Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 42 - 365 Days of Creativity

So, my last post featured papers I purchased in sets from the store. But what do you do when you have a passel of leftover onsies and twosies? (We're talking a whole bin full...) Well, that's when true creativity shines through. (and takes a lot longer than littering the floor of an entire aisle in the craft store)

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Now some of them are stretching it a bit. I am not 100% sure I like them together and I may just break down and run to the store to pick up some supplemental papers. But hey! At least I tried.

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Looking at the last one as I uploaded I realized I detest it. I don't like the blue square paper. If I take that one pattern out, the others are wonderful together. Now to get these all scrapbook-ed together with my pictures. And that is some creativity for another day.

Days 40 and 41 - 365 Days of Creativity

Day 40 I failed to create anything exciting. It was crazy. (All of last week was crazy, but that is entirely beside the point.) Friday of the previous week saw the commencement of craziness. Hence, I conceived nothing exceptionally creative.

Not to say that I didn't work on anything. A dear homeschooling friend of mine came to me with an emergency sewing project of sorts. A cheap shirt she had purchased decayed in the washing machine and she solicited my help. I more than gladly obliged. Friday I reattached the trimmings. Sadly, I did not photograph either the before or after or anything in between on this project. It needed to make its way back to the owner early Saturday morning for her to wear at a party.

But I DID sew it, and as much as my deep insides are screaming "CHEAT!", I can't help but count this project as one of my Days of Creativity! (Did you see my mention of how crazy my week was above?)

Okay. Day 41 saw a bit more of that creativity I lacked on Friday. A dear friend and I paid a little visit to my very, utmost, absolute favorite store on Saturday to shop for scrapbook supplies. I needed paper. She seemed amazed at my paper choosing process so I will share a bit of that with you.

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So, I first pick out an appealing paper that catches my eye. My next step is to find a second patterned paper that compliments the first. I have learned in the past year or so. Papers do not necessarily need to "match". They can "coordinate" and even appear incongruent at times, but when used together on a page, they somehow come together harmoniously. It's amazing to behold a truly artistic page. (I wish I could come up with some of my own. Maybe one day.)

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I can't believe I forgot to purchase coordinating card stock for those patterned papers. I will have to peruse my stash and see if I have something on hand.

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I love adding embellishments while I am at the store. This way, I know they coordinate. Like these super adorable stickers. I couldn't pass them up. They screamed and yelled as I passed by and I felt like a scrooge if I just left them hanging there on that peg.

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While in the store, I tend to take up the majority of floor space down the paper aisle as I lay out various options and see what grabs the attention of my eye (and heart). Paper picking truly stands out as artistic to me. It's all about an eye for color and pattern design. I love it and I thoroughly enjoy this pastime.

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Another time I shall have to show you all what I do with these papers once I sit down to scrapbook. It is now time for me to go eat the delicious pigs in a blanket my darling daughter made for our lunch today. Yum! (or gross if you prefer not to indulge in hot dogs.) She may need help peeling the eggs for deviled eggs though so I should pop off and see how far along she is. Have a fantastic day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 39 - 365 Days of Creativity

So, the cookies in my last post needed the correct packaging and wording to transform them into a birthday party invitation. How does one package a shark cookie so that the recipient understands they are invited to a party? I spend quite a bit of time pondering this very question. Here is what I came up with.

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Chloe jumped right in on the action. How could I not let her participate in an activity involving paper confetti? (Which, if you care to look, is probably still floating around underneath the fridge.)

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I took giant paper cupcake wrappers and Chloe stuffed them with blue shredded paper.

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Plop in a shark and voila!

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That takes care of the wrapping, but what about the wording. I puzzled over this for a few days. Birthday planning websites offered no brilliant, breathtaking ideas. I searched the internet far and wide for a suitable shark poem that I could alter the wording to make it fit an invitation to no avail. Most were slightly too graphic for a 5 turning 6 year old girl's birthday party.

I finally resigned myself to the fact that I would have to write my own shark party invitation poem. Not that I couldn't do it. I used to write a bit of poetry back in the day. I know how to rhyme. I teach kindergarten to Chloe, after all. I just needed to bolster my courage and pick out some shark-esque words that rhyme.

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WARNING! Shark Sighting!
Join us if you dare;
On our underwater adventure,
Into a shark's dark lair.
Hunt for Treasure, Fish for Treats,
But be wary as can be;
Keep a lookout for the shark,
Waiting to chomp you or me.


Not my best poetry, but it works for its intended purpose. And Chloe loves it and reads it to everyone who will pause a moment to hear her, so that's that. She is the only one I need to impress with these party plans and so far she is duly impressed.

I included all the pertinent party information on the back (note the line "shark food included") and then wrapped my shark cookie cupcakes in plastic wrap, tied a bit of blue curling ribbon around the top which attached the wording on the outside. Oh, I forgot to photograph it, but I also printed each child's name on a small bit of gray paper and added it on top of the "invite".

And now I leave you with a fascinating video of a basking shark. (This is Chloe's second favorite You Tube video at the moment.)

Day 38 - 365 Days of Creativity

I DID IT!!!! I really, really did it! I didn't think I could, but I did. I piped icing and then flooded it and the icing did exactly as I told it to and I could not be happier than I am when I look at these pictures of my shark cookies. (unless you consider my wedding day, or the days I see James, or the days I think about James or the day Chloe was born, or the days I celebrate the day Chloe was born or the days I play with Chloe....)

But this post is about shark cookies and royal icing acting royal.

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While I remain baffled at my daughter's choice, I have to be honest here and say that I am having an absolute blast creating this party for her. Who knew? Sharks.

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Instead of the recipe I used last time in Cookie Craft (which needed to be returned to the library) I found a recipe at Joy of Baking that I used instead. Weirdly enough, I didn't add more water for my flood icing. I used the same exact icing to flood the cookies as I did to pipe them and it worked perfectly. Now, my gray color is much lighter on these cookies than I would have wished for, but come on! The sheer joy of mastering flooding is enough to negate the light gray color, don't you think? And did you see those eyes? I was unable to run to my local cake store to pick up smaller black dragees so I simply added cocoa powder and half a jar of black gel coloring to a little dab of icing to create the dark black I desired for beady shark eyes (which I piped on ever so delicately). I even went so far as to add gills to my sharks.

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These sharks are so adorable in an ominous, menacing sort of way. (And they taste marvelous too.) Now I leave you with Chloe's newest favorite You Tube video. I believe she would like a whale shark for her birthday. Anyone want to install an ocean in my backyard by March 15th?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 37 - 365 Days of Creativity

I think its adorable to have a child's name hanging on their bedroom wall. I know its banal and trite, but I can't help myself. It tickles my heart. So, I painted Chloe's name in wooden letters to hang on her wall. (She has no clue how corny it is and, of course, simply adores the idea.)

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You must admit though, these bright colors bestow a certain element of gaiety and cheer to the wall name cliche. I simply couldn't stop there. Not when I spotted these fun words to paint and hang on the wall with the name.

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What fun! Chloe thinks this is going to be the best bedroom on the planet. I happen to agree, but more because a certain little girl will be sleeping and playing in.

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Oh how I love this little girl. She is such a blessing and joy! She deserves a bright, cheery bedroom to dream in. To pretend to be a princess or a fairy in. To enjoy tea parties with dolls and bears in. To read delightful stories in and cuddle under cozy blankets in. To be a girl in.

Yes, I cannot wait to give this room to my little girl! I just need to get that bed sanded and painted first.

Day 36 - 365 Days of Creativity

Now presenting, for your ogling pleasure, my Valentine Tablescape.

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I felt rather giddy when gathering the various ingredients for this tablescape. I fell in head over heels in love with these heart shaped plates.

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It took me a while, but I finally found the perfect black and white plates to create a harmonious background for my hearts. I also splurged and bought some napkin rings. I realized during my last tablescape creation that I do not own a single napkin ring and decided then and there that I would purchase some for my next table decor fabrication.

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Once I selected the plates, the rest of the table took came together harmoniously on its own. Red, black and white. How elegant and romantic! I just needed roses.

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And candles.

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I thoroughly enjoyed putting all these elements together. James arrived home after a long day of work and appreciated the extra effort I put into creating this table for him on Valentine's Day. I think this is the most effort I have ever put into the holiday and I savored the gratifying feeling afterward.

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Next tablescape, however, I will iron the tablecloth.

Day 35 - 365 Days of Creativity

So, where were we when I last left you? Day 34 I believe. Which means I must begin with Day 35. Sunday. A week and a half ago Sunday. (has it really been that long? Sheesh!)

Day 35 - The Heart Garland.

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I took all the crocheted hearts I made the previous week, wove in the ends and strung them along a length of baby pink ribbon. I tied the ribbon in a knot around the loop on each heart, spacing them just so...

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Not my most favorite project, but I kind of like it in its own way. It's different from most everything I've made in my life. I don't recall ever having crocheted a garland before. I quite like it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 34 - 365 Days of Creativity

Finally! We made it to Saturday! Saturday is the day James and I built a bed for Chloe. I spent extensive amounts of some time perusing Ana-White after my friend Amber recommended the site. Boy oh boy! It's like a dream come true. I've been drooling over the furniture there ever since. Check out this kitchen table. I want one! Oh...and these cubbies and storage base and locker hutch for Chloe's new closet. And I think I really, really, really need this Mom's Lego table.

Okay. But enough dreaming. We must first build something we actually DO need. A twin size bed for Chloe. James bought 2 large sheets of birchwood and 1 large sheet of plywood.

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We used his table saw, miter saw and ripsaw to cut all the pieces we needed for the bed.

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After cutting all the pieces, which took 3/4 of the day, we stopped for a break and I ate a marshmallow pop James gave me for breakfast. (I ate it for my mid-afternoon snack...I couldn't stomach it that early in the morning.)

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That evening we carried all the wood upstairs and began building.

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We had a blast working on this bed together. After 12 years of marriage, we have finally found something we have in common other than watching movies. Woodworking! Who knew...right? Romantic? I don't know, but we sure enjoyed ourselves. I see many more woodworking dates in our future. (Possibly as early as this Friday. Note the closet solutions I linked to above.) But, I am sure you want to see the final bed, right? Here you go.

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I LOVE it! Absolutely and completely LOVE IT! Now I just need to sand and paint it. White. Do you notice the wall color behind the bed? Yup. Fairytale pink. Second coat went on yesterday. Hooray! Her room is starting to come together!