Big News to Share!

Starting a business
Y’all, I have been sitting on some major changes over here. And FINALLY I get to share what I’ve been working on for the last three years.

With my business partner Meredith, I’ve started a subscription box company that specializes in self care. Our box includes things like lotions and sleep masks, treats and stationary, jewelry and soaps. Items that will help you sleep better, eat better, inspire you towards healthy choices, and engage you in luxury.

Along with all the other fantastic products, each box will include at least two craft kits in every box. We have tied everything we’re doing to scientific research, and the research is in. Making something is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It reduces stress, improves mood, lowers blood pressure, increases cognitive neuroplasticity, and so much more. So we’re including kits that represent all kinds of different types of crafting, so that you can experiment and see what kind of a maker you are. And if you hate it? So what! Do you love every workout you do? Sometimes you just get in there and sweat and flail and make a mess but you still did it and will reap the benefits. So if you sweat and flail through your crafting, just throw the dang thing out afterward! You’ll still get the benefits, and the next time you’ll be better, and better after that, until your making muscles are…swole? I’ve reached the limit of my knowledge for this metaphor.

Also included in each box is our exclusive zine, CULTIVATE. This is the women’s magazine I need to exist in the world. Full of authentic inspiration (as opposed to impossible expectations), stories of real women defining their own success, exercises you can use to improve your mental and emotional health, instructions on how to use the items in the box in a manner that best supports self care, and lots more art and humor to make this something that you will really value.

Through the course of all the nonsense I’ve had to wade through in my life, I’ve picked up a lot of survival tips. I’ve learned how essential it is to take my health and well-being into my own hands, and how to use self care as a radical health care tool, not just an excuse to treat myself. Our boxes will come stuffed with tools, education, and permission. You are worth the trouble of taking care of yourself, and I can’t wait to show you how.

Developing this box has been a long journey and I’ve missed coming here and pouring my heart out about every setback and every triumph. But now I can’t even look at this box without weeping because I’ve put so much of my heart and soul into it. I know that this is a product that will benefit people because it’s built on the same foundation as what has benefited me. Not just the reading and learning, but the LIVING. All the days I couldn’t leave my bed, all the times I had to learn shortcuts to make sure I ate, or gave myself incentives for showering. All the times I cross stitched through group therapy so I could stand to sit in my seat. I feel like all the horrors I’ve been through might actually have a purpose.

Our box is called HavenTree, named after the trees I used to hide under when I was a kid, whenever I needed some security. We all need a little safety and I know – because I’ve lived it – that no matter what is going on in your life you can find that place inside you.

Every quarter, you’ll receive a box stuffed full of products you will love. Inspiration to tackle the problems you’re facing. Education about tools that will change your life. And an authentic approach to real life – hard stuff and all.

I hope you love it. I made it just for you.

HavenTreeBox.com

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Christmas DIY – Make a Retro Crocheted Santa

crocheted-santaI did pretty dang good trying to cram all of my holiday tutorials into the time I had between back spasms and general poor health, but at 8:00 on Christmas Eve it’s time to move on to playing Santa. So I’m going to leave you with two last videos and leave the step by step text version on my desk drive. Hopefully you’ll watch these and be entertained in those times when family makes you crazy.

I’m still planning on doing a proper home tour video tomorrow when everyone is off playing with their new toys. But until I see you all again I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with love and cheesy holiday movies.

 

 

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Make a Retro Starburst Ornament

starburst-ornamentThe starburst motif might just be my favorite of all the classic midcentury designs. You can still see them all the time in signs that haven’t been updated since the 60’s. There’s an old motel we often drive by on the 5 freeway that has a big HOTEL sign decorated with starbursts. You can find them at old bowling alleys or in vintage Vegas casinos. So simple and pretty and they instantly set the scene for me. I see these starbursts and I get a sudden urge to start ratting my hair. Unfortunately, nobody seems to be making stickers in this shape, so it’s up to us to make them ourselves.

 

step-1I gave the wooden ornament shapes a couple coats of white paint before finishing up with a couple coats of silver. I wanted really thick coverage and painting it white first is basically priming it. The silver looks brighter and without it you’d need to paint a million coats of silver to get the same effect.

 

step-2For the larger sunburst, cut a piece of cardstock into a 2 inch square. The smaller sunbursts are 1 inch squares. Use a ruler to mark the  middle of each side and then draw lines connecting them to find the middle of the square.

 

step-3Use a corner punch to cut a scrap piece of paper into a stencil.

step-4Line the stencil up with the lines you’ve drawn and trace that curve in each corner. Cut the image out, cutting on either side of the lines that make up the skinny tails.

 

step-5The smaller starbursts are made in just the same way, only you don’t need to draw a grid on them. Just line up your pattern with the edges of the 1 inch square, tracing where the curve begins. The larger starbursts also benefit from having the side arms trimmed a bit. It looks best if the vertical arms are the longest.

 

step-6Use a glue stick to stick your starburst shapes on to your ornaments and spray them with a lacquer spray paint.

 

starburstAdd a bit of thread to hang the ornament on the tree and marvel at how pretty it is. Then you can sit by the Christmas tree and dream about working for Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

 

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Make a Geometric Santa Ornament

geometric-santaLucky for you we’re running out of time for me to share ornaments for my 60’s kitsch tree. Otherwise you’d have to listen to me gush on and on about my obsession with midcentury design. It’s just so stinkin cool! I got the idea for this ornament from an ad from the 60’s that I found in my googling. Bold Geometric shapes were a real hallmark of this period, so when I found that ad breaking Santa up into his most basic shapes, I geeked out and set upon making him into an ornament, through the power of Shrinky Dinks!

 

step-1Your shapes will have to start out much bigger than you want them to end up, of course. And they’ll need to line up with each other so that you can attach them easily. I didn’t make a pattern here, I just used my ruler. I started by cutting a large triangle. Draw a line 4″ wide. Mark the mid point of that line, and then measure 6″ up from that point and mark it. Use your ruler to draw a straight line from the end of your 4″ line to the point you made 6″ up. With your triangle drawn, draw another line across the top of the triangle, 3 1/2″ up from the bottom. Cut everything out and you’ve made the hat and the body. I cut a notch in the neckline of the body to evoke a coat look.

For the bottom, draw a line 4″ long. Mark the midpoint of that line and then measure 2″ down. Mark that point too. Draw another line going 1 1/2″ out in each direction from that point. You should now have two parallel lines that share a midpoint, one 4″ long and the other 3″ long. Use your ruler to connect the lines on each side.

For the boots, draw a rectangle that is 2 1/2″ tall and 2″ wide. Measure 1/2″ up from the bottom, and mark 1/2″ in to create the toe of the boot. Draw a line connecting the top of the rectangle to the point 1/2″ in. Repeat on the other side.

 

step-2Punch holes everywhere your pieces will connect. Getting them to line up properly now will save you MAJOR headaches later. I found it best to hold two pieces together and punch through them both at the same time. You know they’ll line up if they have the same punch.

 

step-3Bake your shrinky dinks as directed on the packaging. I used white shrinky dinks because that’s what I happened to have handy, but if you use the frosted kind you can add color in all kinds of different ways. I used a combination of sharpie and nail polish on the boots, and used a bright red nail polish on Santa’s clothes. I really ended up loving the look of the red nail polish on top of the white plastic. It made a super bold saturated color.

 

step-4It might take a few coats, but the trouble is worth it. Paint the front, back, and all the edges until you’re happy with the color.

 

step-5Push a piece of wire through the holes you punched and twist it around itself. Snip off any extra with wire cutters. Repeat that for the hole on the other side.

 

step-6Take the wires hanging off the piece you just prepared and push them through the holes on the piece next to it. I found it much easier to work with both wires connecting a piece at the same time. It really helped to keep the pieces level and straight instead of tighter on one side than the other and slanted in that direction. Connect the hat to the body, the body to the bottom, and the bottom to the boots.

 

step-7Add a piece of fishing line or thread through the top hole and tie it into a loop to serve as the ornament hanger.

 

mod-santaI love how cool and modern this ornament makes Santa look! Bold colors and geometric shapes and yet you still see the iconic man in red. Proof that you’re never too cool for Santa.

 

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Make a Retro Bell Ornament

mod-bell-ornament

This is one of my favorite kind of ornaments. Make it in minutes, make it for pennies, and watch if it doesn’t have the most impact on the tree. This ornament was another way for me to bring in some of my favorite surface design patterns from the midcentury period, this time a “sticks” pattern […]

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Make Dotty Sunburst Ornaments

dotty-starburst

I found the work of Elspeth McLean thanks to Facebook’s algorithm and I’m completely enamored with it. I thought the dots of her “dotillism” would work perfectly on my Christmas kitsch tree since so much of what I love about Midcentury design is the patterns common in surface design. Whether it’s the dot patterns of the […]

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Make a Kitschy Embellished Ornament

embellished-ornament

It’s time to start tree #2! Like my Nostalgic Tree, this one started last year with a vague idea of doing something 60’s themed. But the ornaments I was making kept fighting. The mod foam ornaments did not work with the Holiday Shadowboxes, despite my best efforts in pretending they did. And my pom pom garland, […]

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Make an Old-Fashioned Sled Ornament

sled-ornament

I’m pretty certain that this will be the final ornament for our Nostalgic Home for the Holidays tree.  I feel like I could keep going forever, but I still have a whole other tree to show you! For this last one I had to go with an oldie but goodie ornament. This popsicle stick sled […]

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Make a Button Wreath Ornament

button-wreath-ornament

When I’m making ornaments that evoke a nostalgia for home, there’s a lot of things I have to imagine. I didn’t have warm and loving grandparents or family traditions I look back on fondly, so making this tree has been the chance for me to pretend for a minute that I did. This tree has […]

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Make a Doily Wreath Ornament

welcome-home-ornament

I struggled to know what to call this little ornament – is it a wreath? Is it a mixed media something? Does it have to have welcome home in the name? Sometimes a project can’t be described in search terms. I guess technically this is a mixed media project, but all I really care about is […]

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