Monday, September 29, 2014

ART IS YOU 2014 Recap #1: Tins Charming with Liesel Lund

This years was my FOURTH Art is You Mixed Media Retreat!  I feel so blessed and lucky to have this event in my own backyard!  Each year, I try to take classes that will teach me new skills and push me out of my comfort zone. I also keep coming back for this reason:





Sallianne and Ellen do an amazing job and they do it with humor, grace, and style!

Ellen always makes these wonderful (and collectible!) nametags that I look forward to getting every year. I'm getting quite a collection!





The first class I chose this year was "Tins Charming" with  Liesel Lund. Liesel deconstructs tin containers to upcycle them into the most amazing jewelry and mobiles!

  

It took most of the day just to deconstruct the tin and learn the techniques so I didn't quite finish.  I brought a few old cookie tins to the class.  I was surprised at all the tools we needed for the project!

 

 The gloves were especially important.  The raw edges of the tin could be quite sharp!  Liesel showed us how to deconstruct the tin.





Some of the ladies brought amazing vintage tin with great patterns. Mine were all pretty boring.  It wasn't until I took the class that I had good idea of what to look for.  The bright red tin drove my vision. It immediately brought to mind poinsettias.  I decided to make a holiday necklace for my mother.

This is as far as I got:



The leaves are made out of a Trader Joe's Peppermint Hot Chocolate tin. I thought that was very apropos.  The base of the necklace is now done but it needs A LOT of embellishment. As you can see from the above photo of the front of the class instruction booklet, Liesel does an amazing job of embellishing with beads and charms and other doodads.  I hope to fill in space with beads and possibly thread some gold wire through the center of the poinsettias and add some yellow beading.  We learned how to twist wire to make bead drops in the class so I know what to do! A trip to the local bead store is definitely in order!  After this class, I will be on the lookout for interesting tin to use in the future!




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kidstir Review: September 2014 Box

https://kidstir.com?raf=555

Noodlebug absolutely LOVED "Master Chef Jr." when it was on last year.  More recently, he got into the "Rachael v. Guy Kids Cook Off."  I think it is fun for him to see fairly young kids cooking some pretty amazing food!  We love subscription boxes in our family so I started investigating what cooking-themed subscription boxes are out there.  There are actually a couple of them!  I decided to try out Kidstir to see if it would encourage Noodle to start cooking.

Kidstir boxes are packaged in a similar fashion to other boxes like Kiwi Crate.  In the initial box, you get a cookbook binder that the child can personalize with his/her name.  Each box also comes with three tool or food items and several recipes linked by a theme.

https://kidstir.com?raf=555

The theme of our first box was "Bake Me Happy."  It came with the binder:

It also came with three recipes. One on banana bread, one on apple crisp, and one on popovers!

It also included a small whisk, a dog-shaped silicone pot holder, and a small tub of chocolate spread. (for use with the banana bread)

The instructions were pretty simple. I tried to let Noodle do as much of it on his own as possible.  (You can see the whisk in the photo below)  I acted as his sous chef by gathering ingredients and tools for him.


There was a moment of panic when Daddy opened the oven without thinking and the popovers started to deflate.  They seemed to rally, though!


Everyone thought they were delicious and Noodle was really proud of his creation!  We are looking forward to trying the other two recipes soon.

I think this box offers a nice introduction to cooking for children. The recipes aren't too difficult and I like that they include useful tools in each box. We are already looking forward to the next one!

You can purchase your own subscription here!    (referral link)

I hope they do something fun for the holidays!!!

(I did not receive compensation in any form for this review and all opinions are my own.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why I Let My 5-Yr-Old Watch "The Goonies"

(image source)

I'm pretty strict about what I let Noodlebug watch. We stick to "G' and "PG" movies and he has yet to see any of the "Star Wars" films.  Our family usually has a Family Movie Night each Friday. My husband makes homemade pizza and we watch a family-friendly film.  We have an impressive collection of animated movies and I love them. Sometimes, I want to watch something different.  One evening, I ran across "The Goonies" On Demand and decided we needed to watch it. I had loved it as a child.  However, I was a bit older than Noodlebug when I saw it. I knew we needed some preparation prior to watching it.

Questionable Things to Watch For:

1. Cursing--My son hears curse words in his day-to-day life.  My husband still hasn't managed to curb that habit. We have discussed with Noodle that these are grown-up words and that he does not have permission to say them. So far, we haven't had a problem. I told him that this movie would have some grown-up words.  He understood.  There is also a little potty humor that went over his head.

2. Villains--The Fratellis are not nice people.  They use guns. They kill people. They torture one of their own. They threaten children. I warned him in advance about this.

3. Dead Bodies--There is a dead body in this movie. It falls out of a freezer onto one of the boys. It could have been scary. I explained it beforehand.  He knew what to expect. It didn't scare him.

4. Sloth--Sloth looks like a monster. His character is introduced in a way that creates a lot of scary suspense. I waited until just before Sloth was revealed and paused the movie. I told Noodle that we would be seeing a man who looks really different. I said that just because he looked different didn't mean that he was bad. We discussed how just because people look different does not mean that they aren't worthy of love, respect, and dignity.  I started the movie again. He wasn't scared at all. But he WAS upset at how badly Sloth was treated.

5. Skeletons--One of Noodle's first movies was NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS so he isn't bothered by skeletons.

6. Suspense--There are some nail-biting moments in the movie that might be scary for some children. I knew my child wouldn't be bothered by that.

These are the reasons WHY I let him watch the movie:

1. The kids go on this adventure to save their homes.  They band together to help their parents and save their community.

2. It requires teamwork for the kids to succeed. They can't do it alone.

3. The kids are loyal to each other. They don't leave anyone behind.

4. EMPATHY!  The kids accept Sloth and end up protecting him.

5. Developing right from wrong---The kids fight the Fratellis and turn them over to the police.

6. They don't give up!!! Goonies never say die!  Persistance, grit, and determination! All hallmarks of successful people.

Bottom line: He loved it.  He always asks to watch it again. And he will be going as Data for Halloween this year.

Would I recommend this movie for every 5/6 yr old child?  No.  We had to do some preparation but I knew he would be able to handle it. I was right. He loved it and so do I.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sheer Cover Review with Modern Mom

Modern Mom gave me the opportunity to try out and review a series of new products from Sheer Cover and it couldn't have come at a better time!  As I get older, my skin is looking worse and worse. It take a lot more makeup in the morning just to make me look normal. That being said, I don't like wearing a lot of makeup. I like to keep things simple. A few years ago, I tried using BareMinerals.  It was okay. The coverage was average but the biggest turnoff was the mess! So messy to put on and it always spilled in my makeup bag.  Sheer Cover is a similar product but I was interested to try it because I like the idea of mineral makeup.

These photos are pretty unforgiving but I wanted to be completely honest.  Here is me with no makeup in the artificial light of the bathroom.

I have some sagging and the bags under my eyes are horrible. The wrinkles on my forehead are the worst.  And I have freckles. LOTS OF THEM! Also, I haven't had a chance to get a brow wax this month so please excuse the unkept brows!

I started with the concealer and added it under my eyes. Then, I used the loose mineral foundation all over my face. I highlighted with their bronzer and added some brightener around my eyes.  I tried concealing the freckles on my forehead but all that happened was that the product sunk down into my wrinkles and made them more prominent.  I also used their mascara and lash extending fibers. I was so surprised when I opened the lash extending fibers. They are literally little fibers! It looked like a brush filled with lint!

Here I am with the Sheer Cover products on:


I think the dark circles under my eyes definitely look better. I did NOT like how the product emphasized my forehead wrinkles.  The foundation definitely dialed down the redness in my face which was nice.  My lashes also look nice although the product irritated my eyes a little bit.

Here is the final result with my Laura Mercier creme eyeshadow and Yves Saint Laurent lip stain:


As I said before, I like to keep it simple. I prefer a natural look rather than an overly made-up look and stick to classics rather than trends.  I loved the concealer and definitely think the lash extenders worked but I was not a fan of the foundation. It felt too heavy for me and settled into my wrinkles. Plus, I didn't think it was that great in terms of coverage.

I will experiment more with these products. I'll probably continue to use some but not others. 

If you would like the chance to win a year's supply of Sheer Cover Studio Mineral Foundation, go here to win!!!

(The Sheer Cover products in this review were provided by Modern Mom)

Friday, August 15, 2014

BACK TO SCHOOL: Kidecals Review



http://www.kidecals.com
Once your child starts preschool, school, or even camp, you will be asked to label EVERYTHING!  A few years ago, when my son started preschool, I purchased some sticky labels from another company. They were little round circles with his name and a car graphic. Although they worked great, their size and shape made teachers overlook them. They would hand me my son's jackets and tell me to please write his name on them. When I pointed out the label, they were always surprised to see it.  I don't like writing names directly on articles of clothing because I always consign outgrown clothes.  With removable tag labels, you can just peel them off when you are done!

This school year, I decided that my 1st grader had outgrown the little circles with the car graphic. It was time for something new.  Luckily, Kidecals contact me right about that time!  It was so hard to decide which labels to pick!  They have labels for everything!!!  We have a lot of school friends with food allergies so I especially appreciate their section of allergy alert labels.  I knew that I wanted waterproof labels for Noodlebug so I headed over to that page and decided on some nice rectangular labels.  (provided courtesy of Kidecals)  I couldn't stop there, though! I have been working on reorganizing my workroom and decided I needed some chalkboard labels too! (purchased by me)

The labels came very quickly and I loved how the ones for my son came in two different sizes on one sheet.  This was important to me because I need different sizes for different things!






I immediately went to work adding the labels to a few jackets. The smaller size worked perfectly on clothing labels.







The larger labels were great for labeling the inside of bags like Noodlebug's Tae Kwon Do bag!



I like how durable the labels feel and easy they are to apply. Since they are waterproof, I will be able to wash the clothes without having to remove the labels.  This would also be great when labeling reusable food containers or water bottles.  I'm going to label everything!!!

I chose the everyday set for $28 which includes 78 labels in two sizes.  (c/o Kidecals) The chalkboard labels I chose run $10 a set for 12 labels. (paid for by me)  Kidecals always offers free shipping.

For a special 15% off discount, use code ilovelabels.

The perfect item for back to school!!!

(Kidecals provided me the opportunity to try the name labels for free. I purchased the chalkboard labels in addition)


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BACK TO SCHOOL: Backpack Charms

My son will be starting first grade next week. Last year, he was in a big Kindergarten class with three teachers. Now, all the kids will be split up among three classrooms. We don't know if any close friends will be in his new class.  The class lists don't go up until the night before school!  Plus, one of his closest friends is moving to another school.

Although my son is super-social and outgoing, I wanted to help him to reach out and make some new friends this year. I decided to make some quick backpack charms that he could give out to new friends.


 Materials needed:
1.5 inch wooden discs
Ball link keychains
Paint
Printed images
Mod Podge or other adhesive
Crop-a-dile II Big Bite (optional)
1.5 inch circle punch (optional)


I had some 1.5 inch wooden discs left over from another project. I bought them online at Amazon but you can find them at craft stores. 

First, I painted one side of the discs in one of the school's colors. This will be the back of the disc. While it was drying, I manipulated an image of one of my favorite children's book characters and printed out a sheet of the image repeated several times in the size I needed.  I used the circle punch to punch out the images. I ended up adding a little color with markers.  The downside of adding color and using a color ink jet printer is that the color ran a little when I mod-podged it on.  Once the paint on the wooden discs was dry, I used the Crop-a-dile to gently punch holes in the wooden discs.  I then mod-podged the paper circles onto the discs. On the colored side of the disc, I wrote the school name and the school year dates with a Sharpie.  I ended up putting the discs back through the Crop-a-dile to punch the hole through the paper. Finally, I added the ball chain keychain. I got a pack of 28 of them at Joann's.

While they aren't the most professional looking items I have ever done, I think they will be fun items for my son to trade at school. Maybe I'll make a new one each year!

(This post contains affiliate links)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Water Fun!

We are in a serious drought here in California so we don't do a lot of wasteful water play outside. To prepare for a day of water fun, I waited until we had a playdate with several kids and we didn't water our lawn for a week.

First I made a water blob. I made one last year using duct tape. It held up well but sprung a bunch of leaks.  And it was tricky to put together.  This time, I used this tutorial and ironed the edges shut. It worked well but I found that ironing the plastic really thinned it out.  The edges held but a hole appeared in the top almost immediately. Still, it did not detract from the fun. The boys loved it and it was perfect for the 2-yr-old.  Once the fun was finished, we let it drain out in our parched lawn.



I also made some splash balls. You will find dozens of splash ball tutorials online. I cut three sponges into quarters.  (cut sponge in half, cut each half in half)  Lay the three sponges on top of one another.  Tie a length of string around the center and pull tightly.  I wrapped the string around the whole thing once more and tied a knot. Although some people use zip ties, I did not like the idea of the sharp plastic. Regular string worked perfectly!  Fluff the sponges into a ball shape and you are finished.  The kids LOVED them!

I got the sponges in packs of 2 from the dollar store which made them even more affordable.

Next time, maybe I will try to make one of those cool PVC pipe sprinkler structures that I have seen on Pinterest!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rivertown Revival 2014

We have a truly unique event in Petaluma called Rivertown Revival. This fundraiser for the David Yeardsley River Heritage Center is hard to describe.  To me, it often feels like a turn-of-the-last-century carnival side show mixed up with a classic tent revival.  It is filled with arts, music, oddities, shopping, amazing food, and many many people dressed in costume. You see people dressed as carnies, saloon girls, steampunk explorers, and more.  They even often $5 dollar weddings!  Plus, there are decorated watercraft to look at along the river. This year, one decorated barge on the river held a band. 

I have never missed the event even though it is always one of the hottest days of the year.  When I almost melted a few years back, I gave up wearing my steampunk attire. But I still love to dress up.


I especially love the wonderful decorations they come up with. Last year, they stuck golf clubs in buckets of plaster and strung ribbon between them to form stanchions between the ticket lines.  And look at this wonderful ribbon pole made from a bicycle wheel:

This year, I was determined to get our photos made in the photo booth. Michael Woolsey does an amazing job of capturing people.  I love paging through the photos and marveling at the diversity and beauty of the people who come to the event.   Plus, I get great costume ideas!



I thought about not posting the above photo because it reveals just how heavy I am. Then, I decided that life is too short. I probably won't get too many more photos where my little guy wants to snuggle up with me.  Many people told me he looks like a teenager in this photo:


If you happen to be in Petaluma in July, make sure you don't miss this wonderful and creative event!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Wee Bit Warped: THE ZINE!!!

Remember when I went to ART IS YOU a few years ago and made this and this with Shelly Massey?  Shelly is so marvelously creative.  When I saw her whimsical work, I knew immediately she was a kindred spirit.  Plus, our children are the same age! 

I miss getting to take classes with Shelly at art retreats so I was thrilled when she announced her new venture!






Shelly has already planned out 12 exciting issues full of creative/crafty goodness and I love the themes she chose!  Subscribers get a little 'zine mailed to their homes along with treats in the mail, giveaway opportunities, digital freebies like collage sheets and more! You can buy individual issues for $13.50 but then you miss out on the digital area.  And who wants to miss that fun?!

The subscription is $12 per issue and goes through Paypal. If you order before July 31st, you will get a special edition of one of Shelly's art prints!

I already got my welcome packet!

Exciting! Shelly is so talented and such a sweet, generous person!  I am so happy for her. And I'm excited to be one of her first subscribers.

GO HERE TO GET YOUR OWN SUBSCRIPTION!

This is the perfect little gift for yourself or others who love creative inspiration sent to their mailbox every month!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nina Garcia Quarterly #ngq03 Unboxed!!! **SPOILERS**

I love getting surprises so I treat myself to a few subscription box services. One of my favorites is Quarterly!

Today, I got the much-anticipated Nina Garcia #ngq03!





One of the things I love about Quarterly are the detailed descriptions that come with the boxes!

(First peek!)
 Then you get the fun of unwrapping each item!!!





The theme of this box was "Brazil!"  It was very heavy on product.  Overall, I think I'll enjoy the items although some were misses for me.

Contents of box:

1. Coupon code for free Symmetry series Brazilian Pop! otterbox case for iPhone 5/5s or Galaxy S5
2. Black baseball cap from Spenglish with "Muito Cool" brazilian flag on front
3. Red flower refreshing hand and face towelette in Italian blood orange (one sample)
4. Pink High-heeled shoe desk ornament from Brazilian shoe designer MELISSA
5. Formula X from Sephora nail color in "Push the Limits"
6. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Spray Sunscreen in SPF 30
7. Calvin Klein ONE Pure Color Lipstick in "Dollface"
8. NEST Scented Candle in "Sicilian Tangerine"
9. Surya Brasil Sapien Women Shavel Gel
10. JOICO K-Pak Intense Hydrator treatment for hair
11. ORIBE Dry texturtizing spray (2.2 oz)
12. ELLA earbuds
13. Palm Tree print clutch from PRINT ALL OVER ME (canvas)
14. Koku Pouch--bluie canvas with yellow raffia trim and a plexiglass shark (Not my favorite item)

I know others will price out each item and I will be interested to see the overall value of the box.  I'm excited to try everything out!