Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dabbling in mixed media art

I've been inspired by mixed media and collage, lately. On Saturday night while on a rare date with my husband, I browsed through some issues of Somerset magazines at Borders. I was inspired to create this piece using a large canvas I picked up at a thrift store awhile ago for $5. It's a work in progress but Taylor and I had some fun playing with paint, paper and glue as entered the world of mixed media on Sunday morning...

See that crayon on the paper towel? Taylor started off wanting to just sit with me and color while I painted it. Well, her crayon started to melt in the scorching desert heat. When I dipped my finger in the melted wax, I thought, hmmm...melted wax, kind of like finger paint...

I created the deep blue heart by rubbing my wax dipped finger on the canvas...

I'm likin' this.

It's been awhile since I've be artsy and not just crafty.

Do you dabble in mixed media? Where do you find your inspiration?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tornado Taylor

Ever since she learned how to reach, then crawl, we've been calling her Tornado Taylor. It doesn't take long for a fairly tidy, organized space to look like a tornado blew through it after Taylor's spent some time in it. So, this is a sampling of what our house looks like on any given day...

She loves to stash things in cabinets, baskets, boxes and purses.

Her bedroom, which is supposed to have very few toys in it, to reduce the amount of cleaning/allergen reduction I have to do...

Every kitchen floor needs an abandoned naked baby lying on it.

And I'm not quite sure what this is....

Her little studio table...always a disaster...I'm too embarrassed to take pics of all the paper scraps on the floor...

The thing, is...I have no idea where she gets this from...

because I'm always so neat and organized and I set a perfect example by always picking up after myself.

She must get it from Daddy, don't ya think?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Introducing {Featured Follower Friday}!

We all love followers, don't we? I get sooo excited when I see that I have a new follower. So, I've decided to start {Featured Follower Friday}. Here's the deal, every Friday I will feature one of my followers by linking to their blog and highlighting some of my favorite posts of theirs. Pretty simple and fun. Here are the rules:

You MUST be a follower of my blog for me to feature you as part of my {Featured Follower Friday}.

If for some reason you want to follow my blog but you do NOT want to be a Featured Follower, simply contact me by e-mail and let me know and I will not include you.

You must have a blog to be featured and your blog must be public, not private. Private blogs require that you invite readers and are only viewable by the people you invite to read your blog. You would know if you have set your blog to private.

Your blog does not have to be a craft blog in order to be featured as part of {Featured Follower Friday}. I love blogs of all kinds and followers of all kinds! :)

So, sign up to follow my blog so you can be featured! Then be sure to check in every Friday to see if you're the Featured Follower!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

When I saw this in the thrift store the other day, I thought it would be the perfect suitcase for doll clothes. (I've been looking for one). But when I opened it, I discovered it wasn't a suitcase. When I opened it...I discovered....


a vintage typewriter! And it's kinda small. I saw a blog post recently (of course I can't remember what blog) about using a vintage typewriter as a toy for children. How cool! I've seen a few typewriters in thrift stores but they're usually very large and are about $30. This baby had a price tag of $10 and I got the store clerk to give it to me for $5. Now that's cool.

I wonder where this was in its former life? I wonder what words or letters or books were typed with it? I'm tucking it away as a Christmas present for Taylor. Maybe between now and then I can find a suitable typewriter ribbon for it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Easel/Art Station

Here it is...This is what I did with that polka-dot vinyl. When most people are laid up with the flu they sleep. They worry about what e-mails and unfinished tasks await them when they return to work. They worry about housework piling up. But, when craft addicts have the flu, they lay in bed and plan their next craft project. That's what I did when I was hit with a flu bug a few weeks ago. And when I shared my idea with my husband, he rolled his eyes. When my ideas became more elaborate, he went to Home Depot with me and helped with the construction of the art station. And Taylor LOVES it.

I've always wanted her to have an easel, but I just couldn't justify the cost and the space it would take up. Creating an art station with storage for art supplies and a table top easel was the perfect solution. The white shelf and cubby are from Target. The tabletop easel is from Michael's. It's $19.99 and of course I used a coupon and got 40% off. The easel comes unfinished, so I had hubby spray paint it a sunny yellow. I'm really loving yellow, lately. such a happy color!

This is a drying rack that we added for her paintings. It's made from a wire shelf from Home Depot that was less than $5. Hubby attached it with hooks and then created the bar mechanism to hold it up.

Handmade storage boxes using foam core covered with the vinyl to hold her paper.

The folded vinyl beside it is a drop cloth.

And more storage boxes to hold pads of paper and other supplies.

It will live in our kitchen but the lighting is better in this area for photos.

Hubby added casters to the bottom so it can easily be rolled from room to room and even outside. The casters have brakes to hold it in place when in use. The vinyl makes everything wipeable for easy clean-up and worry free creating!

I'm linking to Show off Your Stuff at Blue Cricket Design

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Art Supplies for Preschoolers...

pssst.....this post is a little bit of a hint as to what I'm creating with that polka dot fabric I posted about! We're working on it and hopefully it will be ready to post in the next few days! Stay tuned!

Looking for an awesomely inspiring blog to get you creating with your kids?

Check out Pink and Green Mama! I've come across her blog before and I was reminded today of how much I love her blog and her creative ideas.

She has a post on her favorite art supplies for preschoolers (and she also has one for toddlers and one for school aged kids, too!)

I've been doing a lot of crafting on my own lately while Taylor does her drawing. I need some fresh ideas to get us crafting together again, and this blog is exactly what I needed today!

What are some of you favorite blogs to get your creative juices flowing with your kids?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In Need of Craft Room Organization!

I had a wonderful craft space in our last house. After months of organizaing and re-organizing I got to a point where I loved the space and I knew where everything was. And then we moved. :( My craft room was the only part of that house that I really liked.

Now we are in a house that I really like, with a craft room that's a shared space with a guest room. So, it's a space that does double duty and there's not a whole lot of space to be had, yet I have a whole lot of stuff that needs space!

I need to purge some of my stuff, and I did purge a lot before our move, but see, I'm just into so many different materials and crafts that it's hard for me to purge and consolidate. I love everything from sewing, to jewelry making, stamping and scrapbooking to altered art and other miscellaneous paper crafts. Then, of course, there's all the kid craft supplies, pipe cleaners and pom poms, tempera paint and playdoh. So how does one maintain an organized space that lends itself to creativity and productivity when one dabbles in so many different mediums?

I need some guidance. I've been scanning through images on google of other people's craft rooms, and how sad is it that most of them look familiar because I frequently scan through photos of craft rooms?

I need my space to be organized and efficient because crafting is how I stay sane in my sometimes stressful world, and digging through piles and bins searching for something I know I have is just frustrating. It keeps me from creating the piece I envision and it causes frustration rather than giving me the therapeutic benefits I get through creating and crafting.

So, I'm wondering, if you have multiple crafts that you enjoy, how do you organize your supplies?

I have quite the collection and I'd like some tips for organizing:

- beads and jewelry making supplies

- patterned paper

- rubber stamps and clear acrylic stamps

- ink pads

- acrylic paint and paint brushes

- fabric (this gets out of hand sooooo quickly!)

- various types of adhesives

- paper punches

- double point markers that have to lay flat

- knitting needles

- yarn

- Cricut cartridges

I read an article earlier today about taking stock of your supplies and making an inventory list and writing down all of your supplies on a piece of paper. Ha!!!! Seriously! I realize it's important to know what you have, but I clearly have too much stuff because it would take a whole notebook for me to write my list of supplies! The thing is, though, I really do use my stuff. I have intentions (that will come to fruition) for all of my supplies. So, between now and the time I actually create them, I need to create a better system to organize them. I'd love to hear your ideas! Better yet, add a link to your craft room if you've got pics!

* I've made some progress in my organization and I've found a great storage idea for Cricut cartridges and a few great ideas for storing ribbon. I'll be sharing those ideas in the next couple of weeks as I continue to make progress in organizing my space, but I'd still love to hear ideas on storing other supplies! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Polka Dot Fabric!

Isn't this just so cheerful! My girl is all about polka-dots right now. I was looking for some vinyl to use for a project I've got planned for her and I found this adorable polka-dot vinyl at JoAnn's.

Stay tuned to see what I'm going to make with it! I'm hoping to have it done this weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

{Thrifty Thursday} Craftin' Goodies!

These are some goodies I scored on a recent thrifting excursion. I got all of the small embroidery hoops for $1.25. As in $1.25 for ALL of them!

The twill tape (the white ribbon-like stuff) was 30 cents!!! 30 CENTS!!!

And, the gingerbread house kit is the kind they sell at Michael's. I got it for $2.00

The bag of vintage thread and other vintage sewing notions was $3.00 for the whole bag. I'm not sure if I'll actually use the thread but it looks really pretty sitting on my sewing table!

It's deals and treasures like this that make thrifting addictive!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thrift Store Shopping

Until about a year and a half ago, I had never stepped foot into a thrift store. Then I became friends with someone who loves to go "thrifting". There is an abundance of thrift stores in my area and I have come to love wandering through these stores in search of hidden treasures.

Awhile back Simple Mom posted 12 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping. Those are some great tips!

I find thrift stores are a great source of inspiration for me. I wander through and look for things that I can embellish, alter and repurpose. Every store that I've been to has a small section with crafty odds n' ends. I found a brand new thread organizer that retails for $15 for $3. I found my craft tote that was a file box in it's first life. I have found lots of fabric remnants and yarn, and embroidery thread. Recently, I purchased a grab bag of vintage jewelry for $8 and I didn't realize what treasures I had found until I got home. It was filled with everything from junky broaches I can alter, to what looks like diamond pendants, a couple of watches, some gorgeous earrings I can use as charms for my jewelry making, and a whole lot of other shiny odds n' edds that I can use as embellies on my projects.

Thrift stores are also an incredible source for baskets and storage containers. I may never pay full price for another basket. My first thrift store purchase was a large wicker trunk with an original "blue tag" of $24 but the day I found it blue tag items were 50% off so I got it for $12. What a steal! I use it to store my fabric stash.

I feel GOOD when I shop at thrift stores. I'm helping out the charity that runs the store and the people it serves by paying money for their donated items. I'm helping the environment by reusing what's already produced, rather than buying it new. And, I'm helping out my pocketbook because I get such great deals!

One very important tip to remember when thrifting is that you need to know how much things retail for as brand new items. Sometimes it makes sense to buy it new. For example, when I was in the market for a sewing machine, I found several at thrift stores. But, they looked like they were about 20 yrs old and were missing the manuals. As a brand new sewer, it was important that I have a reliable machine, with a manual that I could refer to and a warranty should I need it to be repaired.

Some of my favorite things to look for in thrift stores are: storage containers, dishes that I can use for storage and linens that are gently used that I can use for sewing projects.

I'm going to start posting some of my thrift-store finds on Thursdays in a new series I'll be calling Thrifty Thursday!

What are your favorite thrift store finds?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Banana French Toast

I LOVE French Toast. I could probably eat it everyday! The other morning, I found myself standing in my kitchen, craving a yummy, filling breakfast and I noticed a bunch of bananas in the fruit bowl. And Voila! Within just a few minutes I sat down at my kitchen table and devoured a generous helping of Sweet Banana French Toast.

Here's my recipe:

(for a single serving)


approx 2 Tbspns of butter or margarine (I use nucoa because it's dairy free margarine but behaves just like butter in cooking and baking)
1 Tbspn of sugar cane syrup such as Lyle's Golden Syrup
Approx 2 Tbspns of brown sugar
2 bananas
3 slices of bread (I like multi-grain bread for French Toast)
1 egg
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup of milk (I used rice milk because we rarely have Cow's milk in the fridge but we always have rice milk)
Cinnamon (to taste) -- may 1/2 tspn? I don't know, I just sprinkled it in without measuring ;)

In a small saucepan (that's a pot for those of you who may be cooking challenged ;) - Seriously, my husband was following a recipe once and he asked me what a saucepan is. So, now you don't need to ask, I've told you...) melt butter or margarine over low to medium heat. You want it to melt slowly, not simmer (bubble) or it will burn. While it starts to melt, add the sugar cane syrup, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Cut one banana in half. Mash one half of that banana and add it to the saucepan.

Slice and coarsely chop the remaining half of the banana and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a bowl wide enough to lay your bread in, combine 1 egg (crack it open first, of course), milk and cinnamon. Use a fork or a whisk to mix them well.

In a skillet (a.k.a, frying pan) melt 1 Tbspn of butter. Place one slice of bread into your egg/milk mixture and dip it so that it is fully coated in your egg/milk mixture (you may have to flip your bread to coat both sides) then lay the bread in the skillet and cook for a minute or 2 until the egg is cooked, then flip and cook the other side. Remove the cooked piece of French toast from the skillet and set aside. Repeat with your other slices of bread.

Once all slices are cooked, stack them on a plate and pour the banana syrup over the bread, top w/ sliced banana and enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teacher Gifts!

I saw these crayon monograms last year and as the end of the school year approached, I knew I wanted to make these as year-end gifts for Taylor's preschool teacher. Taylor absolutely LOVES to color and she does a whole lot of coloring at preschool! I think these make adorable classroom decor for a preschool class so they're the perfect gift for preschool teachers. I think they'd be super cute in a play room, too!

For each one, I used a 5x7 shadow box from Michaels, printed the teacher's names on yellow cardstock and then glued the broken crayons to the cardstock. I followed this tutorial. It's a simple, easy and inexpensive gift, that will get you the "ooohs and aaaaahhhhs" that you always hear when you give a handmade gift.

And of course, a handmade gift deserves a handmade card...

I actually made a card! I used to make cards all. the. time. Paper crafting was my first love but since I got my sewing machine a lot of my stamps and card making supplies have been sitting collecting dust. Well, I decided to pull 'em out tonight and I created 2 of these cards, one for each teacher. I've been itching to make some cards lately, and when Taylor saw me playing with stamps she wanted to join in the fun, so I think I'll be planning a card making session with her. Fun! And of course, Taylor signed her name on the card. She's able to write her first and last name, correctly spelled and legible without any prompting. She couldn't do that in September!

I finished off the gifts by wrapping them in a simple red gift bag from the dollar store. I added a little tissue paper and tied the card to the handle with some coordinating ribbon and Ta Dah! That's it.

I hope they like them!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Airing my clean laundry!

A nasty flu bug has been making its rounds in our house for the last week. It started with Taylor (and really hit her hard!!!) and then I got it on Sunday and am still recovering today. I wasn't well enough to go back to work or to leave the house but I managed to gather enough energy to get caught up on some laundry. (Desperately need to catch up!!) So, given I haven't been very productive in any other way, lately, I thought I'd show off pics of all my freshly folded laundry and my day's accomplishments!

The pile of clothes between the two baskets above is Taylor's "too small" pile. I keep a plastic bin in her closet and as I do laundry if an item is too small it goes into the bin in the closet, then I sort through the bin and see if there's anything I can recycle, or pass on to a friend or donate to charity.

All of the hangers in our closet are white plastic. I started buying white plastic hangers when I left home to go to university. I've only bought white ones since then and it makes my messy closet look a little less messy!

I am terrible at keeping up with laundry. My laundry room usually looks like a clothes bomb went off. I have no problem sorting, and throwing clothes in the washer, but they don't always get transferred to the dryer in a timely manner and they don't always get OUT of the dryer in a timely manner and they almost NEVER get folded and put away in a timely manner. Every once in a blue moon, I get all caught up and I swear I'm going to turn over a new leaf and keep the laundry under control. And then, I have another basket of laundry that needs to be washed, and then another and another...and you can imagine how it goes from there.

Sigh. Maybe this time will be different.

How do you feel about laundry? Do you keep it under control or is it total chaos at your house? What's your system for keeping it under control?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thrifted sweater Quilt

Do you remember when I posted about getting ready to make a quilt out of thrifted sweaters? Well, I finally finished it! The actual project could probably be done in a weekend but with my crazy life, I never get a whole weekend to dedicate to a craft project. I've got constant interruptions from an adorable 4 yr old and a husband who likes me to realize he's alive once in awhile!

But after several weeks of interruptions, I finished the quilt last weekend and I love how it turned out! (I know, I say that a lot of my projects, but really I'm quite happy when my visions are realized! It doesn't always happen!)

If you purchase used sweaters for this project, be sure to wash them all together, in hot water and dry them on high heat before cutting. I did this because when you buy a thrifted item ya never know where's it's been so I wanted to be sure I was working with fresh and clean sweaters! I also put it through the high heat because my daughter's bedding has to be washed with hot water and dried on high as one of the measures we take to manage her asthma and reduce and neutralize the cat dander and other allergens that are present in our home.

So, let me show you how I made this:

To create the basic rectangles that make up the quilt: I first cut off the sleeves of the sweater, at the seam where the arm and shoulder meet. I then cut the sleeve open along the remaining seam on the sleeve. I determined the size I wanted the quilt to be and asked my hubby to help me with the math. Have I ever mentioned I hate math?

A Twin size comforter is 68"x86". I didn't want my quilt quite that big and I decided on 64" x 82" as the finished dimensions. My wonderful husband told me to cut 106 rectangles measuring 5" x 13" which would give me a 1/2" seam allowance and finish with a 64" x 82" quilt.

Once I had all my rectangles cut: I laid 'em out and hubby said I needed 7 rectangles in length and 16 in width. I arranged them on the floor in a random pattern, while also ensuring a somewhat even dispersement of color. Then I sewed the long strips (So I sewed the 7 rectangles end to end). Remember to sew them right sides together!

Once all 16 strips were sewn: I sewed the strips together lengthwise, adding another strip once one was finished until I eventually had it all sewn together. I then backed it with a jersey sheet by simply sewing the jersey sheet to the quilt, right sides together. I left an opening at one end to turn it inside out and then top-stitched it closed.

My girl loves it and so do I! Such a cozy quilt! I'm thinking of making one from sweaters in different shades of browns and cream for our master bedroom.

If you decide to make one of your own, leave a comment or e-mail me a link. I'd love to see how many variations can be created.

Any questions, let me know!