Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Camp Crafty

First a housekeeping note: Today is the last day to enter the necklace giveaway. The winner will be drawn using Random.org and will be announced sometime tomorrow. Don't forget to leave me a comment for all the ways you've entered.

Now back to our regularly scheduled post:

Because my daughter is too young for camp this summer, I decided to hold our own camp. We would do special activities and crafts to make the summer more fun. For our first craft, we decided to make a butterfly garden for her room.

The butterfly garden will essentially be paper butterflies hung on string from her ceiling. I am hoping to hang them over her bed like a mobile. When her fan blows it will look like the butterflies are flying.

Making the butterflies was so easy, I thought I'd share a little tutorial with you. All you will need is:

Crayons, pencils or paint to decorate the butterflies
Yarn or string

I had Bunny color a picture on the paper to start off with. Because she is three, it was easier for her to do than to color on the butterflies themselves. However, if you want to decorate each butterfly individually you can do that too.

To make the butterfly, you fold the paper and draw a B on one side of the fold. Cut along the B.

And you've made a butterfly shape, easy peasy. If you've decided to decorate each butterfly do so now.

Next fold the butterfly like an accordion. The folds should be tighter in the middle and the edges should be left unfolded.

Then tie a string or yarn around the middle as tight as you like making sure that the edges (or wings) are not folded.

If you are planning on hanging the butterflies, leave one end of the string long enough to hang from the ceiling. If you just want to use them for decoration or play, you can cut both ends short.

That's it. A super easy and super fun project.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Looking Out, Looking Up

I've been sort of a Debbie Downer lately. A lot of things have gone wrong lately and I have been focusing on them too much. Its hard not to.

But the focus of this blog is to create and look for beauty in everyday life. I can plant a garden so I have pretty flowers to look at. I can pick up a paint brush or a pencil and doodle for a while. I can grab my wire and hook and make something.

Or I can look out the window

and admire the beauty all around me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot

(This necklace will be added to the shop later today. It is a larger version of the necklace in the giveaway. )

Summer has finally arrived in my corner of the world. It apparently has decided to come in full force, August-type weather, with the sun and humidity competing to see who can be more wicked.

When its like this, I just try and survive. We don't have central air in our house, which normally isn't a problem but now it is. There are a few cool pockets here and there, usually right in front of a window air unit or fan. But you can't spend all day in front of an air conditioner (believe me I've tried), you have to get on with the business of life.

So one of my favorite (air conditioned) places to go when its like this is the library. The library is great for so many reasons but most of all for free books. I can pick up some new books for my daughter and a few Charlaine Harris books for me (I love watching True Blood so I picked up her books and love them too, perfect summer reading).

I have also started perusing the art and craft books the library has. I've recently picked up Altered Art by Terry Taylor. I put Kelly Rae Roberts book Taking Flight on reserve and can't wait to get it. I love these kind of books because they really spark my imagination. I get so many ideas and I can't wait to try them out, even if they are just for play. And I will, once I get a new fan for the studio.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Beauty Pick Me Up

(Don't forget to enter our giveaway. The deadline to enter has been extended. Just leave a comment for each thing you've done so I can keep track.)

Over the weekend we had a house-related catastrophe. Now if you read my other blog you will know I hate my house. There are so many, many things wrong with it. Things that take money, and lots of it, to fix. And now, just as we were getting ready to put the finishing touches on our basement remodel, the basement went and broke some more.

I was just beside myself. I couldn't belive that something bad was happening to this house again. I started to wallow in pity, thinking of everything that went wrong and of everything that could go wrong. Not the healthiest behavior.

I had to do something to get myself out of it. I thought if I was going to get all dirty I might as well get something out of it (other than a dry basement). So I grabbed my gloves and my shovel and dug in the dirt.

I felt better the instant my fingers hit the earth. For just a little bit of work I would have something I would enjoy all summer long. It was worth it and it helped me escape my troubles for just a little while.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Business is Business

except when there is no busniess.

My poor Etsy shop. It has been langishing in a virtual wasteland for more than a year. I haven't had the time or energy to devote to it, so it just sits there untouched and unloved. And because I haven't visited it, no one else has visisted it either. So it's not much of a business. Its more of a placeholder, a placeholder with some pretty things.

But what if I did something novel, something unheard of (at least in these parts)? What if I began to use my store in the way it was intended. What if I actually listed things, pretty things? What if I took clear pictures of those pretty things? What if I cleaned up the store and filled it with the things that I love?

Would people visit? Would people love the pretty things the way that I love them? Would (fingers and toes crossed) people actually buy those pretty things?

Well there is only one way of finding out. I'm just going to have to do it and see what happens. The piece above is my first try.

And don't forget to enter the giveaway. Just click on the link in the side bar. The giveaway runs through June 26th.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Magical Place

The world outside my door is a magical place filled with wonder. I used to know that. I used to believe. But the realities of grown up life got in the way and I forgot. Grass had to be mowed, flower beds had to be weeded, bugs and critters were a nuisance.

Now I view the world through the eyes of a three year old. When I venture outside I see the limitless possibilities of the world around me. Every step we take, every corner we turn brings new and wonderful things to see. A walk must be stopped to pick a flower from a lowly weed growing through the cracks in the sidewalk. Ants are not to be stepped on or over, they should be examined closer. Worms are not gross, they help our garden grow.

The leaves and sticks that clutter the sidewalks should not be pushed aside. They can be taken home and made into something new, something wonderful. You just have to see it. You just have to look with the eyes of someone who is discovering the world instead of numbly wandering through it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesdays Are For Sharing - Free Stuff

In honor of the relaunch of this site, I've decided to host a giveaway. I am going to be giving away this beautiful necklace crocheted with my own two hands:

So I am sure you want to know how you can win this beauty. Of course you do and here are the ways you can enter the drawing:

1. Follow me.

2. Follow me over at my other blog.

3. Tweet about it. (for example: @butwhymommy is having a giveaway over at Juniper and Coffee, check it out http://www.juniperandcoffee.blogspot.com)

4. Blog about it.

One entry for each of the above. And if you are really ambitious and do all of the above, I'll give you an extra entry. Its that simple. Just leave me a comment for each thing you do.

The contest will run through Tuesday June 30th at 11:59 p.m. central. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be announced here on Wednesday July 1st. (please note the deadline has been extended so share this with all of your friends for more chances to win).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


When I first started this blog, I wanted to claim something that was just for me. I wanted to expand my boundaries and push myself. So I challenged myself to craft everyday for 365 days.

It just wasn't realistic for me to do. I have so much stuff going on. I am constantly being pulled in a million different directions all at once. In other words I have a normal life with a family and children.

I could have taken down this blog and held it up to a failed experiment. Lesson learned. But I didn't want to do take it down, I thought this blog could be more than just a show and tell. I thought I could make it into something I could be proud of. So I kept it up. I posted here and there while I was running through things in my mind.

And I've finally decided that I am ready to give this thing a go again. However its going to be different. Its not going to be about me and what I make. Its going to be about bringing creativity into your daily life, sharing that creativity with your children. Its also going to be about taking my business off of life support and getting it up and running. I'm going to be trying new projects, posting tutorials of things that turn out and highlighting some really cool creative people.

So I hope that you will join me in my endeavor. I hope that you will follow my journey and share it with your friends.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Vacation State of Mind

Every year our family goes on vacation to the same place. We have our things that we do, the places that we can't miss. It is a nice ritual.

One of my things is to visit this little bead store. Generally I ban myself from going to bead stores because I have a huge stash that I need to use up (one of the perks/drawbacks to having worked at a bead store). But I can't resist this little shop, so every year I go back.

But I find myself drawn to things I would never buy at home, more ethinic, more eclectic. I always bring my tools with me and make pieces with those bead right away. Sometimes I don't bring any jewelry with me, I just create my vacation accessories on the spot.

This year I found some vintage glass beads with a 40's feel to them in aqua and green. They made the perfect pair of earrings. I've worn them almost everyday since being home.

I also found a vintage Ethiopian pendant which I had to buy. We are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia and I thought I would help to pass the time if I had something from his birth country. I added some vintage beads and a leather cord to make a great necklace. Normally I would not use leather cord but it fit the piece and my vacation mindset.

I also wanted to let all of you know that the fabulous Christy from A Lil' Welsh Rarebit is having a giveaway. She is giving away a necklace, decals and some eco-friendly cleaning products. You should check it out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Showing Some Love

Its been a while since I've posted here. Part of it was laziness and procrastination. Part was trying to decide where I want to take this blog. I'm still working out some things in my head but I figured I should still post from time to time until I can figure things out. So today I am showing this blog some love.

Love is actually the reason for this post. My husband and I recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. We have always exchanged the traditional gifts. While the traditional gifts of diamonds, gold and silver can be fun, we are't quite there yet.

The traditional gifts for the earlier years are a bit more interesting - paper, linen, leather, tin etc. For 11 it is steel. Steel kind of had me stumped. Should I buy some silverware? A new grill? A new car? Well no, money is a bit too tight for that.

Then it hit me, the hardware store has tons of steel stuff. I love the hardware store even though I'm not very handy. I just love all the tools and stuff. I've even used some hardware in my jewelry. So I decided to get some washers, nuts and bolts to make a pair of cufflinks for Bubs.

I experimented with a few things before hitting on the perfect design. I took two nuts, a few beads, some wire and toggles and came up with these beauties:

I was thrilled with the way they came out and Bubs loves them.