Thursday, March 31, 2011

Standing in the Spotlight

Living Life Photography

Jodi at LivingLifePhotographically posted a spotlight on her blog about me today. Go see me somewhere else! (I said that nicely. It wasn't a go away kind of comment. Go to see but you are welcome back any time.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Project: Simplify - Pantry

This was one I really needed and wanted to get done. When we moved in, I just put stuff that would go in the pantry in the pantry. No rhyme or reason to it. It all just got thrown in to get it out of the box and out of the middle of the kitchen counter. I hadn't fixed it yet. I took a photo a week or so ago because I knew I was going to organize it whether SimpleMom suggested it or not. I'm glad I did.

Pantry Before
Pantry After
 This is what I did to get this mess cleaned up:  I found a wonderful man.  I married him.  Years later, he saw that our pantry needed cleaning up so he organized it while I was at work.  No kidding!  I've said it before:  I'm a lucky, lucky lady.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Birthday Cake for a Grown Up

It was refreshing to just make a cake.  The only requirements were that it was simple.  I like simple...and blue.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Quote - Jane Eyre #3

This copy of Jane Eyre is available for purchase here.

I finished Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. 
I give it 4/5 = I really liked it!

So here is one last quote:
"I care for myself.  The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.  I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man.  I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad - as I am now.  Laws and principles are not for times when there is no temptation:  they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be.  If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?  The have a worth - so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane - quite insane, with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs.  Preconceived opinions, forgone determinations are all I have at this hour to stand by;  There I plant my foot."

And if you have already read this book or don't mind a spoiler, here is a button that I thought was funny.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mystery Seed

My daughter found a seed while we were on a walk.  She wanted to know what it would grow up to be.  I have no idea.  So we planted it.   It's a fairly large seed (this is a little girl hand).  We planted it maybe five days ago and haven't seen anything yet.  Anyone have any ideas what this could be?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Project: Simplify - Toys

The hot spot this week is actually "toys and/or kid's clothes".   I have the kid's clothes all set so it's boring and I have the toys in the kid's rooms (mostly) under control.  That is partly why the toy room looked so terrible.  One thing at a time...  I was really excited to have a challenge this week.  Here it is:
 Doesn't that just make you feel good about yourself?  Not only that, but I had this stack of "rotation" toys in the basement.
 Now, I decided I do not like the layout of the room for the toys.  It turns out that the toys get built up at the top of the stairs so every time we come up, we have to step over toys.  I decided to rearrange the whole room and use the whole south side of room for the toys.  My sewing stuff is on the other side of the room.  It still does not look pretty.  Kind of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type thing.(another organizing project?!  Yay!)  Oh, back to the task at hand.  Bottom line:  We have too many toys at our house.  One of my children really has a hard time letting ANYTHING go.  The other doesn't seem to even understand that there is a difference between keeping and not keeping.  I told the kids they needed to fill a laundry basket with things to get rid of.  I had to give a 30 second time limit for the Keeper's turn.  The other kid just kept trying to put things away.  I took his turn for him.  So here is the basket:
Good work.  And more importantly, we didn't have any tears.
In the process of the project, I found this gravity-defying dog I wanted to share.  How?!

 Here you will see my after shots.  Bear in mind that this took two days worth of decluttering, moving furniture, bringing up the rotation toys, organizing and then after storing the new rotation toys, discovering that the toys left out for the girl were not fun toys, redoing the rotation toys and then organizing them again. Yes, I thought I had it figured out but when the kids came back up and saw the new layout, I watched my daughter's face as she looked over the girl toys.  Sheer boredom.  Both children went to the boy toys and played nicely together for a couple of hours.  Girls toys were untouched.  Boys toys were no longer organized.  I was kind of excited to see that because the girl toys I left up were mostly really large toys.  I took them to the basement and brought up some others that I'd packed away.  If, when I bring the large toys up in a couple months, they don't get played with right away, they will be going away.  That will feel SO GOOD! The after shot is taken from the top of the stairs.
 I sectioned it off with a girls area at the top of the stairs.
 As you walk into the middle of the room, there is a section with books, puzzles, art supplies, and stuffed animals.
 The far side of the room has the boys section.
Ta-da!  What fun!  To see the difference right next to each other:



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Upcycled Trash Can Tutorial

I used some trash to make some trash cans. These are for my kids rooms.
I started with an empty container.  This is the Costco size.
I used two pages from a book that has seen better days.  For the Princess Can I used an outdated calendar.
I cut the pages to size.
Luckily a little boy ran through at the exact moment I was lining this up and told me he wanted the Mater side out. I put little pieces of rolled tape behind the four corners.
I placed the other piece of paper on the opposite side.  I also used a small strip from the scraps between each side because they didn't quite cover it.
I put a layer of clear contact paper over that.
That's it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Use Genuine Muppet Fur

My daughter was given this really neat set of magnetic wooden dolls. (Which we love.)
Not too long after that, she received this really big set.
We added the little set to the big set. We no longer needed the container the little set came in to store them so I decided to use it for something else. I used the fuzzy stuff on the top (what is that stuff anyway?) and this tutorial to make what I call a Genuine Muppet Fur Clip.    Alish at Sisterstuff calls their project a Puff Ball Clip.  They must not have seen a need to shell out the bucks the genuine stuff. 

This is how mine turned out.
I was really happy with it and was sure my princess would be delighted!  She wasn't.  I put the wrong princess heart on there.  Who knew?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guest Artist: Jessica from Cursiveart

I'm excited to introduce you all to the creater of one of my favorite etsy shops!  Jessica from Cursiveart was willing to answer a few questions for us all.  

Before we get to that, let me tell you what Jessica does.  She makes linocut cards because she "wanted to make something useful, affordable and beautiful." 
Loving Tree
Purple Tulips Cards

Don't you just want to send one to yourself so that you can frame it and hang it on your wall? I do!

She also does shadowboxes. Be might fall in love...
Winter Pair in Grey

Okay, so. on with the questions:

Describe the first time your remember someone being really pleased with something you made.
It was probably fourth grade when my childhood best friend, Justin, was so impressed with my ability to draw Babs and Buster Bunny from "Tiny Toon Adventures" that he wanted me to teach him to draw. I never succeeded in teaching him, but I did keep on drawing from there.

What (or where) inspires you the most?
Etsy does. Not only is it a great collection of wonderful handmade objects of all kinds, but I think inspiration can so often be found in other people's work. I love looking at the wide variety of colors, textures and shapes people come up with. Today I found a shop with the most believable looking leaves and flowers made of sugar. Etsy is a treasure trove of epiphanies waiting to happen.

If you had to choose another medium to work with, what would it be?
I would love to learn to sew. I think people who can make clothes, bags, blankets etc. are just amazing. It's a talent to be able to create something with form and function and make it beautiful.

What is your favorite day of the week and why?
I love Fridays. I don't work right now, but on Friday nights, either we have a bunch of friends over to watch the new episode of "Supernatural" if it's on, or me and my friend Sarah hang out and knit together and my fiance invites his friends over to watch movies. Basically, Friday is when we get to spend time with the people we love.

What are your three favorite items in your shop?
My orange magnolia cards because they turned out better than I could have imagined, and even made me appreciate a color I'm not normally a huge fan of.

Orange Magnolia Card

My fiddlehead fern cards because I love their simplicity.

Fiddlehead Fern Card
 My First Sign of Land card because its a perfect example of my "because I felt like it" attitude about art. Why is there a tree growing out of the ocean? Because I felt like it.
First Sign of Land

What are your three favorite Etsy shops other than your own?
1. Theaterclouds -- I love how her photography makes something fantastical look almost real.
2. markhed -- I love her trapeze and acrobat jewelry; it's clever and graceful.
3. sleepyking -- I love the stuffed animals, even if I am nearly 30, and I love how animated these look

Anything else you want to share?
Aside from art, my favorite things to do are sleep, cuddle with my cat, dog, and fiance, and read a whole lot, particularly anything by Neil Gaiman.

Well thank you for your time with us, Jessica.  I'll have you know that the Fiddlehead Fern Cards and the Magnolia Cards (she also makes them in blue) are two of my favorites also.  You are very talented and I'm so glad you are willing to share your talent. 

Be sure to swing by Jessica's blog Cursive Arts where you'll get to participate in Monday Spotlights, Treasury Tuesday and Feature Friday.  She also has a giveaway going on right now but you have to hurry!  It ends tonight!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Project: Simplify - Paper Clutter

The hot spot for week two of Project: Simplify is paper clutter.

This was also an easy one for me.  I did have a few things that needed to be streamlined so I'm glad to have had a nudge to get them figured out.  I already have a system put in place for incoming mail:  I take care of it the second I bring it in the door.  Junk I put in a shred pile to add to my compost bin.  Papers that are blank on the back we put in a scratch paper drawer to draw on or for me to make lists on.  I do that.  I take action immediately on items that need it if possible.  If not, I have a spot I display them so that I see them and can take care of them the next day.  I collect my business receipts in the notebook where I keep track of my business finances.   The projects the kids do are their responsiblity.  They have a bag they can save them in in their bedrooms or they can display them on these.    I made a folder for each of the kids so I can put important papers in them.  I needed to organize my coupons so I did.  Now when I tear one out, it must go in the organizer or I have to throw it away.  I make the rules around here. 

coupon drawer before

coupon drawer after

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birthday Maxi Dress

Do you remember the Kenny Rogers Roasters Pink Satin Curtains?  I told you I did something fancy with them. I'm sure you've been on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what it was.  The time has come.

I made this Birthday Maxi Dress with the help of Cat On A Limb.  She posted step by step directions on how to draft the pattern.  I did add flutter sleeves instead of making the shrug because I didn't have enough time to make it.  (While you are there, check out her tutorial on making Cherry Blossom Branches and she is having a fabulous giveaway - go quick, it ends tonight!)

These were from a broken bracelet.

This dress well used on her birthday - climbing on rocks and dirt piles and all. It had to earn every one of those wrinkles.