Friday, April 18, 2014

Hiding things in the walls, part 3

Hiding things inside the walls

I'm hiding treasures in the walls again. It's like the funnest thing I can think of.

Open wall in basement stairwell

Our basement stairwell had been open and wall-less for many months now, after our leaky pipe plumbing problem. It was old splintery wood and kind of crusty, to say the least. The plumbing was replaced in December, and, lucky for us, the mold/mildew was only on the plaster and lathe, which has been long gone. Safe to say everything had plenty of time to dry out over the past few months. Time to close things up!

Hidden time capsule inside the wall

But before my dad hung the drywall, we slipped a collection of artifacts inside for future residents of this house to find (if they destroy the walls). An informal kind of time capsule.

2014 painting

Anticipating this hiding, Elise and I created a commemorative painting a few months ago when 2014 was still fresh and new (to let you in on just how slow we are moving around here).

Random assortment of items in our time capsule

The rest of our package was pretty impromptu and included some more pre-school art, a few 2014 coins, a copy of our community newspaper, and a random assortment of plastic toys we didn't mind parting with, including no less than four SpongeBobs.

See more things I've hidden >>

Friday, April 11, 2014

On the hunt: STL250 Cakeway to the West #STL250

If you follow me on Instagram (@lansdownelife), you probably have noticed the new photo project we've started for 2014.

St. Louis turned 250 this year, and to celebrate, the city is placing 250 birthday cake sculptures all around the metro area at significant locations, each painted by different artists. It's part public art, party history lesson, and part scavenger hunt.

It started out innocently enough when we ran across our first cake. Then our second. But Elise is obsessed with cooking and baking. She loves the Food Network and grocery stores. And when she grows up, she'll tell you she wants to be a baker. Cakes are her thing. So as the weather has warmed, we have started cake hunting in earnest. We're lucky the vast majority of them are within 20 minutes of our house!

So far, we've found 51 cakes (20%!), and we're still hunting. We may not get to all of them, but we have all year to try!

Anyone else in STL cake hunting?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

DIY craft kits for kids: Birthday cards

Birthday candle handmade birthday card

I started making these DIY craft kits for my daughter as an alternative to the pre-packaged kits from the craft store. This post is the second installment in the series. See the first one here: Washi tape covered clothespins.


Birthday cardmaking kit

I have to admit, this next craft kit project has a selfish undertone. I have become fabulously bad at birthday cards. I forget to buy them. I forget to make them. I forget to send them.

And sometimes, when I absolutely have to have one right now, I shove some paper and crayons in Elise's hands and she makes something passable. Because she's four and "hastily thrown together" is passable for a four year old.

So like I said, this craft kit project is a bit selfish because I'm having her make a batch of cute homemade birthday cards for us to give throughout the year.

Supplies for making handmade birthday cards

So what's in the kit?

  • A bunch of paper scraps cut in candle and flame shapes.
  • A pack of blank notecards with envelopes
  • Some double-sided adhesive foam dots
  • Letter stickers
  • A glue stick (if the adhesive foam dots don't work out or are too hard for her)

The design was inspired by this card. I chose it because it was easy enough for a four-year-old to execute and also a wonderful way to use up paper scraps. I cut a ton of shapes from leftover scrapbook papers. I wanted her to have some choice with the color combinations, so I cut way more than she will actually need. The letter stickers can be used to spell out messages or names. Easy peasy!

Paper scraps for making greeting cards

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Studio organization: Works in progress storage

Shelves for drying paintings

On the hunt for some new furniture, I hit the antique malls for the first time in maybe a year! I was way past due. I've been looking for a buffet-type piece of furniture to use in our living room, but I came across this instead.

Wood shelves at antique mall

Over the past six months or so, I've been slowly building my studio, while also trying to work in said studio. It was a mess, and the whole thing was just leaving me feeling disorganized and crazy.

To get some clarity, I made a list of every function I needed the space to perform. Work space, materials storage, finished goods storage, packing space, etc. And then I realized I had a big hole in my process: I had no storage area for works in progress. Everything was just everywhere. Painted frames drying wherever I could find a flat surface, which, in turn, gave me no place to work. It seems really obvious now, but I just hadn't broken it down like that before.

Shelving units for storing drying painting

So anyway, when I ran across these units with perfectly sized shelves, I lunged. At $40 each, they were easy to say 'yes' to. Because if you've ever priced letter sorters or furniture with a bunch of shelves or pigeonholes, you will know that $40 is a bargain. And forget about finding anything made of wood. I bought one, and then went back the next day for the other.

These things are SOLID wood and super heavy. And also handmade and a bit rough, but I sort of like their garagey character for now. The space is still a work in progress, but I feel like all the functional components are finally here. Let's hope I can share some prettier pictures soon!

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