Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Picture Book Projects: Extra Yarn

Reading has always been a passion of mine, and it looks as if it will be for my children as well. Despite being displaced this summer (thanks to our remodel), we made sure to keep out a BIG bin of our favorite titles.

One of our faves is called "Extra Yarn," by Mac Barnett. After reading it for the umpteenth time the other day, my oldest daughter told me she would like to make something with yarn. I remembered these delightful little decorations from many years ago, and we decided to try our hand at making some "God's Eyes" for ourselves.

They turned out to be super easy for two six-year-olds to make and quick too! If you'd like to make a few of your own, follow me over to Playful Learning to get started...

We even made a short video! I hope it entices you to get on the floor and have some fun with your kiddos this week.

Make Something Today from Randi Edwards on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Red Tricycle Feature

From time to time, stuff from Swoon is featured around the web. Most of the time I forget to share, but this time I remembered! A while back, Addie's indoor picnic party was featured in a roundup on one of my favorite sites, Red Tricycle! I've often used this site in Seattle to find things to do with the kiddos around town. You can see there round up of cute picnic party ideas here. Thanks for the feature Red Tri!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Work in Progress.

Things have been very quiet around these parts lately, and I'd like to show you why....we've taken on the ultimate DIY this summer in the form of this 1970's jewel of a house.

I'm here to tell you that the renovation process is not made of disastrous before photos that magically bleed into beautiful afters in sleek fashion. The process is a dirty, sweaty mess, and it takes a lot of WORK to get from ugly to pretty (there's a metaphor about life in there somewhere).

I will be popping in from time to time over the next few weeks, but mostly you can find me in this half finished bathroom (or the unfinished living room, bedrooms, kitchen, or basement) workin' my buns off.

To keep up to date on our progress, meet me over on Instagram @swoonstudio. Those stunning after photos are sure to come soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Plan Happy Project

My friend Michelle, one half of the creative duo behind Twig Creative, is here to today to share an amazing way to build some fun into your summer! I really hope you decide to play along on with us on Instagram!
When summer was fast approaching, so was my anxiety. No more preschool break each week and no more structure that my four year old wild child thrives on. So, I knew something had to be done. We've tried lists and calendars and charts before and we've proven to be pretty bad at them, but I was determined to figure out a way to keep our sanity this Summer and not settle on constant screen time. I realized that putting in that extra effort of planning can result in a lot more happiness; for both me and my child.

This inspired Plan Happy Project. I created a simple chart listing each day with a picture representing that particular days activities. For example, our Tuesdays look a little like this: a t.v. representing cartoon time in the morning, a school book representing tracing pages, a grocery cart representing that it's our grocery day, a painting palette representing project time, and flowers representing outside time.

We made a list of projects that we would like to accomplish as well as a list of outings for our weekly Friday outing time. There are thousands of activities you can find on pinterest for occupying a child, but I wanted to keep it fairly simple. Yes, I want to plan ahead, but I don't want to create that insanity this whole plan was intended to avoid by putting too much stress on the steps to planning or purchasing supplies. We need projects that can be done in our home with mostly items we already have.

Some of those activities include:

Friendship Bracelets
Cloud Charts
Swimming Pool Bubbles
Finger Puppets
Letter Cookies
Homemade Popsicles
Painting Outdoors
Outdoor Movie
Sewing a pillow

We're early into the Summer, but giving my child something to look forward to each day keeps her excited and interested. As a Mom of two and a small business owner, life can get busy. Giving my child the responsibility to look at her calendar and then come to me with what our plan is helps keep us both happy and helps the rhythm and flow of our day stay smooth.

We hope you'll join us and share your ideas as well, using the hashtag #planhappyproject

Randi created a simple weekly calendar as well, for writing out your schedule or drawing pictures of your day. Click here to download and enjoy!

Thanks for joining us today Michelle!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Glitzy Pineapple Tote.

I hope the signs of summer are starting to show up where you are. We've been spoiled with some pretty beautiful days lately, and it's put me in the mood for BBQ's, trips to the beach, and ice cream trucks.

I'm always on the lookout for big roomy totes, because even though there are at least 10 in my closet I can never have enough. They really come in handy this time of year from swim lessons to road trips.

I ran across some large, sturdy totes at the craft store the other day and snatched them up. When it came to making the bags something special, I had a little help. You may be wondering how on earth I cut out all of those little dots out of iron on-but the truth is I didn't! Not by myself anyway....

A few months ago, I flew out early to the Alt conference and was introduced to a new product: the Cricut Explore. I am typically wary of owning too many craft tools/machines and really prefer to do things myself. I haven't had a huge need for the previous models of the Cricut, as they didn't allow for original designs and required too much commitment and ongoing purchasing of accessories to use.

However, I was blown away by this new product! Have you heard about it? The new cutting machine plugs right into your computer (no extra software needed), where you can upload and cut original designs (like my pineapple), or choose from TONS of projects designed by someone else, which can be accessed right from the design space/website.

I finally got mine out of  the box and started playing with it, and now I'm hooked! I am not easily hooked, so it's kind of a big deal. Did I mention it can even write with a pen and cut fabric? You really need to take a look.

For this project, I designed a pineapple, uploaded it to the website, set my machine to cut iron-on, loaded gold iron-on into the machine and hit GO. Once the pineapple is cut, slowly remove the negative space of iron on material, flip over, and iron on to the bag. That's it. SO easy, and it looks so luxe.

If you already have an explore, you can download my file here! Stay tuned this week for more ideas...

Do you have a crafting tool you can't live without?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Make it: Simple Brass Necklace

For the last few seasons, I've been really drawn to simple and understated jewelry. It adds an elegant touch to both colorful and classic outfits, doesn't it? While there are plenty of talented shops and makers to choose from out there (try etsy keyword: minimalist jewelry), I like to try my hand at making things myself from time to time.

As you know, brass tubing has become a favorite material around here (remember this, and this?) and is easy to find in the model building section of Hobby Lobby and other craft stores.

All you need to make this modern necklace is....(1) piece of 3/32 brass tubing, a 30" thin gold chain necklace, a tubing cutter (found next to the tubing in most stores), ruler, sharpie, and needle nose pliers.

measure: using ruler, measure 3" on your brass tube and mark with the sharpie (for a more dainty necklace, go with a shorter cut).

cut: slide brass tube into tube cutter and cut (detailed instructions here).

repeat: repeat steps one and two to make a second piece.

remove: use needle nose pliers to open the jump ring and remove the lobster clasp from your necklace (hold one side of jump ring with thumb and forefinger of one hand, and use pliers to gently pull other side forward or back, do not pull side straight out as this will ruin the shape of the ring). Set both the jump ring and lobster clasp aside.

assemble: slide both pieces of brass tubing onto your necklace, bringing to the center of the chain. If it's a tight fit (mine was), use pliers to gently pull chain through tubing.

finish: slide jump ring back on to the end of your chain, add lobster clasp and close back up using your pliers to pull the ring back together.

Apparently I look pretty ticked off when I attempt a serious face in photos-ha! Happy necklace making friends!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

He's Not Gone {an essay about dementia}

If you've ever met my Grandfather, it's likely you walked away with a smile on your face and slightly winded from one of his famous bear hugs. This man, with booming voice, strong arms, and a kind heart always seems to leave an impression wherever he goes. As a young child in a small town, I often felt like I was the Granddaughter of some sort of legend or celebrity. Many times people I came across would recognize our shared last name and stop to recount a story of how he had touched their lives.

My Grandfather, this hero of mine, is suffering from dementia. Often he is lost and I know he doesn't recognize me during most of our encounters.

Mostly our family is able to handle this devastating disease in a lighthearted way. He makes that easy on us. Even when he doesn't know who you are, he treats you with affection and an open heart, offering a hug and a hearty laugh, just as he always has. It's who he is to the very core and I am thankful.

But, other times that thought that he is gone hits me hard and deep. The real him. I'm afraid I won't know him in the same way again, expect in tiny fragments on the good days. In those moments I feel a sadness that is not unlike mourning his actual death. I recognize the inability to express my love to someone who can't even remember it and I wish I would have known how quickly his mind was going to change. I'm so grateful for the closeness we shared and for the cherished stack of cards and letters from him that I will always keep.

It helps to realize that although a part of him will never be the same, maybe he's not really gone. I like to think that in his mind he is reliving the best parts of his life. The timeline may be jumbled, but it's there in all of its glory. Maybe when he sits there in his easy chair he is really back in his childhood, lost in the world of dusty summers on the farm. Or maybe he is the young pastor again with three little children and his whole life ahead of him.

When I feel sad I try to remember how richly he has lived his life, how many people he has touched, and I know he's not really gone. Behind this tragedy is the story of the tenacity of the family he has built and the faith we all cling to. His character, his kindness, his faith and legacy are living on for us, and even for him, despite the layers of confusion. Those are the things that will live on long after he really is gone. Those are the things I will always keep.

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