An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mason Jar Garden Luminary

Make these easy DIY  Mason Jar luminaries to light up your yard, courtyard or garden

I'll be honest with you: I think the whole Mason jar thing is way over done. There's Mason jar salads and overnight oats; Mason jar chandeliers, painted Mason jar lights, glitter dipped Mason jars... And on and on. Wait, I know what you're thinking! "So Paige, why are you adding to all this Mason jar noise that's already out there?" Ahh-ha! Because the actual function of the Mason jar LID works wonderfully for these garden luminaries. Read on to find out why and for the world's easiest way to make your yard, courtyard, deck, balcony or any outdoor (or indoor!) space you have a little brighter.

Yuck, that was cheesy but it literally came to me as I was writing that sentence. So I included it. And it even made it past the editing process. High standards here at An Uncomplicated Life Blog, eh?

Mmmmmk, back to the over done Mason jar DIY and why the lid is great for this particular idea. Real Mason jars have two parts to their lids; the screw on part and the flat part. If any of you crafting queens know any legit terminology for those parts, please enlighten me! For now, it's the circular screw on part and the flat part that's actually the lid. Anyway, this functionality works well for outdoor lighting because you can store them with the full lid on, and pop off the flat part when you want to light the candle and use the luminary. I like the look of the silver screw ring thingy attached, so I put that back on but you do you.

While the whole Mason jar thing is en vogue right now (thanks Joanna Gaines) most the crafts (outside of the food ones) discard the lid. But this one actually uses it, and it's two part design comes in kinda handy. Yay designs that last decades upon decades, right?!

Here's how I made these:
- 32 oz Mason jars. I like the big ones for outdoors, because we have a large courtyard to line them up along. As you can see, we also have a small(ish) 4 person table, and three of them fit nicely  on it, so this size even works for smaller spaces.
- Broken glass. Pick a color that works for your space. I liked how this color stood out against the green of our plants but didn't stick out so much that it was distracting (similar color here).
- Encased tea lights. If you don't get these, the wax will melt all over your glass and that's a bummer.

Fill Mason jars about 1/3 to halfway full with broken glass. Shake slightly to even it out. Place tea lights in and boom. You're done! You can store outside with the lid on (take the candle out - I had these in the Texas heat for an hour and the candles were all melted even though they weren't lit!) or you can store in a garage, shed or closet. If they get dirty or covered in pollen, dump the broken glass into a large bin of soapy water and wash the Mason jars in the dishwasher, then just reassemble after the glass has dried fully.

Like it? Pin it!

Easy to make, easy storage, easy maintenance and easy to use. What's not to love about this Mason jar garden luminary?!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Thoughts On Adulting

It's en vogue to say "adulting is so hard!" But is it? And what does that mean about our culture?

I haven't written a soapbox post in a good long while, and I'm excited about this one! Let's have a little chat about adulting. It's not even a real word; it's a verb that's become in fashion to describe living an adult life, filled with work, chores, trials and tribulations, children, cleaning, and on and on. You've seen it in funny Facebook memes and you've seen it screen printed on witty tee shirt sayings. Everyone seems to think "adulting" is so hard. But I'm here to tell you it's not. And I'm also here to tell you what I think this "adulting is hard" crap says about our larger culture.

Ahhhh, millennials. I qualify as one officially by two years (1982 is the first birth year of this generation, and I'm an '84 baby). I learned to type on an actual type writer and remember the days before computers were in every classroom; I certainly remember the days before the internet and not-so-fondly remember the days of the AOL dial up connection and the absolute racket it would make. So while I am a millennial by birth year standards, there's a lot I don't identify with this generation.

Needless to say, the "adulting is hard" thought process is one of them.

Cool, we got the disclosures out of the way. Allow me to now jump into the heart of this post: Millennials, ADULTING IS NOT HARD. YOU MAKE IT HARD BECAUSE YOU'VE ONLY LED AN EASY LIFE.

Read that again for a minute, and let it sink in. I know you want to punch me in the face right now, are saying, "Nuh-uhhh!" and are rolling your eyes. Hear me out for a second. Yes, you're the one who's making your life difficult. How? With your horrible attitude. Now to be fair, this attitude was instilled in you from an early age...

Why does your attitude suck? Allow me to count the ways:

1) You were given participation trophies for all events you ever took part in. 
Even I remember track and field days, and how they didn't just hand out ribbons for 1st-3rd place; no, they went all the way to 5th place and then gave every event participant a green participation ribbon. While this is now funny, and this reference over-cited with fault, here's the thing about it: You never learned to fail at something. You think if you go on a job interview, you'll get it - or something - like that's part of the process. But it's not. There are winners and losers in life. Most the time, second place doesn't matter. Second runner up as the job candidate means you're still unemployed. It means you need to try harder next time. It doesn't mean that being an adult is hard.

2) You experienced grade inflation that never taught you the value of hard work.
I remember in my senior year of high school, my honors English teacher gave me a C+. It was the only C I ever got, ever. I asked my teacher why she gave it to me, and she told me she knew I just showed up without really working; that I was much smarter than that but sometimes, you just have to put in some effort. I remember in college, I dated a TA who talked a lot about grade inflation, and about how he wanted good reviews from his students so that he'd be more likely to land a professorship when he was done with his PhD. He didn't care if a student earned the A or not; he was pulling a cover-your-a$$ move for better reviews. Millennials, I hate to tell you this, but y'all never really learned how to work hard - because you didn't have to in school. You got by. But now, as an adult, you're shocked at the "amount of work it is." It's hard to land a job and it's hard to get promoted and it's hard to get into grad school and it's hard to have a relationship and it's even harder to be married. And yeah, that IS harder than coasting your way through school without ever really needing to work for that A. But it doesn't mean that being an adult is hard.

3) You believed that if you just went to college, you'd land a great job.
AAAAHHHHAHAHAHAHA. As it turns out, no employer cares about your educational theories. They care about demonstrated results. So if you went to school and never worked or held down an internship, you're not employable upon graduation. And yeah, that means you're going to be 22 or 23 and making $9 an hour as an intern somewhere. It does not mean that being an adult is hard - it means you should have worked harder before you were depending on yourself to earn an income. But it doesn't mean that being an adult is hard.

Look, we all have hard days. There are days that I wish I could just sleep in and then spend the day watching Netflix. But having one hard day doesn't make being an adult hard. Getting up, taking care of my children, running this blog, being married, owning a home with a yard and a dog - all of that is being an adult. And while there are good days and bad days, it is not hard. So please millennials, stop making everything so "hard" and start putting as much effort into your life as you do complaining about it. When you shift that focus, you'll be surprised at how much "easier" everything becomes!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Best Baby Stationery

Basic Invite has so many options for your baby stationery needs!

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. All opinions are my own.

Are you ever cruising your Facebook or Instagram feed and think to yourself, "Holy cow, everyone is pregnant right now!" I had a big wave of friends give birth in May and an additional wave announce their pregnancies with October babies. I love seeing all this joyous news in my social media! It makes me so happy to see all my friends and acquaintances share their life events with all their connections, and read all the happy congratulatory messages. While I enjoy seeing the creative social media announcements, I LOVE getting a "snail mail" baby stationery announcement (or baby shower invite, etc).

While we didn't send paper baby announcements, we did do paper invitations for both the boys' first birthday parties. There's something about getting an actual invitation in the mail that's so fun and classic! Plus, I had both their invitations framed. I'll have these as a keepsake for the rest of their lives, and they currently help decorate the nursery both kids sleep in.

It's so fun to personalize a 1st birthday invitation with photos

Basic Invite is a great website that offers SO many options for any of your baby stationery needs. If you see a design you like but want to change the colors on it, you can. The website is interactive, so you'll get a preview right away with your customization. If you'd prefer, you can even order a paper preview of your baby shower invitation so you can actually see it in person. I wish I'd have had this option for our Christmas card. I ordered them online and *thought* the font would look far different than it did... Long story short, I paid more for "glitter" and it came back as digital glitter. Had I had the option to see it in person, I'd have known to change that before ordering (and paying for!) all our cards. Live and learn, right?

So sweet for a little boy!

Back to babies: Basic Invite has baby shower invitations for boys and baby shower invitations for girls that are just darling, and you can even customize the envelope you'll send it in. I remember my baby showers for Henry. I had one in Minnesota that was a "book party" where all the guests brought their favorite baby book and wrote Henry a note inside of it. Then I had a coed shower in Dallas with some of the cutest blue, green and white treats! Poor Otto didn't get any showers because, you know, he was the second boy that came just 19 months after the first one. Hashtagsecondbabyprobs, right? Showers are so special to the mom to be, and a paper invitation allows her to have a keep sake for that special day. After you're done showering the mama and baby, don't forget to order your baby shower thank you cards! Thanking your guests in paper is just as (if not more than) important than the invitation.

A fun coed shower invitation idea

Having a baby is such a huge occasion in the parents' lives. It's a time for celebration and showers and parties! Basic Invite has all your baby stationery needs covered with a huge supply of designs, customized colors and even a free addressing service. Let them do the work for you so you can focus on celebrating that baby and mama to be.