we were stuck in.) Granted, it was also a ton of fun, but with two controllers and only one nunchuk attachment, it was difficult to pull off some of the moves, and Jason and I found ourselves crazily swapping the nunchuk back and forth during the intense battle scenes, trying desperately to kill lego stormtroopers while trying not to get killed ourselves (sometimes stormtroopers can hit their mark, apparently.)
And for the record, it's awesome to use the force. In case you were curious.

I feel like I'm on vacation, except that this time the company is staying! Many more good times to come. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

{diy: shower curtain}

First of all, can I say how in love I am with this Anthropologie shower curtain? I mean, really. Freaking gorgeous.

Then again, the price on it is $118.... gulp. Just when I decided to stick with my own lacy, $20 curtain from Target, I discovered a clever blogger who made this beautiful ruffly creation from scratch!

{Elle Apparel} takes $20 worth of fabric, endless time and patience, and creates this amazing wonder:

When you're finished picking your jaw up off the floor, visit {her tutorial} and see how it's done! If you have more patience and sewing skills than I do, perhaps you can tackle this project. As for me, I think I'll continue admiring from afar. {love.}

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