May 19, 2012

Motif #1 Day Block Prints

This was a glorious day in New England...sunny, breezy, and full of things to do. 
One of our favorite places to go for a day trip is Rockport, MA - and on this particular day, they were celebrating Motif #1...

This charming seaside shack is Motif #1, and supposedly, it is one of the most highly photographed, painted, and otherwise immortalized buildings around (which I did not know until today).

So, all around town they had things to do, honoring the motif.  These easels were set up to draw your own masterpiece...

There was a sidewalk chalk contest and, you guessed it, the motif was a popular subject...

My sweetie drew a mermaid :)  I was impressed!  And who knows, maybe mermaids frequent the motif too...

One of my favorite activities were these sweet block print crafts that they had for everyone to try:

They were super simple, and turned out so cool!  I definitely want to make more of these at home, and I'm thinking this would be a really great birthday party craft....

It takes just a few supplies: foam sheets (these were only about 1/8" thick...I'll have to figure out exactly where to get these), a ballpoint pen, paint and paintbrush or roller, and white paper

First, take a foam sheet and draw a picture with the ballpoint pen. 

 Second, brush or roll a thin layer of paint all over the foam sheet...

Third, press the foam, paint side down, onto a piece of paper, press down firmly all over, and then lift the foam off. 

Aren't they beautiful!? (If it matters, make sure to draw a mirror image onto the motif is backward :)  This especially applies with words). 

So, if any of you live in the vicinity, or are planning a visit, I highly recommend Rockport.  It has lovely shops, delicious lobster, and Motif #1.  And if nothing else, it is a beautiful place to throw rocks in the water....

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May 13, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Pencil Bouquet

Despite the fact that my kids are not yet in school, I have made my fair share of teacher appreciation gifts!  As I have mentioned before, I have been a school secretary for a while - and because I love crafting, I always volunteer to make the end of year teacher gifts. 

(You can see my past Teacher Appreciation gifts here on my tutorials page, just scroll down to the Teacher Appreciation Gifts section.)

This year, I decided to make pencil bouquets, after finding these great "flower pot" mugs...
Even without flower pot shaped mugs, this is a great gift, because of the easy, personalized elements. 

I filled each mug with candy, so that the pencils would have something to hold them up.  This year, I made 70 sets - which is why there are so many in this picture :)

We had a die-cut flower shape that allowed us to produce the hundreds of flowers we needed fast - but if you were doing this for 1 or 2 teachers, you could certainly cut flowers out by hand, or cut them on a silhouette or other cutting machine.  We used cardstock, and had the school kids color and decorate the flower shapes.  My favorite ones had words written on them, thanking their teachers. 

With glue dots (found in the scrapbooking section of the craft store) we attached the flowers to the top of the pencils, one flower shape on each side so that it was pretty from any angle.  We debated about sharpening the pencils, and decided not to - both because we had so many to do, and also because we didn't want the pencils piercing the candy bags.

A dozen pencils fit very nicely in the mug, and we finished it off with a tag, printed from the computer, with the teacher's name, tied on with a ribbon.  They look very colorful and festive, and I am sure our teachers will love getting a useful mug, yummy candy, and teacher appropriate pencils for their classroom.  Not to mention the sweet drawings from the children in their class :)

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May 5, 2012

Mason Jar Wall Holder

I've seen these clever Mason Jar Holders all around blogland.  One in particular that I like I saw here at Shanty 2 Chic - and the idea has been floating around my head for a while.... until I recently found an excellent need for my own Mason Jar Holder ;)

We have a very small bathroom - and it has a vanity with no drawers.  So, we have installed a shelfing unit for some of our necessities - but it isn't always easy, just using the shelves.  Particularly, I am often annoyed when I need to brush my girl's hair after a bath, or put it up quickly before running out the door, and I can't find a hairbrush!
Enter my brilliant idea: a Mason Jar Holder, just for the brushes!

I took a scrap piece of wood, and gave it a wash with black paint (acrylic paint, really watered down).

I decided that rather than screw through the pipe clamp (found in the plumbing section of the hardware store...these are 4" clamps), I would secure it with two screws around it....

Below, you can see how I put the screws very close to the edge of the metal, and tightened them down as much as I could.  That baby isn't going anywhere :)  Before you finish this step though, make sure that the clamp is positioned how you want it, and just big enough to slip the jar in and out.  You don't want to be tightening the clamp itself too much after it is screwed onto the board. 

I did that on both sides of the board - to hold two mason jars. (I measured my first/top screw the same distance from the edge and the top of the board, so that the jars hung at the same height.)
These are wide mouth, 1 pint jars - 5 inches tall - and the board itself is 4.5 inches tall.  The jars hang off the bottom of the board a little. 

After that, I screwed a hook into the middle, and some hanging hardware onto the back (as usual I used the d-ring picture hangers.  They are screwed into the back of the board, and very secure.  I might ultimately prefer to screw the whole board itself into the wall though ... we'll see.  For now, this works great.)

And now, I don't have to go pawing through the shelves to find the brushes - or the hair ties!  I love it!

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