Tuesday, November 20, 2012

December Daily

I created a mini-album for our Decembers in 2008, 2010, and 2011, and they are some of my favorite projects to look back on. This year, I'm not sure if I will follow the "daily" format or just fill it with festive photos and memories from the month. I do know that having the base album ready-made makes the documenting so much easier. As I set out to make my album over the weekend, I decided to make three - one for our family, and two to sell at Craft and Fancy.

My supplies came from Studio Calico and Elle's Studio, and a few things from my holiday stash. I stuck with the traditional red and green color scheme, with a few neutrals as well.
The three books are very similar, with all the same background papers and embossed stamp designs. In some places I've used different embellishments when I didn't have three of the same (as pictured above).
I think this is my favorite page. I just love those polaroid cut-outs! I can't wait to pop a little Instagram print behind one!
Here are the back covers. Sparkly snowflakes!

I'm planning on making more 4x6" albums in different themes to bring to Craft and Fancy. I love these because you can easily hole punch 4x6" photos to add between pages. The rings look really big right now, but I know from experience that these get thick quickly as photos are added. They would also work to use as journals for writing memories of the season, even without photos. Let me know if you have any special requests!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Craft and Fancy 5

I'm very excited to be part of the Craft and Fancy event at Home Ec Workshop again this year. I'll be posting sneak peeks during the next couple weeks here on the blog, and you can find out more on our Facebook page!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

my Instagram profile

Did you know that Instagram has new web profiles for users? It is a neat and different way to view and interact with the Instagram community. You can find mine at http://instagram.com/kirstenw

The photos on the header rotate around randomly. It’s pretty neat! Find yours (or others) by simply adding their username after : http://instagram.com/

Caeli's Baby Shower

I had the pleasure of making the decorations and party favors for my sister-in-law's baby shower this past weekend. Caeli and Thor are having a baby boy in January and we couldn't wait to shower her with gifts and baby advice.

Caeli's sister gave me some hints about the color scheme for the nursery, and that argyle is Caeli's favorite pattern. So I was pretty excited when I found a digital patterned paper with an argyle in those very colors! The gluten-free argyle cake was made by Cake Me I'm Yours in Des Moines.

The gorgeous barrel room at Jasper Winery in Des Moines really didn't need any help being lovely and festive, so I focused on decorating the tables and adding flower arrangements. I made "vases" for the flowers with recycled cans and glasses that I wrapped with patterned paper and twine.

I also made a "congrats" banner by machine-stitching felt letters to fabric triangles. I sewed binding tape across the top of the pennants, then tied coordinating fabric scraps between each letter.

The first table in the room held a tree with photos from Thor and Caeli's baby albums hanging from the branches. The second table had a bowl with cardstock cards for guests to write well-wishes and/or advice for the new parents. I've scanned these (and included photos from the shower) to make a Shutterfly book  for Caeli to keep. The third table had a banner hanging between two potted succulents, which invited guests to take home a favor. I found small glass jars at Hobby Lobby and filled them with honey from our local farmer's market. Then I hand-carved the little bee hive stamp, heat-embossed that image and circled punched them to glue on top of the jars. The tag hanging from the jar said, "You're so sweet - thanks for coming".

photo from my Instagram account: kirstenw 
cute superhero burp cloth made by my mom 

Each guest told a funny story from their own childhoods while Caeli opened their gift. It was a fun way to get to know each other and give Caeli some light-hearted advice on parenting.

I loved being part of the shower planning team and I can't wait to meet that sweet baby boy!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tree Huggers

my tree, before

There are so many things that I could blog about from our busy month of October, but I think I will just jump in with photos from Iowa City's tree hugger project. I was so excited to hear from Codi at Home Ec Workshop about this project, and I knew I wanted to participate right away.

my tree, after

Here's an article explaining a little bit more about the project. It is an art installation project organized by the Iowa City downtown association. I love the color and fun the tree huggers bring to our downtown. Plus, it is a wonderful display of the talented fiber artists in our community.

I helped install this tree hugger after I finished mine and after the bikers moved their bikes

I joined over a hundred other volunteers on Sunday afternoon in installing our knit (or in my case, crocheted), fabrics around each assigned trees. I knew right away that I wanted to make a chevron pattern for my tree. I love how it turned out, and I hope I can find time after the holidays to make an afghan with the same pattern for our family to keep.

 more artists installing their work

It was fun to be on a busy corner downtown - while I was installing it, I had several people stop and ask me about the project and compliment me on mine. The only negative comment I got was a random guy in a car shouting out - "you've got to get rid of those zip ties!". Ha! But that was just part of the process - we secured the rectangles of fabric with zip ties, then sewed up the seam with yarn.

I love the way each artist created a unique design, yet they all work together because of the cohesive color scheme. My favorites are the trees with little shapes like hearts or leaves worked into the color blocks.

I think the plan is to keep them up through February, but if you are local you should check them out right away! My photos don't do justice to the color and whimsical feel they bring to the area. I'm thrilled that I could be a part of this amazing public art project!

Find more photos in my Flickr set.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Savoring... the perfect sunny, warm fall days and cool nights we've been having (even though we could use some rain)

Enjoying... getting to know my new preschool class. They are sweet and creative and really a pleasure to be with on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Smelling... the beautiful roses Bill gave me for our anniversary on Monday.

Thankful... for my health and the health of those in my family, especially in light of those who have lost their lives to cancer this week.

Washing... Kenley's hair repeatedly, after she decided to moisturize it with neosporin last night.

Celebrating... Lachlan's successes. He is such a funny and smart kid. He's struggled a bit to get back into the swing of preschool, but I think we are finally getting some positive momentum. I loved watching him take orders at the class' "Noodle House" this morning.

Decorating... Kenley's bedroom. I put up a couple prints I've been waiting to hang for awhile now, and I finally got the room rearranged how I want it. Just looking for a rug to finish it off, and planning a twin size quilt for her bed.

Reading... The Mortal Instruments series. I've read the first 3 and I'm working on the 4th right now. I also read the first two prequels. They are YA novels - quick, fun reads. I'm really in a reading zone right now. For a long time I wasn't reading much of anything. So I'm enjoying it - even if my household productivity is taking a tiny hit.

Also reading... Charlotte's Web. I decided L was ready to listen to a chapter book when we read before bedtime, and this seemed like a good place to start. Then I heard that a play version was being performed at the Children's Museum, so L and I went on a date to see it last Friday night. 

Happy... that both our kids like to draw on our chalkboard wall. This is L's "submarine". Also happy that they both love to sing - lately the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine"and "Eight Days a Week".

Obsessed... with starting craft projects. Must be the seasons changing and the approaching holiday season. I just had to crochet Kenley a hat this week, and I have a long list of other projects that I'd like to get to soon.

Loving... Kenley's new words and phrases and paragraphs, and the way she starts singing out of the blue. Two is a seriously fun age. Also loving her new shirt from Gingiber.

Inspired by Ali Edwards

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

latest Project Life pages, and musings...

I've been planning for the last few weeks to post a final post on my blog. Lately, I haven't been feeling like this is a valuable place for me to spend my time. I used to use this space to record things I made, and also family activities that I wanted to remember. I feel like Project Life has taken the place of my blog as that record. I can share my Project Life with friends and family on Flickr, so posting it here is just an extra step.

I have never been interested in turning my blog into a brand or a business, but I have enjoyed the sense of community created by comments with blog readers. Now I feel that same sense of community over in the comments on Instagram - and it's even better because it is so "insta". It has also become a visual record of our life in a more intimate and thorough way than this blog ever has.

I love reading blogs, and obviously there are many out there that are more inspiring, beautiful and compelling than mine. Many of the projects I have been doing lately are inspired by things I have seen on Pinterest or other blogs, so you could see it made by the original creator just as easily as seeing my take on it.

So, I was going to shut the blog down, but then I read this (via Joy the Baker), it made me think I shouldn't give up entirely. And I got a fresh dose of fall/back-to-school creative energy, and I've made 3 or 4 things that I think my (small) audience (?) would enjoy reading about on the blog in more detail than a little blurb in Project Life. All that to say... I'm not sure what to make of blogging anymore.

I'd love to hear what you think. And if you'd like to see the other Project Life pages I've completed recently, check my Flickr stream. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Project Life, weeks 21 & 30

Week 21 - May 20-26

I'm glad that I decided to keep up with the current weeks while squeezing in the weeks I have left behind in the meantime. It is harder to get motivated to complete the weeks that are farther back in my memory banks, but I know I will be happy to be all caught up (only 3 weeks left!).

I like how these two spreads came together. Simple, but still full of great memories. Funny to see the summer fun list as we first wrote it, now that it has been scribbled on, erased, rewritten, edited, and checked off. Not to mention the photo of the newly planted garden, which now features a few 7 foot + sunflowers! The summer days fly by!

Week 30 - July 21-28

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Envelope Exchange

I came across the Elevated Envelope blog in the spring, and knew I wanted to participate in her summer exchange. When I first started this blog, it was mainly to share my mail art projects, as that was a hobby of mine (pre-kiddos).

The theme was "sweet" and I was inspired by Kenley's berry-covered birthday cake. Part of the project involves including a little gift inside the envelope. I included a photo of the cake and a copy of the recipe.

For my envelope design, I carved a 4"x6" stamp. Obviously, I was a little rusty, because I forgot to carve the words backwards. Whoops! I just flipped it over and started again.

Once I finished carving my design, I printed it on the envelopes with black block printing ink. The sound of the brayer rolling in the ink really took me back to my days of teaching elementary art. I needed 11 envelopes for the exchange, but I printed up some extras to have on hand, as well as a few on white cardstock to use for mailing labels on boxes. When they were dry, I colored in the berries with colored pencils.

It was time consuming, but also fun to dip my toe in that world again. I'm glad I participated, and look forward to receiving lots of artful mail in the next couple weeks!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: The Night Circus

I don’t often write book reviews, but I wanted to take a few moments to recommend The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is one of the most imaginative books I have read in recent years. Ms. Morgenstern’s beautifully descriptive writing throughout the book captivated me. The story has a staggered timeline, which provided enough complication to keep me intrigued, but not enough to become overwhelming or confusing. It’s a story of star-crossed lovers, but also a love letter to the circus, which is the setting, but also really the main character.
When I finished reading it yesterday, I had that sad feeling that I didn’t want to say goodbye to the fictional world I had been enjoying so much. I also look forward to seeing a movie adaptation. I don’t feel that way about most books, but this one was so visually descriptive, that I know it could be great in movie form.
You can read a description of the plot to find out if the story would interest you – but if you are generally a fan of fantasy and love stories, and books with a little bit of magic (this one has a lot of magic!) I’m quite sure you would enjoy it. Next up in my queue is The Age of Miracles. I was going to read The Thirteenth Tale, but I left it in Des Moines last time we were there, so I’ll have to pick that one up when we are in town for the State Fair in a couple weeks.
Have you read anything excellent lately?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Project Life, week 27,28,29

I'm getting quicker with this digital Project Life process. Partially from practice and getting in a rhythm with the products I use over and over, and also because I'm still behind (still need to do weeks 21-24), and so spending less time on each layout means getting more pages finished. I've also given up on listing each product I've  used here on the blog posts. If you want to know where I purchased a certain product, just let me know.

I still love the project. So many of these photos and memories would be totally lost in the shuffle if I weren't finding a home for them in Project Life. I know these aren't the most thrilling blog posts - but to be honest, I'm using the energy I used to put into blogging photos/stories into Project Life, so this is what you get! ;) Seriously, I hope you enjoy seeing either the scrapping aspect, or the little window into our daily lives via Project Life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Layout Share

I ordered some Instagram prints via Printstagram a few weeks ago. I wasn't entirely impressed - either with the shipping speed or the printing quality. There's nothing wrong with them, I was just hoping to be wowed. I was still inspired by the fresh stack of prints, so I dug into my July Studio Calico kit last  week.

 The rest of the layouts were made with other papers from my stash, including some Amy Tangerine Sketchbook I picked up in Des Moines last weekend. It's so fun! I also used a couple pages from the Duly Noted paper pack I got from JamaicaMakes.