7.30.2008

My Best Creation Yet

I haven't really posted anything about my sweet baby girl Avery, but since pretty much everything I make is for her, I decided it was time to post some pictures. She's 2, and the absolute joy of our life. School starts back for me next week, and I'm really going to miss the extra time I've had with her this summer!

This is quite possibly my favorite picture of the summer. I love how it captures the quite wonder that is so Avery. And check out those eyelashes! Sorry, Maybelline--no mascara sales to this girl!

My little family on vacation at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. This is a fantastic city to visit, by the way. We had a great time and can't wait to go back!


Avery and Mommy splashing around the water features in downtown Chattanooga.

While driving into town, Avery saw a billboard advertising the Clifford exhibit at the Creative Discovery Museum. Good thing we were planning to take her there anyway, because all we heard after that was, "I want to go see Clifford!"

Marching in the daycare Fourth of July parade. We asked if
she wanted us to walk with her, and were told, "you watch...I dood it myself." Wonder where she gets that?
Avery's favorite toys are books--she even takes them to bed with her the way most kids take a teddy bear. That makes her English teacher Mommy very happy! It's so funny to see which of my mannerisms she's been watching and picking up on, like the crossing of her legs. My parents made the peanut sized couch for her 1st birthday. It's so cute AND functional!
So that's what Ave and I have been doing this summer. I'm so ambivalent about watching her grow up: I love seeing her new discoveries, but at the same time long for my little baby that gets bigger every day (well, bigger is relative here, as Avery only weighs 23 pounds at 28 months). Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

7.28.2008

How fun is this?

C like Crillon R e-sf3 A Pewter Lowercase Letter t E



I'm in love with the framed word art I keep seeing everywhere. This site allows you to type in any word or phrase and it spells it out with flickr images. You can even change the indiviual letters to truly customize it.



Try it: Spell with Flickr

Wednesday's Projects

On Wednesday I mentioned three projects I was working on that day. Well, I finished them all....on Monday.

First up was a cake for Ann. I make a lot of cakes, but this was my first try with making my own fondant (soooo easy!) and with White Almond Sour Cream cake (yummy!). The end result?





It was also my first try with Duff Roses. Again, EASY! Roll out a little fondant, cut three circles from the fondant, overlap the edges of the circles, roll up, cut roll in half to make 2 roses at the same time. Here's a closer look:


Unfortunately, Ann had an emergency and couldn't make her birthday lunch, and I was unable to get her cake to her. I'll have to make her another one for the next time I see her.

Up next was prepping the playhouse for paint. I never expected hanging drywall, installing vinyl siding and roofing to be items on my resume, but I've learned to do them all on a 10' x 12' scale. Mudding and sanding the drywall was the WORST. I'm so relieved that it's now finished (the drywall, not the playhouse).

ready for paint! Benjamin Moore color Stem Green


Finally, I painted a little table for the playhouse. This started life as a yard sale find ten years ago. It has since served as bedside table in my college apartments and a printer stand in my classroom. Now it's goin to be Ave's art table. I painted it white and tried striping it freehand. That didn't work. Then I did some two-toned pink stripes that I taped off. Didn't like that either. I think I finally got it right the third time.

It took forever to tape off all the stripes, but it made the painting really quick. I put the final white wash on it this morning. I still plan to paint the center with chalkboard paint (note to self--add chalkboard paint to Home Depot list!).

So that's it.

Yeah, right. There are 45 pieces of window trim waiting to be painted sitting on my front porch (aka painting studio).

7.23.2008

It's All About Pink

...and green...and polka dots.

I've never even really been a fan of pink, and here I am with a blog suggesting it as the best color out there. Oh sweet irony. It all started with the playhouse (of which I will write more later, as it is finally nearing completion) and Avery's desire for it to be pink and green. I love the combination of those colors more than I love either of them individually, so I was pleased. Then she saw one of my cake books and declared she wanted a pink birthday party when she was three. That's still nine months away, but she's a planner just like her Mommy! Suddenly I was thrown into a world of all things pink, and now I love it.


But what about the polka dots? In my search for pink party ideas, I stumbled across Polka Dot Birthday. I didn't know I loved dots until I found this and her other blog Polka Dot Mom! Sally is a fellow Nashvillian and is everything I want to be as a crafter. And though everything she makes is fabulous, I'm particularly in love with these polka dot banners:



I'm feeling the pull of the scrapbooking aisle at Hobby Lobby. But before I do I have three projects I must work on today--a cake for my good friend Ann, mudding and sanding the drywall of the playhouse, and painting a table (third time's a charm?) for said playhouse. So many crafty things, only two weeks til school starts back.

7.17.2008

Thinking About Halloween

Avery wants to be a butterfly this year. I think this comes from our trip to Chattanooga last month and the Butterfly Garden there at the Tennessee Aquarium. Whereever she got it, I'm thrilled! One more year without dressing up as some over-marketed TV character. My first thought was to just get her some wings and a black leotard. I got over that idea pretty fast, though, and decided to go with something more like this:

This is from Pottery Barn Kids 2007 collection, and I LOVE it! I don't love the idea of paying $90 for a Halloween costume, andit doesn't come in peanut size anyway. I'm thinking a little felt and an afternoon should do it. We'll see how it goes! I'm also thinking of trying my hand at felt bags (I'm already thinking ahead to party favor bags for Ave's 3rd birthday) and embellishing them with silk flowers. I think it would make a cute treat bag.

If it seems too early for Halloween musings, it's not. At least not for me. My little one is tiny--almost 2 1/2, yet the size of the average 1 year old. Because of that I've never been able to find age appropriate costumes that fit her and have made them all.




2006--6 months old. Her little bumble bee costume is a series of ruffled ribbon stripes and pantyhose/coat hanger wings. There were other bumble bees at daycare, but I like hers best (naturally!).


2007--18 months old. She was a flower last year, though most people thought she was a fairy. Oops! I made a little dress where the shirt was layers of tulle and chiffon petals. I dyed leggings green for the stem and made the little flower headpiece with a pipe cleaner and silk flowers. She also had leaves made of fun foam, but they are in the back and not visible. Her little treat bucket (too dark to really see) is a little gavanized pail covered with silk leaves. Whatever she was she was sooo cute!

Now it's time to plan out this year's costume. I have to beat the last two!

7.15.2008

Circles Overhead

My father and husband are in the process of building a small mansion of a playhouse for Avery. It was to be for her 2nd birthday, but that was in April, and the house is still under construction. I've ended up doing quite a bit of the work, too, but I'm most excited about designing the inside. My first creation for the house was this mobile to hang over the window seat in the bay window:




I saw something like it in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue, but it was too big for Check Spellingmy space. My idea was that it would kind of have the look of a chandelier in a space without electricity. To make mine I found a brass ring at the craft store and then punched a billion circles in two sizes (1 1/2" and 1/2") from light pink, bright pink, light green, light yellow and white cardstock. I glued fishing line between two circles and made 10-12" stings of circles. These I wrapped around the ring and then gathered all of the ends at the top and secured with a bead.

I don't know how well the paper will hold up, but I decided it was my best option in that (a) it came in the colors I needed and (b) I could cut it to shape easily. I can't wait to see what it looks like hanging in the playhouse!

7.09.2008

I've Never Really Been One to Settle

Because I have been creating longer than I have been blogging, these first posts will largely be of past projects that I still love. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I agonized over getting every detail of her nursery just right. Her room is done in red and black and cream dragonflies and butterflies, and finding children's art in those colors proved difficult. But one Sunday I was studying the sales paper for a local craft store and saw this stamp from Stampendous:

It was perfect, except that the stamp is about 4" square--not the size I needed to fill the space above the changing table. Not being one to be deterred by what something is instead of what it could be, however, I set out to make it work. So this is what I did.

1. I stamped the image onto paper and then made a copy of it onto an overhead transparency sheet. (The ones I had at school are meant for copiers, not printers, and I was afraid it would smudge if I stamped directly onto the acetate.)

2. Next I used masking tape to hang a pre-painted canvas on the wall. It took a few tries to get it level, but after that it was surprisingly stable.

3. I projected the stamped image onto the canvas, adjusted it to the size I wanted, and sketched the outline and major parts of the design with pencil.

4. Then I filled in the lines and added details with craft paints.

Voila!


I was so proud of myself for coming up with a way to create custom artwork, without having to be overly artistic. You could do this with any stamp(s), or with any image period, for that matter.






7.07.2008

An Introduction

On my refrigerator, amid the toddler masterpieces, grocery lists, and magnets that are never quite strong enough to hold all my notes, is a simple design sketch I made after touring the kitchen of what would soon be my new home. I love that kitchen, not only because the bright red walls contrasting against the white cabinets makes me happy, but because it looks exactly like my initial sketch. Seeing that picture inspires me to keep taking the images in my head and translating them into finished pieces.

That is the purpose of this blog--to act as my sounding board while going through my creative processes as I create things for my house, paper crafts and all the details of my daughter's birthday parties that I begin planning a year in advance.

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