CREATE Mental Health Week – A Summer Tote

This is a guest post in the series CREATE Mental Health. All week we will be exploring how different people use creativity to create and maintain mental health. Today’s post is by Sarah Markos. Sarah writes the sewing blog blueSusan. It’s one of my very favorite blogs, and actually got me to start sewing.  Sarah’s tutorials are awesome! Welcome, Sarah!

Hi everyone!! I’m Sarah, visiting from blueSusan today.  How fun to be able to do a guest post on Dr. Stephanie’s blog.  Thank you Stephanie for hosting such a fun event.   I love creating things.  I am a stay-at-home mom by profession and I have four sweet and silly kids, ages 10, 8, 5, and 3.Making things is my therapy, and my creative outlet these days is sewing.  I have been sewing most of my life off and on, but over the last couple of years I have really gotten into it on a regular basis.  A few years ago I was going through a particularly tough time.  I had a fairly new baby (my 4th),  my husband was gone a lot, and I was struggling to keep my head above water.   I felt like I never accomplished anything and never had time to myself.   A couple of my friends had learned to sew and started making a ton of cute things.  I didn’t want to miss out on the fun and I needed something to take my mind off of all my struggles and stresses.  So I set up my sewing machine in my bedroom and started sewing once the kids went down for the night.  Now my sewing machine is a permanent fixture in my bedroom and I use it almost daily.  Sewing helps me unwind and get the “me” time that I need.  Like I said…it’s my therapy!

I make a lot of bags and so I thought share a little tutorial with you for a chic Summer Tote that is the perfect size for taking to the pool or the beach.

This is an easy one to sew, and relatively quick too.  Want to make one??

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 yard outdoor canvas, or home decorator weight fabric.
  • 2/3 yard lining. I used 100% cotton solid.
  • 1/4 yard fabric for handles, I used small wale corduroy.
  • coordinating thread.

As a option, you can choose to omit the lining fabric, which just makes the bag a little thinner when finished and saves a little fabric cutting time.

Okay, ready to start??

Next take your long piece and pin it to 3 sides of your square, matching the seams to the corners.

Stitch around the 3 sides with a slightly less than 1/4 in seam allowance.

Pin the other square to the other side of he long piece and stitch in place.

Now you’re ready to finish the top.

Fold the seams to one side, do not press them open.

Don’t forget to back stitch a few times at the top for added security.

Almost done!! Make the handles… these go quickly.

And that’s it!! Trim your threads and enjoy your new bag!!

CREATE Mental Health Week – Edible Sugar Flowers

This is a guest post in the series CREATE Mental Health. All week we will be exploring how different people use creativity to create and maintain mental health. Today’s post is by Rachael Teufel. Rachael is the owner of Intricate Icings, a cake design studio in Erie, CO.  Perhaps you’ve seen Rachael’s work on the Food Network’s Cake Challenge. Welcome, Rachael (and thanks for letting me eat the samples shown here – DELICIOUS!!)

Sugar has always been my stress reliever. Well making art with sugar that is, although I have been known to eat sugar in times of stress as well (not quite as healthy for you though). So I thought I’d share an easy way to make your cupcakes super cute in a quick and easy fashion, while hopefully releasing a little stress.

First bake some cupcakes and ice them with your favorite buttercream. If you’re not so much into the baking thing, it’s okay just buy some premade cupcakes and top them with your own edible flowers.

Here are the things you will need:

  • Flower shaped cookie cutters and a small round cutter or piping tip
  • A rolling pin
  • 2 colors of Fondant or modeling chocolate (Fondant can be found at your local craft store)
  • Paint brush
  • Water (in very small amounts!)

First start by rolling out one color of fondant on a smooth work surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar. You’ll want to roll the fondant as thin as you can, about 1/8 inch thick. Using your cookie cutters, cut out a large and a small blossom. Apply a small dab of water to the center of the blossom and using the tip of your finger; securely attach the small blossom to the center. Repeat this process until you have the desired number of flowers. You can cut multiple flowers at one time, just be sure to work quickly as fondant does dry out fairly fast.

Roll out your second color of fondant and using your piping tip or small round cutter, cut out the centers of your flowers. Apply a small dab of water to the center of the blossom and using the tip of your finger or the end of a paint brush; securely attach the center to the blossom. Then transfer your beautiful flower to the top of the iced cupcake and serve.

This most certainly is a very basic flower, but be creative and you can find other fun ways to embellish them. For instance… use a textured mat to imprint a design on the fondant before cutting out the blossoms. You can use a paint brush and gel food color to paint designs on the petals. Or you can form a lady bug, bumble bee or butterfly out of fondant and place them on the flower. The options are endless. Whatever you choose, just remember to have fun!

CREATE Mental Health Week – Button Clips for Big Girls

This is a guest post in the series CREATE Mental Health. All week we will be exploring how different people use creativity to create and maintain mental health. Today’s post is by Laurel MacDougal. Laurel writes the popular crafting/homemaking/organizing/all around cool blog Ducks in a Row. Welcome, Laurel!

I have a daughter that is too old for bows and ribbons.  Yes, the day has come.  I think these button clips are a great older option for girls hair.  They are really easy to make – follow along.
You need:

Button cover kit – I used 3/4″.  The first time you buy this you need the kit.  Any other times, you can just buy the refill.
fabric scraps
craft wire
clip

OK – with your pliers, grab the shank and remove it.  (ooh, blurry picture, quick let’s move on!)

Next, cut a couple of inches of your craft wire.
and bend it in half.
Slide this wire through the bottom of the clip, and through the bottom of the button (be careful when you remove the metal shank that you notice what side it was on.  You want that side facing the clip).
Twist the wire, trim it, and smash it down so it as flat as you can get it.
Grab your fabric scrap and the button cover kit.  I only use the white plastic part.
Lay your fabric, right side down in the white thing (I’m sure it has a name, but I will call it the white thing) and put the top of the button over it.  I make sure I line it up so I get part of the fabric that I like.  I’ve done this before and ended up covering the button in the empty spaces instead of the pattern – whoops.
Trim the fabric.  If you have too much fabric, it’s hard to push the back on.  If you have too little, the edges pop out.  There is a pattern on the back of the button package.
Put the clip/bottom of the button on, fold the fabric in, and push.  There are pretty clear instructions on the back of the button package.  I can usually push hard enough with my fingers.  You can kind of feel it snap in place.  If it doesn’t, the button will just fall apart – so push until everything is nice and neat.
Remove your clip from the white thing and admire.
Cute cute cute.  We’ve done a variation on an elastic instead of a clip, and they are darling.  I’m just a tad bit clumsy using those elastics.  Just saying.
Make a slew of these – they’re fast AND cute, it’s a winning combination!  Plus, it doing projects like this energize me.  It doesn’t take much time, but it gets me going!
I had a blast preparing for this and thinking of all of you reading this!  Come pay me a visit over at Ducks in a Row.  I share my organizing tips, sewing projects, our never ending home projects, some recipes – you know, a little of this and a little of that!

CREATE Mental Health Week – Healthy Garden, Healthy Food, Healthy People

This is a guest post in the series CREATE Mental Health.  All week we will be exploring how different people use creativity to create and maintain mental health.  Today’s post is by Dr. Kaycie Rosen.  Dr. Rosen is a Naturopathic Doctor and also the owner of Golden Naturopathic Clinic in Golden, CO.  Welcome Dr. Rosen!

Dr. Kaycie Rosen with a bowl full of delicious tomatoes. Good for the body and the soul!

It’s springtime again and my yearly obsession is in full swing: tomatoes!  Every year for the past 10 years sometime in the middle of February I notice a warm breeze in the air and start dreaming. I dream of ripe, warm, luscious, juicy tomatoes picked right off the vine, sliced, drizzled with some good olive oil and a touch of sea salt.  My alternate dream is of fresh, toasted sourdough bread, crunchy thick-cut bacon, a light smear of mayo, a fresh lettuce leaf, and thick juicy slices of a giant tomato from my backyard.

The sprouts emerge!

This year the process is particularly special.  We just rebuilt our backyard and put in several new garden beds; we have been watching workmen transform a bit of the open mountain behind our house into a home for all our delicious dreams.  We’re putting in fruits, vegetables and herbs, hopefully enough to substitute for the farm share we used to get weekly.  Right now our garden is all anticipation, and for me is the fruition of many years of “halfway” gardening in various combinations of limited space, poor soil, pots only, unfavorable climates, or limited time.  This year, we are fully committed.

Gardening for me is an invaluable asset to my mental health for several reasons.  First and foremost, I love good food.  Fresh, flavorful produce is one of my greatest passions in life, and the best way to get it is to grow it myself.  I love to cook and to feed healthy, delicious meals to my family, and gardening helps me do just that.  Secondly, I love plants.  As a Naturopathic doctor and herbalist, I use plants as medicine, but even more than that, there is something amazing about getting to know the intricacies of how mother nature works.  Each plant has its own ideal soil conditions, watering needs, and interactions with other living beings from soil microbes to the animals who consume it.  For me to learn about and understand plants helps me feel more connected to the planet and to my spirit because it helps me understand how interconnected every living being on the planet is.  Finally, gardening gets me outside, breathing fresh air, moving my body and getting my mind off of things.  Somehow, fiddling around with the vegetables helps me lose track of time and lets the stress melt away.

Getting ready to be transplanted!

But back to February.  One of the most satisfying parts of gardening is that if you follow the process, you reap great rewards at the end.  In February, I buy my seeds and starting medium, resurrect the seedling trays from the garage, and start counting down the days to planting.  Mid-March, seeds go in, trays go under the grow light, and the watering and watching begins.  5 or 6 days later, we have sprouts, a couple weeks after that I transplant sprouts, a few weeks later transplant again, and a couple weeks after that we start hardening off so our baby tomatoes get used to living in the outdoors. Mid-May my tomatoes finally get to go to their home in the ground, and from there it’s just pruning, watering, and finally in August my BLT dreams come true!  I’m excited about all the food we’re growing, but there’s just something about tomatoes that feeds the soul.

 

CREATE Mental Health Week – Making a Greeting Card

This is a guest post in the series CREATE Mental Health.  All week we will be exploring how different people use creativity to create and maintain mental health.  Today’s post is by Jessica Taylor, of the blog Ink It Up! with Jessica.  Welcome, Jessica!

Making your own cards does not require an entire afternoon and a room full of craft supplies.  Here’s how to make a quick and easy card that will have you feeling crafty when you’re done:
Begin by gathering your supplies.  Paper, rubber stamps, ink, punches, adhesive… whatever you have on hand.
Patterned paper gives your card a quick, fun design.  Cut a piece to fit on the front of your card and tape it into place.  (No patterned paper?  Try wrapping paper!)
Use a rubber stamp and ink to stamp a greeting.  (No stamp and ink?  Print out a greeting from your computer.)
Punch out your greeting and a piece of coordinating paper to layer behind it.
Tape the greeting to the front of your card and you’re done!
“Making cards always lifts my spirits and gives me a sense of accomplishment.  Plus, I know that sending a card to someone will make their day too!”