Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year~

Are you ready for the new year?

I'm closing out 2012 completing some little chores: laundry, watering the plants and cleaning off the beater brush on the vacuum.  Oh, the glamour... but still indicative that we have transformed our house into a home over the past twelve months.

I'm happy to have figured out the prototype for this year's ♡ to ♡ Swap.  Some of last year's crafty resolutions have gone unrealized, but I'm grateful that family and friend time was increased as work balanced itself out.

I'm thawing chicken breasts so we can make The College Boy's chicken parmesan for dinner tonight.  I'm terribly proud of my babies, and grateful that they're finding their way.  A trip to Alaska  needs to be planned soon: this is the year I become the mother of a college graduate.

The last day of the year finds me enjoying how the snowflakes are getting bigger, fluffier and more abundant through the windows.


Though it can be a bore that some of my resolutions repeat themselves year after year, it's reassuring to me that so too do my hopes and wishes for my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and those joining us for another trip around the sun.  Please make good choices as you welcome 2013 in your own way.  Be generous with your kindness, thoughtful in your endeavors, considerate with your actions, and gentle on yourself as you navigate all of the adventures that the new year has in store for you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Twigs, Wood, Paper

... with a smear of Mod Podge and a dusting of glitter:

Last night I decided to add some sparkle to wooden clothespins to be used on some twiggy branches from my father in law's farm.  Working by twinkle lights, it was a simple project with results that are likely to go unnoticed by my family.

But *~I~* know the sparkle is there!

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Mod Podge, glitter (I decided to save the red for February), clothespins and some paper to catch the excess)...

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Coated pins, just waiting for...

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Where did I use the clips?

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Halfway down our stairs there is a landing, just wide enough for a small display table and some silk flowers.  I added the bare branches, which ended up looking like the perfect place for this year's Christmas cards:

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With today's sunshine, it's difficult to see the glitter.  This evening by candlelight though, our cards will have a bit of bling to them.

How do you display your holiday cards?



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blissful Lack of Hustle and Bustle

Today's snowstorm was a wonderful jolt for me.  The bracing winds seemed to blow away the gloom as they formed and smoothed snow drifts outside and painted our windows with glistening frost.  When the sun finally came out, the light that was reflected from every surface made finding a shadow anywhere nearly impossible.

It's about time.

After spending the day christening my Sorels, putting my truck into 4X High, and eating lunch with a special friend, it was nice to come home and retreat to the crafty nook:

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I'm playing with Mod Podge, glittering up some plain wooden clothespins so I can use them to hang our Christmas cards from twigs and branches on the landing of our staircase.

Mellow Christmas music is playing, otherwise it's quiet.  No noise from the t.v., no stomping feet, no ringing phone.  Occasionally I enjoy the hustle and bustle.  This year, I'm ready to putter, relax, and ignore the clock.

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Tomorrow morning, I'll be in one of those chairs, with my coffee.

Oh yes.




Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crafting through Grief

Have you ever made something you wish there weren't a need to create?

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My students are on Christmas break, but my colleagues and I return to work for several days this week.

We're to focus on collaboration and the Common Core but I know where our hearts and minds will be.

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Sandy Hook Elementary School's spirit colors are the same as my school's.  Though I had planned to make ornaments this weekend, my heart wasn't in it.

Tomorrow we return to work, honor the children, teachers and staff lost and the families and first responders that survive them, and likely review our own safety procedures before continuing on with the curricular business that is public education.

We'll cry, we'll hug, and we'll work.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Home for Christmas

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...on that couch, drinking coffee, listening to Christmas music.  Just another week and a half with students at school before winter break.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Storm Saturation

Yesterday was a dark and stormy... day.

Seriously.

Rainy weather, blinding flashes of lightning, booming thunder and howling wind continued on through the wee hours this morning, but once the sun came out, ~*pow*~, every autumn color popped:

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Leave it to the First Grader to find even more autumn goodness at the store:

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Tweak Here and There

When the First Grader and I were hunting for Halloween decor, we came across a cardstock jack-o-lantern/scarecrow, cheery-faced but with some fading, bends, and a hole:

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Produced by Hallmark, it probably decorated a classroom or bedroom each Halloween for a few years before finding its way to an antique mall.  For .75 cents, I wasn't worried about any additional damage we might do to it.

I used pennant-shaped punches (black glitter, of course!) and some orange B-O-O stickers to make it look like Mr. Jack was holding a banner:

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... and added some dovetailed ribbon to complete the effect:

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The hole in his hat had to be camouflaged:

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... and then a little twig broom and some fabric leaves finished it off:

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Much better, don't you think?

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Sure, I can cut triangles, but a paper punch is easier and faster to use- here's my favorite pennant-shaped punch- you might remember me using it for this project a few months back!




Monday, October 8, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's Been a Year

It's been a year since we moved into the "new-to-us" house, and I'm happy to report that over the past twelve months it has, in fact, become a ~home~.

The furniture rarely gets relocated now, the weekly housecleaning is routine, and this year, I was able to decorate for Halloween.  Having two children away living their lives as a college senior and a college freshman, it's The First Grader who now calls the shots on how we adjust our environment for the holidays.

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"Nothing scary, Mom" is what he dictated last weekend as we searched through antique malls and craft stores to round out our decor.  Jack-o-lanterns, sweet witches and silly-faced ghosts are as spooky as we'll be this year, though he did find the glittered skeleton acceptable for the entryway vignette

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*****

Free time has escaped me for months now, even over the summer when I was away from my classroom.  I've only been able to blog sporadically though I've been taking photo after photo with my camera, phone, and iPad.  I've reminded myself that the music, glue gun, paper and ribbon are downstairs just waiting for me in the crafty nook, but the chores, work, allergies and fatigue moved to the forefront long ago.  Slow on the uptake at times, I'm just now realizing that I'm going to have to be aggressive in prioritizing elements of my life to achieve balance.

Do you know how long it's been since I've had a good long talk full of laughter, sharing, listening, and unleashing?  TOO long.  With family in different time zones and friends juggling their own big events, the drive-by "Hi, just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you" posts on Facebook pages are about as connected as I've managed to be.  Though I enjoy the window-shopping-esque element in surfing Pinterest and reading status updates via Twitter and FB, real connections away from work have eluded me due to my own lack of initiative and time marching along with a drummer who seems to enjoy a persistent accelerando.

Does time get away from you?  Have you found yourself adrift lately?

*****


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh. Yes. I. Did.


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What's ~not~ to love in this autumn mix?

Whoppers.

Mini pretzels.

Peanut butter M&M candies.

Brach's candy corn and sweet candy pumpkins.

Smokehouse almonds.

Perhaps I'll bag and tag this nummy snack and send it off to Dear Daughter and The Roomate who have survived (thank goodness) their first month at college.

Or maybe I'll eat it all by myself and send them the recipe.

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Do you have a go-to snack-y type treat you love to make once the temperature starts to dip and the leaves begin to change color?


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crafty Weekend

This weekend I let the truck drive both me and The First Grader out of town toward craft and antique stores.  Not knowing what we'd find (but hoping for Halloween treasures), we explored all of two whopping places: Joann's and the Parkville Antique Mall.  Why only two?  Because they had ~everything~ we wanted:

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Once home, the urge to craft hit me like a ton of pumpkins, so out came the circle hole punch, some faux moss, twigs, ribbon, cardstock, paper, and glittery letter stickers:

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These little guys are just a smidge taller than a domino- so cute!

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What's a holiday without some bunting?

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What did you do this weekend?

Michaele


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Help!

Click on this link to be taken to my dear daughter's Dress Your Dorm Vera Bradley giveaway entry, and bookmark it so you can vote daily, through August 9! She was thrilled to make it into the Top 20, and at present is in 3rd place. She'd love to win a dorm room makeover as she starts school at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas this fall.

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You will *~not~* be required to sign up for any offers or share any information about yourself, thanks to Vera Bradley and Brickfish- way cool for a contest, don't you think?  If you're so inclined, look to the right of her entry, below the "vote for this entry" button and you'll see options to share the page on your own Facebook page, Pinterest, Twitter or other online social networking site.  

Your votes help greatly, but taking a few extra seconds to click and share really help bump her score up.

Thanks for all of your help!
Michaele

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bunting Bars

I have been having so much fun visiting all of this year's participants in Where Bloggers Create!  So many have shared inspiring photos, links, and stories, and many have already visited me here at Twigs and Tulle.

While card catalogs and inspiration boards are always handy for storage and display, it's been my bunting bars (oh yes, and the glorious green chair) that seem to have caught your eye:

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They're forty-five inches long (the bars extend to about fifty inches) and I have three against an eight or nine foot tall wall, though it's difficult to see the lowest bar since my chalkboard is in front of it. Dear Husband purchased the bars and wall mounts from Home Depot.

Draping bunting and banners over the bars keeps them from crumpling and the ties from becoming creased.  They're easy to see and grab as needed too.

*****

Did you know I also blog at Kindergarten's 3 R's?  I realized after posting there this morning that I had reached a milestone: my 800th blog post!

I'm crafting some birthday bunting as a giveaway item today (many kindergarten/elementary teachers have a special birthday display in their classrooms) to thank all of my readers~ the giveaway post will appear tomorrow.  Feel free to visit me there (invite your friends!) on July 18, 2012 to enter.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where Bloggers Create 2012

Hello there and welcome to Twigs and Tulle!  I'm so glad you dropped by to visit my creative space, and am very appreciative that Karen Valentine of My Desert Cottage created this wonderful blog-hopping event for creative souls.

My name is Michaele ("My-kul," yes, "like the boy's name") and in addition to all of the things I've described myself as in my bio, I'm a crafter.  Having always been surrounded by people who make and do, from traditional arts and crafts such as needlework, knitting, crocheting, baking and cooking, it was only a matter of time before I tried working with new materials and tools, though initially I was more inclined to use them in my classroom with my kindergarten students.

Like my interests, my creative space has changed significantly over the years.  Being a military family, we've relocated from Alaska to New Mexico, Kansas and Texas with a return trip to Oz.  We've lived in military housing and in rentals, with the possibility of having a little extra space for my "hobbies" unpredictable with each move we made.  My first crafty nook consisted of a desk and set of bookshelves where I could read, sort through small materials, and introduce myself to the world of blogging.  I still had to take over the dining room table for any sizable project, and had to have it all cleaned and put away by dinnertime.

The next incarnation of my crafty nook was a space in front of the only two windows in the daylight basement of a rental property we moved into once we returned to Kansas.  Gifted with an old bedroom dresser and chest of drawers for storage, I tracked down a small table and chair, and was able to keep my mess away from my family and my family away from my mess, which worked wonders for me as I began to craft with paper.  Unfortunately, I was unable to keep Mother Nature's flood waters away from my creative space.

You read that correctly: our house flooded.  While my husband was deployed.  Oy.  Grateful we were safe, and thankful for the friends, volunteers and Army family who helped us, I tearfully bid my crafty nook and almost everything in it goodbye as we worked through salvage and clean up.  Though only material and replaceable items were lost, there was a part of me that mourned the items that I had created.  It was fellow crafters who reached out to me with their understanding, support and kindness, and with their help, my crafty nook was reborn.

You'll notice it's not really a nook but rather a room now (we've bought our dream home) and it's an assemblage of repurposed storage and furniture, gifted items and materials, each unmatched piece having its own story:

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Somerset publications fill my bookcase, and paper punches, art paper and fabric are stored in little bins below display boards:

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I can sit and relax with some coffee or tea:

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Next to my chair is a crafty tote filled with ribbon, lace, trim and buttons, materials I use regularly:

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My desktop certainly needs an upgrade now that I'm creating altered art with adopted ancestors!  I love to visit antique stores and sort through boxes of vintage photographs.

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I covered our tall metal file cabinet with Christmas wrapping paper to gussy up its surface.  It's an inspiration and reminder board all in one with knick knacks, cards and cd's stored above:

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My view from the file cabinet includes my craft table, stool, and desk organizer.  I love that so many of us have the same one... seriously, I should keep a tally of how many white wooden lazy Susan-type jobbies I find as I visit your studios!  My table sits in the middle of the room:

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...while many of my craft materials are stored in fabric totes and cubbies along the wall:

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What's in my repurposed card catalog?  Ribbon and glitter of course!

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I decorate pre-seasonally as it takes me time to make gifts and Etsy shop items, and I enjoy displaying ornaments and gifts received in swaps.  Who else is ready for Halloween in July?

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Keeping little treasures sorted yet accessible is easy with my cupcake holder, tea cups and votives:

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I tend to find interesting-to-me little items here and there, thimbles, toys, ornaments, etc., but it was Dear Husband who gave me the starts of my own Eskimo army:

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Bars keep my paper bunting neatly displayed until they're packaged and sent off to recipients:

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... and photo boxes and repurposed containers keep small bits of paper neatly sorted for projects:

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After a long week at work, my crafty nook is my retreat.  Instead of resembling a frothy confection, it's more, well, twigs and tulle.  It's filled with reminders of friends and family, visual and tactile inspiration, and the tools I use to capture happy sentiment full of color.  My collections keep me company, music sets my pace, and my hands and imagination are anything but idle.

Thank you for visiting, and do let me know where I can come to visit your creative space~

Michaele