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Archive for making

My Favorite Month is Here! [printable calendar]

October is here! A few cooler temperatures arrived just in time to welcome the new month, and we spent part of yesterday putting out our harvest decorations… halloween trinkets we’ve collected over the years, fall kitchen linens, berries and vine garlands, reminders to give thanks, and pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! Later this week, we’ll add our scarecrows to the front porch — one for each of us, plus their dad as a memory — to welcome us home each day.

Last night, we watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” with dinner — our official fall kick-off tradition. I love how every one of us has our favorite parts to the Peanuts classic that’s turning 50 this year, and even though my little ones are growing too fast, that doesn’t seem to keep the laughter away as we revisit the antics of Charlie Brown, Linus and the gang.

This month, we’re planning trips to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for fall school break in a week or so, and later in the month, we’ll head back to the farm to celebrate my birthday with s’mores and pasture walks through Busy Bee. Fall often seems like a new beginning to me, which I’ll take. I’m determined to slow down and take time to enjoy this favorite season!

Thinking of fun times ahead, I put together a printable October calendar with cut-away artwork to enjoy… Take me to your candy! Indeed. You can download at the links below. Happy October!

PRINTABLE CALENDAR

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August Beginnings [printable calendar]

August is here, and I really can’t believe it. Every year at this time I wonder where the summer has gone, and today it really hit me… school starts this week! In our neck of the woods, classes begin on Thursday, and just like that, carefree days are behind us. We’ve had a wonderful summer together, traveling, exploring, playing and setting aside some intentional down time! I can’t help but be a little sad because I’ve really enjoyed the privilege of having my little ones at home with me for the last two months or so, but I’m also excited about new things in store. Two of my children are heading to new schools this year. We are trying a few new clubs and after school activities, and we have some new church plans and work endeavors to look forward to. Although it marks the end of summer, it seems August is bringing us new beginnings as well. This week, we’re gearing up, getting our spaces in order, organizing new supplies, and soaking up a few more unscheduled weekday hours. I hope you can relish the new beginnings this month may bring into your life as well!

This morning, I put together an August printable calendar with cut-away artwork I hope you can share when the month is over. You can download the art at the links below. Happy August!

PRINTABLE CALENDAR

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make . DIY Watercolor Paint

Baby Girl loves the YouTube Kids iPad app! She just loves it. I like it because I don’t have to worry about questionable content, and it gives her the opportunity to wander through some of the things that interest her. These days, she’s excited about cooking and party planning projects, how-to’s for dollhouses and doll furniture, and crafts, crafts, crafts! She’s a crafty girl! It’s not unusual for me to walk into her room or our play room/Kid Cave and find some idea she’s seen on YouTube starting to take shape with her own spin applied to it. Earlier this week, I came home from running a few errands to find this scene on the coffee table…

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She explained to me that we were making paint – a video she had seen on YouTube Kids. Since I’m a painter, that’s all it took to get me interested! The idea is really kind of cool, using old Crayola markers to make watercolor paint. Baby Girl went through her markers and found all the ones that had lost too much ink to really be fun for marker art. It turns out, when you place those markers in water, the remaining pigment seeps out to create varying shades of “paint” that still has some artistic life in it. I thought it was a great way to repurpose what might have otherwise been thrown out, and Baby Girl and I spent a little time experimenting with the paints.

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Different colors created paint with various amounts of vibrance. Baby Girl used 2 or 3 tablespoons of water for each color, and I imagine the intensity of some colors would be greater with less water. The paints made for very nice watercolor washes with light color building up slowly with more layers. We thought the fluorescent yellow marker created the most fun effects. It was a great opportunity for us to experiment with color, and I showed Baby Girl how to sprinkle salt on wet painted areas to see some of its marbling effect. For our experiments, we used my practice paper, which is thick, but not standard watercolor paper. It gave us a lot  more curling and puddling at the edges than traditional watercolor paper would. I had planned to try to create some backgrounds that I could use with lettering, and I ended up just having fun with how water and color work together. Here are some of our experiment results!

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Happy July! [printable calendar]

I can’t believe July is already here! It seems like the summer is speeding by, but we are putting a lot of energy into enjoying every day! I hope you’re marking your summer days with a wonderful mix of laziness and fun activities. My babies are returning from camp today, and we’re heading into a long 4th of July weekend. This month for us will include science camp, a trip to the beach, and probably a little preparation for the start of school in early August – but we don’t want to think about that right now. Today, let’s just enjoy the carefree days of summer for another month!

I’ve put together a July printable calendar that includes some cut-away artwork celebrating the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” You can download the art at the links below. Enjoy your July!

PRINTABLE CALENDAR

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Counting June Days [printable calendar]

Today is our first official day of summer vacation at home in Starkville! We left town the day school let out to spend the week at the farm to celebration the break, and now, we are back home settling into the more relaxed summer routine. I’ve been looking forward to summer vacation for a couple of months, and it feels like I’ve been in a constant state of saying, “we can do that over the summer!” Each year, though, I find myself stunned at just how short the summer is.

In one of my more “mommy’s weird” moments last week, I decided to count how many actual days we have for summer vacation. It’s 71. Seventy-one! Today, that number is 64. They’re already moving fast. As a child, I remember summer being kind of an endless lazy haze. As a parent, I find myself begging time to slow down. I felt like I overcommitted the children last year to camps and activities — all wonderful opportunities, just not the opportunity to be unscheduled. As I began planning for this summer, I determined that we would devote the time this year to togetherness, to captured moments, and to more unscheduled wandering. At the farm last week, I started writing notes in my journal about all the simple, but wonderful fun things we did each day. It was nothing fancy, just things like playing charades, having a picnic, watching our own Scooby Doo marathon, walking to various parts of the pasture, throwing rocks in creeks, and more. I decided I would try to continue writing the memories for each of those 71 summer days.

In that spirit, I put together a little printable calendar for June called “What I Did This June.” Instead of the traditional calendar layout, it has a place to write at least one memorable or ordinary thing for each day. I hope you enjoy the chance to capture your moments!

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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make . Paper Pumpkins

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Last week I spent a little time restocking my Small Pond “pop-up” shop with some fall items and a new collection of stationery. The pop-up is located in the Liza Tye & Company shopping mall on Academy Road in Starkville, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to take a look and shop all the great vendors there if you are in the area! Some of the fall items I included are a couple of paper craft pumpkin centerpieces I created from hand-decorated paper, and today I’m sharing a little of the process. They are not difficult to make at home, and are a great way to repurpose already-used paper.

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I found a few colored sheets of paper in various textures, and hand-painted some with patterns. Card stock weight paper works best for what’s required for crafting this piece.

The pattern for the individual pumpkin parts can really be any shape you want, as long as it’s symmetrical. Creating your pattern along a fold helps to ensure it is identical on both sides. For the two sizes of pumpkins shown above, I used 20 pumpkin shapes for the larger 8 1/2″ centerpiece, and 16 pumpkin shapes for the smaller 5″ version. Each pumpkin shape needs to be folded in half to create the centerpiece.

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Once all the paper parts are cut and folded, they are stacked together in the repetitive order you would like to use for your pumpkin. Tie the shapes together tightly with twine at the center point to hold them all together. I chose a small jute twine that could curl around the pumpkin top like tiny vines.

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Hot glue or some other very quick-drying version works best for this project since the pieces will end up fanning out into a sphere like an accordion. For the best fanning look, I alternated gluing tops together and then bottoms of the pumpkins as shown above. Keep going all the way through the stack until the piece forms a full pumpkin.

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Pumpkin definitely needs leaves and vines, which I cut from one of my paper colors. Card stock can be easily spiraled by twisting it around a pencil. To finish out the pumpkin, I used a square of thin, kraft packing material to form the stem. I wadded up the paper first to crinkle it, and then rolled it into a loose tube and twisted for an organic look.

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Make a slit in the bottom of the “stem” and hot glue to the top of the pumpkin. Then, add leaves and vines to suit your tastes.

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For our Thanksgiving table, I’m working on a version of the pumpkins made from all white and off-white paper, some in hand-made flower petal-infused paper I found. I’m hoping to add a little hand-dipped watercoloring for some subtle harvest look. There are so many options for decorating paper to match any tablescape style — from fun craftiness to artisan elegance. You can purchase the pumpkins at Liza Tye or create some of your own!

Happy pumpkin-making!

June is Here! [printable calendar]

Happy June, friends! We had some very nice down time at the farm last week to begin our summer vacation. Now, I think I’m probably more excited than the kids are that we have a break from school. It gives me the chance to spend more time with my sweet ones, and I’m looking forward to a little bit more of a relaxed work schedule. I’m hoping we can do a little exploring this summer, which I’ll share more about later. I’m also pretty sure, we’ll have our share of lazy, hazy days!

To celebrate the start of summer vacation, I’ve put together a June printable calendar and desktop wallpaper using some watercolor doodles. The printable includes some cut-away artwork to encourage more summer laziness after the month is over. Enjoy!

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PRINTABLE CALENDAR

DESKTOP WALLPAPER

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Welcome April! [printable calendar]

Well, the saying goes… April showers bring May flowers! I’m not sure we really want a repeat of all the rain we had in March this year, but if rain is indeed in the forecast, I hope we’ll trust whatever April has to offer as goodness for each new day! I decided to revive my calendar downloads this month along with a desktop wallpaper version — inspired by drops. And, I’m really loving gray and yellow together these days! You can click below to download the files, and as usual, I’ve included a little cut-away sentiment you can share with a friend when the month is done… “nothing’s worrying me!”

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PRINTABLE CALENDAR

DESKTOP WALLPAPER

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make . Hop Along Theater Finger Puppets [printable]

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As promised yesterday, this morning I’m sharing a printable download for Easter finger puppets to go with our mini banners — the acting company in our “Hop Along” Theater! This made for a fun Sunday afternoon with Baby Girl coloring and making the puppets. When we finished, I was told, “I have some good ideas,” for the photos, so today’s post is very sweetly styled by Maggie! I think she did a wonderful job setting a spring scene, and it’s clear she already has that “creative director” tendency. What a joy to see her little ideas blossom! We’re having a pretty fun Easter season blogging together 🙂

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These are pretty easy to make! Just cut along the yellow lines for the base and cut around the figures at whatever level of detail you like. Once they are colored, you can wrap around a test finger and tape — Presto, theater company!

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make . Easter Mini Banners [printable]

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Baby Girl and I have been working on a few crafty projects for Easter, and today I’m sharing a printable for a cute little mini banner we made. It’s actually part one of an idea I had as I was thinking through spring post ideas. I’ve always loved making things with paper, especially things to play with! The children love to make little paper cut-out puppets using popsicle sticks to create dramas for their puppet shows. So, my thought was to create a little “Hop Along” theater marquee to use along with some Easter-themed finger puppets. I’ll share the finger puppets tomorrow as a printable too, but for now, I’ve included some photos and tips to make the banner below. It can really be hung in any way, but I used some pencils to make our “theater” columns. In the printable download (shown below), I’ve included banner flags for “Hop Along” as well as “He Is Risen,” which would make a neat reminder of the reason for our Easter celebrations on your tabletop of mantle. Enjoy! And stay tuned tomorrow for photos and download for the finger puppets — styling by the one and only, Baby Girl!

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Tips for making the mini banner:

  1. We printed ours on card stock weight paper so it has a little weight and doesn’t wrinkle when glued.
  2. You can hold a metal ruler or straight edge in place in the white gap at the middle of each diamond, and fold against it to crease the row of flags evenly.
  3. Fold each row first, and then cut out each flag. That way, you don’t have to worry about matching up the angles — and the flags don’t have to be exact. [This also gives you kind of a neat diamond harlequin stencil — bonus!]
  4. Keep your glue away from the crease in each diamond when you’re adding them to the string. That way, you’ll be able to slide the flags along the string when you’re finished to adjust the spacing of the words. You may want to go ahead and slide the flags a minute or so after you glue to be sure no glue dries on the string.
  5. We used short sequin pins with balls to top our banner pencil “poles”. They stick securely into the eraser, but leave enough space to wrap your strings to hold up the banner. They’re also kind of festive!
  6. We put our pencil poles in tiny clay pots with straw to scotch, but small potted plants would be cute or even cupcakes for a party table!

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