Haitian Art for Sale! (and my Haiti experience)

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Who doesn’t feel great about buying something awesome and supporting a good cause at the same time?

I’ve recently stocked my shop on Weebly with a variety of authentic Haitian art, including original oil paintings on canvas, recycled metal wall hangings, and colorful leather sandals. Where did I get all this beautiful art? Let me tell you a story.

Several years ago, when my family lived in Maine, I met a group of people at our local church who took regular short-term trips to Haiti to help out the missionaries who lived there long-term.

I had the opportunity to join in on one of these trips. I will not go into all the details here, but let’s just say some of the cliches are true, like how you go to change things and help people, and it changes you.

For a while it was all I could talk about. I’d broken out of my sheltered little world and fallen in love with a beautiful, complicated, poverty-stricken country, full of strong, kind-hearted people, and I didn’t know how to go back to my life. I had to find a way to do something from where I was.

I made a lot of donations in the months after I got back, with money I didn’t really have, and I listed Haiti-inspired items in my Etsy shop and donated a large portion of the proceeds.

My mom was enthusiastically supportive of my new endeavors and purchased a collection of authentic Haitian art to re-sell.

The people of Haiti – if I can generalize that way – are also very talented and resourceful. They make painting canvases out of random scraps of fabric, and metal art from leftover steel drums.

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I’ve continued to grow and change over the years, and realized there’s a lot I don’t know and the weight of the world is not on my shoulders. My Etsy shop has changed too. I’ve started to develop my own style, and I am working on getting to the point where it actually supports itself.

There are a lot of great charities out there, and sometimes donations are necessary and helpful. But the great thing about buying from artisans in a place like Haiti is that you’re not just giving them money, you’re giving them a sense of pride in their work and a chance to take care of themselves.

So please check out the shop section of my Weebly site {here}, and/or pass it along (it’s not all posted yet, please ask if you’re interested in the paintings). Hopefully you’ll find something you like and can feel good about buying 🙂

Edit: slight change of plans. I am creating a separate Weebly site to give the Haitian art & information (and my art) its own space. And we will be donating sales proceeds to charity. Details to come! Check out the site {here} and please bear with the changes!

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(See original post on my Weebly blog {here})

Two Peas in a Pod Crochet Pattern, and Why I Love “Bones”

I seem to have fallen in love with another TV show. This happens often, to the point where I feel like I am losing real friends when a show ends forever (don’t judge me).

But this one took me by surprise. Being very much NOT a horror fan, I never expected to like a show called “Bones” full of murder and bodies and guts. But the characters are just so uniquely interesting that by the second or third episode I was hooked.

Maybe I feel like some of them understand me because I, too, am socially awkward. Maybe I love Zach’s nerdiness and Angela’s big heart and even Camille’s sarcasm. Or maybe I just want to see Brennan and Booth finally admit their obvious undying love, because I love seeing two people drive each other crazy but also make a great team.

Whatever the reason, I look past the gory details and enjoy the show, usually with a project in hand. The latest one was a crochet pea pod, or two. Not sure what to do with them, but they’re just so cute.

I modified a pattern I found {here} to make two peas instead of three and give the pod a little more shape.

Edit: Here’s my version of the pattern. I’m pretty new at actually writing down my patterns/modifications so please let me know if anything doesn’t make sense!

Two Peas in a Pod Crochet Pattern
I used Lily Sugar n Cream cotton yarn in Sage Green and Hot Green with my 3.75mm hook (I think! They recommend a 5mm but I like my stitches pretty tight).

For the peas, follow the pattern in the link but make two (I didn’t do the faces).

For the pod, to fit two peas:
R1: ch9, 2sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 7 st, 2sc in end st, turn and sc in each st down other side (18)
R2-6: 2sc in first st, sc in each st until end of row, 2sc in last st, turn and sc in each st (you are adding 2 st to each row on the ends, and should end up with 36 st around). At the end of row 6, ch 3 and sl st in each ch for stem, then bind off.

And it should look something like this! Hope you like it!

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Polymer Clay Seascape Canes

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If you follow me on any social media, you know I’m always making new things with polymer clay. I often bounce between dry spells and bursts of so many ideas I can’t catch up. If only inspiration and motivation went hand in hand!

While checking my Pinterest recently, I clicked on a pin from a fellow clay artist and stumbled upon my new favorite tutorial channel on YouTube. Monica Resta at Mo Clay not only makes and demonstrates amazing cane work, but she does a variety of other polymer clay techniques as well.

Since summer is coming and I love the beach, I was particularly inspired by her seascape canes, and I decided to try my hand at them. I used some ideas from her videos that I never would’ve thought of, but also tried to make them my own.

Here’s a link to my favorite of her videos, and photos of a few of the recent projects they inspired.

Beach Design with Umbrella

Seascape Design with Boat

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Some of these are finished and available in my Etsy shop {here}, and the others will be soon! If you like this, please share!

Ginger Molasses Cookie Recipe

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While I was watching all 8 seasons of Desperate Housewives on Netflix, I often found myself relating to some of the main characters. Usually Susan, the clumsy artist who wants to be liked by everyone. And sometimes Bree, the OCD 50’s-esque homemaker.

One of my favorite quotes from the show comes from a scene where Bree is defending her new cookbook against a critical reporter. The reporter claims that it’s really a “look how great I am” book designed to make other women feel bad. Bree explains that she doesn’t think she is great, that she struggles and fails like everyone else, but “there’s always a chance to get something right, even if it’s just a casserole.”

For me, if it’s not something crafty, it’s usually food, especially cookies. I have practiced the classic chocolate chip to perfection, if you can ever say that, but not everyone is a chocolate fiend like me, so I try to do something different once in a while.

I practically forget about real cookbooks with all the recipes on the internet, especially Pinterest. But my “Cookies” edition of Taste of Home magazine (from a friend who knows how much I love to bake) seemed like a good place to look for a quick, simple classic.

The Giant Molasses Cookies recipe I found did not disappoint. They’re crispy, chewy, sweet, and spiced, and, as mentioned, great for the holidays or overseas troops (or sending to the troops for the holidays. If you’d like to do this but don’t live surrounded by soldiers, you might check out Soldiers’ Angels).

Get the recipe {here} and let me know how they turn out!

Making beautiful, delicious things can really be therapeutic. I can’t fix all the world’s problems, or even all of my own, but I can use the skills I have, and hopefully brighten someone’s day in doing it.

Beach Jewelry for Summer & Father’s Day Gift Ideas!

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Summer is almost here!
It’s time for beach trips, backyard barbecues, and why not some colorful necklaces and earrings in shades of turquoise and coral red, complete with whimsical seagull and bicycle motifs? So I’m restocking my Etsy shop {here} with some of last year’s designs, and also some brand new ones.

If you’re a last-minute shopper like me, you might also be looking for a Father’s Day gift. I don’t have a whole lot of man-friendly items in my shop (though I’ve recently come out with a line of Crossfit and Paleo items!) so I thought I’d send you over to the Father’s Day browse section on Etsy {here}. They’ve picked out awesome Dad-inspired finds from all different sellers, including some wonderful personalized options.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect accessory for your new summer outfit, or just the right gift for Dad, I hope you find something great. And if you’d like to see some behind-the-scenes shots of my work, as well as my adventures in cooking, gardening, and owning the world’s goofiest cat, find crafty_girl_88 on Instagram.

(If you’re subscribed to my shop newsletter, sorry for the redundancy of this post. If not, sign up {here}! It’s not all the same stuff 🙂 )

DIY Cat Feeder Toy

So I got to keep my new clothes. Apparently my husband was kidding when he said I had to use my birthday money to take our cat to the vet. We’ve been married for 3 1/2 years and I still can’t tell sometimes.

Turns out it’s a nice confidence boost to wear classy women’s clothing instead of something from the mall or the juniors section, even if I don’t need it for anything. And no one has to know I found it in the clearance section. Joe doesn’t mind how I look either 😉

Also, if you were wondering, my cat is fine. He had what looked like an eye infection, but the vet said a lot of shelter cats have some form of feline herpes virus (which I guess isn’t as bad as it sounds?) so she gave me l-lysine to keep it from flaring up.

Unfortunately he is gaining weight instead of losing it. He’s always hungry and I can’t resist those big sad Puss-in-Boots eyes. I know, I will be terrible at disciplining our future children.

The vet suggested a feeder toy, where he has to get the food out himself. It’s designed to promote exercise and slower eating, and reduce “excessive meowing due to boredom,” haha. Genius.

There are at least a couple different options online, which I will link to below. But for now, I decided to try making my own. I started with a plastic container leftover from bouillon cubes. You will be cutting it, so I wouldn’t recommend metal or glass.

After washing & drying the container, I used a utility knife to make holes on the sides, each about the size of a piece of cat food. Then I filled it with a normal serving of his food and put it in the floor for him to try.

When the toy is on it’s side, he can just roll it across the floor and get the food without much effort. Mine may need fewer holes. But when I set it upright he has to knock it over first (sounds easy enough, but he pushed it across the floor with his head for a while before figuring it out).

Here’s Boots and his new feeder toy, and some buying options if you’d prefer (Chewy is a great site for all kinds of affordable pet items!).

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PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Feeder

Design Senses Food Maze

Tunnel Feeder

Does your cat have a weight problem or get bored? Try this and let me know what you think!