Category Archives: Michaels

‘Tis the season for holiday crafting!!!

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”                                – Albert Einstein Source: Goodreads

We love making holiday crafts, but always seem to be doing them last-minute. Never will forget finishing handmade family Christmas ornaments in the car one Christmas Eve! (Sometimes having a 2-hour drive is a good thing.) This year, we are starting our holiday crafting early and thought we’d do a few “mini-blogs”, short posts featuring some of our favorite holiday craft ideas.

This week, we offer some ideas to make the crafting process easier and less expensive. Here are a few things we do to get ready:

BRAINSTORM

Write down any and all ideas you may have for holiday crafting. At this point, no thought should be discarded! The next day, re-visit your master list and factor in time and price constraints to develop your final craft plans for the season. If you are crafting with a partner, toss ideas back and forth. Very often, you’ll come up with good ideas which evolve into even better ones when two or more people are working together.

FIND INSPIRATION

Crafting ideas can come from anywhere. Check out crafting websites, borrow books and magazines from the library, watch craft segments on television, take a walk in your local park, or look at the decorations in stores and see if you can create your own versions.

HAVE A REALISTIC PLAN

Do you want to make things for every holiday that’s coming, or maybe just for one holiday? Do you have time to do what you would like to do? Keep your schedule in mind and be realistic about what you can accomplish. If you are following instructions, read them thoroughly before starting your craft.

GATHER MATERIALS

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Before you start work on your creations, gather what you need in one spot and make sure you have everything you need. Check lists work great!

NATURAL MATERIALS

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If your projects involve working with materials you’ve gathered in nature, do your research about how to clean them.

We have several large pine trees on our property and gathered a bunch of pine cones for this year’s first craft project. They needed to be prepared before using. The website below offers how-to’s if you are working with fresh pine cones. Check out our next mini-blog for some pine cone craft ideas that will take you from Halloween through New Year’s!

http://tipnut.com/how-to-prepare-preserve-pinecones/

COUPONS

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Don’t forget that money-saving coupons for craft stores are available on-line or in your local newspaper. This time of year, the stores are battling for your craft dollar, so there are some great coupons. Take a look before you shop. We ask that you do not shop at Hobby Lobby – their corporate philosophy is not socially responsible.

HAVE FUN!!!

Remember to have fun and enjoy the process!

Enjoy

Roy & Kevin

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Summer Garden!!!

“The most lasting and pure gladness comes to me from my garden.” – Lillie Langtry*

We have had a busy July with some extra work responsibilities. It’s nice to have the beauty of our patio garden to enjoy!

This week, for our 80th blog post, we feature a quick shrimp & vegetable recipe, stencilled signs, a garden update, and, of course, the bears!

EASY SHRIMP AND RICE

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This dish is a perfect weeknight meal. It’s quick, easy and delicious. An added bonus on a hot summer night – no oven required.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two cups of instant brown rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 lb of 41-50 shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails off
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lb frozen mixed pepper strips
  • 1/2 lb frozen broccoli and cauliflower mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  •  Two tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

HOW TO PREPARE:

  • Saute onion, mushrooms and celery in one tablespoon of oil until tender.
  • Remove and place in a Dutch oven.
  • Cook frozen peppers and broccoli/cauliflower mixture in microwave for 5 minutes and add to Dutch oven.
  • Toss shrimp with garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
  • Saute shrimp over medium heat in second tablespoon of olive oil until just pink.
  • Add shrimp to vegetables.
  • Stir in cooked rice.
  • Add frozen peas and soy sauce.
  • Stir, cover and cook on medium low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Make your own combination, add water chestnuts, bean sprouts, cooked carrots or whatever you like!

TRYING SOMETHING NEW: PAINTED SIGNS

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Inspirational or humorous stencilled signs are very popular decorating items for home or garden, but can be very expensive. Why not try making your own?

A found piece of aged wood, and some inexpensive stencils, foam stippler brushes and acrylic paints from Michael’s (look for coupons!) made this project easy. Our stencil set had a full alphabet, punctuation marks and a leaf pattern, which went well with our, “Lets Grow”, message.

A couple of tips:

  • If your stencils come with directions, read them. (Maybe we will next time!)
  • Don’t rush. Do a letter at a time and allow it to dry. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so this crucial step will not take too long.
  • Sand paper and accent paint can help correct smudged letters.

We love how this sign came out and it has a special place in our garden. Which leads us to:

GARDEN UPDATE

“The Earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson*

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We got this beautiful bird house, expertly painted by Roy’s soon-to-be five-year old great-niece, Kinsley, with the assistance from grandma, Lyn. Kinsley has a great eye for color combinations. After seeing photos of our garden, she knew where the bird house needed to go. It color-coodinates perfectly with our pot-full of pink and white petunias! (Thanks Kinsley and Lyn!)

This is a fun craft for any age. The unpainted birdhouses are available at craft stores. (This one came from Michael’s.) Acrylic paints do the trick. They dry fast and hold up pretty well outside. As an added bonus when working with kids, they wash off easily with soap and water.

Add embellishments to make your bird house festive; customize for different themes and holidays!

The Plants:

The warm summer weather has been a boon for our garden. The pepper plants, especially, are responding to the hot, humid weather. The flowers also are thriving – as long as we remember to water at least once a day!

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GUEST GARDEN PHOTOS

We visited Kevin’s brother, Warren and sister-in-law, Sharon, this past weekend. They have a beautiful assortment of flowers. Here are a few pictures:

Kevin was pleased to see that they have a tiger lily plant, which they grew from a clipping taken from Kevin & Warren’s childhood home In Meriden, CT.

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A second recent addition to our garden landscape and a nice surprise from this visit was Roy’s belated birthday gift, a trio of beautifully blown glass solar garden lights. (Thank you Sharon & Warren!)

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FOOD ART

Light on the red onion.

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JOKE OF THE WEEK: 

How well is your garden going to grow? Only thyme will tell!                                                         Source: Nestinstyle.wordpress.com

THE BEARS

The bears are admiring our new “Let’s Grow” sign (featured image).

Enjoy & stay cool!

Roy & Kevin

*Quote source-brainyquote.com