Jul 29, 2012

Compliments to the Creative Crafter: Forked Up Art

I pulled in from my trip last night around 7:30 pm.  I had been on the road since 5:30 am and boy was I happy to be home.  After leaving my dad's house in the wee hours of the morning, I picked up my Miss M and her friend.  They were at a youth camp called EFY, it's put on at BYU and is just for youth between the ages of 14-18. It was an AMAZING experience for her.  I'll share more about that later.  However, one of the highlights of yesterday's trip was bringing this little guy home to my husband.  In fact, I was so excited about him, he sat in the front seat with me and was the first thing out of the car, the luggage could wait.

I couldn't wait to give him to my husband.  We love quirky things and he loves archery so it was a perfect combination!

Before we left the Salt Lake Valley, we made a quick stop at a Farmer's Market in down town Salt Lake.  I've been wanting to hit that place for two years but the stars never aligned.  It's one of the best Farmer's Market's I've been too.  It's a great mix between produce, arts and crafts, and fun musicians.  Awesome stuff, indeed.

Just as we were about to leave we passed this both called Forked Up Art.  It's all sculpture art made from silverware.  I'm not in love with the company name as it's plays on a swear word and you know me and my prudish way... oh anyway, I do love their products though.  It's quirky and fun.  My husband and daughter are way into Archery so when I saw the above little man, I couldn't pass it up.  

The cool thing is the price was right on!  As most hand crafted art is usually over-priced, I actually had to question the boy in the booth about the price.  "Are you sure it's ONLY $20?"  Sold!    

And, to top it off, I found out the business is run by a kid who just graduated college, has a young family and hires other college kids to help him make these awesome figurines. All of their items are made here, in the US.  

I like to support the locals! 

So, today I give my compliments to the creative crafter:  Forked Up Art!  

I loved their iphone and business card holders that are shown above as well.  Plus, they had an awesome toothbrush station, too.  You can go check them out and all their other designs, which are many, at their Etsy shop:  Forked Up Art or at their website: http://www.forkedupart.com/

Plus, one more cool thing about them.  They will do special orders.  So, if you have someone with a hobby, like scuba diving, they could probably make you a scuba man!

Anyway, go check them out.... Christmas is coming, just sayin'!

*** - This was NOT a sponsored post.  These opinions are all mine because I was excited about something I found and just wanted to share the love!

Jul 26, 2012

I went to chemo

I went to chemo.
I was brave.
I smiled.
I joked while I waited.
and then I bawled like a baby when I got in my car.

I was just visiting.  I wasn't there for myself but I wish it was me that needed to be there instead of all those others that were there.  I wish I could have stepped in and done something magical to wipe the worry away from all those in that room.  I especially wish I could have taken the place for my dad.

I watched him grimace as they poked the needle into the port into his chest. He didn't complain.  He just joked with the nurse and was his usual friendly self.

I tried to joke, too. It was hard but I was strong.  My dad didn't know I was struggling.  He didn't know that behind the smile was a big lump in my throat.

I watched the others that came to lend support to their loved ones.  Most people in that room had somebody.  I was grateful for that.  Those people come and sit, they read the paper.  They knit.  Some chat quietly with others who are waiting too.  I couldn't help but wonder how they were all holding up.  What their circumstances were.  How are they doing.  They are lending support but do they need someone to support them?

My dad has cancer.   My dad has a good woman who supports him.  She sits with him during his treatments and she is patient.  I'm thankful for that.

After I left I got in my car and bawled.  The reality of the situation hit pretty hard.  Until recently I didn't know the stage of his cancer.  But, as I sat in that room I felt the finality, and the fragility of life.  His life.  My life with him.

Compared to the time we've already had together, 39 years, the time left will be short.  I'm sure of this.

To add to the tears that I was crying for my dad, I remembered that my dear friend, Judy, and my mother-in-law, Shirley, just went through this last year.  Judy made friends in chemo.  She's like that.  She took the opportunity to socialize as she was getting her weekly dose.  I can picture it now.  I have a visual.  But I couldn't then.  I was naive as to what both these women went through.

I appreciate their trial so much more now.

The tears kept coming because as I was leaving the office, I approached the exit and the door out was blocked by a woman who was being hugged by another woman.  She had just been told she has cancer.  The emotion was uncontrolled.  The pain was real and my heart broke for her.  She sobbed and all her friend could say was "I'm so sorry!".  I didn't know her but I wanted to hug her too.

Cancer!  Why do we have cancer in this life?

I don't have the answer and I know there isn't one.  All I know is what I tell my kids.  Every situation we are dealt in this life leaves you with two choices.  We can consider it a blow to our existence and wallow in our sorrow or we can make the best of it.

Right now, I'm still raw with emotion but in time I will make the best of it.  I will try to appreciate life for what it is, cancer and all.

* P.S. - The courage pendant shown above was made in honor of my friend and Mother-in law who both had breast cancer last year.  If you want to make one there is a full tutorial, go here for details and step-by-step instruction:  http://www.thenshemade.com/2011/08/word-pendant-tutorial.html

* P.S.S - I'm in Utah again but will be heading back to Colorado on Saturday.  Normal craftiness will resume on Monday.

Jul 23, 2012

Nativity Tutorial - June & July, The Shepherd

I know, this is pretty amazing.  Not so much my handi-work or craft but the fact that I'm posting a new tutorial.  It's been awhile.  First though, because it's been so long, if you need a refresher on clay tips, basics, etc... be sure to visit the first post in the series, it's here:  Nativity Tutorial:  Wiseman 1

Also, in our 12 piece set, there are two shepherds.  On this tutorial I'm just showing you the steps for one however, at the end of the post is a picture of  an older set I did that will give you ideas on how to customize your second shepherd.  You construct the body all the same, the differences are just in the clothes/clay colors.  

Jul 20, 2012

Happy Mail!

For two weeks I've been checking the grocery store, watching the book and magazine section at Walmart and looking online for the Holiday Crafts special issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  It's always my favorite.  It comes out every July and has craft ideas for both fall and winter themes.  (They publish it early so you have plenty of time to create - brilliant they are!)

This year though, I was especially interested in seeing it and guess what?  It arrived today.  In-my-mail-box!  I didn't even have to go buy it.

So, why did it come to me?

Well, remember these guys from last year?

They changed their clothes a bit, packaged themselves up in a box with a bunch of shipping popcorn and went on a trip visit BH&G.  Their trip was a success and they ended up in print!  How's that for a post card home?

In all seriousness, BH & G contacted me at the beginning of the year and wanted to publish my idea.  I was thrilled.  THRILLED.  (It's always fun when someone, or a magazine, expresses interest. It kind of makes you feel like you're doing something right, ya know?!)  You can find them on page 65 and then the instructions are on page 69.  There's tons of other fun ideas in the magazine too, totally worth checking out while you wait in line at the super market.

And, if you are new to Then She Made, you can always visit the original post and tutorial here:  Sock Snowmen 

Hmmm, getting happy mail kind of makes me want to send happy mail ..... perhaps I should do a giveaway of sorts.  What do you think, you in to win?  Not sure what.  It has been awhile since I gave away some jewelry, perhaps it's time again....  I'll ponder.  If you have any ideas, let me know.

Jul 15, 2012

Boredum Buster: Warm Fuzzies

I introduced my girls recently to something from my childhood.  Oh the 80's!  How great they were.  Do you remember Warm Fuzzies?  I was a teenager when they gained their popularity and it seemed they were everywhere.  Maybe it was only in my community but I remember seeing them in stores so I thought it was something bigger than my little small town.  If you don't know what a warm fuzzie is, Urban Dictionary describes them as this....

.warm fuzzies239 up55 down
The warm, pleasant sensations one feels in the stomach and heart area when emotionally moved by an act of goodwill or love.

So the idea was, you give a compliment or do something nice for someone and then give them a little fuzzie creature to go along with it.  Fuzzie creature like these....

Sometimes, the ones you would buy in the store had a little ribbon tag attached to the feet that had a saying on them.  

So, how do you make your own Warm Fuzzie?  It's a fun little project for kids.  Gives them something really easy they can do if you ever have a "I'm bored" moment in your house.  Plus, the supply cost is really low so they can make oodles of them and use their creativity to make different color combos, sizes and such.  And, it's a low-supervision craft so if your kids can handle scissors and glue, you can go do something else while they craft.  Like the dishes - oh, who are we kidding, you know you'd rather make warm fuzzies than do the dishes.

First, gather your supplies:

You need:
- Pompoms of different sizes
- Elmer's glue
- Googlie eyes
- Foam sheets
- Scissors

Step 1:  Using a small square of a foam sheet, cut a small heart.  Or really, any 
shape that you can use for feet.

Step 2:  Add a small dot of glue to the point of the heart like shown

Step 3:  Then attach the pompom to the glue dot

Step 4:  Decide where you want the eyes and add two little glue dots to the pompom

Step 5:  Then attach the googlie eyes to the glue dots

That's it.  You've just made your first little fuzzie guy.  Make sure to make more than one so they can have friends.  Or so you can give them to friends.  I mean, who wouldn't want a warm fuzzie?

Jul 12, 2012

Do you remember this?

I have a million and one of these wire cubes.  I kind of went crazy using them for all kinds of storage several years ago.  I don't use them much for storage anymore though so instead now they sit in storage.  I did give a few  away when I posted about using them as jewelry holders.  If you missed that post just click on the link.  It's a good idea and I love my jewelry holder but I don't really need more than one cube for my stash.  

However, I recently pulled them out of storage and put those good-old wire cubes to use again.  I mentioned in my last post about our new family additions.  These guys....

They are eating up all our family attention right now.  We got them for my twins but to be honest, I'm kind of in love.  Aren't they cute?  Yep!  They are.  Tobin is the one with funky hair and Ludo is the grayish brown little guy.  

So, anyway, my point.  If you have little critters or are thinking about getting some guinea pigs, did you know you can totally use those wire cubes to make them a cage?  Seriously!  It's brilliant.  We were looking at spending 100+ to buy a big cage and instead all I needed was to pull my cubes out of storage and spend $14 on some plastic corrugated stuff from Home Depot.  Sweet!

I failed to take a picture of our cage before the light left tonight but if you are considering an indoor pet like a bunny or guinea pig, do a search and you'll find lots of images.  There's some pretty swanky cages made from wire cubes out there.  Brilliant I tell ya, brilliant! 

Oh, and just because I should always post something crafty.... I've been playin' with clay again.  I recently did another custom order, these....

They are a take on my "Hope" pendants with the little branch. She wanted flowers instead.  And, while I had the green clay out, I made a few other fun things, these...

They are already up on Etsy in case you see something you like.  

Jul 11, 2012

Life is Good, A Photo Recap

Life is good.

That's how I feel tonight.  Happy!  It's nice to feel that way after so much has happened.  June was crazy, and really sad, but it ended in a beautiful way.  Then we started July with a packed calendar, a semi-vacation and lots of other things.  Here's a re-cap of the last 12 days in photos.  You should know this is mostly for me.  It's so I remember that life is good.  However, you are welcome to read along.

Life is good because:  We drove across Wyoming - 7 hours straight.  Ya, not my favorite.  I usually dread that drive but I was with my favorite people and we were safe in our travels.  Plus, there are parts of the drive that I think are really pretty in all their plainness.  (my brother will be shocked that I said that)

Life is good because:  I got to help decorate a wedding.  I love doing that kind of stuff.  The lemon bottle idea came from Pinterest.  Life is good because of Pinterest.  It's true.  In addition to the lemon bottles, we also used lots of tulle on the fences and on the shepherds hooks and of course, on my daughter.  She wasn't the bride but got buried in tulle as we took the decorations down.  Silly kid.

Life is good because:  We got to be there to support my sister on her wedding day.  She was happy.  We were happy.  She has a new man, a new daughter and a new life ahead of her.  

Life is good because:  I got to see my dad so happy.  We found out a few months ago that he has cancer.  He's doing ok and is fighting a good fight but since I had not seen him in almost a year, and only have talked to him over the phone, it was really good to see him and hug him. I tear up when I see this photo of him.  One of the best I've taken.  He's a great man.   

Life is good because:  My Miss M turned 15.  Actually, that isn't so good but there isn't much I can do about it so I accept it.  She's a good kid with a kind heart.  We have a good relationship which I'm thankful for every single day.  I'm well aware that 15 can be moody and withdrawn and I'm grateful we haven't experienced that yet.  I see qualities in her that I've never seen in myself and often time she is the one setting the example for me to follow.

Life is good because:  For her birthday she got these shoes.  This is a big deal.  A really BIG deal.  It's hard to explain why in just a few lines but it has to do with me letting go a little and embracing the fact that she is growing up.  

Life is good because:  We got to spend time with the grandparents.  Both sets.  We just live one state away but it's far enough away that we don't see them very often.  It was nice to be with them.

Life is good because:  I got to take lots of photos.  I love to take photos.  You all know I love to craft things.  Creating things, making things, is stress relief for me.  Photography does the same.  I like to be behind the lens and I was able to do that a lot over the last 12 days. 

Life is good because:  We spent our nations birthday at a dam with a cool Aunt and Uncle who love us unconditionally.  Not everyone in our family does that so we tend to hang with those that do and we appreciate them greatly.  They opened their home, their kitchen, and their boat to us and we loved every minute with them.  They also took us to see the fireworks in their little Utah town.  Probably one of the best shows I've seen.  The sense of community as we sat in the park reminded me of my life in Maine.  

Life is good because:  We got to be in nature.  We unplugged from the computer and the phones and camped with extended family.  Brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandparents - all of us together just hanging out in nature.  We did crafts, played games and told stories.  It was good.  Even sleeping in a tent with kids who had stinky feet was good. 

Life is good because:  We left camp one day and found a funny sign and great Mexican food.  If you are ever in Eden, Utah go eat an enchilada at Carlos & Harley's.  Yum!

Life is good because:  After returning from our trip we adopted two cute guinea pigs from the Humane Society.  OH MY GOSH!  We love them.  I have one daughter who absolutely loves animals.  She's been begging for a pet for a long, long time.  We've resisted.  However, we talked about it, figured it was time, and got permission from our landlord.   We went for one and ended up coming home with two.  We all love them.  But, what I love even more is watching my daughters care for them.  They light up with so much joy and are so happy.  Ludo and Tobin are great additions to our home.

Life is good because:  I have spent 19 years with this man.  Really it's 20 years as we were married one year from the day we met.   We've been through a lot over these past 19 years.  It's been a great ride and I wouldn't change a thing.  I'm so glad I gave him the right name and number when we met.  (Sorry to all the other guys that I said my name was something other than Amy.  You just weren't the right one!)

Life is good because:  Over the past 12 days I've been able to focus on what's really important.  I loved being able to spend so much time, personal time, with my girls and my husband.  I'm a blessed woman and I needed these past 12 days to remind me of that.  

Life is good because:  I am now home.  My kitchen table is back to being cluttered with clay, jewelry pieces, to-do list, and Etsy orders.  Crafty goodness is in the works and it's ALL good.

The truth is, while I've had a good time these last few days, life is good because I've decided it is.  We usually find what we are looking for and I've been looking for the good.   

Jul 1, 2012

Custom Items

Can I just say you guys are awesome!  Thanks so much for your understanding and kindness.  I read your comments and felt like I was being encouraged and supported by close friends, so thank you so much.  

So, I'm currently in Utah for my sister's wedding.  Actually the wedding was today and it was really nice, low key, simple.  The decoration worked out well and despite working on them all day, we were still pinched for time - however, we pulled it off.  I'll share pictures once I'm home.

If you want pictures now though, and since it's midnight and I can't sleep, here's some pictures from some custom orders that I've never shared.  These first items have kind of a cool story. 

Awhile back I got an email asking if I did custom orders.  She liked my word pendants and thought they'd be just thing for her family.  Her husband is in the military and is getting ready to be deployed soon.  She wanted something that could be given to her family that would unify them while he was away.  After a few month and some emails back and forth, I made the above items.  3 necklaces, all different colors with different words on the front.  Plus, I made a little pocket pebble.  The mom and girls will wear the necklaces and the dad can keep his in his pocket.  On the back of all of them are the family names with a sweet little heart.  I loved this idea and was happy to make a custom piece, I like the idea of the family being unified while the dad is a way.

This one is cool too.  You've all probably seen my Arise necklaces.  I've made a bunch of those for various girls camps and such.  But these, these are a little different.  They are for girls camp too but I was asked to make them to fit the theme of  guest speaker.  She specifically wanted a foot print stamp and the word "follow" on it.  Plus we added  "girls camp 2012" to the back.  The speaker will hand these out at the end of the talk which is on following the Savior.  Love it!!!

On a side note, when I was playing around with designs and color, I tried it in pink and realized these foot prints would make a fun Mother's Pendant.  Feet prints with a child's name.  Wouldn't that be cute?

And then here's one that I did back in May.  I was sent an old picture pendant.  It was on a tarnished chain and the back of the pendant, when worn, would turn the skin green.  I was asked to set the pendant in clay.  I also added some fun charms, sealed the photo with some dimensional glaze and added a little heart to the back.  The photo is of two sisters.  One of them, being a cool aunt, gave this updated pendant and necklace to her niece for her birthday.  I thought that was a pretty awesome gift.

Ok, I think blogging is therapeutic, I'm now tired and think I can sleep.  Night!