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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

When you don't know how to be creative

Recently, I went to this amazing art space in Pontiac, MI with my one of my dearest, Gerri.  I had every craft supply at my disposal, and had absolutely ZERO crafting mojo within me.  One reason, was that I wanted to chat and catch up with my friend, and some times I have to get deep into "the zone" to start a new creation.

I walked over, took this sunshine sign off that wall, and started to copy the illustration.  It was a wonderful exercise, as it allowed me to relax, chat, and create. 

Another dear friend, Kat K, had spoken to me months ago about doing a "study" on art techniques.  In that same conversation, she used one of my favorite quotes: "I am allowing myself to suck right now".

Being an artist isn't always about making great things, it is about not forcing things.  I highly encourage taking another piece of art/craft that someone else has made, and copy it, to learn from it.
(Don't sell, steal or pass off as your own, mind you, but use it as a study:) 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

Tate's trip to the MI Capitol

Christmas Cookies for the Bakesale

Happy Messes

Blessing Bag Supplies

Blessing Bags for the Homeless

A special gift from Aunt Carol

An outfit from Claudia (that she didn't take off for 3 days.)

Receiving an iTunes gift card

Buttershots and Hot Cocoa

That damn elf

Homemade St. Andrews Banana Bread (named after our church in London)

3 baby Jesuses

Relaxing with Daddy on Christmas morning
Ending the week in a hotel, in Iowa, with a sick little one.  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Quiet of the Season

During this time of year, I fight doing too much, as most do.  But I really burrow in with intention, because when I was a child, I would ALWAYS get sick at Christmas.  It was too much for me.  My eldest child is a lot like I am, and he made one request for Christmas break: "I don't want to go anywhere."

I plan to live in the little family bubble, and emerge when we are all ready.  Last night, it was a Saturday night, and we went to the library, loaded up on books.  We came home (it was about 6:30p), snuggled under blankets and read.  It was silent.

Give yourself permission for the quiet this year, if that is what you seek.  Happy Holidays and thanks for reading!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Advent Calendar 2014

Every year, we do a Advent Calendar of activities.  
I also will include a few small little gifts, and printables of kids mazes, puzzles, activities. They are very excited to open packet #1 after school today!  Do you do an advent calendar?  What do you include?  I am always looking for new ideas:) 

Labels+Scrapbook Cardstock

Washi Tape+Paper Bags+Cards

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Nest

I have been in this new house since July, and this has been the first house that I know I will be in for a long, long time.  For this reason, I am burrowing in deep this season.  I have been making all attempts to make our home a cozy one, and Paul is handling the bigger renovations.

Take my advice with the home improvements:  go slowly.  We are in such a rush to make the house our own, and are used to having to move after a bit, so we have been making rush decisions.  (Like having carpet installed before part of the basement is fully painted!)  

I just returned from a spontaneous trip to NYC with one of my great friends, so I want to be at home even more.  It was fabulous, as expected, but home always feels good afterwards. 

One of the advantages to having moved around a lot, is having friends all over.  Now, I apologize to those friends at this time, because my online presence has been minimal.  I haven't returned texts, emails, FB, blogged, etc.  I have been in the here and now with the family and where I am right now.   I will be back soon!  This is a result of my nesting, my retreat, my snuggling in to HOME.  

Making PINK MILK with almond milk+strawberries

Homemade Advent Calendar in progress

Courtney & Soleil snuggled in
Making zipper pouches 

Running errands together. 
The easiest decoration ever
A bit off subject, but we started putting up the Christmas decor, and I must share this with you!  I had a coupon from shutterfly to make any photo a stand up, hard plastic/glossy material decoration.  I quickly found a free printable online, and used it instead of a photo.  Instant Christmas decoration!! It is quite good quality and will last over the years.  

I wish you all a cozy and restorative Thanksgiving weekend.  

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Random Fall 2014

Butternut Squash and Chicken Ravioli Soup

Tate's pumpkin creation

Halloween Face Paint

Mary Poppins!

My Halloween Babies

Cozy Fireplace

New oils for kiddos

Broken Mirror transformed into Chalkboard

Frozen Fractals

This is someone else's idea, probably off of pinterest, but I don't remember where I got it!  In any case, it was a hit with Soleil.  The official title is Frozen Fractal Soup, and in case you have been living under a rock, is inspired by Frozen the movies reference to "Frozen Fractals" in the song "Let it Go".  

You start by making the Fractals.   I used one drop of food coloring and water, and the idea was to let her fill the ice cube trays before popping them in the freezer.  She was NOT interested in this part, so I quickly filled the trays for her. 
After the Fractals have frozen, I popped them out, and put them in a bowl.  I placed it in her sand table with tongs, ladle, and different colored water in squeeze bottles and little pourable containers.
I later added a little bowl of baking soda, just to have another ingredient to play with.  (It also cleans the sand table before coming inside for the winter.)

This is a super simple activity, but my little one loved it.  We have already done this twice:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beeswax Candles!

I have been wanting to make these for a very long time.  I have been to many Waldorf schooling blogs, where they have posted beeswax crafts, and I always thought the candles looked so glowy and creamy yellow.

Now that we are settled in a bit from our move, we can craft more and more each day! Also, when we went to the farmers' market this week, the "bee guy" had his wax there at a great price.  I am so happy to be able to seek out those special places and people where you can find, say, beeswax, or the best coffee, or the best apple orchard.  I love it because we aren't going to move--we can embrace our lovely community in a way that I couldn't before.

Anyway, back to the candles.
I thought that Tate was getting to that age where he is going to start opting out of Mama's activities.  He recently complained about "Vinegar and Baking Soda and Food Coloring again??", so I have been letting him do his own thing.   Before I could even finish getting everything on the table, he was obsessed with the yellow soft sticks of beeswax.  He was building with them, playing with them, talking about them, etc.  It was a PERFECT Sunday afternoon activity.

How did we do it?

1.  Get Beeswax.  (Bee Guy, Natural Food Store, Amazon)

2.  Put a thin wipe of Jojoba oil in pyrex, then add wax to Pyrex.  Use about 1.5x the quantity that you want to fill.  (We used old glass candle holders and teeny canning jars.)

3.  Melt by putting Pyrex in a pot with an water in it.  (It takes awhile.  Watch very carefully as it can ignite if it gets super hot.   I just stand by and stir and stir and adjust temp as necessary.)

4.  Get wick ready.  They sell these at Michaels or other craft stores and are very inexpensive.  I used the long wick that I could cut to whatever size I need, with metal bases that are sold separately.  You just tie a knot in the bottom, pull it through until you hear it pop into the metal tube, and then crimp with pliers.  
 5.  Pour a little melted wax in the bottom of glass and "glue" wick down.  (You can do this before all of the wax is melted.)

 6.  Add and stir essential oils to fully melted wax OFF the burner.  I used 4 ml total and you could just smell the scent.  It was subtle, so add more if you want.
7.  Pour into glass candle holder.  Use 2 chopsticks or skewers (seen above in the corner) that you lay flat across the top of the glass, on either side of the wick to make it stand up straight.

8.  Let cool and trim wicks, and you have candles!
 They helped choose the oils, stir the wax, and basically just played with all the supplies as I did most of the work.  They didn't care--they still felt like they made the candles.
I need to go back to the "Bee Guy" for some more wax!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Accidental Kid Activity

Paul needed sand to put in the base of our gas fireplace.  (I don't know why, but I guess it is part of the instructions to get my cozy fire going!)  He had an ice cream bucket of sand, that he set in the dining room after he was finished.  This bucket of sand was VERY attractive to a 4 year old...
Add a plastic table cloth, a box of baking soda, measuring spoons, and a few other kitchen utensils, and you have a morning of fun.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Squam Fall 2014 in Photos

My words and thoughts from Squam are in my previous post.  Here are the photos, that tell a better story.  Let me add, this was a photography centered Squam and I am not a photographer.  I went because of friends attending, and frankly, because it was a better time of year for me to travel.   Not only did I LOVE my classes (multimedia and make your own perfume!), but I learned from my photographer friends.  It was a wonderful time and I returned knowing myself better, feeling fully restored.  It isn't the classes, it is the people and the magic that happens when people, some even strangers, come together with an open heart.

On to the photos...
Our Loft!  ("Jewelry Designer Loft" on airbnb in Providence)
The best secret!  Amazing friend, Ladonna,  came to Squam as a surprise.
Ready to create.
My dearest, Gerri.  
A break for treats at Ellie's Bakery!
The sweet, Xanthe, photographed me.
This was a learning moment... I was so uncomfy, and I had to ask myself internally "why?".  Just going through this made me relax, not be so hard on myself, and vow to just go with it the next time someone asks to photo me.    
Surprise photos on my phone:) 
I love this girl.  Amy Gretchen on one of our many walks through Providence.
LD and Xanthe focusing on the photography.  
Ramen!  A-MA-ZING. (at Ken's Ramen) 
At the amazing Providence Perfume Co.  
The owner has created with her life's passion, and you can tell is every detail of her shop.
New Friends!  The gorgeous Anita and I hit it off the moment we met. 
My absolute favorite model and dear friend, Bella.

Lovely evenings of tea and candles and heart to hearts.
Amy G and Xanthe comparing notes.  I loved learning from these ladies.
Getting Henna.  
A Special Moment.
At Peace.