Seeker of Happiness

$12 Tote Bags and Some Happy Thoughts

"Made It"

Made it Monday: Glass Flowers

"Made It"Carrie Lynn3 Comments
Our dating life revolves around three things: Groupon, Living Social, and our Entertainment Book.

Mine and Scott's relationship was founded on experiencing new things together- and it's something we don't ever want to stop doing. The three "resources" I listed are the BEST for finding deals on random/awesome experiences we wouldn't have been able to try otherwise. Like, remember how last year I set the goal to blow glass? Yeah, I then found out that a class like that cost upwards of $100. So when there was a Living Social deal for a TWO person class to make a glass flower for $25, I jumped on it.

I was so excited when we got there. Like, unexpectedly excited. I love trying new things!

Scott took this picture of me before our camera died. He didn't think that we also had the Ipod and a cell phone to take pictures with too, because he was pretty engrossed in my skiiiiills.

I took this video of him, though- because I am an awesome wife.

This was at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. They offer regular priced classes at $25 per flower and I'm telling you- it would be worth it. I'm thinking this will be our go-to gift for people because it was that fun.

And sure, you might be traveling Europe with YOUR husband, but you probably aren't having as much fun as us. Well, maybe you are- but you don't have two really awesome glass flowers to display in your house about it!

I don't claim to be a photographer- these are much cooler in real life. 

Scott tried to make his (on the right) the color of Georgia's eyes. Sweet. 

Mine is the less sentimental black and white one that matches my house.  Priorities. 

Made it Monday: My Diaper Bag Pouch System

"Made It"Carrie Lynn4 Comments
After having Georgia, it didn't take me very long to start loathing my diaper bag. Don't get me wrong- I had picked it out carefully. Found one with plenty of pockets and gender-neutral enough for Scott to carry around.

And then I stopped feeling like a woman.

I have since bought a couple of big, fat purses that I have thrown all of my diaper bag stuff into. While they look cute on the outside, they were not so cute on the inside.

When we were in Boise my mom mentioned how my keys were all up in the diapers and how unsanitary that is. Then she said: "Carrie doesn't like an organized diaper bag."

Excuse me? I don't LIKE it? How about, I'm not capable of it?
Then I got all determined and made what I call, the diaper bag pouch system (which isn't really a system. Just a couple of pouches, so...).

I got to sewing to first make my diaper/wipes pouch. Then I sewed some more to make two drawstring pouches.

One drawstring pouch is for extra toys, a change of clothes and burp cloths. The other is for bottles, formula, and snacks.

Then I got a little carried away with some extra fabric and made a matching car-seat cover because sometimes I get matchy-matchy. Not always. But sometimes.

I think that any mother-to-be would love a set like this, don't you? Even if they have a real diaper bag.

My keys and wallet still get thrown in my purse, but it's nice to not pull out my keys have a big attached to them. And with the diapers all snug and protected, we are avoiding any weird disease that Georgia has been spared from in past.
Ahh... so much better

It all may sound pretty simple, but this has really helped me have an organized bag. And guess what, Madre?


Tutorial for Diaper Case found here
Tutorial for drawstring bags found here
Tutorial that I based my car seat cover off of found here

Made It Monday: 52 Reasons Why

"Made It"Carrie Lynn2 Comments
Because we spent my Christmas gift in Park City for Valentine's Day weekend*, we decided to keep things pretty low key around here for tomorrow.

Did you know that Scott and I are absolutely horrible at keeping gifts from each other? Scott sometimes accidentally leaves his out or something, and I usually get WAY to excited to wait for some day on the calender.

So far, Scott has given me a dozen roses and a high-quality (much needed) blow dryer that I found in the mail. A blow dryer might not seem to you so romantic, but to me it is. Because it lets me know that Scott hears me complain about my old blow dryer everyday. And I get butterflies when I think of him sitting at the computer, reading through reviews and learning what a "diffuser" is. What a guy.

I couldn't wait to give him at least ONE gift early, so I gave him this:

You've probably seen the idea floating around Pinterest. I thought it fit us pretty perfect since we are huge board/card game people. Also, Scott's favorite gifts are the ones like this. Whenever I ask him what he wants, he'll always say: "a poem or letter or something." Yeah. He liked it.

*In case you're wondering- our Park City getaway was beyond perfect. Our room got upgraded to a room WITH A HOT TUB and we had the best sushi of my life on Main Street. We saw The Vow (which was not so good) and went shopping the next day with my gift card where I got the worlds greatest bag from Wilson Leather. Then we strolled through Main Street the rest of the day. No pictures because I was taking it in. 

Made it Monday: Lavender Rice Krispie Treats

"Made It"Carrie LynnComment

If you're like: "but, Carrie! It's not MONDAY" then you are probably one of those people who tell people you're parting with at midnight "good morning" instead of goodnight, and most likely we don't talk very often.

A couple weeks ago, Scott and I went to this swanky cafe that's off of the yoga studio I wish I could afford in Bountiful. At the end of our meal, they gave us a lavender rice krispie treat and we about fainted. Because lavender is one of my most favorite things in the whole world. And rice krispie's are Scott's favorite dessert (odd, for someone with such fine taste in food).

Anyway, we were determined to re-create them for some friends that came over for lunch, and we figured it out because we are genius. Well... it was pretty simple, really, You just throw in a teaspoon of finely minced lavender to the original recipe.

A little lavender goes a long way. If you don't have tons of lavender flowers like me, I'm sure you can add two to three drops of lavender oil and get close to the same effect.

For those of you without the original recipe, here it is:

Lavender Rice Krispie Treats

(A word to the wise- cutting out rice krispie treats with a cute heart-shaped cookie cutter is NOT worth the time or effort)

3 Tablespoons Butter
1 10oz Bag of Marshmallows (mini ones melt better)
1 Teaspoon of minced lavender flowers
6 Cups of Rice Krispie Cereal

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir continuously until melted. After everything is melted, throw in the lavender flowers and mix well. Toss in the cereal and mix it up! Transfer to a GREASED 9"X11" pan and let cool.

Favorite Things Party

"Made It"Carrie Lynn1 Comment

Friday night a bunch of cousins (and wives of cousins) got together to celebrate their favorite things.

I explained how the whole thing worked in the e-vite:

"Each person brings their favorite thing (could be anything from lip gloss to a kitchen tool, to mixed CD of songs). It can't exceed more than $5 and each person brings five of the same thing.

We have each of you put your name in a bowl 5 times. Then, one at a time each lady will introduce her favorite thing and then read 5 names she picked from the bowl, passing out her gift to those 5 guests. After everyone at the party has presented her favorite thing, each person should end up with five gifts to take home"

Anyway, my MIL (Lori) and SIL (Sarah) threw the party at Lori's house and about a dozen people came and we were thrilled with the turn-out!

Lori made these really amazing sandwiches (sun dried tomato goodness in cream cheese- I swear I downed like 80), Sarah took care of the desserts, and I was in charge of drinks and scones. FYI, if a recipe tells you that lemon curd only takes 10-15min to make, it is LYING to you. And, call my crazy, but I saw these mason jar "slip covers" if you will online, and, with an occasion finally presenting itself, I made them. Lace and ribbon around mason jars. I thought they were lovely.

Also, we had bags for everyone so they could take home their goodies and I was pleased to see that most of the guests used the post-it notes I had made. Oh, and Sarah's banner was an adorable hit.

We all had fun sharing our favorite things- I forgot to take pictures of all the stuff, but some of the stuff included

a favorite brand of socks,
Redbox promo codes,
a Fuzzy Wuzzy blind cleaner,
Barkeepers Friend,
and some snacks and recipes.

The best of the night, however, was when two sisters decided to make their favorite things go together, not realizing that not everyone was guaranteed the "set" they had created. Therefore, some people got a bag of Pita Chips, and some people got mayonnaise and tuna. Everyone was cracking up at the idea that mayo and tuna was someone's MOST FAVORITE thing.

After awhile, things got a little crazy with some old school dance moves...

but all in all, it was a successful party.

Made it Monday: Polka Dot Dress

"Made It"Carrie Lynn7 Comments
For me, sewing is like exercise.

I always hate doing it, but I always like the result.

Scott and I are trying to get through the last season of 24 on Netflix right now. We usually watch it late at night, and I found that I was having really intense nightmares (for example, being interrogated and having bad guys break Georgia's fingers one by one to get me to talk). I hate nightmares, but I love 24. So, I decided that if I focused on something else while watching it, I didn't have so many nightmares.

Such is the background of this polka dot dress.

It's probably one of the better sewing projects I've done, and I like that I was able to finish it late on a Saturday night so Georgia could have it for Sunday. I even made that matching bow on her head because I am ridiculous.

At church, a lovely lady tugged on Georgia's new dress and said: "They have the cutest clothes for babies these days." I swear I was about to cry. I looked at her and said: "Really? I made this." She looked impressed and it made my day. My week. My year.

Made it Monday: Post-It Notepad Covers

"Made It"Carrie Lynn2 Comments

Because I feel like it, I'm making Mondays "Made it Monday" where I post about something I made this last week. We'll just see how long I keep it up!

My mother and sister-in-law and I are all throwing a favorite things party at the end of this month and we are beyond excited about it. In my opinion, you always leave an awesome party with a little favor. I decided to do something simple and practical for our upcoming party by covering some post-it notepads in cute paper.

Seriously, they are super easy and fun to make and a great way to get rid of all that funky paper you love but have no idea what to do with.

Pretty self-explanatory, but here's my simple how-to for those who would like the step-by-step guidance:

-Double-sided tape (or glue)
-A sticky notepad
-A piece of double-sided paper cut the same width of your notepad and three times as long as your notepad
-Sticky back velcro (or magnets)
-Embellishments and/or decorative scissors

Using your double sided tape, tape your notepad in the middle of your paper strip

Now, you can either measure where to crease your paper by measuring the height of your notepad and making two creases, or you can do what I did and bend it around the notepad and score it with your fingernails. Either way, do this twice: once at the top of the notepad and once at the bottom so your paper folds around it.

If you want, use your decorative scissors to cut your paper to the size you want. Make sure that your top and bottom pieces still overlap.

Then go on and embellish it. I used a brad and left over paper from the previous step.

Instead of trying to line up your velcro, stack the velcro pieces on top of one another, stick it where you want, close your notepad, and when you open it again, you should have the two pieces perfectly aligned.

See? Easy. I went ahead and made about a million of these babies. I was thinking they could make pretty cute valentine's too, if you used the right paper and wrote something on the notepad like: "Please note, I love you."

The Coffee Table and Me.

"Made It"Carrie Lynn5 Comments
This is more than a coffee table re-do post. There IS that tiny part of me that just wants to throw up some before and after photo's of my coffee table, but I feel like saying things like: "just a little spray paint!" and "such a fun project!" would be grossly understating the emotional journey I took with this thing.

Indulge me, if you will.

When I had Georgia, becoming a mom was everything I dreamed of. Becoming a STAY AT HOME mom was not. I hated being at home all day with no friends, no school, and no way to contribute to our family financially. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was so... annoyed. Annoyed that all of the sudden I had a new, lovable responsibility (that was still incredibly challenging) AND that with her came me being, pretty much, solely responsible for all of the horrible chores around the house. Taking care of bills, garbage, dishes, laundry, that sort of thing. It was difficult for me to take pesty chores and turn my mind set into "this is my job." I remember crying to Scott about it saying: "I don't know how to be a housewife! I went to college to be a social worker! I know how to do that! I don't know how to do this!"
Poor Scott. What can he do? Last semester he would be gone with school and work until like 10pm. He would help where he could, but he was so busy.

Anyway. Sometimes, I dove into keeping my house really clean and organized, but I gotta tell you- it's not always as fulfilling as they promise. I decided I needed to find a release. I tried to volunteer more at church, but I wasn't really needed there. I tried making girlfriends, but that's hard where I live because everyone has family here so a "friend" to them is what I would normally describe as an acquaintance. Basically, no one really needed me as a friend, either. I even tried helping out with a new business my in-laws are starting out, but I ended up way in over my head with no idea what I was doing and feeling like a complete waste of resources.

So, I decided to paint my coffee table red.

My coffee table is huge. I got it at a garage sale for $50 and I love it. It has these four, big wicker baskets that make it the most useful piece of furniture I own. It was becoming pretty banged up though. I thought that transforming it would give me a sense of purpose and individual accomplishment.

I took it to my in-law's shop and set it up in a spare room (because I live in an apartment, I have no garage or work space). I began to sand it. By hand.

After that didn't work, my family came to visit and my dad (a master at transforming furniture and stuff) helped me set up a make-shift table and take apart my project. We sanded it with electric sanders and he told me all the next steps I should take.

I also realized that the room I was painting in had a lot less ventilation than I was expecting. This meant that I would not be able to bring Georgia with me and have her sit outside the door. This meant that I would have to have a babysitter.

Weeks went by. I would go to the shop and work on my table when I could, but it was hard with Scott's unpredictable schedule. Soon, I was growing more and more overwhelmed by the project, and more and more overwhelmed by the mess the over-spray was making in my in-laws spare room.

More weeks went by. My meetings with my coffee table became shorter every time. We were fighting a nasty fight, and it was winning.

A couple more weeks go by. By now, I am feeling pretty useless in life. I pretty much suck at being a housewife, I feel overweight, and not really needed (I had always thought people had kids to feel MORE needed). My coffee table began to be a symbol of my past year in Utah- trying so hard and feeling like I haven't gotten anywhere.

I really started to tackle the project, if anything, to get it out of the way. But after I applied the black glaze to the top, something happened and it turned gray and bumpy. I felt totally defeated. Ruined. Stupid table. I hate you. I hate you so much. I cried each time I worked on it.

People who saw the table in progress told me to put a vase over it, and no one would notice. But I had not just put MONTHS into dealing with this thing just to take it home and have to put a vase over it.

My dad visited again, and helped me sand the mistakes. He told me that it looked good. He told me that no matter what, I will always see the mistakes and there is nothing I can do about that. He helped me get the table back to where I needed it.

Finishing the table was still a challenge after my dad helped me for a second time, but I was determined to conquer it. On New Years Eve, I told Scott that I refused to ring in 2012 without my table in my living room. I worked on it for hours that day. I finished it, and I brought it home piece by piece with several trips in my car.

When I set it up, I was amazed, if not a little surprised, at how good it looked. The mistakes (that I still can see) did not stand out like I thought they would. The table looked like it was made that way.

I did it.

I refinished that gigantic thing with very little help from anyone. My dad swooped in when it counted, and Scott was willing to watch the baby when I needed, but overall, I did it.

But I did more than refinish a piece of furniture. I refinished myself. I changed. Because I have a whole new life than the one I had 6 months ago. An entirely new can of paint. I have mistakes that I will always see, but if I take the time to look at myself the way my Father and Creator looks at me, overall, I look pretty dang good. I am doing pretty dang good for what I am.

Not perfect, but beautiful, and useful.

Ticket Bookmarks

"Made It"Carrie Lynn5 Comments
You know when you go to a really good concert/sports event/movie/play and afterwards you have the ticket and you know you SHOULD probably throw it away because what the heck are you going to do with it anyway? But you just can't seem to part with it so instead you stick it in the bottom of your wallet/purse/diaper bag and wait for it to collect rips and unknown gooey stuff before you find it and throw it away? And if you're anything like me, you get kind of, well, SAD that you didn't DO something with it.

I had some tickets like that. Except, I kept them neat. And I liked the way they looked. So I made bookmarks out of 'em

And you know what? I USE them! And I LOVE them! And they were EASY!

I "laminated" my tickets in packaging tape, punched a hole in the top, and then add whatever ribbon I felt like.

I think it would be fun to tie some yarn with beads or something too.

Anyway. That's what I did on Friday night. That, and re-organized my kitchen. It's a glamorous life I lead, let me tell you.

Book Clock (tutorial-ish)

"Made It"Carrie Lynn5 Comments
So when I found some old children's books at a garage sale last week ($0.25. Bam), I knew that I wanted to make one of them into a clock for baby's room. A friend of mine asked how you do it and I thought I would give a little tutorial...

Now, honestly, it is so simple that I kept forgetting to take pictures. And also, I originally followed the awesome tutorial found here.

But if you don't feel like clicking through the internet, I'll show you what I did.

You will need:

A cool-lookin' book

A cheap-o clock with cool-lookin' hands
(I got mine at a thrift store for $1)

A drill
(although you COULD just use a knife and a pen. I've done both, and I HIGHLY suggest using a drill)

An ex-acto knife

Step 1: (sorry, no picture) Bust the guts out of your clock. My husband does this part- not because I can't, just because he likes to be destructive. You will only need to save back piece that holds the battery and the clock hands.

Step 2: Drill a hole in the middle of your book cover (or wherever you want the hands to be)

(Hey- look at that! A picture!)

Step 3: Place your clock piece inside the book and trace around it.

Step 4: Hack away. Use your knife to slice out a hole the same width as the clock piece

It should look like this when you're done:

Step 5: Close the book (with the little clock spoke sticking through your drill hole) and attach the hands on the front.

Above was my finished product. Easy-easy, cute, and thrifty.

There are a lot of things you could do with this- like drill a hole in the bottom right corner and have your clock in a funky place. Or get vinyl numbers to put right on the book. I love making these out of those old Reader's Digest books you always see at thrift stores. These make great gifts and are so inexpensive and simple- which is right up my alley.

Accordion Paper Flowers

"Made It"Carrie Lynn1 Comment
I made some medium-sized accordion paper flowers for my door in honor of SPRING:

I am not, by any means claiming to have invented accordion paper flowers, but they ARE one of my most favorite things to make. They are so easy and versatile! I first found out how to make them by following this tutorial and I have not stopped. I've made them for events, cards, packages, everything. I made some for a friend's bridal shower I threw, but ended up giving them to Brandilyn to add some color to her store:

Next up, I'm going try to use double-sided paper and make a mobile for baby. Fingers crossed that will work- we'll see how it goes :)

Lavender Cookies

"Made It"Carrie Lynn1 Comment
I love lavender. Too much.
It's an obsession.
Last year, I made lavender lemonade.
This year, I was planning on making lavender ice cream, but I got distracted by a recipe for lavender cookies and I couldn't resist!

I love the taste, the smell, the look of lavender. I use lavender oil for almost everything. I can hardly wait for the lavender festival here in Utah that I'm going to in June. If I could re-do my wedding, it would be at the end of June and all the bouquets would be lavender.

You can check out all my lavender love on my Pinterest (I'm under Carrie Chapman) where I have a whole board dedicated to it because it's wonderful.

Meanwhile, g'head and treat yourself to some great tea-time cookies!
You put dried lavender buds right into the batter! I usually stock up in the summer on lavender, dry it, and store it all year long so when opportunities like this arise, I have some on hand. I think I only have about a half a cup left haha! Also, the recipe says use "Superfine Sugar" but I used normal sugar and it was fine. I had everything but the pudding mixes on hand so this recipe only cost me about $1! The photo is mine, but I got the recipe here.

Lavender Cookies

½ Cup Butter (room temperature)
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil (Canola, whatever, just not Olive Oil)
½ Cup Superfine Sugar
¼ Cup Water
1 Large Egg
1-2 Tsp Dried Lavender Buds
2 3-4oz Boxes Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Salt
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (unbleached will work as well)
A small bowl with some Superfine Sugar for rolling

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine Superfine Sugar and Lavender in blender or food processor and process until Lavender begins to break down. Combine all dry ingredients together, except for pudding mix, and set aside. In your mixer bowl, combine all other ingredients and beat until thick and well-combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well-combined. Scoop by teaspoon-full, roll gently into a ball shape between your palms, roll in bowl with Superfine Sugar and place on cookie sheet. Here, you can leave them to their natural shape, or, press them down gently with a glass-bottomed item. The cookies in the photo have been pressed. (I re-purposed a tea light holder as a cookie press.) Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. This recipe will make around 4 dozen cookies if you make them teaspoon size.
To ice, use the Whisk Drizzle Icing recipe. Place waxed paper, butcher paper, plastic wrap (whatever you have) under the wire racks the cookies have cooled on. Mix up a batch of the icing and drizzle over cookies. Allow the icing to set and serve.

Whisk-Drizzle Icing

This is a very simple cookie glaze and will harden nicely.

1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
2 Tbsp Milk (you’ll need a little more after you’ve whisked in the first amount)

In a smallish bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Keep slowly adding milk until you get a slightly thick, drizzle-able icing. The icing will settle out and smooth nicely once you’ve applied it. This recipe will ice about 4 dozen cookies and can be colored with liquid food coloring if desired. I drizzle this icing with a whisk. By all means, if you prefer, put it in a zip lock bag and snip off a corner for a make-shift icing bag. Drizzle away…

Easy Face Scrub

"Made It"Carrie Lynn4 Comments
Lately, I have been breaking out like crazy. Normally I would turn all high-school-mortified about it, but since I'm pregnant with a girl and this week I'm finishing up creating her reproductive system (ie: got a whole lot of estrogen pumping through me), I'm much less ashamed.

However. I'm still not a huge fan of the changes my skin is going through. I REALLY don't want to go rummaging through a bunch of facial treatments with unknown ingredients. So, I made my own little face scrub with what I thought would be good for my skin. Of course, there is no better acne treatment than drinking tons of water, but if you want feel pampered you can try this.

Oatmeal: Saponins remove dirt and healthy fats add moisture
Lavender flowers: Antibacterial antiseptic
Almonds: To exfoliate
and Tea Tree Oil: Antibacterial antiseptic

Simply place a large handful of oatmeal in a blender followed by a small handful of lavender flowers and a small handful of almonds. Grind it all up and then add about 4-5 drops of tea-tree oil. I keep mine in a glass jar by the sink and so far, I have loved how my skin feels.

P.S. Be sure to tell a woman you love today how much she means to you as it is International Women's Day!

DIY Scrabble Wall Art

"Made It"Carrie Lynn24 Comments
So, I've had this idea for weeks now, and I have JUST NOW been able to put it into effect- but it was so worth the time and energy. Introducing...


I went to Home Depot, bought some cheap wood, had husband cut it for me and then had it sitting on my desk for two weeks DARING me to figure out how to make the wood tiles look like Scrabble pieces.

Sure, I could have stenciled. But when I tried to stencil, it looked more or less like this:

The point is, I ended up borrowing my sister-in-law's Cricut (God bless Sarah) and I cut the letters out and mod-podged them on. It looks just like they were painted on, gave it a nice gloss, and I was pleased to use a fancier font than the standard Scrabble one, I think it makes it a little more dressed up for the living room.

This project would have cost me around $11, but for some reason I had a $10 Home Depot gift certificate, so there you go. And I guess it would have cost me more had I not had that handy Cricut... (again, God bless Sarah).

Anyway, there are countless things you can do here and I think it could look great in any room- even if you're not a Scrabble player like Scott and I.

Oh yeah, and if you get carried away like me, you can use your extra wood pieces to make a St. Patty's Day decoration. Hey, why not?