Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Headache Pillow DIY March 11, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:04 am
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I had a sewing project on my aspiration list for awhile.  I tried to make a jacket a few years ago….Didn’t really go anywhere past the fabric cutting stage.  This year I almost took it off my list, but decided I should just tone my expectations down a bit and I would be able to complete something.  I remembered I had pinned a Headache Pillow when Pinterest was brand new to me.  It linked up to Whitey’s blog Elm Street Life, where she had a tutorial.  I found it on my beloved ‘Possible Projects’ board and decided it was definitely something I could handle.  On top of it being a simple project, it would be useful too.  I tend to get quite a few headaches and it sounds weird, but it makes me feel better to put pressure on my head.  This pillow is filled with lentils and its nice and heavy.

The only thing needed to create your own headache pillow is: fabric, thread, lentils, and lavender.  I also needed a sewing machine to get it all put together.  That is where my sister comes in.  She has a sewing machine which I knew would help me get the job done a lot quicker.  I suppose I could have sewn by hand, but I assure you I do not have nearly enough patience for that.

sewing 1


  1. Fold your fabric in half longways and then measure and cut so that folded in half it measures 6×18 in. (or 12×18 inches when unfolded).
  2. Next, I made sure the fabric was facing inside out and then started pinning around the edges to prepare to sew.
  3. Setup your sewing machine- I cannot help you with this. I struggled and Kate helped me and in the end I sewed straight lines around the edges of my fabric and just left a small opening.
  4. Next I added some of my lavender along with the 2 lbs of lentils.
  5. Sew the opening closed.
  6. Now you want to separate the lentils in half and sew a line down the middle of the pillow. I am particular so I made my sister get out her kitchen scale so I could make sure the lentils were evenly distributed on either side of my pillow.  You could be less crazed and just estimate.
  7. I sewed a straight line right across the middle of the pillow and then repeated step 6 over to the left and then right so in the end you are left with 1 pillow that has 4 sections.

Sewing 2

The process is super simple, but really time consuming.  I ended up making two pillows in one night, but it probably took me 2 hours plus.  I thought for sure I’d finish all 5 I had planned to make.  I think it would have gone a bit faster if I was an avid sewer.  I still need to finish my last three.  And please, if you are my friend and have headaches, be warned.  You might be getting one of these from me.  Even if you think it’s silly, please accept it and act impressed that I made it myself.  You can always use it as a paperweight or something else equally useful!

Final Product!

Final Product!

Few Tips if you plan to create one yourself:

  • I bought the loose lavender from Whole Foods- you purchase by weight and I was surprised at how reasonable it was.  That whole bag I have pictures above was something like $4.50.
  • I ended up ditching the pins because I thought they were harder to sew with.  Plus this isn’t a project that needs perfect stitching.  When I use it I will feel like death and not be inspecting the stitching.

Brilliance on the Cheap February 25, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 1:10 am
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I haven’t written in a long time which I feel bad about.  I have been working on quite a few things from my aspiration list though so I thought I’d share.  I feel like I am working on these much earlier than usual which is promising for accomplishing more than I’m accustomed to.

  • Did some volunteering this month reviewing resumes for community members who were about to attend a job fair.
  • Kept up with a regular Yoga practice minus a slight break when I had Bronchitis.
  • Saw The Addams Family Musical with Karla at the Mercury Theatre.
  • adamsBought a new to me car and sold the old one (this was very difficult work because I had trouble finding a resource that could tell me all the steps I needed to take. I am working on my own how-to guide so that may show up sometime next month)
  • TiggyOrdered 2 chargers so I have no excuse to not use my currently dead Fitbit
  • Started and halfway finished a sewing project which I will share when it’s fully done. I underestimated the length of time it would take, but now that I had some practice it should be easier.
  • Hosted a Galentine’s Brunch with a heart theme…there was even heart shaped bacon!
  • brunchAttending a Spa party my friend is hosting this Friday and I’m going to try acupuncture for the first time!
  • Created a heart wreath at the end of January and made my own jewelry cleaner yesterday!

Okay I think that is enough updates for one night.  But I did want to share the jewelry cleaner with you real fast.  It was so easy to throw together and the results were impressive!  Here is what you’ll need:

Ah! Look at how dirty that water is!

Ah! Look at how dirty that water is!

1 tbs salt
1tbs baking soda
1tsp dish soap
1 cup warm water
Aluminum foil
Old toothbrush
Dirty Jewelry

  1. Line the bowl with aluminum foil
  2. Place the first 3 ingredients in the lined bowl
  3. Add the warm water (It’s going to fizzle)
  4. Next add the jewelry (The first set of jewelry I did was silver, but then I did a second batch of gold)
  5. Leave it in the solution for 10-15 minutes
  6. Retrieve each piece of jewelry and scrub with the toothbrush
  7. Rinse each piece in water and set it on paper towel to dry.

I must say I was a bit skeptical when I read about this solution on POPSUGAR’s website, but it worked like a charm and I didn’t even have to spend any money on fancy jewelry cleaner!  Try it out some time!


Finally on the Wall February 4, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:21 am
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Last year’s aspiration list had an item about creating a new work space at home.  I did buy a new desk and chair, but I never hung all the art I planned to hang.  I have a lot of art accumulated from many a Renagade Craft Fair and a few Etsy shops along the way as well.  It’s all been sitting around waiting for me to display.  I have been slowly purchasing 3M products so that I won’t make any marks on my landlord’s walls (dang those hooks are expensive!)  One day I just laid all the pieces out on my bed along with the frames I have unused around the house.  I measured the length of the desk and placed the measuring tape across the bed and then used that as my starting point for placing everything.  Then I forced myself to create something I liked.  I kept trying to give myself excuses, like I don’t have enough frames, or that the items didn’t go well together.  But I pushed through and made myself hang things up.  I knew I wanted the marquee arrow to point to the print that says, ‘This Little Light of Mine I’m going to Let it Shine.’  I used that as a bit of an anchor and arranged everything else around it.


I used hooks and velcro to hang the heavy frames and the lighter things have a binder clip attached to them and are hung on a clear plastic 3M hooks.  Perhaps I’ll add some more frames after a while, but I actually like the casualness of the binder clips.  Now I actually get to look at the art I’ve worked so hard to choose and collect instead of it gathering dust under my bed.


Cheat Sheet

  1. Light Bulbs by TwoTonePress (I purchased at a Renegade Craft Fair (RCF))
  2. La Petit Prince- by Nacnic (Sorry no longer available in this shop)
  3. Get Your Sh*t Together by Orange Beautiful Design Studio (My sister gifted this to me for a housewarming gift)
  4. This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna let it Shine by littlethingsstudio (I purchased at a RCF)
  5. Marque Arrow from Target (Sorry no longer for sale, I bought it a few months back)
  6. It’s Not What the World Holds for You by littlethingsstudio (Sorry no longer available. I purchased at a RCF)
  7. House Key by Ace Hardware (One of a kind!)
  8. A Ship at Sea is Safe, but that’s not what Ships are Built for by Unknown (I can’t for the life of me remember the artist)
  9. 4127 Grove Watercolor- by BlueHousePaperie (Custom watercolor of childhood home, my sister commissioned)
  10. Be Kind Even to Mean People- by TheDetroitCardCo (purchased at a small pop up craft fair)

~30 aspirations for 2015~ January 6, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:42 pm
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~30 aspirations for 2015~
.1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
.2. Read at least twelve books and document
.3. Try at least 1 new recipe every month
.4. Complete some type of service every quarter
.5. Try at least one Acupuncture Session
.6. Complete a sewing project
.7. Learn to play 1 piano song beautifully
.8. Travel to somewhere I’ve never been before
.9. Attend the new church I researched at least four times
.10. Regularly practice Yoga & Meditation at least once per week
.11. Go see a play I’ve never seen before
.12. Complete at least one project per month
.13. Take a hot air balloon ride
.14. Take at least one class on Coursera
.15. Complete a scrapbook of my trip to NYC in 2013 with my sister
.16. Do a spa day including at least 3 treatments (and don’t feel guilty!)
.17. Host a themed party
.18. Learn to make my Nana’s sauce and ask her to critique it
.19. Attend a midnight premiere of a movie
.20. Plan a trip and meet out of town for a girl’s weekend
.21. Buy a Ukulele and learn to play a song
.22. Use my new planner effectively to stay organized
.23. Take a camera class to learn about my new Nikon camera
.24. Start a regular swimming routine
.25. Sell my current car and buy a new/new to me vehicle
.26. Try a new hair style
.27. At least 40,000 steps per week measured by the FitBit
.28. Start every week with a Ted Talk
.29. Prepare and give a great MOH speech in April
.30. Get my ear pierced


Making My Bed – Check! January 5, 2015

Filed under: Kate — Uncharted @ 2:10 pm
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The year is off to an outstanding start and I can’t be happier with my list of aspirations for 2015. I’m even off to a great start with making my bed every day. This was one of the aspirations I mentioned being really nervous about doing because I didn’t think I could stick with it. Now granted we are only 5 days into the New Year, but I am boasting a 100% record on achieving this goal… and it is AMAZING.

Before any of you say it… Yes, I am a huge dork. And yes, I may be overly excited about making my bed, but I got this idea from a Gretchen Rubin book (many of you know that I am a huge fan of hers) and I also did a little bit of research to back up my thoughts behind this aspirations. Did you know that “71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy. Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested, whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired. All in all, bed makers are happier and more successful than their rumple-sheeted peers.” I got this particular information from Psychology Today.

And you know what the crazy part is? I am happier when our bed is made. It makes it more inviting to sit on and read a book, my room feels cleaner and more spacious, I start out every morning feeling more accomplished AND when I go to bed at night, the sheets are nice and organized, so I sleep better. All in all, I’m happy I made this resolution and I am proud to say that I am keeping it so far.

How has your year started off? Are you sticking with your resolutions? Do you make your bed every morning?


A Look Back At My 2014 Aspirations December 31, 2014

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 2:20 am
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Here is a review of how I did on my 2014 Aspirations.  Many of the updates link to posts throughout the year in case you want to read more about them.  It’s kind of difficult for me to put this review out into the world.  In fact I think its my least favorite post of the year because I feel like I am sharing my failures.  I do it anyway though because I am trying to stick with the attitude that I do more than I would considering that I do share these. And so even if every aspiration isn’t reached, I am still better off than if I had set none at all.  Next week I’ll post my 30 aspirations for 2015.

.1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night

I have my good times and bad times with this one, but I am really cutting down on the 6 hour nights of sleep.  If I get less than 7 I usually struggle all day and I remind myself of that when I try to do ‘just one more thing’ before bed.

.2. Read at least twelve books and document
I read my twelve.  Being in two bookclubs helps me reach this goal pretty easily and it helps me to try reading new things.  Never thought I’d be reading reality TV Star books.

Drinking & Tweeting by Brandi Glanville
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Local News by Miriam Gershow
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
I am Malala:The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
.3. Try at least 1 new recipe every month
I have 18 new recipes I tried that were documented.  I am guessing I did more, but didn’t always remember to record it.  Here are links to the ones I posted on the blog:

Baked Broccoli Fritters
Zucchini Pasta
Shrimp Pasta
Egg Sandwich
Fast Chicken Fajitas
Cinnamon Biscuits
Fried Rice
.4. Write and post a on the blog every week

Yes!  This is my 52nd post this year.  This is one of the hardest ones I accomplished.
.5. Complete some type of service every month

I am back to only 5 months of service and some of these are a stretch.  The shoveling and babysitting are things I would already do just to help my family out, but I did include them because I told myself to relax and that every service doesn’t have to be an official event.

Jan– Resume Reviewer at Park District
March– Shovel Driveways
April– Babysit
May– MS Walk
Dec– Donated to Toy Drive for local town

.6. Try at least one Acupuncture Session
I need a recommendation for this. I’m too frightened to try out the Groupons at the local places.  Shouldn’t it cost more than $20 bucks to stick needles all over my body?

.7. Complete a sewing project

I did not even research or plan a sewing project.

.8. Learn to play 1 piano song beautifully

I recently found my Sara Bareilles song book, haven’t touched it in over a year I think.

.9. Travel to somewhere I’ve never been before
North Dakota!  It was a  business trip, but it still counts.

.10. Attend the new church I researched at least four times

I regret to say I did not even go once.  I’m a little frightened to try it and the location doesn’t help my reluctance

.11. Regularly practice Yoga & Meditation at least once per week

I started off very strong with Yoga and then as my stress went up at work that dwindled, but then I started in on Meditation and even downloaded an app to help me stay calm and relaxed.

.12. Attend a wine class
Katie and I attended a wine class in April.

.13. Go see a play I’ve never seen before
Karla, Lei, and I went to see Le Petit Prince at the Looking Glass Theater in February during Theater Week in Chicago!

.14. Join a local CSA and visit the farm my produce comes from

I researched local CSA’s near my new town and I never found anything I was pleased with.  Either they were a great program that cost too much or a cost effective program that had questionable reviews.  I may need to search out an alternative to this method.  Perhaps a mail order subscription service?

.15. Complete at least one craft per month

I did not end up doing one crafts/project per month, but I did do twelve overall.  I fit a lot in at the end of the year preparing for Christmas and all the wedding festivities I’ve been involved in.  I haven’t shared all the items on the blog, but if I did there is a link listed below.

February-Camera Strap & Valentine Heart Boxes

March-Jewelry Display Board

May- Food Passport

June- Washi Pencil cups

October- Homemade Vanilla Extract & Homemade Lip Balm

November- Lamp Shade & Wooden Utensil Favors

December- Christmas Crunch Cookie Jars, Christmas Card Lights, and Oh Shit Kits!
.16. Take a hot air balloon ride

Haven’t had the opportunity for this one yet.

.17. Learn to use snowshoes

My Valentine’s present last year was a day of snowshoeing!

.18. Start the new blog I’ve been planning

In concentrating on keeping this blog up to date, I have not started a new one.

.19. Take at least one class on Coursera

There were a few different courses I was interested in, but I really lost sight of this one when things got insane at work.  I felt too tired every night to add this to my things to do.

.20. Collect pieces, Design a layout, and hang up a collage wall in my living room

This is one of the most challenging pieces of decoration I’ve ever put together, but it was well worth it!

.21. Complete a scrapbook of my trip to NYC in 2013 with my sister

I love the part I did complete, but the title of my post about this says it all: Halfway There….and I never did scrap anymore this year.

.22. Do a spa day including at least 3 treatments (and don’t feel guilty!)

I never had a whole day with three treatments.  I had a massage and some manicures throughout the year, but the intention a day at the spa with a bunch of treatments so I did not achieve that.
.23. Learn to apply liquid eyeliner and fancy eye makeup

Took a class at Goldplaited with my cousin Cassie in June.

.24. Become more of a morning person

I did research on this and worked on some of the techniques suggested.  I know my issue is lack of consistency.  Some nights I sleep 8 hours, others 5 or 6.  Then I let myself stay up super late when I don’t have work the next day {tonight is a great example!} and have trouble going to sleep on nights when I have work the next day.  This one is definitely a work in progress.

.25. Create a workspace in my new bedroom

I bought a new desk and chair (both from Target) and I also added some artwork.  I try to not accumulate junk on the chair and surface of the desk so I will have room to work, but that is a work in progress!

.26. Host a themed party

I had my girlfriends over for a Christmas get-together after going to see Holiday Magic at the zoo this year.

.27. Learn to make my Nana’s sauce and ask her to critique it

I did talk to my grandma about this, but she told me to wait until the weather was better?  I think the thought of making the sauce overwhelms her.  I’ll need to catch her at a good time for her.

.28. Attend a midnight premiere of a movie

Never did this one.  I need to have a movie I really just can’t wait to see.

.29. Plan a trip and meet out of town for a girls weekend

Once of my saddest ones!  I discussed this with a few of my friends and researched some different places and where we could stay.  It just wasn’t in the cards for us this year.  I’m starting to think if I plan it and send out the information, some people will be able to make it work.


2015 Aspirations December 29, 2014

Filed under: Kate — Uncharted @ 11:58 am
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I’m back on the wagon – at least in the sense that I am once again copying Kelly’s awesome idea of creating a list of 30 Goals for the year 2015!

2015 is going to be a crucial year in my life, especially when it comes to my health and happiness. As some of you may know, I was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. RA is an auto-immune disease that affects more women than men and symptoms can creep up at any age, though they often creep up between the ages of 30 and 60. I won’t get too into it, but if you’re interested in reading more about RA, check out the Arthritis Foundation. Though I think I have been handling this news and the initial treatment pretty well, I consider my RA to be a huge inconvenience. It’s also a great motivator to be more conscientious of my health and happiness… so a lot of my goals this year will reflect a shift in my extra-curricular activities.

I hear making the bed on a daily basis plays a crucial role in overall happiness… though I’m a bit nervous about sticking with it. Did you make resolutions this year?

  1. Get healthy – cut back on bad foods/drinks and eat cleaner, get RA under control
  2. Golf a round with less than 10 strokes per hole
  3. Finish staining the cabinets in the kitchen and laying the tile at the fireplace
  4. Learn to use my new telescope
  5. Take more photos of friends and family, get them printed and organized
  6. Attend/Participate in a charity event for rheumatoid arthritis or auto-immune diseases
  7. Be more affectionate, tell/show people how I feel
  8. Read at least 12 books
  9. Go someplace I’ve never been before
  10. Save more money and invest some of it in stocks
  11. Attend Zumba, Yoga or some sort of class at least twice per month
  12. Do something that takes me out of my comfort zone
  13. Surprise 3 people with a thoughtful gift or hand written letter
  14. Learn how to use my camera in MF mode and take at least 1 amazing photograph
  15. Conquer a fear
  16. Do something kind for a complete stranger
  17. Keep a journal
  18. Buy a helmet and ride my bike instead of driving
  19. De-clutter our home. Anything not used within a year gets tossed or donated
  20. Make our bed every day
  21. Go to a sporting event
  22. Take a vacation
  23. Laugh and smile more – Be Happy and be contagious
  24. Get rid of the shoes – sell or donate them all
  25. Join the AMA
  26. Do something touristy in Chicago
  27. Do a spa day and don’t feel guilty about it
  28. Build a snowman
  29. Try a new recipe for vegetables each month
  30. Live in the present. Don’t wish away week days.

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