Tuesday, January 27, 2015

release banner

 I thought I'd share this yesterday… but it was just too dark as the snow began to fall. So I let go… Ha!

Hope all of you east coasters are cozy and warm today. We were only hit by a normal winter storm out here… nothing epic. Only a pretty, fluffy and very white morning to wake up to. And some shoveling, of course! But I have strong arms.

As I said last week, my word for 2015 is RELEASE. January has surprised me with quite a bit of loosening and unleashing so far. A colorful little banner feels like a celebration of these and all future "releases". Each triangle holds specific ways I'd like to "let go" written on the back. The watercolor illustrations are great reminders… from releasing arrows, to blowing dandelion dreams into the air, to soaring sparrows.

I am letting go of negative patterns, old dreams, toxic energy and making way for the new and fresh.

I am releasing exciting ideas, big dreams, lofty goals, and joy out into the universe.

It all feels quite freeing... 
And so very happy!

The triangles are stitched together on my sewing machine, but punching holes and threading through some ribbon would be an easy alternative. You might like to try one yourself. Either create pictures for your word of the year… or maybe you'd like a release banner too. While I was waiting for the snow to stop falling, I scanned these and made it into a pdf!

 You can find this lovingly illustrated RELEASE BANNER in my shop, where you can download it and print them onto card stock to hang up your own bit of letting go! Yes!

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Friday, January 23, 2015


I never shared my word for this year. It didn't come easily. There was a lot of searching and listening well into the first week of January. I knew it didn't matter when I found it, but I was starting to get frustrated as one word after the other didn't fit. And then I let go. And of course, that was the answer to not only it appearing… but essentially WHAT that word was. RELEASE. Upon claiming it… lots of things instantly fell away or loosened enough to begin what will be a very important year. A year of release in my home, my life, and my work. From new books and projects being released into the world to  letting go of things that have bound me for so long. It's time. I'm ready.

And so my scheduled bliss-art day arrived this morning. I chose to focus on what my word for 2015 represents to me. 
 I made little watercolor illustrations to remind me. They'll be finished up with some string and shared here on Monday when I  hang them as a watercolor banner of release symbolism. The couple of  hours set aside to play with my box of paints was a true gift. Hope you can make a little time to play also!

Happy Weekend!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

stamping stencils

 Playing with stamps and small stencils. We're nearing Valentine's Day and heart shapes inspire me this way… remember this?

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Sunday, January 18, 2015


A little Sunday evening post was in order to tell you about our new happy head wear. It began last week when Maya used a toilet paper tube as her prompt of the day for her Frivolous Project. I couldn't resist! In 10 minutes I had made and photographed this definitely frivolous cat hat. 
So fun, right? Our "serious party animal" seemed to make a lot of people smile on Instagram. So I made a second.
This weekend my daughter and some friends wanted to get in on the action. "Pet crowns" were the initial goal, but they changed gears once we added some metallic paints to the mix. Royal crowns of their very own were whipped up. With a hole punch and elastic thread, these work beautifully for people. What a fantastic party hat- or just what's needed to feel like a queen for the day. Because they're miniature, these have a "cool" factor that makes them a little more sophisticated then a typical paper crown. Important to keep in mind for 10 year olds. Elastic thread is the key to them feeling "barely there" and being able to sit jauntily on the side of your head.

The sky's the limit to the design possibilities. We just used a few supplies and were totally satisfied.

  • Toilet paper tube
  • Scissors
  • Washi tape
  • Hole punch
  • Elastic thread
  • Metallic paint
  • Paint brush
  1. Cut 1/4 of the tube off. Use the rest.
  2. Slice shapes out of the top. Classic crown triangles or fringe have been our only designs so far (we really need to branch out!) Fringe can be wrapped around a pencil to create the curl effect on the top or bottom of the crown.
  3. Decorate with paint and tape or whatever strikes your fancy. Let Dry.
  4. Punch two holes on opposites sides from each other.
  5. Knot elastic thread through one hole. Try crown on pull the thread to the other side to gauge the length you'll need for your own comfort. Cut and tie the thread to other hole.
  6. Slip your crown on… your Majesty!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

the paper playhouse

A light hearted energy has landed in my home this week and with it came a desire to play. Katrina Rodabaugh's new book, The Paper Playhouse (Quarrybooks), arrived just in time!
 It's filled with children's projects using recycled paper, boxes and books. This focus makes me happy for all of the obvious green reasons, but also for utilizing materials that are so easy for kids to find around the house... and for their parents to gratefully hand over to them for experimentation and creativity.
 There are plenty of perfect invitations for parents to collaborate with their younger children around craft, creativity and imaginary play. Lots of the projects can be made independently by an older child. In the back there is an extensive gallery of paper artists and their work for further inspiration. Just a few of the many below. And YES those are my newspaper and sewing pattern flowers! So happy to be included here with such a great group!
Congratulations Katrina! What a lovely book to share our kids!

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Monday, January 12, 2015

multi tool

I love beautifully crafted tools. So, a beautiful crafted multi-tool simply makes me weak in the knees. Someone who knows this quite well snapped it up for me instantly.  We were at a Paper Source, and I picked it up admiringly thinking of all the folks who might like it for Christmas, not even considering myself. But it looks like I was considered. Very sweet. Now I carry it around in my glove compartment… and sometimes even my purse! You never know when the call to build or repair might strike! If you'd like a well made multi-tool too, you can send a hint to someone who knows YOU… or don't even wait. Here's the link. I have no affiliations with either Papersource or Kikkerland. I just like them both and think you will too!

Have a productive start to your week!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

diy branch spool holder #1

 I have an abundance of thread. My spool holder overflows into baskets and jars. I've thought of constructing another one for awhile… one of my ideas involves sticks and branches. To see how it might work, I began with a birch branch from the kindling pile. Who doesn't love a good birch branch?
 I just hammered in a few nails and distributed them fairly evenly, but took into consideration knots and bumps on the wood. Each nail is angled up slightly, since I knew it would be propped vertically. What a great way to organize and display a small collection of spools. Next I'll try something a little more complex that holds a lot more- like my store bought holder… only with sticks from my yard!

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Monday, January 5, 2015

bliss-art days

 My house is silent, cozy, and peaceful. It's just me here… for the first time in so many weeks. I'm planning and plotting the near and distant future. 

Starting in January of 2012, I've made it a priority to take good care of myself with exercise, beautiful food- and regular yoga has been added in now too. When I got sick with the flu a couple of weeks ago, I gained a deeper appreciation for all of my hard work and wanted to shout out to the world… "Take care of yourself! Stay healthy!" But my head hurt too much, and I couldn't move off of the couch.  Now that I'm well, I'm more committed than ever to keeping my body strong. But I'm ready to add in another piece of self-care that has eluded me for the past few years.  I 'm sharing, because maybe you're aching for it too.

What happened to creating for the simple joy of it? You know- making for pure pleasure, as my daughter and her friends do- so freely. Of course, I've made things to sell, gifts for others, items for my kids, and plenty of soulful crafting for healing. It's all good- but I want to make (at least a little time) for creating art for nothing more than exploration.  I'm busy. Clearly. Once a month shouldn't be too much to ask for. I'll try a new medium, paint more, sew something frivolous, and maybe even pick up my knitting needles! If I don't make room for this- who will? I hereby declare them my monthly bliss-art days!  I deserve at least one a month! You do too, don't you think? Let's mark our calendars thoughtfully to ensure our success!

These paper animal spirits were created as a "bliss-art" warm-up right before I sat down to write to you.  I tried using this technique with my stamps. LOVE it, and so will you!  No hand carving necessary.

Happy 2015 my friends!
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Peeking in after the longest (and totally spontaneous) blog break ever! The day I wrote my last post, was the day that the flu knocked on our front door. It paid visits to each of us, and didn't leave until a few days before Christmas. What a lesson in letting go… and yet, I couldn't really. So I scrambled and I hustled. And out of town visitors were welcomed, Santa still came, and a tenth birthday was celebrated in style… all in matter of days. The amount of cooking/baking, thoughtful planning and lack of sleep that I muster around this time of year always boggles my mind. I know I'm not alone. The rewards in the moment are fabulous… laughter, love, excitement. But it's the after story, that I enjoy most. This week of quiet and peace. The slow movement of the hours. The leftovers of treats and presents. The new books and cups of hot beverages. Slippers and pajamas till noon… or longer. This year we've added a new tradition- the purge. We are cleaning out closets and taking stock… slowly and in pjs, of course. And as I think about the year we are leaving behind- and all that I look forward to for 2015, I have printed out my favorite tool for annual reflection- Susannah Conway's Unraveling the Year Ahead.
I highly recommend taking some time to contemplate all that has come to pass and what intentions you'd like to set for the future. Susannah's free work book gives me just the right jumpstart each New Year. Wishing you all much peace and love as we hang our new calendars!
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

handmade holidays

handmade holiday round-up

As I was checking on my blog for my spicy bark recipe, I realized I should really do= my usual round-up of crafty ideas for the holidays. So let's revisit some projects and roundups from past winters to serve as visual reminders for you (and me!).  A good idea is a wonderful thing to recycle.  Incorporating handmade into your home and gifts always adds more meaning to the holidays, and the benefits are vast. It ensures that there's less rushing about out. And if you create with friends and family, traditions are formed and memories made. There's still time...
log tray 2
diy yule log candle tray here
herb gift toppers
herb gift toppers found here
christmas wrapping
wrapping suggestions here

spicy chocolate bark
recipe found here
simple gifts: diy wristies (loose option)
tutorial found here

oat floats
oat floats: how to found here
diy: frilled pencils
diy frilled pencils (great stocking stuffers!)
And here are a plethora of good ones from deeper in the archives!

Above are some well-loved decoration ideas. Links are from left to right.
Row 1: burlap forestsnow covered pine conescranberry wreath
Row 2: rag wreathnewspaper snowflake garlandbatting scrap wreath ornament

The following are links for simple gifts that whip up quickly. Once again from left to right.
Row 1:  elf slipperscard holdersmilk carton cookie houses
Row 2:  napkin rings and other security paper ideasgift bag/boxes, leather leaf cuff
Row 3:  wrapping ideaschild's travel pillowpaper whites
Row 4:  love letter pillow, travel felt boardenvelope purses
Row 5: quick personalized stationerymemory gamelast minute treat bags

Happy Making!
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Monday, December 15, 2014


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here- finally!
 We have yet to decorate our tree… just lights for now.  We're finding just the right balance of celebrating our favorite family traditions and making some new ones. Stockings have not been hung yet. I'm thinking of making a brand new batch for this year. Our previous ones were finished up on Christmas eve 10 years ago- not knowing I would have a surprise Christmas present… my early little girly. Fresh stockings are calling me to my sewing machine.

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