Monday, November 30, 2009

How to Holiday: Advent Christmas Countdown

So Tuesday starts the countdown to Christmas. I completely ran out of time to make the little stockings that I intended to use for the countdown. So the other day when I was in the craft store I decided to pick up a piece of foam core board and stickers. I already had the little pegs, the envelopes, and the ribbon. Originally I was going to glue the pegs on but then I thought I would be better off using ribbon and clipping them on. I again got my kids involved. They colored and applied tons of stickers. They loved it. I was going to paint or stamp the numbers on but in the end I just wrote them on with a Sharpie marker. You could do so many fun things with this. Lots of possibilities.


-1- 20"x30" foam core board
-1 spool of ribbon
-24 assorted envelopes
- stickers, crayons, paint, etc. go crazy here
-24 small wood pegs
- decorative scissors, regular scissors, marker, tape
-An awl or some other tool to poke a hole through the foam core board

How to:

1. Take all of your envelopes and lick them shut, fold, then cut in half vertically. You can use decorative scissors or regular ones. Your choice.

2. Decorate in whatever way you choose. Have fun with it!

3. Eyeball or measure 2 inches down from the top and two inches in from the sides and poke a hole with your awl on both sides. Attach a length of ribbon to one side and leave enough room for hanging and attach to the other. I just tied a knot.

4. Lay out the envelopes on your board. I did 3 across by 8 down. I then got out my ribbon and attached with tape on the back while the envelopes were still laying on the board. Just so I made sure they were in the right spot. Repeat up the board.

5. Attach envelopes with the pegs and hang your countdown.

Here are some of the things I am doing for the countdown:

-make cookies
-cut down the tree
-make gingerbread
-make xmas cards
-cut out and decorate snowmen
-go out to dinner
-go out and look at xmas lights
-eat ice cream after dinner
-watch a xmas movie before bed
-make a xmas garland
-decorate the tree
-go to the library and borrow 2 Christmas books/movies
-sing xmas carols
-attend a holiday event at the school

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cornstarch Clay

We began making some ornaments this weekend to give to teachers, friends and family. I try to have my kids get involved with as many acts of giving as I can. I also love for them to make things. My kids had a blast using the cookie cutters to cut out holiday shapes. I just poked a hole at the top and we let them dry. You could leave them white which I think is pretty and simple or paint them. My kids painted them. They loved that too!
I found this recipe and the instructions via familyfun.go. com. I first read it the magazine while I waited for a drs. appt. and then looked it up when I got home. This clay is easy peasy to make and it hardens up nice to make ornaments or whatever you like. We made 2 batches!

From the site....

Little fingers with limited modeling experience will appreciate this dense, easy-to-shape dough. The mixture's high salt content gives it a grainy texture and a sparkly white color, ideal for dyeing with food coloring or decorating with tempera paints.


1 cup salt
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Food coloring or tempera paints (optional)

Heat the salt and 1/3 cup of water over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. (An adult should prepare this mixture, which gets quite hot and bubbly.) Remove from heat and add the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. The mixture should now look like thick mashed potatoes; stir until it thickens, then let cool for a few minutes before kneading. If the dough feels too sticky at first, your child can work in some extra cornstarch as she kneads. Add food coloring, if desired.


When dry, this dough is heavy and durable, which makes it excellent for larger items, such as candlesticks, small bowls, trivets or a lasting impression of your child's hand. Cornstarch Clay's sticky consistency is also a plus when sculpting figures: A tail or head easily attaches to a body with a gentle push. One batch of dough is enough to make a slew of snowmen ornaments, Noah's ark figures or dollhouse characters.


1 to 4 days


Cornstarch Clay will keep unrefrigerated for up to 2 weeks when stored with a small bit of wet sponge in a plastic bag or sealed container.
My son painting them.
My daughter painting the freezer paper I put down to protect the table.
Finished painted ornaments ready for giving. I am going to attach them to a potted paper white.
This was really fun and it kept the kids busy for quite awhile.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...

I am sorry I don't have a photo but I wanted to pop in and let you know who won the ornament.

Regina from Creative Kismet! Regina would you please email your address and I will get your ornament out to you next week!

Just to let you all know Regina is offering free shipping on selected items in her shop until December 31, 2009. She has lots of beautiful art prints, tea wallets which are great for all the tea drinkers you know (or yourself), and beautiful patchwork pincushions!

I hope you all had a great turkey day!
Ours was full and fun!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Ryan, Age 4

When my son woke up for the second time early this morning, 4:30 this time, I was a bit annoyed. He goes to sleep and during the night manages to kick all of his covers off and calls (o.k. screams, repeatedly) for me to come pull them back up when he wakes up cold.

I have explained to him that he can do it himself but no such luck yet. So I came back to bed and this post began to form in my head.

On this Thanksgiving day there are many things I am thankful for. Family, friends, health, etc. The list is long and wide. I won't go on and on. I do want to say that I practice gratitude on a daily basis. And when there are times that I feel down (which thankfully are few and far between these days), I turn to this simple practice to pull me back up.

Gratitude for all the wonderful things, but also for the not so wonderful things. Much harder to do. The reason I am grateful for the not so wonderful times or things is that with them comes important lessons to be learned. I often don't realize them in the moment but reflecting on it later the lesson is often revealed.

So climbing back into bed this morning my initial annoyance that I first felt with my son was gone as I said a silent thank you. He did after all manage not to scream when he called me. And that I am truly thankful for. :)

P.S. Thank you all for your uplifting comments. It means alot to me to connect to all of you. I will pick a winner tonight for the ornament and post the winners name tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday How To: Paper Pom Poms

I began last night wrapping gifts for my mom's advent gift bag. I still have SO many things to come up with for gifts. Anyway, she loves aqua and teal so I decided to embellish the gifts using these colors. Along with white and silver. So here is a quick and easy how to on making these paper pom poms. Alternatively, you could make some paper flowers which I guess these resemble anyway. :)
What you will need:
-Various papers cut into different sized circles. There isn't an exact size to use. If your gift is large maybe use a bigger circle and for a small one go smaller. You might want to use a circle cutter or a punch. I don't. I just trace around various objects and cut out. If you use coffee filters it is easy since they are already a circle shape.
-An awl ( or some other tool to make a hole)
-Scissors ( for cutting the ribbon and circles)
Optional: Paint/Dye. I wanted to make the colors very specific so I painted some of my paper. I used Luma liquid watercolors. I am sad to say after I googled Luma I have learned they have since gone out of business. There may be something similar out there. I don't know. I also used acrylic paint. Play around with any and all paint/paper combos.

How to: So once your papers are dried and cut, etc. You poke a hole through the center with an awl. I used 5-6 circles. You can do more. I then cut an approximately 10-12" piece of ribbon and thread it through the holes. I left a small tail at the top and tied a knot to keep secure. I then tied another knot underneath to secure. Next, take your scissors and start cutting into your circle, towards the center. I don't go too close to the center. You can play with it though. When you are done fluff them by separating a bit. Tie or tape onto your gift.

Here are some papers that are dyed and painted and drying. These are coffee filters and card stock. I squished the dye around and added some silver acrylic paint to a few.

Gifts ready for giving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holiday Ornament and a Thank You

This is my ornament for the 4th Annual Freshly Blended Ornament Swap. I had tons of scrap paper laying around and I hate wasting it! Seriously there is tons. So I am not completely done with them but I will be in the next day or two and then I will send them out to their new homes.

There are ten people who I have to send one to but I made 12. One is already going to a new friend and I would love to send YOU one! Just a little thank you for coming by. I really appreciate it whenever anyone takes the time to read a post and if you comment that is all the better.

So seeing that this is the week of Thanksgiving here in the states I am asking you to think of someone that YOU can thank. Call, write, get together for a cup of coffee with them. Whatever fun way you can think of. Let them know how thankful you are for them. Post in the comments who you will thank and why ( if you feel comfortable doing that). I will pick a winner on Thanksgiving night 11/26.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Color Stories: Holiday 2009

Hello. I hope you all had a great week. I have trying to finish up the custom wreaths and packing up another one headed for New Zealand. This color story is the one I used for the custom wreaths. It is really making me happy to see these colors. I believe I am going to do my ornaments for the swap in these colors. I will be back soon to share more.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Swimming in a sea of flowers

I have a large custom order I have been working on. Two 30" wreaths. Flowers, flowers everywhere. This has been a learning process for sure. Ups and downs to it which I won't go into here. I think they will come out very pretty and festive and I hope the customer is pleased. I just wanted to say "hi" and I hope you are having a great weekend.

Some fun things we did/are doing this weekend:
*Took the kids to a puppet show. Based on the book Caps for Sale. They loved it!

*Making/eating gucamole, wish I was going to have a margarita with it. :)

*I don't have a love for cooking/baking but I do enjoy doing it with the kids. We make a pizza and calzone at least once a week. After I broke our cheap pizza wheel I just ordered this one.
It is supposed to be wonderful.

*And I ordered The Artists Guide. Since it is due in a few days and there is no way I will be done.

* Also, I read this post on treasuring by Jessica Gonacha Swift. Here is a bit about it:
Spring is a collaborative project that has a single, overarching theme: inspiration. Through videos, blog posts, and the website itself, Spring is opening an insightful dialogue that focuses on helping you design a life you love.
Here is the link if you want to read more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Michaels Photo Entry - Paper Floral Wreath-Winter White

I entered a wreath into Michaels Handmade Holiday contest. The winner gets to go see the Martha Stewart show!! This would be a dream. She has taught me alot, especially about wreaths. If you could all be so kind I would appreciate it if you clicked below and rate my wreath. The place to rate is below the photo. Thank you so much!

Michaels Photo Entry - Paper Floral Wreath-Winter White

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lace Bowls: How to

Some days being an artist can also feel alot like being a scientist.
Awhile ago I ran across this lovely filigree bowl on flickr. And then yesterday I found this vintage lace bowl. I don't crochet and I didn't have any vintage doilies laying around. So I gathered some vintage lace and some modge podge. I followed the instructions for the vintage lace bowl but I crisscrossed my ribbon and ended up here. I pinked the edge when I was done. It was a fun exercise and I wound up with a cute little bowl. I think I may try fabric strips or paper next. Kinda felt like paper mache. I hope you are all well today!

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Time is flying around here. It seems we went from Halloween to holiday season. At least that is how things have been progressing around here. I didn't get as much done as I had planned during this little blogging break. No winter inspiration board, no pages in my art book. But I did manage to create and add two new wreaths to my shop (see below). I will be doing two more and then that is it for a bit. The next one will be called Merry and Bright, reds, pinks, purples?, greens. I have it in my head but it will come about on its own. I think the last one will be another all white. So I want to be done by next weekend so I can work on my kids advent stockings. Also, I am making up an advent bag for my mom. I made her a woven paper advent basket last year and she thought it was so much fun. 24 small gifts to open every day starting Dec. 1.

I found some great ideas for presents for little or no money here. He used to have the comments open and people had so many wonderful ideas. Here is a great little read about gratitude during the holidays.

I borrowed the Artists Guide from my library. I am really enjoying it but I will order it since I need it for longer then the library allows.

So that is about it. I am waiting to find out who my partners are for the ornament swap and come up with and idea.

I hope you all had a great weekend. Off to make dinner.

Kids advent stockings in progress.
New holiday wreath. Dec the halls.
This was the wreath before it became a wreath.
New holiday wreath. FaLaLa

Monday, November 02, 2009

In the fish bowl

There is an old saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. That is exactly what happened for me when I signed up for the e-course with Marisa. I don't know if I can put into words what she has done for me but I will try. I want to say she has given me wings but since we were in the fish bowl I guess I can say she gave me fins:) The amount of guidance, honesty, inspiration, and just great information she provided is something that to me has been invaluable. She was a generous, kind, and wonderful teacher. She emphasized that she wanted to empower us so we could become who we are meant to be, no matter what that is. She wanted us to know that it is possible. Possible to live your life as an artist, online. We all discovered that many of the feelings we have are shared by many. It was a safe place, an informative place and a place I am sad to see go. I will miss you Marisa. What will I do with my Thursday nights?

I am going to be taking a break for a short bit. But I wanted to mention that I signed up for this holiday ornament swap. I can't wait! If you are interested sign up soon. I think there is only a few more days to do so.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween + A wreath + A day off

Halloween came and went. The weather turned from cloudy to rain so we loaded the kids into the car and drove to the mall for trick or treating. They really had a great time. It was safe and dry. The costumes went over well. Even though the train was alot of work and a bit frustrating it was really fun to make and it looked great. After a couple of falls on the trains face (bottom photo) we did a couple of adjustments and my son did great walking around. My daughter loved being a clown. It was so cute. I don't know what they will want to be next year but I better start early.
So mixed in with the blue paint and cardboard I managed to make a wreath. I am going to list it in the shop on Monday. It is a mix of assorted papers with white felt accents. It was alot of fun making this. I already have the next one going in my mind.

So Sunday came and my husband heard my plea for a day off. He took our kids out in the morning for 2+ hours. I didn't do a single thing I had to do. I stepped over the toys, ignored the laundry and neglected the crumbs. This is what I did instead:
-took a long, hot shower
- breathed deeply
- took photos
-took a walk to the local bakery for fresh rolls

Then in the afternoon I drove over this
to go here. Once there I went to this art store and for a cup o joe here.

I bought some new art supplies (really had to restrain myself), enjoyed my hot coffee and just sat.
This is so important to me and to anyone who is a caregiver. It helps me to be a better mom. I came home and gave my kids and husband a big hug and kiss.

I am going to come back soon with some thoughts on the e-course (it wrapped up on Thursday) and then take a short blog break. I want to be in create mode with my wreaths. I want to finish the winter inspiration board I started and work on my Art Book. I am going to get going on the making/buying of x-mas gifts and just focus. I hope your weekend was relaxing, joyful and of course creative!

P.S. I forgot to mention that I was pleasantly surprised the other day to learn I won a give away on Jacqueline's blog. A super cute spoon. Go check out her blog!