Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weakless Wednesday Challenge : A New Face

This is the first in my new Weakless Wednesday Challenges. The more and more I blog about my Newlessness year, the more I've been thinking about challenging my readers to join me in doing something against the social norm, to help us remember that we are not all bound by the chains of cultural expectation. I'd like you to join my in a challenge that encourages self-reflection and makes us ask ourselves why we don't deny those chains more often.

The challenges are not for an entire year, rather, just one week. One week of going without doing something you possibly do every day, or one week doing something you don't typically do. These weeks are meant to challenge our practices, habits, and remind us that our decisions shape who we are, who we become, and who our children follow after. Each challenge will be different for everyone, more difficult for some, less for others. As the weeks go by, I hope you challenge yourself in ways you didn't think possible and are encouraged by the newfound freedom as the chains are lifted.

Since this is the first in the series of challenges, I thought it would be fitting to strip ourselves down and take a good hard look at who we really are. This challenge will be for the women readers (don't worry, guys, I'll have something else for you soon).

This week's Weakless Wednesday Challenge is to go Makeupless. That's right, an entire week without one smidgen of makeup on that beautiful God-given face of yours. This one will be tough for a lot of you, and you may have even stopped reading by now. But for those of you who are still intrigued, yet doubtful, just ask yourself why you hesitate. Why would it be so hard to go just one week with our real faces out in the world, with no powder, no mascara, no nothing except our beautiful glowing skin? Now rise to the challenge and just do it. Break through those societal chains! And know that you're not alone, I will be going through the same challenge along with my readers. If you need some encouragement, just read the comments on this post and we will get through it together!

I will say, if you decide to embark on this week long journey, do not make exceptions for yourself! If you have a date, or an event, go without makeup wherever you go, whatever your plans or occasion to truly be liberated in the experience. And don't forget to come back and post your progress!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Newlessness : Day 51

I just found a great website today called BarterQuest. The concept is simple, and quite frankly, I wish I'd have thought of it. It is a website where you can register and barter goods or services all in one community! Brilliant. Now, not only can I go shopping, but I can also offer a service to someone else in need. I wonder if someone will trade a vacuum for some soap.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Today's Prayer Walk

I went for a prayer walk today and had a heart to heart with God. I've decided to get out of the house is the best way to have time to talk to God without being distracted with my business, the computer, the phone, to-do lists, and whatever else I get drawn to when I'm inside. It was a beautiful walk and I feel closest to God when I'm outside enjoying His creation. The dominating theme for my prayer this morning happened to be about obedience. I long to be the person to do the things God calls me to do every day. I want to be the type of Christian that doesn't hesitate to answer the call. I want to be the type of Christian that lives out my walk with Jesus. So I passed some trash on the side of the road and had the urge to pick it up. I walked past it and realized that it was that urge, that conviction, that is so easy to ignore. I turned around and walked back to the trash and picked it up. I picked up every piece of trash I saw on my way back home. I thank God for revealing my heart today and for testing my obedience. Practicing being obedient with something as small as picking up trash is what will help me have an attitude that doesn't hesitate when He calls me to do something for Him and to further the Kingdom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Newlessness : Day 48

Vacuum Graveyard

I desperately need a vacuum. The one I had broke down on me and my apartment is slowly accumulating little masses of lint and specks of the unknown in forgotten corners. I was about to run out to the hardware store when I remembered. Not buying anything new can be downright annoying at times. But then I think about the piles of plastic, unwanted vacuums sitting in a landfill somewhere and my attitude slowly melts from annoyance into satisfaction. The satisfaction of sacrificing the easy, time-saving convenience of stopping by the store for the greater good of reducing my carbon footprint.

While I was contemplating where to get a used vacuum, I decided to do some research on how to recycle my old vacuum. I found a few useful tips:

1. When your vacuum breaks, try to fix it before disposing of it. Often times it just needs a new part and you can save it by taking it to your nearest appliance repair shop.

2. If your vacuum is beyond fixing, you can still do your part! The outer shell of the vacuum is recyclable. The motor is not recyclable, however, it can be properly disposed of by taking it to the nearest recycling center to keep toxins away from groundwater sources.

3. Lastly, if your vacuum is not broken, and you are looking to upgrade, consider donating the vacuum to charity, a local thrift shop, or .... ME! Cause I really need one!!

How did this "not buying anything new" shenanigan come about you ask? See the post that started it all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Design and Make Your Very Own Stamp : A Tutorial

Step 7

A stamp making tutorial brought to you by: Sunshine Speckles
Read more about Alison's Sushine Speckles in her interview below!

design to make into a stamp
tracing paper
spoon or popsicle stick (to transfer design onto rubber)
stamp carving rubber (firm rubber will last longer, but I like the soft rubber for better details)
linoleum cutting tools/wood cutting tools/exacto knife
ink pad
something to stamp your design on

**Note on supplies**: I get most of my supplies at chain craft stores. Check with the rubber stamps, screen printing, and even wood carving supplies. There are also a number of online stores that sell rubber and carving tools, which are the two hardest items to find at the large chain craft stores.


Step 1: Pick a design to turn into a rubber stamp. You can draw your design or use a photo or image you already have. Just remember that the smaller you want your stamp to be, the harder it will be to get clear and crisp details. For bigger stamps, details are great, but will take more patience.

Step 1

Step 2: Trace your design onto tracing paper using the pencil. If you’re going to make a stamp with words, your design should look just like you want the finished stamp to look. When you transfer the traced image onto the stamp, the words will be a mirror image, so the stamp will end up looking right.

Step 2

Step 3: Position your traced image (pencil side toward the rubber) on a piece of rubber that will fit the entire design plus a little extra room. Transfer the image from the tracing paper onto the rubber using the spoon or popsicle stick. Be careful not to move the tracing paper while you are rubbing the design onto the rubber.

Step 3

Step 4: Cut the design from the rest of the block of rubber. Stay close to the design, but leave a little border so your stamp will have stronger edges.

Step 4

Step 5: Using your cutting tools or exacto knife, begin taking out the largest chunks of rubber. I like to work from the least detailed parts to most the detailed parts. You may have to experiment a little to get the right amount of pressure. You don’t need to take out a lot of the rubber. As long as your lines are deep enough to provide some definition, you should have a beautiful stamp. With softer rubber, you can use the tools to just scrape the rubber, which will provide texture or shadows.

Step 5 part 1

Step 5 part 2

Step 6: Once you have carved out your entire basic design, the real detail work begins. Stamp your design onto some scrap paper to see where you need to refine and change your rubber stamp. For my peacock feather, you can see that I wasn’t happy with the way my edges looked the first time I stamped it on paper. I went back to make the edges of the feather thinner and more angled. You will probably have to do this step a couple of times so you can get out any last bits of rubber that you don’t want in your design.

Step 6 part 1

Step 6 part 2

Step 7: Use your stamp! I like to make note cards and gift tags, but you could also use your stamp for address labels, pillow cases or t-shirts (using fabric inks), or even give away your hand-carved rubber stamps as gifts.

Step 7

This tutorial was brought to you by: Sunshine Speckles
Read more about Alison, owner of Sunshine Speckles below in her interview!

An Interview with Sunshine Speckles


How did come to be?
Sunshine Speckles was a joint effort between me and the existing Etsy shop names. My first name (Sunshine and Roses) was taken already, but Sunshine Speckles has really grown on me now, and I’m happy I have the name. The name makes me think of all of the things in life that provide simple pleasures – the specks of sunshine scattered throughout the day.

What inspired you to make your handmade items?
My friend Stacey taught me how to carve rubber stamps, and I needed an outlet for the growing pile of stamps and cards that was building at my house. I’m a big card writer, but even I can’t use as many cards as I make for my Etsy shop.

What does your work space look like?
I do all my crafting at home, so my work spaces changes day-by-day. I have a big rolling cart that holds most of my supplies and I drag it across the apartment to where I want to work. Today, I’m working on envelopes at my dining room table, so I have all of my envelope supplies spread across the table in various stages of the transformation from flat sheets of card stock to envelopes.

Tell us a little about you!
I graduated from law school in May, and I’m still in the midst of my job search. This was a really great time in my life to start an Etsy shop since I have so much free time to devote to making stamps, stamping cards, making envelopes, and refining my limited photography skills. By the time I have a full-time day job, I think I will have my process down well enough that my shop can be a good part-time job. I spend my days making cards with my two little dogs and my evenings with my partner. I also love to crochet, read books about dystopias, and bake.

Who has been your closest supporter?
I think a lot of my friends have been really supportive, especially my friend Stacey who is always very encouraging when I want to up new crafts. She even gives me lessons in the many crafts she enjoys. My dogs are also very supportive of me being at home with them every day.

What is your next goal?
I have a few things on my crafting to-do list. I thought up a few variations on red velvet cake that I want to try. I want to make handmade paper. I’ve been playing around with making sugar scrubs for myself, and I love the results so far. I also started looking into soap making. I’m currently trying to learn to read crochet patterns, but that’s just for me, not for my shop.

Where do you see Sunshine Speckles in the next 5 years?
I’m a very ambitious multi-tasker. In five years, I plan for my shop to have a steady stream of purchasers. I’m already looking into selling my cards in some local shops. I’ve also been toying around with the idea of opening a second shop for body products.

Tell us a little-known-fact about you!
My dream job is to work in a bakery. I would love to work at Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, GA. It’s five hours from my house, but I try to center any weekend vacations around Savannah, so I can get one of their fantastic cupcakes.

Visit Sunshine Speckles for beautiful, unique handmade creations today!

A Treasury That Made It

This treasury by City of Dionne included beautiful handmade pieces... And it made it to the front page. It is marvelous. One featured seller, my friend from the Christian Artists and Crafters Team Creek Bed Threads, will soon be featured here on my blog, so stay tuned for more!

Monday, February 15, 2010

After Anniversary Inspiration

Since Donald did something so special for me, I decided to give him something so that he could remember our special day forever. I transfered a black and white print onto a large canvas and then painted over most of the photo. I love it because the black and white photo peeks through the vibrant colors.





If you would like a custom photo painting, please see my Etsy shop.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vindemia Olive Oil


When we were finished with the hot air balloon ride, we had breakfast at the place we had departed originally, a private vineyard in the middle of Temecula wine country. The breakfast was amazing. The place is a family run business where David will make you feel like your home. They also had tall bottles of Olive Oil out for sale and I couldn't resist - I bought two. One of these gems will make it into my kitchen and the other, well, that is going to be made into a small exclusive batch of Castile Soap. I will have a few bars posted on my website when they are all done curing. In the mean time, I must thank Dave and Gayle at California Dreamin' for making our anniversary so special and so warm.



Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Surprise Balloon Ride Anniversary

February 11.
The Honey Cakes surprised me for our 3 year anniversary.
Probably the most romantic day of my life, I do believe.
I'll let the pictures to the talking for this one.








Friday, February 12, 2010

Marley's first Masterpiece



That blank canvas, craving attention, waiting to turn into a masterpiece, can now rest easy as it's calling has come. My sister Marley has turned it into her very first, very lovely piece of artwork. She even had to put the paintbrush down and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes a few times. Just like a true artist, she couldn't rush perfection! I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A New Day, A Blank Canvas

In my dining room sits a blank canvas begging me to drench it with color. I can't wait to breath into it's poor empty soul the vibrant prismatic life it was meant to live.