14 August 2022

A Pen Case with an Elastic Band

I am pleased to see you today!

Here is the inspiration for our blah to TADA! transformation: 

Smiley Attachable Pen Case, Mochi Things, pencil case, stationery
Mochi Things


It's a pen case that easily attaches to a notebook or binder because of its elastic belt. A compact accessory if you like to carry different color pens that you can transfer from one notebook to another.

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I found this case in one of my drawers. It used to be the home of a small flashlight. Geez, I can't find the flashlight and I'm left with this case. Might as well give it new life.

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It's in a handsome black shade and has a deep pocket.

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A few items to give it a new look: needle and thread, scissors, and black elastic.

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Trim the elastic -- twice the length of the case.

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On the back side of the case, sew one end of the elastic on the top side.

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Do the same on the bottom side.

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Instantly we have an elastic pen case...TADA!

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It can fit most journals or notebooks.

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And can be home to two or three pens...TADA! I didn't have to toss the case and now it's so useful for my daily writing needs. So before getting rid of your unwanted stuff, think of new ways to turn them from blah to TADA! 


07 August 2022

Naturally Dyed Fabric and a Utensil Set

Hey guys! Thank you for hanging out with me today.

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I saw this at a coffee shop -- it's a kit containing a set of stainless steel flatware (fork, knife, spoon) in a carrying case that doubles as a napkin. Isn't this awesome? Use these instead of disposable utensils and help save our planet...TADA!  
 
I was so inspired with the idea, I had to make one myself. Why buy when we can D.I.Y.? But to make it my own, I decided to dye my own fabric.

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Did you know that if you boil avocado pits in water, the water turns into a pink liquid? Instant natural dye!

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I used white fabric and cut them into rectangles measuring 12 inches by 8 inches. 

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I tied the fabric with rubber bands, the same way you would when making tie dye t-shirts.

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Then I placed the fabric in the tinted water. I let this simmer on a low flame for about 30 minutes. Then I took the pot off the heat and let the fabric sit in the water overnight. The next day, I took them out of the water, removed the rubber bands, rinsed the fabric, and let them air dry. After ironing, this is what they look like: 

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Unique prints in a subtle shade of raspberry...TADA!

I want to showcase them individually, too:

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natural dye, eco-dyeing, avocado dye, avocado seeds, avocado pits, pot, crafty in the kitchen, blah to TADA, how to dye fabric naturally, color fabric with natural dye, tie dye, Shibori

natural dye, eco-dyeing, avocado dye, avocado seeds, avocado pits, pot, crafty in the kitchen, blah to TADA, how to dye fabric naturally, color fabric with natural dye, tie dye, Shibori

I took two sheets and sewed them together to make my cutlery case:

natural dye, eco-dyeing, avocado dye, avocado seeds, avocado pits, pot, crafty in the kitchen, blah to TADA, how to dye fabric naturally, color fabric with natural dye, tie dye, Shibori

This is the back.

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The flip side with divided slots.

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Put the utensils in each slot (chopsticks or a reusable straw can also be included).

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Roll it and secure with a ribbon closure...TADA!

I got to use avocado pits to make natural dye and I'll be bringing my own reusable utensils whenever I can. Score for the planet!

If you want to learn how to extract dye from avocado pits, you'll find a detailed tutorial here. And if you want more of these "blah to TADA!" ideas right in your inbox, please subscribe here.

31 July 2022

Repurpose Chocolate Boxes into Envelopes

Hooray, you're here!

I love boxed chocolate bars even when they're empty. I know it's not a delicious option as the chocolate but the boxes are always worth keeping.

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Just like my previous post where I repurposed empty food boxes, I'm using these empty chocolate boxes for crafting, turning them from blah to TADA!

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I like that this particular box resembles an envelope.

Lidl chocolate, chocolate bar, chocolate packaging, recycle, upcycle, crafts, paper crafts, handmade, paint, rubber stamps and ink pad, handmade postcards, snail mail, penpal ideas, blah to TADA

With some acrylic paint and a wide brush, I painted the inside.

Lidl chocolate, chocolate bar, chocolate packaging, recycle, upcycle, crafts, paper crafts, handmade, paint, rubber stamps and ink pad, handmade postcards, snail mail, penpal ideas, blah to TADA

I also painted the outside. It took about five coats to fully cover the labels. 

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After I let the paint dry, I added these pink areas to add color. 

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Then I took out my rubber stamps and ink pad.

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They're an easy way to add decorations.

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Stamp on the butterflies liberally around the envelope.

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Don't forget to stamp on the inside of the envelope, too.

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Look how much space it has for handmade postcards, letters, and little gifts like friendship bracelets, pins or stickers...TADA! 

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This area is for the addresses and postage stamp.  

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Here is the front -- ready with encouragement.

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Not only do I have a sturdy envelope to mail to a dear friend, I was able to turn an empty chocolate box from blah to TADA!  

If you want more blah to TADA! ideas sent straight to your inbox, please subscribe here. See you again next week!
 

24 July 2022

A Sketchbook Practice: "Draw Your Day for Kids" by Samantha Dion Baker

Hi there!

Today, I'm featuring the book, "Draw Your Day for Kids" by Samantha Dion Baker. It's a reliable resource if you are just starting a sketchbook practice or already have a full-fledged one which I'm trying to do. 

 "Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

I borrowed this one from the library and even if it's a book for kids, I like how the process of "how to sketch and paint your amazing life" is made simple. Keeping a journal is proof that we showed up daily and there are many ways to maintain one, not just the kind filled with written thoughts. 

"When we think of a journal, we usually think of just writing, but this book is all about keeping a visual journal filled with drawings that you create to show the things you do, see, and eat during your days. Drawing your daily life helps you learn so much about yourself and the world around you. From the biggest events, like getting braces, to the smallest stuff, like tasting a new food for the first time, tracking it all in one place is so much fun." - SMD                                                                                            

To start we'll need the following materials:

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A sketchbook, pencils, a plastic eraser, sharpener, fine-line pens, colored pencils, crayons, markers, a watercolor palette, paint brushes or waterbrushes, a glue stick and a small pair of scissors. These will all go into your artist's tool kit and it can be anything from a canvas pouch, pencil case or empty box that you can take with you when the sketching mood arises. 

To get us started, let's warm up with a few drawing exercises:

"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

We can make lines, circles and scribbles.

light and shadow, stippling, crosshatching"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

We can practice drawing light and shadow. This can be achieved by shading techniques like crosshatching (lines in the same direction) or stippling (dots) to add depth and shadows to the sketch. The drawing can remain this way or can be finished with color (make sure the fine-liner pen you use is waterproof). 

blind contour drawing,"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

We can try out "blind contour drawing" or drawing the subject without looking at your paper, sketching only the outlines and avoiding lifting your pencil off the page.

drawing prompts,"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

Here are a few prompts to help us draw our day: Daily Rituals, Your Mood, the Weather, Nature, Animals, Everyday Activities and Items, Special Events, Travel, Home, Food and Drink, and People.

And speaking of drawing people, I love this guide on how to draw faces and bodies:

how to draw faces,"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

How to draw people,"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

Now, it's time to put all of these elements together. Let me show you the pages that I made:

La Cabra New York,"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

This one is all about food and drink. The coffee and the pastries are the heroes of the page and I used the negative space to write out a description. I experimented with different kinds of lettering, too.

Boston, Boston Harbor,"Draw Your Day", Samantha Dion Baker, visual journal, travel journal, drawing, how to draw, sketchbook, sketchbook practice, blah to TADA, drawing book

This is a combination of nature and weather highlighting a spring day on the Boston Harbor. Samantha suggests, "Think of your page like a photograph; use the edges of the page."

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This page details a day at the shore during the Fourth of July. I was able to check off some items on my "Summer List" like eating really yummy barbecue, having some ice cream, collecting sea shells and spending the day at the beach.

Wasn't that fun? A few parting thoughts from the book:

Samantha says, "Creating an illustrated journal is a practice you can continue your whole life, from age eight to eighty." All we have to do is start...no matter what age we are. 

And that is how I turned a blank sketchbook page from blah to TADA!

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17 July 2022

In My Tool Box: Googly Eyes

I appreciate your visit today!

My craft tool box has eyes. Googly eyes.

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These googly eyes are some of the fun things I have in there. I got them at the dollar store. They're made of plastic, look like a flattened snow globe, and the pupil moves around when you shake it.

Below are some of the ways I've incorporated them in my crafts:  

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Are you familiar with bread tags? They're used to seal commercially-produced bags of bread. Instead of throwing it away, I turned it from blah to TADA! by giving it a face. I used googly eyes (attached with glue) and a permanent marker to draw the mouth.

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I now use it to seal small packages like gift bags and treat sacks...TADA!

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This next idea is inspired by the Commes De Garcons Play line, specifically its logo -- a heart with eyes. 

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I made my version of the logo with card stock and googly eyes. I used it to embellish this gift...TADA!

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And finally, I made a greeting card using a blank card, honeycomb paper, colored card stock, glue, paint, and googly eyes. 

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A butterfly graces the cover. And when you open it...

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There's a dragonfly inside...TADA!

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It's a card that's perfect for a child's birthday or to say "Good Job" after they successfully complete a recital, big game, or Spelling Bee.

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Without a doubt, googly eyes instantly transforms "blah to TADA!"

Do you have googly eyes in your craft arsenal? How do you like to use them?

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10 July 2022

Souvenirs from the Shore

I hope you are all doing well!

At this time of year, we always hit the beach. The sun, ocean breezes, and the sound of the waves are energizing and relaxing at the same time. If I could, I would live at the beach all summer long.

Let me show you a few scenes from Spring Lake, New Jersey:

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Spring Lake, New Jersey, Jersey shore, beach, Atlantic Ocean, waves, sand, vacation, blah to TADA

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Spring Lake, New Jersey, Jersey shore, beach, Atlantic Ocean, waves, sand, vacation, blah to TADA

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These photos really turn my day from "blah to TADA!"

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A trip to the beach is never complete without some souvenirs. I collect them as I walk the shore. 

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Here are the shells up close. I love the different textures and colors of each one. These will be part of my craft stash and I'll use them when inspiration strikes.

But for now, here are some simple pieces of jewelry that I made: 

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A bracelet made of elastic string, vintage beads, and a seashell attached like a pendant using a jump ring.

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I was deliberate in choosing these bead colors that remind me of the sky and the puffy clouds...TADA!

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Similar to these earrings, I made another set using these ready made jewelry findings, seed beads, and a pair of sea shells...TADA! I'll be sending this to a friend who now lives in California (to remind her of the Jersey Shore).

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A summer souvenir that's handmade using materials that I already had on hand...TADA!

I hope you'll find some time to relax this month. It's always helpful to take care of ourselves. 

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