Blackout Poetry – my new obsession

    In the middle of February I was hitting the winter blues something hard (like every year) but it only lasted about a week and then things totally flipped and I felt like I had so much creative energy.

    One of my recent creative obsessions is blackout poetry.

    If you’ve never heard of blackout poetry it is where you take a page from something (a book, a newspaper, a magazine, etc.) and select a few words to highlight and blackout the rest.

    I normally struggle with having to be creative in a box but for some reason this has been working for me. And I have loved the challenge of trying to make something out of the words I am limited to.


    Blackout Poetry


    I have mostly been pulling pages out of a book that I bought and later found out was missing about 50 pages.

    I’ve been using it for other crafty projects for the last while and as of late, lots of blackout poetry.

    I have done one attempt at doing this from a newspaper article but I put that page in my art journal, maybe I’ll show some pages from there in the near future.


    Blackout Poetry


    We only had one black marker in the entire house so I was using it sparingly and not blacking out the whole page, I think it give it an entirely different look and the jury is still out on whether or not I like it.


    Blackout Poetry


    The book that I have been using has a lot of creepiness to it and I feel like that comes out a lot in the words I have selected but I get excited when I can make my “poem” a happy one.


    Blackout Poetry


    This has become a bit of a creative exercise for the every day, I like to start my creative time with this because I feel like it gets my brain working in the right way and then I can go on to other creative projects from there.

    I have been following Austin Kleon on Instagram recently and looking through a lot of the archives of his website and have felt very creatively inspired by him even though most of his art is very different than the kind that I like to create.


    Blackout Poetry

    I’ve even been getting the kids involved, Rae has been loving it. Ephraim and I did a collaboration and made the page on the left (below), there we pretty much did the opposite by cutting out words and gluing them onto a black page.

    On the right side of the page (below) I finally got some new black markers but underestimated the juiciness so they bled into my words a bit.


    Blackout Poetry


    That’s one way I’ve been creative lately!

    As a result of my rabbit trails of creativity I’ve made some big changes to this website (with more to come) and I am working on streamlining my online life so life is simpler and more intentional.


    Ten Beginner Sewing Projects – Perfect for Tweens

    With winter approaching I find myself wanting to gather some sewing project ideas for my tween.

    She loves the idea of sewing and asks to do it often but, I’ll be honest here, I don’t let her do it very much.

    Part of the reason behind this is because she will often lose interest before she has completed the project and I don’t feel like I have extra time to help her start projects that aren’t going to get finished.

    So, I’ve specifically been hunting for super simple sewing projects that don’t take too long to complete.

    In this post I’ve tried to start with the easiest projects and as the post progresses the projects get a little harder/time consuming. I hope this will help you gauge whether or not it will work for you.

    I’ve also made a point of making sure these projects are at least useful to some degree. Many of these tweens can use themselves or they can make to give to friends as gifts. My daughter has hopes of making some of these projects for the foster kids that come into our home.


    Ten Beginner Sewing Projects - Perfect for Tweens - Homeschool Handicraft Ideas


    Now, should you stick to hand sewing projects or machine sewing? And if you go the machine sewing route should you buy a kids sewing machine? Read on . . .



    The easiest and least expensive way to start is with hand sewing. Another benefit is that you can take these projects with. You still need to be careful with the needle but if you are going on a road trip and have a child who is capable they could do some sewing along the way.



    Machine sewing projects are usually quite a bit more involved and I would generally suggest doing some hand sewing before using a machine.

    The real question with machine sewing and kids is do you get a child sewing machine or not? I have only had one experience with a kids sewing machine and just to give you an idea of how terrible it was: we couldn’t even make one doll pillow before we resorted to my machine.

    If you have a regular sewing machine I would just suggest teaching your child to use it in a safe way instead of buying a kids sewing machine. If you don’t have a machine and you don’t want to invest in one maybe a kids machine would work for you but I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in it.





    How adorable is this pattern? My daughter may be slightly obsessed with cats so this is right up her alley. The small size of this pattern means they are quick to make and don’t take a lot of supplies. This is a great first project idea.


    Easy Bunny Softie Catnip Toy


    Speaking of cats, if you have one, you can make them a catnip toy!

    No cat? You can totally make this without the catnip and it can just be a pocket bunny like the pocket cat above.


    DIY Easy Scrunchies


    I’ll be honest, we haven’t jumped on the scrunchie band wagon just yet. I struggle with styles that were cool when I was young coming back in style. Like those black chokers – why are those back already? They were never a good idea to begin with! But I can see some merit to the scrunchie so I think we will whip up a few of these soon.



    The actual instructions for this pattern suggest machine sewing but I really think it could be done either way, especially since the seams are on the outside anyway.


    Sweet Felt Doll - free pattern


    I actually made one of these, years ago, for my daughter and it has since gone MIA. I think it would be really sweet if she now made her own. Just like the monsters above, this one does suggest machine sewing parts but it could probably all be done by hand sewing.


    Free Pattern for Kids Animal Masks - perfect for Hallowwen


    My kids love dressing up and masks are such a fun and easy way to do so. These masks are so adorable and are high on our to-make list.


    Super easy Infinity Scarf


    I’ve made a lot of infinity scarves in my day – they are so simple, just a couple of straight lines! It will be easier or harder depending on what type of material you use. The stretchier the material generally the harder to sew.


    Free 18" American Girl Doll Dress Pattern

    18″ DOLL DRESS

    My daughter has a couple 18″ dolls (though not American Girls, we are cheaper than that, and honestly, not even American), and we’ve actually used this pattern to make a dress for one of her dolls. For the fabric we used one of my daughter’s old sweaters. It turned out into a cute dress.


    The Easiest Rag Quilt - made from strips with no binding!


    A rag quilt is not a true quilt but it’s a good introduction into the blanket making world. There are a number of different varieties when it comes to rag quilts, some are made from squares, some from strips, some have binding, some don’t. I tried to find a tutorial of the simplest rag quilt, perfect for a tween!


    Easy No-Binding Beginners Quilt


    This quilt is in some ways a step above the rag quilt because of the hand sewing but there is no cutting the fringes. Plus, it’s still a lot easier to make than a regular quilt.


    Do you have great beginner sewing project ideas for tweens? I would love to hear them!


    Recently in My Art Journal

    An Art Journal Flip Through

    I’ve been consistently working in this art journal lately. It only takes 10-15 minutes per page and I’ve been loving how the pages are turning out. I love the minimalism, I love the cohesiveness, I love the quotes, I love it all!


    Customized Composition Notebooks

    A few weeks ago I bought a couple of new composition notebooks and decided to personalize them a bit. Raeca had a couple of primary composition notebooks and wanted to join me so I thought we’d video our process and share it here with you!

    The primary composition notebooks are nice because they have lines for writing on the bottom but the top half of the page is blank, the perfect space to draw a picture.

    Customized Composition Notebooks for our homeschool work.


    Materials used:

    How do you like to customize your homeschool supplies?


    Art Supply Hack: Use This Instead of Paint Brushes

    Call me weird but I’m not a big fan of paint brushes. I enjoy abstract art and using paint brushes often makes everything feel too intentional and uniform.

    Years ago I came across this idea to use these simple objects instead. I love the effect it gives and I often find myself choosing to use these over the traditional paint brush.

    Art Supply Hack - Use This Instead of Paint Brushes

    Check out the video to see what I like to use!

    Other materials used:

    What are some of your favorite art supply hacks?

    Art Supply Hack - Use this instead of paint brushes for your mixed media journal.

  • A quick and easy horse mixed media canvas with video.

    Horse Mixed Media Canvas

    I am so excited for 2017! 2016 held a lot of health woes for myself and I’m hoping this year I can get a handle on this thing.

    Anywho, I made this canvas a few weeks ago and recorded the process thinking I would add it to an online course on mixed media canvases but I decided to hold off on that course for now but still wanted to share the video.

    A quick and easy horse mixed media canvas with video.

    The supplies I used on this canvas include:

  • Coloring with Baby Oil and Crayons - use these simple supplies to create a great watercolor effect.

    Coloring with Crayons and Baby Oil

    I love collecting art supplies. I mean, I love minimalism but books and craft supplies are my weaknesses.

    Big time.

    But, I don’t like spending a lot of money on art supplies.

    So, when I came across a way to use regular ol’ Crayola crayons in a more refined way, I was intrigued.

    Because, let’s face it, crayons make look any coloring look like you are three years old.

    But not with this method. It gives such a cool watercolor effect.

    Coloring with Baby Oil and Crayons - use these simple supplies to create a great watercolor effect.

    This hack is so simple it seems like it shouldn’t work, but it totally does.

    All you need to do is color with crayons (pressing quite hard), dip a cotton swab into a bit of baby oil and rub the oil over the crayon. It takes a regular crayon drawing and makes it almost watercolor-esq, while making the colors more vibrant at the same time.

    The only thing to keep in mind with this method is to make sure you are using good quality paper, regular printer paper will become an issue as soon as you add the baby oil. Personally, I like using pages from my adult coloring books, the paper is thicker and the result is so great!

    You can watch the video below to see how I use this method in super speed.

    Do you have any hacks for regular craft supplies?


    Faux Marbled Nightstand

    Faux Marbled Nighstand Before

    A few months ago Jared picked up two identical nightstands. Rae needed one for her room and I figured it wouldn’t be long before Ephraim would need one too. They were in good shape but obviously needed some sprucing up.

    I found myself a little over loaded with projects so it took me a while to get going on Raeca’s nightstand.

    I finally started it a few weeks ago and painted it the same Coral Flower color as the cradle I painted a few months ago, and I knew that I wanted to do something about that top. I had seen people use marbled contact paper in some fun ways before so I thought it would be fun to make a faux marbled top.

    I just cut the contact paper to size and then put a protective layer of the hard top Mod Podge over it. Easy peasy as Raeca would say. 🙂

    Now give me a few more months and I’ll figure out what I want to do with Ephraim’s nightstand.

    Faux Marbled Nighstand Faux Marbled Nighstand Faux Marbled Nighstand

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