Monday, November 30, 2009


This doesn't have anything to do with my creativity, but every time we visit Fairfax County's Clemyjontri park I am just blown away by the creativity and vision of those that put this park together.

Clemyjontri Park was created to be a place "Where Every Child Can Play..." and truly, it is.

They say it better than I can:
This park is a place where children who use wheelchairs, walkers or braces, or who have sensory or developmental disabilities, can have a parallel playground experience of fun and exploration. At CLEMYJONTRI....
  • Ramps connect structures
  • Swings have high backs, arm rests and special safety features
  • Rubber surfacing allows wheelchairs to roll easily
  • Lowered monkey bars provide easy access
  • Equipment is designed to be sensory rich so all children can participate with peers
  • Wider openings allows easy access to play structures
But the the photos from their website don't do it justice. To see this park filled with kids, the looks on their faces, the sounds of their play. It is amazing... 

Notice how the carousel is level with the surface around it, making it easier to board.

And the maze (above) is so easy for kids to move around in, and all the surfaces are level, even and yet still soft for all those trips and spills.

Each of the play spaces has so many ways to experience it. Most have at least one ramp entrance, the surfaces promote all kinds of engagement from tactile to visual and beyond.

So if you find yourself in the DC area, don't miss Clemyjontri park.
6317 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A monster is born

I did it. I camped out at Walmart for the Cricut Expression.

Behold... bask in its glory.

I'm in the process of plotting all kinds of project for the holidays and beyond. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

He won't eat cake...

There are times when if I hadn't been so aware of things when my son was born, I wouldn't believe he was my child.

He won't eat cake.

How can a child of mine not eat cake. My daughter at least eats frosting... but son, won't touch frosting if it is attached to cake. A cookie, well that is another story.

So last year, for his 2nd birthday - I decided that even though it broke with every childhood tradition. We would skip the cake and go for something that he would like, a tower of cookies.

Not sure what we'll do this year... I've got a couple of weeks to figure it out. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

We started this tradition last year, and I'm hoping to continue it this year... Decorating Gingerbread houses. Note: I say "decorating," not "making..." I'm sorry, I don't have time to "make" a gingerbread house from scratch. We go easy by buying one of these delightful kits:

Seriously, for $8-$15 you can get a premade gingerbread house, with all the goodies to decorate it. Someday, maybe we'll make one from scratch, but for now, this will do just fine.

So here is some of our fun from last year...


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Cricut or not to Cricut, that is the question.

So - the Cricut.

Do I want one?

Do I need one?

Decisions, decisions. I've heard there are going to be some pretty good black Friday deals on the Cricut
Expression. I've been tempted by this machine and what I've seen people do with it for years. But couldn't justify the money. But at what seems like be almost half price, and knowing what it can do... I'm tempted.

Very tempted.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A painting projects bestfriend is


Or something similar.

While planning some of the rooms in our house - I've loved turning to photoshop to test out what was going to work best for our space.

Take my son's room for example. We took this staged picture:

 And brought it into photoshop where I played with the color choices that we were playing with.

This is what we thought going in was going to be the winning choice:

Or maybe it was this:

Hmmmm... what about this:


But then this, began growing on us more and more:

Yes... the last option was perfect. So we broke out the paint and here is how close our mock up came to what we ended up with.

I'm trilled that we were able to experiment so much in photoshop before actually painting a stroke.

If you haven't seen it, here is the finished nursery.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pretty Flower

This is another project that I'm afraid I don't have step by step instructions for, but I can walk you through it pretty easily.

I made these flower canvas pieces for my daughters room.


These were insanely easy...

I just purchased 2 faux gerber daisies, 2 canvases and 2 colors of pink.

Painted each of the canvases. (Am I spelling that right? I can't spell and that doesn't feel right to me... but then again, I can't spell so what do I know.)

Cut the stem off the flower.

Cut an "x" in the center of the canvas. And then hot glued the flower to the canvas pushing the back of the flower through the canvas to allow it to sit more flush with the canvas.

Then I glued the stem onto the canvas and that was it. You could do it with any flower you want, any color and any other embellishment. At some point, I might like to go back and wrap the edge of the canvas with a piece of ribbon, or paint it with a complimenting color...

Or I just might leave them alone.

You can see them here on top of her my daughter's quilt shelf.

Check out more of Bug's Room.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Toy Storage

Toys. We've got a million toys. Perhaps a billion.

But we don't like the house looking like we've got a quite that many and have found some pretty creative toy storage solutions.

1st, in the playroom: The Ikea shelf unit known throughout the world. We've got it too. Only we didn't use the bins and boxes that they have at Ikea. We went with a couple of different solutions from Land of Nod, I was trilled to find such perfect bins in the exact colors we wanted.

Also in the playroom we've got  two sets of the ever popular bins found at Target, you can see one of the sets pictured here on the left as well as the classic toy box.

What I like about our solutions - is that they are just that, solutionS. I don't think there is a one size fits all solution to storage. There are some things that won't work in a bin or a box, but they'll work on a shelf. And some things that you just plain don't want seen and can put in the toy box.

And what we love about the bins, is the majority of the toys can live in the play room, but at any given point in time, the kids can grab a bin and take it to anyplace in the house that they want to be.

(I need to update my pictures of the playroom, we don't even have that kitchen anymore...)

But of course, our toys aren't limited to the play room. We also have a "healthy" collection in the family room on the main level of our house. And for this, we turned to Ikea and Land of Nod again...

The toys are there for the kids, but in a way that we can live with. The colors that match our space and our decor. I love using this piece a a HUGE sofa table. It really has the presence and weight needed to balance out our large red sectional.

Sigh.... Our large red section. One of my other favorite pieces of furniture of all time... But that is another post.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wedding Quilt

This is another post that I have nothing to do with... we'll except for the fact that the piece hangs in my home.

This beautiful quilt was a wedding gift from my father's sister, my Aunt Rusty:

There is so much symbolism in this quilt. The pattern is the "Ohio Star" - representing my Aunt and her family who've lived in Ohio for many years. The fabric in the center of each star, hydrangea, the flower I used on our invitation and throughout our wedding (though amazingly my Aunt didn't know it when she picked it, she theorized it must have been my father's hand guiding her to pick it.)

The quilt now hangs in the staircase, someday it might be on our bed, but I just can't bear to hide it away in our bedroom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

They Never End

Circles that its... they have no beginning and no end. And while adding circles to our master bedroom wasn't something we planned to do, they were on two of the first elements that I found to reinvent it a couple of months back.

As the room was coming together I remember the minister who performed out wedding referencing our wedding rings and how they had no beginning and no end and it clicked... circles were something I wanted to bring into the room. It isn't an overt romantic gesture, like the dreams sign, but they bring a smile to my face as I look at them.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Handprint Ornaments - Handmade Holidays, part 3

This project goes way back... But I had documented it back before I had a blog for a message board that I belong to. These ornaments are such a great way to remember just how small our little ones were when they were, well, Little.

Here is what we used:
  • Crayola Model Magic (Pictured below)
  • Something to go cut the shape of the ornament, we used a cup, you can use anything you've got.
  • A straw to cut a hole for the string
  • Piece of ribbon, string or yarn to thread through
  • and most importantly - a sweet little hand to mush into the clay.

Start with a glob of Model Magic (or whatever modeling product you want to use, we liked the model magic because it was very light weight and didn't stick to our kids hands. Neither of them liked things sticking to their hands much.)

And roll it out, either with a rolling pin, or whatever you've got handy.

Next, cut out the ornament, we wanted a circle so we used a cup.

Next, grab the hand of the child you want to torture, I mean make the ornament with. (My kids weren't HUGE fans of this project, in fact - we don't have any from my son, he HATES having anyone do anything with his hands and when we tried this we couldn't pry his hands open for anything in the world. My daughter went along with it for a few years...)

And mash their sweet little chubby hands into the model magic.

Next, to save yourself some trouble later, while the model magic is still soft, press the end of a straw into the top of the model magic to make a hole for the hanger.

And there you have it... Just add string and hang on your tree when dry.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My girly diaper bag

When we were pregnant with our daughter, we didn't know we were pregnant with a daughter... we waited to find out if our "Bug" was a boy or a girl 'till her arrival. Having had an amnio, they knew with 100% certainty what we were having, but we wanted to wait.

Which meant a lot of the big things we bought prior to delivery which meant we had to go pretty neutral with a lot of things, including the diaper bag.

I wanted to run out and get a girly diaper bag right away after she was born but we also needed girly clothes and those took priority given that we had a perfectly good, perfectly boring diaper bag.

Then came the wedding reception for my Mother-in-law and new Step-Father-in-Law when Bug was just about 5 or 6 months old. Not only did I want a girly diaper bag, but I wanted a fancy diaper bag. So I made this:

This goes back before the days of my blog so I don't have step by step photos... But to this day it is still one of my favorite sewing projects ever. And though we don't need a fancy-girly diaper bag anymore. I can't part with it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holiday Coasters - Handmade Holidays, part 2

Here it is, part 2 of Handmade Holidays - this time, Holiday Coasters as inspired by Traci at Beneath My Heart.

It was this project that sent me on my quest at the ReStore on Wednesday.  I was on the prowl for the perfect tiles to turn into coasters. This first set is more of a joke and a way to test out the process and materials for some other ideas that I've got spinning in my crazy little head.

And here are the tiles I found:

The picture doesn't do them justice (my photos never do... ugh.) They are Italian Glazed Porcelain Tiles and they are fabulous... and for $.20 each, they are super fabulous. These are brand new, amazing tiles... for a fraction of the cost of plain tiles anywhere else. See, this is why I love the ReStore and I'm so happy they've opened a new one near my house!!!

So, here are the supplies:

  • 4 Tiles $0.80
  • A cocktail napkin, free, part of a gift from a few years ago. They say "She was one plum pudding away from a yuletide meltdown."
  • Heavy duty felt pads $5 for 48, I used 16 so I guess that makes the cost around $1.70 for the set.
  • And of course, modge podge and some varnish.
So that makes the total cost for a set of 4 coasters $2.60. Seriously??? That seems criminal.

First, I cut the napkin into 4 pieces. on one of the coasters I used deckle snips to give the edge some texture. That is my least favorite coaster now so I don't recommend it.

Next, I applied some modge podge to the surface of the tiles:

(My daughter wanted to help by taking pictures... I should have her take all my pictures, these look better than mine usually do.)

Then I applied the napkin to the surface, but given how delicate the napkins were, I did NOT apply a coat of modge podge on top of the napkin. I just pressed it down with a foam brush to get it into the crevices of the tile. (See there is that darn deckle edge that I don't like)


 After the modge podge had dried I followed up with several coats of satin varnish.

(See how much better the other edges look, just torn and wrapped around rather than deckled. - I just can't let it go.)

And finally, the felt pads in each of the corners, trying to avoid the ridges in the back of the tile... in hindsight I'm not sure I needed to do that.

And here is the finished coaster...

The next stop for these is my office where they are going to be abused by me and my coworkers to determine how practical these are and how much wear and tear they can withstand... do they need more varnish, did I use too much and drinks slip off.

I've got quite a plan for a lot of gifts based on this experiment and a box of 54 more tiles waiting to learn the results.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Amazing what a little polish can do...

While checking out at the ReStore on Wednesday I found these 3 silver bowls on the counter, they were in rough shape, but I've been looking for simple silver pieces to add some reflective things to our master bedroom. They had just come in and haven't even been priced yet, he decided $8 would be fair and that was just fine with me.

Yikes - pretty scary huh???

I'm not afraid of tarnish... I eat tarnish for breakfast. Well, not really, that would be gross, I eat oatmeal for breakfast... hmmm, oatmeal.

Sorry, got distracted there, I'm easily distracted by food.

Are you ready for the bowls after a bit of silver polish???


I LOVE them and am so happy I was able to see past the tarnish. They look great in our bedroom, but they won't be staying there for long... I've got new plans for these little beauties.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Silhouette Ornaments - Handmade Holidays, Part 1

So here it is, my first project in the "Handmade Holidays" - Silhouette Ornaments.

These ornaments were inspired by 2 things, most obviously the Silhouette Ornaments created by Anjeanette at Roots and Wings.

And the reason these struck such a cord with me:

I LOVE silhouettes!!! I've wanted silhouettes of the kids for what feels like forever. I thought about faking them in photoshop, and then a friend volunteered to paint them for me, but then - at a local fair, we found someone doing authentic-hand-cut silhouettes. The stars had aligned, the kids sat long enough and I finally got silhouettes.

So I used them as the basis for our ornaments by scanning them into the computer. Then I created a whole page of each of the kids, with their name and 2009.

Also pictured above, 3" circles, purchased at AC Moore for $.25 each, scrapbook paper, I think I ended up needed 4 sheets and the ever useful modge podge.

Up next - cutting lots and lots of circles. Circles for the background, the matte effect and of course of the silhouettes themselves. (Excuse my antiquated craft tools - their like 10 years old, but they work and I don't like replacing what works...)

With 72 circles cut... (I was making 12 ornaments with 3 circles per side) I began layering the pieces.


One side of the ornament features our daughter, the other side our son. I had to be careful make sure while working on the flip side, that I kept them head to head so that when I drilled the hold for the string, I didn't have one facing up and the other facing down.

Speaking of drilling the hole - it's time to fire up the power tools.


And here we have the finished ornaments...

I can't wait 'till we put up our tree so I can photograph these in there "natural habitat."

My mind is racing with more ideas along this general them, they were so easy to make... I can see doing copies of school pictures, family portraits, general holiday themes, and even turning them into gift tags to go along with holiday gifts and goodies. Looks like I need to get back over to AC Moore to get additional 3" circles. Keep your eyes out for projects like this, and bug me if you don't see them.
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