Summer Bucket List

2017 Summer Bucket List

It’s that time of year again! We’re about a week into summer and I’ve got a few things planned to try and cross off this year’s Summer Bucket List. I always end up adding to my list as the season progresses, but this year I decided something that might help with some of my creative endeavors would be to split my list into two sections: projects and experiences. I had hoped to finish Lillian’s bear cross stitch two summers ago before she was even born, so here’s hoping third summer’s a charm :’D

Summer Bucket List 2017

Have you made a bucket list for this summer? What have you got planned? If you want a free Summer Bucket List printable, be sure to check out my friend Kara’s summer bucket list where you can find a beautiful one ready just for you!

xx Caitlyn

Projects

Piggy bank project (and when to call it good)

I was super spoiled on my most recent birthday with a Cricut Explore Air 2, the most amazing machine ever. I’ve been having a lot of fun learning how to use it, but I’ll be honest–there is so much you can do that I’ve also felt very overwhelmed at times! Additionally, I’ve had several projects where I thought the execution of my plans would be quick, easy and beautiful, only to find I needed to invest a lot more time than planned and learn a lot more, too. On the bright side, I *have* learned a lot, and any setbacks in creating my projects have definitely not deterred me from still jotting down loads of ideas for future creations!
Today I thought I’d share about the piggy bank I made for Lillian. On the Cricut Design Space, my design for the sides of the piggy bank looked amazing. However, when I actually cut the vinyl, things went south. At first I couldn’t get the smaller letters free from the rest of the vinyl after it was cut, and when I finally did, all the letters were uneven and not very clean looking. Then, even after painstakingly arranging the letters again by hand, my transfer tape wasn’t picking them up properly so the design was totally uneven when applied. I also realized the pink vinyl I’d used didn’t show up on the white pig very well, so I had to get another shade of vinyl. I had already spent hours on the project only to have to basically start completely over. I wanted to throw that piggy bank. out. the. window.

But…! I didn’t. Instead I tried to calm my frustration and take a break from the project. After a little over a week, I finally tackled it again. I had similar issues with removing the smaller pieces I’d cut from the vinyl sheets, but with patience things were already looking better. I used packing tape to transfer the vinyl, so that went a little more smoothly, too. And while I still have a few criticisms (I wanted one cherry blossom by her name placed differently and I wanted the birth information to be slightly lower down on the other side), I love the colors and the design (especially the origami crane and the cutout of Japan!).

Part of me wanted to redo the whole thing again in attempts to make it perfect, but after hours and hours working on it, I finally decided to call it good. Sometimes it’s so hard with any kind of creative endeavor to let go and appreciate the good aspects of what you’ve made, isn’t it? At what point do youΒ call it good?

Anyway, thanks for letting me share! I’d love to hear about any projects you’ve been working on (and any frustrations you’ve had!), too!

xx Caitlyn

Summer Bucket List · Uncategorized

Summer Bucket List 2016

Lately I’ve seen a few blogs with lists of things to try to squeeze in before summer is over. I just keep thinking–but friends, we’re only about a month in! And while I am a bit late in posting this year’s Summer Bucket List, I have a great excuse: I moved countries AND I have a baby. Forgive me? πŸ™‚Summer Bucket List 2016I like making seasonal bucket lists because they help me remember the fun things I do over the seasons. They remind me to do more and to try new things, too. This is my 4th Summer Bucket List on the blog, and each time I’ve made one I’ve tried to add some things I know I’ll do with a reminder (though it doesn’t seem like eating s’mores should need a reminder!), as well as some things I hope to try/do. This year’s list has some tried and true things to check off, like making the watermelon rind pickles enjoyed at the Pretentious Tea Party again or going to the beach and grilling. It also has new things, like lots of fun stuff with our Lily (we’ve already finished the summer reading program at our local library!) and attempting to replicate amazing choux cream pastries I had at my favorite bakery in Japan

Despite posting my list after summer already started, I have started checking things off. I’m looking forward to sharing my summer adventures with you, but in the meantime, what are some fun things you’ve got planned?

xx Caitlyn

Projects

How I art journaled my way through 2015

Happy New Year! With the arrival of 2016, it’s time for me to start a fresh art journal! It’s amazing to look through my 2015 journal now–not only did I manage to fill in the entire journal for every day over the past year, but by doing so I was able to record a lot of really neat things and improve my art journaling skills in the process! IMG_4180After I finished adding in a few cards and things yesterday, my journal was even thicker than it is above!

As with my last journal, I’ve chosen to use a planner as my 2016 journal, but this time I chose one that has a little more space for each day so I can write a little more if I like. There are a few other things I like about the layout of my new planner a little better than my 2015 one, and a few ways my approach to journaling has changed. When I started my 2015 art journal using the planner method (as mentioned here), I would always write the weather, a color of the day, a word of the day, and an image of the day. As the year progressed, I found that for me, the weather and a chosen “color of the day” didn’t really reflect much that would be memorable or important about my day. Over time I started filling my daily entries with more specific things about my days instead.
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In the above right page, I answered an art prompt asking about a childhood object I made. I remembered painting little wooden horses for a carousel.

Sometimes entries about my day would just end up being a short sentence or two, like in the pages pictured above. Then I would add other things like quotes that were relevant to me recently, ticket stubs, business cards and other collected things from the week, washi tape, images or drawings, and writing prompts. If I had more that I wanted to do with a writing prompt or journaling, I would do it on the lined pages at the end of my planner or attach more paper with washi tape. At the end of the year, I also chose a few writing prompts from Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead free downloadable workbook to fill up some of the extra lined pages in the back and reflect on my year.
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This week was the last week of 2015, but I hadn’t finished New Year’s Eve day yet at the time I took the picture. In case you’re wondering, we celebrated by having a yakitori dinner, playing old-school Mario while Chad drank copious amounts of champagne, watching a movie (The Big Short), and going to a local temple just after midnight. Check instagram for a couple pictures πŸ™‚

Other days I would write more details about my day, and have less space for extra things like quotes and prompts. Basically, I just went with how I was feeling. I also would go back and forth between setting up pages in advance with colors, add-ins (like pictures or ephemera, etc.), and washi tape, etc., and writing everything over the week first and then adding all the art.
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Each month, I added a calendar page from the amazing 2015 calendar Chad gifted me the previous Christmas with pictures of our kitties. I also added month tabs cut out from my Rilakkuma planner (that I used like a traditional planner over the year) to mark each month so I could flip through months at a glance.
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On the back of each calendar page I would either paint/draw/create images relevant to the month (as seen here), or add pictures from the month. I also sometimes added extra brochures or memorabilia that I wasn’t able to squeeze into the daily pages.
IMG_4182My 2015 planner has monthly overview pages in the front of the book, followed by the weekly pages for daily entries. I filled the overview pages with extra memorabilia and pictures as well.
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Above I taped in a birthday card my coworkers made me in November, along with some pictures of my birthday dinner and cake.

One thing I like about my new planner/journal is that the monthly overview pages are distributed between the start of each month instead of being altogether in the front of the book. It’s a small layout difference that makes a big difference to me πŸ™‚
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If I had even more memorabilia that I couldn’t fit on the calendar pages, I once again took advantage of the lined pages in the back of my journal. As pictured above, I sometimes used brochures or parts of greeting cards given to me to make pockets for things like ticket stubs.

It is really fun to look back at all of my memories from 2015, and I am looking forward to being able to do the same for this year. I love that I could spend as little or as much time as I wanted to fill out my journal, and my plan is to continue with the approach I fell into over the course of 2015 this year. I also hope to continue learning and trying new ideas (like pairing my daily journaling with The 52 Lists Project!).

I hope that sharing my approach to art journaling has given you some ideas and inspiration, and would love to hear what kinds of things you do in your art journaling!

xx Caitlyn

P.S. Here is another post with some of my favorite pages from 2015. In the post I also mention some interesting things about pregnancy in Japan!

Projects

How do you pin?

I pin fine thank you, and you? Actually, I’ve always pinned things on Pinterest just fine, but I realized recently that when I first started using Pinterest, I’d often pin things that weren’t really things I’d ever look at again (or at least very often). These days I try to pin more intentionally and less randomly, though I still have to pin occasional cute things on my Oh So Cute! board. (Um…can you blame me?)

In the past year, I’ve already changed a lot of my boards to be more specific. For example, I used to have just one board for food and drink, including breakfasts, desserts, you name it! It started to become a little overwhelming searching for recipes, so I ended up splitting the categories up. I recently did that for my craft board, too. Most of my Get Crafty pins are random, but I have a lot on hand lettering and art journaling, so I made a separate board for those pins. I also organized the layout of all of my boards, putting ones I frequently reference toward the top of my page, with similar categories next to each other.

Since we had a three-day weekend last weekend, I decided to go through my Books I Want to Read board and Movies I Want to Watch board. I deleted any books or movies I’d already read/watched, so that it’s easier or me to find ones I haven’t. I was thinking about doing the same thing with recipes I’ve tried (by printing the ones I liked and keeping them, and then deleting the ones I didn’t like). I haven’t decided yet how I feel about deleting movies/books if I liked them, but do I really need an extra board as a reminder of books/movies I liked? (Especially when I tend to note them in my art journal or here?)

Anyway, that’s how I’ve been approaching Pinterest as of late. I just want it to be a useful, organized tool. Here are a few things I’ve pinned lately:

Creamy Cheddar Polenta with Pesto and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes - The Simple Life | WillCookForFriends
Creamy Cheddar Polenta with Pesto and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
(After that divine polenta at Chez Olivier, I must make some of my own!)

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories
A book I want to read: My Paris Kitchen
(This pin is also a bit inspired by our visit to Chez Olivier…!)

quilling a maple leaf.
A Maple Leaf Quilling Tutorial (I’ve actually got a post coming soon on my first time paper quilling, checking that right off my summer bucket list for this year!)

What do you think? Do you have any special goals or organization techniques when you use Pinterest? Or do you just pin freely? What have you been pinning lately? How do YOU pin?

xx Caitlyn

Projects

May luck come knocking…

Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! The year of the sheep is supposed to be a peaceful one–is it feeling that way so far for you? Things have been settling down a bit for us now that we’re getting used to our new place and to our neighborhood. We’re getting pretty excited for our first pay check so that we can start venturing further out, but in the meantime, I seem to always find something to do!

For example, today I decided to try some more hand-lettering with a phrase often used for the Lunar New Year: “May luck coming knocking at your door.”Β  I read an article recently that listed the phrase as one of many auspicious phrases some Chinese families hang around their houses for the Lunar New Year. I thought it might be perfect to hang in our entryway!
luck 1I am still working on this little project (I want to make everything look more intentional and solid), but I thought I’d share what I’ve got with you so far. I used a photo editing program to make my sketch look like an old fortune-telling card–isn’t that cool?

By the way, you can see what we did last year for the Lunar New Year here, and read about why mandarin oranges relate to wealth and fortune here. (Side note: I LOVE fresh mandarin oranges! They are sweet and juicy and almost like candy!)

Hope 2015 is going lovely!
xx Caitlyn

Projects

DIY Felt Koozie

Last weekend at Wheatland I volunteered to help with making felt purses. Although I’ve had lots of fun working with needle felt, I never tried felting with water, so I was interested to learn how it worked. Turns out, felting with water is pretty easy, though I can’t see myself making loads of things in the style.Β  One thing I did venture to make, however, was a beer koozie. Of course.

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So above are the necessary materials you need to begin: a bottle or can for sizing reference, a pan at least an inch or two deep, needle and thread, dish soap, and wool in the color(s) of your choice for felting.IMG_1052Begin by separating the felt into two layers in your pan. The first layer should go across the width of the pan, and the second layer should go up and down, in the opposite direction. This ensures there won’t be any thin areas in your project, and helps prevent holes in the end result.

IMG_1054Once you’re satisfied with your layers, drizzle dish soap over the prepared felt.

IMG_1057Curry Chan was very interested in this step…

IMG_1058Next, add some water, just to cover the felt, and press it down like a pancake using the flat of your hand. IMG_1059The next step is pinching the felt together like a pie crust, all over. Once you’ve pinched for about five minutes, you’ll flip the felt over and repeat the pinching on the other side. It should take around 10 minutes, if you have the patience.

IMG_1060 IMG_1061Once you (and your cat, if applicable) are satisfied, it’s time to rinse out your felt.

IMG_1062(Turns out Curry was just on a path of destruction, hoping to run off with the remaining felt and roll all over the carpet with it. I shouldn’t be surprised after the sad fate of cute Mr. Turnip…)

IMG_1065Here is my ball of felt after washing.

IMG_1066Roll out your felt and place a bottle or can on it to measure your Koozie. I measured the width first, and then measured out a circle for the bottom.

IMG_1068 IMG_1069 IMG_1070Next, sew the edges together. I did a bit of a hodge-podge job on part of it, but I didn’t worry too much as I knew I’d be turning the koozie inside out when finished. A big part of this project was not worrying about perfection.

IMG_1071Next up, you can sew on the bottom of your koozie and inspect your work!

IMG_1072Here is my completed koozie before turning it inside out.

IMG_1073And that’s it! You can now put your beverage of choice in your koozie and enjoy. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also add strings of beads of other decorations onto your koozie, but I decided to run on the side of simplicity. (Or was it laziness? One can’t be sure.)

Do you like the wet-felt method? What kinds of felt projects have you made or would you like to make in the future?