I have always loved arts and crafts. I often found myself saying, “I can make that!”. Often times I did. In high school I used my mom’s sewing machine to create a purple and green table runner and pillow to match my hunter green bed spread. That was back in the day that hunter green, maroon and navy were HOT! Does that date me?! I learned to knit from friends. I took art and photography classes in high school. At one point I made handbags and sold them. I have always had that creative itch.
I just read Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. Wow! Some of the things in this short, sweet book really, really hit home for me. It was almost as if by reading it, he gave me permission to move forward. Here are two quotes that spoke to me.
“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”
I get hung up thinking everyone else has great ideas and that I can’t think of anything original…..especially with Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, etc. I often think I have an original idea but then realized about 1000 other people had it too. Damn internet, I thought I was so cool before you.
“Don’t throw any of yourself away. Don’t worry about a grand scheme or unified vision for your work. Don’t worry about unity-what unifies your work is the fact that you made it. One day, you’ll look back and it will all make sense.”
When I started this blog I couldn’t decide what to focus on, so I made the focus more general, giving myself permission to play. Kleon just validated that for me.
Those are just a couple points that hit home for me. If you are in the need of creative inspiration or a shove to stop procrastinating, I highly recommend this book. Once I finished it, I quickly headed to the basement to mess around and take a few pictures before my quiet was interrupted by the pitter patter of little feet! Happy creating.
You know those projects that you start and then NEVER finish? Yeah, me too. I have lots of them. I started this baby blanket probably 5 or 6 years ago.
It was originally going to be for my cousin’s new baby, then when I didn’t finish it in time, it was going to be for a friend’s new baby, then another friend. Then I realized I really just wanted it to be for my baby. One that I did not yet have. So I finished the front of this blanket and another one and I put them away.
Four years ago, after my son was born I pulled out the blue one and finished it up for him. This one still sat in my sewing bin and I knew/hoped I would use it for my second child. Now that baby #2 is almost 9 months old I figured I should finish it up!
I don’t have much quilting experience. So I just kind of did what I thought was right. I used a basic subway tile type pattern using all sorts of leftover fabric I had. The circle fabric that covers the back is my favorite. Glad to have one more thing checked off my 1/2 finished project list! Onward and upward to the next thing…..
Spent a little time messing around with watercolors last week.
I was just mixing colors for fun, but really like how this turned out. Now it sits above my workspace and makes me smile when I see it. It is the little things, isn’t it?
While out for a snowshoe last week I discovered this tree which looked like a heart to me. Wishing everyone a happy (but belated) Valentine’s Day.
While I was wandering, thinking, puttering, observing, listening and sucking wind I remembered that I had seen a Design Sponge Instagram challenge on texture #dstexture. I have always loved macro photography and figured this would be a good time to play around while I got some fresh air and cleared my head. So instead of going the normal route I followed some older logging paths and animal tracks and took these pictures.
I don’t know the name of the above lichen, however I do have a fancy pants way of remembering what a lichen is. This little saying I learned years ago at camp.
Freddy Fungus and Alice Algae took a lichen to each other, but their marriage is on the rocks.
Not sure what this lichen is either, however I like that there is a little piece of Old Man’s Beard in the middle.
Birch trees are beautiful. Hope you had a lovely weekend!
My oldest turned 4 a few weeks ago and we had a little get together with some of our family friends. The kiddo picked space as the birthday theme which I loved. I was truly surprised I did not have to do a car themed party. Hallelujah. I was thankful he picked something that I think is “cool”. The science teacher in me couldn’t help but plan a few activities to go with the theme. We made these rocket launchers which the kids decorated with stickers. They had a blast shooting them up into the air. The kiddo and I also made moon rocks from the moon dough he had been playing with all week.
We hid bouncy balls inside. The kids got to then unearth the bouncy balls by using vinegar to make the moon rocks fizz apart.
The kids had a blast, however the best part of the party (for me at least) was the fact that I got to make this cake again. This is hands down the best cake I have made. Except for the fact that the kiddo wanted vanilla frosting, as the chocolate frosting is superior (I made that for my husband’s birthday a few months ago).
This cake is from Half Baked Harvest, an amazing cooking blog put together by Tieghan. She has decadent recipes and fabulous photos.
The thing about this cake is that is is SO moist, I mean ridiculous….and it did not dry out for the few days of its short existence. Every piece was amazing. The recipe uses not only buttermilk, which makes EVERYTHING better but also Greek yogurt. These two things help make the cake what it is. The frosting is a nice buttercream. How can you go wrong with butter and sugar?!
So in keeping with the space birthday theme I made it look like the moon, complete with craters and astronauts.
Overall, space party success. Fun activities and yummy food with good friends.
Wintertime drives me into the kitchen. I love to cook, but once it gets cold I can’t help but make more cookies, soups and sweets. Maybe it is something instinctual? Like, I need to put on an extra layer of fat for the winter?
I have been craving granola lately and finally made this recipe which is just too good not to share. I have worked as a baker and cook in the past and tried plenty of granola recipes. When I came across this one over at The Kitchn I knew I had to try it. The title is How To Make the Best Granola.
Needless to say it did not disappoint. For awhile last year I even got in the habit of making a double batch regularly Sunday night and it would be gone before the weeks end.
The recipe comes from Megan Gordon who owns Marge Granola in Seattle. What I love about the recipe is that it gives you the basic framework for amounts, but you put in the things you like. I usually use whatever is in my cupboard. Oats (obviously!), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, coconut and crystallized ginger were what I had this time. The things that I think take this recipe up a notch are the maple syrup, cardamom and salt. So really, don’t waste your time with other recipes. Get over The Kitchn and cook yourself a batch of this amazing granola this weekend!
If you are like me you’ll enjoy these oats over more oats! Steel cut oats, Maine blueberries, maple syrup, a splash of half and half and topped with granola. Yum!
I have seen the saying, “My brain has too many tabs open!” floating around the internet. I am feeling that way today. I am a thinker and love to come up with ideas. Right now I have so many things taking up space in my brain. The problem with this is that even though it is exciting to feel so excited about life, I don’t know where to start and thus don’t start at all.
Things that are taking space up in my brain right now…..
SkillShare-I signed up for a membership because they said they had free classes, but then I couldn’t find any free ones! I just got an email this week about a free class on brand identity that I thought would be interesting. Watched most of it tonight, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for. However, the website is neat and I hope to use it again.
Clutterfree with Kids-I know, this is a joke, but truly we have been slowly but surely paring down our belongings since summer. I hope this book might just be the inspiration I need to keep at it! Really for $2.99 I think it will be a great impulse buy!
And then there was sewing. One thing I am doing is getting rid of fabric/knitting stuff I don’t use. It is so hard! I don’t want to give it away since I paid for it at some point, but giving it away is so much easier than trying to sell it! Last night I worked on taking photos of different lots of fabric to sell. However, going through my sewing stuff makes me want to sew…..my brain just takes flight. Maybe I should make this bag or this bag or this bib, or this duvet cover I have been meaning to do for a year! JUST PICK SOMETHING and DO IT!
Sometimes the best medicine when your brain is like this is to get outside and exercise. I went for a snowshoe with my two littles earlier this week. I think I need to get out again tomorrow. Hoping for a productive day ahead.
Two storms last week and one coming today. Some folks might moan and groan, but in our house we get excited. Ski boots sit near the wood stove ready to go. Last winter I was pregnant and was not able to ski. I quickly realized I would not choose to live here if I did not ski. Anyone who lives in northern New England and does not enjoy winter sports…..I just don’t get it….it was depressing.
Anyway, this year (focus on the now!), my husband and I were able to enjoy the fresh snow together for the first time in about two years. AMAZING. My legs hurt, my feet were frozen, but it was SO MUCH FUN! Looking forward to whatever storms mother nature sends our way this winter.
I kept noticing that the wind after the blizzard caused all the snow on the lakes to ripple, almost like waves. I found myself wishing I had a hovercraft so I could get an overhead photo of the textured surface of the lake. I had a minute to myself today and ventured down a dirt camp road to see if I could get a good picture. Not an overhead shot (obviously) but still pretty cool to see the waves of snow.
I love to garden and during the summer months I often make flower arrangements for the house. In the winter time I miss the blooms, but feel like buying flowers is frivolous. We don’t have any cheap place to buy them (like Trader Joe’s) and they always seem so expensive at the grocery store. So this month I have been doing (ok, half assed doing) Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. One of the assignments a few weeks back was to buy flowers, so I decided I deserved some. Especially after the plague that my family caught, I was needing some beauty in the home!
I picked out a bouquet, and once I put my kiddos to bed, immediately went to deconstructing and reconstructing. From one bouquet I got four different arrangements. Two for the kitchen table and two for the window above the sink.
The last of the flowers are just now dying so I guess almost two weeks of blooms and four arrangements is probably worth the $7.99 I spent! Plus, I spent a little time photographing them in my light box which equals creative me time.
Have a beautiful weekend!
One of things I am trying to force myself to do is use up or sell my fabric. It is amazing what you can accumulate over time and we are trying to get rid of excess stuff (for many reasons). I still love to sew, but don’t need everything I now have. So, when we were invited to a baby shower for a friend I knew this would be an easy way to use some fabric and make a nice gift. After looking around Pinterest for ideas I found a simple tutorial at Made by Rae for burp cloths.
I love that I was able to use up some fabric that I had, but still loved. I also was able to match up fabric to old t-shirts and used those for the other side of the burp cloth. The yellow one is my sister’s old Michigan shirt and the green one is an old Patagonia shirt I used to wear ALL the time. Good to know they get a second life!
As we pare down, and since we have had kids I find that simple gifts (giving and receiving) work best for our family. When others give more generously or lavishly I sometimes find myself wondering if what I have to give is enough. However, in this case my friend was so grateful and seemed to really love the present. Other people at the party even inquired about the process and commented on how nice it is to make something to give. It made me realize that my second guessing was not necessary. Baby shower success.