Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Crafts

Happy Friday the 13th! So, the one and only way that we get anything done around this place is by taking everything in several small steps. That said, it’s no surprise that I just finished our Valentine’s Day crafts last night. Under the wire, yeah!

I love what we did SO much and for several reasons. One, they’re completely handmade. Two, they’re 100% F-R-E-E. Three, they’re easy enough that even H and I could do them (albeit over several days). Four, and most importantly, they’re downright adorable.

Here are the Valentines we’ll be giving the special ladies in H’s life:

All I did was give him a white piece of construction paper to paint. We stuck the paintbrush in a mix of white and red, then random splotches of magenta which ultimately gave for mostly pink splotchfest artwork. Then, just last night, I cut the art into three strips and free-handed Xs and Os (as you can tell…fancy) that I then glued to more folded white construction paper. Instant card!

The fact that he wears my old theater shirt from my high school senior year as a smock melts my heart. That thing has splatters from every set I ever painted, and now splatters from every piece of art he has done.

Anyhoo, I love that this art was free form and simple. The only instruction he needed was “here’s some paint, go at it!” He’s still not great at taking directions, so the fact that I took what he created and made it into something practical is pretty rad. Oh, and it has a total Eric Carle vibe to it, which I absolutely adore.

In that last picture you’ll also notice a rainbow heart stack. We started with this tutorial and simplified it to only a few colors. Simply put, I cut down a diaper box into 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″ and 5″ squares, had him paint them, cut them into hearts and glued them together. Then, I punctured holes on the top and strung them with some kitchen twine, and ta-da! Cute little decoration and gift in one.

So, that’s it! Cards and hanging hearts, but they were made with pudgy little fingers and love.

Did you make anything homemade to celebrate V-Day? Food? Gift? Do tell!
(I’ll be back tomorrow with my clean eating challenge. Half way, folks!)

Our Lil’ Pumpkins

I wanted to fit this post in before Halloween, but because I’ve got tons of posts piled up, it gets its own day! Hurrah!

Pumpkin time! Dave‘s gonna get into the pumpkin carving and everything, so I figured I’d just share a few pictures and chat more about the painting. Yep, we did one large “family” pumpkin to carve (we asked Hadley what kind of jack-o’-lantern he wanted {a HAPPY one!} and what shapes he wanted for the eyes and nose, and whether he wanted it to have teeth, etc) AND took three mini “pie” pumpkins to the next level with some paint.

Just ’cause. Plus, he’s never painted, so I figured it was time. (I know, I’m hanging my mommy blogger head right now. He had never touched paint!)

So, here are a few action shots of the pumpkin carving planning, reaction and the spooky fun effect…

Awesome, right? He picked the shapes (hence the animated picture of him with “round eyes, Mama!”). After staring at it for a few minutes, it starts to look like a Sesame Street Muppet. Totally appropriate.

Anyhoo, on to the messy stuff!!!

So, adorned in Daddy’s old t-shirt, we plopped him into his “high chair” (the SpaceSaver kind), handed him a pumpkin and a brush and he went to town. Pretty much. I mean, I asked him what colors he’d like (purple and red for one, blue and green for another, and he was mute about the last choice, so we rounded it out with orange and yellow), loaded up the brush for him, and he much more enjoyed painting his hands than the pumpkin. But, then he’d massage the heck out of the pumpkin, so they each ended up with some amount of color.

I also gave him a piece of paper at the end to continue practicing his new-found artistic skills.

One of my favorite things about the painted pumpkins is that they add a nifty bit of color to the stoop — AND they totally go with our new welcome mat. Hooray for happy accidents! I even got a teal pumpkin out of the deal! Plus, they make me grin when I see them. So cheery. So Hadley.

I ended up spraying them with several coats of a satin sealer since this type of paint tends to come off in the rain.  Oh, and you know I totally whisked him away to the bathtub immediately (Dave had it ready to go for us). It was hardly a mess at all, which makes me think we can do something like this more often. Probably for the next big holiday. TURKEYS!!!

To Pinterest I go…

Anyhoo, here’s the final cheery product…

In the interest of full disclosure, our carved pumpkin bit the big one within a day of this picture. I think the humidity (and the fact that the pumpkin was a couple weeks old) meant its days were numbered. Oh, well. We had the fun experience and at least Daddy got a great picture for the ol’ memory file. Now I’m REALLY glad we painted a few little ones!

Etsy – What Can I Do?!

It all started with one sentence from one of my best friends from way back. She recently sent me a response email, and one sentence has now got me stumped. (Bless her, she didn’t mean to do it! She’s a pretty avid reader of this blog and is as sincere and kind as they come.) The simple sentence was: “I am excited to read about your ideas for an Etsy shop 8^D” First of all, I just have to say that I love how she makes smiley faces. Secondly, ever since I wrote in my last post, I’ve been looking into the world of Etsy even further. I was already very familiar with the site and what you can do with it, but now that I’m looking into leaping into the world of online selling, I’m frozen. WHAT CAN I DO WELL ENOUGH FOR SOMEONE TO WANT TO BUY FROM ME?!?!?!

I know that I shouldn’t do it unless it’s a passion of mine; that’s pretty much a given. Lately, I’ve been out-of-touch with my passions and am even at a loss to recognize what lights that fire inside me — I think the frustration comes from the lack of normalcy and order at work, but that’s another story altogether. All that matters is that I’m having a hard time of it.

So, I ask my readers (even those of you who are normally silent) to comment on this post. YOU know me. You know what I’m good at, generally. What would YOU buy from me? (And I truly appreciate any thoughts you have — heck, I put the word out on my FB page and ended up with the name of this blog, so I’ll definitely listen!)

In case you didn’t know, here are some things that I’m particular about, and possibly even enjoy doing:

– Drawing
– Painting (not great, but not bad)
– Writing/Editing
– Cooking/Baking
– Eye for Design
– Singing/Acting

I’m open to lots of things, be it antiquing or thrift shopping to find supplies, trying to make things I’ve never made before (only to perfect it before selling — I have a “thing” about quality control), etc. Here are some considerations that have come my way thus far:

– Dave has suggested that I offer personalized pet paintings. We have a slightly abstract painting of Beardslee in the office that he’s uber proud about. I’ve seen what others are offering and, if I continued with “abstract”, it might be doable — but there are some INCREDIBLE offerings already out there!
– Candle- or soap-making. The issue here is that I’d rather the undertaking not engulf our entire tiny house, and these projects seem incredibly messy (and costly to start up). A thought, though.
– Start visiting Salvation Army, Goodwill, and local antique shops to create “country nouveau” housewares. How much does one spend before making a profit? (Not that I’m impatient.) And, again, this’ll take up some spaaaaace.
– Get painting. Anything. Everything. Find out what I can do (especially as far as mixed media and decor-wise) and go from there.
– Making jams/jellies (most likely organic). One scary word: botulism? Eep!

Any ideas? Or, should I just hang up my Etsy-trying hat for now until I can find a better niche? Any guidance or suggestions are welcome, especially if they’re said kindly. 😉 Thanks for getting me off my butt, Sarah!