Thursday, July 5, 2012

These are the moments...

Some moments in life seem like they are a gift straight from heaven. You know, those magical times when everything around you stops and you are living in a moment that will be forever imprinted in your memory.

I experienced one of these moments on Sunday evening. The moon was full around 9 pm and my mom and Charlie and I were running in her backyard trying to catch fireflies! It was completely spontaneous and fun! It was incredible to watch my two year old son get so excited about these little tiny bugs that light up! His eyes were as bright as the moon as he studied God's little, tiny creature. It crawled up his little arm and as I watched him, I realized that these are the moments that are just a little bit sweeter. These are the moments that make every problem in the world go away. These are the moments that make me love being a mommy. These are the moments that I thank God for every day.

I hope that after reading this, you will find some of those sweet moments in life. They probably come more often than I realize. I just have to watch out for them and expect them more often!

Feel free to comment about any of your special moments that are imprinted in your memory.


BE INSPIRED.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome back, dear readers!


A Slice of Life


Hi to all of our readers and viewers!  I must apologize for not posting sooner but life has become a little crazy!  I am sure all of you know about that.   Sometimes life really gets in the way of other things we would like to do, doesn't it?  Just to catch everyone up on our little lives here I will give you the very short story of what has been keeping us so busy.
Valerie has had another beautiful baby, a little girl named Maeve.  She is so pretty and precious and obviously the apple of her grandmother's eye (mwah!)  We are so totally blessed to now have 4 little grandchildren all under the age of 3 and the good news is that we are also going to have another grandchild at the end of January because our other daughter, Julia, is also expecting again!  I would never have thought that I would have 5 grandchildren in such a short period of time.  Moreover, I never thought I would have 5 grandchildren!!!  Now, some of you know that I am an only child so this is thrilling for me.  So I got to thinking and here is what God told me about this...He said that I might be an only but I was NOT going to be lonely!  I think He has a plan, don't you? 
On the flip side, my Mom has moved into an assisted living facility because I was caring for her and it became too much to handle.  This was a very emotional decision but one I am so glad we made because now I can see it was definitely the right decision for our family and for her.  She has lots of new people to talk to and activities to do and I now can resume my life and see my grandchildren and be daughter to my Mom, rather than a caretaker.  Through all of this there were some very nerve wracking moments and I want to share with you a verse I memorized that really helps me get through all the difficult times in my life lately.  It is from the Bible, Phillipians 4:6-7
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  After just saying that verse, I know that I can relax.  Have you heard the saying, "let go and let God."  Well, that about sums it up for me.  I hope this verse inspires you and perhaps you will memorize it, too, and be inspired to trust God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind.  And then...RELAX.  You will see, it works! 
On top of all of the above, we decided to adopt a very cute little puppy!  I know, you are probably saying I am crazy but it also was a great decision!  Our good friends, Nancy and Mario's dog was pregnant and they have bred a beautiful little pup for us(and for 5 others, there were 6 in the litter.)  We took the only male and named him Leo. He will stay small and he is a joy.  He adds a lot of life to our otherwise quiet home(when the grandkids are not jumping all over the place! lol) 
Sooooo, my dear friends, I hope that explains why we have been a little on the slow side to post to our blog. 
Valerie and I have lots of new ideas to share with you and I hope you will continue to follow us and see where we take you inspirationally!  Please let us know what you have been doing and send us a message on our blog.  We will respond in kind and continue to try to inspire!  Until we blog again.....smiles and hugs. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dollhouses of the Past Exhibit



Most recently, I am honored to showcase three watercolor paintings in my very first art show! This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the "Dollhouses of the Past" Exhibit at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove Musesum. What is so special about this exhibit is what the chairwoman is doing with these little dollhouses. They are each being turned into multi-level Artist Galleries featuring original 'miniature' artwork. Each artist that submits 3-4 pieces of work will have their own 'gallery' named after them!

These minis are only 2"x 2" square and were so much fun to make. The choice of medium we had was watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink or sculpture. I chose watercolor as this is a fairly new and challenging medium to me. I am an artist at heart who specializes in graphic design but wanted to spread my wings and see what I could come up with.  I have taken a few watercolor classes with some well accomplished artists and have dabbled in it on my own. I hope you enjoy these three mini creations!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Hand" Made Turkeys

These "Hand" Made Turkeys are a hit! They are the perfect little craft that captures your little one's hands as they act as the turkey's feathers! Grandparents love these little novelty gifts from their grandchildren! A perfect gift for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Find some of your favorite scrap paper and trace your preschooler's hand three times. I used the right and the left hand to create a varied feather so that they were all not facing the same way on the turkey. Cut out.

Collect pinecones for the body, canned veggie lids for the base of the project, googly eyes and felt for the beak.

Glue all of the materials on using a glue gun or any tacky glue that you have at home!

I think this craft was even more fun for mommy than Charlie!



BE INSPIRED!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Activities to do with your Preschooler in the Cooler Weather

Felt Pumpkins Cutout Project
Now that the weather is getting more brisk, we aren't spending as much time outside, which got me thinking about what creative things I can do with my toddler inside the house. This first idea came from my mom. It is the felt pumpkin cutouts project. Using a few selected pieces of felt, cut out (freeform) the shape of "five little pumpkins." Along with that, cut out some triangles for eyes, shapes for mouths, and a bunch of stems. Let your toddler be creative in designing his very own pumpkin faces.

We sing the song "5 Little Pumpkins" to go along with this activity (see below)! Charlie just loves it and it keeps him quite busy as he rearranges all of the faces and sings along. I use my microfiber couch as a makeshift felt board, which seems to work out very well until I have time to make a real one! This activity can be altered for any holiday or season by just cutting out a turkey with some colorful felt feathers for Thanksgiving or a giant felt Christmas tree for Christmas with some felt ball ornaments and so on.

"5 Little Pumpkins"
5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one says, 'oh, my it's getting late!'
The second one says, 'there's witches in the air!'
The third one says, 'well, I don't care!'
The fourth one says, 'let's run and run and run!'
The fifth one says, 'I just want to have some fun!'

Whoosh, went the wind and OUT went the lights and the 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight!


Idea number two was born one day when we were taking a walk outside. It was a bit chilly and I was ready to go in but Charlie wanted to play in this shallow dirt on the sidewalk with his finger and a stick. I was wondering how I could re make a similar situation inside. So, I got out my big cooking mat and a scoop of flour. I let him touch it and draw designs in it at first. I asked him what it felt like and we did a mini lesson there! Then, we got out our Thomas trains and covered them in "snow!" My goodness, he loved this!!! It kept us busy for about an hour! Yes, it was a big mess afterward but we even got to give the trains a bath afterward, which I think he also enjoyed. **Note: vacuuming required.

This last one, is one of my favorites! An art teacher at heart, I reached for my cut up cardboard in the recycling bin and some paint that I had around the house and let my artist in training go for it! The cardboard is sturdy and is different than your everyday paper, which makes it a a nice new experience for your little one!

I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you on those not-so sunny, warm days. I am sure they will bring a big sunny smile to you and your little one as you spend some quality time together having fun!


BE INSPIRED!

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Own Twisted Frosty


Blame it on a pregnancy craving! I got into the car and headed to Wendy's (a place I rarely frequent) to get what baby was crying out for...a Twisted Frosty!!! To my ultimate dismay, they don't make them anymore. The yummy, almost melted, yet still icy chocolate ice cream mixed in with bits and pieces of frozen M&Ms was no longer a menu item! Ahhhhh! What a let down.

What else could I do?? I headed over to QuickCheck because nothing was going to stop this mama from satiating such a craving. I picked up some chocolate and vanilla ice cream, a small bag of M&Ms and a couple Reese's cups for the hubby!

I reached up for my Cuisinart emulsion blender (thank you, Jill, for that great gift) put a few scoops of ice cream into the cup with a bit of milk, poured in my candy and voila! Made my own!!! I know I am bragging about the M&Ms but I had to take care of the hubby first and he loves the Reese's. That is why you see them featured in all of my pics!



So, if you are a Twisted Frosty lover and can't get your fix at Wendy's anymore, you can make your own!

Hope you enjoy!

BE INSPIRED!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkins for you to make

 


Here are the cutest little pumpkins you can make in a jiffy!  Make a few for yourself and a few to give away.  I had some of my friends come over and we made them together.  You will see us in action in the photos posted.  I wanted to share this idea with you because they are so simple and really look nice.  I am putting several of mine together in a nice old wooden bowl on my dining room table.  These pumpkins are sure to get you into the Fall spirit. I made a few for each of my daughters and they loved them!  Let me know how you do and add a comment about your experiences.  Enjoy the process!

Directions for pumpkins:
1.  Find some suitable fabrics to use - soft, fall colored fabrics or get bold and use some crazier fabrics or recycle some old clothes you no longer need or that have some special significance.

2.  Gather together your nested bowl sets for the templates for the circles, some heavy duty thread (doubled on your large needle and knotted), scissors for cutting, some old branches off a fallen tree(I cut mine to size on my husband's band saw - use with care!), some miscellaneous silk leaves, acorns you find on the ground, fiberfill, buttons(optional), dried beans, rice or small stones, glue gun, glue sticks.

 

3.  Choose the size bowl you want and lay on top of fabric and trace circle with a permanent marker.

4.  Cut out circle.
5.  Sew a running stitch around the perimeter of the circle you cut out about 1/4 inch in from the edge.

6.  Add some dried beans or stones to the bottom of the gathered circle.

7.  Add fiberfill to fill out your pumpkin.

8.  Gather your circle to make the pumpkin shape, checking to make the gathered opening a wee bit smaller than the diameter of the width of your twig.  Knot so the gathering does not come undone.

9.  If you wish, you can sew a small button at the bottom of your pumpkin, inserting the needle in the top near the gathered edges in the center and go through the fiberfill, through one side of the button and then back up through the other side of the button and back up through the beans and fiberfill.  Gather slightly so the pumpkin has a "squished" look and knot the thread at the top of the gathered edge.
 

10.  Using your glue gun, put hot glue in the small opening at the top of your pumpkin and insert the twig you are using for your stem.  Hold in place for several minutes until the glue is cool to the touch.

11.  Hot glue leaves and acorns on the upper part near the stem.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Pregnancy Fairy

Hi Blog Friends!

It's been a couple (well more...) weeks since I posted.  We recently found out we are expecting our second child and I have been feeling very blah to say the least! Throughout all of the nausea and headaches, etc., which I am sure a lot of you are familiar with, I came up with an idea!

The Pregnancy Fairy is my new little idea to perk up your pregnant mom friend. She (The Pregnancy Fairy) delivers a package of pregnancy goodies to newly expectant moms. This package would include a box of gingerale, junior mints, preggie pops and peppermint tea! All of these goodies are just about all I could stomach when I was feeling extra yucky, well including pizza! Pizza always puts a smile on my face, especially when I am pregnant!

Wrap all of these goodies up in cellophane, tie on a little raffia, print out the image below, attach and deliver!



P.S. The image above is from the Graphics Fairy, who is one of my favorite blogs! I added the text and voila! You should definitely visit her!

BE INSPIRED!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Charcoal Pizza

For a most delicious homemade Margherita Pizza, try cooking it on your charcoal grill! It was a really great summertime treat enjoyed by all!

I made my own dough with my breadmaker, however, you can run to your local food store and buy a pre-made dough! Add your favorite pizza sauce, sliced mozzarella and sprinkle on some chopped basil and drizzle with olive oil! Remember to get the kids involved in this fun dinner prep! Below is a photo of our raw pizza getting ready to be put on the grill.
Our raw pizza before the grill.


Our delicious pizza cooking on the charcoal grill.
The photo above shows our pizza cooking on the charcoal grill. Be sure to put tin foil under the pizza so the bottom doesn't burn. I also added some cornmeal to the base of the pizza to prevent sticking. Cook until the cheese is melted.

Slice and enjoy! I know you will thoroughly enjoy!


BE INSPIRED!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Seashell Wreath and More!



I was putting things away in my basement when a completely spontaneous project crept up on me. I found a wreath that has been laying around for a few years now that was just looking for some "dolling up!" I immediately thought of my box of seashells and bin of vintage jewelry, both of which I acquired from freecycle.org. (P.S. this is a great site for local free stuff). My favorite part was adding jewelry to the wreath! How fun is that? Check out the image above...can you spot it all? There are four pieces in this shot.

Who really wants to clean anyway, when there is a craft project at hand???
Take a look at what conspired. I added another photo at the end of the post to show you what else I did with the leftover seashells.

My lovely wreath and FREE box of seashells!

My FREE box of vintage jewelry!

The finished product!

A detail. Notice the awesome vintage jewelry that is tucked away.


This is what I did with my leftover seashells.
BE INSPIRED!

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Antiqued, Silver Table



The antiqued, silver table project was born one evening when my mom and I were sitting in my living room dreaming up ways to update my living room decor. Whenever I am in need of some inspiration, she is always one to light the spark in me (or should I say under me). As I was doing this table project, I was thinking about all kinds of things to write about in this post. I was contemplating whether or not I am an idea person or rather one who likes to execute the idea. Sometimes, when you are surrounded by the same four walls, it is hard to come up with fresh ideas unless you ask someone you trust for their opinion (that's where my Mom comes in). Do you find yourself to be an idea person or more of an executioner of the ideas that you see around you?  Perhaps the reason I love the notion of blogs is because there are so many ideas that I can make my own out there!

So, to continue on about the antiqued, silver table...my husband and I repainted our living-dining room to a really beautiful slate color, which lies somewhere in between a chalky blue and gray family. I purchased valances, panels and rods from Lowes and added a few other touches. The antiqued, silver table emerged from the idea of adding pewter accents around the room.

The evening before starting my project I was browsing the Better Homes and Gardens website, which I LOVE! I think it is by far, one of the best decorating/crafty idea sites out there! To my surprise, (well, not really!) Mom was right on target with creating pewter table accents as I ran across this Better Homes and Gardens page, which features silvery mirrored tables. I thought about adding mirrors to my table but in turn, I kept it simple.

Here is a look at how my table emerged from a black-weathered, worn looking table to a table for the tin man, if you will (as per my hubby prior to being antiqued-sorry I forgot to take a photo at this stage) to the elegant antiqued silver table that now sits proudly in my living room. Overall, I would estimate this project at about 5 hours and well, as for cost, I found the table in the trash and the rest of the materials ran about $25.

Just one more tip, if you are going to be the one spray painting. My pointer finger lost feeling from the duration of spray painting yesterday. The feeling is finally starting to come back but I could barely even write yesterday due to the injury. I would advise on buying a trigger that you can put on the can rather than hurting your finger pressing down the nozzle.

Before.

Always wear a mask, gloves and spray in a well-ventilated area.
Here I have Rustoleum Aluminum for the base coat and a
Clear Satin Finish, which I used as my very last step to finish the project.

Protecting the grass!

Valspar Antiquing Glaze is what I used as my Antiquing Medium.


Here is a detail of the finished table.


Here is my finished table in the living room already being loved!

I absolutely LOVE how this project turned out. I am even considering this antiquing technique for a larger piece that I have in my bedroom.


BE INSPIRED!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watercolor painting demo

We would like to re-post this article due to the requests for the video. It seems to be working fine as of now. Scroll down to watch the video. Please enjoy.


As we anxiously awaited my grandchild's arrival today, my daughter Valerie and I decided to create a longer lasting bouquet of flowers to commemorate the baby's birth. See below what we created and the stages in which we created it. We have also included a short video of part of the process, which you will see below. It was a great time to share some of the skills I teach to other aspiring artists and share them with my daughter Valerie. We hope you enjoy our painting. Stay posted for an upcoming online shop on our blog which will offer our work for sale.

The Process:





Part of the Process:

  video

BE INSPIRED!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cereal Coupons and Crafty Cereal Ideas!

 


Today, I am going to share a link where you can get printable cereal coupons. Without coupons or a sale, you can really rack up quite a bill with just a few of your favorite boxes! For those of you who favor Post, you can find Post cereal coupons here.

Speaking of cereal, I did a fun, simple craft with my son, Charlie a few days ago. We got a length of string and a handful of Cheerios and put them together to make an edible necklace. He thought it was the greatest thing! It reminded me of candy necklaces but much healthier! 

When stringing the Cheerios, practice counting skills. Having preschoolers use their little fingers with a stringing activity also works on their fine motor skills, which are important for building up the muscles for writing and developing good hand-eye coordination. Developing this skill is generally good just for performing daily tasks in the life of your little one.

If you make this craft with your child, please monitor them with the string for the duration of making the craft and wearing the necklace. "Safety has no quitting time," as my hubby would say!


I would love to hear about what fun, crafty ideas you have involving cereal. Do you glue it on paper and create artwork out of it? Please do share. 

If you have any kid-friendly inspired cereal recipes, please comment below!  You can feel free to send me a photo of your works of art created from cereal or links to recipes using cereal at vwoods27@gmail.com and I will gladly post them to the blog so we can share with everyone else!

BE INSPIRED!

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