Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Macro Intermission

Sometimes you just need to go stick your nose in the bushes.
I've never heard anyone say that before. But I figure it pretty much equates to "Stop & smell the roses".
Except it's winter in my world & the roses are still hiding.

I was feeling restless & needed some inspiration + some vitamin D + some fresh air. So I took a casual stroll around the yard with my smartphone & little macro lens attachment. And I, well...stuck my nose in the bushes.

I love all the textures & colors.  I even spied spring.
There are so many fascinating things to witness when we become a spectator at close range.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

DIY: Cupid's Arrow

 So far, that pile of pruned apple tree branches in my parent's backyard has provided arms for our winter snowmen on that one day it snowed during Christmas break, & NOW for these Cupid Arrows. I recently made these with my 4th grade STAR Club crew. The kids went ga-ga over this project! My favorite thing about the arrows is the mix of the natural branch with the brightly colored embroidery floss.How about making up a bunch of these to give as school classroom Valentines instead of candy? 
Here's what you need to get started...

SUPPLIES:
small handsaw
wooden stick/branches
hot glue gun
scissors
embroidery floss
felt
cardstock (patterned or plain)
white glue
optional: thread for hanging arrows

 Cut a branch to your desired length. Then, cut a slit in one end (the larger end) as shown in the picture, approximately 1/2" down.

 Start wrapping the embroidery floss. To begin, wrap the end onto itself to secure. Hold the floss taut in one hand, while spinning the branch in the other hand. 

 To end one floss color, snip the end with scissors. Then, apply a couple drops of glue. Smoosh & flatten the loose end, spreading the glue around with your fingers. (The glue will dry clear, so don't worry about all the white!) 

 Wrap as many colors as you want & vary the length of each color. I like to scatter my colors about, leaving some of the branch showing through. For smaller tots making this project, try painting on stripes of color instead. 

 Now for the feather. Cut TWO pieces of cardstock however long & wide you want your feather to be. Then, cut them as shown in the picture. (I like using two pieces, because it gives the feather more dimension, but you could use one piece of cardstock if you wanted.)

 Holding the two pieces together, cut a slot on the pointed end, wide enough for your branch to fit in, to about 1" high. 

 Now cut slanted slits along each side of both feathers.

 Glue the two feathers together as shown in the photo.

 Dab some more glue on both sides, right above the slot you cut.

 Shimmy that feather into the slit you made with the handsaw.

Cut two hearts out of a small piece of felt. Hot glue them to the other end of your branch.

Optional: Tie "invisible" thread to each end of your Cupid's Arrow for hanging.
(This project is for display only. Not a toy.)






Thursday, January 22, 2015

Public Service Announcement

 The 10-year old started using deodorant last week. She brought up the idea of wearing it, after presenting me with exhibit A: her smelly pits. PHEW! I had no idea. Just FYI (& I know you know this): a lot of kids stink. And we need to help them not grow up to be stinky adults. So, here's a friendly Public Service Announcement: Parents, PLEASE, smell your kids' pits. And then take action. Seriously. It starts at home. We can end this war on odor.



Monday, January 19, 2015

DIY: Label Quote Art with Brother P-Touch Label Maker

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Brother and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.
 My old-school label maker (you know, the one with the clickety-clack rotation dial that slightly resembles the Starship Enterprise?) has a permanent shrine-like place of residence in my crafty room. I love label makers. Like, LOVE. And when this super duper fancy Brother P-Touch label maker showed up on my doorstep, I started drooling all over the buttons. (So many delicious buttons!) And then I was like, "Mommy's got a new toy." And then my 12-year old was like, "Can I have it, mom?!" And I was like, "No." And then she begged, "Please? Plea-eeeeeeese?!?!" And then I transformed into the Gollum character & started hissing things about my preciousssssss label maker. 
She got the hint. 
I do let her borrow the label maker on occasion. But only if she answers a riddle first.

 So, um, I've just found out that January is National Get Organized Month. Which is why I've chosen to create an art project with my label maker. No, for real, this is an organizational project. Of sorts. 

This project is inspired by two of my favorite things (besides label makers): funny things my kids have said, & their adorable artwork.
I have tried my bestest to jot down silly things my girls have said throughout the years. I chose a few of my favorites for this D.I.Y. tutorial. I even snuck in a quote from my niece, Abby, & another from the Mr. 

And what parent doesn't have gobs of their kids' art from school, piled in nooks & hiding in crannies? Seriously, how many layers of this stuff can one fridge handle?  I'm always trying to find something creative to do with that artwork before it gets "lost". So, see, this will help you pull out that mess of masterpieces & get them sorted immediately! So, first things first: pick out your favorites, & when the littles aren't looking, gently place the rest of the pile in the "recycle bin". 
*wink, wink*

(OK, is that mean? Because, I think I share the same dilemma as every parent out there. How many construction paper portraits can one family handle??!? If I see one more craft with cotton balls, I'm gonna scream. For the love of crayons, people, I can't handle the production! The supply vs. demand is way off balance here. The refrigerator is crying for help. I swear I heard it weep the other day.)

Besides the Brother P-Touch label maker, you'll need that artwork from your kids
OR, if you want to create some new artwork, then grab a blank canvas + art supplies. (I chose to do some watercolor paintings as gifts.) But you can draw with colored pencils, crayons, ink, or pastels. Or paint with oils or acrylics, too. Whatever medium you choose, pick the appropriate drawing/painting surface.
You'll also need scissors.

Create a new masterpiece or find a treasured art project from that pile we mentioned earlier. 

Next, you're ready to print out your quote. If you don't have a quote from your kids, find a quote from your favorite author or philosopher. When you're ready to print you'll find different fonts to choose from on the Brother P-Touch label maker. You can also adjust the size & width of the font, add borders or symbols, print horizontal or vertical, save label designs for future use...it's so much fun!

When your artwork is dry, position the words or phrases on the page until you get it exactly how you like it. (Cut the words or phrases with scissors to fit your design.) THEN, when it looks just right, peel off the paper backing & stick the labels onto the art.

 One of the best things about the labels is how they peel off the paper backing. Not gonna lie: Before I read the directions, I spent 5 minutes trying to get the paper backing off those labels. But then I realized if you fold the label in half the long way, the paper backing comes off in two little strips! So easy. And quick!

 Frame the Quote Art, or slap it on the wall all artsy-ish with washi tape.
I had fun playing around with both the acid-free clear label tape AND the white tape. 




Brother is giving away a P-Touch label maker every day in January, as well as a Grand Prize pack worth up to $2000. Click HERE to find out more—& enter to win!

To find a label maker that's just right for you, visit Brother's product selector HERE.

For inspiration on how the Brother P-Touch Label Maker can help you get organized in every room of your home, check them out on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and YouTube!  

Oh, & to humor us, take a peek at the stop-motion video my 10-year old & I made, using the Brother P-Touch label maker:
        


Friday, January 9, 2015

The Daily Banana

If you follow the WhiMSy love Facebook page, or Instagram feed, you already know about "The Daily Banana".
You see, Pazely is obsessed with the word "banana". Lately, she says it all the time.
Me: "Hi, Pazely!"
Pazely: "Banana."

Me: "What do you want for breakfast, Pazely?"
Pazely: "Banana."

Me: "How was your day at school today?"
Pazely: "Banana."

Everything is "banana". She is a little weirdo & I love her.

Our close neighbors, who happen to be my parents/Pazely's Mimi + Papa, are away on a road trip. To be funny, Pazely & I sent them a few "banana" messages. You know, so they feel connected & don't miss home so much.  They've heard "banana" as much as I have, & we don't want them to miss that either. Every morning they open up their email & have a banana surprise: a photo, a video, a picture... (We think we are hilarious.)
Three days in, I had the idea to ask Pazely if she wanted to turn this into a year-long project. I mean, we were having so much fun doing this, why not? She thought it was a pretty cool idea.
Her exact response? 
"Banana!"
Of course.

Just yesterday, we made this quick 6-second stop-motion video before school.
(The doodling is all Pazely. The ukulele is all me.)

I'm giddy because it gives us a chance to hang out & do something creative together.

Anyway, you know how when you get a new car, you start to see that same car everywhere? Or if you get a short hair cut, you notice everyone else's short hair? Stuff like that. Well, let me just tell you something. There are bananas EVERYWHERE.
(haha!)

Follow The Daily Banana flickr set HERE.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week in Review: December 29-January 4

My eyeballs are currently burning. On fire. I think they're mad at me for opening them. Seriously, naptime is a must for this girl today. After a 2 week vacation from school, it's time to give up the lazy, the dilly-dallying, the sleeping in, the "Q: What are we going to do today? A: Whatever we want!" attitude, & get back to routine + early mornings. (Waaaahhhh!)

The girls & I squeezed every bit of happy we could out of winter break. Just last night the girls bought those loom band things with cash earned from raking leaves. So far, I have made a purple dress charm, a moustache charm & a bow charm. Pazely keeps asking for her loom back, but I'm having too much fun! 
We painted nails.
We played games. Checkers,  Connect Four, & Tenzi, to be exact. 
We built snowmen. They died the next day. Darn Chinook. And my buns are totally feeling that workout! Making snowmen is a lot of work, I'll have you know.
We taped our faces. HAHA! Who knew a roll of tape could provide so much entertainment. Sadly, the Mr. wanted no part of the tape shenanigans. 
We doodled. 
With visiting cousins we took a hike (& the children, while climbing "mountains" --which were just piles of dirt & rocks--all declared: "This is better than a Narnia adventure!"), watched movies (Heaven is For Real, Dolphin Tale 2, & my FAVE: Box Trolls), went rollerskating, read books, had a sleepover, went out for ice cream, boxed with the Mr, ate SPAM for the first time (my girls' first time), & went on a shopping spree at the dollar store.
We made marshmallows.
We baked.
We made paper snowflakes.
We visited reindeer. And a fake Santa. The line was too long for the real one. A selfie with a Santa statue works in a jiffy!
We crafted.
We had a fancy tea with Mimi.
We visited the library.

--------------

Though it was sprinkled with bits of good & amazing & loveliness, I really am glad to see 2014 gone.
2014 was a sad year. A tough year. A trying year. One of my most unfavorite years to date, if you want to know the truth.
I'm hoping things are going to start looking up. At least that's where I'll look. Up.


Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown

I decided to do the Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown (C4) because I have been living in a crafty dry spell for a very long time. I mean I craft, but not creative, get-in-the-zone, take-time-to-do-what-you-love kind of crafting. Doing this C4 series challenged me to craft, like, ALL THE TIME.
I HAD to craft. I promised you oodles of fantastic crafty things. (Twenty-seven projects worth!) And I couldn't let you down.
I also love Christmas. And making gifts has always been my favorite thing. I wanted you all to be inspired to make things too. So I concocted this crafty series for you.

What I didn't expect would happen is getting to travel on an amazing creative journey. I know everyone's creative process is different. But I thought, just for fun, I'd give you a peek into mine.

I started out having a head full of crafts that I wanted to make. That was the easy part. Lots of stuff was already up there in my noggin. I crafted, photographed, edited photos, blogged, & scheduled the first 10 projects. A lot of time went into each one of those posts you saw every morning.
A WHOLE STINKIN' LOT OF TIME.
But a cool thing transpired: One project inspired another, & another, & another. It became a whole ricochet of inventive productivity. It was so cool to be in the middle of the magic!

But then we moved. 
In the middle of all this craziness. 
ACK! 
Luckily, those 10 scheduled posts saved me. I had JUST enough time to pack & relocate & get a wee bit settled (not really). All the while the scheduled C4 posts went live each day on the blog. I had to quickly get back in the Crazy Crafty mode though.

It doesn't help me to FORCE creativity. Just sitting there, hoping a super deluxe concept would fall into my lap, doesn't work. So I decided to be proactive: I made lists. (I love lists.)

And my lists looked like this...
One column had a list of projects I wanted to make. Just general ideas like:
a garland
gift tags
food/dessert
gift wrap

Another column included a list of items I had in my crafty stash that I wanted to try to incorporate into a project:
contact paper
wooden spools
canning jar lids
champagne corks
oatmeal boxes
bubble gum capsules
clear vinyl

And a third column listed tools/devices I had that I wanted to use in the crafty process:
wood burning tool
computer scanner/printer
sewing machine

I often grabbed a cuppa tea, put on some music or a movie, & dumped all these items from my lists onto the floor in front of me. And then I would  stare. And touch. And squinch my eyes half shut, trying to picture it into something magnificent. And sometimes this worked.
I felt like an inventor.

And then I realized my lists were almost like those school classwork assignments I remember getting as a kid, where you draw a line from one item in the left column that related to an item in the right column. (Whether it was a math problem, or matching a word to its definition, etc.)
For example: Wood spools + a wood burning tool = DUH!

The creative mess was always constant. In the morning I'd take over the dining table. Ok, I took over the dining ROOM. And then every night I'd shove the mess in a corner so we could all eat. And then I'd start again the next day, setting up my crafty supplies until dinner. I am grateful for my patient family who put up with the consistent whirlwind of disarray & clutter.

The deadline of each morning's crafty post DID require me to have to come up with new projects every day. And though I did panic at times, I always knew that something would eventually come together. And it always did. I just waited. And trusted the process.
I loved living in a perpetually creative world this last month. My mind was always tinkering with the most recently contrived design skipping about in my brain.
My goal was to bring you original ideas. I am so proud of the results. (And I am also lucky to have two creative little girls who helped with a couple ideas as well.)

My crafty passion was fed in a big way. And I thank you for all your kind emails & messages & comments. I loved hearing how many of you couldn't wait to open your inbox every day, to see the latest project in the Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown. Some of your notes even made me teary-eyed! (Aw, shucks.)
Thanks for visiting & pinning & sharing & tweeting & commenting!

Doing this crafty countdown got me all excited for the coming new year, & making time for the things I'm passionate about. As is evidenced by this recent crafty endeavor: when I actually made time for the things I love doing, I got to go on a fun creative adventure!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

DIY: Scanned Sprinkle Gift Tags

I cannot believe it. This is the last project in the Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown! It's been a crazy ride for me. Not gonna lie. I'm looking forward to taking a break & taking it easy with my family on Christmas, & I hope you are too. But in case you have some last minute gifts to wrap, I think today's project could be a fun addition.

Here's what you'll need...







Clean up the printer with a vacuum (+ a soft brush attachment).


Thanks so much for all your kind words during this crafty edition! It thrills me to no end that many of you anticipated with excitement each day's project. It was fun for me to surprise you every day. And this endeavor really motivated the crafty passion in me. I will have a follow-up blog post coming soon about some things I learned along the way....& reveal the truth behind the craziness.
Merry Christmas to you all!


The Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown is a D.I.Y. project every day from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.
So be sure to check back often!
Click HERE (or the logo on the sidebar) for a list of all the current Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown posts.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

DIY: Reindeer Jar

The 10-year old is the maker of today's DIY. Not only do I think her idea is pretty fantastic, but it's perfect for that last-minute gift. Jar gifts are always a hit, in my opinion. Fill a jar with a cookie mix, a soup mix, a brownie mix. Or fill it with home-baked treats. (In my case, I've filled it with salted caramel popcorn. A new favorite recipe that is oh-so-crunchy & simply addictive. Click HERE for the pin.) And then embellish your jar with this adorable reindeer, which goes together in minutes. To say I am in love with this project is a supreme understatement. 

For this project you'll need:
• a jar
• 4 pipe cleaners
• 2 giant googly eyes
• a pom-pom (red or black)
• a marker
• a hot glue gun

Now, you can google "How to make reindeer antlers from pipe cleaners" if you want. But Pazely's antlers are the cutest in the all the land. It's your choice. 
Follow these steps to make your own reindeer jar...










Once your antlers are complete, affix it to the lid as follows:









The Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown is a D.I.Y. project every day from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.
So be sure to check back often!
Click HERE (or the logo on the sidebar) for a list of all the current Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown posts.