Quotes as Wall Art

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We are in the midst of packing for our move to the sunny Okanagan at the end of the month.  So, I REALLY should not be crafting right now!  That said, I’m sure we’ll be even busier on the other end, and I really want Kay’s room decor to be ready for our arrival.  Right now, she is into all things Disney princess.  And while I’m willing to work with a general princessy theme, I also want her surroundings to reflect her other interests, such as reading, science, and exploration.  This is where Dr. Seuss comes in.  The man was a genius, in my opinion.  His quotes, while whimsically worded for young children, are also very inspirational, and remain relevant for us through to adulthood.  Below are a few of my favourites, taken from the book “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

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Here’s how I completed this project:

1.  Create a word document of your favourite quotes, experimenting with different fonts and text colours.

2.  Search free clip art images that highlight your quotes.

3.  Print- I went to Staples and the job cost less than $1.50.

4.  Choose your frames.  Mine are 11 x 14.  $3 each at the dollar store.  I used acrylic paint to add a pop of colour to the mattings.

5.  Viola!  A quick and easy DIY that can be done for around $10.

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DIY baby shower gifts

One of my close friends recently gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  This friend also happens to be an amazingly talented seamstress, who always gives very thoughtful handmade gifts whenever there is a birthday or new baby in our group.  So, I wanted to make sure I welcomed her little one with something unique and crafty.  I also wanted to jump on board with the shower’s pirate theme.

 

Project One: Framed Alphabet Print 

1.  Create a document in Microsoft Word.

2.  Type out the alphabet in your choice of colour and font.

3.  Choose a contrasting colour for the first letter of baby’s name and bottom line of text.

4.  Search Google for free clip art images.

5.  Print document.  I took mine to Staples to get higher quality ink and paper.

6.  Complete the project with a 8 x 10 or 8 1/2 x 11 frame.

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Project Two: Baby’s First Initial Wall Hanging

1.  Purchase a large wooden initial at Michaels, Walmart etc.

2.  Wrap outside edges with ribbon, securing with Elmer’s glue.

3.  Add themed embellishments and/or paint the surface of the letter.

4.  Write baby’s birth info. using a Sharpie marker.

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I had so much fun making these for baby Ezekiel, and I like that these are keepsake gifts for Mom and Dad, even after he has outgrown having them on display in his room.

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Get Tangled!

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This past weekend, I was invited to join some lovely ladies for a fabulous Art and Spa Weekend!  We headed to the Courtenay/Comox area of Vancouver Island to attend a Level 1 Zentangle class.  This was followed by an uber-relaxing spa treatment at the Kingfisher Resort and Spa.  We enjoyed an evening of snacks, art, music, and girl-talk in our deluxe suite, surrounded by the sights and sounds of a genuine Island rain and wind storm.

Zen what, you ask?  Zentangle.  It is a method of drawing and “doodling” that consists of simple and repetitive designs, called tangles.  The various tangles, which all have names, such as Printemps, Crescent Moon, Pokeweed, Jonqal, and N Zeppel, are combined to form larger, abstract designs.  There is no right or wrong way to tangle, and no artistic experience is necessary.  Anyone can do it.  The repetitive, flowing nature of the designs helps to promote calm, relaxation, and can even induce a sort of meditative state.  Zentangle has been used among chronic pain and cancer patients, children with ADHD, and individuals with anxiety, including fear of flying.  It helps to both focus and distract the mind.  It has been referred to as “yoga for the brain.”  Intrigued?  You can find a local Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) at zentangle.com and learn more about this art form.  There are also a number of books available on the subject, and even an iphone app or two!  As always, Pinterest proves to be a great source of ideas and inspiration.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week- some Zentangle-Inspired Art!
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DIY Child’s Artwork Display

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Several days each week, my daughter brings a new artistic creation home from daycare.  I praise her efforts and genuinely admire each masterpiece, but just recently, I realized that I rarely display her artwork.  Our fridge is not magnetic, so this quick and easy display solution will not work in our home.  So, after a major “mommy guilt” moment, and a brief  perusal of Pinterest, I was inspired to create a mini “art gallery” in our home.

First, I stopped at a local thrift store and picked up a large framed print for $4.99.  The before picture is below (sort of).  I forgot to take a picture at the very beginning of my project, so it does not show the original colour of the ugly wood frame.  I used some black acrylic paint and wiped it with a rag while wet, to create an updated espresso brown finish.

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Next, I opened up the frame, covered the print with fabric and a strip of ribbon, and secured on the back with duct tape. Sorry random boy with clay vessel, but you don’t  quite complement the décor in our home;)  Then, I simply popped the covered print back into the frame, which I should mention did not have glass in front.  Finally, I added a couple of wooden clothespins to the ribbon.

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I added a recent piece of art, and viola!  Not only do I feel that K’s artwork is finally getting the recognition it deserves, but she was super proud that it was displayed for all to see!  The clothespins allow for quick changes and move easily across the ribbon to adjust for different sized pictures.  For a home with multiple children, I think it would look great to have a row of matching frames hung in a hallway or on a large wall.  Project completion time = less than one hour.

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“I spy” with my little eye…

Well, I think I have just about won the award for most sporadic blogger!  Anyhoo, here’s one of the little projects I have been up to:  The “I spy” bag.  These take no time at all to whip up, and are an easy project for a beginning sewer.  They are handy for keeping kiddos busy during car trips, in waiting rooms, or quiet during nap time, when a nap is clearly wishful thinking.  I have been gifting them for birthday parties as well.

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How to make an “I spy” bag:

1.  Cut out three squares of fabric (approx. 6″ to 8″).

2.  Take two of the squares and place right sides together.

3.  Trace a circle or other shape for the viewing “window.”

4.  Sew around the traced shape and cut it out, not too close to your stitching.

5.  Pull one side through the hole you have made and smooth out your square flat.

6.  Cut some clear plastic for the window, a bit larger than the hole you’ve made.  I just cut up the thick plastic bags that bedding sheets or comforters come in.

7.  Pin the plastic to the wrong side, and sew in place around the window.  I sewed two seams, just to be safe.

8.  Pin this piece right sides together with your third and final square.  Sew a seam around the edges,  leaving a few inches of space to turn right sides out.

9.  Fill your bag with clear beads- sold in craft and dollar stores as “polyfil” or “vase filler.”  Fill about 2/3 to the top.

10.  Add about a dozen little treasures, as below.

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11.  Sew the bag opening shut.  Then sew an additional seam around the bag edges to make sure it’s extra secure.

12.  If you like, you can take a photo of the items inside, laminate it, and attach to the bag with a loop and a ring, so your little one knows what to search for.

Bonus tip- vary the size of the “window” depending on the age of the child.  Smaller = more difficult.  Also, more filling = more difficult.  As with any toy with small parts, please supervise young children.

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Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!

Tangled movi For the past few months, my daughter has been loving the Disney movie “Tangled.”  She is quite enamored by Rapunzel’s long, long hair.  Alas, just like her mama’s naturally curly hair, as it grows longer, it springs up,  and its true length is revealed only when wet:(  So, what’s a mama to do, but give her precious daughter the gift of Rapunzel’s locks without the maintenance;)  I don’t knit or crochet, but created this project by looping strands of yarn through a lovely handmade (by someone else) beanie- Value Village $1.99.  I braided the yarn, threaded some glittery ribbon through the hat, and added a fabric flower and button.   Voila!  The smiles on her face when she received this surprise were just priceless:)

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Am I famous yet?

I have always envied those lucky gals who can go to a salon, magazine pic of celeb hairstyle in hand, and say, “I want my hair to look like this!”  And they leave, hair shining and swinging, looking just like said pic.  Oh, believe me I’ve tried, but it has always ended in an epic hair fail.   Why, you ask?  Well, my hair is uber thick, coarse in texture, and naturally very curly.  For the most part, I love it.  But, every once in awhile, I crave a change and I feel like I don’t have a lot of options- curl with gel vs. flatiron straight.  I know, I know, “first world problems” and all that;)

Yesterday, I went to a fab local salon to get my hair thinned out.  Now, to give you an idea of what this entails, I told my stylist, “Just keep thinning until it looks like there’s a small dog on the floor.”  And so, she did:)  A couple of kids and their Dad, sitting in the nearby waiting area, looked on and giggled as the pile grew.

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Then, on a whim, I decide to go for a thicker bang, inspired by a few pics I found of Katy Perry and Zoey Dechanel.  Nothing major, but I am so pleased that for once, the end result bears some resemblance to the pic.  Booyah!

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What do you think?  

Who is your celeb hair inspiration?

Button Art Debut

 

I’m very pleased to announce that Unicorn Crossing button art is now on display for sale at Crafts Canada in Nanaimo, BC!  Come and check out my latest creations.  More art will be added shortly, now that I know how much space I have to work with:)

For those of you crafty folks who might want to give button art a try, pop by the store to purchase buttons, canvases, and acrylic paints. Hans and Kevin will help set you up with whatever other craft supplies your heart desires:)

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Crafts Canada
115 Chapel Street
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 5H3
(250) 716-0084
Open Mon-Sat, 9:30am to 5:00pm

http://www.craftscanada.ca
Or “like” them on Facebook

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Bag Lady

purse addictThose who know me well know that I am a true “bag lady.”  Oh how I love me a nice, new designer bag.  My current fave is Kate Spade.  Her bags combine lots of bright colours and up-to-the minute style trends, while still maintaining classic shapes and clean lines.  I also like that her bags have not become as mainstream as say, Coach.  Coach was my previous fave, until I learned that they use fur in some of their designs.  NOT COOL.  The same goes for Burberry, Michael Kors, and a whole host of other designers.  Fortunately, there are many other great designers to choose from.  I’m also a big fan of Matt and Nat bags.  A cruelty-free Canadian company, they make fabulous bags out of animal-friendly vegan materials (no fur or leather), including recycled plastic bottles for the bag linings!

Inspired by a recent blog post on “Ain’t No Mom Jeans,” I too, decided to compile a list of my favourite bags for Summer 2013.  I tried to represent a range of price points in my selections, and also included a few larger, “mom-friendly” bags.  I’m looking forward to an upcoming trip to Portland, OR, where I search for a new bag (or two…or three) in tax-free outlet mall heaven!

Without further ado, bring on the bags!

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1.  Bicycle print bag, Forever 21 ($31.50CAN)

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2.  Merlon bag, Matt and Nat ($125CAN)

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3. Striped backpack, Target.com ($34.99US)

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4. Flower print backpack, Target.com ($29.99US)

Sidebar- I’m really loving the return of backpacks this year!  It’s always a bonus when fashion and practicality come together.

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5. Kate Spade totes ($198US).  Do I have to pick just one?!

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6. Kate Spade breezeway bay maise ($278).  Black for work, magenta for play?

Which is your personal favourite?  What is your go-to bag (or bags for this season)?

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On my bookshelf

bookEver since I was a child, I have loved reading.  I remember reading in the backseat of the car on many family road trips, straining my eyes as we drove into the evening hours.  I remember participating and winning the “Olympic Novels” competition at my elementary school.  We had 30 days to read as many novels as we could.  To verify completion and comprehension of each novel, we had to pass a 20 question multiple-choice quiz with a score of 16/20 or greater.  It gave me great satisfaction to see my row of gold stars up on our class chart in the library!

During my years of undergraduate (and especially graduate) study, my love of reading rapidly dwindled.  Piled high with textbooks and academic journal articles, I was left with little time to read for pleasure.  What little free time I did have, I wanted to spend as far from bookstores or libraries as possible!

Now that I have settled into a routine with my husband, full-time work, a very independent two year-old, and two dogs, my craving for books has returned.  Free time is scarce, but I want to make reading a priority, for both knowledge and for pleasure.  Last year, I set a fairly conservative goal for myself-  to read one book a month in 2012.  Anything extra was a bonus.  Below is my reading list, with my top recommendation highlighted.

  1. Twenties Girl
  2. Gangs in Canada
  3. I Have Your Number
  4. Betrayal
  5. Room
  6. The Hunger Games
  7. 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting
  8. Positive Parenting
  9. When in Rome
  10. Catching Fire
  11. Mockingjay
  12. The Hypnotist
  13. Shoe Addicts Anonymous
  14. Friday Night Knitting Club

My choices were a mix of “fluff” and substance, fun and facts.  This year I’d like to reach a total of 20.  Not as great of a feat as reading 30+ “Olympic Novels” in 30 days, but a good enough goal for me, given my multitude of other hobbies, projects, and commitments.  So, here is my list in progress:

  1. Christmas Inn
  2. Bossy Pants
  3. Heaven is For Real
  4. Life After Life
  5. Life of Pi
  6. The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist’s Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases
  7. Raising a Gifted Child: A Parenting Success Handbook (currently reading)

I would love your recommendations on what to read next!

Side note, I’m also working on completing Listology: My Life in Lists by Lisa Nola.  I’d recommend this for anyone who would like to journal, but has problems sticking with it.  It’s also great for all those obsessive list writers and record keepers, such as myself;)

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So, what are you reading?

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