Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Creativity and The Art of DIY

For some, the simple act of opening a cake mix and making a "homemade" cake is creative, stimulating, exciting and downright enjoyable, but for me that is not my cup of tea. 

Don't get me wrong...I keep a couple ready to go items in my pantry -sometimes my own "scratch" recipe like a favorite dessert topping to turn into a quick cobbler but the real reason for this post was about the art of DIY and creating so let me get back on track.

Creating for me has always been about variety, experimentation, DIY and expression. 

Early in my stamping journey I discovered swapping.  It enabled me to experiment and experience so much more than if I would have been limited to my personal stamping knowledge, supplies or current level of knowledge. Those swaps brought new ideas, shared supplies, wonderful hand-crafted art and comradery from like-minded soulmates.  I still swap occasionally with some local crafters and I am always delighted and inspired. 

In this season of my creative journey I have been getting familiar with my Cricut machine, I have an Explore Air2. My sweet friend Melanie picked it up for me last year at a warehouse sale she learned about from another of our crafting friends. I had an older Cricut that I had used mostly in my scrapbooking days but with this machine it brought together my graphic design interests with that DIY spirit. I’m sure you’re thinking wha-aaat isn’t that opposite of DIY in fact a bit of an oxymoron? Don’t you just use an electronic machine to cut, engrave, foil or whatever a pattern? Yup but in that it brings me back to creativity. How so? Well let me share how this happened. 

Let's use the example of a recipe say lemonade. I began with the basics. My recipe called for lemons, sugar, and water in specific proportions.

I desired a beverage result for a special tea. I wanted something to compliment a favorite recipe for Lavender Cookies. I started with that basic recipe then began to add and take away elements until I was happy with the end result. First I decided to reduce the sugar for a less sweet taste. Next I decided to add a step and make a "simple syrup". While I had the water boiling I decided to throw in some lavender flowers from my garden, the flowers added an amazing smell, it was perfect! I used the lavender simple syrup with the lemon juice to finish off the lemonade recipe and…viola! Carol's Lovely Lavender Lemonade. 

How does that look when I am using my Cricut skills you wonder? Have you ever had an idea but sadly you couldn’t bring it to fruition… yeah me too! I wanted to create a special gift for a friend who is a Svengoolie fan. H-mmm so I search the Cricut Access database and I cannot find anything. Ms. Google is far more helpful but nothing I desired. I finally found a few clipart images and I began to design MY Svengoolie. Thanks to many other Cricuteers on the internet I have learned how to create the svg from jpg and png files. Here is the final design I came up with for the thermal coffee mug I made.  

I forgot to take a picture of my finished mug :(  I mentioned earlier that swapping helped me experiment and experience so much more than if I would have been limited to my personal knowledge, supplies or current level of knowledge. Youtube and an amazing group of makers were the bridge that helped me grow ideas and creativity.They share so generously of their knowledge and art to help others and I have learned so much. 

The list I started of what I want to learn and the projects I want to accomplish gets longer and longer, <sigh>. Does this mean my friends and family may be seeing more HANDMADE? Probably! Good news is I am enjoying the process! 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Should MAKERS Make Resolutions for 2021?

In 2011 I posted a list of My 2011 Crafting Resolutions. It's almost 2021 and I wonder, "Should MAKERS even Make Resolutions for 2021? Hmmmm... 

Well one thing has not changed through this past year is the deep desire to create.  Making, crafting is simply an integral key, a part of my life, who I am. Interestingly my grown son shared with me that a memory from his Christmas growing up was "making/creating" It seems that creating as part of our gifting brings fond memories of what Christmas means to him. 

One thing about having so many creative ideas is that it often leaves in its wake unfinished projects, which in the past had led to crafting resolutions. Unfortunately like resolutions for the New Year in general, those lists of resolutions rarely make it past the first few weeks. Oh dear, what to do, what to do?

After all my thinking, ruminating and mixed feelings I come back to the concept of "One Word" and as it applies to Makers. 

In preparation for this NEW YEAR my word in LIFE will be "Transformation" 
How will that play out as a "Maker"? 

I want to focus on enjoying the process, letting the moments I spend creating/making bring transformation to my soul. Instead of list making and checking off boxes I prefer to experience that moment where there is a quiet shift into that right-brained 
zone where time slips away and creativity just happens. 

As for all those unfinished projects...perhaps it is time to just "Let it go, Let it go!"
Inspiration is a mysterious thing, sometimes the decision to just let it go sparks the flame to completion. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

December Bye-Bye

Wow this year has been a crazy one, huh?
Although I hate to say goodbye to Christmas I will not be sad to see this year close. Please COVID go AWAY!

I want to not be concerned to travel, to gather with friends and family, gather with church family, attend concerts, mingle with crowds, hug, shake hands, get close and so much more! 

Like many of you, our normal was to do all of those things frequently but this year we have not been able to without evaluation over who might be at risk, minimal contact, small groups, whether we should or should not connect, then comes the masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, Agh! Well each of us has had people in our lives and moments we remember because of this pandemic whether because we lost someone or lost something. We watched folks find new ways to work, get schooled, graduate, host gonline gatherings and more. 
One thing I've noted:WE ARE RESILIENT PEOPLE. 
I started the year with a focus on One Word, Resilient. Who'd have guessed it was such a key descriptive for this year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020



A few weeks ago I secured my very first SCOBY. Yes...I am a Kombucha virgin <blush>. 

I know, I know it has been a hot topic for a very long time, but gee it took me 25 years of my life to discover just how amazing homemade sauerkraut tastes. Yes and this coming from the kid who used to be forced to eat the canned stuff ...you know the one... the kid who gagged because of it. (Thanks Mom!)

Ok, on with my discovery. 

While perusing Facebook Marketplace I came across someone in my local area offering to give a SCOBY and starter to anyone interested. With the FALL season upon us, my mind always wanders to unique ways to preserve whatever I can of FALL and most of the time that means jam, herbs, garden goodies and hauling in our outdoor plants before the first freeze. Can you imagine that is just around the corner...in my area it is less than a week away! Well anyway, with that on my mind I thought sure why not try out this fermentation thingy to see what happens. 

My dear friend Ms. Google and I got busy researching what we could do with this SCOBY thingy. What really intrigued me was the 2nd ferment process and adding various fruits to "feed" the tea and make some hopefully yummy "naturally fizzy" drinks. I learned that Kombucha starts out as sweetened black tea, a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and some already made kombucha tea to get it growing. With a little warmth and love the tea begins to make more healthy symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast and grows a new SCOBY that floats along the top of the liquid. After about a week the tea loses its sweet taste and becomes tangy and a fit fizzy. So I put together my first gallon of sweet tea, SCOBY and kombucha tea, tucked it away in the pantry for a week THEN...Oh happy day, we made Kombucha! 

I was amazed and delighted that it really was quite good tasting, kind of reminded me of ginger ale without the ginger. 

I was now really enjoying this new experience so I quickly began another batch since my sweetheart was going to have it drunk before I could try the "2nd ferment" process. Oh yeah, there is a second step to this process. So now we have about a gallon and a half, the second batch was made with green tea called Jun tea. My brew now was funneled into some 32 oz containers with swing top lids, a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of mashed plum was added. I wanted to keep my first experiment simple...I thought I'd save the more complex flavoring for later. The send ferment just needs a couple days to allow the tea to feed on the sugar and fruit combo. Day 2 I take a peek and there are loads of bubbles...

Hm-mm maybe it's ready? I popped the lid back and an explosion of fizz and fruit come forth. I'm so glad I took it out to the porch! Ok, so after a bit of cleanup I think I'm so glad I checked that.

The other bottles looked fine so they all went back in the pantry. 

My sweetheart and I kicked back to enjoy a late night Netflix movie before bed but suddenly we heard a startling noise. 

Running toward the sound I had that unsettling "uh-ohhh" feeling. 

Opening the pantry door confirmed it... red pulp, glass and sprays of juice all over the floor, carpet runner, shelves, you name it! 

Well 1 1/2 hours later... the mess is mostly cleaned up. the other two bottles are opened to release any extra pressure and I learned that just because the bottle is designed to hold xyz psi Kombucha might just have more kick than that!


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Celebrations and Remembering During 2020's Covid-19 Epidemic


Just last week when the world was reflecting on the somber events of 911 another form of remembrance happens in our family.

My sister Colli was born on September 11 and we sisters living in Utah have our own event. Each year we gather for lunch at a restaurant of the birthday girls choosing. This year looked different. We met at Colli's home, ordered and picked up lunch and celebrated a milestone, Colli's 60th Birthday! I wanted to say Hurrah!  so I have been looking for something fun and perfectly descriptive of my sister, she is BOLD, she is COLORFUL and definately looks GOOD so here is my creation. I made it with my Cricut and it is only my 2nd HTV project...I was excited that it is so representational of Colli... 😄

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Social Distancing, Creating With Friends and My Cricut

In this time of "social distancing" when so many are learning to adapt, what have you been doing in life? 
Do you find yourself quite comfortable being home more? For those who view their home as a comfort and a haven perhaps you like me are swimming in new ideas, whether it be thinking about what I will do when I am able to get out more or in ideas for my next NEW endeavor. I confess, I am a creative junkie. Even when I'm not creating I am looking for new ideas... yes I am a Youtube and Pinterest junkie. I am fortunate to have sweet friends who are always on the lookout for  opportunities to help me in my addiction to create, ha-ha!.

A while back I updated my old Cricut  which I hardly used to a Cricut Explore Air 2 since these sweet friends bought an extra at a warehouse sale (in case I wanted it ;) 

Chip checks out our Italian Soda Bar

The first project I used it for was to help decorate my house when I hosted a WHITE ELEPHANT party after Christmas. Thank you Diane for all the help you gave in cutting the darling little Elephant banner (sorry I don't seem to have a pic) and the signage for my Italian Soda Bar. They turned out soooo cute! 

I have been determined to learn how to use  the functions in Cricut Design Space and the settings on the Cricut so I will get better use out of the machine. Lucky for me I have some awesome friends (thank you Diane and Jennifer (you don't know me but yes we're friends ;) I have shared so much time with you both. Because of you and many other youtube friends I already have a very long list of items I want to create and with that in mind I really need to know how to best use this machine!
Here is a part of my list:
  1. HTV some shirts for my grandkiddos (Fiona loves Hamilton The Musical, Luke is so-ooo into gaming), the littles anything Peppa Pig and the older ones I'm still thinking. 
  2. A vinyl decal for our wall, a gift for DH, sh-hhhh!
  3. A fun No Solicitors sign for my DIL...any suggestions for a quote?
  4. A pantry project, labels.
  5. A vinyl quote for my craft space wall.
  6. Family Name signs for extended family...a cool Christmas gift! 
The list is much longer but it becomes like making resolutions in the New Year so let's just stop there ;)

Since my larger goal right now is to learn how to use  the functions in Cricut Design Space and the settings on the Cricut I have been in Youtube classroom mode. I have found Jennifer Maker to be so helpful, if you read this a huge THANK YOU to you! 
Here is some of what I have learned and practiced so far...
  • How to ATTACH things and why I might need to. (Score lines need to be attached to the project you are scoring or it simply won't score on the project ;)
  •  I found that the GROUP/UNGROUP feature is great when editing text to keep it all together.
  • I found out the importance of WELD after I cut out my Soda Bar letters.The script letters each cut separately,ok WELD before cutting.
  • I've played with the SLICE feature and have a project saved in Cricut Design Space.  I learned that Slice only does two layers so if there are more, simplify by FLATTENING...AND once FLATTENED and saved you cannot reverse. 
  • I learned the difference between an IMAGE and PATTERN and how to use PATTERNS. 
  • SVG defined and how to make my own...this is definitely ongoing. 
I've got many more things to learn and I am finding that the best way for me to learn is watch something visual then then do what I watched. All in all, the "shelter at home" directive has certainly created opportunity for me to get familiar with my machine although my counter and kitchen table have been much more cluttered <sigh>...sacrafices have to be made ha-ha!

Have you a favorite Youtuber or Facebook Group for interacting and learning? If so please share in the comments! 

Monday, June 1, 2020