Category Archives: creativity

FunTime Friday

When I had a job (meaning one that kept my bank account nice and happy – we all know being a SAHM is more work than pretty much any ‘job’ out there), Fridays were awesome.  I worked at a church, which meant that most staff members worked on Sunday, so Fridays were just a skeleton crew around the office.  So we had fun.  I started my day off with a latte (the only one I allowed myself each week), I got to see my awesome volunteers, and we usually ordered something good for lunch and all sat together. We all had work to do, but we just made it fun.  And I miss it.

So I started doing FunTime Fridays with my son.  It happened by accident, but now I’m embracing it as a ‘thing’ we do. Each Friday, I try to line up something above and beyond our normal routine.  It’s not like I sit around all day with him watch TV.  We color, read, count, and sing.  We play with play doh, play inside, play outside, play with trucks, play with blocks.  We watch a little bit of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and do the Hot Dog Dance a million times in a row. I try to keep him active, but I just don’t have the mind power to plan super days every day.

But I wanted to do something really cool with him once a week.  Something different from the norm.  Something that would celebrate the moments of our lives (fake coffee anyone?).

So far, our FunTime Fridays have included play dates, lunch with Dada, making and eating Jell-O jigglers (hence the photo above), some messy crafting, and a trip or two to the kids’ museum.  His pre-school has started doing ‘learn at home’ activities (aka: homework for two-year-olds ~ yikes!), so those will also be part of our Fridays. I have a few other ideas that I hope to do soon like:

How do you get creative with your kids?  I’d love to hear some ideas!

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It’s about dang time (a.k.a. a house is not a home)

Four years.  That’s how long we’ve lived in our house, a house that we were so excited about.  Our ‘forever-or-until-our-yet-unconcieved-children-are-out-of-the-house’ house.  We moved in just days before Christmas in 2007 having just moved to NC, excited to be in a place where we felt we could settle down, set down some roots and start a family.  Having already had a house, we had most of the furniture so you’d think it would be set up in no time, right?  And yes.  Our rooms are furnished and boxes are unpacked.  We have a few personal items out on the shelves in our family room.

But we never got around to making it a home.  Only two rooms in our home have been painted.  That’s it.  Two.  My son’s nursery in 2009, almost two years after we moved in, and my craft room/guest room just last summer.

Everything else is low-quality blah-blah-builder-beige (although the paint can calls it ‘antique white’).  It chips and scratches just by looking at it. And it’s so drab.  But it’s not just the paint.  We haven’t put anything up on the walls except for a couple of prints in our entry door (‘antique’ maps of the world).

The need for ‘home’ in our house has been nagging at us for a while and now it’s like a bomb went off.  It’s not a just nagging need, it’s an itch, one that has grown into a really annoying, stinging, poison-ivy-meets-jellyfish-meets-fire-ants kind of feel, right in the middle of your back where you can’t reach it and it drives you nuts until you take care of it and then are all like “AAAHHHHhhhhhhh.”

Alright, I’m sorry about that.  Where were we?  Oh yes.  Making a house a home (or is it finding a good back-scratcher?).

It may seem superficial, but making your house pretty, personalizing it with memories and things that make you smile really adds to other memories.  Coming home and seeing photos of your baby when he was a baby or that trip where you fell in love all over again feels like coming home to hugs.

But where to start?  For us, it was here:

While taking down Christmas decorations, my hubby apparently got into a back-alley fight with a Command hook that resulted in a chunk of paint being ripped off the wall in our family room.  Unfortunately, the way our house is, if we paint that chunk, we’d have to paint the wall, and if we paint the wall, we’d have to paint the whole downstairs because of the open layout, so that left us with the option of covering it.  So off to Kohls we went and replaced the blank wall with this:

And their home accents department was having a buy-one-get-one for a dollar sale, so we got another mirror for our entry (and moved the map prints to the dining room). Then we decided to move a chest that we had cramping our garage entrance to the upstairs, hang some pretty trivets on the wall, pulling out a really pretty red depression glass plate that was handed down and using it for a pop of color…and so on and so forth.

I even put back the coffee table into the family room.  It had been moved out of the way soon after my son was born to a) make more play space available and b) keep him away from the fireplace.  Now I realize that having the coffee table limits how many toys can be out (he still has plenty of room to play) and gives me my fireplace back.  And a place to put my feet while I blog or cruise FB/Twitter/Pinterest.

We kept holding off adding personality until we painted.  But I can’t figure out what color(s) I want, since each room flows into the other so everything is visible and I don’t know how to choose a color that will work..and…and…and.  So many reasons to sit inside my builder’s beige world and not add personality.  But no more.  Even if I’m not ready to paint yet (and oh, God, how I need to do that!) there is no excuse for keeping my house so lifeless.  I don’t have to spend a fortune, I just have to have it reflect who we are.

I’m so excited to finally get some personality into our house!  I hope you don’t mind coming along for the ride with me.  How about you?  How do you make your house a home?  How did you choose a color?

Plum Perfect

A few days ago, a friend of mine (and fellow blogger) asked me if I could make her a coffee cuff and a camera strap.  Awesome!  But then I read the next line:

“I’m not a big fan of prints…”

eeks!  Isn’t half the fun of getting handmade goods all the prints and color combos?  But, I’m a simple girl and can appreciate solid colors and I do like to use solids (in combination with a print).  So I sent her a list of what I have on hand and asked her if any of those appeal to her.

Soon enough, she had chosen a color scheme.  A plum camera strap and a teal coffee cuff with a black reverse.

I have to say, I love it. Of course, my photography leaves a lot to be desired (hence the photography class starting next month). Just simple, rich color, understated, but still adding a little more umph to your usual day.  It’s plum perfect!  ha ha! Sometimes simple is better, don’t you think?

p.s. – I have to confess I did send her her an extra choice of a print of black letters scattered on a white background, since she is a blogger, and she liked it!  I’m kind of proud that I found something she liked!

Looking Ahead at 2012

Hello everyone! How is the new year going?  I had the last set of guests leave yesterday morning and was able to enjoy a relatively quiet day before getting back into the swing of things.  The extra down time has gotten me thinking about goals for 2012.  There is so much I want to do, but dreaming big isn’t going to get me where I want to be, so in order to help myself accomplish my goals, I’m not only writing them out here for accountability, but assigning specific tasks to get me there. So here I go:

1. Sew at least two pieces each week.  I always feel so overwhelmed by what I want to sew that I end up not knowing where to start.  Two coffee cuffs or a zippered pouch or two are doable, even with my limited time (SAHM to a very active two-year-old that hates to sleep doesn’t give me much time to sew).

2. Be more creative.  Last year, I had so much creativity running through me.  It’s like part of my personality was re-awakened.  I love it and I don’t want to lose that. I registered for a photography class in February, which will certainly keep me creative, but I also want to paint one painting this coming year.  Not sure what it will be or where it will go (probably my craft room), but it’s something I really want to do just to exercise a different type of creativity.

3.  Live and enjoy life more.  I tend to get stuck in ruts and not really get out and explore life.  My hubby and I sat down and created a 2012 Bucket List.  Each month, we have something we want to do – take our son to the zoo, plant a salsa garden, take a day trip, etc.  Nothing is crazy out of the ordinary.  It’s stuff that most people do, but we never seem to get around to it.

4. Make a quilt for my son.  Isn’t it sad that other than a couple of burp cloths, I haven’t made anything for him?  It’s kinda hard to do anything for boys.  And I have a ton of handmade blankets for him (I ended up with 23 receiving blankets, knitted blankets and quilts as gifts when he was born) and some of them are handmade.  But I want him to have something from me.  I recently got this quilt pattern, which I love.  I’m now trying to find fabric that won’t make me have to sell my first born (which would defeat the purpose of making him a quilt) that I like.  Why is it so hard to find fabric for boys?

Do you have goals for 2012?  I’d love to hear them!

DIY Cake Stands

Hey everyone! I had a lot of people ask me about the cake stands I made for my son’s second birthday, so I thought I’d try my hand at a tutorial for you. These are so easy that I started them in my car on our drive to Thanksgiving which is why the photography leaves a lot to be desired (sorry about that).

I’m pretty lucky that my car has a regular electrical outlet so I can plug in my glue gun!  We have done a little birthday cake/singing thing over Thanksgiving weekend at my husband’s family’s farm in Georgia because it’s close to his birthday and he’s been too young to enjoy a real birthday party.  Plus, this allows us to take advantage of having our family already together in one place.  It’s a great plan, but everything I do has to come with me on the 8+ hour drive to the farm because there is not much going on in that small town, so I don’t have a place to run out and get something if I need it. There’s not even a bakery for me to get a cake!  So I end up doing a mini-birthday on the go. I try for everything to be simple, not fragile (so it can withstand the drive), but still fun and exciting for my son.  I think these fit the bill.

Here’s what you need to make the stands:
– foam base (or anything that will hold your cake/platter – I used three foam cubes)
– craft paper or wrapping paper (optional)
– tissue paper (I used about 20 sheets for three 5-inch cubes)
– scissors
– tube of lip balm/chapstick (or a small cylinder shape)
– hot glue gun/glue sticks

Start by wrapping the foam with the craft/wrapping paper (only if you want to reuse them).  Then, I loosely folded the tissue paper, cut it into strips and then cut the strips into squares (I cut the squares as I needed them to reduce the mess) like this:

Then, I folded/scrunched the squares onto the tip of the lip balm (free from my dentist!), put a dab of hot glue on the end and pressed it onto the cube:

I continued this way until I covered four sides of each cube, leaving the top and bottom uncovered so it would be flat on the table and have a flat space to place my cakes.  That’s it! Here’s another look at the stands in use:

That’s it!  Told you it was easy, right? And cheap!  I spent $9 on the foam and $1 on the tissue (a mega pack from the dollar store that I already had and I still have a bunch of pink left). This would also be great to add different heights to a buffet or entry table display…I can see it with a solid color or metallics…the possibilities are endless!

And a little bonus tip: I used cheap plastic table covers to cover the cake boards.  They are pretty thin, so I doubled it up. This is great because it makes the cake board prettier, and it doesn’t soak up oils from the frosting and get messy like covering with paper would do.

Linked up with:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tangerine Tango ~ What do you think?

Pantone, the people who rule the world of color, has announced that the 2012 color of the year is…..

Tangerine Tango, Pantone 17-1463.

What does this mean? It means that this color will play a big role in home furnishings and fashion in the coming year.  This is why one year, you deck out your master bath in a beautiful color palette, but the following year, when you want to replace your towels, there is nothing on the market that will work with it.

If you have agreed to be a bridesmaid in 2012 (especially for a trendy bride), chances are you’ll be strutting this down the aisle.  When you log into Pinterest, you’ll see splashes of this across your screen, each one with a comment like “LOVE!!  SOOO different! Maybe for the [master bedroom/bridesmaids/next mani/birthday banner]?”

I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Being a die-hard Florida Gator fan, I’m happy to see an orange shade dominate.  I like that it’s deep, with a bit of spice and sultriness, not like a halloween orange or thankfully anything reminiscent of Tennessee Vols.

But tangerine?  It seems so in-your-face.  The trend with Pantone the past few years have been bold and bright colors – the past few have been honeysuckle (toned-down hot pink), turquoise, and mimosa (remember how everything all of a sudden was yellow? this is why).  Much of the reasoning involves the need for cheerfulness and hopefulness given the current state of the world, hoping that powerful colors will lift us up.  I can see that.  And I can see how Tangerine Tango fits that.

I’m curious to see what comes out in the marketplace with Tangerine Tango for home accessories, clothing and fabrics that I’ll have available for my shop.  I am getting some ideas about how I’d like to play a little with it. We’ll see.

What do you think about Tangerine Tango? Do you incorporate trendy colors into your home and fashion or stick to your favorites regardless of trends?

Paper Flowers, Inspiration and Fake French Accents

Last week, I was getting ready for my first craft fair and kind of stressing about it.  Surprisingly, what was frustrating me the most was that for the life of me, I could not make a “Thanks a Latte” tag to go along with my gift display.  I couldn’t get a hold of my super-scrapbooker neighbor to get help, so I just gathered some random and very basic art supplies that I scavenged from my around the house and threw together.  What I got was….ugh:

Now, I’m no paper crafter, but this is bad, even for me.  But it would have to do.  I mean, I still had actual sewing to do for the craft fair, I really couldn’t spend more time on a tag for a display/giveaway.

More than a little annoyed, I headed off to my Junior League meeting.  I had glanced at an e-mail and vaguely comprehended that the paper guy from Real Simple magazine would be speaking.  I got to the meeting and the president seemed a little too excited about the evening.  Seriously.  It’s a Junior League meeting, it’s not like you’re going to get a pedicure and cupcakes. But wait…did I just hear her say ‘breakout groups’?!?!  What the heck is going on?  Then Matthew Sporzynski (the guy that makes the amazing Real Simple paper photos and the Sherwin Williams print ads) got up and showed us some of the things he’s done and then said told us he brought plenty of paper for us to make a gardenia with him during the breakouts.

WHAT?!?!  Hold the presses, here.  Are you saying that I:
a) get to craft at a Junior League meeting?!?!
b) with the paper guy from Real Simple?!?!

Yes, and yes!  My little crafting heart was pounding in joy and delight!

I had actually wondered who ‘the paper guy’ was when I first subscribed to Real Simple.  I imagined him to be a middle-aged, slightly stocky man, balding with a ponytail and who always wore a black turtleneck and that said things like “Yoo theenk dees is ‘just’ paper?  Dees is ART!!!  Go away! Doo not talk to mee!”  In my imagination, he really did have a really bad fake French accent and a major stick up his butt.  I’m not making this up.  I wish I were.  And I wish I knew better than to put this in a blog, but I apparently don’t.

But my crazy imagination couldn’t have been further from the reality of who he is. Matthew is a down-to-earth guy, who really has no clue how talented he is.  And I can’t get over how nice he is.  He would sit down right next to us, answer all our questions and encouraged us to take home the die cut leftovers so we could use them as patterns to make more gardenias (and even let us take extras!). Most people who are successful in creative endeavors are very proprietary of their art – it’s their livelihood, after all.  But not him.  He told us what kind of paper he likes and where he gets it, and other little tips to his art.  And you know what?  Every gardenia I saw is different, even though we all had the same materials and the same instructions.  That just shows what I always thought…if everyone in the world made were given the same materials and instructions to do anything, you still wouldn’t have two idential copies.

I asked him how he began creating paper images, he said that he grew up in the country, but didn’t like to be outside.  So he just went for whatever he could find.  But this is what got me: his original passion was actually sewing but his dad wouldn’t allow it, so he began fiddling with paper, and here he is today.

Hearing that he found inspiration from sewing to channel into paper crafting on the day that I was having trouble going from sewing to paper crafting gave me a new outlook, lifted my spirits and re-energized my creativity.  I’m amazed that on the same day I struggled to come up with something as lame as the ‘Thanks a Latte’ tag above, I was able to create this:

I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity come up so unexpectedly. It came at exactly the perfect time.

What about you?  Has inspiration ever found you when you least expected it?