Jun 28, 2013

Etsy Sale Items

I have some over-stock items that I need to move.  I have discounted the following jewelry pieces in my shop.  They are all individual pieces, I don't have duplicates so if you want to grab them while they are on sale, do it quick!

Green Steampunk Robot  $18, now $15


Also, I have some deals on Flower bobby pins too...

If you buy any TWO sets of  7 flowers (like the grouping shown above but in any color combos you choose)  you'll get a set of three (like the one shown below) for free!  You can pick your colors, just mention "Three Free" along with the color you want in the comment section when you check out. 

Remember, it's buy TWO large sets, get one small set free!

Thank you and happy shopping!

Jun 27, 2013

Painting in the Park

I ended Craft Camp last week, I did -  but not really.

I decided to just move the location and change up the project and I'm so glad I did.  Today's time together was by far my favorite out of the four meetings that we had.  Watching children being creative is just a happy site. And once you get past the mess of it and the control of it and you just enjoy it - it's a beautiful thing.  So, what did we do?  First, let me give you the back story.

(Art by Miss M)

A few weeks ago Miss M was trying to come up with a craft to do with a friend.  I had remembered reading about a mom who did simon-says art projects with her kids.  She'd basically call out random things for them to do like "draw a circle" or "swap crayon colors with your friend". Things like that.  I loved the idea.  I remember thinking it would be a great way to take the pressure out of creating art.  

I think sometimes, especially with pre-teen kids, they loose the innocence of creating freely and they start to compare their work to every one else. It's in that age group that we start to hear the self-doubt statements like "I can't..." and "I'm not..." a lot more.  It's sad really, but the truth is, that's when it starts and it stays with us, even as adults.  So, this project is a fun way to just get kids to create just to create.  The end result should just be something they had fun creating.  Today I think that is exactly what happened! 


When Miss M was ready to do her project with her friend we realized that we liked the idea but that it really needed to have a little more to it than just calling out statements randomly, that would work but we decided to tweak the idea and make it a little more structured.  

She and I sat down one night and listed out 40 things that could be added to a canvas and then we typed them up and made them into little cards.  We turned it into a game, kind of.  When it was time to create they would just pull a card from the stack and do what the prompt said.  

We included things like splatter paint, painting on bubble wrap, painting on a border, add words, adding sticker masks and many, many more.  After the cards were printed and cut to size, Miss M pulled out her art stuff and started doodling away on the backs of them.  Now we have a little art game that we can use over and over and we used it today.

When Miss M did hers it was just two of them painting so it went pretty quickly but today, with 20 kids, we weren't as fast and really only made it through about 6 cards but still, the kids were successful and had fun so it didn't matter.  

I wish so badly I had remembered to take my camera to the park today.  We had 20 kids show up and all 20 walked away with very unique canvases.  It's just so cool that all the kids had the same prompts and all the kids did their canvases very differently.  I wish I could have taken photos of all the canvases lined up together so you could see them.  I did get to snag some photos of Bug and Jet and one of their friends at home afterwards.  You can at least see the differences in their work.

I love this one that their friend did.  She was talking to me after about how she was very careful about picking colors that contrasted against each other but would still look good together.  She told me they were colors that she normally wouldn't paint with.  I love it!  I love that something sparked in her and made her try something new.  She did great!

All my craft campers did great and it was so fun, I totally want to do this myself.  I think I need to get a group of my friends and have a painting in the park party for myself!  Who's in?

Jun 25, 2013

Seed Bead Bracelets

I can in no way take credit for this project however they are so cute and so easy to make that it's worth sharing.  These ankle bracelets were made by my Miss M.  She's been making these for the last couple of weeks.  I think she has probably made 30 or more.  She took them to girls camp and handed them out.  She's taught the girls she babysits how to make them and she continues to get requests to make more in all sort of colors.  I even I got one...

My leg might not be all that attractive but by golly the ankle bracelet is super cute! 
(By the way, do you know how difficult it is to take a photo of your own ankle - ya, not so easy!)  

Mine is the top bracelet!  She did a great job and I love it.

So, do you have seed beads and hemp chord?  Yes?  Well, good news, that is pretty much all you need to make these bracelets.  A safety pin would be helpful too but it's not really needed.

So, basically what you do is this... take three fairly long strings of hemp twine and make a loop near one  end. Then tie it off in a knot.  (see the small knot just under the loop in the photo above?)  Then hook the loop through the safety pin and pin the pin to your pants.

Next, just braid your twine.  It should be braided about an inch to an inch and a half down from the base of the loop.

Then add about 20 beads to each of the three strings and continue to braid.  As you cross one string over the other, push up a bead.  Then keep repeating until all your beads are braided in place.

After you are done adding the beads just continue to braid the twine for another inch or so and then tie a knot on the end.  

So there you have it - super cute and really easy.  It's also a fun project for kids to make and is pretty easy to do in the car while traveling.  Well, that's as long as your beads don't spill - eek! That would be bad.

Miss M does all the prep work ahead of time.  She cuts her strings and ties them together, then she adds on her beads to each strings and knots the individual ends of the strings so they don't fall off.  Then she tucks them into her  purse and pulls them out when she needs something to do and, because she has everything already put together, she doesn't have to worry about taking along beads or anything else and nothing spills.  She really has a great little system.  Smart kid!

There are a lot of great tutorials in blogland on how to make these and some of them have some fun variations like finishing them with button claps and using different materials in place of the beads.  If you want more info here's a site that has a great tutorial worth checking out.


Jun 22, 2013

Catching Up!

Fact:  June is flyin' by!

I've done a ton of stuff but am slow at posting my projects so until I get my tutorials done, here's a quick look at some other things and a quick little game of catch up.

919!  That's a huge number  - My personal Facebook post last week said this...

'My obituary just may read "cause of death was 
extreme crafting and being over run by satin flowers!'

Death by satin flowers really wouldn't be that horrible of a way to go, right?!  Seriously though, they are kind of over-running my life - it's good though!  In my spare time I've been making them and as I counted up all my orders over the last few months I have made 919 of them.  Eek!  Actually, I've made more but I didn't count any that I gave as gifts or made for my girls.  I'm still in love with them though and my girls love them too.  They just add a sweet finishing touch.

And, I'm happy to make more.... go here if you want some  Then She Made/Etsy 
(Little Jet is wearing the 4th of July set.)

Notes Of Appreciation - So, my last post I shared the countdown I am doing for my Miss M.  Her 16th birthday is coming up and I asked a few of her friends to write her notes.  After collecting letters and notes I was going through them to assign them a count down day and found the cutest thing.

A little family she babysits for had included notes and drawings from their kids too.  I wasn't expecting it and knew Miss M would love this.  She was at girls camp this past week and this was one of the letters she opened while she was away from home.  She said it made her day!

And, on the very same day that Miss M got her little note, I got the sweetest note too.  I'm a sucker for kind words so when I opened my card I got a little teary.  I had just wrapped up craft camp and one of the little girls that came had made me a card and wrote me the nicest message.  It was so sweet and it made my day!  

So, my point - never under estimate the power of a kind word.  Send those cards and say thanks, it could just be the highlight of some one's day!

Craft Camp - Thursday was my last Craft Camp day.  We were scheduled to go one more Thursday but had to cancel our last week so we wrapped it up.  I will miss it.  It was a lot of work but it was a lot of fun. I'm not a teacher and I don't spend lots of time with kids other than my own, but I was reminded how much pre-teen girls need positive, uplifting environments to thrive in.  My largest class had 21 girls and all 21 were different personalities.  Some were confident, some not.  Some thought out of the box, others wanted step-by-step instruction.  Some where social, others quiet and focused on task.  But all of them shared one major thing.  They all have a divine potential beyond anything they even understand and my only hope is that they left feeling a little more confident and a little more comfortable with themselves.  It's hard to be a girl in our world.   (I say girls because that's who I worked with - don't want to leave the boys out but I'm sure this is true for them too)  

I'll share some tutorials from our projects soon but in the meantime here's a few items we made that you can find online already.

I shared this tutorial awhile back but it's super easy for kids to make, plus you can make them in lots of different trims and colors. 

(we made ours different from this tutorial but the idea is very similar)

Super cute project and this tutorial by Tally's Treasury is really great!

Jun 15, 2013

Birthday Countdown

No body asked me if it was ok if my daughters grow up.  If they did, I would probably say "no!"  
I know life progresses, people change, kids get old.  It's how it's supposed to be but it doesn't make it any easier.  Especially when you are looking through old photos and you can visibly see the changes that some how going day-to-day elude you.

The photos prove that at some point in time I blinked and my Miss grew up!  In 16 days she will be 16.  She has been waiting for this day for as long as I can remember.  She's always wanted to be older than she is.  She's wanted to drive since she was 8 and she's wanted to date since she was 12 when she had her first crush.  And she's wanted a job since she was 7 and realized having her own money was cool.  Now all those things are happening for her.  So, to help her celebrate I've put together a little countdown to help her make it through the next 16 days.

I asked several of her friends to write her some little notes or messages and she will open one envelope a day for the next 16 days.  Fun, right?!  Not only will there be letters in each envelope but sometimes a small gift or treat as well.  Some of them serious, some of them funny - each day will be a surprise!

The envelopes I'm making are super easy.  Some will be different shapes and styles to accommodate the different sizes of the notes but most are the style shown above.  Want to make your own?  Here's how.

Take a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper  (thicker paper works best if you are going put something other than a letter in the envelope.  I choose a double sided printed card stock for mine.)  Then find your center point and mark it.  If you look close you can see a red dot under the bird in the middle.     

Next take one corner of your paper and fold it in so that the corner point touches the center mark.

Repeat that process until all four corners are folded into the middle.

Add in whatever you want to include. Today she got my letter and 16 Hershey Kisses.

Next, I just took a little sticker and attached it to the center to hold all the flaps together.  

And then finally on the outside I added the note telling her when to open it and how many more days were left and wrapped it all up in twine.

It's super easy and the beauty of it all is these envelopes could be used for so many different things.   

Jun 11, 2013

Craft Camp: Freezer Paper Stencils

I started Craft Camp last week.  What is craft camp?  Well, it's just a fun, low stress environment that happens for two hours once a week where girls we know can come and do crafts.  Last week we had 17 girls in between the ages of 9-12.  It was kind of crazy and my husband thinks I'm insane for taking this on. But I want to do it. Which, honestly, makes it all that much more fun because it truly is something I enjoy.  Plus, it helps Bug and Jet have something to look forward to each week.

Our first project was making freezer paper stencils to decorate canvas book bags.  I know freezer paper stencils have been around for awhile so this is nothing new however if you are looking for a simple craft to do with your kiddos this summer, this is a good one.

I let the girls either design their own or they could trace clip art designs I brought for them.  I must say, they all did great.  Some of them wanted just something really simple and others played around with color and shapes.  I loved seeing  the differences and I'd swell up like a proud mama when their individual personalities would come out in their creations.  It was fun!  I didn't take many photos the day of the camp but the two bags above are the ones I used as samples and I'll show you the steps we did in case you want to make your own.

You will need:
Canvas bag
Freezer paper
fabric paint (I like Tulip Soft)
paint brush
iron & ironing board

Step 1:  Start by ironing out your bag.  You could pre-wash it too.  Which, just a heads-up, if you are using fabric paint on wearable surfaces, like t'shirts, you always want to wash it first.  Since we were just using it on bags, I didn't wash them but you do want to iron them so you have a flat surface to work on.  

Here's my bag all ironed and ready to go!

Step 2:  On freezer paper, cut out your design.  You could trace a heart and then cut it out but for me the simplest way was the grade-school way.  Remember how you made hearts in elementary school?  Just fold the paper in half and cut out half the heart, then when you open it up, you have your full heart.  Easy peasy!

Step 3:  Next, with the shiny side of the paper down, center your heart in the middle of your bag and using a warm iron, iron it in place.  You don't need to keep the iron on there for long, just a few seconds.  Your goal is to make sure your edges around your design are secured so that once you add the paint, it won't run underneath.

Step 4:  Using the left over scraps of freezer paper I free-hand cut out several circles and placed them in the heart.  

Step 5:  Once I got them all placed where I wanted them, I just repeated step 3 and ironed them down.  Again, you don't need to keep the iron on there for long.

Step 6:  When your paper has cooled down - don't add the paint while it's hot - start painting.  Use your fabric paint to fill in the open areas of your stencil.  You can paint right over the freezer paper, it will just act as a mask for your design.

Step 7:  Once your paint is mostly dry, carefully remove your freezer paper and it will reveal your awesome design!  Super fun, right?  And easy too!  The hardest part may just be picking a design.

And, if you want to dress it up you can also add a ribbon to the top of the bag, here's how:

Step 8:  If you are using store bought canvas bags most of them will be made with a double seam at the top, one that will create a little channel in between the two seams.  To utilize this, carefully cut some slits in between the two seams like shown.  You want two slits right in the middle that are fairly close to each other.  The other slits can be spread out a little.  Also, make sure that you are cutting them all the way around the top of the bag, even in the back.  And, be cafe to only cut the front layer(outside of the bag) - you don't need the slits on the inside of the bag.

Step 9:  Next, attach a safety pin to the end of a long piece of ribbon like show and starting the middle, where you cut two slits, just start threading your ribbon through.  

Be sure to weave the ribbon in and out of the slits so that it will show once you are done.  (The photo above shows the ribbon weaved on the back of the bag.)  

Step 10:  After you've weaved the ribbon all the way around the bag, just tie it in a simple bow and you can melt the ribbon edges to keep it from fraying if needed.  

And there you go, here's the completed bag!  It's ready for a trip to the library for some summer reading.

Two funny things:  

1- I asked Bug to hold the bag for me so I could take a picture.  She was happy to do until she realized she might be in the picture.  "Am I in the picture?"  she asked.  To which I responded, "No, not really.  Just your arm pit."  She now has arm pit anxiety and for all the other photos she kept trying to cover her hand over her arm pit.  Silly kid!

2- The bag below is actually my bag.  It suits me well.  Every one in my family has a nickname.  I'm married to Mr. K.  My oldest daughter is Miss M and then of course we have Bug and Jet.  But me, well, I'm just Amy.  Amy!  The most popular name given to girls in the 70's.  Yep, that's me.  The other day Jet decided to take on the challenge of finding a good nick-name for me.  She chose Mama llama.  Ummm, NO!!!  I like Llamas, I do, but I really don't want to be called a mama llama.  I just had visions of being at Target and my not so quiet children calling for me in unison "mama llama!  mama llama!".   So instead I'm now Specks.  Much better don't ya think?!  I kind of like it.