Archive for the ‘Arts & Crafts’ Category

His First Coffee Mug   Leave a comment

So the week before last I took LA to a paint your own pottery location to create a mug for Steve for Father’s Day. Conveniently this also counted as my “something cool and unusual” for her because of my resolution (in case you were keeping track).

I figure he will get lots of crafts and probably lots of mugs but this will be his first.

When we first walked in I immediately panicked a bit inside because there were SO many breakable things in the ceramics store… go figure!

Of course, she immediately wanted to run around and play. This was SO not happening.

She helped me pick out a mug and the lady brought us our paint and we went to town. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like… good thing I’m flexible because it ended up looking totally different.

LA was happy to paint and switched from color to color. She saw me painting the bottom inside of the mug (which I was trying to do as prep for her to have a base to color on… this did not work) so she tried to do the same. The inside of his mug may even be more decorated than the outside.

She concentrated really hard on her artwork.

At one point though she saw some ceramic painted pumpkins. The child is obsessed with apples so naturally she assumed they were apples and had a mini meltdown because I am mean and would not let her have them.

(oh yeah, we aren’t perfect… we have tantrums because mama won’t let us eat ceramic pumpkins disguised as apples)

Thankfully a nice lady who works there saved the day by providing a cookie… crisis averted.

Her favorite part of the project was when I painted her hands and she got to do hand prints on the mug.

A very successful project for Daddy. He liked it.

By the way, I really wanted to post this earlier because I think it’s such a great idea for something to do with really little ones for gifts. But since my husband reads my blog I couldn’t risk it 😉

Also, for this past week I did keep my resolution for us both. Steve had a conference in Miami and we tagged along. For me I got to take a nap by the pool when LA did and enjoy room service. LA and I got to have nearly two days of just us, no distractions, no cleaning and no work. She also got to be the center of attention every time a hotel worker came around… seriously she was the belle of the ball so to speak and she loved it. I think she got totally used to the pampering even though we were only there two nights!
I got used to it… I’ve officially decided that we should be rich. I like room service and pool boys who bring me cool drinks and amazing views.

AND we made French Bread today from scratch… so this counts for LA because she got to make a bit of a mess (although she cried when she couldn’t get dough off her hands) and it counts for me because I am a bread a holic (although I cried a bit when she got dough in her hair and I couldn’t get it out!).
PS I am not seeking help for my addiction, it is too delicious.


Etsy Shop   Leave a comment

This was a rough week for our family. My mother got some bad news and we got some bad news… all around just rough. The nearly constant rain didn’t help alleviate the pervasive sense of doom and gloom.

I’ll be ready to talk about my bad news more, I probably need to but not yet.

What I did for me this week is to put aside the time to work on my Etsy shop and Facebook shop pages more! It’s been on my to do list forever!


So, without further ado I give you my Facebook Page for Mama Loves. I have the basic set up looking good. I have a few things listed in the wine category and the toddler clothing section. I’ve started asking people to “Like” me… it’s a start!

I also have my Etsy shop up for Mama Loves set up, but just for the wine glasses.  Since my sizing, cloth selection and pricing is still being finalized I didn’t want to list those items just yet. But they are coming!

While writing this I just realize I never did a post about my new sewing hobby. I just wanted to at least try to make a dress or two for LA. But I had lots of success and really enjoyed the process. I also enjoyed the control of choosing the fabric and the exact style I wanted. Not to mention the fact that a few people asked me to make things for them. One friend even paid me to make a replica of a tutu skirt that I gave to LA. Another friend requested something I had made as a gift for her son…. and it was fun!

I really enjoyed making the wine glasses so I was thinking I’d just open up a shop selling those. Since they are custom made I wouldn’t have to have inventory on hand. But so many people encouraged me to at least put a few toddler outfits or accessories together so I figured “why not?”

The only problem I had was that the shop name MamaLoves was already taken. But it wasn’t taken by someone using it, they have changed their name. However, Etsy sets it up so any original shop name is marked as “taken” so no one can steal former clients. It looks like the original user has not used the name in a long, looooooong time so I wrote Etsy. They said no.

So I can still be Mama Loves but my web address right now reads I cannot make it say MamaLoves there. I can make it say “AllMamaLoves, ” “MamaLovesBoutique” or “AngelicArt.” The last was originally going to be the name of the shop when I was planning on doing only glassware, no clothing.

Which one do you all like?

I am also really hopeful that I’ll get the time this weekend to try a new project of something I’d like to sell in the shops! I am excited about it. I’m also excited about the fact that I did a search on Etsy and there are not really any wine glasses quite like the ones I make. So, fingers crossed, it will go well!

Let me know of anything that you think I should offer in the shop that aren’t there yet. I have a plan to have little boy ties with matching shirt and hair bow for girls, or maybe a skirt and hair bow. I think the tutu I made is going to make the cut and up cycled shirts from Daddy’s old work shirts 🙂 I also thought I could do a matching toddler dress/top and Mama skirt like I did for us below.

Below I’ll post some pictures of things I have made for LA and you can let me know if anything strikes you as uniquely sell-able.


Princess Dress… First thing that I made for LA

Old Fashioned Dress- My second project

Up Cycled Dress

Up cycled dress progress

Tutu skirt

Tutu skirt and matching top

Matching toddler dress and Mama skirt

Little boy and baby ties

Oh! And even though it was a sad week I did not forget LA’s project. I just can’t show you what we did until after Father’s Day 😉



Gloop!!!   3 comments

When I was pregnant I signed up for nearly every pregnancy email update I could find. Every week I’d get like 7 “You are ____ weeks!” emails with fun facts about LA’s development and my personal countdown to motherhood.

I would forward the good ones on to Steve and my mom… it was fun. A little overboard in quantity but it made me smile.

I had no idea they would never end…. LA will be 18 years old and I have a feeling What to Expect When You’re Expecting will send me an email saying “Congratulations your baby is now 864 weeks old. This month they should be graduating and hopefully making plans for their future. You may have noticed a slight attitude change. Be prepared for some rebellion and possibly tears.”

I did try to unsubscribe myself to some but there are some persistent ones… luckily they are the good ones and they seem to have some good tips and games for toddlers. So I don’t mind them coming every week lol

Baby center is one that still appears but they reduced themselves down to monthly rather than weekly. When they come they also link to cool games or activities that are developmentally appropriate. Some have been cool and some have been lame.

When the one for gloop came back at her 19 month “birthday” I was super excited. It seemed like something we just HAD to try. We kept making plans to do it one evening but something always came up. So I figured it was a good place to start in my new resolution.

So I figured that since it was Saturday I better get hopping. Steve thought it sounded fun too so we had been holding off on doing it until we could be together as a family. Which works for you all because now you have pictures, would not have happened otherwise.

Let me just say first of all that you all (Even if your children are teeny babies, even if they are still “on the inside”, even if they exist only in your imagination) YOU MUST TRY THIS! It is awesome!

Also cheap… all you need is cornstarch, water, a big bowl and spoons. If you want to get all fancy like I did some food coloring is good.

Before we could even get started LA was quite happy playing with the giant spoon and water.

So all you do is mix a cup or two of cornstarch with water. There are no real measurements so you can’t mess up. LA enjoyed helping me mix.

This can get really messy (although it’s super easy to clean up) so I’d either head outside or put down newspapers for inside play.

The directions say that gloop is neither a solid nor a liquid, it has the properties of both and will “mesmerize your toddler- and probably you, too!”

So I stirred and added a bit more corn starch and then water. Just a tip, start with less water than you think you need… it will look like it’s not enough and then suddenly look like it’s more than you need.

(see messy)

At one point I thought, it’s kinda hard to mix I’ll just use my hands. That is when I discovered what gloop is… it is difficult to describe.

If you try to press down on it or grab it you will find it’s nearly solid and you can drum on it, tap it, or mold it. But as soon as you stop applying any pressure it reverts to liquid.

I was fascinated as you can see here…. LA was still interested in stirring.

If you lift it up high it will dribble out like liquid but you can see in this picture (sorta) how some of it is hanging more like a stalagmite from hands as it is still partially solid from my touch.

LA still stirring.

Steve was laughing at me by this point because I just found it so fascinating. The texture is nearly beyond description because it’s so unlike anything I’ve ever felt. And LA poked it with her spoon.

You can see texture here a bit more. LA started to be interested in this stuff finally.

Stuck her hand in a bit… you can see on her face she’s not quite sure. And then….

We got this reaction….lol

And she started trying to clean her hands. I probably should have guessed… if she had her way she’d wash her hands 15 times in a row. She generally doesn’t mind dirt (and trust me she gets dirty) but sticky things don’t seem to excite her.

And we moved back to the spoon.

So since she was uninterested I started experimenting more.

You can roll it into a solid, hard ball…

and when I let go…

I didn’t want to be selfish and hog the gloop so I let Steve have a go. You can see how interested LA is at this point…

You can really see the texture here…

You can kinda see how when he runs his hands over it then it becomes hard…..

LA still more interested in spoon and water.

Even though it certainly wasn’t fascinating to LA (yet) she had fun mixing it and playing in the water.  We all played with it as a family and had a good time. She was close to naptime so maybe it was just too much… or she wasn’t in the mood. Who knows but it was well worth it. And as craft/activity goes it was super cheap. We didn’t even use up our whole container of cornstarch and they are only a couple bucks.

PLUS… mom bonus… it was SO easy to clean up. We just dumped water in and it reverted to water. Our hands rinsed clean without even soap.

I would definitely recommend you try this… even if your kids don’t love it (and honestly I think most kids would… especially older ones) you will  love it. And it’s cheap and easy to clean up… win win win

So yup… here she has totally abandoned any pretense of playing with gloop. She asked her Daddy to turn on the bubbles and has headed to the sand box. I’m still playing with it… don’t judge me until you’ve tried it. It is amazing!
Btw… it says it’s good for 19 months but older and younger kids would enjoy too. LA is 21 months old now. Also says that it’s good for fine motor skills and language.


The Whimsical Twist?   6 comments

For my first “me” resolution week I decided to tackle my hair. For most of my life I’ve had really long hair. Two or three years ago (I can’t remember lol) I cut it shorter, about shoulder length and last spring I cut it even shorter just for a change. Sometimes I think I’d like to do a messy bob but I’m not there yet.

Right now my hair is back to about the bottom of my shoulder blades. I like that with the shorter hair it’s quicker and easy to do some styling….

Side note… before having LA my hair was wavy and I could “scrunch” it into a pretty good curl/wave. I had just come to peace with my hair and decided I liked the versatility of having curly hair, wavy hair or straight. Then LA was born and it lost the ability… now it’s just minor-ly wavy. Sigh, you never appreciate something until it’s gone. Anyway….

I like I have more options with ponytails etc for the longer. However, I don’t know how to do some of the cool things I’d love to do. So again on Pinterest I have a board of tutorials for some cool things to do with hair. I found this neat tutorial for a loose, romantic French Twist. I figured this was a good easy thing to start with since I do already know how to do a regular French Twist.

I had some extra time before my friend was picking LA and me up for the mall and I figured I’d give it a go. I followed the directions, even busting out the dusty mouse and hairspray from under my cabinet.

It took a couple tries but I got it up and starting sticking bobby pins in there. I was even feeling all snazzy when I realized I had some pretty ones with sparkly stones on top. Then sprayed the heck out of my hair.

It wasn’t perfect, but that was the point, right? All whimsical and messy…. tried to take some pictures of it.

This was taken right afterwards….I need to learn how to take better picture of the back of my head.

I was relatively happy with it. But then as time went on I could feel it falling…. it felt heavy and in weird shapes. I knew messy (aka whimsical) was the thing so I was trying to go with it. I went and got more bobby pins and pinned away. I know my hair is heavy… really heavy, whenever I had it done for prom or what not they always used a ton of bobby pins because it’s baby fine and heavy (did I mention heavy?)

So about an hour later it seriously felt like it was falling and looked like this….

From one angle not so bad, the other looks like it’s falling out.
btw… when I was doing all this LA was doing this….

About twenty minutes after that my friend arrived to pick us up for mall and it looked like this (she is much better at taking pictures lol)

In her words it looked kinda cool and a bit Victorian… but definitely like it was falling out.

So I put my hair in a pony tail and did a normal french twist with my cool bobby pins. I can’t fault the tutorial, the lady says it’s hard to master and I know my hair slips out of things and falls, it’s wily escaping hair apparently.

I’ll try again… but I enjoyed the attempt! lol If it worked it would look cool!

Posted June 2, 2012 by etainl in Arts & Crafts, Life, Mommy-hood, Stay at Home Mom

I wanna be THIS mom!   7 comments

Every so often I’m searching the web, or lately Pinterest, and I see a blog belonging to a mom I totally envy. She is just SO cool! Her site makes it look like every day her children wake up to a perfect nutritious breakfast followed by a day of stimulating age appropriate activities. Of course they will then have a nutritional lunch and a perfectly timed, restful nap. Then some other educational outing only to come home to another delicious toddler friendly meal, bath and bed. Sigh…. this is no mompetition, this is mom envy.

I wanna be that mom. If I had a full time housekeeper, personal shopper and no part time job or outside interests I could probably pull it off! Alas, real life sets in. I do have to work, clean my house and I think it’s probably healthy that I do the occasional thing for myself, not to mention my husband. But I still wanna be that perfect mom.

And sometimes I feel like I’ve dropped the ball. I know in my head I’ll be pretty cool with the crafts, story telling and awesome art ideas when she gets a little older. She’s probably just still a little young to learn hieroglyphics or make paper. But then I’ll see these awesome posts about things to do with your 8 month old, 1 year old or 18 month and I think “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Don’t get me wrong, we do cool stuff. I’m really good at finding really fun outings and fun places to go. I let her run all over and explore. I don’t mind her getting dirty… I’m cool like that. But I feel like I could be doing more sensory and creative play at home. I just sometimes get so wrapped up in my “to do” list that when we are home I don’t think outside of the box of what she could be doing besides the usual.

The other week I was really desperate… I needed 20 minutes to finish something for work. LA was getting bored and I just wanted to be done so I could play with her and start dinner. So I grabbed a muffin pan, put a towel down and filled cups with some water and her Elmo foam soap. Then I gave her a spoon and straw and her her go at it.

She had a blast!

… and bonus was I got done AND got dinner started before she was bored with the activity. I even had time to sit down and play too!

SO with that in mind I’m making two resolutions (I know it’s late for them but I can do what I want!), the other resolution will be in another blog.

This resolution is that every week I will do at least ONE cool toddler activity like the ones on Pinterest or my favorite Mom Envy blogs.

Here is the link to my Pinterest board where I’ve been posting ideas in case you want some for yourself. Also, here are some blogs I love Lasso the Moon, Play Create and Explore, and Play At Home Mom.

I’ll then blog about how it went and if it worked.

With this in mind I already let her help “wash the dishes”… We really need a learning tower but she basically played with bubbles and water while I did the real dishes. I gave her a cookie sheet to scrub but she wasn’t interested… she did have a blast and I got the kitchen clean. I’m liking this idea already 🙂

PS that is the first outfit she’s every demanded to wear. Normally she only cares about her accessories…. but that day she wanted to wear her swimsuit/gym outfit 🙂

….pss if a week goes by without a post I need you all to nag me. Seriously… I need naggers 🙂

Handmade Christmas successes- Coasters   3 comments

So another project that I felt turned out well was homemade coasters.

I purchased white tiles from home depot for 10 cents a piece (I think!). I made coaster sets of four.

I also had to buy Modge Podge, acrylic sealant and regular glue…. this was the most expensive part. If you are planning on making one set of coasters (as I originally was) this is not cost effective. If you will use these things or will make lots of coasters (or use them for future projects) than it is 🙂

Then you need fun paper. You can use anything. I happened to use some cool scrapbook paper I had. You could even use family pictures which is fun!

You need to cut the paper until it is slightly smaller than the top of your coaster.

Then you paint on a layer of modge podge and set the paper in the center of the tile. Paint another thin layer on top and let it dry.

repeat this 2-4 times or until you feel it’s firmly “on”…. The modge podge will dry clear not to worry.

When you are done and they are dry you need to spray them with the acrylic sealant… this will make them waterproof, and effective coasters 😉

I took mine outside to do this and I did several layers as well.

Next you cut out felt and glue it to the bottom… voila!

I failed to take completed pictures but you can get the general idea I think.
I was pleased with them, those who received them as gifts seemed to like them. My only complaint was even though I let them thoroughly dry the felt seemed to stick to the coaster underneath when you stacked them….
But they were cute 🙂

Handmade Christmas successes- wine glasses!   3 comments

I saw this idea on pinterest and just loved it. The idea is you take wine glasses and basically bedazzle them. Steve says I should not call it bedazzling because it brings up tasteless 80’s references… and he’s right. But it is the most accurate term I can think of.

I bought the glasses at the dollar store and I collected the beads and stones from various sales. The best being the Borders going out of business sale. I also bought some tinier beads at Joanns and I had some on hand from some old project or another.

You need glass sealant. The kind from home depot used for aquariums is waterproof and dishwasher proof (reportedly, I have not tried it although I feel I will have to).

For this first set I used black, frosted and clear stones. Some small pearl and black faceted beads as well as some metal rolling, rivet style beads.

You definitely need rubber gloves and a protected base for working.

Next you take the acrylic and mush it all over the bottom of the wine glass and then apply the beads and stones in any pattern you like. I started with the large ones and then worked my way down in size filling in spots, using the tiny ones last. A toothpick was very helpful to get them in nooks and crannies.


I was and am… very pleased with how they turned out. These pictures don’t even really do them justice. They did take nearly a half an hour per glass to complete, so not a quick thing.

I made a couple black sets like this, one blue set for my mom, a green set, an amber set. My grandmother gave me some vintage wine glasses that are petite in size…. I bedazzled those and they look adorable. A few people got them as gifts.

Now here is the thing… I’m actually thinking of opening an Etsy shop selling these as well as other things. I read once that to make money on Etsy you have to be selling something that no one else is making. So I did an Etsy search and there is one mosaic glass seller, she takes teeny tiny pieces of glass and does mosaic, very pretty. But not the same.

The great thing is I could make them special order so I wouldn’t have to have sets of glass piling up everywhere and the possibilities are endless. I could bedazzle the whole glass with pink or sparkles for bachelorette parties etc.

So I think I’m going to do it…. the question is what should I call my shop? Steve suggested Wine by the Glass. Which I think is adorable, but it does limit me to the wine glasses. My mom thought Art by Angel, which I like as well. Any thoughts?

Also, can someone come up with a better, classier term than bedazzling lol?

PS my brother is going to take some fabulous proper pictures of the set

Posted March 4, 2012 by etainl in Arts & Crafts, Cutting Costs, How To, Stay at Home Mom