Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life Is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans

is one of The Mumster's favorite sayings. That's kind of where I am right  day job is keeping me hopping like a frog on a hot skillet. (Please no one call PETA on me. I do not put frogs on hot skillets).

When I am able to break free, I'm enjoying spending time w/ Mr. Chocolate and College Boy for a couple more weeks before CB returns to school to start his Junior year. 

So while far from abandoning my blog intentionally, I have not been able to spend as much time on it lately. That doesn't mean that I'm giving it up or even taking an official break. Things will be "sporadic" for the time being and hopefully settle down soon. 

In the meantime, I did read a great article on the Cloth Paper Scissors blog that I'll excerpt a bit from ( copyright fair use) and encourage you to read! 

The weekly BFF Open House will continue so be prepared to link up tomorrow night!

Several years ago, I started a personal blog.I wanted a venue for talking about all the things I like to talk about--vintage linens and stuff, my house, my kids, my opinions--and besides, everyone was doing it. I quickly discovered that while I had a lot to say (no doubts there), it took up a lot of time to say it on a blog. I had to have a picture, I had to size the pictures. I had to link to things. I had to create contests and giveaways to get people to follow me, but then I had to keep blogging to keep them coming back.
Then the "gosh, I'm sorry I haven't blogged in a while" posts started coming.

Who can relate to that? ME!!! Who can feel overwhelmed by it? ME!!!! Who can beat themselves up when they don't have the time to devote to their blog the way they want to? ME!!!!

And there's more in the article that I think is well worth a read. Also pinning to my "Blog Improvement Tutes" Pinterest board

Monday, July 29, 2013

Field Trip: Arts Fair(s) and Chocolate. Perfect Day!

I didn't do much in the way of creating this weekend but that doesn't mean it wasn't a creative weekend. For the past 67 years, my hometown has held an arts festival the last weekend of July. I've attended it for as long as I can remember ( NOTE: NOT the 67 years!) . What started out as one fair, has now grown into three separate fairs that take up a large chunk of downtown. I didn't photograph everything because a lot of the artists don't allow pics which I respect. The fair(s) takes place the last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of July and attracts artists local and national.  The main fair is the Bellevue Arts Museum Fair , accompanied by the Bellevue Festival of the Arts,  and the 6th Street Fair.

Mr. Chocolate and College Boy both enjoy going to this too which makes it great for me knowing I can take my time looking at everything. The Bellevue Arts Museum hosts a kids fair with all kinds of creative activities for the little ones. College Boy reminisced about the years he enjoyed doing all the stuff. I love living in a city that has a passion for the arts. 

Each year a different artist recreates a classic piece of art in chalk in the front of the Art museum. 

I always hate it when the rain washes it away :( I love that they close down a road outside of the museum and provide boxes of chalk for artists ( mostly young, some older!) to do their own chalk art. 

I loved this booth that was filled with all kinds of whimsical creations. Forms the artist designed freehand and then covered with old maps and all kinds of found ephemera from bottle caps, game pieces, old jewelry. She had smaller pieces too: 

If you're ever this way the last weekend of July, this is a MUST attend event. 

We can even tell the weather by this annual event because I can't remember a year where it's rained or not been gorgeous. After doing the Arts fair, we headed to downtown Seattle and to the Pike Place market. Mr. Chocolate and I go there regularly and since College Boy is home for a bit he wanted to go. We love all of the fresh produce, seafood, and artisans that make up the market. Even though we're regulars, we discovered something new and OMG TO DIE FOR! 

THE most amazing Greek yogurt place just opened a couple of weeks ago at the main entrance to the Market.  It's called Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt and as the name implies, it is Greek style yogurt but with an incredible array of fruit and chocolate toppings. Think a gelateria for yogurt. We each got a walkaround cup. Mr. Chocolate and I went for the cookies and cream. College Boy went for the Boysenberry. 

They have so many flavors and I didn't write them all down but suffice it to say they have something for everyone. Pretty much any fruit you can think of and it was agony deciding between the mocha, chocolate, and cookies and cream! All of the yogurt is made here in Seattle and Ellenos is family owned and operated. This could be very very dangerous! 

No trip to "the market" is complete without a bouquet of flowers. The hardest part is choosing from the many vendors and bouquets available. This trip I didn't actually get flowers because we were going to be doing a lot more walking and the bouquets are huge and get heavy. When we're going home soon after, I can't resist. 

Hope you enjoyed this virtual field trip! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #114

The Answer Is Chocolate

Another great party last week. Thanks to everyone who linked up and shared their creativity. Here are a few of the ideas that caught my eye. 

Whose day wouldn't be brighter with this fun "Hello Sunshine" plaque from A Creative Princess

What's Summer without some beachy decor?  Even if you're not by the seashore, Laura at The Shed has some ideas to help you create the look for "faux". 

I am the drain clogging culprit in our house. With a head of thick curly hair, it's a losing battle. So always glad to find a way to unclog and here's one that's "green" from It's Always Ruetten using things that are readily available. 

Got Milk? How about a Rolo milkshake?!  Check outthis temptation from Life With The Crust Off

And who could resist these elegant Mini Black Forest layer cakes from Twigg Studios

On to this week's party! I'm already seeing some Fall and Back to school ideas. What have you been up to this week? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Make a Card in 10 Minutes

Graphics 45 Sympathy

Sharing a quick card idea , based on a card I needed to make this weekend. Start to finish, maybe 10 minutes and involved two pieces of paper!
For this card I used:
  • Cardstock (Neenah Cream Cardstock)
  • Scrapbook Paper (Graphic45 Bed of Roses)
  • Flower Medallion Stamp (Paper Inspirations)
  • Baker’s Twine (Cappucino)
  • Stamp Ink ( I used Fresh Ink Chocolate)
  • Rhinestone Brad
This card is sized a little differently than most I make. Cut cardstock lengthwise 6 inches. Score in the middle for card dimension 5.5 x 6.
Cover with scrapbook paper, then layer cardstock and scrapbook paper  panels as shown. Edge smallest cream panel with ink.

Paper Inspirations Medallion

Stamp medallion on cream cardstock scrap. Trim closely. Add large rhinestone brad to center and adhere to center of smallest panel with adhesive foam dot.  Wrap with baker’s twine and then adhere to center of card.

Cappucino Baker's Twine

Thursday, July 18, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #113

The Answer Is Chocolate

Happy Friday eve once again . I can't even tell you how excited I am this week because COLLEGE BOY comes home on Sunday! He spent most of the Summer at school doing an internship (paid yeah!) and he'll be home for a break before his Junior year begins. Can't believe I just typed Junior year either. Yup. 

Let's take a look at some great ideas from last week's party. 

Totally loving this charm bracelet from Jewelry Making Journal. Shabby chic chunky fun! 

Burlap hates me. I mean it really does. Every burlap project I try looks like, well, we'll keep it G rated. Laura from The Shed has inspired me to try once more with this fun monogram project using burlap, paint and board. 

I love PicMonkey and I love learning how to improve my photos. Bethany from Pitter and Glink does too and has some wonderful tips to share. 

I've been a lifelong gift wrapper. Can't imagine giving a gift that's not wrapped. Still, I don't think you have to break the bank to make it special. Christine from I Dig Pinterest has some tips and ideas for pretty (and fast)  packaging. 

My chocolate feature this week combines all my faves: chocolate, coconut, chocolate. Isn't the best part of an ice cream cone the last bite? And a chocolate cone? Go visit Pint Sized Baker for the details. 

Now on to this week's party! Let's see what everyone's been up to this week. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Dangers of Being a Jewelry Maker: You Make A Necklace Because It's a Day That Ends in Y

Or, because you're going to a craft show. Or, because you are on a Design Team and you get amazing supplies to play with. Or, all of the above!

There's a twice a year show in Seattle called Urban Craft Uprising. It's filled with lots of indie artists and craftspeople and I'd never been. So Mr. Chocolate and I went to check it out last weekend, and naturally I couldn't go to something like that without making something fun and new to wear right? I looked at my Blue Moon Beads design team supplies and pulled out some urban metal pieces and coordinating beads

The focal piece was this antique gold connector strand. I used most of it in one piece but disconnected two of the links. I also used cream tear drop beads and pyrite stone beads along with some antique silver chain. 

I strung the pyrite and teardrop beads onto a length of beading wire, attached to my metal focal piece with jump rings, and also added two other connector pieces. One hammered metal ovals and the other metal dangly thingies.  

I also added these metal filigree beads since they went well with the theme. Attached the multi strand middle to lengths of antiqued silver chain to complete and vi-ola. 

The event was held at the Seattle Center. This is where our iconic landmark is: The Space Needle

Of course I go to a craft show and what do I buy? Chocolate. Really delicious toffee that is locally made by Hedgehog Toffee

The story behind them will melt your heart as much as their yummy chocolate melted in my mouth! We bought that medium sized bag on the left. ALL gone. YUM. It's a real treat to support a local company that gives back to our community. 

This was my first time at UCU and there were great PNW artisans there. I can't wait to go back for their holiday show! 

Sharing At: 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Christmas in July : 17 Gift and Decor Ideas You Can Start on Now!

Happy Monday everyone. We're halfway through July already and it seems the deeper into the year we get the faster it goes. I have already seen Halloween items in a couple of stores! That got me to once again thinking about getting a head start on the holidays and I asked a few other bloggers to share some of their handmade gift ideas that we could get a jump start on NOW. Many of these are things that are great for Christmas and Hanukkah but can also be adapted for any time of year gifts. 


DIY Snow Globes from Domestic Superhero  Start saving your empty jars now!

Use scraps of velvet and mini ornaments to make these elegant napkin rings. Visit Carolyn at homework for the how to. 

Save empty boxes and packaging shred to make groups of frosted paper trees. Also from Carolyn at homework

Personalized ornaments are always a hit. These stamped double washer ornaments could from Sweet Pea could also double as package tie ons.  

Elegantly transformed Dollar Store Vase Candleholder from Eclectically Vintage. Make some for your own own and some to give as gifts

Upcycled Pringles cans either as standalone or like these from DIY Inspired that contain a fun girlfriend gift. Perfect for showers too!

Practical and Personal Gifts: 

Etched beer glasses. You could monogram, spell out the name, or in this case the German word for "Cheers". See Laura at The Shed for the how to. Not that it's only guys who like beer but perfect "Man Craft"! 

This would be a wonderful Christmas gift but could also work for Weddings and Anniversaries. A "Family Tree Mirror" from Becoming Martha.

Or how about some twine wrapped monogram ornaments? You could also spell out a holiday word or family name. Also from Becoming Martha

With all of the patterns and choices of polar fleece, there's sure to be a design for whatever passion your gift recipient has. Get the how to on easy fleece throws from Craft Quickies

In our electronic age, I love the idea of something "old school" that challenges the mind. Jamie over at C.R.A.F.T has an easy but ingenious puzzle you can make to give as a gift. If you're way smarter than me, you might be able to have it spell something out when it's all put together. 

Speaking of blocks, how about customized photo blocks for friends and family. Visit Measured By Heart for instructions. 

Whip up a fun and fashionable apron from a hand towel and coordinating fabric scraps. Head on over to Uncommon Designs to see more.

Scrubs and Soaps:

Perfect for holiday  or anytime gifts. From Yesterday on Tuesday 

Spicy Apple Brown Sugar scrub from Sew Woodsy

Handmade herbal and botanical soaps from A Nest For All Seasons

I hope you've found some inspiration and ideas to get you jump started on holiday crafting!