Great Gift Idea: Adult Coloring Books

Earlier this year (way ahead of the trend), my best friend sent me one of my favorite gifts ever – an adult coloring book.

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Since then, I’ve seen them everywhere. They’re the entryway display at the craft store, they’re at farm potlucks, they’re at girl’s night. And they’re the perfect gift.

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Why? They give the person you care about an opportunity to indulge in personal time. When I first started coloring, it felt like a waste of time, like I could be doing something more productive. But adult coloring books made me conquer my Type-A personality and forced me to relax and just enjoy the passing of time. They helped me enjoy beauty and creativity without demanding a purpose or an end product. They’re definitely something I would never buy myself.

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Adult coloring books are pretty challenging, but they also encourage you to stretch your imagination and approach colors in a new way.

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Currently, I have two adult coloring books. The first one, The Secret Garden, is probably the most popular one out there and with good reason. Johanna Basford uses whimsical and complex illustrations to bring a joyous garden to life.

Sometimes the illustrations are a little too complex. I’ve never actually finished a complete page. But they’re still very fun.

I’ve also colored in her other book Enchanted Forest  and absolutely love it. It had unicorns in it!

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I also have the Creative Cats Coloring Book, of course. Creative Haven, the company who makes this book, also makes a few more. They’re certainly not as intricate or imaginative, but I like them all the same. It takes less time to complete one of these drawing and I wouldn’t say they’re strictly for adults. Mosaic Masterpieces is really fun and challenges you to get creative with color!

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These are the markers I bought to accompany my new hobby. They’re a nice quality and color for the price. The tips are shaped so you can color thin or thick lines and you get 100 colors!

If you’re struggling to find something for your creative loved ones, I’d definitely suggest these. Or, if you’re stressed out from the holidays, sit your butt down in front of a coloring book with a candle and some hot cocoa. It will absolutely calm you down.

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So do you have an adult coloring book yet? What do you think of them?

hanging yarn banner

I have historically categorized any type of wall art into categories like: “later,” “unnecessary,” and “not now.” When it comes to budgeting my time, money, and decision-making capacity, I can never commit. Even if it’s something cheap and small.

My homes throughout the years have suffered from a sad lack of art and decor. It stems from my minimalist and frugal tendencies,  but another part comes from the side of me that is loathe to pull any type of trigger.

In my mind, it goes something like this, “If I buy this piece unframed, I can save money by getting it framed locally. But where would I do that? I’d have to research this. How much money would I really save? God, this is turning into a lot  of work…” And the dialogue goes on until I decide I have other things I need to focus on. So I table this discussion another few months only to start it over.

I’m working on it. I really want art in my house. Until that happens,  I’ll continue to supplement my bare walls with interesting shelves, statement walls, and the few plants that manage to stay alive.

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I’ve seen a few of these yarn wall pieces floating around pinterest, and I thought, “why not?” I needed a reason to visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio by Union Square. I was pleased to find the quality of yarn was much higher than I expected and the prices were on the low side, which is a relief if you know what it’s like to try to find reasonably priced yarn in NYC.

I settled on these three colors.

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The gem of this batch was the light yarn with the gold leaf, which stays attached to the yarn quite well.

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I was so thrilled when I found it, when I took it home to Ryan, I showed him with pride, exclaiming how it matches our gold and white theme in the house.

To which he replied, “I didn’t know we had a gold and white theme.”

Doing a face-palm never felt  more appropriate.

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Hanging Wall Art Supplies

-3 different types of yarn. You won’t use a whole skein, so this is a good project for leftover yarn.
-2 two-feet wooden dowels
-Copper wire or twine for hanging

This project is pretty simple and fast. You’ll want to prep the yarn by cutting it into a lot of equal-length strings.

Grab the bottom dowel, and  taking the cut yarn, loop some knots working left to right. Continue making knots to the width that you prefer. I stopped in the middle to change colors, making sure the outer colors had the same amount of knots to keep the symmetry.

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Once you’ve completed the bottom row, do the same with the top row. I wanted my top row of yarn to have a smaller width, so I did fewer knots. Then I secured the two dowels together by tying them together with copper wire. You can also use string or twine for this step.

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Once they were attached, I took the scissors to it to try to even out the shape. It turned out nicely.Wall-Art-2

One of these days, I’ll get around to creating my own weaving to display on the wall. I’ve even taken a loom weaving class! But in the meantime, this piece adds a bit of texture and color to the room.

10 Easy DIY No-Carve Pumpkin Tutorials – A Roundup

No-Carve DIY Pumpkin Tutorials

The no-carve pumpkin roundups are always my favorite! I have been doing them every Halloween for the past four years! Each year I’m impressed and inspired by everyone’s creativity and talent at decorating gourds!

This roundup really went with my theme this year of gold, copper and white. Which one’s your favorite?

(from top left to right)

1. Gold stenciled – I love the black lacquer paint.
2. Copper striped – I have got to get my hands on that copper tape!
3. Tuxedo cat – need I say more?
4. Gold sequined polka dots – cheerful and lovely.
5. Stenciled doily  – creates an elegant pattern in no time.
6. Fox pumpkin – those ears!
7. String art – dreamy Ursa Major
8. Sharpie paint pen – a fast and fun decorating project
9. Argyle painted – a refreshing step away from the chevron fad
10. Glitter spray paint – because glitter makes everything better.

quick fall craft: star studded pumpkin

With everything that’s going on these days, I’m determined to keep the project time on crafts down to a minimum, or else I’ll have a bunch of half-finished crafts hanging around.

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This star-studded pumpkin took just a few minutes to make! You can customize it any way you like, and as added bonus, it was practically free to make. The foam pumpkin was left over from last year (but originally $1 from a dollar store). The spray paint was left over from this project.  And the brads were free at a craft swap!

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It was so refreshing to be able to wrap up a cute craft knowing I didn’t spend an entire afternoon and $50 on it, because we all know that can certainly happen.

You will need:
– Foam pumpkin (I bet a real one would work too!)
– spray paint (optional)
scrapbooking brads/paper fasteners

If you want to change the original color of the foam pumpkin, spray it with two coats of spray paint. Waiting 15 minutes in between coats. I did the dishes during this time and felt like a big champ.

After you’ve placed your final coat of paint on the pumpkin, wait another 15 minutes or so for it to dry. You want the pumpkin to be dry to the touch.

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Then get to poking! You can put as many or as few brads as you would like.

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Go ahead and customize your pumpkins by switching up the spray paint color and the type of brads. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Studded Pumpkin

dip candle workshop at the Brooklyn Brainery

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the dip candle workshop at the Brooklyn Brainery. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Brainery, it’s a Brooklyn gem that hosts all sorts of classes ranging from d.i.y., cooking, history lessons, financial education, and many other topics. They even taught me how to use my DSLR camera!

Dip Candle Workshop at the Brooklyn Brainery

The workshop itself was a lot of fun. Our fabulous teacher, Jessica Kaufman (above), was a pro at dip candles and she gave us the rundown. We learned a bit of history, technique, and how to make patterns with the wax.

After about ten minutes of introduction, we got right to work. The format of the class is engaging and hands-on. In two hours we received instruction and technique, then spent the rest of class socializing while dipping our candles. At the end of the class we walked away with a finished product and a new skill.

Dip candles are remarkably easy to make. If you’re at all interested, there are great tutorials on Youtube and the equipment costs are low. The basic process requires dipping a wick into a pot of melted wax in a double-boiler.

DIY Dip Candles

Wait a few seconds for the wax on your wick to cool slightly, then dip it back into the wax. You do this multiple times until you build the shape and pattern you’re looking for.

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They start off small, but eventually grow in size as you add more wax.

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At the end you walk away with absolutely unique tapered candles.

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What do you think? Is it something you’d try? If you’re in the New York area, be sure to check out the Brainery!

five great no-carve pumpkin ideas

There are only a few days left until Halloween. I haven’t had a lot of time to stop by a pumpkin patch, let alone carve a pumpkin, so this year, I might just pick up a sugar pumpkin at the grocery store (sigh). Luckily, there are some very cute no-carve ideas out there and some of these look like they only take a few minutes to make. Here are my top five (all with tutorials!).

No Carve Pumpkin Ideas

1. Button Pumpkins from Mom4Real
2. Donut Pumpkins from Studio DIY
3. Neon Ombre Pumpkins from Funky Time
4. Push Pin Pumpkins from A Subtle Revelry
5. Melted Crayon Pumpkins from The Swedish Records

What do you think? Aren’t they all so beautiful? Which one would you choose?

spooky halloween candle DIY

Halloween Candles

I snagged these candles at the dollar store and had serious plans to decorate them for Halloween. And how cute are they? I can’t stop smiling when I see them. Oh, and those fake leaves? Also from the dollar store. I felt like a rock star when I left. Cheap craft supplies and tacky photo props? Sign me up.

Supplies

Candle Supplies

This craft probably costs less than $6, if you’re buying all the supplies from scratch.

– dollar store candles, with labels peeled off. I used white for the ghost, orange for the pumpkin.
– high gloss black acrylic paint (or black nail polish)
– sharpie. I used the fine-tip for better detail.
– paint brush
– Q-tip for fixing mistakes. 

Use your sharpie to outline your shapes. Tip: You can use a wet Q-tip as an eraser. It will take the sharpie right off.

Here are my outlines. They’re not perfect, because I was going to paint over them anyway.

Jack O'Lantern Outline

Ghost Outline

Fill in the outlines with black paint. Make sure you don’t have a lot of paint on your brush when you’re trying to do edges and corners. It will make the fine detail much easier. You can also use Q-tips here to fix mistakes. I did two coats, letting it dry for 10 minutes between coats.

And you’re done!

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This whole craft took less than 20 minutes. It’s so fun to create something from start to finish in one sitting.  My original intention was to paint these using black nail polish, but I didn’t have any. I’d like to find a black candle and do something with white acrylic paint.

Spooky Halloween D.I.Y. Candles

I hope you have fun making these. You can do all sorts of designs, but I decided to keep it simple with the ghost and jack o’lantern. Let me know what you make.

kitties will puke on everything you love

A few of you have seen this already since I spoiled it with my instagram and twitter, but I still feel it warrants a post, because this needlework couldn’t be more relevant to my life, thanks to my kitty with an extremely sensitive stomach.

There are three cats living in our apartment. I’ve seen all three of them puke (this just got weird), but, really, the ultimate perpetrator is this guy.

You can tell by his pudgy stomach that he loves food and snuggles. (Although, I think the latter is often forced on him.) And he looks so cute when he cleans his face after gorging. You can guess what will happen next…

This pattern is from Craftster. It didn’t come with color codes, but here are the floss colors I used.

Black Text – DMC 310
Green Border – DMC 988
Light Pink Large Hearts – DMC 3326
Dark Pink Small Hearts DMC 309
Dark Grey Kitties – Presnica 8756 

I had no idea when I started this project (back in January) how well it would match my future apartment’s walls.

Ok, here’s the big reveal. I’ve been hiding this from you, dear readers. My walls are pink and green.

It’s the reason why you haven’t seen any apartment tours. I know they don’t look that bad (especially in this photo), but they are that bad. When we signed the lease, we thought we could deal with it, but now, three months in, we’re simply annoyed. My roommate and I aren’t exactly the best at interior decorating, and we can’t paint, so please let us know if you have any suggestions for decorating around this mess.

valentine’s day roundup

Now that I’m (sort of) unemployed and finally have all kinds of time to craft, I don’t seem to have the space, money, or supplies. Currently I’m in temporary housing and all of my crafting supplies are packed in a storage unit. Also, I haven’t happened upon a craft store yet, and I don’t think I’m braving the 18 degree weather today to find one.

Even still, I have been scouring the craft-loving internets for Valentine’s Day inspiration.

Horny for you

How perfect are these cookies? I just love animals with horns! This Etsy shop delivers by V-Day and there’s even a unicorn cookie!

I love this ombre paint chip wreath. This is a craft I can certainly make in the apartment I’m staying in and it probably cost less than $5.

Here’s another cheap and beautiful ombre d.i.y. made with paint chips. I’ve really got to get on the “paint chip craft” bandwagon.

This 3D fringe heart would make the best party decor. Right?

This Pom Pom Heart Wreath looks simple and quick to make. I wonder if it could work with cotton balls or home made pom poms.

And finally, show your friends you really do put your heart into your baking with this tutorial. How lovely are these cupcakes?

So, have you finished your Valentine’s Day crafts yet?

the weekender 1/10/2013

Watson in Bag

Hi folks! The weekender is back for the New Year. Today is my last day at work and I’ll be spending my weekend running around packing, getting the last bit of my horse riding in, and oh (!), getting a de-stress massage. What can I say? I know how to move to NYC, right?

I hope sometime this weekend I’ll have time to say my farewells to friends. I’m such a crier, though, I prefer to avoid goodbyes. Ryan says it’s just “until next time.”

In the meantime, I hope everyone gets a chance to look at these great links across the blogosphere. Next time you hear from me, I’ll be a New York City resident!

Are you getting ready for Valentine’s Day yet? This heart garland looks simple and sweet.

Why has it taken me so long to find this? Bleach pen + Leggings = Awesome.

Would you ever put crayons in your hot glue gun? You’d be surprised at the effect.

Where was this when my CSA couldn’t stop giving me beets? Make blush and lip balm out of crushed beets.

I’m dreaming of eating these egg rolls and this vegan polenta casserole.