Hey I finished a project!

Yard sales are good for the soul, and for the house. I should have one every month. My mom is having one next week and I cleared out so much stuff that I was hoarding to prepare for the sale. Because of that, I found a bunch of fabric that I love and can’t wait to work with, and a lot of my old concert and band tees that I wanted to make a quilt with long, long ago. That dream is a little dead now…but I have a few ideas for what I want to do with them.

I also finally finished my chalkboard project, and actually baked something. I got an oatmeal cookie recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and they turned out so wonderful and moist! I substituted the raisins for blueberries since I was out of raisins, and while her recipe says to bake for 10 minutes, I had to bake for 15 since my oven is a little funky.

10538681_1389727607938469_1318935655_nSo, here’s how I made the chalkboard:

IMG_2497First, I took a simple frame I got from the thrift store for $1. Then I painted it with some acrylic paint that had been left in my car for wayyy too long. So, naturally that exploded everywhere. Luckily, I happen to buy a lot of teal paint so I had some back-up and after A LOT of cleaning, I was able to resurrect my project.

IMG_2555Since the frame had an indented line on it already, I used a gold paint pent to do the line and left one side blank to add some fancy stuff to it. Unfortunately, the paint pen was too thick and not I couldn’t simply wipe it when I made a mistake. So, I painted over it and chose to do a yellow line. The yellow ended up not working since it was so light and I had to paint multiple coats, which made it look thick and chunky…not the look I was going for.

IMG_2561So, after I cleaned that up a little…I found a sort of salmon pink that I liked, and covered the yellow with that. I chose to do little diamonds on the side I left blank. They are by no means perfect, but they will do!

IMG_2652While that was drying, I used a few coats of chalk paint to paint the backboard. And ta-da! It’s a chalkboard!

Have a project you want to share? Post in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

Crafting and the art of taking it slow

My attention span has always been incredibly short. If something wasn’t completed in the first few hours of me working on it, it was done. Tossed aside and never to be looked at again, unless by happenstance. So many cute sewing projects, paintings and DIY projects are still unfinished and in storage bins that I don’t have the courage (aka patience) to dig through.

Motherhood has taught me to handle things a little differently. My attention span is still small, as I will find half-finished piles of laundry and a sink full of half-washed dishes from time to time, but now I have an excuse. My daughter is constantly pulling at me and if you saw her face, you would pick her up, too.

IMG_2497I made a plan to work on my art projects while she was sleeping, which is about two hours a day, give or take. Sometimes I trade in art time for a nap, for cleaning time or to just veg out on the couch. A couple weeks ago, I finally decided to go into my bin of projects I have yet to start – mainly because it will be less to move when I have to relocate my little workspace – and found a frame I wanted to paint.

IMG_2499The first day, I worked on the first coat. I was reminded that I left my paint in the car for too long the other day, because it was super liquidy and made a huge mess. So I spent the majority of my two hours cleaning paint off every inch of my table and trying to thicken it up a little. After I finally surrendered to another color, I was able to finish the first coat before she woke up.

That night, the shelf above my table came crashing down, spilled my paint cup all over the place and ruined two projects I previously worked on. That taught me to not leave finished projects lying around, but to actually do what I intended to do with them. Now I have zero proof that I finished a project.

IMG_2555Throughout the week, I was able to put a couple more coats on, and finally got it ready for the detailing. I tried to do it all with my paint pen so that I wouldn’t have to waste time getting all my paint stuff together and could do it while Cecilia was watching cartoons, but it turns out that my pen is too thick for the thin line I want to paint.

I’m slowly learning that it’s OK to give myself time to work on something. I enjoy having a project to work on every day, and it gives me time to think about different ideas for my piece. I still need to paint the backboard with my chalk paint, and then I’ll hang it up in either my workspace or Cecilia’s room. And then it will be on to the next unfinished project!

IMG_2561

I’m leaving one side undone until I figure out what I want to do with it. My attention span is not that bad :)

IMG_2562What projects are you working on? Do you give yourself a couple hours a day to work on it or do you get it all done in the first shot? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

Etsy Craft Party 2014

Last year, I attended my first Etsy Craft Party at Hello XOXO. Although I didn’t really get a chance to do any crafting (getting there late means the tables are full), but I did have a lot of fun eating the food, goofing off in the photo booth and meeting a whole lot of people from Sacramento.

So, when I got the chance to organize one this year, I jumped at it! So, this year I’m organizing my first Etsy Craft Party at Sew Katie Jean in Lincoln, CA. If you live in the area and want to attend, it’s on June 6 from 6-9 pm and you can click on the Eventbrite link to RSVP to the party. If we get 25 RSVPs by May 9, we get Etsy credit to get supplies for the party!

logoThis year’s theme is Recapture: Bringing new meaning to your photographs and I’m already thinking of all the ways we can add artistic touches to our photos – embroidery, paint, decoupage, photo transfers and more. I’m also going to load up on old frames that we can paint to our liking.

I’m already piling up the inspiration on Pinterest, like this oldie but goodie tutorial from A Beautiful Mess: How to transfer a photo to fabric and other creative ways to use photographs.

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

So as if it’s not apparent enough…I simply cannot wait for this party!

Are you hosting an Etsy Craft Party? Do you want to, or do you want to know where to find one? Check out Etsy for more info. Share the link to your party/blog in the comments so we can inspire each other and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest to get more details and updates on the party!

Craft Inspiration: Paper Mache

IMG_1833As a student of both Journalism and Graphic Design, magazines are my cup of tea. I devour all of the articles, and I am always intrigued by print design. Unfortunately, some smaller magazines have fallen victim to the advent of digital production, and even some of my favorite magazine stands have closed. But there are a few that have stuck around, and of course…as a mom….my life is full of baby magazines right now.

But, then there lies that problem after you’re done reading them…what to do? You can’t just toss them. Totally not good for the environment, and what if you need to refer back to them in the future? So you keep them around. And they stack up and stack up. And soon enough, your entire room is surrounded by stacks of magazines. Oh, is that just me?

My love for crafting has made this a simple fix. It’s time for some paper mache, y’all! I’m working on a project for a future article, and I thought I would share some inspiration for the project. I have a lot of ideas running around my head, and since this is something that will stick around my house – I want to make sure I love it and it will make sense.

Photo from Stars for Streetlights

Photo from Stars for Streetlights

I am not a fan of taxidermy. I think it’s sort of neat in photos, but when I come face to face with a buck staring at me through it’s dead eyes, I can’t hang (no pun intended). But paper mache taxidermy – that’s something I can get down with! The full tutorial along with photos can be found at Stars for Streetlights.

Photo from Lil Blue Boo

Photo from Lil Blue Boo

For this project, Ashley from Lil Blue Boo did not use any template, she just crumbled up newspaper into balls and shaped it to make the unicorn. Obviously, there was more involved, but that’s how she got the basic form. It took her about four hours to complete it, and the unicorn had to dry overnight. Ashley hung it up in her daughter’s playroom, and I’m thinking Cecilia’s room would be quite fancy with one.

Photo from A Little Artsy

Photo from A Little Artsy

Let’s say you want to paint your animal head, which I think I would do. Isabel, who runs Bel & Beau contributed this tutorial to A Little Artsy. She used an animal mask from a craft store as a guide for her animal head, and then hung it up in her son’s room.

Since there are a lot of babies who will be gracing our lives with their presence in the next couple months, I think this would be the perfect gift for a nursery. I’m definitely making one for Cecilia’s room, just need to figure out what animal to make after we get her room all figured out.

Do you have any fun paper mache tutorials to share, or did you make an animal head with one of these tutorials? Share the link in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram, Google + and Twitter! Find more animal mache inspiration on Pinterest!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdaysFrom now until Christmas, I will be sharing some thrifty ways to make your own Christmas gifts for your family and friends. If you aren’t feeling very crafty right now, you can also find handmade shops that sell these cute little handmade gifts. You will be supporting small, handmade businesses and you won’t have to dig up all your crafting supplies that have been in your closet since you tried to make all your Christmas gifts last year! I will be making or purchasing each of these gifts for my peeps (depending on time and willingness to craft)…so I fully support all of them!

Photo from Scarves Dot Net

Photo from Scarves Dot Net

How to Make a Camera Strap from a Scarf from Scarves Dot Net – Remember when I wrote about the most awesome and amazing Stacie Grissom for my Meet the Maker series? Well, she shared this awesome tutorial on Scarves Dot Net. All you need is a silk scarf  (you can find one at a secondhand store for cheap), some leather ( or pleather, whatever you want for the accent), key rings and some basic sewing skills. Don’t have the time and/or patience to make one? Check out the cute scarf camera straps at Paisley Maze for under $20!

Photo from Mary Highstreet

Photo from Mary Highstreet

Breyer Horse Bookend from Mary Highstreet – There is not a full tutorial listed on this site, but from the looks of it, she got some reclaimed wood bookends and cut the breyer horse in half to attach to the wood. You can find bookends at any thrift store, or you can find some scrap wood and connect them to make your bookends. Breyer horse toys can also be found at thrift stores, or for cheap at a craft store. If you don’t like the color of the horse (or wood, for that matter)…get creative and paint them! You can also find a whole mess of bookends (and not just horse ones) for $20 at Parchment and Pallet on Etsy.

Photo from belle appetit

Photo from belle appetit

DIY coffee mugs from belle appetit – This is an easy craft that can be done a million ways, for a million different people. You just need a mug (preferably a solid color one…you can find these at a thrift store, too), a sharpie and an oven. You can also get personalized coffee mugs for $8 each at Monroe Mom of 2 on Etsy…which would make it less than $20 for two!

And here is the perfect match for your handmade mugs!

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

Win a Numi Tea Blending Kit from A Beautiful Mess – Emma and Elsie, the lovely ladies from A Beautiful Mess, teamed up with Numi, an organic tea company, to offer a free Numi Tea Blending Kit to 10 lucky winners! The Giveaway is open until Nov 29 and you just need to click on the above photo or the A Beautiful Mess link to enter!

If you have any awesome DIY Christmas gifts, or if you happen to sell any of the above-mentioned gifts…please let me know. I would be happy to share! You can either post in the comments or find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. I am also looking for small/handmade businesses that are offering a sale on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or all of the above! If you are having one, or if you know of a shop that is, let me know so I can feature you or your favorite shop!

Stay thrifty, my friends.

My first knitting project

Me in my way oversized beanie

Me in my way oversized beanie

Today I’m going to share my first knitting project with you as part of my participation in the Your First Knitting Project: Blog It to Win It contest through Interweave! Participants also get to choose up to five products they want in the hopes that they win, and here are my choices:

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Intentional Printing $17.90

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Paint, print, Layer, Collage $19.96

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Screen filler and block out $10.99

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Inktense pencil set $31.99

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Handsewn $18.11

So, here is my story…

My poor mom. She tried so hard to get me interested in sewing and baking, but it never panned out. Ever. Until now. Now I wish I had all of that free experience at my fingertips, but I’ve always done things my own way. For some reason, the one craft that my mom taught me that actually caught on was knitting. I think it was because I could do it while watching TV, and I am a huge fan of attempting to multitask.

I really wanted to do a big, baggy beanie, so my helpful mom looked through ALL of her knitting books (she has A LOT) and we finally picked a beanie. She took me to the yarn store to choose my yarn and I started right away. I made all the rookie mistakes – picking up extra stitches and then dropping the ones I needed.

I would get frustrated and just put it down for a while, and once I came back to it, I was refreshed and ready to try again. That was one of the biggest lessons I learned from crafting – sometimes you just need to step away and revisit it later. I was really excited, and slightly relieved, when it was finally done.

I wore it every chance I got, and my friends had a lot of fun with it, too. As a result, it’s super stretched out now and is pretty much unwearable at this point. But I still keep it around, because it’s my first completed knitting project – and I just love it so much!

My mom can pretty much knit anything under the sun, and now that I am becoming more and more domesticated, I hope to learn some more from her and see what else I can make! I’m thinking scarves, mittens, pouches, and maybe even a beer koozie!

This post is for the Blog It to Win It contest through Interweave. You can enter the contest by clicking on the Interweave link. Share your post in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #firstknittingproject. Find more knitting inspiration on my Pinterest!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

Feeling all fancy with my first order at my Mariposa Blossoms Etsy store (yes, I’m still bragging about it), I was thinking about what kind of gift wrap I should wrap it with. I want to maintain this DIY/homemade theme, so I looked around the craft room/baby room to see what I can find.

And what I found was my big ol stack of newspapers and magazines that I have acquired over the last year or so. I’ve asked my mom to save her magazines for a long time and while she’s been diligent about doing so, I have not been so diligent about using them.

In fact, when we did our last move, my boyfriend informed me that he would not help move the two boxes of magazines I had packed. He would not put them in Storage and he definitely would not move them into our new digs. He allowed me one box, and I even had to fight for that. I can’t blame him though. I’m known for hoarding all sorts of “crafting material” and never using it, then complaining about how cluttered everything is.

Alas, I ended up donating the majority of the magazines and then promising myself I would never do it again. Then we moved in with his dad, who gets the daily paper. Not being able to throw the paper away when it was no longer needed, I started storing it. Cringing every time I look at it, I need to start doing something with it. Which is where the gift wrap idea comes into play!

Here are some neat ways to reuse magazines and newspapers as gift wrap:

Image belongs to Redfly Creations

Image belongs to Redfly Creations

Magazine Gift Bag Tutorial from Redfly Creations – Melissa, who runs the blog, is a mom of three and she offers a lot of tutorials, recipes and printables on her site. I actually found her site from a Mason Jar repin on Pinterest, and landed on the gift bag tutorial, which inspired today’s post. She also has a tutorial on DIY photo shoots, which I love! Not sure Sam will love that idea, but that is just par for the course.

Image belongs to The Gunny Sack

Image belongs to The Gunny Sack

Magazine Gift Bags Tutorial from The Gunny Sack – And if you are handy with the sewing machine (which I am not…yet), here is a tutorial from The Gunny Sack. I have featured her DIY Mason Jar tutorial on a previous Thrifty Thursdays, so obviously I really like her site. She is full of tutorials, recipes and help with photography, so check her out!

Image belongs to Junk Mail Gems

Image belongs to Junk Mail Gems

Gift bags out of Junk Mail from Junk Mail Gems - This is the first time I’ve visited this site, and I think it’s kind of amazing. It’s true to it’s name and offers a whole lot of projects that use, well…junk mail. If you have an address, you know you get junk mail, so why not put it to good use! I normally just give all my junk mail to Cecilia to destroy, but this might be a little more handy.

Image belongs to Easy Homestead

Image belongs to Easy Homestead

DIY Newspaper Gift Wrap from Easy Homestead – Ok, so I followed the link to find the original tutorial, but apparently the website is no longer. But, I did find Easy Homestead on Facebook where they share a lot of tutorials and fun ideas for reusing and upcycling stuff.

Image belongs to Two Shades of Pink

Image belongs to Two Shades of Pink

Gift Wrap Ideas from Two Shades of Pink – And finally, to top off your DIY newspaper-wrapped gift, a newspaper flower! This was part of a gift wrap series that Jessica, the author of the blog, featured on her site. Her website is all about celebrating…celebrations, and is definitely worth checking out. I think I’ll be returning to this site when I’m planning the little one’s first birthday.

I can’t believe I’m already thinking about her first birthday.

Do you know of an innovative way to wrap your gifts in newspaper and magazine clippings? Share here in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #diygiftwrap. Find more of my DIY newspaper and magazine gift wrap inspiration on Pinterest!