Monday, January 19, 2015

Valentine's Day!!!

I love Valentine's Day.  I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I love the color red. Maybe it's the memory of the thrill I felt decorating a bag and attaching it to my desk ready to receive cards from friends and admirers in grade school. Maybe it's a love of candy equal to an addicts love of heroin. Or maybe it's because it's a day when it's perfectly acceptable to tell anyone around you that you care about them. That you think they're swell. Keen. Out of this world. 

Whatever the reason, every year I punch, cut, draw, and glue my way through Valentine's Cards and decor. It's therapeutic to me. Especially in the last week, when it's raining so hard the neighborhood intersections are being called lakes (just a little jokingly), we all feel like we're washing away, willing it to end.  It's been giving me the blues. Then a light went on in my head "It's almost Valentine's Day!". 

So in the midst of a major over haul of my craft room, which should receive all of my attention every night, I started crafting. 

Then I got the great idea to decorate my metal house candle holders that I bought at Illuminations years ago. Tom even helped me pick out some awesome pink glitter for my bottle brush trees at Craft Warehouse yesterday.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. I sure had fun with all of it. 





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Commitment to this Blog

I recently posted this to my personal Facebook page. Not only to let friends know that I have a blog, but also to make a public commitment to this space of mine. 


Some of you followed my old blog, midagechick (long gone) in the pre-facebook olden-days. I closed that one down and started Orange Cat Craft a few years ago as a vehicle for posting my crafts, sharing ideas, tutorials, etc.  In addition to being an creatve type, (what qualifies you to call yourself an artist?), I also write (what qualifies you to call yourself a writer?). Blending the two together works for me just like a perfectly shaken dirty martini.  

I let life get in the way, however, and my creativity took a seat way in the back as commitments like school, soccer, work, home, etc. etc. got in the way. 

Last month I decided that in 2015 I will commit to the blog.  I will mold it around my creative path in life. It will reflect my truly strong belief that art and creativity can heal, awaken, fulfill, and enhance lives.  I will use the blog to communicate the reason/feeling/motivation etc. for what ever it is that I created that day.  

I do not plan to use it as a money making venture, and I do not have any plans to let Monistat or anyone else advertise on every blank square. At this time in my life, with a young child and a full time job at a large corporation, I do not see myself selling any of my creations in any public forum other than an occaisional craft fair.  

I am a woman of many interests (as many of you know), and my brain can jump from one idea to the next in a millisecond.  Have you seen my Pinterest boards?  

One minute I can be planning a scrapbooking marathon (thought at 11:39AM this morning - will be complete by midnight), the next a "rememberlutions" craft (that's happening sometime in the next 36-48 hours), a major clean up/organization of the craft room (that's happening in the next 12-24 hours... but will probably continue for the next week), another basket making day (next weekend?), a vision board girls weekend, a Christmas in July Putz house workshop, a memory shadow box session, bottle brush tree projects, skirts, coats, PJ bottoms, embroidered dish towels, oh, and don't ever forget, no we must never forget my one true obsession with pens and papers........ my first true love........ card making.  Valentine's card making magic will happen at the end of January. 

I am going public today for two reasons. 1. It's January 1, 2015. A new year.  2. I have decided that I need to either get in or get out. Shit or get off the pot. Put up or Shut up.  Get all in.  Whatever your method of communicating the sentiment, I need to either commit to Orange Cat Craft of abandon it forever.  

You can follow me at to see if any of my posts warrant your further attention on my blog.  :)

Craft On!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Collage January Craft Challenge

One of my very favorite shops, Collage has monthly creative challenges. 
This month it's decorating paper mache animals. 
To enter to win a $50 in store credit, go to the Collage Blog for details. 

I'll be going to their Sellwood Shop to get my animal and other Valentine's materials this week!

There are some project ideas on Pinterest. If you have a Pinterest account,   Search here for "decorating paper mache animals" or use some such combination of words. 

Craft on!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

This is what 4 am looks like.

This is me at about 4:15 am today. Under the covers. Like a little kid. I had been up for a while. My bladder woke me at 3somethingish AM. Then the cat started crying because he could see a silver spot on the bottom of his bowl. (never mind that the exterior of that spot contained a circle of food). Then Tom started snoring. Then my pillow wouldn't adjust back to it's proper place. Sigh. When I can't get back to sleep I try to think pretty, happy, smiley thoughts. Unfortunately, the thoughts usually turn to work. This morning I tried to combat the work thoughts by starting a mental list of what I'd like to include in my vision board. I thought I'd start the list and my brain would slowly let me drift in to a wonderful sleep and my subconscious would take over the work on my list. Then when I awoke 2-3 hours later, my list would be served on a plate for breakfast. 

Well that's not what happened. 

I needed paper. Before I started rifling around in the dark for a pencil, paper, glasses, phone, etc. I mentally mapped out what is next to me on the floor and where my equipment is. "My little pad is in my crate right next to me, but I took the pencil out. My phone is in my purse. Wait, my little OttLight is on my table/chest by the bed. I'll pick that up, look for my glasses, get the pad, then the phone, then a pencil. Light, glasses, pad.... pencil might be in the interior pocket of my bag... Aha! Yes! And there's my phone! Woo Hoo!" Being able to dig around without waking Tom is a real feat. 

I started considering key words for how to define myself. Not how I currently define myself, but how I will define myself from now on. I no particular order:

Then I started considering what goals I want to set for myself in each area of my life. Some people recommend that you do this for 2015. I choosing not to do that. If my goals change, I'll do another board:

  • Meet all four targets in September.  BMI, Blood Sugar, Cholesteral, Blood Pressure. Path of health (not TO health. You don't get to health and say "Hey! We made it! Woo hoo!" Then turn around.)  :  1. Attend Weight Watchers. (32 down. 41 to go). 2. Eat whole foods. 3. Create a lush garden that will deliver bounty to my families table. 4. Expand our fermintation. 
  • 359 days logged on 12/31/2014  30 minutes a day. 10k steps. (Get a pedometer). Try different yoga classes. If it works, budget and commit.  
  • Hike Twice a Month. Make one of those over 7 miles.
  • Write Weekly - Pull out half written stories and essays. Either finish and aim to publish, or trash them. Use blog to communicate passion for creativity. Get serious about the design. Start an interview series. 
  • Travel Set reservations/plans for trips/excursions. 3-4 reserved weekends within 60 miles. 
  • Manage Money  Set a Summer Camp budget and plan weeks. Revisit 401k. 

I need to zero in and set a clear goals under "Travel" and "Manage Money". I didn't set any goals for Friend/Mother/Wife/Sister/Daughter because if I take care of myself, all of that will fall in line. Besides, that goal would read "Be a better ______ ".

My girlfriends and I have set a "Vision Board" weekend together on the 24th to work on our boards. Between now and then I am going to work on my definitions and goals and decide how I am going to visually communicate them to myself each morning. 

I bought a frame at IKEA that I am going to use. I want to make my board beautiful, so that I when I wake up I each day I will look at it, appreciate it, and "listen" to its message.

I'll do a post on the finished product after the 24th. 

Have a great day!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bleaching and Coloring Bottle Brush Trees

After Christmas you can find green bottle brush trees on sale at craft stores. Michaels sometimes has a gigantic bag that contains miscellaneous sizes.

I had one such bag that I've been meaning to bleach and use for colored bottle brush trees for quite some time but the project keeps getting put off.

I used 4 ounces of bleach and 6 ounces of water. I soaked the trees in the mixture for 15 minutes. When they looked an off white color, l pulled them out, rinsed in hot water, and brushed off the painted snow. You'll have to pick a few stubborn pieces of paint off.
Let them dry.

When they are fully dry, mix a combination of about four ounces of vinegar, 3 or 4 drops of food coloring, and six ounces of water. Dip the trees into the mixture and swish them around. Leave them in the mixture for 2 or 3 minutes, or however long it takes to get the color saturation you desire. They will color quickly. I used some colors that were left over from a Halloween neon color kit.

Now you can decorate them and add them your other Christmas decor, or save them to use in a Christmas project.  Such as the upcoming Christmas in July Putz Workshop.

Craft on!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Heart Shaped Wool Felt Sachets

I have had a box of lavender in my room for almost two years, waiting to be made in to lavender sachets. 

Because I now have a necessity for more room to sew, I am working through some unfinished projects. 

We gave handmade gifts for Christmas, and these little sachets were included. 

I don't know how to embroider (yet) so I sewed some cute little fabric flowers on. I didn't know how to blanket stitch, either, so I learned here:

A little baker's twine for a loop, and viola! A gift!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rememberlutions instead of Resolutions

I came across an article about how to make a "rememberlutions jar" for 2015.

I do not like resolutions. I feel they set people up for failure. I am much more in favor of the idea of "rememberlutions" because it's all about speaking kindly to yourself and encouraging your self just as you would a friend. 

Decorate a jar now, and over 2015 fill it with positive affirmations or celebrations of the positive. No matter how small!   See for more detail. 
Here's mine:

I have some hardware cloth left over from my basket craft day. I used the mesh material to make a little "basket" for the jar. 
Snip to the size of the circumference.
Since I wasn't building the basket for functionality,
 I didn't take great care with the construction. 
I cut some of the grid, 
then overlapped the ends 
in to the other side.

Cut out a pattern of the
bottom of the jar and cut it out.

I did the same here as I did
with the sides.
Cut the grids then tucked them
in to the grid on the bottom. 

I happened to have a round cork piece
 left from a previous project.
Protection for surfaces.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hand Made Christmas!

Every year Tom and I tell each other that we will give hand made gifts for Christmas. Most years we just can't find the time. 

This year I put in a order with my favorite wood worker, (that'd be him), for wood crates with a vintage feel to them, with metal or leather handles. 

Being the fantastic man and wood worker that he is, he said "I think I have some wood I can use", asked me for my measurements, and headed off to his magical wood shop. 

In about an hour he was back. With a crate made exactly to my specifications. A few days later he made a trip to our neighbors forge, pounded out some hardware, and voila! We had crates. 

Next we filled them with wonderful goodies of the hand made and mass produced kind:
Tom's Pilsner and Plum Wine, my pin cushions and sachets, a little doo dad from me - one of my ornaments, a set of mini jars, or a bead bud vase. Add some himalayan salt, some chocolate covered espresso beans, some candies, cookies and tea, and blam! some awesome gifts. 

Salt... that life may always have flavor.
Coffee, Chocolate, and Wine make a normal day divine!

Lavender for luck.


May you find joy, peace and prosperity through creativity in 2015!!