Monday, November 28, 2016

by Kelsey Retich

This is an update of my mom's post from 2011 

Making our own advent calendar is a special tradition that our family has been doing for many years.  Each year as memorable and different as the last. We usually resort to our staple look, a house with doors and windows that open up to be the different days of December!  Through the years my siblings and I have done more than our fair share of cutting out windows, doors, plants, wreaths, people, cars, dogs, trees, presents, stars, and plenty other christmasy what-have-you's from every magazine we could find, as well as getting covered in glue trying to paste them on in all the right spots! The original post is quite, well,  homemade, but not very pretty! Fortunately as our art skills improved, so did our advent calendar making skills, thus calling for an update to the old directions.

This is our finished product this year! Quite a fun improvement from our older years, and just as much fun! 

The orginal post here:   

  • Large sheet of black paper (we wrapped our around an old bulletin board)
  • White Chalkboard markers (we use Pen-Touch)
  • LOTS of Magazines 
  • Scissors 
  • Glue
  • Exacto knife (or scissors if you're really talented) 
  • Sharpie

First thing to do is to take your large sheet of paper and draw your house outline with your chalkboard markers. Inspiration for this house came from drawings of old victorian houses and Pinterest (where else?)

Get out your magazine stash! Cut out as many christmasy or just cute doors and windows as you need. If you find other stuff you like too, you can cut them out and glue it to your house as decoration!

Once you have your house outlined and your doors and windows cut out, you can glue them down however you want to, however be warned, this step requires your hands to be coated in glue! And I mean COATED.

After you glue them down, you can add decorations to your house with the marker, curlycues, dots, little designs, anything to make it your own. Now take out your exact knife and take your house and lay it on something to cut on (we use a cork board, but any old cutting board would be fine as well)  and cut around all your doors and windows!

Add white paper all over the back of your windows and glue it down. Then you can decide what days to label your doors with, and then you can write in fun activities in the spaces!

Hope you and your family enjoy making this fun calendar and that it brings lots of memories! Have a wonderful Christmas season! -Kelsey Retich

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How I cook a whole chicken in 30 Min

My mother in law got a an awesome new pressure cooker for my birthday I love it!  Here is how I make a whole chicken in 30 using my Pressure Cooker XL.

Season chicken (Seasoning of choice herbs & Salt or coat in BBQ sauce)
Turn on pressure cooker and press CHICKEN/MEAT BUTTON.

Melt butter in pressure cooker, Brown chicken on all sides

Then Press Keep Warm/Cancel after browned nicely… (much browner than my picture)
You can add in more sauce, chicken broth, veggies, what ever flavors you like.
 Put on the lid
 Lock it in place and make sure the steam valve is locked too.
Then press the SOUP/STEW BUTTON and then press the COOK TIME SELECTOR button until you reach 30 min.

Then you are done it's seriously that easy!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

DIY Pillowcase - 5 Steps

I just recently taught a group of young ladies how to sew this pillowcase.  The object was to get these beginning sewers comfortable and confident in front of their machines.

1 yr of fabric

You are done!  Embellish it by adding ribbon of your stitch or you can crochet an edging.  I love making these for my kids for each of the holiday!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DIY Outdoor Bench - Update

So I thought this summer I would revisit my most popular post.  2 summers ago I posted DIY Outdoor Bench which got a huge reponse and I have had a lot of comments/questions (except for my aunt, I don't really get comments on my post).  So I thought I would do a revisit to this fun post.

2 summers ago I was eager to use some cushions that I had saved from a previous wood bench that became fire wood.  So I need to make a bench but I didn't want to break out the wood working tools, I didn't want to spend too much money and I didn't want it to take more than an hour.  I had seen a been made of all cinder blocks and thought hey that looks easy.  Until I got to home depot and started to lug them in the cart.  I got a few in the cart and then I had an idea that seems to have spread.  It was to thread board in the holes of the cinder blocks to create a bench.  And presto I had a bench for my cushion and a new post for my blog.  I wouldn't call myself a blogger I'm more of a creator who has been encouraged to blog but I think I lack some skill because if I get into the blogging thing my creation suffers if I'm into my creation my blog suffers. Needless to say this DIY Outdoor Bench post has been a big hit.  I have had over 114,000 hits in the past year to that post.  I have noticed lots of other bloggers making their version which are all super cute.  So here some picture of some other versions.

My cousin found my post online and made her version which are super cute check them out.

The second photo down is my parents house they did up two to look out at their view.

This one is from Lena at Simple Living

Here is another one from Everyday Fabulous Blog

I found this great one inspire from my bench on Pinterest but the link didn't work so I don't know who posted it but I love the wrap around style.

Here are a few more I found.

one more look at this fun bench from 2 summers ago..

So thank you everyone who enjoyed this post and created your own version what a complement.  I especially thank everyone cause I'm a blogger hobbiest and not a well blogged machine like so many of you so I appreciate it.   I have no updated photo because of this wonderful bench, because the area I created the bench in is now our chicken coop and so I am storing my beautiful cushions once again.

4 - 4x4x12 pieces of wood I used the cheapest I could fine
8-12 Cinder blocks  (using 12 the bench was a little high, my feet didn't touch the ground so we dug where the blocks sat so it would sit lower.  Or you could do away with the top row 4 blocks and have it sit lower. It's a personal preference thing as well as hight.)
1 Tube Concrete Adhesive
Cushions Optional

 Thrifty Thursday

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Turn a 99 cent hat into a custom hat!

While gearing up for a camping trip this weekend I saw this bright orange hat at the 99 cent store and thought I can make something out of that!   This is what  I came up with.  And a little how-to as well.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

$1.00 Valentines Apron

This is a quick and easy tutorial.  I was in Target and came across this $1.00 dish towel and thought I can make a kids apron out of this.  Then we also bough a pillow sham for my daughter and I saw the ribbon on the packaging and thought great I'll use that for the apron.  So total cost of this is $1.00 and it took me 2 min to make it and much long to take picture and do photoshop... which is probably why my blog pic aren't better I don't enjoy it.  But I hope you can make one and enjoy that!  I LOVE making stuff!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Confessions from a creative soul

 Oh she's creative, oh he's an artist, etc.....a lot of people throw it around...  Like it's an excuse or a privilege.

But those of us who are creative and know it, also know it isn't all roses.   I'm not speaking for all creative types or artists, just from my own perspective.  It may line up and it may not, or parts may line up while other parts do not.  It's all ok.  Take from it any part that comforts, encourages or spurs you on!   For those of you reading this who are not in the artists/creative category,   Many of us envy you at times!  You have other God given strengths when displayed (albeit not in a gallery) they are just as beautiful and I've had people like that in my life and it's a gallery I'd love to go to.  It's the gallery where relationship are appreciated.  Forgive me please for any grammar or eloquence that is lacking and I pray you can hear what I'm "Confessing".  Also another note I'm in no way stating that A) I'm the best at artistic or creative things or in anyway trying to have anyone view anything I make with esteem. (I make things cause I love to and I'm thrilled/overjoyed/ecstatic when it meets someones heart and they like it, not cause I made it, but the connection, the spark is the thing I love to feel and being able to gift that to someone is JOY)  Also just because you are creative or artistic doesn't mean that everything that you "do", "create" or "make" is awesome, to be valued or counted as a great art by others, even if it has great meaning to you.  Same way an old baby sock a mother holds onto not cause it's value, how it was made, etc, hold on to it cause of it's value to her of the child she held that wore it as a baby.  Ok back to the talent thing  many, MANY, MANY creative people don't develop that talent, that God given virtue.  My guess is because,  creative or artistic people usually lack discipline, at times myself included!  Which if you know me you might disagree with cause I eat health, work out and train in other areas of my life, which requires discipline.  But the discipline needed to develop a skill is at times hard for me.  I don't won't to be told how to, I don't want to learn, practice, repeat, repeat, repeat until it's what I like I just want to do what I like.   I just want to express.  I often think about musicians (one of the reasons I don't play an instrument is I lack the ability to stick with it while it sounds awful in order to develop the skill to just be able to express)  I see my daughter who can oooozzee musical expression and I'm jealous it looks to me like a girl twirling in a meadow just free and delighting in it... but there was work before the freedom.  It's that work that I speak of when I mention lack of discipline being (in my opinion) something artists lack.   Ok I think that's all my disclaimers and before comments about artistic, creative types.  Now on the the confessions.  Things I've learn and don't want to forget and try to remind myself of....
 #1 - It's like riding a bike, practice, practice, practice, do it, over and over and over again, even when you don't like the out come or you feel like a fraud or a failure.

#2 - Nobody has to affirm me to do #1 (but it does act as an accelerant)

#3 - Find your own way.

#4 - Trust others who can see in you what (because your are to close) can't see!

#5 - Encourage and develop other artists/creative types around you, because #1 is so important, and so do #2 so other can do #1...... I won't read that line to to my son cause there is bound to be a potty joke in there.

#6 -  Don't value yourself by your art or compare it to others.

#7 - Everything you do, you are learning from. So keep doing (oops that #1 again)

So what's the big deal.  Well if you are like me the big deal is TIME.  I'm a mother of 3,  my husband runs his own business, he has an amazing idea for a new business and I want to help him get that started, oh and I home-school, and taxi 3 kids to various "appointment".  So finding the TIME, is hard.  I can barely do #1.  When I was in design school I was constantly submerged in creating, starting and finishing projects, over and over..... my skill developed before my eyes!  To this day I don't feel I'm able to draw as well and as easily as I did when I was constantly do it.

So after I've schooled the kids, made lunch,  had a brief quite time, drove my kiddos around, made dinner, welcomed the hubby home, listened, laid kids down, etc.  I just want to stare at the ceiling and praise God I made it through the day.  The energy required at this point to round up art supplies, or take my camera out, etc.  Is so big that often (way to often) I don't do it.   One way I've found to fit it that time is to insert that artistic-ness in to my daily actives.   When at the beach with the kids I sculpt the sand around their bodies so they become mermaids, or sculpt hello kitty in the sand, I've done fun scavenger hunts for the kids, transformed my dinning room into a "restaurant" to take my husband out on valentines day when we were didn't have the $ to go out.  Or hand-made; love notes, dolls, etc.

Right now I'm really drawn (hey that's a joke get it .... drawn...) to indian headdresses .......

 This is my first one.... I did in an evening while the family was away, it's done in pencils.... my go to medium.
 My second one and in an effort to grow I pulled out my kids watercolor set and was pleasantly surprised I could use them.
My most recent I didn't have the energy to go searching for watercolor paper, so I just used good old printer paper (I know art snobs, the horror)  I just wanted to get something out more than I wanted to make sure I used all the proper things.  This I did mix medium pencils, charcoal and water colors... If I was smart I would have used crayon cause it would have acted as a natural resist to the water but I just went for it.

I long for the days when I can have a drafting table again, leave out project and work on them, develop them slowly over time, utilizing the mood as it comes.  But for now I don't have that luxury so I just keep doing #1.  Even if I only have an hour, a piece or printer paper and my kids art bin (which is always out cause I like to encourage creativity)

Oh and when you see me post a picture up (Facebook, Instagram,  Twitter - although I've lost my password and can't be bother to fix it, but I will)  it's from a place of great fear I'll have you know!  I'm not posting (like I know some do and that's ok) to say look at what I did I'm so great.  I'm more like... wow I had little time, little energy and my tools were mere children's tools and I'm going to be bold and show this cause I think it's important.  Cause I was given something that makes me "weird", I cry at weird moments in songs, or while looking at my children, making the bed, emotions take over me at times and I can't talk.... these are my components the components I've found most artist have.    I look at these and I see shoot I'd like it to look more that this, or darn I should have done that, used that, etc.  But I'm trying to train myself to see the good in it, to appreciate what is nice about it and posting it forces me to accept in on some level.  Cause it's far better than a blank page.

So here is this.... I set out to start doing #1 more after reading a delightful book...(which I can't remember and I've just had knee surgery and am elevating my leg so I can't get up and go find it) It's like creative art journaling..  Anyway I had a journal in my purse and when I was waiting at the doctor or a restaurant or park, etc.  I'd bust it out and a pen, pencil or crayon what ever I could find and bust out a little something in my journal...  After 3 journals full of such things I wanted to do something bigger. So I found a picture of a woman in a headdress (the first picture) and started out sketching.... I got so frustrated the proportions were off, the lips looked funny, the feathers were all to straight and so  I scribbled all over it in water colors doing random stuff.   I consider this my warm-up exercise to my indian headdress it is....... really I can't find anything in this one I like......

If you look closely you can see on the left hand side the black parts of the headdress...and the ugly lips more toward the center.  Some people bake cause they love to.... and I'm sure they have baked a few throw aways but they've still come away and learned something from the experience.... and learning is growth and growth is moving forward....... So here is to moving forward!

Thanks for reading....