Reusing Your Kid’s Drawings

Valentine's cards I don’t know about you, but I’ve been at war with my son’s art. It was becoming an insurmountable pile of daily school drawings. Hating to discard it, I’ve come up with one creative way to reuse it.

In three words-homemade greeting cards.

Since Valentine’s was around the corner, I thought it was a simple way to incorporate my son’s drawings. Also, it would prevent me from having to buy cards that would end up in the trash.

I just happened to have the free (sort of since I had to pay for shipping) personalized notecards I got from Shutterfly. Then, I cut hearts from the paper and glued them on. Stamps and some washi tape finished it off.

Each card was slightly different and all were imperfect. I think in the end they made great cards for 3-year-olds.

 

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This is Dedicated to Those Grieving the Loss of One Earring

{For anyone sad about their lonely leftover earring, you’ll appreciate this post.}

I had a pair of golden earrings that I loved. So much. And then one day, I noticed there was just one.

Sadly, I still don’t know what happened to that other earring. But I kept it just in case it would appear.

Months later it still hasn’t shown up. So I finally accepted it would never return and decided to do something about it.

I looked at the back of the earring and noticed it was loosely hooked on so I used my fingernail to open the jump ring (that circular ring that has a tiny opening) and released the earwire (the curvy wire that goes into your ear).

Voila! The earring was just a pendant now.

Then, I looked in my jewelry box for an gold chain. When I found one, I tried to thread it through the earring hook in the back. No dice!

That’s when I had to get ghetto and use my teeth. (You could use pliers, but I was too lazy to find one.) Thank goodness the gold was soft and the necklace’s jump ring easily smashed down into an oval shape. The perfect shape to fit through the earring/pendant.

It was a five minute job and here is the result:

Here’s another shot set against those DIY clipboards I made awhile back.

And butterfly art.

Gold necklace

I’m pretty happy with the result. Do you have any easy project you have done lately that you’re proud of? Share it please.

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Creative Friday: A Mix Bag

Like some of you, I’ve been here and there and everywhere lately. I haven’t had a ton of time to devote to my art. But I hope to pick it back up soon.

I have done a few fun things this week, however. I blogged about one thing that soothe’s my soul on Beliefnet and I’ve also created a free e-book of 8 creative crafts I’ve done over the years. It’s just a handy dandy little guide with how-tos and photos on everything I’ve concocted from faux flower balls to frames made out of pencils. Most of them are fast, easy and all are inexpensive. It’s free and fun and just something I’ve created for the few of you who have been so loyal, kind and sweet to me over the years I’ve tried to maintain this blog.

Just fill out the contact form on the right and I’ll email you the pdf.

Thank you all for supporting me and encouraging me to keep writing!

Hope you like it and please feel free to share to your loved ones. Have a great Friday the 13th!

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Creative Friday: Homemade Valentine’s Cards

I thought about sending traditional Valentine’s Day cards from the store this year. It was a no-brainer. But when I really thought about it, it just didn’t make any sense. I had hundreds of extra envelopes leftover from my wedding invitations and Paper-Source blank bookmarks that I never used. Thinking that it would be cheaper and more personal to create my own, I decided to scrap my original boring idea and work on a homemade bookmark/V-day card instead.

Here are the results:

The middle cards were super easy. For the second time, I reused old mini calendars (because I loved the graphic design on them), and cut mini hearts out of the leftovers. I used double-sided tape to adhere them to the premade bookmarks and then tied leftover wedding ribbon through each. The bookmark on the right was hand-painted and the first bookmark on the left was created with beads, leftover cross-stitch thread, paint and hearts from the mini calendars. They were the perfect recipe for reuse and upcycle Valentine’s day cards.

I just threw in a local chocolate and the bookmark into these perfectly sized wedding invite envelopes and I was done. Hope my family likes them!

Oh and I found leftover labels too. It was a great way to add my stamp and send them off with a short message.

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Creative Friday: Crafty Clothespins

Have you noticed my laziness lately?

I haven’t been crafting as much as talking about crafting. It’s something this guy reminded me of recently. How much of us are “hiding” behind easy, comfortable tasks because we’re afraid of confronting what’s really important and meaningful in our lives?

{hand raised.} I’m guilty.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and return to my creative ways.

There are so many reasons to do so.

Let me count the ways:

1. It’s good for my mental health.

2. It’s good for my self-confidence.

3. It’s fun!

4. It’s the holidays and there are so many things to be inspired by. {I recently wrote about holiday inspiration and writing for The Writer magazine here.}

But I’m procrastinating again. Could you tell?

Here’s just one more diversion.

I’m obsessed with Pinterest and have been cataloging all of my to-do one day craft list. It’s small, but you can kind of see it here. It’s among the growing list of ways I want to creatively express myself. If you’re on there, look for me here.


Anyway, I finally got to do a super fast and easy craft last night. And it was invigorating. I created crafty mini clothespins from reusing a 2009 Snow and Graham mini calendar, a pair of scissors, hot glue and a bag of leftover mini wooden clothespins.

Here are the results:

It’s not perfect. When have I done anything perfect? But it was fast, cheap and I was able to reuse an old calendar and some leftover clothespins so I’m pretty happy with the results.

One lesson I learned?

Next time, I’m going to try double-sided tape. Less hot glue burns.

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Creative Friday: Having a Ball

While I’m crafting up my second article for my brand new column Inspiration Zone with The Writer magazine, I thought you’d enjoy this post on one of my favorite crafts. Thinking back, I don’t know how I had the energy, time or ingenuity to do this (not that it was that hard, but I also consider myself clueless when it comes to crafting). But every time I watch TV and see them hanging above, I’m so glad I found a way.

I hope you enjoy this end of the week post.

I’m happy to take a mini-writing break and reflect on how using creativity inspired me to keep pursuing my dreams. Whether you’re looking for creative holiday ideas (hey this could work for Halloween too. i see orange and black balls made with tissue paper.) or you’re just looking for inspiration, I hope you’ll check out my post below.

The Story of a Faux Flower Ball

My poor thumbs are raw from pushing in faux hydrangeas all night. But sadly, I still have one more flower ball left to go. I did get two up however, and the results are already starting to look like party central.

Here’s how I did it:

I started with a foam ball, a handful of faux hydrangeas, fishing line and a green floral wire from Michaels. Since I didn’t read any how-tos online, I basically made this craft up on my own. {I later learned that it’s much easier if you start by poking the thin wire through the foam ball-from the bottom to the top-first (kind of like threading a needle). Leave a little extra wire and then poke it back into the foam ball at the top making a loop. You’ll need that to hang the ball to the ceiling.}

What I did instead was use pinhead needles to adhere the flowers to the ball. Again, after a few tries I learned that I didn’t need the needles at all. When you remove all the flowers from their faux stems, you’ll see that they already have a sharp plastic tip, which fits nicely into the foam ball.

I had no strategy of where to push them in. I just made sure to fit as many flowers in one space to cover any bald spots.

 

Several hours later, I had this.

 

Here's the hook I made with floral wire.

 

You can't see it here. But I threaded fishing line to the top of that loop. I put a thumb tack through the ceiling and then tied the two ends of the fishing line to it.

 

I couldn't find another green foam ball so white would do. I also used blue faux hydrangeas on this one.

 

After much repetition, several hours and a few days, I had this.

 

Hallelujah they're done!

Just goes to show that you anyone can be creative. Takes a little work, okay a lot, but I think the feeling of seeing something you’ve accomplished is so worth it.

What have you created lately?

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Creative Friday

I’m deeming Friday’s as a day devoted to fun and creativity {you can click on over here to see more of my crafty posts}. Although it’s not associated with Creative Thursday, one of my favorite blogs, it’s definitely dedicated to it in true wannabe mode.

Wanna join in?*

Just post a link to your favorite creative craft or comment on what you’re creating right now.

Why add creativity on an inspiration blog?

The two go hand in hand. Without one or the other, I feel like a Mad Hatter. Feel free to read it, skip it, or join in.

Now for the first one.

This pencil made frame actually was a bit time-consuming. Just like any project or endeavor to pursue one’s deepest dreams, it was a lot more difficult than it appeared.

The idea came while shopping around at Paper-Source. My light bulb moment came when I saw this:

Then, I grabbed these to get started.

What You’ll Need

  1. Box of pencils (Grab the color you want your frame to be.)
  2. Unfinished wooden frame (A 3.5 x 3.5 works best, but any frame will work. Keep in mind though that the bigger the frame, the longer it will take you to finish.)
  3. Spray paint
  4. Scissors to cut the pencil length.
  5. Glue gun

 

The Steps

  1. Spray the frame first. It’s much easier to do so at the beginning (before all the pencils are stuck on) and will leave a finished seamless look once it’s done.

2. After the paint dries, individually glue the wooden pencils to the frame. I had no order on what pencil went first. The key is to get as much pencils on there until you need to start cutting them to fit into the square.

Be very careful when using the glue gun. That glue burns worst than melted wax so make sure to place the pencil on a surface instead of holding it with your hands (something I learned in the process!).

3. Cut your pencils to fit snugly against your frame. After you’ve gotten as much of your whole pencils (minus the erasers, which is surprisingly easy to pull off) glued onto the frame, you still need to fill up those empty spaces. You can cut the pencils with scissors. If you’re a perfectionist (that’s not me for sure), you can measure the empty spaces with a ruler first and mark the pencil with a pen before you cut it. In the end, my DIY frame had a woodsy, cottage-y (a.k.a. imperfect look), which perfectly matched what I wanted.

4. If you want your frame a different color than your pencils, get ready to paint again. After all of your pencils are glued on and dried, take it outside, place newspaper/old magazines on the ground or a table and spray paint away.

The frame freshly painted white.

And here it is after it's been sprayed with 2 coats and dried.

I experimented with a few options for what to put in the frame. I was contemplating adding a photo from my photo site. But since I’m into instant gratification, I started digging around my house for something I could use.

Like this Ikea print, for example. It was an option, but I just didn’t think the modern print matched the cottage-y look I was going for. That’s when I found this…

As a reminder of a relaxing trip to Point Reyes, I printed out a photo I took there.

Voila! Instant back to vacation mode.

I have to say, I can’t be any happier with the results!

*If you want to read about how one full-time editor took a leap and pursued her full-time freelance dreams, click here.

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