Thursday, November 20, 2014

Paper Christmas Trees Tutorial (Easiest DIY ever. In the history of ever.)

Meet my new favorite craft, paper Christmas trees! 
Last year I saved a bundle of different tutorials on Pinterest on how to make paper Christmas trees. Evidently Anthropologie was selling some for an outrageous price and the DIY-ers united and decided to come up with their own. Makers gonna make.
After revisiting a few tutorials this year I wanted to make my own version of the paper tree.  I admit, I have a very hard time following another person's directions perfectly because something in me almost views it as a challenge, to see if I can successfully put my own creative spin on a project that's been done before.  Now if you've seen these exact same trees somewhere else, don't rain on my parade. :)  They are easy (like children can do this) to make and so addicting and so fun.  As in, while I'm trying to focus and type this I really want to be making more trees.  

Ok, let's get started friends! I taught a new bunch of gal pals how to make these last night and tried to capture at least enough pictures to give you an idea of what to do.  First, gather your supplies which are: an old book, a kitchen skewer, a tiny cardboard square, and a hot glue gun.  Optional supplies are washi tape, spray inks, scissors with a fun edge, and scrapbook paper.  But you really don't even need all that.  Not sure?  I'll show you! 

First, poke the kitchen skewer through the cardboard square until it is standing up straight through the cardboard.  Add a bit of glue around the skewer.  (a friend suggested using twigs if you don't have a skewer)

Next, Start by cutting three different sized squares or circles from your book pages.  I did this quickly by ripping out a whole stack of pages at once and then cutting a large square from one stack, a medium square from another stack of papers, and last a small square from the third stack of papers.  I didn't measure any of the squares but just eye-balled it.  It's even more fun if you use scissors with a scalloped blade to get a neat looking edge on your squares and tree!

Here's where I decided to go a bit different on my trees, versus other ones I'd seen.  Most other tutorials leave the book pages flat when you begin to put them on the skewer.  I found that took a whole bunch of extra pages so instead I crumpled up each square into a ball, opened it up, and stuck the skewer through the middle of each paper.  You will start by putting your whole pile of large squares on the skewer first (after crumpling each page to get it a fluffy look) After you put a few squares on the skewer you'll want to rotate the squares around some so the corners stick out in different directions.  

As you can see from this picture, all the large squares were crumpled and added to the skewer, then the middle sized squares, and last the tiny ones! 

I love these two trees!  This is why I said you could use a smaller amount of supplies if you wanted because I think these are beautiful just as they are, no paint added.  
 If you prefer a bit more color like I do, simply add some spray ink to your tree (like you see in the mini bottles) after you're all done stacking the squares.  I like to buy my spray ink at a local crafting warehouse called Canvas Corps, located on Old Missouri Road for my local peeps.  I've found spray ink there for $1! Crazy cheap. 

And that's it! You're done! 
This project would be so good to do with kids or girlfriends.  You could also make some teeny tiny trees to give out to friends! 

I plan on making a whole forest of these to decorate with for winter.  
How do you decorate?  Is it enjoyable for you? 
We have TWO birthdays combined with the two major holidays coming up so lots and lots of homespun happiness is happening around here!
I love it. :) 
Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The big lately.

Hello friends! How are you?  I suppose you probably read the title and thought I had something big and exciting to share.  Well, I don't.  And isn't that BIG and exciting, that things are running along just fine and everybody is healthy in our family?  That's excitement enough to me! 

Last night I was giving some thought to Betsy Grace's birthday and Thanksgiving and Christmas and Brett's birthday and thought "it just CAN'T be time for all that celebratory goodness NOW can it?"  But I suppose summer is long gone with a hop, skip, and a jump.  Fall's just about on it's way out too.  I'm thankful times a million that I've taken time to use "the big camera" (Nikon D7000 in manual mode) to capture our lately.  

It makes remembering days like our somewhat spontaneous day trip to the zoo so much easier to remember.  A week or so ago I was about at the end of my weariness rope.  We were supposed to take a bit of a family trip together in October but one weekend turned into another one and another one…and so on.  Work and other commitments happened instead out of necessity and I was wondering how I'd make it 'till Christmas to have quality time together as a family.  Then Brett surprised me! He called me on his way home and said he'd taken the next day off.
I *may* have been a bit (ok, a lot) excited.  Happy tears sprung into my eyes and we ended up having the best three day weekend ever.  We took the girls to the Tulsa Zoo.  We hadn't been since Betsy Grace was a teeny-tiny six-month old, desperately trying to gain weight from a formula bottle.  So needless to say, this trip was much more joy-filled and happy and fun. 

It was so much fun to have two little pairs of legs running free from this to that.  Both girls walking! What a treat!  
Betsy Grace was really the funny one to watch because she had no prior remembrance of the zoo.  She was quite taken with the "nonkeys" and spent most of her time looking for them.  

(this picture….I mean really.  That tiny little wonder-filled body.  I could look at it all day)

For right now, a day trip usually works best for our family.  Maybe one night in a hotel.  We had plenty of fun taking the girls to the zoo and eating at Chili's afterwards!  Then back home to our cozy, warm house and our own beds! 

Maybe it's because we've been inside a bit more lately but something in my head has been urging me to snap a picture and appreciate a moment when I see it.  I am such a visual person….perhaps this is my way (partially) of worshipping my Father.  Of showing that in the midst of the responsibility of caring for my family and this current stage of life….I so appreciate and place value on the job that's set before me.  

I delight in seeing everyday moments with my sweeties captured… remembering their fast, running feet…..Sunday shoes and all! 

Such silliness at this age!  Anna Ruth says things like "gore" instead of girl and "aminal" instead of animal.  Sometimes Brett and I look at each other and say "What ever will we do when she says those words correctly?" We hope both girls always keep a HUGE imagination, an enormous joy tank, BIG eyes to see the goodness of God.
 I have to admit, I really love treating the girls.  We try to do that with food in moderation. I want them growing up to absolutely know how to be healthy but to adore a good treat as well.  Both matter I think.  I suppose you can tell on your own how much our girls like treats :).
 One of my goals for the winter is to make sure we get outside some!  Now that we don't have tiny babies it is much easier and reasonable to do that. Both girls got pink snowsuits/coveralls so that they can properly suit up this winter.  We made it outside with the temperature in the teens and snow on the ground and both girls were warm enough for at least 20 minutes.  Success! 

I was proud of myself for this because it is no easy or short task getting two toddlers dressed for the chilly outdoors!  I was doubly proud for having a warm fire waiting inside to warm up by, that I built all by myself! I just may turn out to be a country girl yet.
 I went on a bit of a scavenger hunt around the house today to quickly snap what most of my days look like.  Oh sure, it doesn't seem like anything special sometimes right now.  But sometimes I find my memory drifting to what the days were like with just Anna….and then with Betsy Grace as a tiny baby and I find that for some unknown reason I just ache to remember details.  I long to remember the daily routines of those seasons, most of them at least.  There's a sacredness in this schedule of life.  
 Most of the time, I don't even know it at the time.  I can think back to my time in college, and then the first five years of my teaching career…and so on with getting married and having a family.  Each season serving such a purpose, revealing God in different ways each time.  Lessons to be learned, confidence to be instilled, joy to be discovered, passions and hobbies to delight….
 Most of my days right now are very disciplined and full and busy.  Cooking three meals a day, doing laundry for four people, cleaning house, getting the girls to preschool, exercising, doing lots and lots of dishes, organizing the house, making art with the girls, teaching and playing with the girls, building fires, working on a healthy marriage with Brett, building community with other believers, learning to love Jesus and know Him even more than already….
that is the heartbeat of my days.  

 Here's a funny story for you that will help you see what real life is really like at the home of The Rosy Life! See that pretty collage on the easel?  One night I was prepping the second activity for the girls of the evening to try to keep from putting Curious George on during dinner prep again.  Tricks on me.  While I was laying out the supplies the girls would need (while really needing to start on dinner) I noticed they went upstairs to play.  When I went and checked….I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The ornery little girls snuck into Anna Ruth's bathroom, climbed onto the step stool, jammed the sink with toilet paper and anything else you could imagine and let the water run 'till it was overflowing.  As in, flowing into the cabinet underneath and onto the floor. LOTS of water.   

OH, so add to my list of every day duties right now….discipline. :)
A real life look at real life me, after going a couple of miles on the treadmill. I have to be fit enough to keep up with my two smart, ornery toddlers! :)

And of course, in the in-between moments like nap times or bedtimes or early morning times…I make art.  And plan Christmas and birthday party decor in my mind…..because that's who I am too.  It's as much a part of me as my own heartbeat. 

I added this new art print to the shop today!  All art prints are 8x10's and shipped in a clear, cellophane sleeve and tucked inside a sturdy cardboard mailer. 

Thank-you for letting me share my home, sweet Rosy home, with you.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Sewing Sisters

My friends, it feels like winter has arrived.  Normally the weather seems like the most boring place to go for conversation, but when the morning temps are 25 and the piles of quilts on the bed are growing by the second….well, it just seems fitting to go there. We said "hello" to our frosty temperatures with a little indoor snowball fight this week.  Rumor has it we might even get some snow this weekend.  
I wasn't ready for this at first.  For the slowing down, the staying home more (have you ever bundled and buckled two toddlers in freezing cold?!), the inside play, the stillness.  And then, suddenly I was ready.  It must have been the nights by the stove, cozy under my momma's handmade quilt, that did me in.  I'm craving and ready for rest.  For a few months to savor all the good memories of the last year, and look ahead just a bit to the next.  To sew and putter around the craft room.  To paint.  I have new stories in my head to paint that are like nothing I've created before.  I'm excited to have the space of winter to roam a bit. 
Winter also brings time to roam a bit with my girls.  Spring and summer's are spent tromping around the farm, playing all kinds of wet, messy games.  Exploring galore and using the outdoors as our classroom.  While I don't expect to stop our outdoor learning during winter, it does give us a bit more time indoors.  We started our winter fun by pulling out the sewing machine, photographs, a heart paper punch, and crayons/oil pastels. 
Our goal was to make some new art journals.  I'm very excited and proud to say the girls and I have filled up our journals we purchased at the beginning of the school year!  They are just beautiful to look at.  With it being time for new journals I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sew something.  
The girls started out by coloring two pieces of a cereal box, one for the front cover and one for the back.  Anna Ruth glued some hearts punched from a magazine onto her covers, as well as her photographs.  I did Betsy's for her because all she wanted to do was dump out the crayons and colored pencils.  That's real life sometimes! (especially when you're almost two)

Next, each girl got a turn at the sewing machine.  This picture sums up our real-life learning moments quite well.  Betsy Grace has usually climbed someplace she really shouldn't be, things are spilling everywhere on the floor, and both girls are so incredibly eager to learn and use both their hands at the same time.  So it's a bit of an adventure is what I'm saying. 

But it is an adventure worth taking.  I find myself sometimes getting frazzled with so much activity happening at once when I'm trying to teach the girls something.  I suppose my first response would be to just shut it down.  But really, these precious girls wouldn't ever get a chance to learn much of anything if I shut things down every time my human nature felt things were slipping off balance a bit.  The big picture is, crayons can be cleaned, hearts (ok mine) can pray for patience……
the learning and joy must go on.  

As I was later recalling our sewing morning to Brett I told him it both amazed and terrified me a bit how much Betsy Grace loved the sewing machine.  Like really, really loved it.  I say "terrified" because I reminder her over and over not to put her tiny hands under the needle.  She was quite fascinated with watching it go up and down.  But, with reminders and full attention from me she stayed perfectly safe and I believe we've found a new passion of hers.

I adore how the journals turned out.  Obviously Anna Ruth's is kid made and Betsy Grace's is not.  Maybe she'll be more interested next time.  

A few things I tried to teach the girls about sewing, Anna Ruth especially,
was where the "on" button is, how to lower the presser foot, not to touch the needle, and how to guide the paper (or fabric) through the machine. 

These sewing sisters made my day.