Catching up again

i think it’s just my MO. Blog regularly, settle into it. Find a rhythm. Then….get bogged down with a big project or deadline, and ignore it for a couple months. ugh. Maybe there is no use fighting it. i’m sporadic!

But, a lot has happened.  i’ve had a lovely holiday with my family, finished my new book, and survived 4 days of solo travel to a trade show in Atlanta to promote my upcoming gift line. Came home from said trip and fell ill for a solid 10 days with the worst combo of yuckiness i have ever experience. My hair hurt! : )

Recovered.

And now i’ve caught up on all the loose ends that followed that little whirlwind and i’m resetting my clock and  beginning to sketch daily and really create again. It’s an ebb and flow sorta thing.

So here’s a little smattering of images from the past couple months for a little catch up.

MillerGirlsChristmas2014

Christmas Eve with my sisters. Laura, Jodi, Lissa and me…. 

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Happy Birthday! | a fun surprise

 

Today is my husband, nick’s, birthday. He never asks for much, but my 6 year old and i planned some surprises.

We wrote out 10 things we love about daddy on thin strips of blue paper. C dictated and i wrote. We included some that we thought 15 month old, G, would say if he could say stuff. ; )

Then we folded the strips up and stuffed them into a balloon. Both kids giggled their heads off as i blew up the balloon. They could not believe how big it got! (hee-hee…..i used an oversize one i had leftover from a party a couple years back.) Their eyes were wide as saucers! Then i added a little Permanent marker labeling to the front of the balloon.

C keeps asking me how daddy is going to pop the balloon to get the messages out.

“Will he squeeze it with his bare hands?”

“Will he pop it with a pin?”

“i want to watch!”

Then C went to town decorating the cute bag from the store where got a couple of the gifts.

Oh, and this guy supervised.

i wrapped the gifts with colorful tissue, we added some homemade cards, made some birthday brownies and now we are ready for the birthday dude to get home from work already!!

Love you! Happy Birthday!

Free Download – Pillow Faces

Just for fun….make some reversible face pillows. Cute for a little girl, or quirky for a big girl who likes a bit of whimsy. Some of my Facebook buddies suggested the cases would be great slumber party crafts/favors or even a nice gift to mail to your little girl if she is at sleep away camp.

Use fabric paint to wing it and give it your own spin or download my full size printables to trace or transfer. i’d highly recommend Super Soft Transfer Paper from Dharma Trading if you go the iron-on route. It cannot be beat.

If you want to trace, use a lightbox or sunny window and tape the template pieces inside the case. Then trace and fill in with soft fabric paint. i like this kind from Tulip.

Piece of cake!!

Family Seek N Find – a project from Creative Doodling & Beyond

One of the projects i had the most fun with in the doodle book is this Family Seek n Find. Each family member drew their answers to a series of targeted questions. i made a key listing all the items drawn by each family member. Then i filled the rest of the empty space with random doodles. Framed under glass, the Seek n Find can be used again and again using wipe-able dry erase markers to circle each find.

My 5 year old is so proud he helped and shows his friends when they come to play.

Try it out with your family! Its a keepsake, a game, and a way to spend an afternoon of creating with your family, all rolled into one!

 

A Special Dollar Download – Fill In Thank You Cards for Kids

If you read this blog with any regularity, i’m sure you’ve seen me post wonderful things, collaborations, observations, etc about my friend, Ashley over at Lil Blue Boo. She is an amazing individual.

In addition to being a talented artist, designer, business owner, she is also a generous humanitarian. Whether it be collecting sewing supplies or hair bows to girls in africa or donating to her local shelters, she has a heart of gold.

Now, if you also follow Ashley’s blog, you know she has been fighting cancer. Not cool.

A bunch of us in the Team Ashley Camp are working on a top notch, highly organized auction of fantastic handmade items to help offset some of Ash’s mounting medical expenses. She’d do it for any one of us, and we happily do it for her. In fact, i can’t think of a more giving, selfless person who deserves the giving be turned in her favor for a change. i’ll be posting auction details here soon. We are shooting for the end of February and the goodies we’ve collected already are PHE-NOM-E-NAL! its a testament to how much she is cherished in this community.

In the meantime, the notecard above is just a teeny way to help. Ashley made up some thank-yous like these at Christmastime for her little girl. They are so fun for your kiddos to use and help reinforce the great habit of saying “thank you”  – in writing – to those we love. Download the card by clicking below and your $1 will be sent to Ashley …to add to her donut fund maybe? we hear donut molecules can kick cancer molecules’ butts!

Your download will include a 4-card page (each card measuring 5.5×4.25 – an A2 envelope) and a 2-card page (each card measuring 5×7 – an A7 envelope). The larger size is helpful for younger writers who tend to have LARGE penmanship : ) Just print the page you like to a standard piece of letter size cardstock and slice it up! Instant thank you notes whenever you need them.

Thanks in advance for your support!!  xo-s

$1 Fill In Thank You Notes for Kids
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FREE Download! – WISH ornaments

 

Here’s a sweet idea for a quick Christmas Eve crafting tradition!

Make some memories with this holiday WISH ornament you can print and color using just basic white cardstock and a B&W printer. Just Click the image below to start your FREE download. Color, cut out and fill-in your families wishes on the pieces. Glue them back to back for a nice, sturdy ornament. Punch a hole and thread with ribbon for hanging! i’ve included the “2011″ on the first ornament, but you can print multiples of the blank version so you’ll be able to repeat this tradition for many christmases to come and reflect back on past wishes each year as you decorate the tree. Imagine reading your kiddos’ 6-year-old wishes someday when they are 18, 28, 38….ah memories. Merry Christmas everyone!

 

a DIY collaboration with Lil Blue Boo

AWESOMENESS!! My friend, Ashley, at Lil Blue Boo asked me to illustrate a coloring-book-style backdrop for her adorable “Box o’ Princesses” tutorial, and i’m making the download a freebie!

Just click here for the B&W, letter-size download that you can print at home. It includes a label for your box, the color-able princess village backdrop, and some sweet little extras; a wishing well and flower cart.

Hope your little ones have a great time personalizing their own set!
Ashley’s BEAUTIFUL example is shown below and tutorial is here.


Recycled Tee-Shirt Bracelets: Tutorial

After cutting up a bunch of old tee-shirts to make some Li’l Blue Boo tunics for myself, i had a whole buncha scraps….and some shirts i still hadn’t sliced into! So i shredded up a pile of strips and made these super-easy, super-quick, braided summer bracelets.

Here’s how:

Gather some tees, scissors, tape and a needle & thread. i used 3 different colors, one for each of the strips in the braid, but you can use all the same, 2 and 1….whatever looks good.

Cut off the hem of each shirt and then cut a width-wise strip about 1″ wide. Cut the side seams off.

Stretch each strip a bit until it starts to curl into itself and form a bit of a tube. This conceals the cut edges and gives some bulk to the strip of knit. Its key. (my magenta piece is actually one of the drawstrings from my 3rd shirt….why not use it?)

Stitch the 3 strands of fabric together using a simple slip stitch and keeping the end somewhat flat.

Use some tape to hold the stitched end to your work surface. Leave the needle and thread attached for now.

Braid the strips. Try to keep a nice, even width to your braid.When you get to the end, use another piece of tape to secure the ends while you complete the next step.

Wrap the braid around your wrist to determine length. Be sure it fits as you’d like it to. You don’t need to make it bigger to fit over your hand. It will stretch. Grab the needle and thread which are still attached to your first end and begin slipstitching the tail end together also, trying to keep  it somewhat flat.

Then stitch the 2 ends together. You don’t need to be very neat. The stitches will be covered.

Use a scrap of leftover knit to tie a simple knot around the seam to cover your stitches and add a decorative touch. A few stitches will hold it in place.

If you prefer, you can also tuck the tails under and stitch for a cleaner finish as shown in the photo at the top of this post.

That’s it! Try combining prints and solids and patterns. Stack them up your whole arm! Make super wide ones with bulkier strips of knit or dainty, thin ones with little slivers of knit! Sew on a few beads or tie on a few metallic ribbons for sparkle! It’s the perfect summer craft on a budget!

 

dashes -mix n match summer bracelets


I used some discarded shreds of t-shirt material to braid up these super-quickie summer bracelets today. It took me about 15 min to make all 3. They are so fun and FREE, that i plan to experiment with braiding in some metallic trims, maybe sew on some metal beads or fringe on the next batch and play with more printed or striped fabrics.  In fact, i think i’ll use my time at the beach next week to stock myself a whole summer stash of these!

Making a Pinata- tutorial

Coop’s 5th birthday party is tomorrow. He’s having a Green Lantern theme. Party City had zero Green Lantern piñatas….or even plain green piñatas for that matter. So we decided to make one since boys his age really are fans at smacking the beans out of tissue paper candy receptacles.

I had made a piñata once before for Coop’s 2nd birthday. That time we made the sort with hanging ribbons the kids pull until one finally opens a trap door raining down candy. This time, we went more traditional and the kids will annihilate it. SO i’ll admit i didn’t attempt to make this one completely perfect.

But here’s how we did it.

Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard and tape it into a circle. Ours is about 3 inches tall. Cut 2 circles from newspaper,place one under your cardboard ring.

Cut slits into the newsprint or pleat it up around the cardboard ring and secure with masking tape. The pourous nature of masking tape means we’ll be able to paint it later. Don’t use shiny packing tape or scotch tape.

now carefully start adding a bit of strength to the surface of the newsprint “wall” by using matte finish Mod Podge to apply a few layers of newspaper strips in overlapping fashion. Coop sat on the floor and tore these for me : ) Allow to dry.

You want the piñata to be strong enough to hold candy, but weak enough for the kids to break. Don’t go too crazy with the newspaper strips!

Use an awl to make 2 small holes in the corrugated cardboard so you can attach wire for hanging the piñata. My husband is an electrician and so he gave me a piece of sturdy, pvc coated wire. Cut an extra little square of cardboard to layer in for strength. Punch 2 holes in that also and thread your wire through. then twist the tail ends to secure on the inside.

Add another circle of newsprint to the back of the piñata, pleating the edges to make it fit around the edges with masking tape. This time, cut a slit into the newsprint up near your wire hanger and fold back to form a pie shaped opening for depositing candy. Reinforce the edges of the opening with more masking tape. Then repeat the ModPodge-ing of newsprint strips step that you did on the other side. Once dry, take the piñata outside and spray with one coat of primer. If you are more meticulous than i was this time….you can follow up with a topcoat of spray paint in a color that will match the tissue fringe you will be applying later. i was not feeling that perfection was necessary right about now….to much to do!! : )

Cut 2-3″ strips of fringe from tissue paper. Starting at the bottom of the piñata, begin layering the fringe up the sides of the structure. Use a thin bead of white glue. Your fingers will be sticky and filmy if you’re doing it right!

Once the sides are all fringed, dump in your CANDY!!!!

Then cover over the hole with some flimsy typing paper just taped into place. Start at the bottom again and apply layers of the tissue fringe until the entire piñata back is covered and looking festive!

Paint the front of the piñata a coordinate color using basic acrylic craft paint and allow to dry.

Finally, i printed off the Green Lantern symbol onto thin printer paper (11×17 size). trim the art and attach it to the piñata front with spray adhesive. That’s it!

Happy birthday Coop!! This baby will be in shredded bits on the back lawn sometime tomorrow afternoon. i can’t wait!