Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Post Wedding Project Catch-Up December 28, 2013

Over the holidays I try to catch up on a few things – cleaning, cooking, baking, and craft projects to name just a few. Last weekend I set aside time to do all of the above, but there were two craft items in particular I wanted to get done.

The first was a shadow box that I wanted to fill with a few items from our wedding. Matt and I made a lot of our paper products for our wedding and I wanted to showcase our hard work – what better way than with a shadow box? Plus I could use the extra space to include my bouquet and Matt’s boutonniere that I had dried out.

My first stop was Hobby Lobby. They are always running sales on half off frames, so I waited until there was a sale to pick up a 16X20 frame. Wanting to stick with a rustic feel, I found a brown/black one in stock with a nice wood grain.

Next stop: JoAnn’s for fabric. Earlier this month I caught the flu and enjoyed catching up on a few HGTV shows. One in particular is called The High Low Project with Sabrina Soto. First the viewers are shown a high-end designed room that costs upwards of $10,000. Sabrina’s challenge is to then re-create the high-end look with a miniscule budget. One item that Sabrina re-created was a shadow box featuring keys. I loved her idea of using fabric to create a balanced and soft backdrop. Again with a coupon in hand, I picked up a half yard of white linen fabric.

Last stop, the dining room table to assemble everything. I played around with a few variations of using different angles and orders of all the items. Before driving myself crazy, I finally selected one variation. Using double sided tape and sneakily hidden pins the final product was created.

Working with the linen

Working with the linen

Trying out different layouts

Trying out different layouts

The Final Product!

The Final Product!


I love how it showcases what Matt and I worked on together as well as our beautiful flowers. Now we have an excellent piece of art and potential heirloom to pass down to our children.

The other craft project was to assemble all our engagement and wedding cards into a booklet. My best friend made a beautiful front cover and back cover for my birthday. All I needed to do was carve out twenty minutes to hole punch about 70ish plus cards. After getting all of the engagement cards punched, I quickly realized that there was not enough room for the wedding cards. So I took out the engagement ones and set aside for another project

Back to punching the rest of the wedding cards I went. I think it turned out great! Plus it’s another fun keepsake for Matt and I to remember our special day.

Wedding Card Book

Wedding Card Book


Wedding Planning Update September 12, 2012

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:36 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

This past weekend was wedding extravaganza. As many of the readers know, I got engaged about a month ago. But what our readers may not know is that my best friend Jill is having her U.S. wedding in December. So, between the two of us there is a lot of wedding stuff going on.

Friday night we got caught up on how things were progressing with each of our endeavors. I cooked an excellent chicken, pasta and basil bake and then we headed over to Oberweis for dessert. Once we got back we got straight to work. Well, more like Jill put me to work.

We set up two stations at the dining room table to make paper flowers. Instead of real flowers at her wedding, Jill is creating paper ones. Since Jill has contracted my services before, and my results weren’t exactly spectacular, I limited myself to just stamping and rolling. I’m a firm believer at sticking with my strengths. Plus this time around, Jill gave much better directions on how to make the flower petals. We were able to crank out seven petals for the flowers that night.


Paper Flowers

To help you visualize the flowers here is a picture. Below is the example of when Jill didn’t give good directions. Hence, my flower is on the right and hers is on the left.

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast before heading over to meet up with my mom and future mother-in law for wedding dress shopping. We had a great time and even enjoyed a meal at the Cheesecake Factory per Jill’s request. The day flew by and was full of a lot of emotions. I won’t give any more details besides the fact that I did say, “yes to the dress”.

But the shopping was not over. Jill and I headed over to Hobby Lobby for some crafty purchases. An idea I have for our save the date had me looking for cut-out numbers, which I chose after looking at a couple of different font choices. Jill bought a few items for her centerpieces as well as some more ink for stamping her flowers. Thank you to Coupon Sherpa for letting us get 40% of one item using the mobile application. Sweet!

With our Hobby Lobby bags in hand, we headed back to my apartment for more crafting. Setting aside two hours we blasted through making enough petals for another six flowers. After that accomplishment we treated ourselves to a movie. We naturally had to  stick with the theme of the weekend, so we watched “Made of Honor”.

Sunday was resource day. We pinned on Pinterest, and swapped a few websites, newsletters and books. It was a great day to wrap up all that we had accomplished and to get more ideas for the future. Can’t wait to see what’s in store!


Buffalo Bites and Homemade Wine Charms February 12, 2012

….I know I know, they don’t really go together.  But I’ve made both since last week’s post, and love them equally so thought I’d make them go together for the sake of this week’s post!

Last weekend being the Superbowl, of course buffalo wings were on my mind.  We were heading over to some friends’ house and said we’d bring something to contribute to the spread.  I kept seeing this link for amazing buffalo chicken recipes with a twist floating around Facebook.  They all looked delightful, and my friend Chris was enthusiastic about all the buffalo possibilities, so I decided to choose a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Bites from the site.  To be honest, there were only 2 recipes on the site that I wasn’t sure about….buffalo chicken waffle sandwiches and buffalo chicken cupcakes (I’m the cupcake queen, but these just looked a little too whacky for my liking).  After trying these Buffalo Chicken Bites and discovering how delicious they were, I’m anxious to try more of these creations!  If you’re ever looking for a party snack or contribution, I would highly recommend trying these:

First, cook your chicken (you'll need about 1 cup once cooked and diced)

Next, dice your chicken and add 1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce, 1/2 cup blue cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 4 tbsp. butter, and stir! Set this aside to use as your filling.


Once you've made your dough, roll it out into 12-inch long strips, put your filling in and close up your dough piece to make a roll. Slice into bites. (Hint: you can use pre-made crescent dough if you want, but I went for the bread recipe so I could finally use the dough hook attachment on my stand mixer. Homemade dough will take you about 2 hours longer)

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown at 400 degrees. I chose to serve ours with some blue cheese salad dressing as an optional dipping sauce

Last weekend when I was hanging out with my friend Krista, we got the inevitable urge to craft (this happens to us frequently when we’re together).  So we headed off to Hobby Lobby and spent about an hour and a half carefully selecting beads with which to create homemade wine charms.  Krista’s future mother-in-law gave her this easy idea, and I thought I’d pass it on to you Uncharted readers, because I think it’s an adorable way to make wine charms that are your own personal taste, or to craft some cute gifts for friends and family.

All you need is round earring hardware from a craft store and some beads to craft your charms. (Hint: be sure to choose beads with holes big enough to be strung onto the earring hardware)


I bought us some pretty brown tinted glass bubbled champagne flutes from a quirky home store in Wisconsin, and thought these would be a pretty fit

I was excited to find some really different beads in shapes and materials that might make some original gifts!




Revisiting 30 before 30… January 12, 2012

Today is my 27th birthday.  That means it’s been about a year since I posted my 30 before 30 list.  And that means I have another 3 years to finish everything on it.  In the spirit of getting another year closer to that big 3-0, I thought I’d revisit to see the progress I’ve made…

1. travel to a foreign country (outside of North America, because let’s be honest, even though those Canadians can get  crazy, they don’t count for my list)…not yet…but I’m starting to make a list of places I’d LIKE to go.  Then maybe I can progress from there!

2. own a dog…not yet…this one won’t be able to happen until Jonathan and I move out of our apartment, since they don’t allow dogs…and gosh, moving is such a pain!

3. get a real Christmas tree (a live one)…not yet…we still had a fake one this year, particularly because we thought about a real one, but wouldn’t be around to care for it over the holiday since we went back to Chicago and decided we’d rather not come back to a fire hazard of needle piles.

4. read at least 3 books per year (ones I want to read, not required reading)…got it…so far since this post last year I’ve read OVER my quota of 3…including Room by Emma Donogue, The Help by Karyn Stockett, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson, and (one of my favorites, so it’s a re-read) Sense and Sensibility.  Let’s see if I can keep this up!

5. go back to Vegas…got it…Jonathan and I got to go back in November because he WON a trip from Allstate! Read about that here.

6. camp in a national park…got it…I’ve been camping in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, plus we’re going camping with some dear friends in Yosemite this May!

7. create a signature cocktail…not yet…but I feel like it will include Cake vodka 😉

8. swim with dolphins…not yet…

9. go on a hot air balloon ride (sorry Kel, I had to add this one to my list, too)…not yet…

10. go wine tasting (it’d be nice to actually know a thing or two about it, not just drink it)…got it…in Santa Barbara, California with some of my favorite ladies!

11. go back to the Grand Canyon…not yet…

12. learn a new song on the piano…not yet…and this one’s going to be harder now, because we don’t have a piano!

13. make a home with Jonathan…got it…love our neighborhood, love our apartment, still working on some of the decor

14. take a photography class (well, another one, maybe digital photography!)…not yet…

15. ride a double-decker bus…not yet…

16. take Jonathan on a ‘spring break’ trip (because he never had one)…not yet…but we may be going to Mexico this summer, so that’s pretty close!

17. try at least one adventurous recipe each month…got it…here are some of my favorites: meatloaf muffins with mashed potato ‘frosting‘ and the Barefoot Contessa’s chicken with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

18. perfect my great grandma’s butter cookie recipe…got it…with my brother Sam’s help this year, I think we perfected it for our Christmas cookie tins (which I referred to in last week’s post).

19. have a garden…sort of got it…I’d like to have a real one, but at least we planted a small herb garden this year for our apartment…

20. write a book (I’ve been thinking of ideas for children’s books lately)…not yet…this one will be a challenge!

21. take a yoga class (this may surprise some of you, but I never have…I don’t want to do hot yoga, just a regular class)…not yet…still a bit intimated to show my lack of flexibility…

22. finish a triathlon…not yet…but I’d like to sign up to do one this summer and start training soon!

23. see another panda bear in real life…not yet…

24. sew something (other than just putting a lost button back on)…got it…took a sewing class, made a tote bag, got a sewing machine for Christmas, and you saw the pillows I made in last week’s post!

25. try a new haircut…sorta got it…got my hair chopped from being long this past fall.

26. take a golf lesson…not yet…

27. find a go-to sushi restaurant in Denver…got it…we LOVE Okinawa on Colfax, and we’ve been to Sushi Den a few times too.

28. take a Spanish class (or several)…not yet…

29. recycle more (and reduce, and reuse…)…trying to, but surprisingly enough it’s hard when our apartment building doesn’t provide a recycling service!

30. tell the people who are important to me how much I love them more often…on my way, working on it!

If I keep it up, I think the whole list can be green by the time I hit 30!  Although it’s amazing how quickly 3 years can fly by…


Herbage. July 13, 2011

I know that’s not a real word, but it describes what I’ve been projecting lately.  On Sunday, Jonathan and I decided to explore the Pearl Street Farmers Market to see what it had to offer.  Let me just say, we will certainly be returning, since the variety and cutesy-ness of it all was almost too much to handle.  We started at the far end of the market for a quick brunch at the Pajama Baking Company, where the brunch was not only delectable, but surprisingly affordable {always a plus for me}. 

Inside Pajama Baking Company, a repurposed garage


We browsed the market, finding everything from handmade soaps and shampoos to your typical home-grown produce to homemade pestos and sauces.  One of the most unique things we saw at the market was the ‘truck garden,’ there to promote growing your own herbs, fruits, and veggies…even if you don’t have a backyard!  That got Jonathan and I thinking, we should start growing some herbs to use while cooking.  We have really deep windowsills in our apartment, and the bedrooms get an unreal amount of sunlight, so we knew we could make it work. 

We started by picking up some herbs we knew we wanted to grow…basil, garlic chives, and rosemary.  We thought we would want to add dill later {they didn’t have it at the market}, but I later found from my neighborhood greenhouse owner that most of Colorado doesn’t even try to grow {much less sell} dill because it’s too ‘delicate’ and herb to survive the lack of oxygen and water that most parts of Colorado experience.  So instead, a unique ‘hot and spicy oregano’ joined the mix. 

Our entire collection of goodies from the day

Then we got a plain wooden expandable planter {I was pulling for this particular planter to be our winner, since I knew it would be easily customizable to our space}, and took everything home.  I painted the planter a simple beige, adding some spice with white polka dots…we went with neutrals so we can move the planter when we feel it’s necessary so our herbs can get all the right sunlight,  but it won’t clash with the decor in any room.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Once we had purchased our final addition, the oregano plant, I went to getting my hands dirty and putting our little herb babies in the planter together.  I hope they grow, and I can’t wait to use them in many recipes!

Our complete mini herb garden!


Spreading Joy with Paper…and SPRING GIVEAWAY! April 28, 2011

The cards in the giveaway...2 birthday, 1 thank you, 1 baby, 1 blank...all with matching envelopes

On Monday night this week, I decided that I’m going to start a new monthly tradition for myself: card crafting.  Some of you who visit often or know me and my love of being ‘craftastic’ (a term that Karla has coined) might be wondering why I am making it a tradition, since I seem to be doing it all the time.  Well, the difference is that I decided I’m going to set aside one or two days each month at the beginning of the month to check out my calendar, observe whose birthdays are coming up, and make birthday cards for the month.

This month is the first of hopefully many months of following through with this new tradition.  Everyone loves some shared happiness on their birthday (I particularly love it in snail mail form), or on any other random special occasion for which you choose to send them a little piece of ‘paper joy.’  While crafting my cards this month, I came up with a few simple tips for you Uncharted readers out there who also like to craft and send homemade cards to friends and family.  These tips will (some with a bit more practice than others) become easy tools to throw in your repertoire of papercrafting to take the elegance level of your products up a notch.

…try an embellishment.  This can be anything from buttons to glitter to ribbon.  Whatever it is, use it tastefully and don’t try to combine too many elements on one card.  One or two will do the trick.  This is the easiest way to spice up your cards and make them exponentially more exciting and pretty!

…try adding dimension.  Layering paper is a super simple way to add some flair to your cards and make them look much higher-quality.  You can also use adhesives like ‘dimensionals’ (found at many craft stores, or you can buy them through a Stampin’ Up demonstrator like me!) to ‘prop up’ various paper elements on your cards and heighten them from the basic card.

…try adding texture.  This one might take some practice, but it’s worth it!  If you have a die-cut machine, they often have embossing inserts.  But if you don’t, you can get ink and embossing powder at your local craft store and heat them either with an embossing gun or a good hairdryer and some patience to get this beautiful textured effect.

…try adding paper shapes.  The layering I mentioned before is great, but what really gets people talking about your cards is cute accents like flowers, butterflies, or cupcakes.  You can either use paper punches or free-hand cut (you might need to do more than one try if sometimes your scissors fight with you like mine do when cutting small shapes) for paper accents on your base card.

…try a SPRING GIVEAWAY!  That’s right, to get you started on your joy-spreading papercrafting, I’m giving away a set of 5 heavyweight cardstock spring-themed cards.  They all include one or two of my tips to give you ideas, or just so you can ‘cheat’ and claim them as your own when you give them to your friends and family 🙂   Same rules apply to this giveaway as did with Kelly’s earlier in the year…

1) Subscribe to the Uncharted blog.It’s easy: Find the green box on the right hand side of the page that says, ‘Subscribe.’ If you are logged into WordPress just click ‘Sign me Up!’  If you are not logged in, type in your email address and click ‘ Sign me up.’  If you have already subscribed, you can skip this step.

2) Leave a comment on this post about a cute card you’ve received, a card you’ve sent, or just an occasion you like to give or receive cards in honor of!

The giveaway entries will officially close on Wednesday, May 4th at 6:00 PM, and I will announce the winner (who has, of course, been picked at random from our number-choosing website) in my next post on Thursday, May 5th.  Good luck! 🙂


One Craftacular Evening March 2, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 6:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Last Tuesday, Sarah, Kelly and I had an opportunity to get our Martha Stewart on. If you haven’t noticed, the Uncharted authors like to craft. From scrapbooking to card making to holiday ornaments, we rock them all! Martha doesn’t have anything on us…well maybe $638 million, but really, who is counting?

Not me, I’m still hoping to win the lotto. But I digress. Occasionally, I help out with programming ideas for my sorority’s alumnae monthly chapter meetings. And I thought, why not do a craft and enlist some help! Enter Sarah, Kelly and our craftastic Stampin’ Up friend, Penny.

Penny and I met a few weeks before the chapter meeting to go over the craft. Together in her amazing craft room, we came up with a great game plan for the card we would make. The main theme would be to keep it simple.

The reason for simplicity is because my alumnae chapter’s median age is probably around 65. Naturally, we didn’t want something complicated and intricate that would take a lot of time. Instead, we wanted something that everyone could take pride in making while having fun.

After taking care of some “business” in the beginning of our meeting, we were all ready to craft. Penny passed around the card we would create so everyone could see what we were going to do. Apprehension rose into the room. But, when Penny broke down the steps of how to make the card, a collective sigh of relief went out.

Gradually, everyone became more comfortable with what they had to do and how they could do it. Murmurs of, “So that’s how she did that.” or “Well that’s not so hard.” resounded in the living room.

To help Penny out, Sarah, Kelly and I went around the room assisting when there we could. Individually, we worked with the ladies on how to use the scallop punch or how to tie the ribbon. It was a truly a treat to watch everyone complete their card. I think they were all a little surprised by what they could do and how much fun they had while making a beautiful card.

The Featured Craft: A Birthday Card


Scrapbook Update! February 9, 2011

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , , ,

Well I made it through the blizzard in one piece and to my scrapbook weekend.  I was a bit overwhelmed at first and it took me awhile to get started, but in the end I completed 12 pages.  That would take me 6 months in real life!  I posted a couple photos below  so you can see all my hard work.  Can you tell which layout was from a class I took?

The reason it takes me so long is I have a hard time making decisions.  That’s why classes are so good for me because I don’t have to decide anything other than what pictures to add.  Then again I am much more proud of the one’s I create myself.  All in all I’m glad I went, but I probably will take a break from scrapbooking for awhile,  that level of detail is very tempting, but I’m afraid I’ll get in too deep.


A Little Piece of Papercrafting February 4, 2011

Filed under: Sarah — Uncharted @ 6:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

First of all, I want to start this week’s blog entry by apologizing to those of you who read our blog for my entry last week.  I hope nobody saw it for more than what it was: a simple opportunity to vent and see if anyone out there ever feels the same way I do.  And it turns out, people do.  It’s always good to know you’re not alone.

Now, on to this week!  I’m posting late because I have had a lack of reliable internet connections in my life the last few days due to the blizzard that hit Chicago.  And because of this blizzard, I also had a lack of WORK to do.  Now, three snow days later, here we are!

On Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 pm when our principal announced that we would be having a snow day on Wednesday (mind you, this was the MIDDLE of my reading block with my class), I had mixed feelings.  It’s funny how when you’re a little kid and you hear ‘snow day,’ you jump for joy and cry out in happiness (yes, that did actually happen on Tuesday afternoon), yet as an adult it’s a completely different story.  I should have been happy to have a snow day, and I was happy…to have ONE, just not THREE.  You see, you never really realized when you were a student how much intense pressure your teachers were under to cover a certain number of concepts with you to a particular level of mastery by the end of the year.  So when I found out we had snow days on Thursday and Friday as well, pretty much all I could do was be cranky that I wasn’t going to be able to ‘fit it all in’ before standardized tests start in March.  Until I saw what made it through the blizzard and into my mailbox…

Some of you have seen that Kelly, Karla and I enjoy papercrafting, and have attended several Stampin’ Up events with my friend Penny from school.  Well, before I left for Denver 2 weeks ago, Penny was basically stalking me.  No, not in a creepy way, in a way that ended up being totally cool.  She was desparate to get in touch with me to let me know about a special offer that Stampin’ Up was having for new demonstrators that sign up.  So, after much waiting and drooling over the list of stamps, colored cardstocks and rich inks that I would be receiving in the mail, it finally came…just in time for my snow days!

I spent several hours holed up in my house wearing PJs and drinking hot cocoa, working on new card designs.  I’m getting really excited to organize a party with some friends to share them and see what they can come up with, as well!  So those of you who are reading this and live in the Chicagoland area and enjoy stamping and papercrafting, let me know, I’d love to make our first papercrafting event a real party, so maybe you’ll get an invite! 🙂 The card below is a thank-you card I created (in hopes of the snow melting and spring arriving soon…hey, the groundhog said so) to give my friend’s family for hosting a girls’ weekend for some of us at their Bed and Breakfast over the next few days.  The only thing I’m worried about is that I’ll start ditching my real work to continually experience the joy of papercrafting.


The Perfect Scrapbook January 19, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 5:04 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Procrastination is not in my vocabulary. I don’t understand it. And I don’t ever want to understand it. My rhythm is getting things done and it has worked out well. Yet, I hate to say, I’m not exactly perfect.

Unfortunately, I have been deterred from completing one particular project…a scrapbook from a vacation that took place a year and a half ago.

I could say that I wanted the scrapbook to be perfect. Scouring Joann Fabrics for paper that looks like sand takes time, as does organizing all of my tickets and brochures and doing design layouts. However, I’m not as meticulous or ambitious as my best friend, Jill. Her scrapbooks are amazing! Probably because she uses graph paper to create her page templates ahead of time and has a Cricut machine.

But honestly, the reason I waited was because I was too cheap to get the photos printed through Kodak online all at once and my previous “home” printer was not exactly “high quality”. Wanting the scrapbook to be perfect by my standards, I waited until this past Christmas.

That’s when my parents gave me an awesome new printer. Then, when completing the online registration of my printer, I received discounted photo paper. Score! To my delight the paper arrived in the mail this weekend. I can now finally start my scrapbook!

Curious as to where I went on this vacation that took place almost 18 months ago? The trip started off with a cultural exploration of a developing country – 15 days in Egypt (with 958 potential photos), followed by 5 days in a European town I wanted to see without any snow – Paris, France which also included side trip to Normandy (another 619 potential photos).

Maybe I should invest in some graph paper and a nice mechanical pencil…1,577 are a lot of photos to organize. It’s a good thing that I ordered extra photo paper!

Heavy lifting

Walking like an Egyptian


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