Saturday, 15 October 2016

MedicAlert Bracelets

I realize that MedicAlert bracelets are supposed to be obvious. However, if I have to wear one I want it to be somewhat discreet and blend in with my outfit. Because of that, I've been making my own for several years now. Last week I was down to my last one (they wear out and break over time) so I had to make a few more.

I've learned that I get the most wear out of simple bracelets. Big stones or unusual shapes just get in the way while I'm doing school work, and are also more likely to catch the students' attention. For that reason, I stuck to a simple black and a simple white this time. 98% of the time I'm wear black or grey so these work well for me on a daily basis.

Rather than do another tutorial, you can see how to make it by checking out this post. It's from when my blog was just a baby so please be kind, but it has clear step-by-step instructions.

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, My Pinterventures, The Crafty Blog Stalker

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Turquoise Tea Cup: Art Class 19

I have a list of projects to share with you but haven't had the motivation... until my turquoise tea painting. I went to art class Thursday night and have been excited to share this painting with you ever since!

To create this painting I used a board that the instructor had already primed. I started by gluing pieces of a poetry book onto the board, using a mixture of white glue and water. Once that was done, I added a few doilies on top. Next I did a wash with a mix of water and beige acrylic over the entire painting, following by a navy wash around the edges. After that I added some colour using a stencil and more acrylic. While I was at that, I added solid navy around the edges of my board. 

Then came the hard part. I sketched a tea cup and painted it using acrylic mixed with water. When I was pleased with the cup, I added some steam, again using acrylic mixed with water. Finally I needed something to balance it a little so went looking through the book of poems and found the quote. I felt it was perfect for someone like me, who loves my downtime, so I added it and gave it a little brush of the same paint I used for the tea cup. Last but not least I used a fine tipped marker to draw the outline of the cup and saucer, the steam swirls, and the quote.

If you please will excuse me
I won't come to tea
For home's the best place for
All people like me!
Even though it wasn't that similar to the sample painting, I used this one as my inspiration for the cup. While my artwork is nowhere near at the caliber of Kristy Patterson, I'm thrilled with my finished results. It's the perfect piece to finish my new kitchen gallery wall, which is on my list to share with you.

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, The Kolb Corner, Making It In The Mountains, Divas Run For Bling, A Stroll Thru Life, The Crafty Blog Stalker

Saturday, 9 July 2016

M's Teenage Girl Bedroom Reveal

It has been a while since M moved into her new room in the basement, and now it's time to share it with you. This post will be very picture heavy but I'm not sorry because I could look at these pictures all day. What I am sorry about is the lighting. This room has a light and airy feel but the pictures don't show that.

Because I love seeing the transformation, here's the before. We had put down dry core sub flooring maybe five or six years ago, and that was it. Then this past fall life got crazy. I was off work for 10 weeks for a major surgery and J's daughter called and things progressed from there and within a month we had a 13 (almost 14) year old living with us.

Before. The side on the right became M's room
and the side on the left became D's room.

Rather than take back her former bedroom, she stayed in the guest room while J built 2 bedrooms in the basement. He had help with the framing, and then did pretty much everything by himself. I offered moral support but that's all I was physically able to do. He did the insulating, drywalling, mudding and taping, priming (with help from M) , ceiling, door, and trim. M and I did the painting (although that was a really bad idea post-surgery) and we hired out the electrical and carpet installation.

We still need to find or make artwork for the wall above the bed.

Now it's time for the after. This is the finished room before she'd moved her belongings downstairs. It's much more "lived in" now, as you would expect the bedroom of a 14 year old to be. She's pleased with it, so that's the most important thing. Now we're saving up to finish the rest of the basement, so she can have her own bathroom.

Yes, that front plant is dying. Actually, by now it's already dead.

The curtains were a single panel made into two as a temporary fix, which I made too short.
We've since added blinds.

While we didn't make a lot for M's room (there are still things planned), I'm pleased with the projects we did complete. I've shared some and will continue to share more in the future, continuing to update the list below as the posts go up.

White Vase
Gold Spraypainted Everything

We have bought a desk chair but haven't painted it yet. Thats' on the to do list.

You may be wondering about the second bedroom we built. That's in case D ever wants to move back in because we couldn't build a room for one and not the other. Right now it's home to a desk, an old trunk, and an air mattress. I may get around to decorating it at some point. Maybe.

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, The Benson Street, Made in a Day, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Divas Run for Bling

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Fails: Art Classes 6, 13, 15, and 16

While I've been pleased with most of my paintings from art class, there have definitely been a few that are just beyond saving. Here they are, in all their ugliness. Please, don't try to be kind. I've made peace with the fact that not every piece will be something I love.

Art Class 6: Pink Field

I absolutely love the sky in this. That's all I love. My perspective is very off and the flowers in the front just look all wrong.

Art Class 13: Red Lady

This is one of my all time most-loved quotes, and this piece was on track to be one of my favourites. However, I messed up a bit with the red and couldn't get the white to cover it properly. That just made it look like a hot mess.

Art Class 15: Boats

I don't know where to start. The pastel watercolour landscape is wrong. The boats are wrong. The only thing not wrong is the very little patch of trees on the left of the painting.

Art Class 16: Pastel Trees

This one was my first attempt at using pastels and I am not a fan. We used velvety paper which didn't go well with my texture issues. I also wasn't in the right headspace to make art on the night of this class. It just wasn't right for me.

Thankfully, those are all my fails so far. 4 out of 17 means I'm above 75% successful so I'd say that's a good average.

Shared at: Divas Run For Bling, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Made in a Day, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, The Crafty Blog Stalker

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Grad (or any occasion) Memory Jars

Now that school is over I finally have time to breathe... until Tuesday. I don't think I've mentioned it but I'll be teaching summer school this year. I'm really excited for this opportunity, and it's only three days a week for five weeks so I'll still have a nice bit of a break.

Before school ended we had grad, which is one of my favourite days of the school year. I think in any school a graduation is exciting but in a school like mine I feel like it's even more of a celebration. For those readers who don't know (because I don't talk about it much) I teach at an alternate/outreach school. For many of my students school has not been a positive experience, which is often what brings them to us, and so helping them achieve their goal of graduating is a huge accomplishment. This year we had 9 graduates, which is our second largest group to date.

In the past we've had sheets for people to sign and write a message to our grads but this year I wanted to change things up. After looking for ideas online I settled on a memory jar.

I bought the jars at the dollar store and added a piece of ribbon from my stash, holding it in place with a glue dot in the back. I also added a label, which I've partially blurred out for privacy. The labels were a pain to make because I created them in publisher and really didn't know what I was doing, but I'm thrilled with how they turned out.

I made an instruction sheet and placed several copies of it around the table with the jars. I also made small sheets (an 8.5 x 11 sheet divided into 4) for people to write messages for the grads. 

All the school staff wrote messages the week before grad so it was one less thing to worry about at the ceremony. Then at grad we had it set up on a table with lots of paper and pens, so before the ceremony and during the reception the guests added their own messages to the grads.

I also made an updated version of my grad centrepieces that I'll share with you soon. 

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, Making It In The Mountains, The Kolb Corner, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Divas Run For Bling, The Benson Street, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E

Monday, 23 May 2016

Book Club & Delicious Cookies That Still Need a Name

Last month was my turn to host book club, and it was a great time. The book I picked for my month was The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarity, which is not my normal type of book but one I really enjoyed and which led to great discussion.

Along with lots of wine, we also like some munchies during book club. I had several types of crackers and chips, salsa, and texas caviar

I also had veggies and dip, cheese, a couple types of turkey sausage, and pickles. Most importantly (besides the wine), I had several types of cookies: chocolate crinkle cookies, peanut butter cookies, and the delicious cookies that still need a name.

These cookies are absolutely delicious. I can only make them when there's a special occasion because they're too good to keep in my house. When I have them, I can't stop eating them.

Here's the recipe:

  • Over low heat mix together 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup honey, and 1 cup peanut butter.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips until dissolved.
  • Stir in 2 cups oatmeal, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup craisins, and 1/2 cup raisins.
  • Press into a greased 9 x 9 pan and let set in oven.If using a 9 x 13 pan, make 1.5 times the recipe. Double is too much.

As a side note, I really want learn how to make printable recipes to put on my blog but I can't seem to find a tutorial that actually works. If you have a tutorial you've used, I'd love the website!

Shared at: A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Divas Run For Bling, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Making It In The Mountains, The Kolb Corner

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Bird on (Fake) Watercolour: Art Class 12

I love the look of watercolour and have even bought some supplies but haven't tried using them yet, so when I saw the sample for this art class, I couldn't wait! Imagine my surprise to learn that we were painting the entire project on canvas using acrylic.

The background technique was actually really cool. We wet our acrylic down as if it was watercolour, and let it drip and run and mix. I had a lot of fun playing with it.

Next was the bird, which went ok for the right-side up version. 

When it came to the reflection I struggled. I like my paintings to be neat and precise, so the reflection didn't look like it was actually in water. A few lines and a few paint splatters (with the bird covered) seemed to fix that problem.

A few weeks ago my brother was in Alberta for work and we got to spend a day together. We actually had a great adventure on the ice fields parkway and the scenery is too spectacular not to share a few photos.

Mistaya Canyon

Me in front of the Athabasca Glacier

The black bear we got to stop and watch from the safety of the car
I promise, there's a reason for mentioning my brother's visit. While he was here he brought home a couple paintings he wanted, including this bird painting. It now has a wonderful home in Newfoundland, in the hallway at my brother's house.

He texted me a photo of the bird in its new home.

I love when someone likes one of my paintings enough to ask for it, and knowing that it brings them happiness when they look at it!

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Finishing the Basement Part 2

You guys, I've got to keep it real. I'm struggling to find balance right now. To go from being a childless workaholic with a very understanding husband to being a full-time stepmom to a 14 year old girl has been a challenge. One aspect that I'm struggling with is finding time to create and to blog, and I really miss it. So here I am, for the first time in a long time, to show you the second part of finishing the basement.

I shared the before here in case you'd like to see where we started. Also, here in part one I shared framing, insulating, electrical, drywalling, mudding, and taping. I have to give almost all the credit for this to J. Other than having help with the framing and hiring out the electrical and carpet installation, he did all the work, and it looks fantastic if I do say so myself.

After the mudding and taping was finally done (that stage took FOREVER!), J and M primed the walls. 

Once the priming was done, M and I did all the painting. It was perhaps a little too much movement too soon after surgery, and I may have been hurting quite badly for a couple weeks, but I'm all healed now.

After priming came the ceiling. I went back and forth between drop ceiling or drywalled ceiling but ultimately decided on drop. There were two main reasons I made this decision: if we ever have issues with any of our pipes or ducting it'll be easy to access it, and I thought ceiling drywall might be difficult for J to do on his own and I wasn't up to helping.

At this point the electrician came back in and did the final bits of wiring. We also had carpet installers come in and put down the carpet. One thing I learned from this experience is that you're actually supposed to book carpet installation a couple months in advance, and I wanted it done immediately. Oops. Thankfully they were able to squeeze us in within a couple weeks. I didn't get any pictures of this stage.

Next came the little details: trim, baseboards, closet doors, closet organizers, etc. By this point I was 110% finished with the renovation and ready for it to be over.

Aren't you excited to see the finished, staged rooms? Hopefully I'll be sharing them with you sometime soon. Also, any of you parents out there, how do you do it? Any advice would be gladly welcome!

Shared at: The Kolb Corner, A Stroll Thru Life, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Pink Flowers: Art Class Eight

I haven't forgotten about my goal to cross all those little projects off my to do list and while I haven't been great at catching up on posting, I've been doing better with it around my house. One thing I finally did was spray all my paintings with a sealant and, while I had them out, I took photos of the ones I haven't posted about yet to share with you.

This is one of my favourites, despite the fact that I haven't actually hung it up anywhere yet. I really like the colours and texture of the background, and how it makes the pink flowers pop. 

I actually painted this one about a year ago and have had it sitting on a shelf in my office closet. Until I find the perfect location for it, it will continue to live there.

Shared at: Kathe With An E, A Stroll Thru Life, Life on Lakeshore Drive, The Kolb Corner