Tuesday, June 30, 2009

She keeps growing up!

We're working on a tooth-fairy pillow this afternoon, so stayed tuned.

{When Second Hand Item Are Truly Yours: 5 Factors}

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When do second-hand items truly become yours?

Along with my kids, who are eager for new-to-them-toys, I've been garage saling like a mad-woman this year. And I've noticed, depending on the item, the time it takes for me to feel like the true owner of the item varies.

Factors that affect the time an object becomes MINE:

Ability to clean/sanitize the item
If I can stick it in the dishwasher, or washing machine, or paint an item, it is mine as soon as that is done. If cleaning the item is more tricky, true ownership takes longer. Like the handbag still hanging in my closet looking like a stranger's purse.

Cost of the item
When we drove off the used lot with our van, it was ours. Was this because it was from a used dealer and was "cleaned" or because we had committed to it because of it's cost?

Age of the item
When a beautiful lampshade still has the original store tags and protective wrap on it, it is mine even before cash has changed hands to make it legally mine. If I find a wooden kite spindle with a 25 cent sticker on it that is so old that it's past is called "history," it is mine. If the item is just plain old, and dusty with someone else's dust, it may take a bit longer. Then again, this factor may just be the cleanliness factor.

Need for the item
Our vacuum died a few weeks ago. The next morning, Mr. Smarty took the kids to a garage sale where we found a relatively clean and working vacuum for $2. In the history of histories, I never would have thought I would buy a used vacuum-with someone else's dust and...other stuff on and in it. But I did, because I needed one and they looked like a nice family and they looked clean. okay, we're back to the cleanliness of the item factor...

The IT Factor
This is more rare, in my experience, but it does happen. You see the item and it is yours. Not just like you are the current owner, but this piece (you wouldn't call it an "object" or "item", but a "piece" like pie, or cake or pizza or any other piece of yumminess)---this piece was built FOR YOU.

My IT Factor purchase: This chest of drawers from Craigslist. It was mine at hello. Before I made the two hour drive across our metroplex, with cash in my pocket. When I brought this piece, MY piece, home, I lovingly cleaned it and treated it with a wood repairer. And it was not to remove the yucky-stranger's-furniture-factor, but to welcome it home and allow it to shine.

Garage sale season has been in full swing now. Have you made any IT purchases? Any purchases that still haven't been given the full welcome into the home (you know those purchases that sit in the garage until you actually make them yours!)?

Re-fashioning a Thrifted Skirt

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The term re-fashioning is relatively new to me, and this may not fit the definition. Maybe this is just regular ol' repurposing. Doesn't sound as hip, huh? But it's still green, right? Cuz that's hip. Just like using the word hip is hip.

This $2.99 thrift store skirt spoke to me in the store. Once home however, I remembered that I don't wear big red flowers on my bum, just as a principle. But I still liked the fabric, and didn't want to be out the $2.99. What to do...what to do...


How about a purse? Okay.

Grabbed my library loaned Making Vintage Bags and chose a pattern.

If I wasn't such a speed demon sewer, it would have gone a lot smoother. Or maybe if I had read the instructions. I don't know. But I do like how it turned out.

More repurposing of those faux flowers...

And of course, my new Canon needed a new strap...

Are you hip? Do you refashion mis-purchases?
Refashioning works for me!

{5 Tips for Frugal Fitness}

Monday, June 22, 2009

You all know Jen from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, right? She's the frugal blogger behind Tasty Tuesday's, as well as homeschooling mom to five and worship leader! SuperMom, right? She also knows a thing or two about weight loss and how beneficial regular exercise is. And because she's so sweet, she's let me guest post today on my 5 Tips for Frugal Fitness.

With such a big platform, I many have gotten a bit wordy--okay, I bare my soul-seriously, I do repent--just stick with me or scroll down to the good stuff, 5 ways I've found to work-out without hurting our budget.

Okay, go visit Jen now-tell her I said thanks!

If you're visiting from Beauty & Bedlam, welcome! Thanks for stopping by! This blog is my creative outlet, where my mission is to encourage others in creativity in the everyday. Although running is a big part of my life too! Honestly, it's often how I balance mommyhood's demands. If running piques your interest, too and you're looking for a place to start, consider the 10 week running plan that I love.

Happy Dad's Day

Sunday, June 21, 2009

And because Mr. Smarty needed one more mug...tell me I'm not the only one who finds this awesome:

Father's Day 2008:: What we made
Father's Day 2008:: Why we love Mr. Smarty-because it's still true

Summer School Art Kid's Edition:: Jesus Window Poster

Friday, June 19, 2009

In Adventures In My Father's World, our main curriculum for Belle, we are studying the names of God. This week we are celebrating the name that means The Lord Saves: JESUS!

Such a simple, but fun way to spend these days when it's too hot to play outside for very long.

I had Belle draw and cut out the letters, and peel the crayon wrappers...she has a real talent for peeling crayons and garlic. Bless her.

I used my vegetable peeler to shave the crayons, which was so beautiful that it felt theraputic despite that fact that I could hear the boys getting into bathroom trouble. I just loved the colors and the shapes the shavings were making...maybe I need to get out more...see some sunsets or something...

We then ironed the letters and shavings between two pieces of wax paper on a low heat.

What we learned:: Wax paper + low heat = cool stuff.

Remember making stenciled shirts with it? ahh, good times...still waiting for that phone call, by the way...Tuesday was the 6 month mark since we've been officially waiting...sigh...

See more Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom
See more Kid Friendly Fridays at I Blame My Mother

{Happy Feet}

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I bought my first pair of Naturalizers...and I feel really old. Not only that, but now I am going to blog about my foot pain. I must really be old.

About 2 months ago, I developed Morton's Neuroma, a running injury of swollen nerves in the foot. Short story even shorter: I am doing a happy feet dance now because I didn't have to stop running while it healed! I just got a metatarcel lift (4 for 3.99 at Academy, if you need one) for my running shoes. (and took 2 Advil with each meal...)

I also got these nifty Naturalizers (Marshalls!) to wear with my summer skirts and I love them! ...flip-flops are so last summer.

Any other old ladies out there? Tell me about your aches and pains.

{Need Success This Summer?}

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What are your summer plans? How do you know when you've committed them to the Lord?

I'm guest posting about our summer plans at SAH Missionary today, while Joy is flying across the world!

Summer Blessings,

{Creativity Blessed}

Monday, June 15, 2009

Psalm 90: 17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

This is the New American Standard Version. Other translations say "bless" the work of our hands, or "establish" or "give permanence" to the work of our hands.

The things we do with our hands today, our work, our creations, however small and trivial, can be blessed in such a way that it's effects can outlive us.

This table cloth was cross-stitched decades ago by my great-grandmother. Though she no longer lives on this earth, I am still touched by the work of her hands.

I love how God has given us each different gifts to encourage others-even those of future generations!

How has God gifted you to impact or touch the lives of others? Have you recognized ways in which you've been blessed though the others' work confirmed by God?

Want to keep encouraging your creativity? Subscribe here.

And for more everyday gifts, stop by Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped!

{Summer School Art :: Winnas!!!}

Sunday, June 14, 2009

(That's me hollering, "Winners" in my best *with-it-girl* voice)

Summer School Art at PAJAMA MAMA

THANK YOU to all who participated (and humored me) last week. I had fun and hope you did, too.

As I prepared for Summer School Art, I was thrilled to offer these little gifts to you in a giveaway. But my main mission was to reveal a few of the many ways in which we can express our creativity. We could continue this all summer and fall and winter, but I would need you to take over quickly!

Ephesians 4:7 "...he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ."

We have each been given different gifts and it is thrilling to see how God can use them!

Okay, without any further gabbing, let me give two friends a few gifts. The winners are:

Giveaway #1, Apron & Towel Set : Buildeth Her House, mom of seven and fellow blogger who is starting Feminine Friday, an extension of the Feelin' Feminine Challenge. I also noticed she has a Buildeth Her House button with aprons on it...hope she likes her prize!

Giveaway #2, Inspiration Book of Her Choice: Leaning on Him. Amanda also wins the perfect attendance award-make sure to check out all her posts on what she created last week...her home portrait is Beautiful, she tweaked the project and made it her own, and now I need to try a project like it soon!

{Summer School Art :: Your Turn}

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer School Art at PAJAMA MAMA

Okay, I'm a lee-tle bit nervous Mr. Linky won't show up, but I'm so glad you did. You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to checking out your creativity!

Just some business…

::Your link can be anything that displays creativity... a beautiful meal, a poem, a sewing tutorial, a framed drawing by a special 4 year old...

::And it doesn't have to be a new post, although, I would be honored if you would link back to Pajama Mama.

::If Mr. Linky isn't here, just leave a comment with your permalink so we can find you!

And now, if I may give one last assignment (after linking up, of course):

I want to know what books you've used in finding inspiration. From an Amy Butler sewing book to the Pottery Barn catalog-leave a comment and tell us inspires you. Remember, each comment = an entry to Giveaway #1!

Summer School Art Participants
1. Amanda @ LOH (Beaded postcard)
2. Amanda @ LOH (House portrait)
3. Amanda @ LOH (bird paintings)
4. Amanda @ LOH (Painted pot)
5. Christina (Beaded Card)
6. Sarah Mae (Bird picture)
7. Joye @ The Joyeful Journey
8. Simply Dawn (watercolor)
9. Simply Dawn (beaded card)
10. Here I am (beaded card)
11. Abigail (Recipe Scrapbook!)

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

{Summer School Art: Painting the Birds}

All you Summer School Art people are so cool! I've loved getting links to your creativity and seeing the tweaks you've made to add your touch to them. Can't wait to see more if Mr. Linky will join us! Okay, today's lesson is for the birds...I mean bird-lovers, which seems to be every mommy-blogger out there, no?

These prints are from Pottery Barn, and no longer available-but have no fear-we can make our own!

Okay, got your supplies? Want to try a spotted woodpecker?

Here we go...start with a pencil outline. If you want to trace a photo or picture (or this one), trace away.

I used my kids' black paint to paint a thick outline of the body, head, back and tail. Use thinner strokes for the legs and feet-are they feet? claws? talons? whatever...

Next, add a little bit of water to some of your black paint. Paint a watery line on the tummy. This is also when you can add white spots on the tail. I used the eraser of a pencil to make the small circles, but a little paint on the tip of your pinky will work, too. Test on a separate paper first, till you find the effect you want. Then set it aside and wait for it to dry a bit.

All dry? Okay, grab your kids' sidewalk chalk and fill in the body. Have oil pastels or chalk pastels? Even better. Use what you have. And smudge with your fingers. Add markings on the back and wing, too. Use a coral color for the body, and a red shade for the head and underbelly.

Tip: To keep your finished chalk masterpieces (or your kids') smudge proof, spray with Aqua Net, or your brand of hairspray-it dries fast and clear and allows you to stack and store-or frame.

Want to try another? How about a Pheasant? Don't you just love Pheasant feathers? Me too. Okay, I'm switching paints I'm pulling out my watercolors...don't have any? Remember from yesterday's lesson, I used my kids' watercolors.

Again, trace or freehand a bird you like. Now paint the entire body in a watery brown water color. Add less water to the brown you'll use on the head, tail, tummy and legs.

Don't worry about letting it dry before you add black and brown dots. Darken the head, beak and neck with more the same paint you used for the dots.

Mix just a smidgen of red water color. You won't need much at all. Add a touch around the eye. Now, with a black felt-tip pen, outline the body, legs and beak. Use the pen to add feathers and define the tail. When it's dry- you're done!

Frame in gilt frames, and you've got a PB-worthy wall! Take a pic, and link up tomorrow! (You all know I mean Pottery Barn-worthy wall, not Peanut Butter-worthy wall, right? oh good. I knew you guys were quick!)

Want more techniques for feather painting? Start with this book:

The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas

Now tomorrow YOU are the leader! Get ready to link up for projects and invite us over to be inspired!

Subscribe here or follow now to make sure you don't miss the inspiration!

{Summer School Art :: Home Portrait}

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Anyone see The Nester's colored pencil rendition of her beloved house? I saw it and had to have one of my own. Today, together, we'll make one of your home.

Get out your supplies:
-a printed picture of your home
-heavy paper, card stock, watercolor paper, etc.
-watercolors & brushes OR colored pencils OR fine tip pen
-painters tape may help, too

You may need to take your camera outside and take a quick photo of your house. Make sure the car's not in the driveway. The weather is not that important, this will just give us the basic shape. Upload your picture to your computer, determine the size you want your picture to be and print out a black and white or grey-scale copy. A photo may work, too, but you have less control over the size you want your picture to be.

Here I have printed out a picture of our home and taped it to the door where lots of light comes through. Painters tape is great because it will not harm your paper and it also can ensure a clean border around your picture. Take your heavy paper and place it over the print-out. Use the light to trace the basic outline of your home, shrubbery, trees and anything else you want in your art piece.

Step three: Color in the lines. Use watercolor, or pencils to add color, or leave as a sketch, if that is the look you are happy with. You may also try using a fine tip black pen over the pencil and erasing any seen lines when the ink has dried. In my example, I outlined my painting with a black pen after my watercolors were dry.

It's too easy-peesy, right? But wouldn't you love a framed hand-drawn picture of the place your family calls home? Wouldn't someone you love? Or a neighbor? See a gift idea?

Want to hear how cheap this project was? I didn't have my own set of watercolors when I did this picture (I've since bought my own when they were 50% off at HobLob). So this picture was actually done with a set of children's watercolors that comes attached to a coloring book. I may have used a real brush...not sure.

Okay, class is almost dismissed before you discredit me for exposing all my secrets for cheating at art. Just a reminder-get your supplies ready for tomorrow! And get your creativity ready for Giveaway #2. Link up with Mr. Linky here THIS FRIDAY with your post on any of the Summer School Art projects, or one of your own!

Don't miss tomorrow's class, subscribe here!

{Summer School Art :: Hooked Towel}

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Welcome to Day 2 of Summer School Art!

Today's a sewing lesson...but please don't leave if the "s" word scares you. This is a very simple project with a stunning impact! (and, if for no other reason, stick around for the GIVEAWAY!!!) I'll be making a kitchen hand towel, but this could be for a bath towel just as easily.

Today you'll need a towel, either hand or bath size, and a fourth yard (for hand towel) or half yard (for bath towel), coordinating fabric. You'll also need coordinating thread, a ruler or yardstick, scissors, pins and an iron.

Let's begin. Baby steps.

Step 1, Determine the size band you'll need. Measure the width of your towel, then add 1 inch to this measurement for seams. If you're making a hand towel, cut your band 8" wide x the length you just measured (with 1 inch seam allowance). If you're making a bath towel, cut your band 15 1/2" wide x your measured length. Set the band aside.

Step 2, Cut fabric for the hook or loop. For the hand towel cut a piece, 3" wide x 4" long. For the bath, 3 1/2" wide x 6" long.

Step 3, Make towel loop. First, fold the panel in half, length wise and press (iron). Open back up and fold the ends in and press.

Fold up to enclose raw edges and sew down both sides.

Step 4, Press both the top and bottom of the towel band length.

Step 5, Attach loop to towel band. Unfold the top band for the moment. Find the center of your towel band, and pin loop to the RIGHT side of fabric equal distances from the center. Machine baste the loop ends to secure them.

Step 6, Fold back the towel band ends that we had pressed. Fold the band in half and press. Wrap the towel in the towel bands and pin into place. Pin on both sides, and make sure where you plan to sew will catch both sides.

Step 7, Leave the ends open, and begin to stitch in a few stitches from the ends to leave room to tuck the ends in later. Sew band to towel.

Step 8, Sew ends in. Tuck and pin the ends in, then stitch along the edge.

Was that too bad? If so, it was probably from my lack of experience in giving written sewing instructions-so please let me know if and where I've inserted any unnecessary confusion.

Sewing Books I love:

Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. I've posted about some of the books projects here. And her blog, Angry Chicken is in my blogroll!

Anne Marie Horner's Seams to Me.

Amy Butler's In Stitches, where there are more detailed hooked towel instructions.

All of these books are for the beginner to the advanced. They each give definitions and tips galore!

Want to win one of those books? Then get your creativity ready for Giveaway #2. Link up with Mr. Linky here THIS FRIDAY with your post on any of the Summer School Art projects, or one of your own! One linker will win their choice of my Summer School Art recommended books to inspire you in more creativity!

And don't forget to enter to win this, too:

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