Tag Archive for 'fall'

Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions? I really could use some. Things like creating schedules to cook regular meals, keep the house clean and make bill payments and work on some fitness goals. It’s nearing on 10 years that I’ve said I want to run a 5K and yep, that hasn’t made much progress more than the wanting part.

fall 2014 chalkboard

It’s Winter and time to clear the board and start a new season, but in the meantime here is a rough list of what happened in the fall. Highlights include Matt and my trip to Kentucky and getting engaged (although it also created a lot of self induced stress as well, on what that expectation means to other people), two new babies by two good friends, and finally taking the leap to start the Little Art Book project I have been thinking about forever. We hosted Thanksgiving this year at our house and the kids wanted to draw on the chalkboard so I let them erase  it, so some of the items at the bottom were later photoshopped in. Also, not listed is another niece or nephew that is expected in our family in June! 2015 is looking to be a GOOD YEAR!

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

I was just looking over the previous season’s post and realized that I had said I wanted to crack down on finishing up items on my to-do lists from 2009-10 with hopes to create a new list for 2015. Well, I completely forgot about finishing up those items when I got sidetracked and focused on the Little Art Book, which is actually an item on that list. Time to go revisit those lists and see if I can crank a bunch out in a short period and still have time to start a 2015 list.

Happy New Year!

And since it is a new year and a change of season, this is as good a time as any to share our adventure from New Year’s Day. Leading up to the new year we were talking about our fitbits and the few times we reached 20,000 steps and my sister suggested we aim for 30,000 steps on New Year’s Day. THIRTY THOUSAND STEPS! For me, a thousand steps is roughly 10 minutes, so walking 30,000 steps is walking for 5 hours. It sounded like a fun idea and we talked about where we could walk. I’m reading Wild (I haven’t seen the movie yet) and love stories of people just walking/cycling/traveling great lengths on their own. What we didn’t think about is that we live in Northern Illinois and it is COLD. We didn’t let it stop us though and I came up with a big loop and my sister mapped it out to find that it was 9 miles. It was cold but my sister is a FAST WALKER. I was a bit overdressed and overheating and she was slightly under dressed and getting frostbitten legs, so at our pit stop we rearranged clothing a bit, had lunch and were on our way again. We were golden until about 20,000 steps when we both hit a wall. It was literally “I could go forever” to “I can barely lift my feet” in the span of 1,000 steps. By the time we got home we were limping and I’m sure our faces showed our agony. We only had 23,000 steps.  We recouped with the hope of going back out and making those last 7,000 steps, but as the sun went down we both realized there was no way we wanted to walk in the cold AND dark, so we took our adventure to Target and did some shopping, did some laps, did some more shopping, did some more laps and then finished our last 150 steps in my basement. 2 days later and my feet still ache, but I was able to still get in my regular 10,000 steps yesterday. I realized that I think I want to add in more regular 20,000 step days every week. I can do it!


Fall Leaf Autumn Garland (take II)

10.19 shower leaf garland

This past weekend my friends Courtney, Bryanne, Janey and I threw a baby shower for our friend Ann. The party was magical woodland themed and Courtney hosted it at her house. I’m here to share this leaf garland/mobile (above) that I made as decoration for the party.

10.23. leaf garland close up

Courtney reminded me of this garland (above) I made for the Craft Day a couple of years ago, and then Bryanne shared a link to this leaf mobile, so I combined the two into one.


This time around I actually used acrylic leaves, rather than drying and pressing real ones like last time. Ironically, it wasn’t until I got them home that I realized the leaves on the garlands I bought were much more dimensional, so I ended up lightly ironing them flat-ish between dish towels after all. Afterward, I painted scribbley patterns with acrylic craft paints on each leaf. I used a needle and string to attach the leaves to the branch. How suiting that I felt like I was channeling Ann’s pom pom garlands while I worked.

I think we successfully showered @abeautifulparty today. So-so excited for the arrival of #babyMaybeGosser

I’ll be back later this week to share the invitation that I illustrated for the shower. I loved how it came out, so stay tuned!

Project 21

I finally did it. I completed Project 21!

In 2005 Jeffrey Yamaguchi published the book 52 Projects. I loved this book! I still love this book. After it came out I not only bought it for myself, I bought a couple copies to give to others.

52 Projects is a book that (you guessed it) offers 52 different creative projects for people to do over the span of one year. Project 21 encourages readers to take a picture of the same thing for one month. For years and years I have attempted to finish this project, and for years and years I have failed. I have lived in 3 different places over the span of me trying to complete this project. One year I actually did take a picture every day for one month. Only the pictures spanned over several cameras and then I lost one of the memory cards from one of the cameras, so I couldn’t put all the final pictures together in the end. Over the years that I have tried to start this project and finally finish it, I completely forgot what the actual original project was. I was certain that the project was specifically to photograph a tree changing colors. But as it turns out, that was just my take on the project and it became so ingrained that I thought that was the project. Really, the project is to document something over one month, whether it be a picture of yourself or a scene, then put the pictures together in chronological order and put them somewhere to share. In the time from when the project was first “assigned” to now, gifs have blown up so it is only natural that I would adapt this project to the times. This is my platform for sharing the documentation of our tree changing colors and losing its fall leaves.

A couple of notes about the this project. The pictures were taken daily, mostly between noon and 1 p.m., from the beginning of October to the beginning of November 2013. The difference in lighting is strictly weather, aside from one picture. I was so excited about decorating the tree for Halloween (Heidi Kenney‘s idea) that I threw in one night shot with the tree lit up. The season ended way too quickly here. It may look like I missed some days, but we had one crazy windy night and one rainy day and boom, all the leaves had fallen. I love that it captures the Chicagoland area fall so perfectly with snow showing up in a couple of the shots. After you are done watching the tree, now pay attention to the burning bush next to the tree.

Right Now I’m…

The tree is a hit! Happy Halloween!
A promised picture of our Halloween tree lit up at night. It looked so cool!

Anticipating: A busy holiday season
Buying – Supplies online for making calendars
Creating –  Lots and lots of my gold and silver holiday garlands
Eating – Candy and more candy. I’m so sick of it, and yet I keep eating it.
Feeling – Anxiety, for no particular reason. I’m waking up in the mornings feeling like I forgot that I have huge exam or final that day but I have no finals or exams. I just wish I could sleep without unneccesary stress waking me up.
Listening – I’ve been stuck listening to my Harry Belefonte, Jump The Line station on Spotify. I want it to play mostly old quirky songs, but sometimes it gets stuck just playing pop 50s which also OK.
Loving – My clean studio!
Missing – Riding my bike to work everyday. Near the end of the season I was ready to be done riding every day, but just 2 weeks later and I’m already missing it.
Procrastinating – Orders that need to be mailed.
Reading – Damned by Chuck Palahniuk (only about 10 pages from the end) and wondering what I’m going to read while walking on my treadmill after this is done.
Seeing – The colors change on the trees, I’m excited to share a mini project I’ve had in the works regarding this.
Watching – Walking Dead, current season. We’re also watching old episodes of “My First Home” on Netflix.
Wanting – ♫ VACATION, all I ever wanted

Right Now posts

Edit: Just finished Damned only to find that it is actually a 2 parter. Guess I’ll be reading Doomed next.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! #pumpkin

Happy Halloween! We waited until last minute to carve pumpkins this year, 10 p.m. on the eve of Halloween. I put on Nightmare Before Christmas and cleaned, carved and collected seeds. Matt came to join me but then promptly fell asleep on the couch so I cut his open and cleaned it out, he’ll have to carve it tomorrow. Every year at this time I think how people could make some decent money selling already cleaned out pumpkins. I know I’d pay $20 to not have to do that myself. The above pumpkin was just a bitty one that we grew in our garden, my other pumpkin was probably 4 times the size.

This is Halloween, This is Halloween! 12 pumpkins in the tree. Thank you @mypapercrane for the idea. I plan on putting some of those LED tealights inside of each one on #halloween.

I got the above idea from Heidi Kenney and bought 12 of those $1 trick or treat pumpkins to decorate our front tree. I also bought LED tealights and plan on putting some in each pumpkin so they are lit up for the evening on Halloween. I will hopefully get a good picture of that later. It’s supposed to rain so I doubt we will have lots of trick or treaters, which is a real bummer after the lead up to the holiday. Earlier this week we watched Hocus Pocus and I’ve had our holiday decorations up all month and have been listening to my Monster Mash pandora playlist since mid September.

My DIY Skeleton zipper hoodie

At the Craft Extravaganza, I made this skeleton zipper hoodie. I’ve had the idea for some time that I would like a skeleton top and leggings. I think I looked around a little bit but never found the simple style I was looking for. Sometimes I would see great ones but they would only be in kid’s sizes. Finally I had the idea that I could just make a hoodie easy enough and bought a solid black one at Target in the men’s department. I did google image search of skeletons and drew up a simple sketch and just painted it on with white fabric paint. I love how it came out and I’ve worn it so many times already since then. I’ve received some compliments on it too. I imagine it will be an all year hoodie, not just Halloween. Leggings will be up next.

My siblings and I went to #jonamac #cornmaze. It's been a few years since we've done it. My fitbit says it was about 4,000 some steps. Also of note, this maze (the night time haunted version) was recently featured on #theOnion

A couple of weekends ago my sister, brother, SIL, nephew, niece and I did the corn maze at Jonamac Orchard. When just went during the day and it had been years since I’ve done it before. The orchard recently hit the big time when The Onion did a story on the haunted version of the maze, here.

Tuesday’s Fall Color was Red. I had the idea of turning real leaves into buttons and pairing it with a cableknit scarf I knit.

What goes better with fall leaves than cozy knits. #fallcolors2013 @poppytalk

Unfortunately, I realized that it’s already that time of year when I get home from work and there is no more natural light left. This weekend is time saving so that’s that. The picture turned out crap, the detail on the knit is great but the leaves are FLAT and might as well have been drawings, you see no detail in their vein work, or that the thread is actual real thread, making each leaf a REAL BUTTON. I was on a rampage with how angry I was about there being no more daylight, cursing out stupid bloggers (generally, not anyone specifically) that don’t have to work a day job and get to stay home and can take perfectly lit pictures all day long. Yeah, pretty much. I might want to get myself one of those happy lamps just for the safety of successful lifestyle bloggers with pretty pictures. It would be for light therapy, not for taking pictures with.

Day 3 for @poppytalk #fallcolors2013 #brown

Day 3, was Brown. Once again my plans for a fall outdoor picture squashed because I have to work for a living. (Yeah, I’m angry, dramatic, and venting, but really the whole no daylight thing REALLY angers me every year). I remembered the felt I’ve been cutting out for my “someday” halloween monster costume. I picked out the browns, added a few other accent color pieces and snapped this picture. It doesn’t capture the outdoor fall, but I think the wools do a good job with fall mood.

I hope you have a happy Halloween with more treats than tricks.

Be the Change and Craft Extravaganza 2013

I feel like all of my favorite blogs have decided to never update anymore, boo. But then I realized I am not updating much either. So, here I am, deciding to be the change I want to see in the blogosphere and updating my own blog.

#fallcolors2013 for @poppytalk Monday Fall Colors Week.

This week is Poppytalk’s Fall Colors Week for 2013. Monday was “Golden” and while I was at work I had this idea to use gold paint on leaves. Instead of picking gold leaves, I chose red to make the gold pop. I had to rush home after work and put it all together before the sun went down. The picture did pretty well (for me at least) on instagram and was even featured on Poppytalk’s post for Monday colors. Weeeeeeee!

10.28 Gold Color2

Here is an out take where you can see the metallic paint better.

Today’s (Tuesday) color is Red. We will see if an idea pops into my head today. Join in on the fun, you can do one day or all days, no pressure.

10.19 perpetual calendar  Spiral Bound Notebook Rockford

Two weekends ago I went to the annual All Day Craftextravaganza (the third year), only this year they asked if I would be interested in teaching a class! I was very flattered and of course jumped at the chance. It took me a bit to think of what kind of things I could teach, but then I actually came up with a whole list of options and let them decide. They went with Make Your Own Notebook. Naturally, as the event got closer, I started to get more and more stressed and worried. I wanted to make sure that everyone was able to make something they really loved. I prepared goodie bags, a class information sheet, and each student could make a perpetual calendar (that I designed above) as well as a notebook of their own design using an assortment of paper I provided (similar to the travel journal above). After the fact I realized that a lot of the stress that I caused myself was because I waited too late to prepare AND I wanted to make sure everyone was happy and they had options. If I had it to do over again, I would have everything ready way ahead of time (ha) and there would be only one option. I also think that some ease would come from the past experience, so if I were to teach the same class again I wouldn’t be so worked up because I would have already done it once before. Everyone that signed up to take the class was really sweet. There were 10 students in all. One person already had a notebook binder but had never taken it out of the box. Another person was so excited that she already scored her own binder by the end of the day and planned on making all of her Christmas presents using it. So, I would say the class was a success!

Good-bye Summer, Hello Fall

9.6.13 Summer Chalkboard 1
The picture on the left is from when we first moved into our house in August 2011. Picture on the right is from this summer.

Sometimes I really hate the summer. Many people get modified work schedules or take lots of time off during the summer and there are so many plans and activities organized to fill up that empty time. Normally people think of summers as being relaxed, but for a person who continues to work 40 hours a week and then have every weekend and evening stacked and packed, summers can be pretty high stress. On top of it, summers in Northern Illinois can often be horrendous with the heat and humidity. I realize that summer can often be no better than the dead of winter because I don’t want to be outside at all, and find myself rushing from the car to the house. Whether I’m inside to stay out of the heat or the cold, what does it matter, either way I’m house bound.

But, THIS summer? This summer was amazing. If all summers were like this, I could become a summer person. I think the high was mid 90s (and those days in the 90s were probably less than 7 days total), it didn’t even reach 100. Mostly it was nice and cool in the 70s and 80s. And yet, there were almost no mosquitoes. It was almost too good to be true. There were plenty of activities planned too, but I didn’t feel obligated or worn out. We had a few weekends that weren’t spoken for, allowing us to just relax when we needed it. Mostly I was just excited and constantly looking forward to the next thing. My pale skin has not been this tan since middle school when I held a pool pass and spent most of my time in the sun.

At the beginning of summer, anticipating a lot of fun activities ahead, I started using my chalkboard as a list to remember the summer. I originally created this board to be able to chalk out ideas, scribble fun doodles, or let kiddies draw when they visit, but this summer the board has been dedicated to the list. I like it so much I kind of want to keep a list for every season. Perhaps I need to create another board just for that.

9.6.13 Summer Chalkboard

It’s been a very full summer and while I have enjoyed it, now at the end, I am also missing my downtime and have barely peaked my nose into my studio. It is currently a WRECK of EPIC PROPORTIONS after a couple of craft shows and large orders that went out last month. This summer was amazing, but I am looking forward to things calming down a bit, major and deep cleaning of my studio, and working on a lot of projects that have been stuck in my head.

Happy Halloween

I’ve had a full and happy Halloween season.

I’ve been listening to my Monster Mash themed pandora station for weeks. Yesterday my day started out with Harry Belafonte singing Jump in Line which will always evoke the image of Winona Ryder’s Lydia in Beetlejuice, dancing in the air.


I carved pumpkins twice! Once with my brother, SIL, and nephew and once with Matt and some friends (pictured above). My pumpkin is the top left (same as last year’s).

We went to look at the pumpkins on the courthouse lawn at Pumpkin Fest in Sycamore, IL. I liked this one that used pumpkin and gourd to make an apple core.

I cut out and painted a bunch of pumpkin signs for family members and then made myself a ghost to hang on the front of our house. Thanks goes out to the previous owners of our house, who left us tons of huge pieces of particle board to make plenty of holiday signs from.

I guess I’ve started a ghost collection. From left to right Axelhoney, plastic keychain from walgreens years ago, and TheLittleRedDoor.

I bought these plastic masks that I’ve been wanting for a long time.

I’ve enjoyed the fall leaves changing colors and noticing the fallen leaves are like nature’s confetti.

We went to two apple orchards including a new to me one. My coworker/friend was telling me all about Honey Hill Orchard in nearby Waterman and it is my new favorite orchard. It’s like real country, not fake and swarming with people from the suburbs. I just can’t take the crowds of the other two places nearby. Honey Hill has honey bees and their own honey (I took the above picture with my macro lens on iphone), as well as a little petting zoo where I pet the sweetest horse and bought apples to make apple sauce.

We went to my brother’s annual Ghost Story Telling Bonfire. It was a spooooky evening ;)

Hope you are having or have had a happy Halloween with plenty of tricks and treats!

12 hour Craft Extravaganza and Fall Leaf Garland

This weekend was the 12 Hour Craft Extravaganza that my sister’s church organizes. It was my second year attending. Some may think “12 hours of crafting!? How can you stand to sit and craft for that long” but really, it goes by soooo fast. Both years I have brought so much stuff, thinking I’d accomplish so much, and in the end realize you would need several more 12 hours to finish it all.
I’ve been working on this origami project where I will need about 150 origami lilies. I worked on it for 2 hours that day and I think I only finished about 10 lilies. I timed myself and if I’m focused and work straight through it takes between 6 to 7 minutes to fold one lily, not including curling the leaves. This means there was a lot of breaks and chatting while working. I had gone in thinking I might be able to finish all of the pieces, yeah right.
photo.JPG Paper flag bunting tutorial
Next I worked on some bunting. I had been wanting to make some washi tape bunting for a while, so I did that. It wasn’t as quick and easy as I had imagined. I also made some of my regular itty bitty bunting for my etsy orders.

This happened today

My big project were these leaves above. They were inspired by a post on Alisa Burke’s blog where she painted right on leaves and made a garland. I can not remember the original source, maybe craft magazine or craft gawker? There was the Martha Stewart DIY about dipping leaves in wax to prolong their colors. It makes me think of ironing leaves in wax paper during elementary school, but with dipping you get the beautiful and dimensional leaves alone, not stuck together, hidden between papers.

Alisa’s leaves on the left, Martha’s leaves on the right.

The leaves have been falling and I remembered these crafts that I had pinned…

so I gathered as many different colored and shaped leaves as I could find.

A fellow crafter at the event told me about a tool she had and then ran home real quick to bring it back to me. It’s called the Micrfluer and allows you to press and dry leaves in the microwave in about 45 seconds. Not only is it speedy, but it also retains the color much more than pressing the leaves in a book. In the picture above you can see the two green leaves. The one on the left is pressed and dry, while the one on the right is still curled and wet. As it turns out my sister also has one of these tools so she lent it to me.

A couple cool things about the Microfluer: Once you have the tool that is all you need. You don’t need to keep buying replaceable parts that get used up with every pressing. Also, after you dry the leaves they remain fairly  flexible, unlike leaves dried in a book which become brittle and crumble apart. The woman who lent me the contraption even had some leaves she said were 8-10 years old and are still perfectly fine!


Next I painted bold patterns on my leaves with inexpensive acrylic craft paint. If you didn’t want to press or dry your leaves you could just paint right on newly fallen leaves like Alisa did.


Then because I’m a craft addict, I just happen to already have a little crock pot devoted to wax, so I just warmed it up and started dipping. I was worried that the paint might come off, but it didn’t. The leaves kind of regained some curl when I pulled them from the wax. I just let the wax drip off and then set it on a plastic sheet when it was mostly cooled and pressed it between pages in a book, and they flattened again quickly.

With the dried leaves, the paint and then wax, I think these leaves will be safe and protected for a long time. As long as I am careful to store them safely each year I should be able use them again and again as a fall decoration.

10.23. leaf garland close up

Originally I wanted to tie the stems with a string, like in the Martha Stewart diy, but hang them across, in a garland like the Alisa Burke post. When I went to attach the string to the first leaf I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work when the leaves would keep turning every which way, not laying flat or parallel to wall, AND THEN while trying to straighten the string on the stem so it would lay properly the stem broke right off. When I returned home I punched two holes in each leaf and fed a string in and out to create the banner as you can see above.

While I was working I thought this would be a great project for my sister in law and 2 year old nephew to do together. He could paint on the leaves and then she could hang them as a fall decoration. He could just paint randomly, as two year olds do, and that would be beautiful. Each year he could do more and have his name and age painted on the backs of the leaves so the garland grows over time.  I also had the idea of either masking letters on each leave while he paints over it then revealing a word or phrase when you peel away the letters and string the leaves together.

We got to play with our crafts, enjoy great conversation and were treated with delicious meals.  It was a great second 12 Hour Craft Extravaganza and time flew by.

‘Roid Week 2012 – Day Five

me on my bike

Day Five, this was the last picture of original polaroid film in that particular camera. I think I have a bunch more film on various cameras, as well as an unopened box yet. But it really is time for me to be thinking of buying some Impossible Project film. For this shot I asked Matt to just snap a picture of me on the bike as I was coming to him, shoulders down. Not too bad. Although, there was one shot on a different camera, taken first, that came out 100% blank. It’s bound to happen when any remaining real polaroid film is at least 5 years old.

I’ve been riding my bike to work and back (and sometimes home for lunch and back) almost every day this summer. This week has been kind of cool and today I was in gear for autumn, wearing a jean jacket and corduroys.