Monday, August 23, 2010

Magic Wand Factory... again.

We are makers of magic wands. It is just how we roll. Last time we churned out a good number of wands, part of the process looked like this. If you clicked on the link you'll see a bunch of white wands that sat around forever waiting for us to paint them. We've also made really tiny wands. And a staff, a project that also involved large amounts of hot glue. So this is obviously a past-time we enjoy. Turning paper and clay, stones and bits into magical playthings. And the process is just as fun as the play that comes later. At least I think so.

So the girl and I were wanting to make a new batch and we were playing around with some scrapbook paper that I scored on sale with free shipping, yay! Btw, if you use scrapbook paper then watch closely. Sometimes they have crazy 40% off sales with free shipping. I have no scrapbooking talents, but I do like to use the paper for many things. My daughter had the brilliant idea of making wands out of scrapbook paper. Yay, for crafty kids!

Picking out our favorite sheets and rolling them into wand shapes. Even the ever cool little brother got into the fun and chose the most rockstar looking paper for his new wand.
The future's so bright... Don't you just want to smoosh those little rebel cheeks?

Snipping off the ends before we stuff the wands with scrap paper or cotton, or whatever to strengthen them up a bit and make them ready for the hot glue. I'm not going to lie, rolling up some of the paper was difficult as some pieces were very thick or coated. But I think it will end up working out for the better in the end since it will make the final wands tougher than our last batch that was made out of office paper.

Just a pretty pile of wands ready for the sparkly bits. The best part I think, even if it does involve the hot glue gun and the inevitable burn gel. The kids are involved in the choosing of gems and stones, but I do tend to monopolize the glueing on these.

Why do we make so many wands? Well, my girl's birthday is coming up and we like to hand out little party favors to all the young and young at heart. The kids also play with them as toys so we'll restock their diminishing supply. Since they are made of paper they only last a couple years of regular kid play. Our last batch was made at the end of 2008, so it was quite time for another round.

Ooooo... pretty. We are gatherers of shiny things around here. Magpies all.

 Eeek and Owww! That is all I have to say about this part.

The obligatory messy workspace shot, because you can't have a major craft project without a major mess. Well, at least we can't seem to. But to be honest. I LOVE craft messes. Other kinds of messes, not so much. Craft messes I can roll around in the muck of them for days drinking in my fill of the colors and textures. Yes, I married a patient man.

A detail picture that shows the stones on the ends of the wands. The small ends also sport either small stones or gems. These pictures were taken before we painted the hot glue accents, a process we will be finishing up over the next few days.

Magic wands drying out, standing in a canister of colored marbles, beach glass and stones. The wand in front is actually a scrap piece of paper that we used to try out watercolor paints on. We had saved it because we liked the colors and thought we'd see how it looked as a wand. If you click the picture it will show it larger. We like it so much we might make the next round of wands all watercolor. We'll just have to make a point to save the spill catcher and trial sheets we use throughout the year.

Painting the details on the hot glue. Tedious due to not wanting to mess up the pretty scrapbook paper but fun work, as it really takes the wands from pretty to Wow! Best done in good company with good music. Maybe some of this, oh - or this one is awesome too. Good magic wand making tunes. We were lucky enough to take the kids to a showing of this last spring. It was amazing!

We plan on finishing the wands with some yarn or ribbons and maybe little trinkets like bells and handmade ornaments hanging from them, stars like these perhaps - only smaller. Or diy shrinky-dinks ornaments? Oh, that could be fun. And more sparkles like sequins and beads I think. Fun stuff. Hard to stop when we get started on something like this.

And a final picture I captured tonight while my kids were howling at the rising full moon. Hi neighbors! Just us again! Talk about magical. Gorgeous! Something so amazing about a giant full moon commanding the sky, isn't there?

A magical Monday evening to all! :0)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Art Fair Day! :0)

My picture hanging supplies are out, so that means we didn't come home from the fair empty handed. We hoped to fill a couple wall spaces with local artists work this year, and that was an easy goal to achieve after today's fair. Buying art is one of our splurges I admit. It makes such a difference in the feel of our home.

Here's a link to last year's haul. Unfortunately the folk artist I purchased art from last year wasn't back this year and I never could find any info on her online. Bummer... as I would like more of her work. Still, I am very pleased with our splurges from this year.

We found a new local photographer whose work awed us. The colors and presentation were amazing and the prices were almost ridiculously good. He does have an online presence which is wonderful, because I get itchy etsy fingers late at night sometimes.... okay, bank account wise that is probably bad then.

This rock picture is what drew us into his booth initially. I love how he wraps his canvas with the photo. These pictures are smaller than my macro shots make them seem. Though his big work was was amazing, we opted for the smaller pieces so we could get a few different shots. The spirit is willing, yet the pocket book is weak. They are about 10" wide and actually fit really well in the place we bought them for. Win for the wallet, win for the decor.

Together on the wall. The photographer's name is Brian Kainulainen, and he has an etsy shop and a website in case anyone out there in the blogoverse is interested. His website is only partly finished and so far there is only a tiny sampling of what he was offering at the fair. My whole family loved his work. My kids each even used their fair allowance to pick a piece for their rooms.

My daughter chose this awesome almost abstract sunflower shot. I love how the pink in the photo almost blends with her walls, though that did make it hard for me to capture as my camera didn't exactly know how to focus what it was sensing.

My son chose this awesome lighting capture near our local lighthouse. I love the green light on the water contrasted with the purple sky. This photo will hang in our living room until we get the boy's room painted. We already purchased the paint when the store was having an amazing 40% off sale, we're just waiting for the stifling heat to break a bit before digging into that project. So until then we all get to gaze upon this powerful piece throughout the days.

As a final bonus we found these small gems. Tiny wheel thrown pottery vases and a pendant. The artist even creates the stamps the pieces are patterned with. Such small joyful, love-filled things. I adore them. Alas, I have no name, business card, or any idea if she is online. I wish she was because in hindsight I would have picked up more of these little pretties, some for myself. We bought them to hold the bouquets my kids like to pick, so my critters of course think the vases are theirs. 

But look how sweet they look on my kitchen windowsill. Shhhh.... maybe the kids won't notice, at least until the next art fair!

Do you go to your local art fairs? If so, what are your favorite type booths? There was a LOT of jewelry at our fair this year. A handmade jewelry lover would have been in heaven at our fair this year. I like jewelry but don't wear much myself, so I tend to be drawn most to the fine wall art, painting and photography. I also love, love, love pottery. The variety of craft out in the world is amazing and I love the creative energy that an art show brings to our small town. 

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy week. One filled with art and sunshine. :0)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Awards, yay!

Here's some fun for my morning. Sparklee from Karmamatopoeia (which is probably the most fun combo of names I've stumbled upon in blogdom) honored me with blog awards. I believe I am supposed to tell seven things about me and pass it on to others. Let's see seven things...
  1. I am avoiding cleaning out two rooms for a weekend painting project by reading blogs and typing this post. I am very good at procrastinating... oh, that should be it's own number.
  2. I'd go as far to say that my procrastination skills are amazing. If there were a contest celebrating procrastination skills and I was able to demonstrate this power I have to the masses, people would marvel and weep at my ability. You might think this sounds conceited, but that is only because you really have no idea how good I am at this.
  3. I am thinking about giving up coffee for awhile... Full disclosure: I write this one as I get up to make another cup for myself.
  4. I want to go here. I'm willing to wait a couple years, but after that I will go there myself need be.
  5. Right now I am very excited about a math book the friendly Fed Ex man brought yesterday.
  6. I started writing this post early this morning and now it is almost lunch time because of this and that and everything in between... sigh. That sentence pretty much sums up my day to day.
  7. My stupid cell phone broke and will only work on speaker phone. I hate speaker phone, so I avoid using it. And I plan to avoid using it until November when my contract is up and I can switch providers with no penalty. I'm cheap like that. But to be totally honest, I want to switch providers because I want this. I'm extravagant like that.
Okay, now I pass it on, which is the part that always brings out anxiety in me. Will the people I tag feel annoyed like I am bestowing facebook flair upon them or will they like it? I find cool blogs by people nominating others for awards, so I try to participate. If it isn't your thing... feel free to ignore with no hard feelings. :0)

Here is a little sampling from my blog menu. Some are art/craft blogs, some homeschooling, some mommy, some philosophical, but they all share a central feel I think. Great writing, funny, witty, smart women. I love reading their posts and always feel a connection to their writing, even if we don't actually 'know' each other in real life.

Mummy Dearest from Life In Avalon
Katherine from Our Report Card
Val from Well, Yeah
Jennifer from Just Add Water, Silly

I have more blogs I'd award, but they are on summer break right now. I have more that I love that I know are just slipping my mind right now too. One of these days I need to make one of those sidebar links to all the cool blogs I read, though it is a bit like admitting what a large blog reading habit I have all out in public. ;0) Have a great weekend!

Mornings this week looked a bit like this...

This is my dog telling me to get the flash out of her face. She was cuddled up sweetly with her puppy when I disturbed her nap in the morning sun. Yes, that is piled laundry behind her. Ah, laundry. How you challenge me.

My kids telling me to get the flash out of their faces too. My desire to chronicle our morning interrupted a very serious pokemon impersonation competition. My presence reminded my son I hadn't started making our morning drinks yet. Oops! Off to make one iced chai, one blueberry tea with honey and one iced coffee with a bit of cream and stevia. The day officially started.

My morning so far (and why I got bored enough to grab the camera and start taking photos). Tweaking our schedule folders. We aren't as structured as a folder system implies, it just helps me juggle all our commitments between the business, schedules for outside activities, books I've purchased and want to make sure we don't forget over the year, events we want to attend, family goals for the year, and personal goals for writing and art.

A few moments each day reviewing the schedule acts as a ward against that vague feeling that I forgot something, and the aimless walking around the house trying to remember what it is I am forgetting. When I find myself doing that too often, I know it is time to tweak the schedule folders.

I've had an ants-in-my-pants morning that has a lot to do with wanting to work on my Princess and the Pea doll. All the lovely art based on the story has always drawn me in with the pretty piled mattresses and the insomniac princess.  My girl is missing some key essentials, like hair, clothes... a face. Oh how I want to ignore housework, the lovely outdoor day that is starting to shape up, the phone, and just get my craft on. I should never start things like this when I have big projects to attend to.

I guess we are in the dog days of summer as the advertising world likes to call them. Hot. Mosquitos. Humidity. That feeling that fall is coming and the fun and frenzy with it, so right now it feels as if we are hoarding the slow languid moments that summer allows. Tonight we might go walk along the beach. We aren't afternoon beach go-ers as the full-on sun is just too much for us. We prefer the emptier, peaceful evening beach around the time everyone else is eating dinner, in the hours leading up to the sunset.

Wishing everyone a mosquito free weekend!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Born to be wild...

This is my baby.

I like to think of him as a perfect specimen of boyishness. But will I admit, I see him through a haze of mommy awe and swagger. So, maybe not perfectly... but oh, he's rather heart-melty. All rough and tumble boy on the outside, and sweet, funny character on the inside. Basically, I kind of like him. He keeps me young while turning my hair gray all at the same time, just one of many parenting paradoxes.

His favorite song is The Authority Song by John Mellencamp. It suits him.

Yesterday, he informed me that he wanted to be a rockstar when he grew up.

Ha! Perfect opening for some mom psychology. See, it was his music lesson day and sometimes he likes to be a little tiny bit rebellious about such sport. Especially because he wants to play guitar and drum, but he gets lessons in piano and violin. He is too small for a guitar and we tried with the drums, but alas, our home is too small for that kind of chaos. Until one or both situations grow to accomodate the desired instruments, we have piano and violin. And in the meantime, I do what I can to pave the way for smooth music lessons.

So my clever self told my little rocker that he should totally go for it. And did he know that rockstars can play all sorts of instruments? And how lucky was he that he is already learning to play the violin and piano? He's ahead of the game! I mean, he's my kid. He was weaned on videos of Ashley MacIssac. So he knows that violins can seriously rock, right? So he should really pay attention at his lessons so he can get started on being a rockstar. Blah, blah, blah... mom talk... etc.

And you know what? It worked! He paid attention during his lessons and has even been practicing on his own a few times since. Go me!

Oh, wait! The story isn't done... Because, he fights authority - right?

In the middle of the night my boy had an allergy attack thanks to all the rolling around in the grass as seen in the above photos. On bad allergy nights we throw the boy into bed with one of us and the lucky parent goes to sleep in boy's bed. This helps us keep on top of asthma and fun stuff like that.

My guess at what happened, is that amid the snuffling and sneezing and the chaos that is a sleepless night, my husband and son agreed to go for morning haircuts. Bribes might have been exchanged. Desperate desire for sleep calls for desperate permissions. I understand this, and therefore do not judge....

What I woke up to:

My boy and his 'fauxhawk'. One music lesson and hairstyle closer to rockstar. 

Awwww.... Can you call someone with an faux-mohawk adorable? Hey, it is still better than this 'do! And I actually really like it. It fits his faux-rebel heart perfectly.

Edited to add: I just actually re-read about my boy's earlier silly hairdo from the post in the above link. In it I am blaming that weird hair moment on my allergies. I guess allergies are my go-to excuse when an interesting hairdo happens in my home. :0)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finished Matchbox Doll, pt. II

Earlier this summer I joined another Matchbox Doll swap on swap-bot. Fun stuff. Here is a link to the first one I was in when I became addicted to making these little critters. I did a travel trunk theme again this time. Last swap my doll had a steampunk fairy theme.

This time my swap partner's profile said she liked history and traveling so I made a 1940's era doll. Well - I attempted it. The doll's backstory is she longs to travel but cannot due to the war, so she collects letters, postcards and dreams of globetrotting. I know. I know. I really get into this stuff, don't I? I am an unapologetic dork.

 The travel trunk.

I had so much fun with this little doll and all her stuff. I even got out my tiniest knitting needles with some good results which is pretty much a miracle, since I am in no way gifted in that direction. But here is my girl and her little room with a knitted bedspread and cape.

I kept thinking of my grandmother and things she might have had as this was her era. I tucked the photos into the mirror and picture frame because that is what my grandma always did. I also created the little perfume tray based on what my grandmother had on her dressing table. When I showed this to my mom, she told me that my grandma had a print very similar to the art I chose for my doll's wall. That made me happy.

 Room close up. The green box on the bed contains all the doll's treasures.

 Close up with her silly hat on. I don't love her hat.

Her bun which was a PAIN to create, but made me happy in the end. If anyone reading this has any links to doll hair 'how to' blogs or books or anything, I'd so appreciate it. I am sort of flying blind with the whole doll hair thing.

Sitting in a teaspoon for size perspective. When I do these macro shots she seems way bigger than she really is. She fits in a 32 count matchbox, which was the point of the swap. She's probably around two inches tall I'm guessing. I don't have her anymore to measure as she is now happily at home with my swap partner, thank goodness.

The most nerve wracking thing about swapping is sending out your creation and hoping the post office doesn't lose it somewhere along the way. Unfortunately that has actually happened to me before, though luckily it was only on a letter swap. Still, the experience was enough to make me a bit nervous when I hand over something like this that would be hard to recreate easily.

 The very best part I think. Her cape I knit and had it actually turn out. Yay!

Here is a shot that shows her bed (which again was the theme of the swap) and the rest of the furniture and belongings I made. I made the table with a small scrap of wood that I mod podged paper onto, and then glued on toothpick legs. The doily is a scrap of lace cut from an old shirt. The perfume bottles were beads on a glass tray made from a watch face. The blanket bedspread was thanks to whatever knitting gods were smiling on me for this project.

This photo sort of shows her letters and photos that were in the box. To make them, I resized and printed free vintage clip art and emphera that I found on flickr and various blogs. I tried to make a memory box that would be cool to come across in a dusty attic. I had such a fun and relaxing time making this doll and all her goodies. My daughter made a needle felted mouse in a small box home while I worked on this, so it is a fond memory of working along side my daughter on our little mini projects. Posting about this has me wanting to make another one. An Alice in Wonderland tea party themed box might be fun... Hmmm... Might be time to turn off the computer for the night and start crafting.

Ooooh... just remembered it is Friday tomorrow. Woohoo! Happy almost weekend! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thrift Store Finds...

A few weeks back I ran into the local Goodwill on a whim.  I am so glad I did as I came away with things that really made my heart sing. Our last name starts with B, so that is why I indulged in the big initial. I have plans for the domed plates as I've noticed similar things on other blogs and always loved the look.

This is what I plan to do with the first dome and candle stick. I believe I will paint it black and use it in my kitchen for baked treats or other fun things. I am so excited since this only cost me $3.00 total and have seen similar things in stores for a whole lot more. I will actually take the time to sand this before I paint it though, unlike my last project. That would explain why this is still in my 'to do' pile, instead of being used in my kitchen right now. Sigh... perfectionism plus procrastination make for a large project slush pile.

This was an easier project! More therapeutic slapping on of color without sanding ahead of time. In fact I was going for an imperfect look here, I just didn't care for the all gold tone with the rest of our decor. So I found a metallic green in my paint drawer and got busy. B can also stand for 'busy' which seems to be the theme for my summer.

This photo is a bit dated already. I moved the furniture around since I took this photo, and now the little statues and big B sit on top of the computer desk positioned under that photo. It is actually where I sit typing right this second. I like it even more on the desk, but am feeling too lazy to snap a new picture. This shot shows it in use anyway. Not bad for $1.00 and a bit of paint.

I also found these two little glass candle stick holders in the same GW trip for 50 cents each. I had previously splurged on this awesome bakers twine from Divine Twine after seeing it splashed all over the net.

I had this tutorial from the Just Something I Made blog in the back of my mind when I went to goodwill. Unable to come up with any big chunky candlesticks I bought these on a whim since I am all crowlike for glass and sparkly things. I used the same steps in the tutorial except I painted the exposed cardboard in the tubes and the dowels that hold the twine up with white paint, since I am a get lost in the details sort of gal.

Then instead of using a drawer pull, or game piece on top I used a giant flat backed gemstone. You can kind of see that detail best in this picture, though I find it hard to photograph well. If you click on it, you can see it larger.

I love how these look sitting in front of my odds and ends shelf. I like to think of this space as my craft laboratory... Insert maniacal laughter here... This goes with my theme of keeping my supplies in the open so I'll actually use it, yet keeps it organized enough so I resist the urge to shove it all away in a drawer to be forgotten forever.

I love thrift store days like this, but I find I have to fight the urge to keep returning after a successful thrifting score. I get nervous I'll miss out on more good things. The problem is I only need so many things, no matter how awesome they are - or what good deals they might be. So I try to refrain. Right now I am holding myself back until I complete my domed plate projects. Oh, but the temptation!

Have you had any great thrifting finds lately? Is it just me that has poor impulse control when faced with seemingly unending good deals? Any good ideas on how find balance so thrifting doesn't become hoarding?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Jewelry hanger for my girl's room

This has been an on-the-go summer. Lots of moving. Our 'mostly' adult child moving out, then in, then out, lol. Bedrooms being rearranged and redecorated. Other rooms being rearranged because why not have everything chaotic all at once, right? And then the regular summer busy-ness thrown in. Fun stuff.

Needless to say, there are a lot of projects that I didn't get a chance to share here. Sometimes I go on posting sprees, so maybe I'll catch up some day. This jewelry holder is something I finished the other night when I was craving simple painting. I am addicted to smearing color around with brushes. I often can't get it to look like much, but the color and consistency of paint is what soothes me, so I enjoy things I can paint and not worry about how perfect it looks. This project fit that requirement exactly.

A while back I bought some cheap wood frames in the craft section of Meijer. They didn't have glass or hangers on the back. But I figured I could do without glass just fine as I imagine I'll swap out these photos quite a bit anyway, and it was easy to add a couple eye hooks and wire across the back for hanging. I imagine those little glue on claw hangers would work for this too. I had been looking for wooden plaques to cover with eye hooks to make a jewelry holder for my daughter, but these frames caught my eye instead.

What you need:
Cup hooks
Wooden frames
Hanging kit or eye hooks and wire (if your frames weren't made to hang already)
Acrylic paint
A small drill (not necessary, but makes putting the cup hooks in a lot easier)
Favorite photos

I suppose this is pretty evident how this works, huh? Prime. Paint. Drill holes where you want hooks. Add hooks. Add photos. Add hanging wire. Done. :0) Here are some process photos for fun.



Drill. Add hooks.

Add photos (I chose a couple of my favorites of my daughter playing dress-up).
Add hanging wire. Done. Well, done after you hang them and fill with jewelry.

I must confess that I didn't sand before, during or after, and it is rather obvious. I am fine with this decision as my summer self is all about 'not perfect but complete' verses 'perfect and still half done and cluttering up the desk'. There are enough piles of junk projects hanging around here like that already. If you choose to try this and want it all smooth and pretty as possible, then I recommend sanding. But if you want to just do an easy and soothing project at the end of a long day, lazy craft mode is the way to go.

I'll post a photo of them hanging up when I finally get around to a post of her finished room. Which means I'll actually have to finish her room. It is mostly done. Like 90% done. And since this is her very first solo room, her very first girl only room, it has been fun. Oh, wow. Has it ever been a journey filled with pink and sparkles and finery of that sort. I can't wait to share it.