Personal Project: New Year Cards

We did a super fun photo shoot last week with my cousin K. I'd researched some poses on, wait for it, Pinterest, then organized the location and our outfits and cousin K provided the camera and trigger finger. We got SO MANY great photos!!

One thing I love about the digital age is the immediacy of things. I love that we took the photos in the morning, I edited them after lunch and before dinner the prints were hanging on our walls! Awesome!

The cards we made with the fun shot above are addressed and ready to mail out on Monday. To those of you not on my physical card list, Happy New Year and Keep a Warm Heart!


Craft With Kids: Feed the Birds

Another Pinterest find, we made cute little bird feeders with toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, wild bird seed and twine. It's been a super cold few days [and windy!!], but I braved the cold to hang these cuties in the trees at our place.

[No birds yet. Sad face.]


Personal Project: Zippered Foldover Clutch

The perfect party or night out accessory!

I discovered this gem of a tutorial over at Say Yes to Hoboken. This project is so simple and quick, making it wonderfully rewarding for someone with a short attention span like myself. I made mine in various vinyls procured from a local fabric store. I haven't worked much with zippers and was a tad intimidated by the idea of trying to sew one but it isn't nearly as tough as I imagined. An easy project for a newbie sewer!

What gems have you discovered lately?


[on the table] Winter Abundance Bowl

I first heard about this bowl here. It looked and sounded delicious so I took a look at what I had on hand and what I love and made my own version.

My Winter Abundance Bowl features lightly roasted broccoli and carrots, chopped Braeburn apple, shredded purple cabbage, sliced avocado and chickpea bites. I dressed the goodies with a spicy tahini dressing that has become my go to dressing this winter. It was beautiful to look at, delightful to the taste buds and simple to create. I love the inspiration available on the internet!

What would be in your Abundance Bowl?


Inspired by: Pinterest

Again with Pinterest.

My crafty sister pinned this one and I followed it back through the feed to two sources, here and here. They both made fun art with their variations on the technique. I love the idea of 'upcycling' art you don't love love, or reusing the newspaper from under our last painting project. I don't see me ripping book pages out anytime soon, but the look is cool.

photo credit: Southern Belle Soul, Mountain Bride Heart

What would your quote be?


Around Town: Museum of Visual Materials

Settled in at the MOVM.
W desperately wanted to use glitter. DESPERATELY. Next time!
Mom got in on the action too!

Yesterday the kids and I were joined by my lovely friend A to check out the Museum of Visual Materials Kids Craft Corner. We've never been so we had no idea what to expect, and when we arrived we saw no action and thought perhaps I'd read the details wrong. A, smart thing she is, suggested I ask. Turns out it wasn't the wrong day, we were just the first ones there!

They have a nice area with a music player [great feature!], a large table and two great big cabinets filled with all kinds of goodies to experiment with. Basically you show up, you craft and clean up when you're done. You can drop in anytime between 9am and 4pm Monday through Wednesday and admission is free!

The kids had a great time, and so did A and I. M worked with crayons mostly [which generally means he was eating them] while W used whatever the big kids were using, including stamps and inkpads, glue [lots and lots of glue], googley eyes, stickers, pipe cleaners and a few hearts she asked me to cut out for her. It was kind of nice that no one else was there this first time as it allowed us to really spread out. I was thinking next time I could bring materials to donate to the cause, and a person could even bring some of their own materials if you had a project in mind and still enjoy the change of scenery and additional materials and tools available that you may not have at home [or want to clean up at home, like the aforementioned glitter!].

The MOVM actually has a great Kid's Calendar including story time, day play, afterschool art activities and more. Check out the calendar here. They hold grown-up crafting classes too, check them out!


Personal Project: The Art of the Thank You


We're so technology focused these days. Most of the time I don't think that's such a bad thing, but there is one place where it wouldn't hurt to go a little old school.

The Thank You.

With W being nearly 4 we've really begun to see things from her level, and how everything we do is teaching her. All the time, every day. It's a little overwhelming to think about. But we're doing small things, a little at a time. Like teaching her to be polite. That's meant that we have to be polite to each other too. It's surprisingly hard to remember, we're just so out of practice. It's a small thing, using please and thank you, but it is beautiful.

When's the last time you got a handwritten thank you note? Not a thank you text or email but an actual note that came through the mail? I get a few, actually. I'm hoping to send many more than I receive this year.

We really want W to be grateful for all the blessings in her life, so we talk about what we're thankful for everyday. And this year, probably for the first time, every single person who personally blessed us this holiday season through their time, effort, kindness and gifts, got a handwritten Thank You note. W and I worked on them together and used them all up.

So I needed to make more. I took inspiration from a painting I'd seen on Pinterest and did a simple hand painted thank you in reverse. I penciled in the thank you, then 'bubbled' it and painted around the bubble. Once they dried I erased my pencil marks.

I can't wait to find a reason to send them out!


[on the table] Sauteed Brussels on a Quinoa Plate

Ah food. How I love thee.

These little beauties are a lovely and festive appetizer for your next winter meal. A party maybe? Or Tuesday night? Go crazy foodies. Ha!

The 'plates' are just dry quinoa that has been soaked in hot water for a few hours then rinsed really well and placed into my Vitamix with a little water and seasoning. Blended into a batter then poured into a hot muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray and baked for 30 minutes or so. I like them thin so I don't fill the cups too high.

The topping is brussels, apple, slivered almonds and thyme sauteed over medium heat until bright green and fragrant.

I spooned a bit of prepared basil pesto onto each quinoa 'plate' and topped it with the brussels mixture.

So. Good.

What are you whipping up in your kitchens this winter?


Personal Project: They Do Exist!

Reindeer, I mean.

You may be scratching your head right now.

[Not literally? Figuratively then?]

You may be thinking: 'Of course Crystal, reindeer exist. They were at the Lewis on 69th and Louise after Thanksgiving. Hanging out in the parking lot. Playing reindeer games.'


Yes, well let me clarify.

Santa's reindeer. Of the species Reindeerus and the genus Flyerus. That's right, Flying Reindeer.

[I totally made that up. And not very believably.]


Our daughter W is nearly four so this Christmas things were starting to stick with her. She was really beginning to understand Christmas and what it's all about. I wanted to add to the magic by creating something that might help 'prove' that Santa and his Flying Reindeer most definitely visited during the night while she was fast asleep with visions of gumdrops and all that.

So with a sketch and some leftover 2x4s I got to work.

[Well me and my little brother. The tool guy. You've met him before.]

Behold! The pre-glue and nail stage. Ultimately we attached the shapes to the board underneath and a dowel to that for easy stamping. After W went to bed on Christmas Eve I went outside to stamp away in the snow and Karl chewed up a few baby carrots to sprinkle around the prints.

[We had plated a cookie and hot buttered rum cider for Santa. The Flying Reindeer got carrots. K ate half the cookie and I drank most of the cider. Taking one for the team.]

The next morning was so great, we went out for our annual post Christmas Day breakfast walk and W was pretty excited when we showed her the prints and carrot pieces outside! Ah, Christmas magic!!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!


Personal Project: Sharpie Gift Tags

I made these lovelies after seeing a 'handmade holiday' post on sayyestohoboken. I used heavier weight black construction paper for the backing, mostly to cover up the text on the flip side of the white paper.

You see, a few years ago when K and I were planning our wedding I made a rookie printing mistake with our invite materials. I requested the same quantity of invites as people I invited.

[Wait. That doesn't sound wrong.]

Ah but it is. You need 3 seconds?

I'll wait.


You have now realized what took me until the invites were addressed and ready for the post office to learn: households people, households. Not total invitees. So I ended up with nearly double what I needed. Sad face. There is good news though. Ever since I've been using the extra materials for other projects. Like this one!

The little to: tags are recycled wedding materials too. The other side is white and talks about ringing little bells to the happy couple. They came with the little bells we got for our reception. We didn't use them though, we just dressed them up with a bit of pretty ribbon. Awwww.

The art is done with Sharpies again. The silver marker is really nicely metallic which I love. I finished with some thin red hemp leftover from a bracelet project. They turned out pretty, so we're totally saving them for next year too!


Personal Project: Do You Pinterest?

Isn't that a lovely song? 'Oh Holy Night, la da di da di daaaaaaa dum'.

This is a new piece of our holiday decor, inspired by the work of someone else on Pinterest! Do you Pinterest? I didn't. For a looooong time. Then my sister made me.

[Big sisters are super bossy. Just ask my little brother. Ha!]

Well now that I Pinterest I'm continually inspired to make, try and eat. One of my favorite things to create on Pinterest are Vision Boards. Anything that inspires me for the current month. Then when I'm feeling inspiration-less or creatively blocked I just visit the vision board and usually get it together. Usually. Art is suffering, right? Lol!

Back to this art. I knew there was no way I'd accomplish the thin weight of the letters and the curves and swirls with a paint brush. I'm just not that good and canvas is bumpy, you feel me?

[That's a texture joke. Bumpy. Feel. C'mon you get it, right? Haha!]

So I used a Sharpie. I spray painted the canvas with an uneven coat of bronze spray paint and let it dry. Then I thought I'd pencil in the text first but I really couldn't see it over the bronze so I just picked up that Sharpie and went with it! It really turned out better than I expected and hangs in a lovely spot over our beautiful nativity.

I've got a few more Christmas projects to share coming up!