Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Greeting Cards

Every holiday season (well, almost every) I like to make our family holiday card through my shutterfly photo account. My account is free and the website features are easy to use. They offer nice discounts as well. To help cut costs, we take our own family photos. This year we took advantage of a beatiful state park as our backdrop (we visit several during the cooler months). The trick is to take lots of pictures because you're bound to end up with at least one good one! It's only frustrating when you look back and realize only the first one was worth keeping.

I like receiving custom photo cards from our friends and family. Our social network reaches near and far, so this is my favorite time of year to check the mail. It's especially nice to see how much people have changed and watch kids grow from year to year. From my family to yours, we hope you have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season! Cheers!

Photo Card

View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Etsy Treasury

An Treasury is "an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery." For those of you non-etsian's that means someone like me (an Etsy shop owner) puts together a digital collage of other creations and vintage items found on Etsy. The shop is "ever-changing" because things are always selling! The curator can update the treasury as often as items are sold, which keeps the treasury always up-to-date and full of interesting items.

I personally have a lot of fun putting these treasuries together. I find them to be one more avenue for me to express my thoughts and interests. As a teenager I used to cut images out of magazines and glue them onto poster board, creating personalized collage art for my room. I'd hang these things everywhere - including the ceiling. The collages always had themes - each clipping having some connection to the next. The Etsy Treasury reminds me of the countless hours I spent pawing through magazines as a teen. When I find myself with nothing to do, I'm browsing the pages of Etsy and instantly inspired to start copying links into the little Etsy Treasury boxes. My latest is titled Indian Summer and I think it's my new favorite!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Indie Craft Show THIS Sunday!

If you find yourself with some free time this Sunday you should probably come and check out a new indie show in town. Art: Sunny Side Up is being hosted at the Hilton Hotel in Deerfield Beach, FL, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. This is not just an indie craft show though - it's also a fundraiser for a local school, plus there will be live music and other great activities! It's only $3 to get in and cheaper if you come with a friend! Use the handy vendor map below to find my booth. Hope to see you there.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Popsicle Stick Village

Earlier this summer I wrote about a project I was working on with my children. We started building stuff with popsicle sticks and invited our friends to have fun with us too. A couple of my mommy friends started building at their homes with their children. At the end of the summer, we all got together with our creations and created a popsicle stick town. First, I have to admit, I had a lot of fun building with my children. We spent hours, on and off during the summer, planning, gluing, waiting, and painting. Although the bulk of the building was done with popsicle sticks, we used a variety of wood (including toothpicks). When it was all done, it was even more fun finally seeing what everyone else created!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vintage Cockade

My last post was about the vintage ribbon I scored while visiting Maine. I won't be able to use all of the ribbon for this project, but some of it is definitely a perfect fit. For a low fee, I paid for a tutorial on The tutorial taught me a 1920's-based ribbon work technique. The technique creates a cockade, otherwise known as a ribbon star. The cockade can be used in a variety of places including as a holiday ornament, necklace, or decorative gift wrapping. I plan to use mine as holiday ornaments. I can't wait to decorate my tree with vintage cockades! The ornaments are also 100% Eco-friendly because I salvaged the ribbon and did all the sewing by hand. It didn't take me very long to complete either. I worked on it while relaxing and watching TV. I know this would be a great project for traveling too! It doesn't require many supplies and does not take up very much space. The style possibilities are endless because ribbon comes in all sizes, colors, and patterns. So, what do you think?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vintage Ribbon

I recently visited my grandmother, and to my pleasant surprise, she was having a garage sale. The first table: full of fabric and ribbons. I snatched up a couple of vintage fabrics and a handful of vintage ribbons. I quickly started brainstorming about what I can do with the vintage ribbon. I've come up with a couple of strong possibilities but I'm still open to other ideas. I'm curious, what would YOU do with vintage ribbon if you had the chance?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Handmade on the Streets of Maine

During my recent travels, I had the opportunity to observe a clever display of art on the streets of a little town in Maine. Skowhegan (skow-he-gahn) is a place I've known my whole life. It is where I began elementary school, where both my parents graduated high school, where I've spent many hours playing at the local parks, shopping in the stores, and making memories with friends. Skowhegan was settled in 1773, home to the first female U.S. senator, and rests charmingly in the Kennebec River Valley. I always look forward to returning to Skowhegan because not a whole lot changes and I know I can count on visiting my favorite stores such as Hill Top Antiques and From Nana to You. However, this summer's trip yielded some pleasant surprises. I've added two new favorite stops to my list: River Roads Artisans Gallery and The Bankery. The Bankery was pumping out sweet smells of deliciousness and I couldn't resist going inside. Charming is an understatement when describing this preserved bank transformed into an all-natural-from-scratch bakery! River Roads Artisans Gallery is a co-op artisan store that includes beautiful art and practical handmade items for all seasons. I purchased a few wood cooking tools from a local 14-year-old artisan, the son of Ray's Woodworking. And finally, this story leads me to my original focus, the art display on the streets of Skowhegan. When I first turned the corner of the famous rotary, I noticed colorful circular objects in the windows of the old brick buildings. I quickly realized these various looking objects were hanging in nearly every window! Over 20 artists have created sculptural globes as part of an art installation called "Worlds Seen & Foreseen." The project is intended to draw awareness on the fragility of our shared planet. I snapped the below picture while standing inside the River Roads Gallery, looking out onto the rotary of Skowhegan. If you're in the area, I highly suggest parking your car and taking a leisurely stroll around the area to observe for yourself!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Handmade Birthdays

It's probably no surprise that I like to make homemade things to celebrate birthdays. I've made it a tradition for my children to always get a homemade birthday cake. Even when we've needed those store bought sheet cakes for the big bashes, I've made a 2nd cake at home. When it comes to gifts, I like to reuse supplies. Gift bags and tissue paper are perfect for reusing. I know I'm not the only one who does this because I've seen the same bag come back to us before. This year I reused the tissue paper to wrap gifts instead of stuff inside bags. I paired the tissue paper along with a few fabric scraps and ribbon ends. It was really easy to do and it put a extra big smile on the birthday girl's face.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Building a Village

This summer, I am building a village with my kids. No, we're not working for Habitat for Humanity - although, I do love to volunteer for them - we're building with Popsicle sticks! I am having a lot of fun doing this with the kids. The three of us sit down with our piles of sticks and share a couple bottles of school glue. The rest is up to our imaginations! We plan to keep working on the project little by little. At the end of the summer, we'll get together with a few friends and share the creations (others are doing this too). It will be fun to see what each person built and how it will all work together to create one scene. I promise to post the pictures!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Handmade with Style: Edition 4

I have been wanting to work with used glass bottles for awhile now. This Handmade with Style Edition begins with jewelry that inspires me to finally have a go at it. Although I'm not planning on making jewelry, I am fascinated with the variety of objects we take for granted by throwing away! These little beauties are handmade and recycled - two of my favorite words! You can find other interesting pieces from the creator Kathleen Plate.
This shower curtain is pretty nifty! It is eco-friendly and completely customizable by YOU! Or, maybe you give it to the kids and let them decorate their own bathroom. Either way, I think this is a super-fun idea for anyone who likes to doodle. I really like how the examples show the viewer that it doesn't take an artist to make use of these either. Click here to see more or purchase: Shower Curtain
Lastly, I had to include these ties! I'm always scouting for handmade items for me, and these ties caught my attention. They come in iconic picnic table cloth patterns, and the best part is they are washable! My favorite is the red one, and it is officially called a Napkin Tie.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Up-cycle and Shine

A few years ago I rescued an old chandelier from heading to the dumpster. I was at the right place at the right time. When I got home, I completely dismantled it and sorted the crystal pieces. Beading has been one of my favorite hobbies since my teenage years. It didn't take long for me dream up these pretty little sun catchers, carefully up-cycling the crystal chandelier pieces! I created an assortment and began giving them away to each of my girlfriends on their birthdays. After I wrapped each one in matching tissue paper and placed them gently in a tiny little gift bag, I handed each one over with this simple poem I wrote for the occasion:

The Sun Catcher
By Christine Klein

Hanging in the window
Catching the sun's ray
A simple beauty
Casting glimmer all day

Still in the window
Reflecting at night
A wonder above
Gleaming moonlight

Fashioned by Indians
Call me a catcher of sun
I'm here every day
My work is never done

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Happy Fathers Day with a homemade poem for the love of my life and father of my two beautiful children! xoxo

Daddy Runs Unwavering Many Moons Idyllic Native
Dearly Adored Deeply Dashing Youthful
Dynamite All-Important Virtue Excellence

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making Digital Art

With a digital camera, the right computer program, and some spare time, you can create custom art for your home. For the examples in this blog post, I used a Nikon SLR camera and Adobe Photoshop to make my edits and both photos were taken in my backyard. This Oriole was flying around the yard and I managed to snap a photo of it while resting in the tree. Using the Poster filter in Photoshop, I quickly changed this average photo into an interesting cartoonish piece of art. Our quaint garden offers some beautiful cabbage heads and cucumbers at the moment. I snapped a closeup photo of the cabbage in full shade. The first example illustrates what can be accomplished with bold colors and the Sketch: Bas Relief filter in Photoshop. This is a fun touch for any contemporary or modernly decorated home. The second example transforms the image into black and white with strong contrast. I included an example of photoshop at the end to illustrate which tabs I selected to change the contrast on the black and white photo. Each of the examples can be printed at home with a decent photo printer, or sent off to a photo printing company such as Shutterfly. There are also options to order prints on canvas, turning your handmade creation into a true one-of-a-kind on your wall.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Handmade with Style: Edition 3, Maps

You might consider me a little old-fashion when it comes to navigation. We don't own a GPS mechanism and I rarely rely on my smartphone to give me directions. I prefer to hand-write my directions. I've been ragged on a bit by my friends when a couple of them discovered my old ways. However, I like to think of it differently. For one, I actually get enjoyment out of using the road atlas on long road trips. David is usually the driver and I'm usually the navigator. It is fun and I've gotten pretty good at judging distances in relation to time just by looking at two points on a map (no measuring - just guessing). Secondly, I like to believe I'm setting a good example for my children. They are growing up in a technological age where my 4 year old already knows her way around the computer and can operate the xbox 360 with skill. I want my children to learn that while technology is truly amazing, there are many things we can do for ourselves too, and often receive better results!
Anyway, this brings me to this weeks style edition - all about maps. Did you know there are many artisans out there making things with maps? LoveCalifornia was recently featured as an Etsy seller for her adorable state shaped pillows. This Florida shaped pillow is one of her many items for sale. Which one is your favorite? Because of my roots, I'm a fan of the one pictured here and the Maine pillow. I love her color choices too! I could easily place these in in any room in my house.
This next artisan transforms vintage maps into jewelry. Kathy Lambert Designs mounted the Everglades National Park on a vintage poker chip. This is a very cool gift for any nature enthusiast. Did you know there is literally NO other place on Earth like the Everglades National Park? The only thing I'd love to see artisans like this doing is to bump the sale price up a bit and include a donation to help preserve places such as these.
We just celebrated teacher appreciation week. This next item, created in South Florida by Green Cycle Designs, is a fun and appropriate gift for any teacher! This handmade flower is made from recycled paper (maps included). You can purchase 5 flowers for $15 - and they will never die! If I had seen this before our "give your teacher a flower day" - this would have been a definite purchase. This concludes this weeks style edition. If you have a request or special topic you'd like to see in future style editions, don't hesitate to give me a shout!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Handmade with Style: Edition 2

It's spring time. However, let me set it straight that Florida goes from mild beautiful weather to HOT by the drop of a hat. I try to make the most of it with my children. This is just the beginning of steamy sunny beach days and spraying water parks. SPF50 all the way! You wouldn't know it if you saw my family though. We're already glowing in a warm tan (Cherokee and Penobscot bloodline). This is the time of year when it is officially bathing suit season. I stock the children up with 2 - 3 suits each, just to avoid doing laundry so often. David and I both have small collections ourselves. Have you done your bathing suit shopping yet this year? If you haven't, you may want to take a gander on etsy because there is something for almost everyone! This bikini is like nothing I've ever seen before. I think this suit is particularly appealing to moms because of it's versatility. This high wasted bikini can function as a one-piece look-alike or a two-piece with a skirt. Click on here to view the other pictures and listing information by BeBops. It is available in several colors and size options too! If your man has decided to fashion a swim brief, this black and white stripey version is too cute! Made by Harajuku in L.A. this bathing suit sells for $42. Personally, I'd like to see a lot more options for men in the handmade bathing suit department. Is there anyone out there making vintage styles for men?
Then there are the kiddos. I couldn't find anything for a boy but I did find this adorable little ruffle style bikini for girls! I haven't seen anything like this around either and I know my own daughter would love digging around the beach in this. I love the boyshort coverage it offers! Created by Anne's Boutique, this cutie costs $29.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Odd Duck Reusable Tote Bag

You may have seen this adorable little tote bag before. The Hollywood Craft Mafia (myself included) hand screen printed 200 of these babies! More than 80 went to the artisans of the Odd Duck Handmade Bazaar and Indie Craft Fair and 100 went to the first attendees in line. The rest went to all our awesome volunteers on event day. Well one lucky person can now purchase the one Odd Duck reusable tote available for sale (under $7)! Click here to view the listing: Hollywood Craft Mafia Etsy Store.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Handmade Gifts from Children

Commercialism is a bit too much to stomach sometimes. When it comes time for those Hallmark holiday's, I like to get creative with the kiddos and make something at home. Over the years there have been plenty of quick little projects conjured up in the Klein Household to celebrate Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day and more. I've included a small list of my favorites below. Feel free to snatch a few for your own family!
Number 1 on my list is the Photograph Puzzle, similar to the picture on the right. I went to my local craft store and purchased 1-inch unfinished wood blocks (12 of them). This project was for Father's Day, so I printed out 4 of David's favorite photographs of him with the children. I used a rubber band to hold the wood blocks neatly together in a rectangle shape, then spread glue all over one side. I placed one photo on top of the glued blocks and waited for it to dry. I trimmed any photo overhang, then used an exacto-knife to carefully slice the photo between each block. I repeated this process for all four photos. For the remaining two sides of the puzzle I gave the kids each a turn to create their own artwork puzzle. They drew on their respective side with markers - other ideas include paint or paper collage. I put the entire puzzle into a tin can - also purchased at the craft store - and the kids couldn't wait to give it to daddy! It was fun to watch them work on the puzzle together first thing in the morning on Father's Day. Now we keep it in our camping gear for those surprise rainy moments.
Number 2 on my list is the I Love You banner made completely from scrap materials. I kept this banner hanging across the window in our living room for a good couple of years because we love it so much. I cut open a couple of paper grocery bags (removed the bottom) and gave the kids some finger paint and let them paint their hearts desire. After it dried, I cut the paper into enough rectangles to spell out I Love You with one piece in between each word. I pulled out all types of materials to glue onto the papers to spell out each word. I used broken Mardi Gras beads, ribbon, dry cereal, thread, and my favorite - those mini pictures you get on the index sheet after you've printed all your photographs. Because my children were too young to write the letters in glue (in a legible fashion), I did that part for them. Older children could easily handle this task. After I placed the glue, I let the kids cover the glue with one material at a time for each letter. After all was dry, I attached each piece to a long strip of twine with painters tape on the back.
Number 3 on my list is the Foot Photo and Survey. I took the kids outside for good light and made them sit with their feet together in front of them so I could see the soles. I snapped a picture and used my camera settings to change it to black and white. I printed it out, dated the bottom, and placed it in a frame. I printed out a following in your footsteps poem to go along with the photo. Then I surveyed the children with questions about their dad. I asked them things like "What's your favorite thing to do with daddy? and If you could buy anything for your dad, what would it be?" I wrote their answers down with the questions, on individual strips of paper. I gave the kids some card stock, stickers, and other art supplies. I explained to them that they would decorate the card stock to cover some glass jars. When they were finished, I helped them attach the decorations to the jars, then placed the questions and answers inside the jar. Dad had a lot of fun reading all those answers! The photograph and jar survey was one gift together on Father's Day.
I'm always interested in hearing new ideas for kid projects. Please feel free to share your handmade projects in the comments section of my blog!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Personal History

About 6 months ago, I completed my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. It was a bit of a challenge in the respect of time constraints. I found myself staying up much later than the rest of my family on many nights, sitting at this computer, typing away. It all began when I earned a bulk of my prerequisites fresh out of high school. I took a loooong break and one day decided I better finish up this college stuff before all my earlier credits were lost. Going back to school was eye-opening for me. I realized that I am capable of much more than I thought! I also truly enjoyed most of my course work instead of dreading each class (like I did when I was younger). I took the modern approach and earned my degree online through the University of Phoenix. All my work was online and I never had to attend a single class physically. This was the perfect experience for me since I'm a stay-at-home-mom. I think a lot of people are confused by the whole online schooling thing and I still get funny looks from some people when they learn I took this approach. For any person who is thinking of attending school and is completely self-motivated - online schooling is probably for them. For me it was definitely my maturity that allowed me to take things seriously - and I mean seriously. I graduated with honors and never dropped below an A throughout 24 courses. For the most part I had wonderful instructors with a couple here and there who I think should never teach an online course again. The assignments were mostly written or PowerPoint presentations with a few really fun creative projects. I love playing around in Photoshop so the graphics assignments were my favorite. There was this one assignment that required me to create a large graphic collage of my personal history. I had a hard time fitting in all the things I could think I kept the content as simple as I could. So, I was thinking this blog is the perfect place to share something like this about myself. If I've inspired you to make one about your personal history, please feel free to post the link!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Handmade with Style: Edition 1

If you think style can only come from top designer name brands and upscale boutiques, I believe you're wrong. I have been browsing the pages of again - after all, it IS one of my favorite websites - to bring you some of the most affordable and stylish fashion items. The best part is that these items are all HANDMADE! An added bonus, some of them may never be recreated again, providing you with the most unique stylish items out there today.
Even though we're approaching summer, I have to share this dress because not only is it cleverly designed, but it's gorgeous too. I can envision wearing this on a cool fall day in the North or on an overcast winter day in the South. The lantern shaped long sleeves is the first thing I noticed (well, after my favorite color). I love the femininity this dress exudes! The dress is created by a collective team called: idea2lifestyle. In their Etsy store you can find several other dresses, including the Less is More sleeveless long dress I love, scarves, and ever-so-comfortable wind pants.
I'm sure you know a mother who loves to spend time in the kitchen. If you don't, then you probably know a mother who spends hours in the kitchen even though she'd rather not. Either way, what mother wouldn't love a sexy apron?! Kitschy Aprons is the place to shop on Etsy! The thing I love most about Kitschy Aprons is the super-cute and flattering designs. This I love Mom bib apron is one of the more simpler patterns, but I couldn't resist with Mother's Day around the corner. The adorable heart pocket is just the kind of touch that Kitschy Aprons is known for. No grandma aprons found here!
The sunfashion shop on Etsy is physically located in Bulgaria. Lucky for you and I, shopping online is as convenient as ever! I enjoyed browsing the hip and elegant Corset Belts offered in this shop. Belts of all sizes are the perfect way to dress-up any outfit. I personally love pairing thin or wide belts with some of my favorite dresses. Sunfashion's approach to the Corset Belt is beautiful and appropriate to take a woman from the office to the club for cocktails. This belt dresses up a boring old button-down blouse and can be paired easily with a black pencil skirt or slacks. I find that button-down blouses never fit me right so I'm thinking this fashion item just might be the answer to my problems.
I love purses and handbags. I have a section in my closet dedicated to them. One holiday I was gifted an olive green handmade tote. This tote has been one of my most used pieces. The reason is not aesthetic, but instead function. It has a nice long arm strap and a deep enough pouch to carry around a long-sleeve tee, tissues for the kids, a stack of fliers for my next crafting event, my wallet, sunglasses, and a bunch of other little items. I've even shoved my Nikon SLR Camera and some magazines in there several times. I highly suggest every woman own a great tote. You might be surprised how often it comes in handy! This black and white modern print Everyday Purse from the Sinem Inugur Etsy shop comes with an adjustable strap, contrasting lining, magnetic clasp, swivel clip for keys, and two inside pockets! All that in one bag for $32 sounds like a steal to me.
Well, this concludes my first edition of Handmade with Style. If you have something you'd like to include in my next style edition, please feel free to contact me! In the meantime, happy handmade shopping to all!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cozi Keeps Me Organized

When my friends ask me how I'm doing, they are never surprised to hear "really busy lately." I may as well change it to "same old, same old." The truth is, I AM really busy most of the time. I have my fingers into a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Thankfully I have the energy and motivation to keep up with my brain and interests! I was never this involved in life until I got married and had children. Something about having my kids changed my perspective on life and time. If it wasn't for Cozi Family Central ( I would probably always be late for my appointments and that is IF I even remembered them in the first place! I would probably also fight with David a lot because I'd never know when his gigs are and then be thrown a curve ball when I thought I was going out with the girls. Cozi Family Central allows David and I to share a family log in, and the website provides us with a convenient way to keep up with our plans. Everything is color-coded so it's easy to input appointments for anyone in the family. We customize our settings to get weekly schedule reminders, and we use the lists section to keep track of our grocery needs. The best part - I can access everything right from my phone - and you don't need a smart phone either! With my husband working a full time construction job, playing music gigs frequently, my crafting events, and other extra-curricular activities, this website has been a sanity saver! In case you want to see more, I've included the the below link to watch a quick video demo.