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Wreck This Journal

Wreck This Journal

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I recently discovered a book called “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith. For someone who loves crafting and coloring, it is seriously fun! The concept of the book is to create through destruction… to not let perfection get in the way of creativity.

I decorated the title page with shapes and colors. I wanted to make something somewhat crazy that wouldn’t detract from the words on the page.(null)There was then a blank page next to a page of instructions. The instructions are fairly easy to understand and completely open to interpretation… I colored in the instructions and created a fun little design with stickers and ribbon on the page to the left of the instructions.(null)The next page instructed me to add my own page numbers to the book. Well… I got pretty lazy and decided to add all the numbers to THIS page of the book instead of to every page. It’s a jumble of craziness!(null)This next prompt told me to crack the spine. I attempted to crack the spine of the book and failed. After about 30 seconds of actually trying to break the spine of the book half-heartedly (because I love books and can’t imagine purposefully hurting them), I decided to instead draw a large crack on the page… like a hole into a netherworld on my bedroom wall. Any Doctor Who fans out there?(null)The next prompt says: “Stand here. Wipe your feet. Jump up and down.” I drew some feet and doodled within them, making the whole page colored throughout.

I wanted to incorporate a quote into this and found a quote that was inspirational to me: “It’s not up to you how you let yourself fall. It’s up to you how far you let yourself fall and how long it takes you to get back up and stand on your own two feet.” It’s a good reminder for me that unexpected things will happen in life, and that it’s up to me to respond and keep moving forward.(null)Ah, coffee page! Instead of spilling coffee on the page, I made myself a little mocha and grabbed a paint brush. I’m not a painter, so I gave up the perfection and just drew a cup, polka dots and some text.(null)It’s hard to see the holes I poked in the page below, but they are there! The holes made me think of stars so I turned it into a night scene with crayons. One goal with this book (besides finishing it) is to use as many mediums as possible. Thus far with this book I’ve used stickers and ribbons, coffee, crayons and pens.(null)Normally when I work on crafts I have a project with an end goal in mind and I try to make it as perfect as possible. This book is great because it allows me to be creative without keeping perfection in mind! How do you work on your creativity and stay detached from perfection?

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Crocheted Baby Dragons

Crocheted Baby Dragons

I love crocheting things, but I’ve never made anything more than hats, scarves and blankets…. until now!

When I learned that some of our close friends were going to have a baby, I knew I wanted to make something special for them. I did make them a ripple blanket to fit a stroller, but then I wanted to make them something else.

(null)(null)I also figured out how to make crocheted baby dragons. I found a free pattern online and played with the instructions until I figured out what worked for the yarn and crochet needles that I had at home.

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After showing some other friends what I had created, I suddenly had about eight ‘orders’ for baby dragons from friends! They all loved it. I’ve created a total of 4 dragons so far, and there are 4 more to go for people who have friends with young kids or who are expecting.

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My sister has a friend on her soccer team that just had a baby, and she loves USA soccer. So, I created a blue and red dragon with a white and black soccer ball!

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I just find these dragons so cute! Here are a few more pictures of the finished dragons:(null)

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What do you think?

Mr. and Mrs. Wedding Chair Signs

Mr. and Mrs. Wedding Chair Signs

I had these awesome chair signs leftover from my wedding that a friend gave me. They were black and said in nice white text: “Bride” and “Groom.”

When my college roommate was planning her wedding, she remembered those signs and asked if I could create something like that for her, but instead of bride and groom, she wanted “Mr.” and Mrs.” I had to research and figure out a way to create some Mr. and Mrs. wedding chair signs and I’d never made anything like it before!

I decided to reuse the backside of the signs, which were just a plain wooden back. We discussed colors and fonts and decided to match their wedding colors of teal and dark purple. I painted the and edges of both signs with a nice teal color.

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I then used Microsoft Word to type out “Mr.” and “Mrs.” in a script font. After printing on card stock, I used an exacto knife to cut out the words to make a stencil. I penciled in the words on the painted sign, making sure to keep the stencil in place.

Using the smallest paintbrush I could find, I painted the words on very slowly and carefully. This is the part where I couldn’t make a mistake!
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After finishing the text and letting it dry, I found a nice free vector flourish online and, again, printed it out on card stock then turn it into a stencil. I penciled in the pattern and painted with the same purple paint.

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Here is one of the finished signs! I’m quite proud of it, because in the past I’ve stayed with yarn and paper crafts and haven’t branched into other areas of crafting. Maybe I’ll try some more painting projects soon!

It’s March Already?

It’s March Already?

It’s nearly halfway through March – this year is speeding by so quickly! I’ve been a bit slow to post recently and I wanted to acknowledge that. Hubby and I have both been so busy, at work and at home, and I’ve been working on a couple larger projects that I’m not quite ready to post yet.

Today’s post is just a little recap post about the past month in cooking and crafts!

Cooking:

Food in February

Of course, I’ve been cooking a lot and trying to keep things interesting while staying healthy. Working from left to right, top to bottom, these were some of my favorite dishes this month:

  • Pan-fried chicken tenders with oven roasted sweet potato fries and a side salad
  • Pork chops with oven-roasted brussel sprouts and a side salad filled with goodies
  • Oven-cooked salmon in foil with a large salad
  • Filet mignon with asparagus

There were a few other favorite meals that I’m hoping to write posts about in the next few weeks.

Crafts:

As I mentioned above, I’ve been busy with a couple larger projects that I don’t want to talk about yet, but these are two of the things I did this month!

Mr. and Mrs. Signs:
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I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding in a couple of weeks and the bride asked me to create some signs for the chair-backs at the reception for her and the groom. I used the signs that I had for my wedding (that were handed down to me) that say Bride and Groom on the other side. I used the back/wooden part of the sign and painted the entire thing teal.

I then found a font and a flourish that I liked and printed it out. I cut it out with an exacto knife to create a stencil that I used to pencil the design onto the teal sign. I painted the design in very carefully and slowly with the thinnest tipped brush I could find!

Ayyám-i-Há  Sign:

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I don’t talk about the Baha’i faith much on this blog, but with this project, it’s important for you to know that I am Baha’i. Ayyám-i-Há is a Baha’i holiday that’s basically the equivalent of the “Baha’i Christmas.” It’s at the end of February each year  and Baha’is celebrate with presents, service projects and parties/gatherings.

I took some fun printed paper and cut out the letters for the holiday using an exacto knife. Then I cut little holes in the top of each letter and drew a piece of string through it. Lastly, I hung it up with some painters tape.

I’d really love to create more of these hanging signs for our house for other holidays and birthdays! (And, also, find a way to hang it without using tape.)

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to in the world of cooking and crafts. I hope to have time this week to work on the next set of Travel Tuesday posts and some more in-depth cooking and craft posts. Thanks for reading!

Travel Tuesday: Chilean Arts & Crafts

Travel Tuesday: Chilean Arts & Crafts

This will be the last of my Travel Tuesday posts about Chile! Next up: Italy!

While studying in Chile, we had the option to sign up for extracurricular culture excursions. Two of these experiences were learning to create Mosaico and Mapuche Weaving.

Mosaico is making mosaic artwork. This is a really cool article about mosaics in Chile – it’s a much cooler project than the one I created!

We arrived at an art studio and were given a bench with a piece of wood and a small mirror. We were taught how to use grout and tiles to create designs. We were then given free reign to go pick out tiles and get creative.

Mosaico Workshop

I used reds, greens and blues to frame my mirror and then put ΚΔ on the right hand side for my sorority. Once all the grout dried (which is wasn’t in the photo below), my project looked pretty cool! I wrapped it up and brought it back home with me at the end of my study abroad trip.

 

Mosaico

Another cultural experience that we were able to participate in was visiting with some members of the Comunidad Mapuche and learn their traditional weaving. The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of Chile and Argentina.

Mapuche Sign

The Mapuche make up about 80% of the indigenous peoples living in Chile today, and about 9% of the total population.

When we arrived, we were served some of the traditional breads and sauces (a similar consistency to honey) from the Mapuche people. It was very delicious!

After a snack, we each selected one of the weaving stations where we’d be making our own headband.

Mapuche Weaving

Each color is supposed to signify something (examples: health, love, knowledge, etc). The idea is that when you wear the headband, you get help/strength in that area.

Mapuche Headband

I love learning about other cultures (and I love crafts), so going on all these extracurricular culture excursions was one of my favorite parts about the study abroad program!

Sunflower Thank You Cards

Sunflower Thank You Cards

For my birthday, my husband took me to the new Hobby Lobby in town and told me I had $100 to spend as my birthday present. I got a TON of stuff! Each week, Hobby Lobby has a special and that week it happened to be a specific brand of paper products. I got a couple different types of envelopes and cards, some cool patterned paper and some ribbon/flowers/other things to attach to cards.

This is just one of the thank you cards that I created with some of the birthday shopping spree items. I call them Sunflower Thank You Cards.

20150125-235528-86128740.jpgI really like the way it turned out with the 3-D sunflowers! I’m having fun creating new cards and stockpiling for all the things that I might need cards for in the year to come. 🙂

To make these cards, all you need is some craft clue, a card (any color will do), some sunflower or other flower 3-D shapes, vellum and a black pen. Cut the vellum to the size you want and draw the text onto the vellum. This is great because you won’t ruin the card if you mess up (which I did). You simply get another piece of vellum and try again! Once you have the vellum and text the way you want, glue it onto the page along with the flowers. Let it dry and you are done! Quick and easy.

20150125-235526-86126329.jpgBesides card-making items, my husband also bought me an intense paint-by-numbers kit! I’ve never done one and it sounded sort of fun. I’ve spent a little time on it, but hope to spend more time soon. It’s fun to try new crafts out. Any other types of crafts you’d like to see me try?

 

Homemade Vellum Greeting Cards

Homemade Vellum Greeting Cards

I was very inspired by the card making portion of the For the Makers craft box – so inspired that I immediately bought supplies to make more! I bought a variety of vellum colors to try out from Paperandmore.com and then used Amazon for the rest.

I started off by creating a new design that I could use to trace onto the vellum. I used plain printer paper and a pencil for the base design. Then I filled it in with an extra fine black sharpie.

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Once I had the design, I placed gold photo corners on the edges of the card and then used a ruler to measure the size of the vellum paper that I’d need. After using a paper cutter, I inserted the vellum into the photo corners to make sure it fit and made a few more small cuts to make sure it was a perfect fit.

IMG_6681-edited Then I took the vellum out of the photo corners and placed it on top of my design.

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I used a thin-tipped metallic sharpie to trace the design onto the vellum.

IMG_6684-edited I let it sit for a few minutes and once dry, placed it back into the photo corners. And there we have it – a completed vellum card! In this case, a thank you card.

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I created 3 more of the same and then wrapped them up with some tan yarn.

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I also used one of the For the Makers designs on a piece of maroon vellum. I love the way the gold pops on the maroon!

IMG_6694-editedNow you can make your own homemade vellum cards too!

 

For the Makers Review

For the Makers Review

For Christmas, my sister got me a three-month subscription to a craft box site called For the Makers. They will send you a box each month with 4 craft projects inside. I was so excited for my first box to come in January!IMG_6618-edited

When I opened the box, I was pleased that it looked so professional and well-thought out! IMG_6619-edited The box came with an info sheet showing the different projects and the link to online tutorials to show you how to do them as well as the four projects.

  • Necklace making with clay and rhinestones
  • Earring making with clay and rhinestones
  • Velvet-y headband
  • Hand-drawn Vellum Card-making

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The earring and necklace were by far the toughest project – in fact, I screwed up most of the pieces! But I did end up with one necklace that I’ll be able to use. I had to provide my own clear nail polish and tools for this project – everything else was provided.IMG_6626-edited I made some shapes and placed rhinestones into them, along with the metal loops to hold the necklace chain. I used the rest of the clay to make a simple (not pretty, intricate, or well-put together) jewelry dish. I baked all of these in the oven for the recommended amount of time.

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Well, I broke the earrings and some of the other necklaces as I tried to paint them with the gold sharpie paint pen or as I tried to attach the earrings to the earring backs… but I did end up with this necklace! It’s unique, sparkly and funky. This was a cool project, but I don’t see myself making jewelry like this in the future. I’ll stick with beads and wires!IMG_6651-edited

The headband was a lot of fun to make. I provided my own scissors, but For the Makers provided the headband, sharpie, fabric and glue.IMG_6634-edited

I used the sharpie to mark the inside of the headband where I wanted knots to go. Then I put glue on the headband up to the first knot point, held it there for a few seconds then made the knot. I continued around the headband till it was complete.IMG_6635-edited

Here’s the completed headband! Fun and simple. It was a 5-10 minute project. I don’t wear headbands often, but this will be my go-to headband when I do!IMG_6639-editedThe last project (card-making) was my favorite. They provided everything for this one: envelopes, cards, gold photo corners, vellum, gold sharpie and designs to trace.IMG_6653-edited

I put the vellum over the design and traced it with the gold sharpie. Then I put the photo corners on the card and placed the vellum inside the photo corners. Easy! IMG_6654-edited

Here are all of the completed projects! I was excited that my sister got me this for Christmas because I was looking to explore new crafts and be inspired. I definitely tried some new things… some of which I probably won’t do again, and some that inspired me very much!IMG_6656-editedI actually bought supplies to make more of the vellum cards through Amazon and Paper and More. I’ve started making more cards and creating my own designs to use. What fun – I can’t wait for February’s box!

Handmade Christmas Cards & Envelopes

Handmade Christmas Cards & Envelopes

love holidays. Celebrating things and being with friends and family is one of the best things you can do! One semester in college, I wrote down a holiday for every single day and tried to celebrate each one. They included things like “Peanut Butter and Jelly Day” (I had a PB&J sandwich) and “National Saxophone Day” (I made saxophone shaped cards for my section – I was the lead in both marching band and jazz band in college).

When it comes to things like Christmas… I love it! The holiday cheer, Christmas music (but not until after Thanksgiving), decorations and tons of holiday parties! I always make cards for my immediate family, but this year, I decided to make a ton of cards for all of my coworkers too.

I researched some fun cards to make online and found a few ideas here. I tried a few of them and then also came up with a few of my own creations based off of the examples. 20141217-092739-34059974.jpgI really like all the cards this year – though the pop out Christmas tree was much more difficult to pull off than any of the others. For a few of the cards, I used leftover paper that I had in my craft drawer. There’s a store in town that was selling packs of fun, good-quality patterned paper. I bought a pack so I could make thank you cards for my bridesmaids in May, but there were also Christmas patterns in the pack as well.
20141217-092738-34058138.jpgTo top everything off, I found this pin on Pinterest for an idea for an envelope decoration. I tried to recreate it and like the way it turned out, but added in Christmas lights since these will all be hand-delivered and don’t need space for an address or stamp.

Hand Drawn Christmas EnvelopeWhether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other holiday – how do you spread holiday cheer and celebrate?

Giganto Blanket

Giganto Blanket

Well over a year ago, my sister sent me a link to this site. She said it would be awesome if I’d make her a Giganto Blanket sometime. She just got married and I figured it would be a perfect thing to make for her and her fiance’s wedding present. Here are the items I bought to create this blanket:

  1. The pattern from the site linked above
  2. 7 lbs of roving wool
  3. Two 4″ wooden dowels
  4. Duct tape – I just used black, but you could make it fun and unique by adding a cool pattern here!
  5. Beeswax wood finish
  6. Felting kit

I also used:

  1. A little saw
  2. A clamp to hold the dowel in place while I used the saw
  3. A sander (I used an electric one, but you could buy some sandpaper and do it by hand)

Here’s how I made the needles:

  1. Craft the knitting needles by cutting off one of the ends into a rough point.photo 1 (1)photo 3 (1)photo 4
  2. Sand the rough point into a smooth, rounded needle point.photo 2 (2)
  3. Beeswax the dowels to smooth them out and keep the wool from catching. You can buy any type of wood finish, but I used a beeswax salad bowl finisher. Whatever you buy should come with instructions for how to put it on the wood.
  4. Tape the non-point end to keep the yarn from falling off the end.photo 5

How I made the blanket:

  1. I sat myself in a big arm chair so I could prop the two needles up while I worked.
  2. Then I began knitting, just like any normal knitting project with small needles and yarn. I highly suggest purchasing Nocturnal Knits’ pattern because it gives a lot of information about knitting with roving wool and making the Giganto Blanket.photo 1 (2)photo 4 (1)
  3. After I finished the blanket I had to deal with the ends sticking out. I think it would have been better to felt while in the knitting process. There’s a video on how to do that in the link. The way I did it, was to sew the ends in with my hands and felt those ends on to the finished knitted project. It worked pretty well, but thinking about it now, it may have held better if I did it the way described in the video. photo 3 (3)photo 4 (2)

Then it was done! I folded it and since it was so large and odd shaped, I just put it in a garbage back and put the felting kit and a sheet with upkeep instructions in an attached gift bag. photo 2 (5)photo 1 (4)I love knitting and crocheting and this project was a lot of fun because there was so much to experiment with and figure out! photo (1)

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