Monday, January 30, 2012

Fabric Basket and Crayon Bag

I found on Pinterest a tutorial on fabric baskets and had to try it.  During Christmas time Gigi picked out some material for pajamas and I bought enough to make them... if she were four years old.  So, I have been using that material for "gotta try it" type of projects.

The fabric basket was easy to make but not sturdy enough.  I even used craft weight fusible interfacing on the outside and inside material.  Next time I will put something in the bottom to make it even more firm... maybe a discarded plastic folder cut to fit in between the layers.

Do you have any idea how much noise a plastic bag filled with crayons can make during prayer time at church?!?!  So embarrassing.  Now imagine how much noise it can make when two little girls are racing to grab the same color of crayon.  I can't stop them from wanting the same color but I can make a quieter bag.  The pink zebra material is what Greta picked for her Christmas pajamas, which I didn't buy enough to make them (just like the material I used for Gigi's fabric basket). 

Greta was home sick from school.  She was on day two and almost fully recovered.  You know, too sick to go to school but not sick enough to stay in bed  (she has stickers on her cheeks).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Two Hour Mixed Media Challenge

The girls would be home from school in two and a half hours, all the work was finished, and it was time for me to play. So, I challenged myself to make a mixed media picture for Greta to hang in her bathroom in two hours or less.  In order to make it even more fun I picked three items that I had to incorporate into the picture:

1.  half of a broken turquoise zipper
2.  a brown tag with a black cat stamped on it that I purchased at a craft fair for 25 cents
3.  a green jewel that Greta gave me as a gift

I almost made my two hour deadline... I finished it right when the girls walked in the door two and a half hours later. Greta loves it and I had a blast making it.

The girls would home from school in two and a half hours, all the work was finished, and it was time for me to play.  So, I challenged myself to make a mixed media picture for Greta to hang in her bathroom, which she has requested, in two hours or less.  I almost made it... I finished it right when the girls walked in the door two and a half hours later.  Greta loves it and I call that a SUCCESS.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Co-ed basketball and a brave girl.

Meet "chicken little".  Before Gigi tries anything new she weighs the pros and cons.  What is at risk in the situation?  The kid frequently worries and what ifs  her way through life.  I can't tell you how many times I have had to gently or not so gently push this little chic out of the nest.  We joke that Gigi will have a fantastic career in risk management.  She can identify the possible risk in the mundane everyday stuff - she claims that she will never drive a car because there are too many risks involved.  This attitude has it benefits too.  I never had to worry about her wandering away from me in the grocery store when she was little.  *smiling and remembering those sweet days*

Then I take a moment and look at pictures like these and realize that Gigi is brave.  She doesn't worry about many of the things her peers worry about.  She's not worried about being the most popular.  She doesn't worry about her hair or her clothes (although I wish she would have a bit more concern about wearing deodorant - ha ha).


She has to be brave.  We are a military family so we move and start all over every few years.  Now that takes courage.

Co-ed basketball wasn't her first choice.  Where are all the 5th grade girls who play sports?  There is a big difference in a group of 5th grade to 7th grade boys and girls.  The boys are starting to get much more physical.  One of her teammates is a good 12-18 inches taller than everyone else.  He dominates the court.

Gigi doesn't give up.  She is a defensive force to be reckoned with and will guard the bigger kids without thinking twice.  She hustles up and down the court... no walking for this kid.  She doesn't complain about a bigger boy pushing her around on the court.  She pushes back.  When it comes to shooting the basket, she is still timid and doubts her skills.  Hopefully, that will come along as the season progresses.  If it doesn't, that's okay.  I am proud of her for being brave and getting out there and playing her best.  That's all we ask.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My husband makes the coffee!

I hear this frequently from my fellow coffee drinking military wife friends... my husband makes the coffee.  Gene makes the coffee in my house.  Sometimes I feel guilty because I will stay in bed yelling out "Is the coffee ready yet?!?!"  I mean, why get up if the coffee isn't ready?

I think there are two main reasons why Gene makes the coffee... he gets up first.  I love, love, love the time I have alone in the bed right after he gets up.  It is warm and cozy and I normally scoot over to his spot.  For some reason, it just feels better.  There is also this reason... I make a pretty crappy pot of coffee.  I just can't get it right.  It is always too weak or way too strong.  (and I mean glug-glug slide out of the coffee maker like slime strong) Gene makes strong coffee but over the years I have learned to enjoy his cup of joe... with lots of creamer.

Gene travels a lot for his job.  When he travels he will usually make a pot of coffee (or if he has to leave super early, I have to make my own pot of coffee - YIKES!) and I drink from that pot until he comes home.  When he was deployed I would frequently make a huge strong pot of coffee on Monday and microwave a cup everyday until it ran out.  After day five you really only need half a cup because some type of molecular change has occurred and that stuff is straight caffeine.  During the last deployment I would stop by my friend's house after I dropped off the girls at school and drink her coffee (some mornings I still had on my pajamas).  I wonder if she ever pretended not to be home?

So now I have to issue a formal apology to Gene.  Here it goes: "Gene I am sorry for scoffing, belittling, and doubting your purchase of the odd little one cup old fashioned coffee maker ceramic mug thingy."  This thing is great!  While Gene is living it up on work trips I can now enjoy a fresh cup of coffee every single morning.  Thanks Geno!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not

It is all my Mom's fault!  Growing up I always heard the phrase "Waste Not, Want Not" or something similar to that.  As an adult, I have somehow won the battle of not keeping every margarine or cool whip container that goes to recycling but I can't pass up any unwanted crafts or art supplies.  They call out to me.  It may just be a piece of ribbon off of a package or a piece of shiny wadded up tissue paper, I snag it and think that it can be used for something. 

My need to rescue art supplies is at war with my need for organization.  I try to follow a strict guideline of if I don't use it in a year then it has to go.  Yikes!  What about the paper maker that I held onto for five years but didn't use?  What about the adorable box of scrapbook paper and cardboard animals that I found at a scrapbook store that was unwanted?  Their year (or two) was coming up quickly and if I didn't find a use for them then I would have to find them a good home.

Then I had an idea!  An amazing idea that just might work.  When the owners of the house we rent moved out they left this atrocious  curious shelf in the hall bathroom.  It has several 8X8 squares, which wouldn't be so bad if they were deep enough to hold things, but the squares are shallow.  This shelf needs a new home - anywhere but mine.  Unfortunately, removing things from a house that an owner has left behind makes me nervous.  I am concerned that if they move back to their home after we are stationed someplace else they will want their shelf, or curtains, or old dry paint, or the five gallon bucket of Spackle... the list goes on, and I don't want to have to pay for the missing item out of our deposit.  So, the shelf has been hanging on the wall empty since the day we moved in.

 Nothing would really fit safely on that stinkin' shelf.  If I tried to put pretty containers on it they would hang over the edge and one slam of the door would send them plunging into the toilet below.  You can guess who would have to fish them out.  Yuck!  I needed something small and flat.  So, I picked up some 5X5 canvases and decided to make little mixed media pictures that the girls would enjoy, would fit on the crazy shelf, and use the supplies that were marked for donation.

 Step one:  pick out my paper and modge podge it on.

Step two:  add paint, rub ons, scribbles, the animals, and anything else that I think might work.

Step three:  I wanted to give each animal a purpose so they were all assigned a word. 
Finished...  It was a quick project and I like them.  Smile!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Art Journaling

Ahhhh, the slow pace of Christmas break.  I slept in almost every morning and made time to relax each day.  As a result, I wasn't struggling in the evening to keep my peepers open so I had time to paint and doodle in my art journal.  I am even half way through reading The Complete Watercolor Course by Richard Taylor.  If you like to dabble in watercolors then I highly recommend this book.  It is so easy to read.  I will have to buy myself a copy to keep at home after I return it to the library.

Here are some of the pages I finished.

 The Prompt:  Lighten Up
Song:  Raise Your Glass by Pink
Technique:  Confetti

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was my Inktense Blocks.  They are sticks of ink that you mix with water to make paint.  They can also be used dry and applied like a chalk pastel.  I found out that they are very permanent.  Once on the paper, the color can't be lifted off.  I may try painting on material with them.

Just a watercolor doodle page.  For some unknown reason, I like to doodle hearts with wings.  Hmmmm....

This is the last A Year In The Life of an Art Journal page for 2011.  It has been a fun blog to follow and I will definitely keep in up in 2012.  You can't tell in the photo but this page is painted in all pearly and silver paint.
The Prompt:  Reflections
The Song:  Live Like There's No Tomorrow by Selena Gomez
Technique:  stencils

  Painting a two color study while using contrasting colors was recommended in The Complete Watercolor Course.  I saw this beautiful grass blowing in the breeze one afternoon when I was taking Gigi to piano.  I had to try to paint them.  I wish I had been able to take a picture.  They looked like a cross between a snowflake and a feather.