Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 18: Creative with Stamps

As we approach the holidays it always surprises me each year how much I spend on the extras. Not the gifts themselves but the wrapping paper, tape, cards, tissue paper, bags, gift tags and so much more. It really adds up.

There is an more inexpensive and creative way. It is easy and FUN to boot! I just recently fell in love with stamps. When deciding on my Etsy shop packaging I knew I wanted something beautiful but something that was cost effective and that I could do myself.

I found a small leaf stamp that with a coupon to my craft store ended up only costing me $2.00. I purchased some tissue paper and some unlined index cards. A blue ink pad also from my craft store (and also with a coupon only cost me about $3.00. So for less than ten dollars I created beautiful packaging with coordinating not cards to my customers.

This could easily be used on plain brown craft paper, paper bags, and like and you could have your own personalized wrapping paper. Those index cards could easily be turned into a gift tag with one click of a hole punch. That you could make year after year. There are thousands of stamps out there and I think a few shops on Etsy even will create custom stamps for you.

Have fun and be creative!

So far I have not needed to purchase a new ink pad and I have stamped it hundreds of times.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 17: Creative with Coasters

Looking for some inexpensive hostess gifts for the holidays? Or may small gifts for teachers, neighbors, and friends? My suggestion is to get creative with coasters! Everybody needs coasters but especially if you entertain or have a busy house full of kids.

All you need is some fabric swatches and some cotton or polyfil batting. I like to use 5 inch by 5 inch squares.

Place right sides of the fabric together. Place on top of same size piece of batting. Pin together and sew along the edges leaving about a 1 inch section open.

After sewing, turn right side out using the small 1 inch opening. Gently work the corners fully out using a pin or (very gently) seem ripper.

Sew closely around the seams of the coaster to close the opening and give a uniform look. If giving as a gift, I like to tie up the set with a cute coordinating ribbon.

Looking for more ideas? Check out the coaster section of my shop.

Day 16: Be Creative with Costumes

My children are still at an age where they are unaffected by trends, fashion statements and name brands. Their beautiful, unique, individual tastes are all that matter to them. How I wish it could stay this way forever. It is a lovely reminder of how to truly live.

My son loves trains. Correction: he is obsessed with trains. Last year we managed a Steam Locomotive out of card board boxes. This year he wanted to be a Bullet Train. I wasn't sure where to start. Thankfully my husband was and stepped in to manage this project.

Two card board boxes. One can of white spray paint. Three pieces of black and yellow construction paper. One small bottle of green acrylic craft paint. Duct Tape.

He was so happy and proud parading through the neighborhood on Trick or Treat night. They best thing was that many neighbors remembered his costume last year and loved this year's as well. My husband was beaming. There is nothing better than a handmade Halloween costume.

Day 15: Be Creative...Snowman Style

Its not often that you carve pumpkins and build a snowman in the same weekend. But then again this year has been full of things that don't happen often, at least not often the Northeast United States. Maybe Mother Nature is having a mood swing? Maybe creative nature needs to change it up.

So get out there and get creative in the snow. Take some pictures, paint a scene, make some snow angels..whatever you fancy!

Day 14: Be Creative...Pumpkin Edition

When was the last time you carved a pumpkin? Years ago? Never?

I have to admit this was only the second time in my life. It was so much fun. Even my hubby had a blast. The kids had a great time. The mess was not unmanageable. No knives for the kiddos but they had fun drawing faces and watching us do the carving.

Sometimes it is just so fun to get messy! And then you get to eat roasted pumpkin seeds as a healthy treat!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days: Tomatoes in a Row (Day 13)

Sometimes creativity strikes you with the most everyday of things. These tomatoes were on a row on my deck baluster trying to get the last of the autumn sun to change their coats from green to red.

They struck me funny. I had to get my camera to share with you. These might be a sketch or a watercolor in my art shop someday.

31 Days: Creative in the Kitchen (Day 12)

Yeah! Almost halfway through the 31 day series. This is a 31 day series devoted to the many ways that we can be creative in simple everyday life. Today is all about being creative in the kitchen with leftovers. This simple Spanish rice dish is super tasty and super easy!


1 cup of rice (uncooked or 2 cups of cooked leftover rice)

1 lb of ground turkey or beef

1 half onion minced.

2 cloves of garlic minced.

1 8 oz can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes (whatever you have in the pantry.)

2 TBS olive oil



1 cup of shredded cheddar, mozzarella, cheddar/jack (again whatever you have on hand.)

First saute the rice uncooked in some olive oil for a few minutes until it starts to turn opaque. Add two cups of water or chicken broth and cover. Stir occasionally on medium heat until tender.

While the rice is cooking add the second tablespoon of oil to a large skillet. Add the beef or turkey and begin to brown on medium to high heat. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper too cook with meat. Use a spatula to break up the meat mixture and cook evenly.

When the meat is thoroughly cooked add tomato sauce and stir. Turn to low heat. When rice is cooked add to the meat mixture and stir. Transfer the dish to a large casserole dish. Top with your favorite cheese and bake in a 375 oven until cheese is bubbly.

This will be a quick easy weeknight favorite!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days: Catch Up

Oh wow! I am so far behind dear readers! Okay so technically today is day 23 but I have been working my tushy off in my Etsy shop as well as juggling (and enjoying) family time so some things had to wait.

But I'm back and for today's "Be Creative" series I am going to share with you what I've been so busy making. These personalized Christmas ornaments! I make these with fabric, embroidery floss, satin ribbon and poly-fil stuffing. They are simple but elegant and a beautiful reminder of the ones we love.

Hand made ornaments are a great way to celebrate the holiday season. What do you make for the season that is handmade?

p.s. I finished my half marathon last weekend! I did it! I certainly wasn't the fastest or the strongest but I crossed that finish line. Now I'm hooked and looking for my next race to sign up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days: Day 10 (Creative in the Kitchen)

So your not a painter? Don't like to sew? But I bet you have to eat right? I find some of my most inspirational moments in the kitchen. Most of the time I'm making some grand concoction out of leftovers and kitchen door condiments. Making the most out of what we have, there is that resourcefulness in me again.
For this meal I actually did some planning ahead and purchased some pantry staples like barley and lentils for hearty winter soups.
Aside from the chicken stock the soup was vegetarian. If you substituted vegetable stock it would be totally vegan.

Hearty Lentil Soup with a Touch of Barley
2 Carton of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 Medium Onion (Diced)
2 Cups Diced Carrot
2 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
2 Stalks of Celery (About One Cup) Diced
1 Cup of Dried Lentils
2 Tbs of Olive Oil

We served our soup with some gooey grilled ham and cheese. Substitute the favorite soup sandwich of your choice.

Saute the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots in the olive oil until the onions become translucent. Add the lentils, salt, pepper, 2 small bay leaves. Continue saute for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Add two cartons of chicken or vegetable stock. Simmer on medium heat for about thirty minutes or until the lentils float and are tender. Enjoy.

What is a creative creation you've made in the kitchen. This is part of a 31 Day series on Being Creative.

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days: Day 9 (Resourcefulness)

My dear fellow dilly dallyers being creative is a lot of things but one of the greatest assests if find in living a creative kind of life is your ability to be resourceful. Finding a useful and beautiful purpose in everyday items or even things that were on their way to the trash almost becomes a game of sorts.

Now I am not talking about being a "Hoarder" of way...not here. In fact when too much clutter abounds I start to mentally break down..can't find my shoes...where did I leave those papers.. I just can't take it. I believe there is a 31 Dayer talking about organization she could have much to offer in that department.

Let's take the idea of washable coasters. These were made from remnants of fabric. Now they serve a beautiful purpose in my household every day. Guests complement them. My kids abuse them. I wash them. I can't live without them. So today is all about looking around and putting to good use something that has been idle. Something that has been waiting for its moment to shine.

What everyday objects have you transformed? Leave your links in the comment box so we can all enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 Days: Day 8 (An uphill battle)

Sometimes the creative life can feel like an uphill battle. The path less chosen perhaps was less chosen for a reason. Recently I did my first craft show. I was worried about the reception of my work that I had poured my heart and soul into. My mother a seamstress of over 30 years shared that is why she never did a show. Vulnerability is scary.

But it is your mind that is scared. I believe your heart knows Who is creating. It is bigger than yourself. If you have the desire, if you have the talent, than you have been called to duty. You have been asked to fulfil a purpose.

The reward for the uphill battle is the view at the top. It's heavenly.

p.s. This photo is from my Saturday run. 11 miles. Half marathon is next week. Say a prayer for me!

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days: Day 7 (Get some fresh air)

Sometimes when inspiration eludes you fresh air is what you need.

Sometimes when inspiration is pummeling you from all direction and your head is spinning with ideas with a lack of clear direction on which one or few is best...fresh air is what you need.

Sometimes when your shoulders begin to tighten and you find yourself glued to your computer worrying about view counts and revenue and advertising....fresh air is what you need.

Even 31 Days and 31 Ways to be Creative needs to clear the decks. Nature and rest always gives me some perspective. I took in some fresh air today and maybe I will tomorrow too. Will you join me?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days: Day 6 and Daily Pic

This post never made it yesterday! Hopefully the rest of 24 days makes it on time! Today's lets be creative goes back outside with the camera. There are so many great photographic opportunities this time of year. Think of it: pumpkin patches, changing leaves, migrating birds, blooming mums....and that was just off the top of my head. The sun is actually shining in my neck of the woods today. So many things to be grateful for.

p.s. My Etsy shop, Blue Leaf Boutique is having a Columbus Day sale. Stop by and use coupon code: COLUMBUS25 for 25 percent off your purchase.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days: Day 5 (Beaded Hair Pins)

God blessed me with a little girl. He blessed me with a little boy too, but said boy doesn't let me put cute things in his hair. His loss!

Today's "Be Creative" is a quick lesson on making cute little accessories for yourself , daughter or friend. You will need need:

  • wire cutters

  • 28 gauge craft or jewelry wire

  • small and medium seed beads

  • 2 Bobbi pins

First cut about a 12 inch length of jewelry wire. Count out 15 seed beads. Insert wire into the center whole of the beads. (Tip: pour the beads onto a piece of fabric so they don't roll away!) Bring the pieces of wire together and twist to make a loop or "petal." Repeat this process 5 times until you have 5 petals.

Next one end of the remaining wires and insert the medium to large size seed bead. Twist the wire around the other petals to center the bead in the middle of the petals to form a "stamen." Pull with wires taunt and twist several times to secure. Lastly take the remaining wires and insert in the "U" curve of the Bobbi pins. Wrap around the base several times to tightly secure the flower to the pin. Trim any excess wire. Voila! An adorable accessory! These make a great stocking stuffer!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days: Day 4

Tonight is going to be a short one. I'm bleary eyed. Just finished a five mile run. There is a little one in pink feety pajamas still running circles around me way past her bed time. I wish I had her energy.

I want to share with you my Tufted Titmouse. Such a cute little bird. Such a cute little attitude. Kind of like the little one in pink feety pajamas. This was my sketch:

This was the finished watercolor:

A few years ago I was scared to death of watercolor. I swore by oil paint only. Two kids and much less time later. Watercolor is how I role. Much less set up time. Much less drying time. No chance of little fingers wanting to touch an unfinished painting. I hope you are inspired to try something new today!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days: Day 3 Pinterest

I am so slow and late to the Pinterest bandwagon, but I have arrived people!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Add one more addictive online social media outlet to my list. But this one has a really useful purpose. We are moving sometime in the next year (loud sigh), god willing, and I need somewhere to put all these thoughts of how I want to decorate. I mean a new house really is just a blank canvas waiting for me to virtually dress it up! I don't know if this counts as created with my own two hands but it definitely takes a creative vision to decorate a house that doesn't exist yet, don't you agree?

So today I am going to focus on the Master Suite of my imagined not yet mine house:

What do you think? Love it, hate it? Suggestions?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 Days: Day 2 Backyard Beauties

Beauty is everywhere. Right in your own backyard. Even if you don't have fancy landscaping and a killer view, it is still there. I have a big old butterfly bush in my yard that I am guessing is as old as the house. It is an all you can eat buffet to an entire neighborhood of bumble bees, butterflies, and moths.
This butterfly was being camera shy but at least it let me get a few shots of its wings.

1. Bush + 1. Camera = being creative Day 2. What ways are you being creative today? Share your links!

31 Days: 31 Ways to be creative!

I am so excited this year to participate in the 31 Days event hosted by The Nester and the Inspired Room. For my "31 Days" posts I am circling around the theme of being creative. Because really at the heart of it, that is what it is all about right?

So everyday this month I will have a post about some creative pursuit of mine. It might be some embroidery from my shop or some photos for "The Daily Pic" or anything else that catches my fancy that day. Just something created by me, with my own two hands. I hope I inspire you to join along!

Today's post is my family pillow from my Etsy shop, Blue Leaf Boutique. It is a favorite of mine, because it is all about those that we love. Those that keep us grounded. Those that give us shelter. Enjoy!