Documented Life Project- Week 16

The Documented Life Project challenge for Week 16 was to: “Add a cardboard food box in a creative way.”

For this challenge, I dug through the bin of items we have to take to recycling. We don’t have much in the way of cardboard food boxes but I did find some cracker boxes. I was not feeling inspired by anything printed on the boxes, but as I was looking at the weaving project I had recently done with textile fibers, I decided to try weaving my cardboard boxes. I used the fronts off two different graham cracker boxes, cut the cardboard into half inch strips and started weaving. Cardboard strips don’t want to hold together very well in a weave, so I had to tape the edges as I got the pieces into place. Once I got the cardboard woven together, the printed side still wasn’t giving me any inspiration, but I liked the plain backside of the weave.Woven Graham Cracker BoxI decided to cut the back of a Wheat Thins box into strips and wove narrower strips of plain paper between the cardboard to see how that looked. I mixed up the strips so the words would not be showing. I ended up with this and was still stumped about what I was going to do with any of it.Woven Wheat Thins BoxSince I was not sure what to do, I looked up quotes on the internet having to do with weaving. Once I came across this quote, I knew what to do with my cardboard weavings. In order to cut the woven cardboard into coat shapes, I covered the front and back of the weaving with packing tape before cutting.

You may not be able to leave your children a great inheritance, but day by day, you may be weaving coats for them which they will wear for all eternity. ~Theodore L. Cuyler

DLP-Week-16-JCardboard Weave close up



My kids always get Annie’s bunny crackers in their Easter baskets, so as I was filling their baggies, I decided those would be the boxes I used for this page (as well as a couple cereal boxes).

Since it was Easter, I wanted to use the bunny from the front of the package. Using some words from the boxes, I created my Happy Easter page.

Cereal BoxesI was sitting at the table with my kids’ crayons in front of me, so I decided to use those to color my background, the bunny, and the egg. Hope you had a happy Easter!DLP-Week-16-M

Spring is for the Birds

While visiting my little Songbird, I’m sure I read The Best Nest, by P.D. Eastman, at least three dozen times to her. Mrs. Bird is quite unhappy with her nest and wants a new one. After several unsuccessful attempts at making a home in new locations, she ends up back at her original nest, singing that it’s the best nest for her new egg to hatch in. If you haven’t read it, you should. The real story is more fun than my description, and the illustrations are great. Even though it’s a children’s story, you might learn something to apply to your own life as well.Best Nest

Yesterday I was busy cleaning out the front flower bed at our house and trimming wildly overgrown vines. I uncovered a nest built in previous years. Shortly after I finished, I noticed a cardinal checking out the nest. I jokingly said she was trying to find The Best Nest. She came back to the nest several times.

To my surprise, this is what I found this morning!Cardinal Eggs in NestShe did not waste any time! Since the nest is located on the front porch, Mrs. Bird flies off when we open the door. So trying to take a picture of her on the nest from the office window is a little hard with a simple camera. I can watch her while sitting at my computer. The eggs should hatch in about 13 days. The grandkids can’t wait to see the new babies!Cardinal in Nest

Super Quick Homemade Thank You Cards

I have been needing A LOT of Thank You cards lately, and the other day I needed some made up quickly. I wanted nice looking cards without spending a lot of time making them. I decided on a design and tried a trick to make it go a little bit faster.

I started off with my small letter stamps. Instead of trying to hold them all together each time to stamp the “thank” and the “you,” I decided to make it faster. Using regular scotch tape, I taped the letters together to make a whole stamp. This made stamping several in a row a whole lot easier. I can easily take it apart if I need the letters for something else.

Thank Stamp 1

Thank Stamp 2

Thank Stamp 3

I made up ten of these small pieces of cardstock to say “thank you” and could have made several more to keep on hand for another time if I had wanted to.

Thank You Stamped Cards

I made sure I had enough colored cardstock ready for the basic card. If you have 8.5″x11″ paper, all you have to do is cut it in half (5.5″ on the 11″ side). If you have 12″x12″ paper, cut it down to 8.5″x11″ and then cut it in half. You’ll have extra paper that can be used for other projects. Fold the paper in half and you have a basic card size.

Card Front

I cut down some of the gelli printed paper that the kids and I had made to use as the background of my card (You could use whatever patterned scrapbook paper you have on hand to match your card). To fit on your basic card size with a small border, cut your paper 5.25″x4″.

I added my piece of cardstock with the “thank you” stamped on and drew a little border with colored pencil.

Thank You Card

Very soon I had ten Thank You cards ready to write in and send.

Thank You Cards

Thank You Cards 2


Documented Life Project- Week 15

The challenge for this week’s Documented Life Project was to do something “Monochromatic: use shades, tints and hues of one color.”

While I was in New York, on one of my walks, I became fascinated with the designs on the ironworks on the fences and balconies and windows of so many of the old buildings. So I began taking pictures of ones I liked to use for future creative inspiration. Every time I was out my eyes were drawn to the abundance of iron design because it’s just not something you see much of where I live. I showed my pictures to Melinda and we decided to each use them as inspiration for this challenge.

When I first saw this set of windows, I knew I wanted to use them in a challenge. Window InspirationFor my monochromatic challenge, I chose to draw the ironwork from one window and include the brickwork. The grandkids insisted the color I worked with should be shades of red. My medium of choice was my red and pink gelatos used as watercolor paint.DLP-Week-15-JMelinda:
I chose two pictures for my page. I really liked this fence, and I liked the variations of color on the windows.Fence inspirationRiver WindowsRiver SignI started off drawing the fence and also drew the window panes for my background. Using mom’s gelatos I colored the “window panes” in different shades of blue. I drew the lines in blue with water color pencil then soften them with a wet brush. At first I wanted my fence to pop out in a bright white color, so I painted it with gesso and outlined it with black sharpie pen. After starting at it a long time trying to figure out what to do next, I decided I didn’t like it white. I colored over it with a light blue water color pencil.

I had a very difficult time finishing this page. I couldn’t figure out what to add to it after the window and the fence. Everything I thought of just made it look cluttered or covered up too much of what I had already done.

Even after looking at a bunch of quotes, I was still not figuring out what to do.

I began thinking about the water that inspired the guy to do the different colors of window panes, and the word that kept coming to mind was “perspective.” Perspective means “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view” and “true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion.” When you have an understanding of what is important in life, it changes you. That is something I have definitely learned over the years. So I decided to keep my page simple in order to highlight the shades on the window panes and not cover them up so much.


Ninja Boy:
Six year old Ninja Boy thought what we were doing looked like fun and wanted to participate. I let him look through my photos and choose one he wanted to draw. He liked this one:Fence inspirationHe decided to make a monochromatic drawing using pencil. I love his attention to details.6 yr old drawing of fence


Easy to Make Dress for Girls Who Twirl

My Princess loves wearing dresses and if they have a skirt that twirls, all the better. We bought a simple plain t-shirt and with fabric already on hand made this adorable dress in less than a couple of hours.Front of DressWe followed the basic instructions in this tutorial from The Crafty Cupboard to make the dress. You could make this dress with the skirt attached at the waist, long waisted, or empire waist style. Since the skirt is a full circle, the length and width of the fabric needed would depend on where the skirt is to be attached to the t-shirt and length of skirt. T-shirt and skirt fabricAfter cutting the t-shirt the length desired (plus seam width), fold the shirt in half with sleeves together. Then fold in half again the same direction and measure the width of the folded cut line. This will be the measurement you use to cut the center circle of the shirt.

Fold the skirt fabric in half with the selvages together and then in half with the cut edges together to form a square. (Think cutting out paper snowflakes.) At the folded point (which will be the center of your skirt) measure the length you determined from the previous paragraph. Pivot from the center point marking the length at several points. Then using those markings, draw a quarter circle. Before you cut that circle, do the same thing from the center point to mark the length of the skirt and then cut both quarter circles.

We surged the waist and bottom edge of the skirt before pinning and sewing the skirt to the t-shirt. The surged hemline was easy to press under 1/2 inch and topstitch for a small hem. You can add a sash and ties to the dress if desired, but it works without as well. Check out the tutorial.

Back of Dress

Back of dress with ties

We plan to make several summer dresses for the girls using variations of this method. A little friend’s birthday is coming up soon and she loves frilly, glittery dress up clothes to play in.Glitter Fabric So we used a variation of this same tutorial to make a fun play skirt. Only this time we made the waist slightly bigger and made one straight cut from the waist to the hem, turning under and top stitching these edges to make a wrap skirt. We added a waistband and stitched velcro on the waistband to make the skirt adjustable. This way she can wear it as she grows (or share it with her sisters!)

Play Dress Up Skirt

Masculine Thank You Cards

I recently needed a lot of thank you cards for several people, male and female. I realized in my stash of cards that I had made with my family that they were mostly flowery and girly looking. I think they are cute and obviously enjoyed making pretty cards. However, since I had several guys on my list to send thank you’s to, I was stuck. I knew I needed to make some male-friendly cards.

I looked on Pinterest for some inspiration and then did my own thing.

Using paper scraps, paper I had previously embossed, buttons, stamps, and markers, here are the cards I made.


Thank-You-Card-6 Thank-you-Card-5 Thank-You-Card-4 Thank-you-Card-3 Thank-You-Card-2 Thank-You-Card-1

Documented Life Project -Week 14

The challenge for Week 14 of the Documented Life Project was: “Write your name and embellish it.”

I was happy to be caught up this week so I could get to this challenge right away. One of my favorite fonts is typewriter, so I wanted to do my name in that font. As I was writing it, I though about seeing my name on a book cover. It has always been a dream of mine to write a book someday. So this page is my inspiration for that goal.DLP-Week-14-M

During my stay in New York, I took pictures of things that gave me inspiration. One of those pictures was of old penny tile flooring. Old-Penny-Tile-FlooringSo while contemplating what to do with my name for this challenge, I kept thinking about this flooring. Using it as my inspiration, I made my name a subtle part of the design.DLP-Week-14-J

Unique Homemade Graduation Cards

Graduation time is almost here. You don’t need to spend a fortune on cards. Use your creativity and a little bit of time to make these three simple graduation cards. The only supplies needed are card stock and a couple of marking pens or colored pencils.

Homeade Graduation CardHomemade Graduation Card insideHomemade Graduation Card Homemade Graduation Card insideHomemade Graduation Card Homemade Graduation Card inside

Last year we showed you another simple idea for graduation cards in this post.

Homemade Easter cards

I’ve been inspired to make cards lately. Since Easter is coming up soon, I decided to get a head start with Easter cards.

I had some Easter scrapbook papers but started first with some eggs that I cut out of patterned paper and outlined and shaded them with colored pencil. I placed them in a bed of grass (or paper with grass printed on it), and added the “Happy Easter!” with colored pencil to some cardstock and patterned paper.Egg Easter Cards

Then using the Easter papers, I cut them up and arranged the pieces on the cards using the bunny’s ears for the “Y.”Bunny Easter Cards

I had some embossed paper with birds on them. I thought they seemed Easter/spring-like. I made a simple card with the small letter stamps.Embossed Easter CardsHave a Happy Easter this year!

A Day of Weaving

I have been intrigued by this place every time I come to New York City. We pass it on the way to the subway from my daughter’s apartment. But I have never stopped in.Weaving Studio- Loop of the LoomLoop-of-the-LoomI could see weaving looms through the window.Weaving Studio Window

This week I finally got to descend the stairs and take an all day lesson in weaving, thanks to my daughter and son-in-law!

Weaving Studio- Loop of the LoomThe Loop of the Loom is the only hand weaving studio in the city. In their classes for children and adults they teach the SAORI method of weaving. According to their website,

SAORI is a ZEN art of weaving from Japan that is dedicated to free expression and self-development. Loop of the Loom has the pleasure of introducing this easy-to-learn form of, what we like to call, “happy weaving” and unique craft classes using fibers from mother nature.

So I had a day of “happy weaving” in Loop of the Loom’s bright cheerful studio. One wall is covered with a rainbow of yarns of all kinds to use. There is also a bucket full of scraps of ribbons, yarn, threads, wool roving, and more to use in your weaving creations. Wall of YarnWeavingWeavingJan WeavingWeavingWeavingMy weaving projectWhen the day came to an end, my weaving was removed from the loom and hung on the wall for picture taking. I learned much and would love the opportunity to weave again. Studio-Owner Loop of the Loom

Yukako Satone, the owner of Loop of the Loom studio ties off the warp threads on my weaving after it was removed from the loom.Weaving-ProjectWhat is the difference between traditional weaving and the SAORI method of weaving, you ask? I’ve not done traditional weaving so I will again quote from Loop of the Loom’s website.

Hand weaving is one of the most popular hand crafts you can find almost anywhere in the world. However, SAORI is unique and totally different from other traditional styles of hand weaving.  In traditional hand weaving, weavers highly value the regularity and cleanness of the woven cloth: if there is an irregular pattern or thread, it is considered as a “mistake” or “flaw”.  In SAORI, on the other hand, we put more importance on free expression, because hand weaving is different from machine weaving.

The SAORI method is free from the traditional rules of weaving and therefore easier for children, adults, and those with disabilities to learn to do. You can read more about the history of the SAROI method here.

If you live in New York City or plan to visit soon, take time for expanding your creative learning by taking a class at Loop of the Loom.