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I was just telling a friend that I wish we had more coffee cafes around where we live... And even though I am in the car right now traveling, let's pretend we are in a cozy, artsy-fartsy cafe sipping on coffees with double shots of expresso.  

I'd tell you that I am gearing up for a creative arts camp that starts in a week... And I've never done this type of thing before, but I love it!  I'm nervous and excited... I've been working on preparing projects, and I'll share a couple on here because they are easy and perfect to try with your own kiddos, too. 

I would have to show you a photo of Niamh's new hair!  It's cut super short and pixie-like... and it is SO CUTE.  Also, I don't have to brush through massive knots anymore; so I am loving it.  I can't stop touching it... It's like my new best friend.  I wish my own hair would look that cute short. (It doesn't.  I've tried.)

She also got her ears pierced this week...and we got a bestie earring in the top of our ears, together.  She is strutting her stuff with new hair and new earrings:).  

Philly's new thing is that he wants to get "pied."  Like the baseball players do after they win a close game~ So, like any good mom would do, I promised him on his birthday I will smoosh a big, whip cream pie right in his face and make all his dreams come true.  

I'd tell you that we have only been to the beach once ---> ONCE! <---- this summer, and while I'm kinda bummed about that, we did have a great time playing with cousins in the sand and water that day.  When things settle down a little, I am hoping to make some major beach runs in August!! 

I'd tell you that I am piecing things together for homeschooling next year.  I decided to move in a different direction this coming year (departing from last year's curriculm), and it is exciting and fun to plan out.  We have continued math, spanish, and reading throughout the summer....which the kids have taken pretty good ownership of and finished each assignment without much prompting or help.  I almost (ALMOST) can't wait for September... 

I would tell you that I love digital art, which I just started working on in the past couple weeks.  It is a new challenge, and I love working on something new!!  I've never been good at painting, but this feels like painting...except it turns out cute and I don't make a mess in the process.... Wahoo!

And I'd tell you that I just finished reading The Way of the Heart, a book recommendation but this super hot guy I know who has a thing for reading... So of course, I took him up on it.  And wow~ he was right.  Maybe I should listen to my husband more often;).  I wasn't really expecting much from it, but I finished it super fast (it is short and sweet) and enjoyed reading how to create a more authentic and beautiful quiet time with God each day...throughout each day.  

I'd probably babble on about a ton of other things, and in-between refills of coffee, I'd totally want to hear about your summer (or winter;) too!  What good things are you up to?  Anything on your heart to share?  Please do... I love to read through the coffee post's comments the most:).  

Thanks for the coffee date!


Fellow Crafter and Friend, Kellie Winnell

Kellie and I invited each other to one another's blogs this week.  You can read my interview here.  And here is a little about Kellie~ someone I have known since the very start of my stamping and blogging... She is such a sweetheart and friend, and I'm excited she said 'yes' to being on here today!

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A paragraph peek into your home and family:  I am married to a guy I adore.  We laugh together everyday, it's what attracted me to him the moment I met him, his humor.  We live in a small town, Seymour, in a house that looks like it was meant for the beach and not a country town.   We have 3 daughters, that bring so much to our lives, joy, laughter, fart jokes and more.

What are your favorite media/outlets to get all your 'artsy-ness' out... Instagram, I'm pretty much in love with, yes you read right, I said 'in love' with instragram from the moment I discovered the media.  Pinterest is a close second.  Liking both more than facebook actually.

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Three pieces of blogging advice. 
1. Be yourself
2. Don't second guess yourself
3. Interact with your readers.  Ask questions, reply to comments, get chatty.

Where does your studio/craft-area decor inspiration come from? : Pinterest, it's my best friend and biggest time consumer, but I love it.  I took a big leap and painted the brick work in my craftroom to a mint green colour.  Every now and then I think I want to paint it a off white or even black, and then I think of all the work and think, maybe not, haha.  I still feel my room is un-finished.  But with having a huge clean out, twice now, I am finally feeling like it's my craft area.

Movie and book recommendation: I have started reading a lot of 'advice' books.  I figure that while one book might not give me everything, I can take a bit away from each book I read.  My favourites so far would have to be, Steal Like an Artist. 

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Three things you love in your day, currently.  
1. Waking up early, shock yes, but I get up, make Luke's lunch while he showers and make a cuppa.
2. Getting a little creativity in every day.
3. My girls laughter.  

The things you always grab for when doing a PL spread.   For me, being a plainer PL'er this is simple.  Grid cards, black smash pen, white gel pen, date stamp, ink pad and my stamp sets.

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Any upcoming goals/projects you'd like to share?  I have a heap really.  My brain is always ticking over with ideas and goals.  I have a goal to simplify our lives more.  By this I mean, clean out clothes, stop hoarding, clean out those junk draws we all have and have no idea what's in there.  I'm doing it slowly and it's working out really well, the house feels more organised and I actually know where things are!  I am working on getting all my half started projects finished by the end of the year, that I have blogged here.  Last of all I am working to not only design stamps but a side venture to bring DIY kits.  I love little and big DIY projects and all to often people state they wish they could make it, and they can, I don't do things that are too hard, haha.  So I'm slowly going to bring something new each month.

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You can follow Kellie's blog, IG (@giveagirlablog), and Facebook for more inspiration and crafty ideas.  

Thank you for the peek into your life, Kellie!!


Project Life and a Journal Card.

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I just want to point out the two golf ball-size tomatoes we grew.  I've never grown anything successfully, and even though they are puny and kinda embarrassingly small; I am devoting blog space to specifically point those suckers out.  

The slices covered exactly 1/4 of my burger patty.

Anyways, here are my late June/early July PL pages.  I do this in chunks, but I am keeping up with it-- so that is working for me.  We went to Cleveland this past week and saw the Yankees play the Indians. I had a ton of photos from that two-day road trip... and managed to get the best ones printed and cropped for these pages.  Philly got a signed ball from a Yankees relief pitcher (talk about exciting!), and we ate at the BEST diner ever, Lucky's Cafe.  We also visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where Niamh got to drool over all the Beatles memorabilia.  (She is such a little Beatles fan.)  The rest of the photos are just everyday things we've been doing... 

Each time I post my Project Life progress, I will include a free printable, too. 
**You can click here to download my potted plant.**
(It will print nicest on glossy photo paper, fyi.) 

And thank you to everyone who took my recent survey.  I really appreciate the feedback~ and the peek into who you guys are:).  It was pretty fun to go through the results! 

Happy Tuesday, friends!


Reader Survey~ I need your help!

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Sometimes I need to re-group a bit and figure out my direction a little better.  

Last year was a weird year for me as far as blogging.  
I hit a major funk last June.
Thought about deleting my site.  A lot. 
Life "things" got in the way of blogging...
(which, they should...because that is LIFE and this is just blogging, yo.)
But I had a hard time recovering the joy in it.
I wanted to be going one way, but always felt pulled back to doing what suits me best...
Even if it isn't what my heart was after at the time. 

I wanted to shift gears completely and be a real writer.
Write about life and faith and Jesus.  
And forget the artwork altogether.  
So I battled against that for a while...
Having these other writers in my sights~ trying to become them...instead of just being me.

Then I sat in church and listened to the pastor preach on limits.
Like, I'm suppose to embrace them or something...
('Crazy pastor' may have sifted through my mind 65 times that Sunday morning.)
All my life, I've prided myself in blowing past them.  
Because I HATE limits. 
I liked wow factors and performance-based living.
Even if it sucked all the life out of me.
And then this talk on limits. 
And being okay with them.
Realizing I have my niche.
God gave me a specific 'thing' and 
maybe, just maybe...He doesn't want me running ahead of Him all the time.

So I have eased back into my blog better the last couple months or so. 
Slowly at first.
Because I am head strong and have to learn things over and over in order to obey.
I enjoy focusing on my character art.  
And I enjoy all the other blog topics I post about~ 
Jesus being my favorite:). 
I write in different spaces, too.  
So that I can work at being an author someday,...maybe...
but not allow that desire to mess up what works for me right here:  
this blog. 
my art. 
and all the little pieces of life I enjoy sharing with you.  

So all that to say, I feel a little more at home this summer.
With who I am
and all the limits I am learning to respect along the way.
Those limits- the ones that, when I embrace them, keep me in the exact right spot for my life's story- 
have given me back the joy in writing and blogging in this place.  
That's good. 
And now I am re-focusing a bit on what topics I enjoy~ 
What topics YOU enjoy.  
So, help a girl out. 
Can you take 10 minutes to answer 20 questions?
Reader surveys are a good way to take inventory of your audience and yourself as a blogger. 
And I think after a year of funk, it's about time:).  

Please click here to take the survey.
And if you do take it before it closes, email me at krista7smith@yahoo.com.
(with the subject------>SURVEY)
I'll gift you with something little, but suh-weet.

Happy Wednesday, friends!


Simplest DIY Painting. Ever.

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I get to teach an art class this summer for our church camp.  I am stoked about it.  I think my dream job would be to own an art studio for inter-city kids to just totally hang out in and get all creative and artsy-fartsy with me...So this feels like a little taste of that this summer, and I'm ridiculously excited about it.  

Totally been Pinterest surfing for art projects appropriate for school-age kiddos.  The projects I like best are messy, uniquely individual, and incorporate a wide range of skill levels without affecting the outcome of the project.  This is one of my favorite projects~ a painting with alpha stickers that allows a favorite word or phrase to be 'painted' onto the canvas.  

After my first two attempts at this, I would change it up a bit for the kids~ basically a flat canvas instead of the wrapped-around-wood kind.  Also, patience helps... Someone who does't have any might pull the stickers off too soon and that makes for some not-so-clean sticker lines. (Lesson learned.)  I think the flat alpha stickers (my "Oceans" word) are MUCH easier to use than the chipboard, peel-away type.  Anyways, my end results were imperfect...but I kinda liked them that way.  And, for a class of 20 kids, this might just be a pretty easy, you-can't-mess-this-up-so-run-with-it type of art project.  

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So simple, it is ridiculous.
What makes it fun are the colors and textures used. (I liked dabbing the paint on with a sponge.)  
And anytime I do something on an actual canvas, I just feel legit.
So, canvas in hand, the little peeps will feel pretty good about their paintings, I think. 

I found these canvas packs that (in my opinion) would work better for kids.  
They are fairly cheap, too!
Paints cost me $5 for a pack of 12 (local craft store).
Cheap.  Easy.  Unique.  

Feel free to share art project ideas if you have any!
(Include links to Pinterest boards if you are so inclined:)...

Happy Friday, friends!

PS, the winner of the Kit and Clowder Clothing Class is Marie-Anne Jagerman.  The two winners of 5 SC stamps a piece are Brenda Dube Gollihue and Rosenda Aldarondo.  Congrats, friends!! 


Walking on Water, a book in review

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"I'm a writer.  That's enough of a definition.  (I infinitely prefer to say that I am a Christian than to mention any denomination, for such pigeonholing is fragmenting, in religion as in art.)  So.  I am a Christian.  I am a writer.  When I am grappling with ideas radical enough to upset grown-ups, then I am likely to put these ideas into a story which will be marketed for children, because children understand what their parents have rejected or forgotten." 
L' Engle, Walking on Water

I recently finished the book, Walking on Water by Madeleine L' Engle.  It wasn't on my booklist for 2014 (but nothing I have read so far has been, so at least I'm being consistent.)  I picked it up after it was recommended to me by this girl...and since she wrote a book I LOVED, I thought it was a safe bet to start reading.  

Walking on Water is a book about faith and art, two things I don't often give the same space to in my thinking; but, while reading this gem, I realized how absolutely intertwined and dependent they are on one another.  L' Engle pours her thoughts onto the pages like it's just a chat with a friend~ but it reads like profound revelation; and I love that.  In fact, I'd say the wide umbrella theme for the book is art and faith; but everything from Bach to physics is touched on~ which made it especially wonderful to me; since I have a background in math and science, but love art equally as much.    

There is so much grace between the pages. So many nuggets of beauty and theology~ and it all feels like you've already thought it before; but lost it somehow as you grew up into a busy, needed, scheduled adult.  I loved to grab a hot coffee and settle down into my chair, just to feel the same excitement I did as a kid~ not bound by worldly (or even "Christian") expectations... Just given the freedom to think about my Creator, all boundaries and limits off.  As a homeschooling parent, especially, this call to freedom- to learn and love Jesus as He is, not how I imagine Him to be- is critical and precious.  (I also loved her view on what constitutes 'Christian art' or a 'Christian book'; so, so good!)

I know I will forever be returning to the underlined and dog-eared pages of Walking on Water.  I get excited over books that are true treasures~ for certain, this book is almost too full of goodness.  If you want something short and sweet to read this summer, that might just be totally amazing, you need to grab this book.  

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"All that the new discoveries of science can do is to enlarge our knowledge of the magnitude and glory of God's creation.  We may, and often do, abuse our discoveries, use them for selfish and greedy purposes, but it is the abuse which causes the conflict, not the discoveries themselves.  When they upset the religious establishment it is not because they have done anything to diminish God; they only diminish or- even more frightening- change the current establishment's definition of God...[But] Our fear and our rejection do not take away from the truth, and the truth is what the Bible instructs us to know in order that we may be free."

For a list of my favorite reads in the past year, click here.


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After I decided to give Project Life another serious go, I invested in a new photo printer so that I could print my photos at home.  I am so happy with that decision, as it keeps me better on track.  Plus, I like playing with photo sizes and cropping.  I was worried about the quality of the prints; but so far, the photos look as good as being professionally printed.  The biggest obstacle is staying ahead of the hoards of photos I take!

These are a few of my PL pages so far in June~ our day trip to Longwood Gardens in PA and the recent hop over to NYC.  I am so looking forward to flipping through our summer and seeing it full of good places, happy memories, and cute kiddos.  

In fact, we had such a good time at the Yankees game, that we started browsing (just for fun) tickets for more games this summer at different ballparks.  (We believe that diversity in ballparks builds better, more authentic, baseball fans;)...Anyways, Phil and I ended our search by impulsively buying Yankees verses Cleveland Indians tickets.  At Cleveland.  We probably should have checked the distance between Jersey and Ohio.  Soooo.... I'll have another road trip for my PL album in July:).  

Note to self.
DO NOT buy away Yankees tickets before double-checking mapquest beforehand. 
Lesson learned. 
See you soon, Cleveland. 


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