Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Take the Handmade Pledge!

 I Took The Handmade Pledge!

"I pledge to buy handmade for myself and my loved ones,
and request that others do the same for me."

Buying handmade is always a special experience that large chain-stores just can't provide. It is the thrill of finding something truly unique and special. It is the connection we make to the inventor, creator, artist and seller. It is the one-on-one customer service we receive. It is buying local. It is about making a personal connection to some one in another part of the world. It is about receiving something from the heart that is made with love and special care. It is the personal touch and the extra effort that makes us all feel special. It is the idea that without one person's creativity and hard work something would not have existed. Handmade means so many things to so many people. Visit BUYHANDMADE.ORG, see what handmade means to others, take the pledge, and share with your friends and family. So far, over 52,800 have taken the pledge! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

15 Things to do before back-to-school

I can't believe it is August already! Fall/Autumn and Back-to-School are closer and closer everyday. It seems that all of the stores are already bombarding us with pencils, crayons, erasers, binders, laptops and all of the accessories for a new school year and Halloween items all at the same time. I stopped at a local craft store this past week where they even have Thanksgiving and Christmas just about set up for the season! I have to admit, I have started thinking Fall and Winter, but in my defense, it takes me much longer to hand-sew each of my items. I was just starting out this time last year, so I had very little time to get ready for the fall/winter holidays. This year I am a little better prepared! :) 
This morning the sun is shining bright, the weather is still hot, the pool is waiting for its first swimmers of the day, and the flowers are growing like crazy. Here are a few ways to slow down the rush and enjoy the few weeks we have left of summertime:

  1. Sidewalk Art: Grab your bucket of sidewalk chalk and head outside! Draw pictures, letters, numbers, play games, anything! Draw your friend's portrait and write their name underneath. Play tic-tac-toe with your sister. If you don't have sidewalk chalk at home make your own, or use large paintbrushes (like the kind you use to paint your house) and water. Fill a bucket with water, dip your paintbrush and draw on the sidewalk or even the side of the garage. As soon as the water dries, you have a fresh canvas to draw some more!

  2. Check out some extremely large and life-like sidewalk chalk art in person or online:There are a lot of wonderful artists out there creating giant chalk masterpieces- if you run in to one, be sure to stop and get a picture! Many rely on perspective to appear 3-D, so it may take a minute to find just the right place to view it from.

  3. Sidewalk Chalk Art
    Have a picnic: Grab your picnic basket, a blanket and some friends and head outside to have lunch. Pack a few sandwiches, pieces of fruit, some lemonade and other goodies to enjoy on the open grass or under a shade tree. If you can't get time to go to the park, head outside on your lunch break or set up your picnic in the backyard.

  4. Play catch: Dig out your old ball mitt from the box in the garage and head outside and play catch! Little ones love to try and toss a ball as far as they can, and older ones love to learn how to throw a curve ball just like dad!

  5. Play four-square: Remember that game we used to play at recess? Teach it to your little ones or younger siblings! If you can't quite remember the rules or are new to the game, you can find a refresher course here: How to Play Foursquare

  6. Rollerblade/rollerskate: Grab your blades or skates and head outside or to the roller rink!
    When I rollerblade, I prefer the outdoors. I look for paved and relatively flat biking trails. Don't forget the helmets and all of your padding!
    When I skate, I head over to the roller rink. I find that the rink runs about $5-7/person  for 2-3 hours (depending on the rink and location). Skate rentals usually run about $1-2 for basic skates and about $3 for speedskates or rollerblades. If you have your own at home, as long as they are in decent condition and the wheels are clean from gunk and rocks, you can use them at the rink and save a few dollars. I find the best time to go is earlier in the day, especially for beginners and younger children. Older students and adults typically crowd the rink the evening time, and this may make it harder for newcomers to learn how to skate with the "big kids" whizzing past at high speeds.
    Indoor/outdoor or inline/quad, both make for a great family day out!

  7. Frisbee: Grab a friend and a frisbee and head outside to an open area. This is also a great game to play with the family dog!

  8. Tie-dye: Available in pre-made kits or in individual packets of dye, this is a great way to extend the life of your older white shirts! (Like the one with the mustard stain that didn't quite come out!) There a several ways to create interesting designs and shapes- it all depends on how you twist, knot, rubberband and crinkle your shirt. Kids love seeing their artwork turn into something they can wear! This is also a great way to teach children about what happens when two colors touch and mix. There are dozens of tutorials, supply companies and videos online such as How to Tie Dye. Craft stores and even Walmart sell dye and kits. This makes a great outdoors project for a group!
  9. Take a hike: Grab your hiking boots, water bottle, compass and a trail map and head out for a hike! Depending on how far you plan to go, you may want to pack a small lunch or snack and extra water. Don't forget your bug spray and/or sunscreen!

  10. Have a BBQ: Get your friends and family together for a cookout in the backyard! Burgers, hot dogs and chicken on the grill are must-have summertime foods! If you are worried about costs, make it pot luck and have everyone bring a side-dish!

  11. Go Fishing: Head out to the lake, river or pond with the family for a day of fishing! If you don't care for the feel of live worms, minnows or frogs, grab some artificial lures from your local bait and tackle shop. Depending on how far your favorite fishing hole is from your car, pack a small cooler with cold drinks and a few snacks.  (Be sure to check your local laws.)

  12. Look at the stars: Find an area away from the city traffic and bright lights and watch the stars. How many constellations can you find and name? Don't forget to make a wish on a shooting star!

  13. The Ice-cream Man: You hear the music every time the ice cream man drives by... so run out there and get a rocket pop, a choco-taco or an ice cream cone! This is a great way for children to practice counting money and making a purchase.
  14. Make your own ice cream: What is better then eating ice cream? Making it yourself! You can find many different recipes and methods online. You can find one great tutorial here.  I have found the baggie method to be pretty quick and it works well with 2% milk.

  15. Gather veggies from the garden: The garden is flourishing and everyday new vegetables are appearing!  Have the kids help you gather up the ripe veggies (and perhaps even the weeds). Younger children love naming what they find. Older children enjoy helping out in the kitchen to turn their findings into a yummy meal!

There are so many things to do before school starts again! What are some of your favorites?

Monday, July 11, 2011

My big organization project

I was going to insert an some sort of happy, uplifting, inspirational quote here, but instead I will cut right to the chase: My live in a small apartment. I work out of my living room. I get busy. Things get cluttered.

Not in the Help-I-can't-find-anything-I'm-missing-deadlines-my-life-is-falling-apart sense of clutter. More in the sense that my "studio space" has invaded my "living space". I tend to just make a pile at the end of the night when I am done working. On the couch, the coffee table, or where ever else I have been working. I know where everything is (thanks to my awesome visual memory) and can tell my husband exactly where to find the packing tape. It's when I "clean" it all up that I lose things. Or I go all the way to the craft store, only to find that one color of felt buried under a stack of something else.

Like I said, my apartment is sort of small. I have been slowly trying to make things match and become- well, simplified. In the spring we had a huge yardsale and got rid of a ton of junk. My husband and I some how accumulated a lot of stuff that should have probably been pitched years ago. Between us both going to college, my art supplies and projects, our hobbies, our parents moving, hand-me-downs and getting married, we had a lot to sort/sell/donate/throw away. So we did all of that.

But after all of that I still didn't have a place for my felt and crafting area. I have slowly taken over the living room...and the one corner of the dining room.  Little piles here and there of the projects that I am working on, following me around where ever I end up working that day. This weekend, I finally got fed up with it and jumped on the chance to re-organize once and for all.

In the beginning there was clutter:
On the couch...

...on the desk (Still trying to get rid of it on craigslist!)...

...and in the dining room.

Me vs. Clutter
Me: 0
Clutter: 3

I declare war:
Like usual, I was on a budget. After some shopping around, I ended up right where I thought- Target. It took awhile to pick out what I wanted. I had a lot to consider- how I wanted to categorize things, how big things were, how they would sit on the shelves, the colors to blend in better with my living room, and of course my budget. I went up and down the aisles a million times with my notepad, and I am pretty sure they thought I was crazy. But I am glad I did because I am pretty sure I saved myself about $20 and everything matches. For instance, the large clear totes with flowers- I saved about $2 each simply by picking a different pattern. Same size, brand, etc just a different pattern printed on the box. The flat box and stacking baskets- same thing. The large totes were nearly two times as much for the other brands. 

1 stainless-steel shelving unit
 2 large totes
2 large storage boxes
4 stacking baskets
2 crates
5 shoe box sized totes
1 medium flat locking container

I arrived home and spread all of the totes and baskets out on my floor. I made a pile of my "stuff" out of the way so I would have room to work. It was time to build the shelves. 

I already own a set of these shelves that we use as a "pantry" since we have very little (and very awkward) cupboard space in our kitchen. (Our kitchen feels more like a closet- tiny, cramped, dark, no windows, tiny cupboards etc- a mere after thought in the layout of our apartment.) Anyways, I love the 5-tier stainless steel shelves from Target. They are super easy to put together, easy to keep clean, sturdy and when we move again, we can use them anywhere and they will match the decor. 

Now I have a clean slate! 

I started by designating categories for totes and baskets. I wasn't sure where to start, so I just started by simply picking up a handful of stuff and asking myself "WTF is it?"
I thought it was a good place to start.   :)

I limited myself to one category per basket or tote. Once I got going, I got some sticky labels and a sharpie and started tagging. It was so nice giving things homes! I started making a list of rules in my mind about how I want to keep everything separated from now on. 

Victory is mine! 

Everything has a home!
Colors match!
All of my patterns are in one place that is not my coffee table!
My felt is even separated! (Bulk, large scraps, small scraps)
My living room is now 75% living room and 25% studio!

My "dining room" is also much improved.
I really only use this area when I use the sewing machine, but it is now far more inviting!
Remember that painting of mine hiding behind the couch? 
It now looks GREAT on my wall!

Lesson of the day:
I am bound and determined to keep everything organized. No more piles. I am replacing piles with totes and baskets. No mixing up categories. All lids must be in place and baskets and totes must be put back on the shelf at the end of each day. No overflowing (This will help me from accumulating too much of anything, help me find uses for all of my scraps, avoid buying supplies I already have, and reduce & reuse).I hung a copy of the "rules" to remind me of my new commitments. Over 24 hours later I am glad to report that so far, so good!

Last night, when all was said and done, I rewarded myself with an ice-cold adult beverage and sat back to look at my new organized life. My husband got home about then and was able to enjoy the moment with me. The only thing he asked: "Do you feel better now?" 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Items Coming Soon!

New Things are Coming to Live. Dream. Create.!

I am currently working on my "Summer fun" collection. 
Think hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, s'mores over a campfire,
and cool summer sweets and treats!

Keep checking on Etsy and Artfire to see new pieces as I finish them!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baby Chick Giveaway Winner

Winner of the Baby Chick Giveaway is:
(Drum roll please!)
Rebekah Arnold!

I will email the winner to get their shipping information.
Thank you to everyone who has participated!


The next giveaway will start when I gather 100 "likes" on the Live.Dream.Create. facebook page OR 100 followers to the blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My baby chicks got a special feature today!

They were a hit at Oddmall, and now they are featured on Your Blissful Day's party planning blog!

This week's party theme is "Barnyard Bash", and my adorable chicks have found a spot amongst adorable farm themed party favors and decorations! Each day, new items by etsy sellers are introduced that will fit right in with cow print placemats, hand-painted picture frames, and napkin holders featuring horses. Everything to make your barnyard party a blast!

Head on over to check out my baby chicks, the barnyard theme, and other fun party themes featuring handmade items!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Voting on the May CIC challenge

Voting on the Crafting in Color May Challenge: Recycling has started and my felt fortune cookies are in the running!

My fortune cookies are made from my re-purposed scraps. I also use felt made from recycled plastics.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


If you are a regular follower, you may have noticed the new navigation bar at the top of the page! I will start to organize new posts to fit into some of these new pages.

  • Home
    • This will take you to the main blog page
    • Here you will find general posts that are not sorted into the following areas
  • Schedule of Appearances
    • This is where I will list my upcoming craft show events
    • I will organize them in order by the date they occur, rather than by when I sign up/finalize them. This will make it easier on all of us I believe. ;)
  • Current contests/giveaways
    • Find information about current giveaways, coupons, promotions, etc here.
    • After doing this first giveaway, I realized I needed to put the information in a place far easier to find, and I think this will do the trick. 
  • I've been featured!
    • Here I will post when I get featured in blogs, collections, treasuries and elsewhere
    • I will post them in order with the oldest at the bottom and the newest at the top
  • Craft shows in review
    • This is where you will find my pictures, reflections and other thoughts on the craft shows/events I attend.
    • I would like to get a rating system going at some point as to how likely I will be to do the show again in the future.

Rainy Days collection on Artfire

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oddmall: A look inside my first show

How to describe a day at Oddmall? Well... "odd" does seem to come to mind pretty quickly! I saw everything from Andy Hopp's fantastical creature art to vegan chocolates to gourmet cupcakes, zombie toys/stuffed animals, fleece penguin Yodas and Harry Potters, various styles of ceramics, sculpture, and unusual "surrealist"/ fantasy art. There were even belly dancers! Everything was mis-matched together in 4 rooms: 1 large main room, 2 smaller rooms and the center "entrance" area. (Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to take a picture of everything once we were under way.)
Our table was in the main room along a side wall- #6 to be exact- down the same aisle as Andy Hopp, Zombiesocks and other great creators. We arrived Friday evening (during the storm!) and began setting up our table...

Our table with all of our stuff piled around... where to start!?!

Other sellers setting up around our room.

We finally picked a place to start; we decided to set up the table coverings and we hung up our sign behind the table from the ceiling. Next, it was time to put the display shelves together and position them one each side of the main table. Once we got the displays situated, we began to fill them up with all of our creations and things began to take shape! It didn't take long for our empty table to begin to transform into a little mini toy shop!
 The felt "munchies" side of the table
 Courtney's adorable "Bean Stockings" and hair clips with my plushies
The whole shebang as we left it Friday night to catch a few zzz's!

Friday night we got home late, caught a few hours of sleep, then were back at the show bright and early with our Dunkin' Donuts. We had a couple of hours to put the final touches on our area and get ready for the first customers. By 10 AM we were ready to go!
 Sorry this one is a little blury...
Courtney with her Baby Sprout bean stockings

 Me next to the sushi and sandwich playsets
The customers started to arrive, and the room got crowded real quick! Everyone was stopping and looking, playing and commenting! Everyone (kids and adults, young and old) got a kick out of my sushi and sandwich playsets- but baby chicks stole the spot light very quickly! 
By the end of the show, the kids had accumulated a collection of various stuffed animals and stopped by my table to buy snacks and food for their new friends! One boy insisted his new mutant octopus and fluffy fleece penguin needed a carrot so that they wouldn't eat each other. :)  Several families made multiple stops at our table and the girls even had my baby chicks painted on their faces!  I had a lot of fun watching the younger kids get excited about the felt foods. They picked up different items saying, "Look Mom! An apple! And look! Watermelon!" One mom tried to explain a piece of sushi to her young girl- the little girl looked at it, squinted a little, and looked at her mom very seriously, "Su-sh-i. No Mom, that is a carrot. See, it is orange!"
"No Mom, that is a carrot!"

I didn't get to do a whole ton of looking around and shopping since I was busy at my table, but I was able to circle the show once. During that time, several people saw my special Live. Dream. Create. t-shirt and recognized me as "the girl that makes those adorable felt ______." (Mostly recalling the sushi, baby pigs, and baby chicks.) It was a really weird (but good!) feeling to walk around and have people to stop you because they connect you to something you made, and then to top it off, they really like that thing you made!

Other fun/odd highlights of the day:
  • I got to trade a couple things with Andy Hopp himself! (I LOVE his work!)
  • I heard one man tell another his "beard is magnificent".
  • I got trapped in the entrance area by the belly dancers. (I was headed out into the main hotel to hit up the vending machines for a Coke and chips when they started a routine and I was stuck between them, the wall and spectators. It was quite awkward!)
  • They say that some where in the world we each have a double. I found my husband's a few tables down from ours! Two random people could not be so exact!
  • My Aunt and Uncle stopped out to see us! (Fun, not odd!)
  • I tried "vegan" chocolate covered brownies. (My final analysis is that I will stick to regular brownies for the time being, sorry folks!)
  • I walked into the women's restroom and there was a man changing paper towels... It was a little awkward for both of us. I, of course, had to stop and quickly assure myself I was in the correct restroom! 
  • A gentleman stopped by and asked to take pictures of my table because he felt that it "embodies the Oddmall spirit"
  • Courtney asked if she was interested in doing consignment.
  • I got to put faces to a lot of names and shops I see around Etsy and Artfire.
Overall, we had a really fun day! Not bad for our first show! 
June 14th we will be at the Canal Day Craft Show and Duck Derby in Akron.
I am expecting setup to go much quicker, displays to look sharper, and to have even more fun!

I'm in love with Eco-fi (felt) collection on