Friday, December 19, 2014

Meet the Newest Member of...

... the Craft and Hobby Association!

I am officially a Creative Professional! For years, it's been a goal of mine for years to turn my crafting hobby into a profession. Having my own CHA membership is the ultimate sign that I have moved from hobbyist to being in the industry. I am thrilled.

Over the years, I have worked for a handful of CHA members. But working for a CHA member is completely different than being a member in my own right. This is the direction I've been wanting to go. With each job I've been offered, I've thought carefully about how (or if) it would help me towards my goal. I put off applying for CHA membership until I was sure that my credentials were strong enough and that I was at the point that the membership would have benefit and meaning to me beyond just attending their awesome trade show. I'm there. It's so exciting.

I'm hurriedly making arrangements to attend the CHA Mega Show in Anaheim. It starts just 3 weeks from today. I absolutely cannot wait! Will any of you be attending? I'm starting to put together my schedule and I want to be sure to block in times to get together with as many friends as possible!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Creative Ways to Give Money as a Gift

'Tis the season for gift giving! But what can you give that your recipients are guaranteed to want and need, will fit perfectly, is just their taste, and costs exactly what you want to spend? Money, of course!

"But giving money is tacky and not very thoughtful!" you might say. Well sure, handing someone a wad of money might be considered tacky by some (though not all- feel free to hand me money) and doesn't necessarily show that much thought. That's why I like putting a creative spin on giving the gift of money. I've been working on some new ideas (which I can't reveal until the gifts are given on Christmas) that has me ridiculously excited. I cannot wait to share. In the meantime, here are seven (and counting!) creative, thoughtful, and non-tacky ways to give money as a gift.


$$$ Paper Money $$$

1. Make a Cardboard Tube Dollar Bill Dispenser.

3. Spell a Name with Dollar Bills and frame it. 

4. Make a Knitting Kit (or anything else that would be hilariously inappropriate for the recipient).

5. Hide Money in a Pop-Top Can. This works equally well with coins, gift cards, event tickets, etc.

¢¢¢ Coins ¢¢¢

1. Bake a Money Cake.

2. Put Money in Homemade Soap.


More money-giving ideas after the Christmas gifts are opened! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wire + Washi

Yesterday, I shared the yarn-wrapped wire projects Trevor and I made. Watching him wrap the base of his Christmas tree with yarn inspired me to try doing the same thing with washi tape. 

I started by choosing a holly leaf cookie cutter. I bent the wire around the cookie cutter, then secured the end and trimmed the excess.

Then I tore strips of washi tape and wrapped them around the wire.

I added a piece of coordinating cardstock to the sticky area in the back. Then I put a strip of red washi tape on a small cardstock scrap and punched three holly berries. I added them to the holly leaf with pop dots. Check it out:

I used the same procedure to make a star, only this time I didn't cut off the excess wire.

Leaving the extra wire meant that I could stick my star into a houseplant and brighten up my snowman display.

Trevor started by making a T. He punched a hole through the washi tape and added a loop of yarn as a hanger.

Then he made the most adorable rabbit. He bent the wire, wrapped it with silver polka dot washi tape, added a pink washi nose, and drew in the facial features. It looks so cute on our tree.

Trevor and I had so much fun experimenting with a craft we'd never tried. I'm totally inspired to dig through the craft room and pull out some random things and see what we can create.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wires + Yarn

Any Restaurant: Impossible fans? We watched the Holiday: Impossible episode a few days ago. In it, Robert Irvine and his team helped remake the dining hall at the Double H Ranch, a camp for kids with life-threatening illnesses. Part of the new design included inspirational words that the campers made by bending wire, then wrapping it with colorful yarn.

Trevor was enthralled. He desperately wanted to try making yarn-wrapped wire designs. So we did. I dug through the craft room and came up with a package of 20-gauge floral wire. We experimented with bending the wire into legible words (not as easy as it seemed), creating recognizable shapes (easier), and making free-form designs that didn't look like anything specific (very easy). We picked a few of our favorites and tried wrapping them with yarn. Once again, not as easy as it seemed. More experimentation. 

Eventually, we realized that it was MUCH easier to wrap the wire with yarn first, tie off the ends, and then bend it into shape. To make this heart, I held red and white yarn together and wrapped them simultaneously around the straight piece of wire, tied them off, then bent the wire into a heart shape. I twisted the extra length of wire around itself to secure the shape and form a handle.   

It looks really pretty on our tree.

Trevor was determined to spell his name. He wrapped a piece of wire with color-changing yarn and then shaped it into his name. He left the tied ends long. 

Next, Trevor wrapped a piece of wire with red and green yarn. He bent it into a Christmas tree shape, then secured the ends by wrapping brown around the bottom. He glued a yellow wooden star to the top. 

Watching him make the tree trunk gave me an idea. I'll share that tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wax-Resist Snow Scenes

I came across a tutorial for beautiful oil pastel and watercolor snow scenes last week at Kids Artists. It struck me that this would be an excellent craft using my beloved warming tray. Here's how mine turned out:

Here's Trevor's. He added a fun snowball fight in the foreground.

Materials: white paper (heavier weight is best), Sharpie, warming tray, crayons, blue paint, paper towel

While the warming tray is heating up, draw a wavy line across the paper with a Sharpie. Add whimsical triangle-shaped trees with gifts underneath. Keep the details large enough to color with crayons. When the design is complete, move it to the warming tray.

Color in the design with peeled crayons. The wax melts just enough to give a smooth, vibrant color. Leave the bottom snow area uncolored. Dot the sky area with a white crayon.

The wax cools immediately as soon as the paper is removed from the warming tray. Prepare the paint. If you have liquid watercolors, use that. Otherwise, water down blue acrylic paint until it resembles watercolor paint.

Paint horizontal strokes across the artwork, avoiding the white area at the bottom. Immediately wipe across the design  with a paper towel to remove the paint from the wax-covered areas. Let it dry and then display your finished artwork.

I've hit a milestone today! This is my 1000th post here at My Creative Life. Time for a giveaway! Let me know what you like to see here (scrapbook layouts, cards, kid's crafts, recipes and cooking competitions, party plans, etc.) or what you think I should add to make the site even better. On Christmas Day, I'll pick a winner to receive a $20 gift card to