Sunday, January 18, 2015

Canvas, crayons, and paint, oh my!

I found a stash of blank canvases in my hoard, um, I mean craft supply area. We decided to experiment with some new techniques during our Crafternoon last weekend. 

One fun project we always wanted to try was the melted crayons on canvas. It was easier and quicker than I thought.
I bought several boxes of 24 count crayons at Dollar Tree and the girls picked out their favorite colors. We hot glued about 24 them on to a 12x12 canvas. 

I'll stop here and mention what we learned by trial & error:
• Just when you think you have enough hot glue under your crayons--Use more glue! They fell off quickly.
•Group crayons by like colors when arranging on canvas, the bottom of canvas will be a muddy color if all the different colors run together!

After we got everything situated on the canvas, the girls chose and cut shapes from the Silhouette Machine into contact paper. (Our one friend chose the NYC skyline. How cool is that?)

We then stuck our pictures on the canvas and the melting magic began with our hair dryers.

The contact paper did not stick to the canvas very well. Things got a little tricky, but we worked through it. Next time we will use freezer paper as our stencil and iron it on the canvas and peel off when finished. 

We were pleased with our finished product.

Next we tried some old fashioned stenceling, again, cut from the silhouette machine. Still, I would prefer freezer paper next time as the contact paper would not consistently adhere to the canvas. 

However, out results fared pretty well.

Although not one of our smoothest projects, we learned a lot and had a fun afternoon working together. I love Crafternoons!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2 weeks into the new year

The girls and I have been discussing the meaning of "new year" lately. Resolutions, manifestations, goals, blank slates, starting new, etc., etc., etc....

 Marlee wanted to know if I make resolutions and do I follow through on them. I had to just chuckle as I think of the same goals I visualize every New Year, and always break.
Some examples:
•Eating only clean foods (doable, but difficult)
•Not losing my temper (ha!)
•Cleaning out and organize the attic (when?!)
•Not getting drunk until Thursdays (why?)
•Getting to the gym at 5:30am on weekdays (breaking this goal may have something to do with my previously listed goal being broken, I now realize)
•Keeping a clean kitchen at the end of every day (nope)

So I realized that maybe I'm not a great example to Marlee when it comes to resolutions for the new year. However, I do want to show my kids that it is important to make long term goals and stick to them. It does seem impracticable  
to me, to make all these promises on one evening each year and fufill them just because that's the norm.

I've decided to come up with an awareness check. What are we doing right now? today? And how does that affect the type of person we want to be? And of course being well versed in manifestations, laws of attractions, universal truths, and all that... I know that how we think right now affects our goals for tomorrow (literally) and for the future. 

So, we are working on a "Right Now" list. I'm impressed with what the girls wrote. Why am I'm always so surprised when they seem more aware and "with it" than I? While they've got a grip on things, I'm slowly trying to write mine:

Right Now, I am:
•Cherishing- all the friends and chosen family I allow in my life
•Learning- one new thing every day
•Rekindling- my relationship with my sewing machine, as it's my favorite method of creating
•Wandering- to new places on the map, planning a new place for the family to visit this summer
•Running- a little more each day. Perhaps a marathon is still achievable in my 40th year?
•Watching- my back. Sometimes I find myself in the 90210 zip code, distancing myself from toxic people.
•Cooking- at least 4 healthy meals from scratch each week
•Busying- my hands with a creative project when I become anxious
•Realizing- that sometimes I give too much of myself to people who don't appreciate me. 
•Working- on being a better mom, wife, and friend 

Hmm..If I didn't know any better, I'd say "awareness" could be my New Year's resolution, but why ruin a good thing?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Birthday! Look who's 8!

I really believe this kid knew more about the universe than me the day she was born. That look of knowing and wonder never ceases to amaze me.

We had a great birthday week filled with friends, fun, The Nutcracker, and wild parties. Here's to being 8, and so far it's been great :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Handmade Holidays: Bottle Cap Candles & Lotions

There's nothing like last minute crafting! We were scheming for quite some time about what we would create this year, and we are so excited to share!

Our first gift was born from our love of essential oils. We have been reading about the healing effects and health benefits from certain oils and decided to mix up some of our own concoctions.

We chose peppermint and lavender for it's calming effects from tension and stress. Peppermint is also great to use for headache relief. Plus, they do mingle very well together. As coconut oil as our base, we had all our supplies on hand!

We've been using DoTerra oils lately. However, when making bulk gifts, I'm quite pleased with the Aura Cacia oils, they are good quality and much cheaper. They can be found at any health food store. 
Since I save every single container I've ever used, we had plenty on hand at the house. We found these in our mountain of empty containers and felt they would suit us well. 

We heated the coconut oil over boiling water and mixed in the peppermint and lavendar oils. Our ratio was 1 teaspoon each essential oil per every cup of coconut oil. 

Once everything was in liquid form and well blended, we ladeled it into our containers. 

With fancy new markers, we just made the easiest gift ever!

We knew we wanted to make candles this year but weren't sure which direction to head with them. We usually mass produce the gifts we give to neighbors. (Click here for last year's gifts.) I didn't want to use large containers since that could get expensive. We settled on bottle caps as tea lights. There seems to be plenty of beer bottles in our recycling each week, so I know we could gather enough bottle caps in plenty of time. Just in case, I had a friend help me out saving his bottle caps as well. Between the two of us, there was an ample supply of materials! Yikes! Here's a very, very small excerpt of our collection.

got supplies at AC Moore. You can get premade wicks, but for a fraction of the cost, you can make your own with the wick tabs and a roll of the wick material. The instructions were printed on the wick tab package and it was easy to assemble.

We simply melted the wax over boiling water, spooned the wax into the bottle cap and placed the wick inside. This was a little more time consuming as I didn't want the girls to pour the hot wax into such a small container. 

The results were awesome!

We are super excited about handing out these gifts this year! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Halloween ----> Snow

Fun and shenanigans is usually the theme of Halloween around here. It also seems to be the theme for everything else I'm involved in as well, but that's another story. 

The girls were creative and decided to go vintage by donning a replica of candy buttons. I'm pleased to say they came up with the idea and created the costume themselves....except for the hot glue and styrofoam contact part, I think I'm still high from the fumes.

Cold temperatures and heavy rains arrived right at the start of trick or treat time. Luckily Dave and neighbor Steve and their innovative ideas gave us nothing to fear.

There's no need to put the patio furniture away just yet. We stayed (mostly) dry and warm for our evening of fun.

Spiked drinks and all, we had a great time. I'm glad we create such memories for our kids. Oftentimes I'm afraid of what they will remember most ;)

We had a double bonus the next morning 
as we woke to a wintery wonderland.

Oh what fun to have my first trail run in the snow, a walk in the woods with my family, and an impromptu gathering with some favorite friends later that night. Make us look forward to the season ahead. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Busy Hands

Our favorite time of the year has come! We are enjoying the crisp mornings, the night walks, and the pull of bringing everything inward. 
This is the most creative time of the year for the girls and I as we jump into fall projects and plan ahead for the winter months. 
Our business just doesn't include sitting inside and crafting, but enjoying the outdoors and the friends that gravitate near us. 

Of course I'm carving time in my schedule to dust off the Singer and start on some projects. It's almost predictable who comes out of the woodwork and shows up here to visit, craft, and create with me. I'm feeling the pull towards these folks as I'm finding a peaceful place within myself. I'm acutely aware of who I choose to spend my free time with, and I'm grateful for the insight of which battles I need to let go. Autumn and all its richness seems to come at a time when I realize I need to get away from some "friends" and find my way to others. A time when old ideas fade away and new ones are formed. 
I look forward to my women's craft nights, drinking a PBR by my singer, taking felt and floss with me as a portable project during my down time waiting for my kids, starting Crafternoons with some of my favorite neighborhood kids, and of course creativity.