Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So we're baking in Los Angeles these days...with a record high of 113 in downtown Los Angeles yesterday. I took this screenshot around lunchtime...and it absolutely felt this hot if not worse.

Needless to say, my office felt wonderful all day as it is usually so cold you need a sweater, but I was so looking forward to going home and enjoying some quiet time in my air conditioned craft room. I was looking forward to it, until I receive the following text:

"The lights are out over here...."

Yes, power outage at my house. And it's still out. A day later.

With no power, I have no blog posts (sad face) but I will leave you with this sneak preview...

A friend and I were at Wal-Mart and she saw this and fell in love with it, except she wanted it to say 'DREAM'.

So we gathered the supplies...and I spent some time this weekend making my friend's 'DREAM' come true. Finished product soon....assuming Edison gets it's act together.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Falling for Peanuts

Is it just me or is Fall the best time of the year? I love, love, love...are you getting the love...this time of year! Living in Southern California, we don't have much diversity when it comes to seasonal changes, but Fall always feels...well, like Fall. We've had some overcast days this week and I have needed to pull out an extra blanket on a few nights. I made soup this week and it was perfect for snuggling under the blanket and watching the Season Premier of Grey's Anatomy.

When it begins to feel like fall, I love to head out to the stores and see what's new in terms of decor but I would have to say that Michael's owned me this last week. I went three times....THREE TIMES...in a matter of 4 days. They had way too much to write about, but I did pick up a little pack of Peanuts refrigerator magnets.

I mean, c'mon, who doesn't love a little Peanuts "The Great Pumpkin"??

The magnets came in a pack of four and according to the directions, you were supposed to use the markers (included) to fill in the colors, but I like my colors bright so I grabbed some of my acrylic paint and brushes and went to town. Being ridiculously detail oriented, made this project last all weekend but I think the extra effort paid off! I added a thick coat of varnish on each and they now reside happily on my refrigerator door until Thanksgiving!

The Autumn pack came with: 'It's Autumn", Snoopy jumping into a pile of leaves, Woodstock following Snoopy and Sally running with a leaf.

The Halloween pack came with: 'Happy Halloween', Charlie Brown & jack-o-lanter, Linus & jack-o-lantern and Snoopy peaking out of a jack-o-lanter....ADORABLE!

I am so ready for this time of year....Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

His peace is my peace

My bedroom is my sanctuary. It took me a long time to save for the furniture that I wanted and even longer time searching through Craigslist and Ebay for months trying to find the pieces I wanted at a discount...but I did it! I found every single piece that I desired and what should have cost me over $1000, only cost about $125. I love a good bargain!

After furnishing and decorating my room in my favorite color pink, with brown accents, I was left without an idea for this empty space above my headboard and between two windows. Oh, I had ideas...but none of them seemed right or really made me happy. So the empty space remained...and I have never been quite happy with it.

Beside the empty space, my sanctuary had recently become anything but a sanctuary. I wasn't sleeping well and when I was sleeping, I was having horrible nightmares. I called on my people for prayer because it was really starting to affect me during the day. If you've ever had one of those vivid dreams and wake up feeling every single feeling that you had in the dream, it can take a while to shake it off. I wasn't happy and I certainly wasn't rested.

One of my amazing girlfriends, "J", not only prayed for me, but she suggested that I meditate on some scriptures and suggested a few that have really helped her as she kept them posted above her bed. I immediately grabbed some paper and started to write out the scriptures to tape above my headboard and I stopped myself. The space above my bed is lacking...and what better to fill it with, than scripture. But I wanted it to be pretty...I'm a girl, it's my right.

I went to Walmart and bought a cheapie frame, printed the two scriptures and grabbed a few dried flowers that I had inherited from a friend who blessed me with a ton of crafting supplies a few months back. Thanks Margo :)

In case I haven't mentioned it before, 3M picture hanging strips ROCK!

I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety - Psalm 4:8

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace - Psalm 29:11

The scriptures now hang permanently above my head every night and I love it. The scripture doesn't work by osmosis, meaning that it doesn't work because it hangs above my head. It works for me because I meditated on them, believed what God was saying and claimed it for my own. It worked...continues to work. Try it, test it. You won't be sorry...you'll be well rested!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Honoring what I treasure...

The older I get, the more I realize that the smallest things in the world can make or break my day...and sometimes my spirit. I read a book, "The 5 Love Languages", not necessarily because I wanted to find love, but because I wanted to know my own language and better understand how I interpret love in my relationships with family and friends. I easily realized that my primary love language is "Words of Affirmation" which basically means that words effect me, either positive or negative. "Acts of Service" run a close second but words definitely tend to have the biggest effect in the way that I interpret love.

I've spent so much of my life focusing and remembering the negative words but as I get older, those voices become a little quieter and I am making a conscious effort to listen to the positive...the praise...whether from someone in my life, myself or God. I heard Nate Burkus, a decorator on the Oprah Winfrey Show suggest that we honor the things in our life that are meaningful and I thought that was such an awesome suggestion. In a previous post, I shared a picture of my moms Hummel collection that is displayed in my home. I honor the memory of my mom by honoring her Hummels...no matter insignificant that may seem.

This past Valentine's Day, my grandma and grandpa sent me a card. I think it's partly because they feel bad for me because I'm single and t
hey don't quite understand how I can be happy while alone...lol. But they put their heart in that card and it brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. It didn't seem right to put it in a drawer or a scrapbook because I wanted to see it as much as possible.

I went to Walmart and bought a frame, I think
it cost $3....took the card and framed it. It was the best thing I could have done with it....and I love it!

The card now lives happily on a wall in my craft room and I honor it...and my grandparents. Yes, the "m" is for Michelle....something I found in the $1 bin at Michaels. Never pass that aisle up...there are treasure galore for only a buck! a black metal "m"...c'mon! On a side note, have you tried 3M picture hanging strips? Can you say God-Send???

Disclaimer for the following picture: This has nothing to do with honor but it has everything to do with humor! I found these coasters in the $1 bin at Michaels and fell in love with them! I bought a pack of the four different ones they had, bundled up one of each and gave them to my girlfriends as a gift but I kept one pack for myself. I knew I was not going to use them as coasters because they would easily be ruined, so I decided to frame them in a frame I found at the Dollar Store. They hang proudly in my kitchen and give me a chuckle every time I see them. Oh, I'm a dork...but it's the little things :)

In case you can't read them, they say:

1. "I only have a kitchen because it came with the house"

2. "Housework can't kill you, but why take the chance?"

3. "Both of us can't look good at the same time...it's either me or the house"

4. "Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist"

Of course, I don't agree with them. Ok, maybe the shopping one but that's it. Good times :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Safety Pin Bracelets are making a come-back!

When I was about 12 years old, my mom and I made a bracelet out of safety pins and beads and I remember feeling so fancy with my bracelet. I am revisiting the idea because I have a very special tween niece who is sporting a birthday this week and she is just quirky and hip enough to possibly love this idea as much as I do!

I used small safety pins, 3/4 inch I believe. I also chose vibrant jewel colored beads because I thought the colors show so well. I used stretch magic beading wire and a few beading tools.

On the safety pins that I used, five of the beads fit on each and there was no rhyme or reason to my beading, I just randomly started adding beads to the open safety pin. Once the beads were on the pin, I dipped the end of the pin in a strong industrial glue. I'm sure you could use any glue, I just wanted to make sure the pins stay closed.

When I was done beading, I had a sea of colored, beaded safety pins. This picture just makes me happy. Yes, I'm weird :)

I threaded the pins with my beading wire using the existing hole in the head of the pin and the bottom.

The wire is clear but with the flash from my camera, it made it appear white. When worn, the elastic is not so visible so the colors of the beads really shine through. I absolutely loved making this and look forward to making some more! I hope my niece enjoys it as much as I enjoy giving it to her!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weekend with the G-parents

I am so blessed to have both my maternal grandparents alive and well. Growing up, my grandparents always lived no further than a few miles away and many times were blocks away from wherever we lived. When my mom found out she was pregnant, she was still a teenager and for a good chunk of time, we lived in my grandparents home. I can't remember a time they weren't there and they have always been the cornerstone of our family. Spending the weekend with them was so special and I cannot think of a better way to spend my time.

Below are a few highlights and favorites of the weekend....

1. Everything tastes better at grandma's house...and I am so not kidding. She cooks up a storm when she knows we are coming to town and nobody is complaining. We enjoyed some onion rings from Farmer Boys, but other than that it was all grandma food all the time!

2. Big shocker that I love Michaels, but when I get to go with my grandma it's just super special. I love bouncing ideas off of her and watching the things she goes for in the store. My poor grandpa just follows along without so much as one complaint. I shared this blog and my ideas with my grandma and told her how she was my inspiration. She was touched and we spent some time reminiscing about the things she's taught me. Priceless, I tell you.

The drive from their house to Michaels is gorgeous and it kind of made me feel like I was on my way to Vegas...but that's for another post :)

3. When I walked into my grandma's house, I was shocked to see this little guy. My grandparents haven't been much into pets lately and it takes everything my grandpa has in him to tolerate my cat when I bring her along, so I was a little surprised to see Buck, the rabbit. They are rabbit-sitting for my uncle, but truth be told...they love him! I loved watching my grandma and grandpa talk to him and brag about how smart he is. Loved every minute...and Buck is adorable with a little temper. Too cute.

4. My Uncle Dave and Aunt Lena live a few houses down the street from my grandma so a visit to her usually means that I get to see them as well. The night before I arrived, they took my grandpa to the Angels game and took this picture. From left to right, my cousin David, my uncle David, my grandpa Jesse and my cousin Christian. I loves these guys....spending time with them is few and far between but when I see them, my heart is happy. My grandpa is also not a picture-taking kind of guy, so this picture rocks because he's in it.

5. Last, but most definitely not least, is my Grandma. She is the matriarch of our family and I am so blessed to have her. She was the one who told me about Jesus as a little girl and took me to church with her when noone else would go with us. She is a prayer warrior who gets up every morning and prays for everyone by name each and every day.

Saturday afternoon, I started to develop a headache so I went into one of the guest rooms and laid down with the lights off. My grandma didn't know that I was in the room and I heard her walking down the hall and she was praying. She was calling names of all of us in the family as she walking. That's how she is....it's just as natural to her as breathing and it brought tears to my eyes. She lifts her family to heaven and I can't imagine what we'd do without her.

Needless to say, this weekend rocked. I loved every minute and wish I had more time to stay. I look forward to Christmas every year because it's at grandma's house and this year is no exception!

I'll be posting a new craft tomorrow....so look for it...and until then have a great day and say "I love you" to someone special today!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

I love the saying, "the best things in life aren't things" and while I completely believe this to be true, I also know that there are small joys that come with "things" that have sentimental value in our hearts rather than our pocketbooks.

When I walk through my little cottage home, there are a few of my favorite things that bring a smile to my face just seeing them. Welcome a little tour of my happy little things...

1. My Mickey Mouse salt & pepper shakers are definitely one of my favorites. My beautiful grandma always has some kind of gift for me whenever I see her and at Christmas she surprised me with these. I am a recovering Disney addict...who am I kidding...I'm still an addict with a particular affection for the Mouse and these are perfect. I love using them and not only are they cute, they work really well and offer a nice even flow of seasoning...very important for a salt & pepper shaker set.

2. My collection of refrigerator magnets covers the side of my refrigerator. Every time that I visit a new place or one of my friends travel, a new magnet is likely to find it's way here. I also have sentimental groups of magnets, like my mom's collection of Tupperware magnets. If you're taking a gander at my fridge, you might see a yellow taxi magnet from NY, a bare Mexican butt under a sombrero from Mazatlan and one in honor of my son that reads, "Mullets Get Chicks". He rocked a mullet for a good hour. I'm not kidding. I have pictures.

3. My mom's Hummels have a permanent home on my bookcase. She loved these little people so much and it such a personal honor to see them everyday and remember her. The angel in red is not a Hummel, but it's an angel my mom bought several years ago because she said it reminded her of when I was a little girl. So special....beyond words.

4. My kitty cat cell phone holder is "A-to the-D-to the-ABLE" and my phone rests well in it's arms. I don't remember exactly where I found it, I believe it was one of those elementary school fundraisers but it's a "must have" for all future crazy cat ladies and I own mine proudly :)

Do you have a few little favorite things around your home? Glance at them today and say thank you for the joy, no matter how small, it brings to your life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Green + Crafty = Responsible Fun!

This is not a political blog so I won't even get started on environmental issues, but I will say that one of the things that I love doing with my crafts is reusing, repurposing and recycliing. I'm not as green as I'd like to be but I'm on a learning curve and love to throw some green crafts in the mix. This earth is a gift from God and I think that we are to be good stewards with it as we would with our own homes and our own bodies. Being a green crafter means a lot to me and I love feeling like I'm doing something, no matter how small, to be less of a consumer with my creativity.

As I get older, not only do I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think it's my mother, but I find that I have the same tendancies as well. My mother loved, loved, loved magazines...Family Circle and Women's Day to be exact...and she never, ever threw them away when she was done reading them. When she passed away unexpectedly, it took me months to clean out her bedroom but once I did, I found stacks and stacks of magazines dating back to the 80's! While I don't have magazines from 20 years ago, I do find it very hard to throw mine away and limit myself to having only 5 back issues at a time of any given magazine. Once I do decide to throw it away, it makes me sad so I am on a constant quest to find ways of reusing magazines and have found many.

I read so many crafting blogs and found this recycled craft a few years ago at http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2009/06/recycled-magazine-coasters.html I've wanted to try it for the longest time and Labor Day gave me the opportunity to sit in front of the tv and do some crafting. If you have time and you have the heart, it's fun and it's usable and so worth a try!

I grabbed a couple of magazines and chose six pages that had plenty of color. I like color so I try to choose pages that have lots of it!

1. Supplies: magazine pages, exacto knife, scissors, ruler, folder tool, Mod Podge, glue and sponge brush. I also chose to craft on a ruled mat so that I could measure and cut more easily.

2. I made a clean cut along the edges of all the pages to ensure they are all the same size, then using an exacto knife and a ruler, cut the pages in half lengthwise. My knife is sharp and my mat is strong, so I was able to cut all six pages at the same time.

3. This left me with twelve half-sheets of paper.

4. I folded each piece in half lengthwise. I then took the folded strip and folded it in thirds lengthwise. Finally, I took the twice folded strip and folded it in half. When I held a finished strip, it was be 'V' shaped.

5. I took two strips, interlocked them to make the lower left corner and started to weave. Each new strip that was woven, started the opposite of the previous so that the strips weaved in and out of each other. It's hard to explain but once you get started it starts to come together.

6. As I added each strip, I used binder blips to hold the weave in place. The strips were a bit slippery and I wanted the weave somewhat tight.

7. I left the strips clipped for a while to enforce the folds and when I removed them, I went over the edges with my folder tool just to reinforce them.

8. I repeated this four times and had a very unique set of coasters, each with a different pattern than the others because of the way the colors show through the weave.

To be honest, you could use coasters as is because let's be honest, they're recycled and they're so replaceable, but I wanted them to last a bit longer so I coated both sides with Mod Podge and I was done!

Honestly, this craft just made me happy. It used recycled items I already had and I think the set makes a nice little gift for a housewarming basket, or even a stocking stuffer for friends who I know love things made from the heart. I look forward to using mine in the coming months and maybe even giving a few sets away to those I love. Happy crafting!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Let me explain...and then welcome you!

Anyone who knows me well, or even casually, knows that I love to craft...and I love it a lot. It's my outlet, it's the part of me that's creative or artistic and I've been this way my whole life.

I know what you're thinking....Hearts & Crabs? I can only imagine the possibilities, but it's innocent, I swear. You see, I'm the oldest of three kids in my family. I have two older stepsisters but they didn't grow up in our house so in my home, I was the oldest. I have a younger sister and brother. We grew up in many cities because we moved around a lot, but spent many years in Downey... a small city in Southern California. During the summer, the local neighborhood park would offer programs to the children in the neighborhood and you better believe we were there everyday. My little brother was, and still is, a character. He often mixed up words or made up his own and on this particular day was no exception. He yelled at us to hurry up because we were going to be late to "hearts and crabs". We instantly realized that he meant "arts and crafts" but it was hilarious nonetheless and from that day forward, anything crafty in my family has been "hearts and crabs".

My brother is also a fan of Air Supply's greatest hit, "Broken Arms"....but don't tell him I told you :)

Back to crafting...I love it. I have a room in my house that's dedicated to it and I have to admit that I spend most of my time there. I remember as a child, sitting in my grandma's sewing room and thinking how cool it was that she had her own room to create and I told myself that one day I would be just like my grandma. She was the one who watered the crafting seed in my little heart. She taught me how to crochet, embroider and embrace my creativity at a very young age. I think I was five when she handed me my first bone crochet hook and taught me the "single crochet" stitch. It was magical to me that you could put a hook in one hand and yarn in the other and something pretty came out of the work of my hands. It was a moment in my life that I've never forgotten and never want to. Creativity feeds and mends my soul and I love it...and I"m excited to share it.

So this is my forum for sharing. And for creating. And for creating and sharing. I look forward to sharing this part of my life and will post as I create. Sit back, enjoy and stay a while :)