Take on a creative challenge

Take on a new creative challenge

Last week we shared a few fun ideas for hobbies, but this week we wanted to expand with a few that lean into your artistic side!

Did you know that learning a new skill could improve your brain function and help protect against cognitive decline? The brain is a complex and fascinating network of nerve fibers that respond to mental stimulation and exercise. But beyond the physiological benefits of trying a new hobby or craft, there are benefits to your self esteem as you expand your horizons, make time for yourself, and even have the opportunity to connect and share these hobbies with friends and family.

Put your crafting skills to the test with these fun projects that are simple to master and then reap the unexpected benefits!

  • Knitting: What do Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz know that you don’t? While some may guess that they know what it’s like to collect multi-million dollar paychecks (which may be true), the real answer is that they all know the joy and skill of knitting. Stitching and purling is not only rewarding in the sense that you are creating a new accessory and garment, but many find that the feel of needles and yarn to be relaxing. The craft is so popular, there is an entire social networking site dedicated to the craft!
  • Scrapbooking: Preserving family photos has come a long way from the days of just placing them into an album behind a plastic sheet. Today scrapbooking has grown into a multi-billion dollar business where “scrappers” (as they’re affectionately called) create personalized, multidimensional storybooks to be treasured for years to come. Many scrapbook companies and craft stores offer workshops, weekend scrapbooking retreats, and even cruise vacations to enjoy the hobby in the company of others. What better way to celebrate fond memories of the past while making new ones (and getting a suntan!) at the same time?
  • Cooking:  You don’t have to attend culinary school to tap into your inner Julia Child. We mentioned last week that trying new foods can be considered a hobby, but if you’re not already skilled in the culinary arts, attending a cooking class can expose you to new types of food, preparation techniques and a world of tastier and healthier meals with less processed ingredients. For a more laid back approach to the art, pair up with an adventurous friend and take turns hosting an evening where you cook together, learning a new recipe in unison.
  • Photography: We’ve often heard people described as “having an eye” for photography, but have you really given your eye the opportunity to flourish? Learning a little bit of composition and gaining a clear understanding of settings offered by your particular camera goes a long way in making you able to operate it confidently, and with ease. Once you’ve mastered the technical aspects, go out and express yourself while recording places, people, and occasions that are important to you. You never know, you could turn your love of photography into a new career!

Whatever new hobby you choose, selecting one that suits your lifestyle will benefit you tremendously… And if things go awry, at least you’ll have some fun anecdotes and you can be commended for giving it a try.

Do you consider yourself crafty? What’s your latest project? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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A very Mary Engelbreit Christmas craft

Mary Engelbreit

This amazingly simple Christmas craft comes to us from our dear friend and content partner, Mary Engelbreit!

 

 

There’s still time to do a little crafting before Christmas, especially when it’s a simple project like this! It’s even simple enough to do with kids, believe it or not. They make great gift tags that then magically turn into ornaments. You could also use them as napkin rings/place cards. I’m telling you, it’s the all-purpose craft project!

Mary Engelbreit Christmas Craft
You’ll need tiny artist’s canvases, usually sold in packages of 6 at craft and art supply stores. Then drag out all your craft supplies that I know you have piled in a drawer somewhere—- ribbon, buttons, stickers, scrapbook paper, paint, markers, and glue.
Paint the canvases whatever colors you like, including the sides. I painted images on mine but you could just as easily use stickers, pretty buttons, or whatever you have on hand. If you’re using them as napkin rings/place cards, use paint markers to write names on the front.

Cut a backing of scrapbook paper and glue on the back. Cut a 6 inch or so piece of ribbon or trim and glue each end to each side of the canvas. Cover the end of the ribbon on each side with a button, a tiny Christmas trim, or a sticker.

You’re finished! A cute, personal gift, and you get a break from making cookies and wrapping gifts! Another family Christmas tradition is born!

Mary Engelbreit Christmas CraftMerry Christmas to all!

- Mary Engelbreit

PS – If you’d like to see Mary demonstrate this Christmas craft, check out her appearance on KPLR here!

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Easy, Adorable Memorial Day Party Ideas

Easy, Adorable Memorial Day Party Ideas

Looking for an easy, fun way to make your Memorial Day party really stand out? We spent some time perusing some fantastic blogs and came across some great Memorial Day party ideas to make any patriotic soirre sparkle!

1. Patriotic Parfaits by Delish.com

2. American flag Mason jars by Maison dePax

3. Spray painted lawn stars by Sunset.com

4. Memorial Day cookie platter by The Bearfoot Baker

5. Fruit ice drink by Mom.me

6. Firework balloon chandelier by Colorado Balloons

7. Patriotic bandana tablecloth by My Insanity

8. Homemade pallet flag by A Lovely Place to Land

We also thought that all of these ideas would be great to reuse for the 4th of July or Labor Day! If you make one great new item for each occasion, you’ll have a fun, patriotic collection of party goods in no time!

We hope that you and your family and friends have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday!

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Easy, Adorable St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! As we look to celebrate this bright, cheerful Spring holiday, we thought we’d round up some simple, adorable St. Patrick’s Day crafts that you can do with your children or grandchildren. To accomplish this task, we perused some wonderful blogs and discovered these great ideas, perfect for spreading a little luck o’ the Irish!

St. Patrick's Day Crafts

 

Here are the great blogs where we spotted these awesome ideas:

1. St. Patrick’s Day Hat Craft from Alpha Mom

2. Fingerprint Rainbow Pot of Gold Craft For St. Patrick’s Day from Sassy Dealz

3. Rainbow Chain Craft For St. Patrick’s Day from Sassy Dealz

4. Shamrock Headband from Molly Moo

5. St. Patrick’s Day Clover Placecards from Chica and Jo

6. Shamrock Bouquet from Sweet and Lovely Crafts

We hope that you have a sham-rockin’ St. Patrick’s Day!

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Easy, Adorable Valentine’s Day Crafts

It’s February—the month dedicated to all things red, pink, and covered in hearts! As we count down the days until Valentine’s Day, we’re also in the mood to do some crafting! In order to accomplish this goal, we thought we’d share some really great Valentine’s Day craft ideas that we found that are perfect for showing some love to someone special in your life.

 

Wheres_The_Love_BLG_AG1. DIY Chalkboard Valentine Candy Box from Skip to my Lou

2. Heart Shaped Bird Feeder from No Time For Flash Cards

3. Heart Handprint Valentine Craft from The Shirleys

4. Yarn Hearts from Family Chic

5. Marbled Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies from The Novice Chef

6. Mini Heart Garland from Honey We’re Home

7. Valentine Craft: Tic Tac Toe Hearts from Alpha Mom

If you have any other heart-themed ideas or creative crafts for Valentine’s Day, feel free to leave a note in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

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A Simple Way to Jazz Up Your Holiday Decor

It should come as no surprise that holidays are a big deal at a greeting card company. From individual associates decorating their cubes to entire departments turning on holiday tunes and decking the halls together, Christmas and the holiday season in general is a festive affair at American Greetings.

One of the most lovely centerpieces to the season is the official holiday trees throughout the building. However, this year something caught our eyes on the largest tree in our Town Square area that we wanted to share with you.

Love the tree design! The scrolls of wrapping paper really give it a festive feel!

See those scrolls throughout the tree? They’re simple scrolls of wrapping paper! We thought they gave a festive, on-trend dash of style to the tree. It’s a look you can certainly recreate at home, even if you’re not super crafty. Here’s a close-up:

Make your tree pop by tying short scrolls of wrapping paper with bows and attaching them to your tree--an inexpensive way to make a big splash!

They also carried this look over to the wreaths on the doors of our store…

Love this wreath design and the scroll of wrapping paper as an accent!

What do you think? Is this something that might work on your tree?

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Back to School

Back to School!

Backpacks, binders and buses—oh yeah, it’s back-to-school time! Whether your child starts tomorrow or still has a couple more weeks, here are some important reminders to make life a little easier.

  • Get super organized by using stylish, colorful folders to send all that required paperwork to the school office.
  • Lunches: to pack or buy? If packing, check out these great sandwich ideas; if not, don’t forget the lunch money.
  • Avoid a first day fashion crisis!  Whether uniforms or regular clothes, review the dress code and get the first week’s wardrobe lined up and hung in the closet.
  • When it comes to school supplies, most schools hand out lists, so shop around for prices and deals.
  • Label, label, label! You can use a permanent marker or order fun, personalized labels to last throughout the school year.
  • Gym clothes, sports uniforms, change of clothes—make sure it’s all labeled and packed. Tuck in an extra plastic bag for the dirty clothes and shoes.
  • Summer reading is standard at most schools, so check that the assignment is completed and set to go!
  • Backpack ready? Make sure you know the school requirements as well as the latest fashion trends for this essential item.
  • Get the kids to bed! Summer is great for staying up late, but now is the time to start getting to sleep—and waking up—earlier.
  • Finally, create a printable card at home and tuck it in your child’s lunch or backpack just to let them know you’re thinking of them on their first day.  It will make them smile!
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Fun DIY Easter Eggs

Egg decorating!

Easter is less than two weeks away, which means it’s time to start thinking about baskets, bunnies, and, of course, eggs! I’m sure we all remember dying eggs when we were little – I certainly do. In my house we always got the old fashion kit with the pellets you mixed with vinegar to get the dye. My eggs always turned out pastel and less than perfect because I was too impatient to let them soak in the solution for more than 10 minutes. My brother’s eggs where always a perfect bright and vibrant color because he would let them soak for an hour! Regardless of how our eggs turned out, it’s a memory that I will always remember. Step up your DIY egg dying this year with some truly creative ideas that we just love!

Easter Egg Dying Tips: Pisanki, Martha Stewart, Ukranian Egg Painting, Eco-Friendly Dyes

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A DIY Saturday…

Did you wake up inspired today? For many, Saturday is a day to tidy up the house and work on any outstanding projects before hitting the town for a night out. Here is a great DIY project we love, brought to us by Claire of Fellow Fellow. It’s a great idea to add a little home decor in a creative way. So once the sweeping and dusting are done, give this fun project a try!

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