with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Crafts

Letting the Toddler Make Crafts Even When I Have No Idea What’s Happening

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

I like crafts. I am not very good at them all of the time but when I see cute things that I think I can maybe kind make or not mess up too badly, I can’t resist. And as you see, it has made for some results that maybe didn’t turn out like the original picture, but they turned out in a way that was endearing, functional, and sometimes since it was chocolate, it still tasted good so it didn’t matter. The joy was in the making of the thing, because it kicked my creative juices into gear and made me happy in the process because I got to express myself and stuff.

This past Christmas, my son’s preschool class had a party where I volunteered to read stories, and where other parents led games and crafts. I got to sit with some of the crafting kids while the parents telling us how to do it gave instructions, and the craft that did was SO. CUTE. They took clear glass ornaments, and they poured different colors of liquid paints in them, then they swirled them around. This is the one that my son made at school, and I wish I could tell you that I took that picture in December, but I took it 30 seconds ago when I got up and walked to the living room because our tree is still up. Yes.

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So anyhow, I decided that this was going to be an amazing, amazing way to make beautiful ornaments as gifts for our friends and family! We can pour! We can swirl! I can do stuff! And this actually happened, because I bought some clear glass ornaments for my family who we see every year on New Years Day, and those turned out really beautifully, much like the one above.

But those weren’t the first ones. Because I made an earlier batch that we gave out to my aunts and uncles and my son’s Godmommies on or right after Christmas, and those didn’t turn out exactly the way that I planned. First of all, I could not find clear glass ornaments, only frosted white ones. I realized that the swirling paint was not gonna show up under those, so I went to my best friend Google, and I looked for beautiful ornaments that you could do on painted glass. I found some really cute examples, and I settled on ones where your child dips his fingers in paint, and puts said finger on the ornament, and when it dries, I would paint in eyes and an orange nose and voila, fingerprint snowmen!! How wonderful would that be? And the boy was all excited that I was actually letting him touch paint with his hands, and he happily did two snowmen’s prints on one ornament. I painted one in, and it looked adorable. I would have said adorbs, but I am not something enough to use that term. I did the second one, or maybe he helped me, but the eyes on that one sort of made the snowman look like he wanted to eat people. “Whatever”, I thought, “It’s cute enough.” But then the boy asked if he could paint on it, and I said yes, and oh no it was the black paint he used and he did some dabbing, and it looked like the nice snowman and the evil snowman were headed into a tornado. Wait, what was happening to my craftsterpiece? Well, for the next one, he decided that he wanted to do red fingerprints. This fit well with the ornaments I had seen on Printerest that looked like Santa! I could do that! But then he decided to just keep going, and I thought that we would maybe just have a sweet fingerprint polka dots. But out came the black paint, and it looked like the polka dots were being attacked by a shadow.

Also taken 2 minutes ago because I have not put the tree away in that amount of time since the last picture.

Also taken 2 minutes ago because I have not put the tree away in that amount of time since the last picture.

And as my dreams of being able to give out flawless toddler-made gifts were drifting away like the storm plaguing throe snowmen, I remembered. IT WAS THE TODDLER WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MAKING THIS. So if he wanted to go crazy with paint in hues I didn’t imagine, then so be it, because this was about him. And everyone was gonna love it. This is why we then went on a crazy ornament-making streak, where he made about 10 ornaments that he decorated by either freely going wild with the paintbrush, or but squirting paint on a plate and just swirling (see, we got to swirl!) the ornaments in the colors. And they were messy. And they were beautiful, and he gave each one of them names, including “Eye”, “Present Ornament”, and “I Don’t Know”, and I typed up a notice declaring them part of his 2015 exclusive ornament collection, and gave them out, and everyone loved them. Because we could tell the people that love him that he loved making them, just like he enjoyed making the second set that was closer to what I had planned. And people loved those, too. Because I took my hands off of it as much as I could, and I let him go.

This morning, we were watching this show on Amazon Prime called ‘Creative Galaxy”, where this cute little alien boy solves his problems with art, and on this episode, they were making pop-up books. Alex was watching intently, and I said, “Hey, do you wanna do that?”, and he said yes, and I found construction paper in what used to be my office and is now where things go to be dealt with later, and I got markers, scissors and glue from the junk drawer in the kitchen, and we sat down to create! And I looked up a How-To online, and I sat down and scripted a story that my son very carefully dictated to me, about he, my husband and myself going on a ride on a spaceship. and yes I have terrible handwriting. Here was the outline.

Good plot.

Good plot.

And as I was ready to ask him to draw a table to be the pop-up for the first page, I saw him furiously drawing something that wasn’t a table. I asked him what it was, and he said that it was a bad guy who wanted to steal something. Because just like that the plot had changed, and now the story was about a bad guy who wanted to steal a rocket. And that sounds like an awesome story. Because it’s the story he wants to tell. Here is the first page.

Background drawing and writing done by mommy, as dictated by the boy, who also drew the pop-up picture. Which is the best thing here.

Background drawing and writing done by Mommy, as dictated by the boy, who also drew the pop-up picture. Which is the best thing here.

And there is another pop-up page done, plus some other pages with a bunch of other drawings and cuts in them that might not even be for pop-up pictures, and also strips of light-green painters tape. And I have no idea why.

And I don’t need to. Because he is having fun, and being himself, and I could not Pinterest anything better than that.


The wisdom of Amy Poehler: Being silly is super powerful

by SweetMidlife

Thats-What-She-Said-Amy-Poehler

 

This  is our contribution to the weekly blog hop/mash-up situation  they run over at Miss AOK called “That’s What She Said,” where they offer a quote  from a famous woman and writers like us expound on  them all writerly-like. This is Leslie’s version.

Last December, I was asked to participate in a sand-sculpting contest for charity, as part of my South Florida city’s sand Christmas tree display. I had absolutely no reason to believe that I would be any good at this. There would be done live, in a little plastic kiddie play thingee, in competition with people who were obviously more artistically inclined than me. I wasn’t going to win. I wasn’t even going to come in third. Or fifth. Or 12th – and there were only like 7 contestants. The final result wasn’t even a sculpture – it was more like a sandy swampy moat, with little plush turtles we’d saved from Toddler’s birthday party. We called it a turtle habitat. It looked really awful, and pretty silly.

And we were thrilled.

Part of my job as a local features columnist and fake local celebrity is to be professionally silly. Over the past 12 years, I have been photographed on Santa’s lap, competed in two separate ‘Dancing With The Stars”-type ballroom dancing competitions (I’m Number Three! I’m Number Three!), celebrity bartended, judged meatball cooking contests, modeled leather skirt/bustier combos and generally looked kinda dumb. But every time I am asked to do this stuff, I’m in, not only because it connects the newspaper to the community, but because I think there is power, as the brilliant Amy Poehler says, in throwing all caution and ego to the wind and just embracing your silliness and ability to be and make other people be happy. That is the real me, the one who doesn’t mind wearing stupid hats or singing songs or faking my way through the Paso Doble on the way to a mirror ball trophy (Third place y’all!)

I get my silly lessons from Toddler, who has not yet developed a sense of shame over being silly. He sometimes gets so happy that he runs from one side of the room to the other, cackling like a maniac, and delighting in the fact that he is making us happy. We shouldn’t lose that. Ever. I try not to.

In that case, it was not my dancing that got me the nod, although the moves were better than I thought. What put me over the top, I think, was my commitment to being committed, to just going with it no matter how flabby I looked or how much of the dance I drew a blank on, or whether I was actually wearing another competitor’s dance shoes because mine had olive oil on them (this is a long silly story.) The judges and the audience liked it because I took the dance seriously, but not myself. I was willing to look dumb and flabby and less than perfect for their amusement, and it made us all happy.

Let someone else be a super serious glamourpuss. I’ll be over here making an Easter hat out of paper plates.


Some Stuff I Cooked, Part 1: Tasty Trumps Pretty

by SweetMidlife

Howdy! Lynne here. It’s been a minute because I have been having computer issues, which seem to have been resolved for now, so I’m back, y’all!

So, if you have read The Sweet Midlife at all (and if not, welcome!), you would know that while we aren’t a food blog, we have written before about what we eat, sometimes in relation to eating better, or because we were trying new vegetables, or just because we made something good. Well, this past week, I made some stuff and I want to tell you about it.

And I will say this going in. I am not the neatest person. I don’t know how to draw inside the lines. I have horrible handwriting and I always got an S- in elementary school penmanship. That is Satisfactory Minus. Yes. So even though I do a lot of cooking, and most of it tastes really good, it doesn’t always look great, so even though I will post Facebook statuses ABOUT what I cook, I don’t always post pictures OF what I make. Because it sometimes looks like my toddler made it. But this past week, inspired by Valentine’s Day, I got the idea to make some things that I had never made before, and that had the possibility of looking majorly crazy. I made a cake, but I will write about that in a latter post. But I want to tell you now about the first thing I made this week.

Someone on Facebook posted this recipe for boxes made out of chocolate. Kinda like a gingerbread house, but it is made out of freaking chocolate. And filled with candy. Isn’t this is a thing of beauty? This is the one from a site called Oh, Nuts, and not the one I made.

From Ohnuts.com. Not the one I made.

And it looked delicious, and since we were doing our Valentine’s Day celebrations at home, I thought that I would take a stab at it and add to the festiveness. And before I said to myself “You can’t do that, Sloppy”, I shared the picture on our blog Facebook page. And people started saying things like “Hey, if it’s ugly, the worst thing that can happen is that you have a bunch of chocolate to eat.”

And liking those odds, because leftover chocolate, I forged ahead. Even though I tried again to not do it. Because I got scurred. But emboldened by the fact that I told people I was gonna do it, I did it.

So, umm. it looked like this.

20150214_183409It’s lopsided, and some of it broke, and if it was a real structure, it would be condemned. But it made me smile. Because it actually stayed together and stood up on it’s own. All by it’s crooked, yummy self.

So my husband and son and I started eating it. And when we ate off the top, and one of the sides, my man complimented me on how nicely constructed the remaining pieces were. It looked like someone took the back seat out of a van and put it on my table. Or like something you see in a dorm. Behold, Chocolate Futon…

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Don’t you want to sit on it on a Friday night and get sugared up and make parallels between the purple aquarium lights of your friends’ roommates fish tank and “Purple Rain”, which is playing in the background? What? That’s just me? Okay. Because I totally did that in 1992. And no drugs or alcohol were involved! But back to the chocolate. You get it, right?

So, then I tried another one with the rest of the chocolate pieces, because all you have to do is remelt it and start over. And eat more of the leftovers. Yes. And this next one fell apart from the beginning, but it looked like a shelter of some kind, and I made some accessories, and my husband added my son’s brand new drugstore-bought school bus (which is already falling apart, so don’t buy those), and we got Candy Bus Stop.

20150214_193155So, yeah. My journey into candy architecture didn’t look like the original picture. But it tasted good. And more importantly: I DID THAT. I am branching out, doing the thing. Because the only thing worse than an ugly chocolate house is the chocolate house you never made. Because seriously, those things are delicious.

 


The perfect-ish day, or the happy accidents of an awesome wedding

by SweetMidlife
See? This didn’t happen!

Leslie here!

When my sister and I first started this blog, back in the dark ages, or, like, three years ago, it was called “Bride At 35,” and was about the experience of being married in your later 30s and beyond, like we were. Eventually, we expanded the concept to be about the whole of being this age, whether it’s marriage, friendship, children, weight, hair, whether to wear nail polish, or just delicious cheesy carbs, filtered to our crone-ism wisdom that comes with age.

But we still love a wedding, maybe because they’re pretty or because we’ve been in so many of them – I’ve been a  bridesmaid 9 times, including several stints as Matron of Honor. That experience brought me to the most excellent of days this past Saturday, where I acted as my friends Kim and Matt’s day-of-wedding coordinator. I’m not the wedding planner because I didn’t plan anything – I’m much better at telling people what to do. And the first thing I told her when I accepted the challenge was this:

Something is going to go wrong.

This is not easy to hear, but I’ve learned it in my 20 year career as a bridesmaid, from the time in 1995 when all our shoes were dyes the exact same wrong color, or in 2010 when my husband, the groom-to-be and my sister raced around town looking for lemon curd for the wedding tea, or in 2008 when the track for “At Last,” which I was about to sing for the cake cutting, wouldn’t work, and somebody distracted the bride while I ran across the street to find my laptop. The more weddings I was in, the more I learned to take a breath and not freak out. Nobody got eaten by a shark. The pastor never got caught at customs. A sinkhole didn’t swallow the cake. My experience taught me to chill.

Hopefully, at every wedding (or party or funeral or Bat Mitzvah) the snafus are minor, like somebody left the extra programs at home, or the bride’s shoes need a polish…something easily fixable. And sometimes, it’s a little more pressing, like a member of the wedding party can’t get there, or a car carrying the bride breaks down, or stuff is just whack. My job was just to make sure that the fires that erupted were put out, with as little fuss or actual burns as possible.

So even though my wedding bossiness has previously been on a personally procured basis, this couple of kind people put me in charge of calling their caterer to confirm times, of hiring a bartender (I write about drinking, so I know a few), of observing the set-up of the DJ booth and the sweetheart table, and of grabbing the bride’s hand when a frog, whose kind she is not fond of, jumped on her dress as she and her new husband walked from the parking lot of the reception spot to make her entrance.

And it was amazing. The thing is, as many weddings as I’ve been involved in, stuff still didn’t go perfectly. And I didn’t do it alone – the bride’s cousin was my family point person and co-stuff-getter. Her brother was amazing, as was her mom. And her bridesmaids, led by her resourceful sister, sat on the floor of the reception space in their beautiful dresses, as guests milled around outside for the cocktail hour and cut their beautiful bouquets into flower arrangements, because that’s what the bride said she wanted and someone (me) hadn’t remembered. That was beautiful.

Did everything go right? Uh, no. Besides the frog and the thing with the flowers, it was overcast the whole day and when it started to spit rain on the outdoor ceremony, the string musicians almost had to leave for fear of damaging their beautiful instruments. There was some confusion over pins for the boutonnieres. Some dude from another rental company arrived at the hall as I was taping the place cards to the wall with non-sticky art tape (the bride’s sister’s genius idea) and insisted that some of the tables already set for the cocktail hour might be the ones he was there to retrieve. (They were not). And I missed a few things, like making sure that both bartenders were clear on what time they were expected.
But it all worked out, in some cases because of powers beyond me like the rain holding off (Thanks, God!), in others because of all the loving family Kim and Matt have, or because I was calm and just handled it, like when the restaurant they’d talked to about having a casual brunch with family the morning after the wedding didn’t remember, and I just walked to the place across the street that the groom had called as a replacement and said “Hey, my friend just called, can we make this work?”

And it did.

There are things that apparently zigged when they were to zag, even before I got there – Kim’s family figured it out – and the band played on (Well, the string duo played on). The day was saved. The vows were sealed. The dinner was delicious and “Jump Around” and “Easy” by the Commodores both happened.

It wasn’t flawless. But it was perfect.

 

 


Confessions of the Craftily Challenged: Summer Drama Camp Edition

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

So, it’s taken me about a month to write this post, because really, summer keeps happening.  But I have written before of my love of crafty things but my problem in executing and finishing them here, here and also here. The last time we talked about this, internet friends, I had finished the calendar proect I had been working on.  And it has been really helpful, and I was rolling along on my kinda crafty laurels. Then summer came. I taught a week of drama camp, which is what I do, being a teaching artist and all. Done this sort of class before, and I felt good as I sat down to prepare my lessons. Then I reread the class description, and I saw that there was supposed to be visual arts stuff. WHAT?? I taught a camp a few years ago that had a craft piece to it, but that theater’s education person was ther to help me. By myself,  I panicked a bit, and envisioned a week of, “Today is Jungle Day! Draw a jungle! Today is Pirate Day! Umm, draw a pirate!”, because crayons and construction paper was all I thought I could muster. But then I remembered! There’s a Google!! And Google led me to some really, really cute crafts that even I could do! Wanna see???

First, for Jungle Day, where we read stories and played drama games about animals, I found this!! You make the Vulcan “live long and prosper” sign with your hand, you put your hand on a piece of paper, you trace it, you color it in, you add a googly eye, and you get this……

Isn’t that cute?? The kids loved it!! So armed with the bag of googly eyes I bought, I Googled  more (ooh, googly eyes! Google!! funny.), and I came prepared for Sea day with this!

It’s a paper plate, and you cut out a mouth, staple the cut piece to the back, draw some scales, add an eye, and you have a fish!! Hooray!! I found that one here. And it was a hit.

So see, even craftily-challenged people such as myself can make crafts that don’t look tragic and that don’t make kids don’t laugh at you. They laugh WITH you. I like it. Thank you.


Happy SITS Day at Sweet Midlife! Serving up twin realness since 1971!

by SweetMidlife

Nancy the comic strip and a gypsy in a Holly Hobby turtleneck walk into a room. There is much cuteness and nothing much gets accomplished.

OK, so technically we haven’t been blogging that long. There were no blogs in 1971, and there certainly weren’t computers when we met, in a nice warm womb in Baltimore. But blogs are really just communication, and we, Lynne and Leslie, the twins who write this blog, have certainly always done that. It was probably something like “You’re taking up too much room in here,” which isn’t all that eloquent or blog-worthy.

But it was a start.

So here we are, nearly 42 years later, both married but living in different states. One’s a mom. One’s not (yet). One’s a teaching artist, the other a newspaper reporter. Both got married in their 39th year, barely escaping the Spinster Buzzer (which sounds like the legs of a rocking chair going over the tails of many cats.) We’re both kinda goofy, but have a lot to say about relationships, friendships, dirty dishes, reality stars who won’t show up, death, life and cheese.

Interestingly, this used to be a blog about being older brides, and we still talk about the state of relationships that bear the benefit of having (alleged) wisdom under our belts. But weddings are just the candy-covered frosting of the rest of your life, and that’s where we like to be. The cake’s the good part.

So come on in and hang out. Tell us what you think. Give us some advice. Encourage Lynne to finish that framed calendar thing she’s been trying to craft. Make Leslie go to boot camp. Tell us where the good cheese is.

And thanks for coming!


Sometimes you feel like a chef…sometimes you don’t. Like now.

by SweetMidlife
Just like Momma used to defrost!

This is Leslie, or not-the-crafty twin.

Lynne and I have never claimed to be those complete opposite twins where you can say “She’s the fancy one, and she’s the tomboy” or “She’s the quiet studious one, and she’s the fun-loving snotty one,” also known as the Liz and the Jessica (read some “Sweet Valley High,” why doncha?)

But there is one absolute between us: Lynne is the one who used to buy old damaged furniture just to paint it pretty, and who is making a calendar out of a frame. And Leslie is the one who buys furniture that’s already painted, because why take jobs away from people, and who checks her laptop if she wants to know what day it is, because why take jobs away from laptops?

Lynne made something homemade for dinner tonight. Leslie made a frozen pizza and some noodles out of a package.

And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Honestly, I’ve made homemade dinner a lot, and Lynne knows her way around frozen veggie sausage. We both do what we have to do. But Lynne is home part-time with baby Alex, when she’s not being a fabulous teaching artist, so her schedule is a lot more regimented usually. Also, she’s the one who painted her own furniture. She’s crazy busy, and her boss is a ten-month-old who doesn’t give her lunch breaks.

While I used to make my own curtains out of sari fabric, all that took was punched holes and some ribbon. And the last several sets of curtains I got were from the Somebody Else Made Them Collection at Target. My schedule is insane, as an entertainment reporter whose day can go literally from dusk till dawn, even though at 41 I sometimes would prefer it be from noon to 5. Today started at 6 when I started answering emails, continued with a phone interview with a soap star, a Skype interview, the writing of two stories and a column, and countless other things I can’t remember. I did watch an episode of “Mad Men” (or three) in my other ear while I was writing.

And I’m still writing, and still scheduling interviews and putting out fires as we speak, before I watch and blog some reality shows.

So when my husband called while I was at the grocery store and said “What’s for dinner?” I felt all warm and Holly Homemaker-like when I happily said “Pizza and some sort of pasta packet!” Because it was gonna take some time to open things and warm them up, and I was happy to do it, because nothing is too good for my man.

Of course, we don’t do that all the time. It’s not healthy to do all the time (it was a gourmet thin-crust pizza that was on my diet), but it’s what I could do tonight. And I don’t feel bad about it.

My Daddy used to tell my mother lovingly that she could make dinner out of newspaper, meaning that she could whip something delicious out of nothing. And I am proud to say that Lynne and I inherited the same gift. Sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention.

And sometimes, it’s the mother of a frozen pizza.

 


Confessions of the Crafty-Challenged, Pt. 2: Yeah, Still not done.

by SweetMidlife

Es Lynne.

So, back in January, I wrote this post about this craft project I was planning. I explained that I was not a consistently crafty person, but I was determined to finish this thing. It was a wall calendar made out of a picture frame, paint chip samples from the hardware store, and a dry erase marker. Looks cool, saves paper, not messy. Below is the picture of what I wanted to do. THIS IS NOT MY FINISHED PROJECT. Because I haven’t finished mine  yet. More on that in a sec. Look at how cool this looks…

 

From Lifehacker.com

So pretty. In my first post, I had already gotten the paint chips from the wonderful folks at the Home Depot and needed a frame.So, I went out to Michael’s crafts. There were plenty of poster frames, reasonably priced, which would have been great. But then Lynne got cute and saw this…

 

It’s a framed print in a really nice frame! And it was on sale for a cheaper price than a frame like this would cost on it’s on. I thought that I would just buy this, take the print out, and use the frame. Oh, smary, thrifty, crafty Lynne! What a coup!! I rock!! It started so well. I went home and quickly started taking the thing apart. I ripped the paper off the back, and I took the print out. See below the wonderful picture I took. Isn’t it DIY? Isn’t is informative? I was so proud of me.

 

 

What I quickly found out, though, is that framed prints are meant to be used as is. As a picture in a frame. You aren’t supposed to take it apart. There are a bunch of layers of things that are placed to look good together, but not on their own. Plus, as pretty as the frame is with the print, it’s actually just stapled together, and does not hold up well. Crafty Lynne was a bit set back by this, so I decided to regroup and take a break. For about a month.

So, some time in February (by which I wanted to be done this), I got all of my stuff together while the baby was napping, and I decided to finish this thing. The paint chips were different sizes, so I cut them so they matched, and I lined them up against the glass. Yes, they are crooked.

But they weren’t as crooked when I tried to put them in the frame. But when I did that, I had a hard time fitting the cardboard into the staples. And the frame broke. Into four pieces. Sob. But my very nice husband glued it back together. Which worked. But it doesn’t look great.

So, I am back to buying another frame. An actual empty frame where things are supposed to go. I would love to say this would happen between now and Sunday, so it would be done by April 1. But I don’t know if that will happen. But I am doing this, people. For reals. Sometime soon. I will survive, and so will this project. More later. But hopefully not much.

 


Yay to Project Runway All-Stars! More Cutting Fabric, Less Cutting Other People

by SweetMidlife

It’s Lynne!

Sister Leslie and I are both HUGE fans of reality television, especially the shows where creative people get to show their stuff. I love seeing what artists (designers, hair stylists, chefs, visual artists, etc.) will do when thrown a challenge, and I love how the soul of the person comes out.  Pretty cool.  One of our favorite shows of this genre (SAT word! See, Mommy, I am using my education!!) is “Project Runway”.  It’s wonderful to see what you can design with fabric, sticky tape and a dream, plus, we love pretty clothes.  We get pretty invested in the show because most of the designers are so invested in their work. It pulls us in.

But something has happened over the last few seasons of our dear, dear, “Runway”.   Since the show moved from the Bravo network to Lifetime, episodes have spent a lot more time than usual on not just what inspires the deisgners, but on what they think of other people’s work.  We know that the producers have a show to do, and drama brings viewers, and we know that they pose those questions to designers to get snarky soundbites. But you know what else brings viewers to a design show? Good designers.  And in the last few seasons, once you get past the moaning and backstabbing and crying, what you have left, for the most part, is kinda just-okay design.  Sure, past seasons had their share of tears and meanness and such, but it was a side dish that came out of the main one, which is the emotions and love that naturally flow from creativity. Plus, the last few seasons have had a bunch of unpleasant people saying a lot of unpleasant things while designing unpleasant clothes. And it makes me not want to watch.

So what Happy Happy Joy Joy I feel after watching last night’s premiere of “Project Runway All-Stars”!  This season features the return of some of the best (or most interesting) designers from season’s past. Familiar faces, new judges, new mentor, and new host. And guess what? IT WAS WONDERFUL. The designers had to bring with them a piece of theirs that really showed where they were as a designer now, and there was a lot of growth from where some of them were on their first seasons.   Then, they took them to a .99 store and gave them $100 to make an outfit inspored by the ones they brought with them. And it was so much fun to see what looked like tweed made from plastic shopping bags.  And I oohed, and ahhed. And I even found respect for designers I didn’t like in other years, and I think it was because I was focused on their clothes and not the nasty thing they said about someone else. I have high hopes for this season, and even though the previews show some snark directed to other designers, a lot of the drama seems to come from the emotion of creating.

See, when you spend less time talking about other people and you focus on what you came to do, you shine!  As I get older, I figure this out more and more.  Yes, I will take feedback from people that I trust, but I won’t allow myself to get off track because I am so busy trying to figure out what you are saying about me, and in turn feeling like I need to talk smack about you.  You do you, I’ll do me, we’re true to ourselves, and we do better (fill-in-the-blanks with whatever you do).   You do what you came to do, be nice to people, and you’ll produce better fruit. And TV. And life.


Cool Gift For Your Kids or Your Sweetie or Whoever. Just Cool.

by SweetMidlife

It’s Lynne.

So, I have been wanting to run something about my beautiful friend Artist Jamie for awhile.  She is a graphic painter/artist/crafter/blogger/amazing friend who did the decorations for my wedding last year, and we  wanted to give you guys ideas for your own weddings. Haven’t done that yet, but we thought that Christmas was a PERFECT time to introduce you to Jamie’s fab, creative self because she has a beautiful thing she does that makes a beautiful gift….

11" x 14" Personalized Subway Art Canvas

They are called Subway Art Canvasses, and they are canvas pieces that you can customize with your favorite words to let the people in your life know how you feel about them. Jamie did this one for a kid family member, so he could remember all of the wonderful things he is. And looky, she did the one below for me! It was a wedding anniversary gift for my husband, with the words of our first dance song on them.  It was a neat updating of the traditional paper gift for first anniversaries, and he LOVED it.

16" x 20" Personalized Subway Art Canvas

Cool, eh? They come in three different sizes, and will really make anybody’s day.  It is good to tell the people in our lives how we feel about them, and there is something extra-special about having that printed up all pretty-like so they can refer back to it. Shoot, I think they make a good gift for YOU: put up your favorite saying, Bible verse, or even big giant picture on it and display it as decoration. We can inspire OURSELVES, can’t we? Check them out and buy one here on Jamie’s shop on Etsy (it’s like Ebay for handmade goods). Ooh, you should also check out Jamie’s blog, The Creative Imperative, a really neat place  with do-it-yourself ideas for painted things, crafts and other at-home projects.  It’s very refreshing and honest, and Jamie makes even non-crafty people like me feel like they can do cool projects (and my arts projects are loved only by my mother).  So, check her stuff out and support cool people doing cool stuff, and in the process, you can learn how to do cool stuff too. See, everybody wins!!


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