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Friday, November 9, 2012

Operation Christmas Child: Packing A Shoe Box Full of Love

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is coming up soon! Within the next week (November 12-19) millions of boxes will be packed, wrapped, and shipped with love all over the world. 

This is my first year participating in OCC, so I wanted to share how I decorated and packed a plain, white shoe box for donation. Hopefully my gift will be a huge blessing to one little girl out there in the world (UPDATE: I was able to follow my box, and it was shipped to Honduras!). 

First things first....decorate the box. I originally thought about using a roll of festive Christmas wrapping paper, but who needs wrapping paper when you have Sharpies!?
Spreading hope, love, faith, and joy...
Next...pack the box. Samaritan's Purse offers a list of gift ideas and suggestions, so I gathered my items with four categories in mind: school supplies, toiletries, accessories, and toys/activities.
TIP: Get crafty and make handmade gifts. (I made a couple bracelets and added little charms to make them one-of-a-kind.)
TIP: Take items out of the packages they come in to fit more gifts inside the box.

Finally...write a happy note. I found some pretty stationery, wrote a little note, and enclosed it in a small envelope. Now it's all packed and ready to go!
There's still time to pack a box! Recycle a shoe box or grab a plastic container and fill it up with all sorts of goodies. You can find your nearest drop-off location here!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


late night doodle for the #govote project
nov 6. go vote.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sticker Happy: Black and Gold Glam Earrings

Give me a pack of stickers and call me happy! This all started because of my quest to find a simple pair of gold post earrings. I had pretty much given up for the most part, but then all of a sudden during my weekly stroll through Michaels, I came across these in the scrapbooking section:
Oh my glitter and gold! Right there in the middle of Michaels I reverted back to my eight-year-old self on Christmas morning when I unwrapped my new hot pink Barbie convertible and two-story Barbie dreamhouse. My eyes grew big, my heart fluttered with giddy excitement, and my pearly whites stretched a mile wide. Two inches to the right I found another pack in black and silver. I knew instantly these would make great earrings; all I had to do was add earring posts to the back.
First, I removed the round sticker on the back of the rhinestone. Then, I applied a dab of E-6000 glue to the flat surface of the earring post and glued it (slightly off-center) to the back of the rhinestone. Finally, I let the glue dry for a couple days.

TIP:  The sticker peels off easily, but it leaves behind a little adhesive residue. To get rid of the stickiness, I rubbed a small dot of hand lotion on the surface. Be sure to wipe the surface clean with a soft cloth before gluing.

Eight pairs of stickers come in a pack, so you can jazz up any outfit in your wardrobe, and they also make an easy and inexpensive gift for the holidays! Hope you like!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Charmed to Meet You! Earrings

So today I was rummaging through my good ol' jewelry box, and I found a charm bracelet that I had completely forgotten about. I'm pretty sure I only wore it once in middle school, probably because the fifth time it got caught in my sweater, I lost one of my favorite charms. It was a frog, but not just any frog; rather  a frog prince, silver plated and covered in bright green rhinestones. It was a sad sad day, but I digress. On either end of the bracelet I had added charms representing my first and last initials, A and R. I loved the two charms on the bracelet, but I knew I wouldn't be wearing it anytime soon, so I decided to use the charms to make a pair of earrings. It took less than a minute, and I love the result! If you have some charms and a couple minutes to spare, I encourage you to make your own.  It's easy peasy like pudding pie!

After I removed the charms from the bracelet, I grabbed a couple fish hook earring wire findings, two jump rings, and a pair of pliers.
First, I removed the two split rings on my charms, because they were a little bent out of shape.  Next, I opened the two jump rings with my pliers and put one on each charm. After I connected the fish hook findings, I closed the jump rings, and I was done! Now I have a charming pair of earrings to wear!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sticker Happy: Sweet and Simple Earrings

"Collecting is like eating peanuts; you just can't stop."
— Unknown

I collect things...stamps, fortune cookie fortunes, super bouncy balls from the 25 cent vending machine...Just the other day I was cleaning out my drawers and found a huge collection of stickers that I had packed into a handmade box and stuffed behind two broken slinkies.  It was at that exact moment when I realized I may be a borderline hoarder and had eerie flashbacks of Hoarders: Buried Alive episodes.  Two seconds later I resolved to dismiss the possibility and justified my pack-rat tendencies by creating these sweet and simple earrings.

Just recently I discovered Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, and we're pretty much BFFs now.  Seriously though, it's my new favorite craft product.  Originally I had planned to use clear square epoxy stickers to create the 3D effect for my earrings though.  I searched and searched for them all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but several sighs of disappointment later I gave up the hunt.  Then, on one last trip to Michaels for some hot glue sticks (hot glue will always be my first love), I met this 2oz. bottle of magic. One quick read of the directions and I was skipping out of the store.

After I attached the "stickers" (a long time ago they were snipped from an unused batch of stylish address labels) to some sturdy cardstock paper and laminated them, I carefully applied a layer of the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.  At first I was a bit worried because it looked cloudy, but after a while it began to dry clear.  Once I let it dry completely for 24 hours, I glued a flat earring post to the back side of each square.  Now I have a half dozen new pairs of earrings to wear!

The whole project was fairly easy and inexpensive, and I love it because it can be done with any theme of stickers.  The two pairs above are my favorite so far, but I already have an idea for some Halloween stickers I found! Hope you like!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Craft Wars Inspired: Mini Holiday Wreaths

In last week's Christmas in July episode of TLC's Craft Wars the three contestants (Margot Potter, Cheryl Darrow, and Ivan Lopez) were challenged to create a holiday wreath using winter clothing.  After watching the show I felt inspired to make my own holiday wreath from two wire hangers, a couple old scarves, and some winter gloves. Well, once I went through my craft bin and realized the gloriously fanciful wreath I had planned out in my head would not come to fruition (I wish I had a Michaels craft closet!), I decided to create three mini wreaths.  When I think of the month of July, the first thing that pops in my head is Independence Day, so with a red, white, and blue theme, I combined two of my favorite holidays, the Fourth of July and Christmas! 

First, I placed a bowl onto a piece of cardboard and traced around the rim of the bowl to make a circle.  To create a smaller circle on the inside of the first one, I flipped the bowl over and traced around the edge.  After I cut the larger circle out, I cut out the inner circle to make a hole in the center like a doughnut (Mmmm... doughnuts...forgive me, it's past my usual snack time).  I repeated this process three times to make three wreaths. 

TIP: For all you crafty high schoolers and college students, I know throwing away your notes at the end of the year is the most liberating experience ever, but if you keep the cardboard cover and backing from your spiral notebooks, it can be useful for future projects.

Red Rose Wreath
First, I painted the cardboard doughnut with silver glitter paint. Next, inspired by Margot's beautiful creation on the show, I made rosettes out of an old red scarf.  Then I grabbed my handy dandy hot glue gun (Yes, I used hot glue! Sorry Tori...) to glue the rosettes around the edge of the circle leaving enough space to tie a cute bow with a scrap of fabric. 

Ribbon and Bows Wreath
I loved the layering in Cheryl's wreath, so for this one I cut long half-inch strips of fabric and tied them in bows around the entire cardboard doughnut one-by-one.

TIP: The more bows that are tied around the circle, the fuller the wreath will look.

As a finishing touch, I found two shades of blue curling ribbon and cut three equal lengths (two light blue, one royal blue) and tied them in a bow at the top of the wreath.

Swirls of Joy Wreath
In the challenge, Ivan used Scrabble letters to create a message on his wreath, and I knew instantly that I wanted to use some for my last wreath.  Continuing my red, white, and blue color scheme I wrapped the cardboard circle with baby blue yarn.  Then, I drew swirls on the surface using Christmas Red 3D fabric paint.  I cut a short piece of wire to attach the Scrabble pieces across the center of the wreath, and another piece of wire was formed into a loop for hanging purposes. 

If creating a large wreath feels like a daunting task, try creating these miniature wreaths.  It's also a great project for kids. They're super easy to make and they can make great tree ornaments! Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Doodle Because...

"Every child is an artist.  The problem is staying an artist once you grow up."
— Pablo Picasso

We begin as creative beings full of curiosity and wonder as a bold, adventurous spirit guides our great imagination, but somewhere along the journey to adulthood, the world stifles our creative genius. I still remember that infamous day in kindergarten when my teacher scolded me for coloring the sky orange instead of blue. But who says the sky is blue? What about those early fall mornings when the birds chirp sweetly to the rhythm of a new day or those cold, rainy Sundays in the winter that make the most productive person just a little bit lazy. Well, I say it's time to get back to the days of playing dress up in your mother's closet, building forts out of some old blankets and a couple chairs, and jumping from couch to couch because the carpet has magically transformed into hot lava! As we grow older we must continue to find ways to feed our imagination and express our creative spirit on a daily basis, and this is why I doodle.

Over the years doodling has become one of my favorite things to do to keep my creative juices flowing throughout the day. When I was in high school I would often doodle during class, and it wasn't because I was bored or disinterested in the subject.  I still paid attention, and I still managed to take great notes.  Somewhere between the Lewis dot structure of carbon dioxide and the Pauli exclusion principle little hearts are dancing happily in the margins.  Now I enjoy participating in the Doodle Swap Project which allows creative folks from all over the world to create and swap a set of 3.5 x 2.5 inch mini artworks. The whole process is super fun, and whenever I receive one in the mail it makes me feel all squishy inside.  Below is a peek at my doodles for Doodle Swap 13 along with some from previous rounds.

Doodle Swap 13 (3.5 x 2.5 inch trading card and a happy note!)

Doodle Swap 12

Doodle Swap 10
Doodling is not only fun and relaxing, but it sparks creative thinking. So even on your busiest days I encourage you to nourish your creative minds, because maybe mixing and matching clothes will inspire you to study fashion design, perhaps constructing a fort out of pillows will arouse the architect within you, and maybe just maybe you'll develop enough agility and endurance trying not to get scorched by red-hot lava that you'll become the fiercest dancer anyone has ever seen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Am An Artist!

"If you hear a voice within you say, 'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint...and that voice will be silenced."
— Vincent van Gogh

I’m 22 years old, just graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!), and with my brother’s voice in my head exclaiming, “Say it with conviction!”, I declare, “I am an artist!” It hasn’t always been easy to embrace my artistic talent with such confidence though. I’ve always enjoyed art and crafts, but it has taken me a while to finally listen to my heart and pursue my dreams of working in the art field. When I opened my acceptance letter to the University of Virginia an ear-to-ear grin stretched across my face. Sprawled out on the floor in excitement, I considered the blessing of receiving a higher education at such a prestigious university and imagined the bright future ahead of me. My original plan was to major in Chemistry, but after two years of broken beakers, painstaking lab reports, and exposure to toxic fumes, I decided I should follow my passion and major in Art History. So here I am with a quote from Vincent van Gogh saying get rid of those negative thoughts, take the leap, and do what you love. I'm just a girl crafting, painting, and doodling for all the world to view and enjoy. Hope you like!