Tag Archives: arts and crafts

5 Tips For Creating The Perfect Jack-O-Lantern

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5 Tips For Creating The Perfect Jack-O-Lantern

Before we visit a pumpkin patch or farm, we might want to brush up on our pumpkin decorating skills. A well decorated front yard for Halloween is a joy for children and adults alike so why not go all out? If you are looking for an activity that extends beyond choosing a pumpkin and decorating it, which will happen too, then click here. Let’s get started:

Select the Right Pumpkin:

A thorough inspection of the pumpkin should include checking for soft spots. This is to make sure that you do not end up choosing a pumpkin that has already begun to spoil. Also avoid pumpkins with deep ridges and go for a smooth-surfaced one. At pumpkin farms, there will be plenty of choices as opposed to you trying to pick the best among limited options within a grocery store, when customers have already bought the best ones.

The design that you have in mind should also dictate the pumpkin that you choose. In other words, do you need a short and round pumpkin or one that is skinnier and taller in terms of its shape? Know in advance what you are looking for.

Prepare Your Design Before Applying to the Pumpkin:

Draw out your design and then use tracing paper to transfer it onto the pumpkin. This can be a design that you have approved yourself or that has been checked with someone else first. However, it is nice to surprise people by not showing them your design until it is carved on your finished pumpkin.

With your design, think beyond just a traditional triangular face and consider creating other Halloween symbols such as bats, stars, or moons. More adventurous still, you could attempt a graveyard scene or a spooky forest. If designing your pumpkin further down the line, perhaps at Thanksgiving in November, then think about alternative creations of say puppies, cats, or rabbits. Children tend to prefer animals because of their familiarity and the cute factor.

Know How to Hold Your Pumpkin:

It is a good idea to hold the pumpkin in your lap as you are carving it. This is the most supportive and safest way to carve a pumpkin. Have the right equipment of a serrated kitchen knife for the main carving and a small saw for the more intricate parts of the design.

Consider Shaving:

We are not talking shaving your legs or facial hair, but the alternative of not cutting right through the pumpkin with every stroke. Instead, sometimes deciding to just scrape pieces of pumpkin away to allow just enough light to glow through your open-design creations. It is always important to be patient when creating any pumpkin design. The best designs have taken much thought and a good deal of carving, and your other technique of shaving should make for a design that is more dynamic than it might otherwise have been.

Incorporating Scraps Within the Design:

Do not waste anything because you can incorporate your scraps or discarded pieces of pumpkin within your design. The ones that you do not intend to cook, that is. For example, you could make hair, a tongue, a pipe, or a chimney from these spare pieces. This will make your pumpkin into more of a character with a personality, a more sophisticated structure, or make it more three dimensional in form. You can be as artistic as you like, creating something for your pumpkin that merely started as a basic idea on paper. Think as creatively about your scraps as you do about the main part of your creation.

Turn your ordinary pumpkin into something extraordinary with the tips above and you will delight your whole neighborhood with your creation!

Self Care Hobbies That Can Be Done From Home

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Self Care Hobbies That Can Be Done From Home

Hobbies that can be done from home are so much more likely to be practiced often. And if they are much more likely to happen, then it can be such a good thing for your self care and mental health. Looking after yourself and finding something that you love to do, outside of work or school is important. So with that in mind, here are some hobbies that you can try from home to help you relax. Which are you going to try first?

Knitting:

Knitting is a wonderful hobby to try. The reason being, is that it is not only a mindful and relaxing activity, but it also gives you an end result. Want to create a scarf or make something for your friend’s new baby? Then get knitting. Seeing that you have created something by yourself can be a real confidence boost.

Painting:

Painting is something that can be really relaxing and mindful, and you don’t need very much equipment to get you started. You can go wherever your imagination takes you or take inspiration from your favorite artist or pieces of artwork. You could look here for some inspiration: https://davidhartgalleries.com.au/pro-hart/. You could choose paint, acrylics, watercolors, chalks, or other mediums, it is all about being creative and making it up as you go.

Baking Bread:

Another hobby that is practical, as you get something good to eat at the end of it, but that is calming and relaxing at the same time. Baking bread in a traditional way, such as by kneading the dough by hand and waiting for it to rise can be therapeutic and so, so rewarding. You can get creative with the types of bread and the flavors like sourdough, which will need a starter, as stated here: https://feastingathome.com/sourdough-starter/. So there are a lot of options for you to play around with.

Reading:

If you don’t think that you have much time for reading, then you might not have been putting as much emphasis on it as you have in the past. Reading can be pure escapism, as well as a way to learn new things. If you want to read more, then block out the time in your schedule and it will make sure that it happens.

LEGO:

Building with LEGO is not just for kids! You can get proper sets and kits to create something as it is meant to be or you can use what you have to create anything else that you can imagine. Some kits can take a while to build, so it can be a real labor of love. The perfect solution when you’re looking for something to do to relax at the end of the day.

Everyone needs a hobby to enjoy so why not try some of these ideas? Have fun!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Keep Yourself Busy With These Ideas

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Keep Yourself Busy With These Ideas

Hi there! Idle hands are the devil’s play thing or however that saying goes and, if you’re like me, then you might like to keep your hands busy too. There are so many amazing things that can be created with our own two hands from building with LEGO to constructing a house! Today, we are going to look at a few ideas that will definitely keep your hands busy when you are feeling fidgety or need to destress. Let’s get to it:

Build Something New:

People who are gifted in the art of construction, wood working, and welding simply blow me away and it is an awesome skill to continue to practice if you are so inclined. Being able to make something out of nothing must be so satisfying and is a great way to get creative as well as decompress. Before starting your next project, make sure you have all of the proper building supplies and tools and see what magic you can work to make it happen!

LEGO:

So maybe actual construction isn’t your thing and that’s okay! But have you ever tried building with LEGO bricks, instead? My husband and I absolutely love to build with LEGO and are very much looking forward to receiving our Seinfeld set in the mail any day now. Building with LEGO takes time, focus, and a lot of imagination if you are not building an actual set. It is a great way to break up the monotony of your regularly scheduled programming as you spend some time building something brick by brick. Be sure to check out the competition show, LEGO Masters, too because it is a hoot. 😀

Puzzles:

I really enjoy putting puzzles together and there is nothing better than when you get into a good flow and the pieces just seem to come together themselves. While I couldn’t imagine doing anything beyond a five hundred piece puzzle, some people are gifted enough to put together one thousand plus puzzle pieces! Put on your favorite tunes and see how much puzzle progress you can make in one sitting.

Arts & Crafts:

Knitting, crochet, needlepoint, and sewing are all fabulous skills to have and it can be done anywhere! You can dream up something knew while you’re killing time on a long car, train, or plane ride or just hanging out at home and watching a movie. I live for the scarf that my mom knitted for me and can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I can wear it once again!

Creating something new is exciting, fulfilling, and can be done with your own two hands! What will you make today?

Educational Ideas To Amuse The Kids Over The Summer

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Educational Ideas To Amuse The Kids Over The Summer

The school summer holidays can be tricky for parents. How do you keep your kids amused for all that time without turning them into couch potatoes? Remember that learning shouldn’t stop during summer break, so try out the following activities:

Make screen time count:

Parents are always being told not to give their kids too much screen time. But it can be hard to stick to this sometimes, especially when you have work calls and the kids need to be entertained. Rather than feel bad about it, try and find ways to make screen time educational. Not necessarily by putting on a documentary but by using the screen time to develop other skills in your children.

For example, say you’ve let them watch a movie. Afterwards, depending on their age, get them to draw some characters from the movie or explain what happened in it to you. You could even have them write a story about what happens next when the movie is over. By doing this, you’re encouraging your children to think creatively and develop their language and drawing skills too. If they have toys that come from the programs they watch, like the Super Wings transforming vehicle toys, then they can act out the show with these afterwards.

Create busy bags:

Stop the “there’s nothing to do” complaints by creating busy bags for the kids. You simply put a selection of arts and crafts materials, print outs, and toys in a bag. Make a big deal out of it so that they are excited when they get their next busy bag to avoid the boredom blues.

Have them train for the mini-Olympics:

Even though the Olympics have been very different this year due to the pandemic, they still inspire people all over the world to get involved with sports and games. Why not try and get your kids excited about sports and have them train for their own mini Olympics in the backyard. Not only will it keep them occupied but it will keep them fit too. You can hold a competition and give out medals to help achieve more Olympic vibes.

Arrange virtual play dates:

Chances are, some of your children’s friends have parents working from home too. Arrange with them to have a virtual play date, where you can set up a Zoom call and just let them talk or do parallel play for a while. It will keep them occupied and give them much-needed social interaction too.

Let them amuse themselves:

Obviously, we’re not recommending you just leave your kids without supervision. But there is something to be said about letting kids use their own imaginations to play. We seem to be in a world where people are telling us that we have to keep children stimulated with planned activities every day. Free play is very important for children and helps them to develop a lot of important skills and their imaginations.

Summer break is not over yet. Use the ideas above to make the rest of summer vacation the best for your kids!

Featured Image By: Sigmund on Unsplash

Let’s Find You A Nice, Relaxing Hobby

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Let’s Find You A Nice, Relaxing Hobby

If you are in need of a new hobby, then you might want to try something that is relaxing after a long day. In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the nice, chill hobbies that you can take up, so keep reading if you would like to find out more:

Arts And Crafts:

The first thing that we are going to look at is arts and crafts. There is nothing stressful about this hobby, except when things start to go wrong! But, you might find that this is actually extremely therapeutic for you as it gives you something to do with your hands. You are creating brand new things and, the best part, is that there are so many different types of arts and crafts that you’re not just stuck with one. For example, if you find that painting isn’t for you, then you can move onto crochet or scrapbooking until you find your favorite.

Arts and crafts provides you with a creative outlet that helps you to convey how you are feeling. It could be exactly what you need to get rid of the stress of the day.

Reading:

Another thing that you can think about is reading. People don’t really see reading as a hobby, but it is and it is a fantastic one. You can get yourself lost in a range of different worlds, become someone else for a little while, and escape your own reality. The best books are the ones that you can’t put down no matter how hard you try and we suggest you try out an assortment of books to find what you like the most. There is a list of books for emergent readers if you are looking for ideas. Just prepare yourself, because the feelings that you experience when you read are real.

Swimming:

Finally, if you want to do something that keeps you active but that can be relaxing, swimming is your best option. This is a great option as you can just leisurely swim up and down until you feel as though you have had enough. The water relaxes your body and there is nothing but you and the water out in front of you in these moments. It’s a lovely feeling and you can feel your stresses melt away as you glide up and down the pool.

Trial and error is always going to be the best way forward when it comes to a new hobby. If none of the above examples are speaking to you – there are countless more activities to try! We wish you the best of luck finding what you’re looking for.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Projects To Work On As A Family

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Projects To Work On As A Family

A project that you work on as a family is a wonderful bonding experience that encourages team work and improving communication skills. Projects can bring siblings closer together and help teach new things to your children. In this post, we are going to look at a few projects both big and small that will create lasting memories with your loved ones. Let’s get started:

Make Something Grow:

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about a family gardening project. It will get you out into the sunshine after a long winter indoors and you will get to enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor all spring and summer long. If you can’t all agree on what should get planted or not, each family member could be assigned with their own plot of the garden to grow what they would like.

Build A Home:

One of the ultimate family projects would have to be building a home. It is not only an exciting project but will be a great exercise in learning how to compromise when planning out each room because everyone is going to have an opinion. When you have a solid idea of what you want your build to turn out like, consult with Toronto home builders or the experts in your area to turn your dream home into a reality.

Plan A Trip:

When it’s safer to travel again, a vacation or weekend getaway will be like the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic for your family. Once you agree on a location, things like restaurants and activities will have to be determined. Have each of your family members plan their ideal vacation day and enjoy some well deserved time off.

Art Projects:

You don’t have to be good at art to have fun doing it and a family paint or craft night will help get you in touch with your creative sides. Paint along with Bob Ross or look for inspiration for canvas art on Pinterest. Or, maybe you could all learn a skill together like macrame, woodworking, or pottery. Creating some artwork as a family could even turn into a home decorating project next!

Learn A New Language:

Learning a different language is so beneficial and it’s a cool project to work on as a family because you will always have someone to practice with. Sign up for some classes at the library or your local community center. You can also practice on Duolingo together. Foreign film movie nights and trying to cook some of the food that is traditional to the language you are learning is a must too.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet and the ideas above will give you something exciting and meaningful to do together as a family. Have fun!

Learning A New Craft In Lock Down

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Learning A New Craft In Lock Down

Hello! Life in lock down is, honestly, so boring at this point but the safety of ourselves, loved ones, and complete strangers is important and it makes all of the monotony worth it. If you have exhausted all of your ideas to keep you occupied at home, then it might be time to retire from your streaming services and try a new craft. There are so many amazing videos, kits, and how to guides out there to create something new and, today, we’re going to discuss a few of those options:

Knit Kits:

If you are interested in knitting, crochet, or macrame or would like to take the hobby up again, then there are so many websites that you can purchase kits from. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to intermediate and advanced, each kit provides you with the pattern, step by step guide, and materials needed for you to make a scarf, sweater, or blanket. Stitch & Story, We Are Knitters, and Wool And The Gang are all great websites to browse through for your next project! When the weather is nice, you could even host a social distanced knitting circle in your own backyard.

Restoring Old Furniture:

A trip to the local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or even shopping online through Facebook Marketplace can give you access to all kinds of gently used furniture just begging for a makeover. You could repair, repaint, or reupholster new life into secondhand items and redo your entire living room. Not to mention, make some extra cash if you ever want to turn your craft into a side hustle. Don’t forget garage sale style apps as well as Poshmark if you would like to profit from your new hobby.

Building With LEGO:

My boyfriend and I absolutely love building with LEGO and, although it isn’t a craft per se, I just had to include it on this list. Did you know that a LEGO replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night will soon be available for purchase? What about a botanical collection that boasts bouquets, bonsai trees, and succulents? LEGO is constantly adding new sets with unique pieces and colors and are always finding innovative ways to work surprises into each build, which makes it an exciting hobby to have.

You can showcase your creative side with LEGO through free building or incorporating different sets into your home decor. I would sure like to have a LEGO Starry Night hanging on my wall!

Homemade Products:

Making your own cleaning products, candles, and bath and body care can be a really fun hobby, makes great gifts, and helps save you money. Online guides will help you develop your new craft and you can even experiment with your own recipes once you have a better idea for the best ingredients and techniques. You will feel comforted in knowing exactly what is going into the products that you are using and, who knows, it could just turn into a side hustle in the future if you create something really good!

Don’t forget to check in with your local businesses and boutiques because some of the owners might be offering online workshops for homemaking different products or art. For example, the local specialty knitting shop in my area, Harps & Thistles, offers knitting kits too and it’s always cool to shop local. 🙂

Have you learned a new craft during the pandemic? How about improved on any old hobbies? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

4 Stress-Busting Means Of Engaging Your Creativity

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4 Stress-Busting Means Of Engaging Your Creativity

To open this post, we need not speak about the difficulties of the last year, and just how life has changed. It’s a well-worn topic. However, it’s very true that the importance of self-care and the willingness to keep ourselves in check (and to check up on others) has never been so important. As such, figuring out a few methods for achieving exactly that is certainly worth our time. One method that is rarely spoken of when it comes to self care is that of practicing creativity.

Why is this? Well, sometimes, creativity can feel like work or practice. It’s not as if playing a piano is something we can all sit down and just learn by ear, it takes hard work and practice to get good before you can begin really flexing your creativity. The last thing you want to assign to someone having a stressful time is more work.

Or is that the case? Does creativity have to feel like work or could it feel like play? Perhaps it could be both. After all, most runners are all too familiar with the feeling we get when starting a run (feeling groggy, tired, irritable) and then how fun it gets once the endorphins are flowing and we feel like we could keep going for hours. Creativity can function in that way. It can also help us feel confident, relaxed, energized, inspired, productive, useful, and able to express ourselves. That has to be worth something quite important, to the point where we would totally recommend keeping on top of those considerations from now into the long term.

Let’s see what creative ambitions can fit within this worthwhile category:

Journaling:

People rarely feel that journaling is a creative hobby, but it truly is. Putting your thoughts, ideas, impressions, beliefs, or experiences down into written form can be very cathartic. Journaling can not only help you expel your ideas more readily, but it helps you understand exactly what you were thinking and why. This is doubled when you return to that which you’ve written and see just where you were at the time, and how you’ve grown. Giving yourself this kind of insight is not only a great practice for your mental health, but it can help you learn a new skill. Writing isn’t easy and it takes plenty of practice to get good at. A journal is a fantastic place to become more literate. It can also serve our next task:

Creative Writing:

People often think that creative writing needs to be strictly within a category. Either you’re writing poetry, a short story, a novel, or a travel log. That’s not true, of course. Writing is whatever you’d like it to be. Some of the best writing we have is when authors have the courage to break the rules, like the novel Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce, filled with difficult-to-decipher language that is both strange and very curated, almost poetic.

Creative writing helps us focus on our thoughts and what impressions we may wish to grant an audience, but it also helps us present a story line, write our thoughts for people to read, or perhaps veil our artistic insights in poetry or songwriting. Creative writing, like journaling, can be quite cathartic except the rules are much more open and freeing, giving you a sense of potential in every word you jot down. Why not try and write a page long stream of consciousness this week? It might inspire you to further expand your creativity.

Arts & Crafts:

Of course, many people prefer feeling like they have something tangible to offer, and arts and crafts can help us focus on actually making something rather than endlessly reflecting. That can be great to keep us focused and somewhat distracted, rather than ruminating on the tough times we’re going through.

For instance, you might find that putting together a wonderful mandala kit helps you create a beautiful decoration that you take pride in every time you see it. Arts and crafts can also serve a real purpose. You might use your seamstress skills to fix up some of your old clothes or reupholster your furniture by giving it a lick of paint and a varnish. Maybe you’ll just reclaim some wood and use a chisel and hammer to try your hand at amateur sculpture in your garage. Having a project like this on the go can feel very rewarding, as over time it takes form and you see your plans come to actual life.

Painting:

If you’re looking for some inspiration, there’s a special Twitch channel playing Bob Ross episodes 24/7, showcasing how even amateurs can enjoy painting and get something from it if they try. Why not gather some paints and give it a shot? You could mess around with watercolors and have fun with your teenage child. You might decide to do a self-portrait, something fun and whimsical or perhaps as realistic as you can try to make it. You can also experiment with the surfaces you paint on if you like, such as painting a beautiful family mural in your kitchen or corridor wall with images of your loved ones.

Don’t discount painting just because you may not have had time to enjoy it before. The process can be highly rewarding if you give it time, piece by piece, with a little verve and care.

With this advice, we hope you can more easily see the benefit in trying a new creative passion, even if you’ve never touched that process before. These suggested activities are cheap, fun, and can sustain you during difficult times. Best of luck!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Let’s Paint!

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Let’s Paint!

Hi! One of the things that I love about my neck of the woods is all of the wonderful libraries. Prior to the pandemic, I would always take my clients to the fun programs being offered at different library branches. We were particularly fond of vinyl record club, crafts, and movie showings. Now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the libraries in my area have turned all of their programs virtual and you can hop onto Zoom to join in.

The last time my dad was at the library to pick up some books for me and my mom, he also grabbed a craft kit complete with a mini canvas, paint, and brushes. Like so:

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Now, I am in no way shape or form an artist and I have absolutely no clue what to paint on my canvas. So, I am open to suggestions! I will make an attempt to paint the idea from the comments that I like the best and, what’s more, I will even send it your way if your comment was chosen so you can have a Lil Red Original. Who knows, maybe Johnny will even make a “celebrity” contribution to the painting too. Let’s see what happens!

What should I paint on my canvas? What kind of programs does your local library offer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Alina Vilchenko from Pexels

Christmas Decor Sight Seeing Fun

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Christmas Decor Sight Seeing Fun

Hello!! Downtown Cuyahoga Falls is referred to as the Riverfront because it is directly along the Cuyahoga River. In the past several years, lots of upgrades have been made to bring small businesses back to this area and now it is booming with restaurants, specialty shops, and cute boutiques. This year, to help bring some holiday spirit into our neck of the woods, there will be free parking all along the Riverfront to help encourage people to shop locally. What’s more, local schools and organizations decorated each parking meter with a Christmas theme!

This past week, my brother and I went to check out the handiwork and creativity of our amazing community and it was a blast! I so enjoyed ogling at the masterpieces, discussing which ones we liked best, and seeing all of the masked up shoppers toting their parcels. These were some of my favorite decorated meters:

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As you can see, we have many talented holiday enthusiasts in the 330 and each parking meter was awesome in its own way. I am particularly fond of the Cousin Eddie meter from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, myself. However, I think the Mr. Grinch created by the owners of Harps & Thistles (A specialty shop for all of your knitting and crocheting needs) took the cake. I also love the tire snowman made by the Kiwanis Club Of Cuyahoga Falls. What a cute idea!

Despite this holiday season being so different than last year’s, I felt more in the Christmas spirit than ever after checking out the decor in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. Happy holidays to all!

How does your community celebrate the holidays? Do you have an area like downtown CFalls in your neck of the woods? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah