Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Graph Paper Grid Name Art

Trevor's book club meets once a month at the library. I usually spend the first 15 minutes checking out books, then the rest of the time either reading or crafting. This month, I whipped up some name art.


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Graph Paper Grid Name Art


Materials:

  • graph paper
  • pens (black, plus three colors)
  • scissors
  • cardstock
  • glue

How to Make It:


1. Use a black pen to create a grid of squares. My graph paper was tiny, so I chose to enlarge the squares four times larger. My overall square was 7 x 7.


2. Fill in the letters of your name, one per square, working from left to right. When you reach the end of your name, start back with the first letter and keep going. Each letter should fill the square it is in.


3. Choose a different color and fill in every other square, tracing around the letters. 


4. Use the final color to fill in the remaining squares.


5. Cut out the completed grid and glue it to cardstock.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yarn Santa Ornament

Remember yesterday's yarn hat ornaments from Yarn Whimsies for the Holidays (affiliate link)? With just a few more steps, you can turn a white hat and a red hat into Santa!


Yarn Santa Ornament


Materials: 

  • cardboard tube
  • scissors
  • skin-tone paint
  • yarn (red and white)
  • craft glue
  • googly eyes
  • filament or thread


How to Make It:

  • Cut the cardboard tube into three rings, each approximately 3/4" tall. Set aside two rings. Paint one ring and the rest of the cardboard tube the color you want Santa's skin to be. Set it aside to dry.
  • Use one of the unpainted rings to make a red hat ornament, following these directions. Set it aside. Make a white hat ornament with the other unpainted ring, stopping just before pulling all of the yarn through the center of the ring. Instead, pull half of the yarn through the ring and leave the other half where it is.


  • Glue googly eyes onto the flesh-colored ring and slide it around the yarn you pulled through the ring.


  • Glue Santa's face to his beard. Cut a nose and ears from the extra painted cardboard tube and glue them in place. Cut tiny pieces of white yarn to make eyebrows and a sliver of red yarn to make a mouth. 


  • Glue down Santa's hair, then give it a trim. Trim the beard also.



  • Now he's looking more like Santa.


  • Glue the red hat in place, then add filament to hang the ornament. Simple, very inexpensive and cute!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Yarn Whimsies for the Holidays - Hat Ornaments

Check out the adorable hat ornaments that we made!


This project idea came from Yarn Whimsies for the Holidays, which was provided to me by Leisure Arts for review. I received the red, white and green yarn from Premier. This post contains affiliate links. 

Yarn Whimsies for the Holidays

First, a few words about this idea book. Yarn Whimsies for the Holidays includes instructions to make 13 simple holiday projects using yarn. Each of the projects is child-friendly and really cute. The directions are clear and each craft has a bulleted supply list. The large photographs throughout the book show off the finished projects beautifully. At the back of the book, along with stitch diagrams and patterns, are instructions to do finger crochet. I've never done any crochet, so I gave it a try. It was so quick and easy! 

We chose to make the hat ornaments as our first project. The supply list is really short - just a cardboard tube, yarn and scissors, plus filament or cord to hang the ornaments. 


Begin by cutting a narrow ring (approximately 3/4") from the tube. Cut 8" lengths of yarn. The number you need depends on the diameter of the cardboard tube. We needed approximately 35 strands for each hat.

Attach each piece of yarn to the cardboard ring using a lark's head knot. (To make the striped hat like our example at the top, simply alternate between two colors.) Continue until the ring is completely covered and no cardboard shows. Pull all the yarn ends up through the center of the ring. Use an extra piece of yarn to tie the ends together approximately 1" above the ring. Then trim the yarn so that it is even and resembles a pom pom. Finally, tie a fine cord or filament to the top to hang it. 

Here is the photograph from Yarn Whimsies for the Holidays. Aren't these ornaments so colorful and cute?! 


We made a few other hat ornaments besides the ones at the top of this post. Tomorrow I'll show you how I combined two of them into something completely different!

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Tribute to Mythbusters

I've been wanting to document the amazing experiences Steve and I had as volunteers (twice) on Mythbusters and came up with this:


The photos of us with Adam and Jamie are from the 'Traffic Tricks' filming. The title block is a photograph of some of the many boarding passes we received during the 'Plane Boarding' filming, topped with a cut-out photo of the logo of the t-shirt each volunteer was given. I tucked in the tickets from the 'Behind the Myths' live event that we attended in Sacramento. In the journaling, I wrote about each of those experiences, plus the Mythbusters exhibit we saw at The Tech in San Jose. 

As fans since the beginning (2003), I'm glad to have a page in the album about a show that has meant a lot to our family. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Easter Eggs, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! Seems like as good a time as any to post an Easter layout, right? I love scrapping our Easter egg dyeing, mainly because it means using a lot of fun colors that I don't ordinarily use. This time, I dug deep into the stash for some Scenic Route paper and K & Co. glitter letters. 


Did you notice that the E's are actually 3's? I really appreciate fonts that allow for flexibility. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Salt Dough Pueblo-Inspired Clay Pots

Trevor and I visited a number of art galleries during our visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico and we were captivated by the Pueblo clay pots. They were stunning in the simplicity of the form, the natural color palette, and the amazing detail. As you may know, the Puebloans are not a single native tribe; there are 19 surviving Pueblo tribes in New Mexico, each with their own style of artwork. In particular, we loved the Acoma pottery. We watched as an Acoma artist painted tiny, perfect lines, one after the other, covering the surface of the pot, using yucca as a paintbrush. It was incredible. 

Here are two Acoma pots I photographed at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Wow, right?


We were eager to create our own art inspired by the pottery of the Acomas. We made two-dimensional pots out of salt dough and painted them with acrylic paint and paintbrushes. As we struggled with our simple versions, our respect for the the intricacy and perfection of the Acoma pottery grew. 


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Salt Dough Pueblo-Inspired Clay Pots


Materials: 

  • salt dough (2 parts flour, 1 part salt, 1 part water)
  • rolling pin
  • index card
  • scissors
  • plastic knife
  • acrylic paint
  • paintbrush

How You Make It:


1. Fold an index card in half. Holding the card by the fold, cut a curve the shape you want your pot to be. 


2. Unfold the index card and place it on rolled-out salt dough. Use a plastic knife to cut around the 


3. Smooth the edges and clean up any imperfections. If you want a cut-out in your pot, now is the time.

4. Dry the salt dough pots in a very low oven or leave them out to air dry for several days. Occasionally flip them over so they dry evenly. 

5. Using shades of sand, terra cotta, ochre, brown and/or black paint, add designs to the pots. 


Here are the three that I made. 




Trevor made two, plus a New Mexico flag.





Such a fun project and a great way to remember our fantastic visit to New Mexico.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Salt Dough Adobes

In my post about exploring New Mexico through Little Passports, I mentioned that we were still waiting for our adobe house projects to dry. Now they're dry, painted, photographed and ready to share.



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Salt Dough Adobes


Materials: 


  • salt dough (1 part salt, 2 parts flour and 1 part water) 
  • rolling pin
  • non-stick surface 
  • plastic knife
  • paint


How to Make It:


Roll out salt dough on a non-stick surface. Use the knife to cut a rectangle of dough for the house.


Cut out a window and a door. Cut a long, narrow rectangle. Bend it over the top of the house to form the roof. Add trim to the door and window. Or, add beams above each opening.

Let the salt dough dry thoroughly. You can dry it a low temperature in the oven, or leave it out to air dry. Either way, flip it over occasionally to let the back dry. When it is completely dry, paint it. 

This is Trevor's. He used terra cotta for the main part of the house and chestnut brown for the roof and beams. 


That's mine at the top of the post. I painted the trim a bright blue, which is very common throughout New Mexico. It is believed that the blue keeps evil spirits from entering.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Cindy's Gift Guide

I've been so busy counting down the days until the Craft and Hobby Association's Creativation Show (58 days!) that I've ignored the fact that Christmas is only 33 days away. Because I hate crowds, I'll be doing most of my shopping online. And because I want to enjoy December without the stress of hoping gifts will arrive on time, I'll be doing the bulk of my shopping on or before Cyber Monday. With that in mind, I wanted to share some gift ideas for the friends and family on your list. Obviously, this blog post is chock-full of affiliate links. Everything included is something I own and/or have tried and love. Thanks for supporting My Creative Life!

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✽ Gifts for People Who Already Have Everything


Let's get tackle the most difficult category first, the People Who Already Have Everything. They often answer to "Mom" or "Dad." I'm assuming we all have these people on our list who already have everything and insist they don't need or want a thing. Edible gifts and other consumables work well, of course. But just in case, here are a few other ideas:



Urban Adventure Quest Gift Certificate (52 locations and counting)



  
Adam's books



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✽ Gifts for Teens Who Only Want Money


This category may seem difficult at first, but it isn't. They want money. Give them money. Just do it creatively. 
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✽ Educational Gifts for Kids That They'll Actually Like


I'm a big fan of educational gifts. Not flash cards or practice workbooks, but toys and activities that allow children to learn through play. Trevor has learned so much about science, geography, math and technology through these cool toys and kits.


 







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✽ Gifts to Keep on Hand For When Someone Surprises You With a Gift


I don't actually do this; when someone surprises me with a gift, their surprise is that I didn't get them something. But this category is equally excellent for gift exchanges at work, Secret Santa events, relatives you don't know that well, and teachers. Don't forget the teachers. (These gifts also work for your favorite bloggers.)




You really can get anything on Amazon!


I could keep going on and on, but I have to stop somewhere. Rhubarb pie seems like as good a place as any. But in an effort to ensure my title as your favorite blogger, I am more than happy to help you with any other gift suggestions you might need. Just let me know in the comments who else is on your list and I'd be happy to brainstorm ideas for you.