Friday, November 6, 2009

White Christmas

We haven't had a Christmas at home since moving into our house! Two years ago was hubby's family, this last year was my family. This year we are staying home and enjoying all the tradition that comes with it. I recently repainted my living room a bright cream and all my dark furniture and black and white photography is popping against it, which inspired me to add some white to the room... this made me think how beautiful and simple a "White Christmas" decor theme would be this year!

So the search began for cheap (important) easy (more important) and kid friendly (most important) decor. Good old Martha had some great ideas:

1. Paper Doily Wreath... isn't that just breathtaking? Look how it glows!

2. Stiffened Doily's hung as snowflakes in the window. It reminds me of some stiffened hand crochet doilies my mom had on our tree for years and years.

3. Doily tree star topper but I imagine them, rather than a tree topper (or along with) as ornaments, hung from the ceiling with mono filament, or strung together as a garland! Imagine how gorgeous they would be with a light dusting of iridescent powder?

So, with those three ideas in mind I set out to find materials and price out what this may cost me. I don't crochet or know anyone who does so instead of using stiffened fabric doilies I am going to use paper ones, which makes everything easier as all three projects require the use of paper doilies.
Locally, I could only find them at Michaels. I picked up a few packs today to start messing with. A pack of 4" doilies was 1.99 and contains 30. A pack of 6" doilies was 1.99 and contained 20.

Tips for the projects:

1. Martha's wreath suggests using what are known (in this country) as bouquet cuffs. They are shaped like a cone and are meant to have stems inserted into them. The problem is I could not only not find paper ones ANYWHERE in the US, but when I did find them (from a German supplier) they were WAY out of my budget at almost .99c per cuff. As you will see from Martha's post, they claim they used about 100 of them.. wow that's one pricey wreath! SO.. my mind starts turning and I realise that I can make my own paper doily cones quite simply. You simply cut 1/2 of the way into a doily and overlap at the cut, lining up the pattern at the top and tape or glue. At the tip of the cone, snip a space large enough to slip the Christmas light through.
EXTRA TIP: For more detailed instructions and photos on how to make such a paper cone, visit the brilliant blog of Zakka Life (here, she uses them to make Doily flower cubes.)
I purchased an 18" wire frame for 2.99, and using the prices at Michaels it should cost me about 6.00 in doilies, and a string of lights to make my wreath. All said and done the project should be less than 15.00 total and stored carefully should last for years to come!

2. As I mentioned before I don't have any crochet doilies so I am simply going to use more paper ones, perhaps folding them and snipping away at the centers ala 2st grade, and letting my kids tape them to our front window and front door with some double stick. Super simple and its really nostalgic and vintage feeling to me. I may attempt a curtain of them as well, by using a tension curtain hanger and stringing some on mono filament, but only if my kids agree not to yank it down 10 times a day (not likely.)

3. I may stagger some of the stars on garlands like these, also by Martha. I think these can be used sparingly to create a great effect and stored properly should last for years to come as well!

My best friend is flying here in ONE WEEK (cant wait!) and staying until the 15th of December which gives us plenty of time to work on these great crafts. I will post pictures of our progress and any new ideas I stumble on in the meantime, I cant wait to see how it all turns out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The simple things in life are so good

This morning I peeked at my lavender bushes and realised it was DEFINITELY time for my first crop. I spent about an hour carefully cutting and trimming and I ended up with quite a few bundles and lots left over for some lavender water, so that's what the kids and I have been working on this rainy afternoon.

I often forget how good the simple things feel.. how important they are. I grew up on a farm, not a working farm, a family farm I guess you could say. My dad grew Christmas trees and we had 2 barns and almost 5 acres of fun to explore, grow on, learn on. We had chickens, cows, goats, dogs, a barn cat.. we had owls and bats and bees and everything a kid needs to learn and explore and appreciate what life and nature really are about. My mom always had the most gorgeous gardens.. so beautiful people would stop in front of our house to tell her. Lavender was my favorite thing she grew.. I would sit in my tree fort and make "potions" with her roses and lavender, and the sweet old lady down the street would always so sweetly thank me and try them on. What a brave woman!

I love the simplicity and magic of going out and cutting leaves and buds off a plant I grew myself, bringing it in and carefully sorting and bundling, hanging it up to dry and boiling and distilling the rest of the leaves and buds to make a refreshing lavender spray. I love knowing that in a few short days I will have dried lavender buds to make soap and laundry satchels and drawer inserts and I can smell this wonderful spring smell for months to come. I love the joy my kids get on their face that this is a project they can help with and they love the finished product.

I need to buy some fine mist sprayers, I'm really looking forward to keeping a few bottles of the lavender water in the fridge so I can spray myself down when it gets really hot this summer. Some of it I will use in my lavender soap, some I might put up for sale.. if I am not too greedy about it, lol. I think this summer I am going to fill my yard with lavender. I have roses that are gorgeous but I don't get as much joy from growing much else... I tried a myriad of things but I am just not used to growing in the climate here and I don't get satisfaction out of it the way I do with Lavender. This year, I am going to go for the gold and grow only what makes me so happy. Next springs first harvest will be big, that's for sure!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Freezer paper "screen printing" Tutorial- ROBOTS!

So I have been known to spill bleach/cold process soap/paint/food on my shirts. Every single time I swear I wont do it again, I'll be more careful... but alas, I have a drawer full of "bleach shirts". What to do with them? Now I have a solution.

Check out my new robot T shirt!!!

Every time I look at it I start laughing.. I just love his lack of expression and broken heart.. and the fact that I made him pink is just utterly superb in my world. So how did I do this? SUPER simple!

A few months ago I found a tutorial for using freezer paper to "screen print" clothes.. I dont have that original link.. but here are the simple simple steps in my own words.

#1. Prepare your image to "copy" onto the freezer paper. As you can see here I was inspired by old school robots like this fellow:
mini Q&A...*what is freezer paper?* Essentially its wax paper, but its only "waxy" on ONE side, making it simple to iron down the wax side to create your seal for leak free painting. I don't think you can find it everywhere, but I know they have it at Walmart and it comes in a GIANT roll that's very affordable.. which means LOTS of Tshirts! Buy the white, versus the brown, for easier tracing.

Using I made a simple boxy robot image, printed it out on a piece of printer paper, and traced it onto the freezer paper.

Now- remember that what you want "painted" you need to cut out, and what you want "tshirt" you leave on.. basically the opposite of your image you are tracing... so for my robot, all of his black body was "cut out", the "outline" ironed on, and the detail pieces like his eyes, mouth, and "heart panel" cut out as well, and placed/ironed last.

#2. Place your freezer paper SHINY SIDE DOWN onto your Tshirt (or whatever you are printing on), iron it down piece by piece, placing your detail pieces last. When you have it ironed down really well, you are ready to paint.

mini Q&A: what kind of paint do I use? You have options here... acrylic craft paint will work but may need MANY coats and may flake off in the washer. Fabric paint is best. I used acrylic because its all I had on hand tonight, and it dries quickly.. but I may use fabric paint in the future because its denser and doesn't soak in as much. NOW! STOP before you paint, and make sure you put something inside your shirt.. a piece of cardboard, another piece of freezer paper.. just SOMETHING to keep the paint from leaking through to the other side of your shirt.. because that would be a bummer.

Back to the paint.. You want to "dot" it on, as if you are doing a stencil on the wall, until you have a decent base coat.. then you can finish with a larger brush to get a smooth finish. Peel the paper off while the paint is still tacky but not wet enough to run.

Let it sit and dry for at least 2-4 hours before hanging it up and admiring. Isn't it FAB!? I love it! I am quite addicted to the process already, and my husband asked for a robot shirt of his own.. though, not in pink. What I love most is it would be so easy to add more detail.. like more hearts around him, by just adding on more layers of freezer paper.. or even doing multiple colors! So many options...

Happy crafting!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just my dress?

Summer is HERE ladies and gents. Well, maybe not officially.. but there has been 5 days of over 80 degree weather here so official or not, its hot and I need to update my wardrobe.

I also need to stay on a budget, so that got me thinking. How many summer looks can I pull together using discount chains but also still look cute?

Outfit #1... Hitting the town with hubby.

Twisted Flower Knit Tunic, $15.84 from Forever 21

Fab Mid-Length leggings in Black, $4.50- like these from Forever 21 (Walmart also has these for only $5.00.)

Outfit #2... Bike riding with the 'fam!Some nice capris (so my pants dont get caught in the chain!) and a nice airy cotton shirt!

Tandy Plaid Shirt II, $13.80 from Forever 21

Roll-Up Ripstop Cargos, $20.00 from Old Navy

Outfit #3.. Cotton sundress! so versatile! Grocery shopping.. slipping over my swimsuit to head to the beach..hanging out in the yard...

Azalea Floral Dress, $22.80 from Forever 21.

Ruffle Hem Woven Dress, $19.80 from Forever 21.

Some nice tank tops, some camis, some flip flops and I am good to go!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What has Kristin been up to? Soap, Watercolors, and Journals!

I haven't blogged in awhile, just haven't been up for it.. but I have been keeping busy! While waiting for our new camera to get here, I just worked worked worked. Some of the new things wont be on ETSY, they will be saved for an upcoming show in July.. but I wanted to give an update on what I have been working on!

First off.. mini journals! I take mini composition notebooks and hand sew covers for them using eco-felt and cotton. The covers last forever, you can just change out the notebook as you use it up.
Here are a few of the designs.. sorry the pic is a bit whack but its just to give you a sneak peek.

there will be about 15 or so to choose from when I get them all finished and uploaded (as soon as DH gets a memory card for the new camera!)

Second.. watercolor paintings and cards! I don't have many that I am ready to photograph yet. I guess these feel more personal and so I am a bit more reluctant to show them yet... but I have a few of the smaller ones, cards, pictured in with some of the soaps at the end of this post. Those ones I am thinking would make ADORABLE birthday cards for little ones!!

The next thing I have been working on is cold process soap! Its been something I have been interested in for years, but as I am starting school for massage therapy, body and bath products have been in the front of my mind lately. My skin has been going crazy since moving to this hot, dry climate.. and so I want to stop using detergents on my skin and get back to basics. I have so far made a lavender tea tree oil soap for complexion and a coconut milk unscented soap for a nice moisturizing body bar. I'm really pleased with the results but it will be another 3-4 weeks before they are cured and ready to use.

I am also developing some recipes for a solid lotion bar, Vegan whipped lip butter (with NO beeswax... I'm going for more of a creamy non-sticky whipped butter texture than a balm); and of course working on massage oils, whipped body butters, body polish, and lotions which I would use everyday in my career as a massage therapist.

Here are a few pics of my soaps (so far) curing! I have a big walk in closet that we have been using as craft and clothing storage that I am going to clean out and use as my soap curing room. Its perfect as it stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, already has plenty of shelves built in, and has a LOCK ON THE DOOR (very important with my ankle biters running around)!! I just need to get it done this weekend!

~some of the leftover bits from trimming. Going to save those and give out as samples with my business cards at craft fair - pictured in the back, some of my "kid" themed watercolor cards

~ Round soaps formed in a PVC pipe, these are coconut milk infused unscented bars. Coconut oil, Coconut milk, Distilled water, Olive Oil, Canola oil, Sodium Hydroxide, and soybean oil.

~ Some of the unscented coconut milk soaps poured into a mini brownie pan, for sample size boxes.

~Lavender and tea tree oil complexion soap; with Coconut oil, Canola Oil, Olive Oil, sodium hydroxide, and lavender infused distilled water.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shop Closed for Bereavement

Dont know when I'll be back. Thanks for understanding

Friday, April 3, 2009

Totally new Eco friendly Headbands!

These fun and flirty fashion statements are hand crafted by me using eco-felt, which I hand cut and stitch to a skinny stretch goody headband. I dont alter the length of the headband in any way, so it truly is one size fits all.

I can do these styles of headbands in any color combo that you like! I started out small with just these three but if you request it I can make them in just about any color you can dream.

Its not just a headband, either. You can wrap this around your wrist, wrap it around a bun, wear it as a necklace.. let your imagination run wild!