If… Art Journaling

I have a new art journal, it’s my calendar from last year, I have just painted all the pages with black gesso. I have been working on this page for a few days, it’s been relaxing, energizing, and therapeutic. Last night I stenciled the IF and went to bed knowing that I would finish up the writing today.art journal - if 1
Today I got out my gold gel pen and went to town and then something happened, it just didn’t seem right and I (eventually) realized what the problem was: I had censored myself because I was going to share this here on my blog  .So instead of really writing what I wanted I had ({unconciously}) written something vague and unimportant that I didn’t care if anyone read.
art journal - if 2Thank God for baby wipes, that gold pen wiped right off (mostly). art journal - if 3 This is much better, although you’ll notice that it’s a little small and blurry. Sorry about that, it’s not that I don’t trust you guys :) but the internet is forever and I’m not sure that I want my intimate thoughts and insecurities out there floating around. I’m not sure that this page is done, but it’s at a point where I’m going to leave it for a while. I think I might be adding some more pictures to it, but I don’t know if I’m ready for that. This is art therapy after all, and there is no rush to completely finish anything.
I have admired other artists for being able to share it all, I’m not there…I might never be.
What is your opinion about sharing journal pages? Is it TMI or do you like a peek into another persons private thoughts? Are you interested in seeing pages that have the words blurred? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment away!
BTW, that really awesome palm reader diagram is from the Graphics Fairy, she has awesome stuff!


Pattern Weights: Adapting What's on Hand

Now that I am a more experienced seamstress I have decided that I need some pattern weights. What really happened is I saw this pattern weight tutorial and decided that they were cute and I needed some. But hold on a minute, I don’t have any hex-nuts (I DO have some washers) and I think I would rather use paper, so here’s my take on pattern weights:

Your will need large washers, I used a variety of similar sizes, they are very inexpensive and you can buy them individually at Ace Hardware stores, some fun scrapbooking papers (these papers are left over from my holiday photo ornaments), glossy Mod Podge, scissors, an exacto knife, and a pencil.pattern weights 1 Trace around the washers on the back of the scrapbook paper and carefully cut out each circle. Make sure to cut inside the lines. I used an exacto knife to cut out the centers for a smoother look.pattern weights 2 Coat one side of you washer with Mod Podge and apply your paper circle. Smooth the circle down with your fingers, getting out all the lumps, bump, and bubbles. Brush a coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper and allow it to dry.pattern weights 3 Use the exacto knife to trim any excess paper from the edges and inside circle of the washer. Apply paper to the back of the washer in the same way and trim when dry. Once I had everything all trimmed up I added another coat of Mod Podge to completely seal the edges. Once everything is dry your spiffy new pattern weights are finished!pattern weights 4I need to make a holder, a wooden base with a dowel? I’ll have to think on it a bit. I’m off to get out some fabric and a pattern and start cutting, have a super crafty weekend!


I Do Not Give Money to Charity

I know, I’m stingy! I refuse to give money to anyone who calls me asking for it, most of that stuff is a joke. The last one that call me had a really good pitch – we don’t want your money, but if you buy one of our magazine subscriptions will donate 10% of the subscription cost to the Special Olympics. Wow, 10% of a $10.00 subscription, that will really help out. I passed. I don’t put my change in jars by the register and I absolutely NEVER give money to panhandlers (except for that one guy who was honest and said he needed $.60 to get a “40” of beer). There are just too many scams, but there are ways that you can help without giving money.

I will donate things, crafts, and time. For example: clothes to the Goodwill, an ornament for a (local) charity auction, and time sewing special things that are desperately needed.

I was very interested when I heard about Project Thrive and their Days for Girls (facebook page) on Craftster. I definitely could find the fabric and the time to do that. My goal is 12 kits, which is 24 shields, 120 liners, and 12 bags.days for girls 1

I started by cutting out 12 shields and I finished sewing them today. I like how the pattern interlocks (it’s available on the Project Thrive website) and there is very little waste. Now I’m ready to start cutting the liners, I just need to clear some table space. I would like to mail off six kits by February 4th.days for girls 2 I also wanted to mention that even if you don’t sew there are other things that you can donate, so make sure you check them out!

There are tons of charities looking for a variety of crafters, it’s nice to be able to help even if I can’t (or won’t) donate cash. I had a wonderful day thinking about the girls that will be helped by the kits I’m making, I’ll keep you guys posted about my progress.


Designing Knitted Hats

I never really thought I would be able to design hats, I still feel like such a beginning knitter. I think that’s because I don’t knit sweaters or blankets or other super huge projects. I do knit a lot of hats though and I realized that I was always changing them up a bit to make them the way I wanted to make them, hmmm I guess that is sort of designing.

This all started because I love cupcakes and I wanted to knit little baby cupcake hats. There are plenty of cupcake hat patterns out there, but nothing like I wanted, the frosting just wasn’t quite right. I made a couple with cherries on top and they turned out cute, but the cherry was too nipple like for my satisfaction and it was just one more thing to sew on. I thought about a pompom, but nah and how many cupcakes have I really eaten with a cherry on top anyway! So I’ve been working on this:prototype cupcake hat 2

It looks nice modeled on this jar and I’m getting close, but when I put it on a head:prototype cupcake hat The frosting needs to be taller/rounder and this yarn wasn’t the best choice, the colors are great though. I also need to make that top tail a bit longer and tack it down in a curl shape. I might even want to add another layer to the icing frill.

I also saw a boy wearing a fleece raccoon hat and thought it would be a lot cuter knitted. It’s close too, just a little more tweaking and some eyes:prototype raccoon hat I’m trying to decide if the ear-flaps are really what I want or if a striped and ribbed band around the bottom of a regular hat would be better and exactly what sort of eyes I’m going to make.

I like to share some of the process of what goes into a design, I would love to hear what you guys think of these two hats. I’m also trying to decide what to do with my pile of imperfect samples: throw them out, unravel them, give them away, sell them as one offs…what are your thoughts?


Reminiscing and Eraser Stamps

Once upon a time I used to draw a tarot card every day and journal about it. The card was always a good prompt, even if I only wrote to say that the card had nothing to do with what was going on with me that day (which wasn’t normally the case). It started because I wanted to learn how to read tarot cards, I did the lessons on learningtarot.com to learn the basics and started drawing a card a day and journaling to help me learn what all the cards meant. I enjoyed it so much that I made a special box to store my cards, reference book, journal, and pens (yes, pens, I like to color code my entries). I also decoupaged my favorite card onto my journal cover and got an awesome handmade orange tarot card bag from a swap on Craftster. And then we started our family, I still managed to draw a few cards here and there, but I completely fell out of the habit when we moved back to Nebraska (last entry 3 1/2 years ago). Here in our new house I see my special box every day and I always think ~ I should get that out and start drawing a card a day again and then I get busy and forget. Well yesterday I finally got that box out and dusted it off. Whew, that was a long story.tarot card stamps 2 Here is the box and all the stuff from inside, including the new stamps and calendar I made to encourage myself to get back in the habit. I think it is really interesting to see the patterns that the cards make on such a graphic level. I also really love having everything lined up like this, I think I might be some sort of organizational nerd. I finished the box with a thick coat of super shiny sealer which makes it really hard to take a good photo of it.tarot card box detailHere, at an angle, you can see it better. I used a plastic bag and black and blue spray paint to make the background and I printed out all the images on cardstock and decoupaged them on. The cardstock really gives a 3-D look that I love!tarot card stamps 1 I carved an eraser stamp for each suite (wands, swords, pentacles, and cups) and a sun for the major arcana cards (and cupcakes too). I’ll stamp the appropriate symbol on my calendar and write the card name in the proper color below it and I’ll have a nice orderly record! I also journal about the drawn card in the proper color, just thinking about it makes me happy :)

If you’re wondering, my card for the day (Tuesday, I draw at the end of the day) was The Hermit.


Conversation Heart Ornaments

Nothing says Valentine’s Day to me like conversation hearts. I remember sorting through them and reading each one. Where I work they have a Christmas tree that they leave up year round and they are always looking for new ornaments to decorate it, so I decide to make some conversation heart ornaments using basic salt dough.

Basic Salt Dough Recipe:

1 c. salt

2 c. flour

3/4 – 1 c. warm water

Mix salt, flour, and water together until a large ball forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface. The better you knead the dough the nicer the dough. Roll out 1/4” – 1/2” thick and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place on parchment covered baking sheet and bake 3 – 4 hours at 200 F.valentine ornies 2 I have a collection of different alphabet stamps and I used a set of those to make the words. Make sure to really press the stamp into the dough, I found that it was hard to get a good letter impression without printing the edge of my stamps too.valentine ornies 3 If you look closely you can see the imprints on the hearts on the right hand side.

The salt dough dries really well in the oven and the final texture really reminds me of the real conversation hearts. Once they were dry I painted them. I think that if I made them again I would tint the dough and then I would just have to paint the letter, plus they would have been a softer pastel color like the real hearts.valentine ornies 1 I need to seal these really well to preserve them and then string them on ribbon and they’ll be ready for the tree. These would also be cute with a hole on each side and hung as a banner. This was a really fun, simple project that I think I will revisit again, maybe next year we’ll make monogram ornaments for all the teachers.


Styrofoam Jewelry Tutorial

I know that the image that styrofoam brings to mind and jewelry in that medium doesn’t sound very attractive, but really this is a fun recycling project that you can do with your older children.  I remember doing this with my Mom and when I noticed these pink and black trays waiting to be recycled I was reminded of this simple project.styrofoam necklace 6 You will need styrofoam meat trays, scissors, a hole punch, a needle, thread, some coordinating beads, a pendant (optional) and some jewelry findings if you want to add a clasp to your finished pieces.styrofoam necklace 1 Start by cutting the curved edges off the meat trays.  You’ll want to have a nice flat piece of styrofoam.  Using the hole punch, punch holes all around the edge of your tray.  Save the dots and cut off the punched part of the tray and punch around the edge again.  You will need a large collection of dots to make your necklace/bracelet.styrofoam necklace 2 Select some matching beads, I used some large seed beads and thread you needle.  I like to use fishing line for this project, it has a little stretch and doesn’t knot or tangle when you’re using it.  styrofoam necklace 4 Start stringing your dots, I like to use a repeating pattern, but randomness works too.  Add a few beads in with the holes for some sparkle.  The styrofoam is really light weight and the beads help the necklace hang better, adding a pendant is great too.  Knot the ends together (or use bead caps with jump rings and clasps) and there you have a new necklace or bracelet.  These are great fun to make and go great with paper beads, home made shrinky dinks, and plastic bottle beads.styrofoam necklace 5 I know this tutorial seems a bit rushed, but today is a no school day (and the start of a four day weekend) and my little helper was getting impatient to go and do other things.

Have a super crafty weekend, see you next week!


Let’s Play Name that Commercial

It’s a pillow, it’s a pet,…and I bet if you have kids you know the rest of this song. I loath that commercial and even worse was that those pets were everywhere this holiday season. I saw a pile of them at the office supply store, because when I’m buying ink and paper what I really want is an overpriced stuffed animal/pillow. There was no way I was paying $20 for a pillow (that’s really just a rectangular stuffed animal).

Little Miss wanted one sooooo bad, I almost caved, but now I’m really glad that I didn’t. My friend Tiffany from All Things Crafty just published a tutorial on how to make your own pillow pet clone, with a pattern! I have seen a few variations and hers is definitely my favorite because the head is sewn on during the body construction which means no hand sewing the head on and it’s on there good. Now that I don’t have to worry about any beheadings (brothers play rough) I am free to design a super special pet.pillow pet 1 I went with a bed bug with polka dots, zebra stripes, and a pink belly. I know that might seem like an odd choice, but really I was going with one of our nightly rituals. Little Miss tells me, “nighty, nighty, don’t let the bed bugs bite” and I say, “and if they do, hit them with a shoe, until they are black and blue” and yes, I know we are a bit special here :)pillow pet 2 She was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a puppy (pillow pet), but only for about 10 seconds, the new pet has yet to be named. She was very excited that she could take it to Grandma’s house the next time she went (seriously, straight from the commercial), this project was a success! I always forget how easy it is to work with fleece and it’s so soft and comfy.


Last Minute Apron

Well, not really the last minute, I had this one finished up a whole day before I needed it.  The Montessori Apron pattern from Sew Liberated has been on my list.  This simple apron is perfectly sized for a 3 – 6 year old and they can put it on all by themselves.  My friend Lisa (oobbles) mentioned that Mini Oobbles might like an apron for her birthday.  While I was at it I decided to make an extra one for Little Miss, she has been helping me do some baking and a big girl apron would really be special.montessori apron

I don’t have an action shot (it is much cuter on!) it’s a snow day and my model is still in her jammies and has a terrible case of bed head. 

The pattern is very easy to cut out and sew and it was quick to make.  I think I spent a couple of hours making two, and I’m a bit fiddly with ironing and topstitching, so it might not take you as long.  I especially love that all the raw edges are enclosed and the elasticized neck strap.  There are so many customization possibilities, I would love to add pockets, a ruffle, or an appliqué if I make another one (we’ll see how much we use this one).

The real last minute part of this gift was the felt iced sugar cookies that I decided to make at the last minute (the morning of the party and forgot to photograph).  Every apron should come with cookies!

This weekend I also used my menu planning organizer for the first time and I LOVE it!  I was so excited that I planned 3 weeks of meals, made a mega shopping trip and filled out my weekly menu on my menu board.  Avoiding the “oh, crap! what am I going to make for dinner” thoughts are awesome!  Now I need to decide what to organize next.


Friday Favorites

Here are some of my latest favorites from Etsy.1-7-11 favorites

Row 1: Paper envelope system – JennsWay, Red birdie mini print – britsketch, Felt pinwheel cupcake toppers – knockknocking, Milkweed pod print – amberalexander

Row 2: Rose quartz heart donut – laveobeads, Hope sacred heart vessel – parrishrelics, Caterpillar and black cat print – crankycats, Orange Crush – TangBaby

Row 3: Cake mail, mailed for you – TangBaby, Row counter bracelet – jeanettejed, Chiffon Peignoir – BoudoirBarbie, Home sweet home block print – 1canoe2

Row 4: 1967 news in megalopolis vintage book journal – renovatedbooks, Cat bobbin 31 – alleluja, Cottontail rabbit needle felting kit – fancytiger, Solicitors will be eaten metal garden stake - zedszombieranch


Ghosts of Unfinished Projects

In my cleaning a rearranging I often find the remnants of unfinished projects.  Some of them get tossed in the trash, but not all.  Some are re-filed, because I have just not figured out how to finish them up or I am waiting to find the perfect thing to finish them or they need to be dismantled for supplies.  It’s not that I’ve forgotten them, it’s just that I have moved on and not made it back.

Today I found a treasure that I really need to finish.  I know why this project never made it to the end.  This is from around 2 1/2 to 3 years ago, I was working on it before we lost our jobs and had to move and all that other awful stuff (no, I still don’t want to talk about it).  quiet book progress I had every intention of finishing it, it was neatly tucked away in a labeled box with all the parts and pieces that I might need.  quiet book vintage 3 There was also the vintage instruction booklet and original inspiration made for me by my Mother, vintage 1970’s.  I would also like to note here that the purple striped fabric of the dog can also be seen in this Sun Bonnet Sue quilt.  (I come from a long line of frugal hoarders.)quiet book vintage 1 This is my favorite page from the first one: Where is my tail and look inside.  quiet book vintage 2 This is my favorite page from the second one, the one I helped her make: Hang the laundry and look inside (again) I love those baby ladybugs!

I know what I need to be working on this weekend, I need to get this ghost project put to rest!


Organized: Menu Planning

I love organizers.  At the beginning of a new year there are new calendars and organizers on display in every store, this year we’ll start fresh and be really organized they seem to say.   But really all those organizers are all the same and this year isn’t any different than last year.  It seems like the only real difference is the size or the decorations on the cover, I need custom and I need something special that can’t be found in any store I shop in because obviously all those organizers on the shelves don’t work for me!  I going to be sharing all the new organizers and organizing techniques I’ll be trying this year in my new Organized series, maybe this will really be the year I finally get organized.

I bet a few of you snickered when I said I loved organizers, after all you have seen what my house looks like, surely I’m not organized.  I really am, but only when it comes to certain things and still in a cluttered way, if that’s is possible. 

One of the areas that I feel I am somewhat organized at is grocery shopping and meal planning.  I want to go grocery shopping and not have to go again for weeks (well, maybe once a week for fresh fruits/veggies and milk).  In order to do that I have to have a menu, I don’t plan it out by day, but I do have enough recipes for 10 – 15 dinners.  I make all sorts of different stuff, so I don’t have a rotating menu.  Usually I make a few standard recipes and throw in a few new ones too.  It takes me an evening to select the recipes, make the list, round up the coupons and go to the store, but then I don’t have to do it again for a few weeks and I do this late at night after the kids are in bed, there is no way I would take them on this marathon trip!  When it’s time to decide what’s for dinner I check my list and decide and then dig through a mountain of cookbooks, recipe cards, and print outs to find the recipe I need, not the best system, but it sort of works.  There are recipes everywhere and I have been know to misplace a few of them here and there.

When I saw this Meal planning organizer at Little Big Girl Studio I knew that it was exactly what I needed.  The tutorial is very detailed with lots of pictures and her link for adding binding with mitered corners was easy to follow too.menu planning organizerIt went together pretty fast.  I used some of the remnants of that Alexander Henry Tattoo fabric and that super bright orange tie dye fabric and random black fabric and some dark green binding also from my hoard.  The only part of the tutorial that I didn’t follow was the interfacing types (I used what I had on hand, heavy, but no idea what kind) and I didn’t add the magnets.  I plan on keeping this behind the menu board that I made.  Now it’s time for me to make my giant list and get shopping!