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Glancing Back and Looking Ahead

Friday, January 09, 2015

credit: juliet grace design

We're already 9 days into january and I'm just now looking ahead to the new year. I think it took me that long to recover from the holiday crazy goodness along with celebrating the 7 years we've had sweet jack, our new year's baby. Who has all of a sudden begun to think of himself as a teenager. Oh my. 

2014 brought with it many new things for me along with a good dose of humility and wisdom. There were some tears and cheers… and I'm already feeling stronger because of it. My shop took a few twist & turns and I'm still humbled and awed by it's success (thank you!). 

Here's a few highlights: 

Looking Ahead:
  • Working towards being mindful of each moment, each choice
  • Currently working on an updated, revised, and cooler edition of my ebook, Rise & Shine 
  • Planning new, typography related bags and pouches
  • Sketching out new sewing patterns to have up in the shop
  • Exploring opportunities in the education field & working with kids with disabilities again. 
  • Embracing my bravery because I think I'm going to need a lot of it. 

Happy wishes for a year filled with love, laughter, and joy! 


Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

papercut and image by camilla anchisi

Wishes for a peace & love filled day! 
xo, allisa

DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

Saturday, December 20, 2014

We whipped up this pretty ornaments just in time to hand out as teacher gifts. And can I just say I'm addicted and want to keep making more. I cleared out the Michael's glass ornament section, ordered from Amazon and still wish there were more glass globes to be had. 

In any case, these are one of the easiest, kid-friendly-est, and prettiest DIY Christmas gifts we've made in a long time. And since it's so easy, you can customize the colors for your gift list. 

I found this tutorial ages ago and made a few tweaks. Most of it is self explanatory really, get some glass clear ornaments, pop the top off, squirt the paint inside, swirl & swirl, and voila! 

Here's some tips we discovered: 
  • Use a thinner craft paint (Folk Art was good, Martha Stewart needed some watering down) otherwise the paint just sits in globs at the bottom and refuses to swirl
  • Add a touch of water to paint bottles & shake to mix if too thick, careful not too much water - the result is a milky paint 
  • Add paint one color at a time, swirl, and then add the next for a more distinct 'color block' effect (see Pink & Gold ornament) 
  • Add paint colors at same time for a marbleized effect (see Green & Aqua or Purple & Gray ornament)
  • When done swirling, set ornaments upside in dixie or plastic cups so excess paint can drip out. 
  • Check on the ornaments every 30 hour or so, as they may need a bit more of swirl as paint drips out
  • Let completely dry for 1-2 days

Happy making :) 

DIY Christmas Ornament Round Up

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

What I love most about the holiday season are the little surprises; unexpected gifts and spontaneous bouts of giving.  These are the times I cherish more than anything else. Growing up, my friend's mother made dozens of ornaments each year.  They were simple and sweet and hung on a special tree in their living room. She often enlisted our help and after hours of glue, seeds, sticks, ribbons, paint, clay, and patience  the entire tree was filled. Since I'm sure we weren't entirely helpful, this endeavor was a testament to her crafty dedication...and love. The really amazing part was that each ornament was made to be given. A surprise present to whomever crossed their door and sometimes to others in community who needed a bit of cheer. The mailman, random friends, a lady from church, co-workers, the elderly neighbor - everyone left with one of these small gifts. Eventually, the tree was completely bare and even as a teenager I realized that this stood for an incredible amount of goodwill. 

Now, with two boys of my own I'm looking to create those similar feelings of joy and giving for them. I've gathered up a few simple tutorials for really lovelyornaments to make, keep, and give. 

Make Your Own Clay Ornaments by A Beautiful Mess
Etched Birch Ornaments by Design Mom
Burlap Stamped Ornaments by Bliss Bloom Blog

Monogram Ornaments by A Pair of Pears


Thursday, November 27, 2014

This last week was supposed to be filled with holiday preparations, busy mornings in the studio, trips into the city to watch my little man play soccer at the actual Timbers stadium, and baking up all sorts of goodies, including these chocolate truffles from the Minimalist Baker (those alone make for a great week). Instead, preschool germs got the best of me. A cold that no amount of tea, steam, or soup was able to beat. And I was just about ready to throw myself a pity party. 

And then the boys brought me cough drops. Unwrapped, sticky, and maybe even pre-licked a few times. But still so sweet. Mark made endless cups of tea and never once commented on my week old outfit of sweatshirts and leggings. That's really the very best a husband could do. 

I was reminded again just how lucky I am. For this and so much more….

  • like a healthy 6 year-old boy post-concussion
  • a 3 year-old who holds hands with his playmates and cheers them up when they run out of glitter (don't we all still need friends like this?)
  • the opportunity to continue my post-graduate coursework…and have a reason to use highlighters
  • friends who jump in to help with my homework, knowing that mama & research paper are hard to do at the same time
  • a little brother who never fails to surprise with his unending generosity
  • a house where the boys chase each other around the halls, build couch cushion forts, and booby traps on the stairs. I will miss this chaos someday. 
  • a husband who loves me even when I'm not very lovable
  • a thriving business with customers who have become friends

Cheers to everyone for a love-filled, happy Thanksgiving! 


Finding Inspiration - A Few of My Favorites

Monday, November 10, 2014

rachel marvin creative

Last week I read somewhere that you can rewire your brain for happiness by thinking upon three things that you're grateful for every day. I'm not sure if this is true (or even where I read it for that matter!) but lately I've been focusing on counting my blessings and being more mindful of what I have rather than what I'm hoping for. 

Three things I'm grateful for right now: 
1. cozy saturday mornings spent with my two little boys in our jammies
2. a house to call our home
3. when my oldest hops off the bus, sees me, and runs to give me a huge hug. The best

And I've found these beautiful hand lettered art prints to keep reminding me of all I have! 

wild field paper co. 

More motivation here on my inspirational quote board.

xo, allisa 

Beautiful Photographs for the Weekend

Friday, October 31, 2014

 I have the loveliest photographer to share with you. Her work is amazing and highlights the rustic, country beauty of Australia. But first….let me get to the winner from this week's giveaway. It's lucky #112, Jessy S!  Thank you for all of the entries, I really appreciate the feedback & support.

Now, back to the photographs. Aren't these stunning? They are taken by Karen Rosenlund. She has a beautiful blog and offers her prints for sale through her site. I don't think I could choose just one...

xo, allisa