How Do You Do Your Ranch

Several weeks ago, Laura N. was over and we were creating fun with ranch seasoning packets.  We got into a discussion about ranch dressing and how the world is a happier place because of its existence.  Anyway, that conversation turned into this celebration of sharing on how we do our ranch and how lots of other fabulous bloggers do theirs too.

One of my favorite ways to serve ranch is to mix a whole packet of Hidden Valley Ranch with 1 C sour cream and 1 C salsa.  To serve it with chips, it works great to do it in a wine glass inserted in the middle of the bowl before adding the chips!  I know, what a great entertaining tip.  This particular wine goblet is extra special because it was hand painted JUST FOR ME by the amazing Kathy Cano-Murillo (aka Crafty Chica) on bisque and with underglazes from Duncan Ceramics!

Here it is from the other side.

And here it is when she was painting it during our ceramics education week together in Fresno.

Check out these amazing ways that other bloggy friends do their ranch!

Do you love to paint ceramics.  We are having a contest for one lucky winner to receive a $75 gift card to Color Me Mine so they can paint something fancy schmancy to use for their ranch dip creations.  You can enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#doyourranch,
Laura

Posted in Blog Hops and Linky Parties, Contests and Giveaways, Creative Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Discovery Weekend at Barnes and Noble

This post is sponsored but the thoughts and opinions are completely all from my own brain and heart.

Last night I attended a blogger event at Barnes and Noble to learn about this weekend’s upcoming festivities for Discovery Weekend and I am here to let you know that it is all FUN and GOOD stuff!  Not that they need to do anything at all to get me in to their store filled with an incredible selection of books, music, games, cards, stationery, gifts and other randomly awesome stuff based on the season; but these events are super cool!

There are events happening at the Barnes and Noble stores nationwide.  This is the flyer that shares what is happening!

Be sure to visit the NOOK counter to enter for a chance to win a $1000 shopping spree with Nick Jonas at Barnes and Noble in NEW YORK CITY! Click HERE for more details about the sweepstakes!  And also be sure to get a gigantic s’more cookie for only $1 in the cafe during select hours!

There is a contest too for the most outrageous holiday sweater.  Find out more about that HERE and be sure to have your camera handy when you are in the store sporting your snazzy duds.

While I was shopping, I found some amazing stocking stuffers.  Check them out!  Yes, I bought bunches.

I always love the way Barnes and Noble displays season books, especially for kids.  There are simply so many fabulous ones!

Because there is just so much to add to the “WANT” list at Barnes and Noble, I created a free printable shopping list that you can use with your kids when you take them this weekend.  It is meant to support the love of literature, books and reading as well as have fun with the gifty stuff too.  I guess it is the teacher in me shining through…

Have a fantastic weekend!  I can’t wait to see photos of your sweaters and if you win that trip to shop with Nick Jonas, please pack me in your suitcase.

Cheers,

Laura

Disclaimer:  I attended a live preview for this event and received a gift card to do some shopping.  I even got to meet lots of the booksellers which was quite a bonus.  I really do LOVE Barnes and Noble and you can trust that the content in this post is for real for me!

 

Posted in Printables, Product Review, Shopping Adventures | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

WaterWipes Save the Day

This post is sponsored by WaterWipes and Mommy Bag Marketing.  Although I received product and financial compensation, opinions and ideas are all mine!

I received a few packs of these in the mail this week and thought to myself, really???  I don’t have a baby.  I thought about what I had read on the product and have to admit I was still pretty excited about testing them out.  After all, I do have four kids and three pets.  And in addition to that, we are a messy bunch, always creating and making stuff.

I created this fun box project that day and the perfect opportunity came to try them.  I gathered up my supplies to work on the porch in the sunshine.

The Aleene’s Spray Tacky Adhesive gets on my fingers and it is HARD to get off.  I opened the wipes and tried them and they worked like a charm.  I like them because they are gentle and they won’t dry my hands out.  Most baby wipes contain harsh chemicals, even those marked organic.  Water Wipes are the only wipes that contain absolutely no chemicals!  They are going to come in super handy because we often take craft supplies and create on family outings.  They are totally getting added to our red crafty picnic basket as a staple item.

I find myself washing my hands repetitively all day to remove paint, glues and ink.  I have sensitive skin so this is cruddy.  Water wipes are great for people with sensitive skin, even grown up!  This is such a fabulous alternative and I don’t even have to leave the studio room!  That is a double yay!

You can find WaterWipes on Facebook and on Twitter!

We might not need diaper rash prevention around here, but we sure can use these!  My takeaway, wipes are not just for babies!  Here are the top three ways I know these will come in handy for my family.

  • In the car!  We are always wiping faces and these work better than mommy saliva.
  • On crafty outings.  We often can’t find a sink with soap and water to clean little hands.
  • At home.  Truth, all kids do not always wipe well and rashes do happen from time to time.

Cheers,

Laura

 

 

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Happy Christmas and Merry Season Rock Painting

The holidays are such a fun time for creating projects and making things to decorate with and to give as gifts.  Here is a really simple and totally fun little project that you can do in a matter of minutes that will spread happy and merry feelings.  After all, doesn’t everyone love rock painting!  Yay, it’s Craft Lightning Time!!!

Aren’t these just the funnest little rocks?

To make these you will need rocks and Tulip Slick Paints.  That is it!!!

Simply paint your rocks using the fabulous tips of the paint bottles and let them dry.

Ta Da!  So stinkin’ fast and cute.

And my favorite…JOY!!!

Happy Holidays and Happy Crafting,

Laura

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Posted in Christmas, Craft Projects, Crafts For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Green Scrap Ribbon Christmas Trees

I often cut ribbon up into small pieces to use on projects and therefore have a box of small pieces in bunches of colors.  I rounded up some of the greens and used them with my red and pink buttons from Buttons Galore and More (and one yellow for a star) to create these Christmas tree ornaments for Fifteen MINUTE Friday last week!  Using Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue in the NEW Always Ready bottle makes these super fun and easy to create!

I liked the tree so much that I decided at first to add it to this jar gift for my friend who loves coffee, chocolate and sock monkeys (all created from World Market of course as part of my Share the Joy shopping and creation spree)!  Pretty cute right?

Then I decided I wanted to keep it for myself so I hung it on one of my favorite pieces of furniture.  I really like it here!

Okay, so it looks like I will be making more of these!  I think they would be super fun as a garland too.  I noticed on social media that their is wreath made sort of like this over on One Artsy Mama!  Check it out.  It is really cute too and part of a hop that share lots of great ideas!

Happy Creating and Sharing and Giving,

Laura

 

 

Posted in Christmas, Craft Projects, Crafts For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beginning My Adventure in Ceramics with Duncan and My Very Own Skutt Kiln

After a great deal of excitement, work, painting, anxiety and education; I am so excited to share that I have officially FIRED my Skutt kiln for the first time and I am READY to go.

It all started a few months back.  Being a Creativity Contributor for i Love to Create , a Duncan Enterprises company, led its way to  developing a passion for ceramics and a friendship with a whole new hobby (or should I say lifestyle even).  I flew to Fresno, CA and trained alongside the beautiful Kathy Cano-Murillo (aka Crafty Chica) under the famous David Hoff.  Here we are in class on days one and two with our leaf pieces.

He is SERIOUS about the art of ceramics and while I am a bit quirky and whimsical, he found the patience to teach me.  I don’t think it was easy because to be honest, Kathy’s style is unique but similar in method to mine and I am pretty sure he earned his money on us!  I feel so fortunate to have learned from him as he is incredible talented and experienced.  I have to state for the record that his studio is amaze balls awesome and so super organized!!!

I am pretty sure the friendship goblets we made for each other were not using skills from any manual!  However, it was super fun and I LOVE mine that she made for me.

Not too many weeks after that, it arrived.  It was huge, shiny, powerful and beautiful.  It was my SKUTT kiln and it was love at first sight.

In these weeks (months) of becoming a ceramics artist, I have learned SOOOO much.  I want to share my top 5 lessons with you.

  1. Teamwork Makes All the Difference – Being a part of the teams I am on makes this adventure so much more fun.  My husband Ryp has been the most amazing support.  He helped get the kiln set up. It is HEAVY and getting in from the driveway in the front to our basement around back was just the beginning.  He has been super helpful with every step of preparing and making my space perfect for me.  My Duncan team is beyond fabulous.  They have cheered me on and championed me through my ups and downs which include creating my family on a platter as my first piece.  I did it untrained without supervision and sadly, all of my peeps turned blue.  I learned that all underglazes don’t mix and don’t cover each other that way.  Kathy Cano-Murillo has become my friend through all this.  We spent an evening in Fresno set up in our hotel painting, chatting and getting to know each other.  Being friends with her and growing in this ceramics passion is such an honor.
  2. Patience Is My Friend – there are steps to creating ceramic masterpieces and there aren’t really any shortcuts.  From painting the underglaze colors on the bisque to the drying, glazing and going into the magic of the kiln; I get to access a new level of patience.  If I rush through any step, my outcome is not the best it can be.
  3. All Underglazes (and Glazes) are Not Created Equal – There are LOTS of different kinds of “paints” that go on ceramics before they go in the kiln and they DO NOT all work together.  I have learned that some are made of clay and others glass.  Mysterious things happen when they get fired in the kiln and they don’t work like the  paints (acrylics or watercolors) I am so used to in the DIY and crafty world.  I get to research and practice and grow with this hobby.  It is an adventure.
  4. Having a Kiln is Like Getting A Puppy – It is true.  When people find out that I have a new kiln and ceramics and underglazes and brushes and all of this great stuff (IN MY HOUSE), they want to come over and be my friend.  It is like getting a puppy.  I get to make new creative friends in my new home of Aurora, CO and it is as easy as letting people pet a new puppy.
  5. The Results of a FIRING are like MAGIC! – It is simply amazing.  From the moment you put your ceramic pieces in to the kiln to the moment you take them back out, magic happens.  The final pieces are so much brighter and shinier and well, they are just AWESOME.  It is a gigantic reveal!

I can’t wait to keep going, exploring and learning.  As I grow, I will share.  I am learning techniques, playing, practicing and making mistakes.  Some of them are awful and some turn out beautiful  Thanks for joining me on this new creative adventure.  It is going to be a fun ride!

Cheers,

Laura

Posted in I Heart Duncan Ceramics | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

World Market’s Share the Joy Campaign – Create Gifts in Jars That Make a Difference

I was compensated from World Market but the opinions and ideas in this post are 100% all mine!

I totally love these unique gifts in jars that I created for the holiday season as a part of the Share The Joy Campaign and Sweepstakes with World Market.  Finding the perfect gifts for the holidays doesn’t have to be challenging.  With the incredible variety of amazing possibilities at World Market and the craze to gift in jars, I am sharing some of mine.

Teacher, neighbors, child care providers and coaches all deserve to be recognized at the holiday season but often times families have a multitude of these  (with four kids we sure do) and creating the perfect little something seems too costly.  I think this little coffee in a mason jar mug gift for less that $6 a piece is perfect.  I started with the glass mugs and a combo pack of World Market holiday coffees along with some World Market packaging.  Just in case you ever wondered, World Market has the BEST gift wrap supplies of all!  I love the raffia, the ribbons and the mulberry papers.  Oh yeah, and the twine and the rope and the papers and the….you get it!

And ended up with these beautiful gifts!  I think they would be awesome to keep in a bag with you and be passed out at random throughout the season to people you find making a difference.

This one is my favorite because I think the Holiday Blend is so super yummy and festive.

I have so many friends who love to bake so I created this jar for them, including the school nurse!  I think this would be a fantastic gift to take to a girly exchange for Bunco or Book Club.  This is what I started with.

And this is how it turned out.  I know she will gets tons of things that are nurse themed and I also know that she will LOVE this bunches.

My mother-in-law is a total bath girl!  She is a total giver in the world, always reaching out and helping others through volunteering her time.  By the time night arrives, she is often worn out and she loves to take LONGGGG baths in my garden tub by the fireplace.  I created this awesome jar gift just for her.  The jar will be perfect to keep things in by the tub too.  This is how it began…

And this is how it turned out.  It is great too because she is a true believer in angels and the feather wings will  bring her heart joy.

Here is what you can do…  You can jump in the challenge to Share The Joy too and be entered to win fabulous prizes for yourself and charities you love!  In the spirit of our Share the Joy Sweepstakes we are challenging you to give back to the community this holiday season using items from World Market. Choose a recipient (Share the Joy Challenge examples) and give back:

• Dinner for a needy family
• Gift Basket(s) for a first responder(s)
• Gifts for Teachers, Coaches or Babysitters
• Food for Gift Baskets for a Shelter
• Toys for Kids (hospitals, shelters, etc)
• Coffee and Treats for the homeless (Tea Bags are GREAT)

*Enter for your daily chance to win $500 World Market gift card for you + a $500 donation to a charity of your choice. (19 winners, winner each day)
*Participants will receive bonus entries for following World Market on their favorite social channels – Twitter & Instagram and for sharing an Instagram picture with a specific hashtag (#ShareTheJoy_WM & #WorldMarketSweepsEntry) telling us how they are Sharing the Joy this holiday season
*Beginning 11/3 – World Market will be sharing the joy with their Instagram followers by giving away a $50 World Market gift card per day through 11/21/14.
*Photos must be tagged #ShareTheJoy_WM and #WorldMarketSweepsEntry for giveaway consideration

I sincerely hope you are inspired to give back, whether in jars or bags or boxes.  To me the truest of gifts are the ones I give away with love.

Happy Holidays,

Laura

PS:  Sharing joy is something I want to be doing all year round.  I LOVE these tiny jars that are only 99 cents and filled them with craft and office goodies.  I think they would be super fun in little stockings for all of the extra people in our lives that make our communities safe and special.  Which one would you want?

 

Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments