Craft Monday








Jesse took three days of vacation last week and we went nowhere.  It was heavenly.  More bike rides, more dinners by the pool, more swimming, more playing, more lazing reading.  Have you heard enough about that yet?  It’s our summer version of Groundhog Day.

But today we had nothing on the docket so I decided to steal another craft idea.  I was terrible at drawing the owl.  TERRIBLE. I tried three times to do one for myself before finally settling on an Easter Egg.  Violet drew both her’s and her brother’s before the set to work painting them.  When we were done with that we played with oil pastels and then I used a Sharpie and drew out names for us to paint in.  We all got bored with that about half way through but we spent a good hour or so painting and it made for a low key start to the week.  I think we need to find something that doesn’t involve painting – perhaps using up some of the large quantity of felt that I have stashed away.

* * * * *

I have green beans.  So many green beans.  And few wax beans.  Next year I need to actually take this gardening thing seriously because it’s a great deal of fun to walk outside with a bowl and pick enough green beans for us all to munch on with our sandwiches for lunch.  At this point, it’s basically just a pit of weeds and once the beans are done, I MAY hold out for the pumpkins (they are flowering anyway) but I think the rest of the things I’ve planted are lost.

Also, I decided I was going to start composting this year so Jesse bought me a glorious rotating composter for my birthday and I think I’m doing it wrong.  I just have a big mess and flies.  I read somewhere that even if you do it wrong it does eventually become what you are looking for, so fingers crossed.  Otherwise I have a very expensive barrel of nasty trash in my backyard.


Craft Friday: Sandpaper Art


We’re already past the halfway mark to the return of school. Plans for projects, little adventures, and a family routine have pretty much gone out the window. Along with regular trips to the grocery store and keeping the house picked up. Instead we’ve been spending a great deal of time swimming (and lunching) at the pool, lazing around reading, and shaking our head at the back-to-school section at Target. I’m usually the first person to love the return of school and school supplies, but this year, summer just seems too short.


Anyway, it’s blasted hot and while I didn’t think it was possible, we all are pretty pooled out. Thankfully, I had the “ingredients” for this simple little project.

I used:

-old white t-shirts
-fine grit sandpaper (it’s what I had on hand, grittier paper will get you a more textured look)
-crayons (I’ve heard that Crayola’s are the way to go here as off brand tend to be too waxy)
-an old piece of cardboard
-some parchment paper
-an iron

We printed some templates out on printer paper and taped them to the back of the sandpaper so we could cut them out before coloring them in. You could also just draw a design directly onto the piece of sandpaper. The the kids went to work coloring.

When they were done with their design, I placed an old piece of cardboard between the two layers of t-shirt, placed their template sandpaper/crayon side down, put a piece of parchment over it and ironed it on for about 30 seconds. Before removing the template completely, I checked to make sure it had made a good print and then I placed the parchment directly over the transfer and ironed for about 15 more seconds to set the crayon. I followed that by 20 minutes in the dryer and washed/dried each shirt on its own to make sure it was good and truly set.

It’s a pretty easy project.




Violet learned the tricky part of any kind of transfer – everything prints backwards.

And then because we were having so much fun, we made one for Dad.


I still have a lot of things I want to do before summer comes to an end, but this was a good way to spend a morning.

Craft Thursday Friday

Last summer, I started Craft Thursday because I had two stir-crazy-it’s-not-time-to-go-back-to-school-but-we’re-bored-with-summer kids.  This summer, I knew I wanted to make it part of our summer routine, so I researched some projects with varying levels of involvement, purchased some supplies, got organized, and then…puttered out.  Because I have no idea where summer goes, but it goes.
And then Friday, I woke up to an anxiety attack.  Out of nowhere.  I was asleep.  And then my brain was spinning with all the things I needed to do, wanted to do, should do, and oh-my-word I have 5 years worth of things that need to be done – right this second – and my kids are downstairs loud and full of energy and my nerves feel raw and…
Let’s do art.

These miniature birdhouses are not the most original idea, but when I saw them in a craft catalog, I knew they’d be adorable with last year’s, so I ordered them.  They were a perfect – no prep required project on a day when my nerves were frazzled.  I grabbed our “paint box” that has all the brushes and paints and palettes, threw the “craft tablecloth” on the deck table and they each got to pick their two, then I took the left over two, and we got to work.  It was a very happy, busy but quiet morning.
By the time we were done, we had a little more than an hour before our pool play date,  I was a great deal calmer and my to-do list was a lot more reasonable and manageable.
And when Molly stepped in a puddle of paint that had somehow been spilled on the deck and tracked it into the house, I didn’t even feel the slightest bit “ready to lose it.”
I love craft days.

Craft Thursday: Butterflies

I want to say thank you so much for all your kindness yesterday! I was screwing around, crashed my site, and lost the post but everyone was so sweet and thoughtful and supportive. It made me feel really good about a a really tough decision and I appreciate it.

One of the benefits of dropping out of school is that the hour that I had budgeted for some reading was used cutting out construction paper for a Craft Thursday project. We haven’t really been able to craft since I’ve been back in school so it was a nice way to unwind when the kiddos got home. This was another idea from Meg Duerksen because I like to craft but I am NOT creative so I steal other people’s ideas. (Yeah, internet!!)

Basically, I cut out a bunch of wings and bodies from large construction paper I had lying around.

Then I used the scraps and a few other pieces to cut out shapes. Lots of different shapes that I just eyeballed and thought looked cool. Most of the time I had two sheets of paper lined up together so I could cut them into the same shape at the same time because I knew I would want to make mine symmetrical.

I had the paper and glue sticks all laid out on the table for when the kids came home and we got right to work.

There was a little skirmish about who got what color and whether the butterfly needed to have two wings of the same color but I let them hash it out and was pleasantly surprised when they came to an amicable compromise.

Violet wanted hers to be “not all symmetry, Mom, but part”. The rest of the pieces she used to tell a story. There’s a cat who lives on a butterfly wing with a hat and a scarf. And the butterfly made a second smaller wing to help hide him from his enemies. I love her inventiveness.

Abram just got to work picking out shapes and colors he liked and gluing them on – using his sister as inspiration here and there.

And mine is symmetrical as I planned. I kept thinking the top part of the wings looked like eyes and eyebrows so I kept adding things to try and make it look a little less like a face. My favorite part is the curly antenna. (Violet gets credit for finding the pipe cleaners to use for antennae.)

We have quite a few shape pieces left over to use when I find another project for them. Any ideas?

Craft Thursday:: Simply turning the Page

I originally planned doing crayon resist watercolors today but the kids and I started, didn’t like how they were turning out, turned over our papers and just painted instead.

Which, when I stop to think about it, is a metaphor for this summer. I had great and intricate plans for this summer – activities with the kids (zoo, camping, days and days at the pool), a list of projects around the house (plant, grow, harvest a garden and attempt canning, re-landscape the beds in the backyard, figure out which room was really going to be the craft room/home office and then organize/decorate it), and a few jobs for Jesse and me to tackle.

Then I hurt my foot. And Jesse’s work schedule exploded. I got sick. He got sick. Our kids got sick. It sucked.

So I called and told a friend how much it sucked.

And she agreed and then said (because she doesn’t sugar coat things for me), “You aren’t going to want to hear this, but you need to accept it all with joy because you’re just making yourself miserable.” She’s right, I didn’t want to hear it.

{Pause for pretty pictures}

Mine – I have no idea what I’m doing so I just throw paint on until I like it.

Violet’s – She wanted to make a series of symbols. I love how it turned out (and that she made her own crayon resist for her name).

Abram’s – He actually spent awhile painting his crayon resist painting but decided he didn’t like it at the last minute (I think because V and I got sick of ours) and painted this instead.

I wish I could say I took my friend’s lesson to heart, but I didn’t and I was pretty miserable and cranky for a good part of the summer. And then…I got fed up being miserable.

I accepted that it wasn’t going to be the perfect, pretty summer that I planned and I turned the page and just relaxed into it which didn’t make it a summer filled with fun or accomplishment, but at least made me less cranky.

I wish I would have listened sooner.

Craft Thursday:: Planetary Systems

Violet has been obsessed with all things solar system ever since she started reading this book so I thought it’d be fun for us to attempt this project.

We had everything on hand. We set it up in about five minutes, worked for about an hour, and clean up took about five minutes. As craft projects go – ideal.

First we splatter painted our black construction paper with white acrylic paint to make the background. Violet wanted to make her stars with her fingers instead of splattering paint and that’s the fun of crafting with kids – letting them use their own creativity.

Once that was done, we drew our planets on watercolor paper using a circle template I had from my scrapbook days and then painted them in. This was a blast. Everyone worked so hard and Violet peppered us with Solar System factoids. For example, Jupiter is so large that all the other planets combined could fit inside of it. Pluto used to be considered a major planet but it’s really just a part of the Kuiper Belt. The gases on Venus make it the hottest planet in the solar system because it traps the suns heat and doesn’t let it escape back into the atmosphere. Basically, she made me feel stupid.

When we finished painting, we set them out to dry and had lunch. Then we cut them out and used a glue stick (I love glue sticks) to attach them to our “star paper”




Some how a few of my planets were stolen to finish out Violet and Abram’s systems, but that’s okay. I probably wouldn’t have used them all anyway. It was a great, simple project.

Can I get an Amen?!?

I have no idea where the summer went.

But I am completely ready for school to start.

With just about a month left before we all hit the books, all of us getting a little sick of each other, and Violet taking a knee to the eye (she’s fine, just has to take it easy until the swelling goes down), I thought now would be a good time to steal some brilliance from the interwebs and start our own Craft Thursday.

 I picked some plain wood birdhouses at Michael’s while they were on sale, set up a painting station with an old tablecloth and cardboard box “palettes” and we all set to work.

Mine took about three times as long as theirs did and that was WITH them taking breaks to scooter around the block so Violet could “work on {her} vision”.

I think Abram had the most fun adding all the different colors to his palette and mixing them around. He called it making tie-dye.

Once they’re completely dry, we’ll be displaying these indoors, but if we were going to leave them outside we’d clear coat them with polyurethane.

Lessons from the Summer

1. “It” really does do go by faster than you could imagine. Abram turned five. Violet, seven. All three of us are heading back to school in September and it seems like just yesterday that they were babies. It seems like just like yesterday I was a baby.

2. I don’t enjoy reading out loud. I’ll do it – especially if one of my little’s ask – but it makes me a little crazy because it’s so sloooooow.

3. I’ve been purling the first stitch all wrong for the last two years (and now I know the right way to do it).

4. I should never buy another piece of jewelry. I wear my diamond earrings, my Stony Lake necklace, and the ring Jesse bought me when I had Abram. And that’s it. All the rest just makes a big mess in my jewelry box.

5. I like road trips with my kids.

6. If Jesse isn’t around, I really can remove a fish from my hook without cutting my hands or squealing like a girl. But only because I have to.

7. When the doctor tells me to take it easy and rest, I really should take it easy and rest.

8. Birkenstocks are really, really supportive shoes. (And I guess they are fashionable?)

9. I like jersey sheets. Except for folding them or making the bed with them. So basically, just sleeping on them.

10. We have hummingbirds in our yard.

Linking up here.