Friday, November 17, 2017

A Look Back While Moving Forward ...

The past few months have been a bit quiet here, as you may have noticed. The Week of August 27, our community suffered devastating flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. With more than 60-inches of water we were cut off from surrounding aide and worked tirelessly to help each other. Once the water receded, I began temporary admin work for a local construction company who was rebuilding more than 30 homes and businesses.

Facing the cleaning and demo of these homes and business, it was hard for me to for me to go home and pick up crafting projects. More than 30% of our community faced flood damage and neighboring community faced much more. A community merely 5 miles south suffered 100% devastation. Every home and business had water damage, residents waited hours, even days for rescues. It was hard for me to go into my studio and find joy when so many had lost everything.

It's been 3 months and while our communities still has a long way to go before we are back to breathing normal during a rainstorm, but we are getting there. Last week, we pulled out our Christmas decorations and sorted through them to find some for a family who had 5 kids and lost it all. Being able to do that brought some of the joy back. While we sorted through and gave them most of our store bought d├ęcor, we still had lots of things that I had made or were made for me/us by various family members.

This week I made ornaments for the family and for ours, and I realized that we are getting to a point where we can look at the little things and find comfort. As South Texas enters the holiday season, many will still be in temporary homes, rebuilding one step at a time, but they will still have a chance to make happy memories and reflect on how we were put to the test and found our strength in ourselves and each other.

Next week I'll post about the ornaments I made this week, but as we enter Thanksgiving week, I wanted to look back at 5 kid-friendly crafts that The Teacup Cottage has done over the years that would be great during the holidays ...

Shrinky Dink Art ... these would be great for ornaments, gift tags and more!

Perler Bead Projects ... theses would make great ornaments and are a great way to spend some quiet time. You can even find free designs for Christmas on their website

Grinch Shirts ... Last year my kid was a real Grinch when it came to decorating the tree and it stayed "natural" throughout the season, so maybe we should have used his tee shirt from Dr. Seuss Day to warn people!

Kid Handprint Table Runner ... Your holidays will be extra special if you decorate with a one-of-a-kind table runner like our 4th of July one. Bring on the green and red paint!! There are lots of hand-print Christmas ideas on Pinterest!

Kid-Art Pillows ... We think these would be great gifts for grandparents. What one-of-a-kind creations will your like artists create?

Check back later this week, as I dust off the cobwebs and get creative with Elves and ornaments.

Until next time, stay #CreativelyInspired.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Surviving the Storm: Harvey's Houston Impact

This post will be a little different than the usual post. If you look back, you'll see its be a little over a month since my last post. I took a break from my studio and projects to focus on the last of our summer bucket list items and then we started back to school madness with Teacher Meet and Greets, orientations for all of our activities and just as we settled into a routine, we looked forward to the Solar Eclipse which Lil Monkey's school and Cub Scout Pack would be doing activities for. What we were not expecting, and certainly not looking forward to was a front row seat to the ongoing Hurricane Harvey chaos, now a Tropical Storm.

The first 2 days, we caught the edges of it. I over planned and prepared, gathering supplies, moving furniture indoors and just generally planning to ride this out, even as Dear Husband calmly went about his daily work and such. But on Thursday when Lil Monkey's school was cancelled the following day and potentially Monday, I think he realized the reality of it hitting us. Not because he was thinking it was overrated, but because his new position has him working 12+ hours a day and he doesn't get to watch the news. But we were prepared. Thursday night, we tried several places before finding gas, he checked the generator and pulled it to an accessible location and pulled in the outdoor furniture that I couldn't get on my own. Then we settled in to wait.

I'm sort of a Storm Junkie. I love the science behind it, so watching the Weather Channel for hours at a time was not unusual, ans in addition to my preparations, I have gotten the supplies to start on a Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery project to keep me busy of we lost power. 

As we went to bed Friday night, Hurricane Harvey hurled its way across the Texas Coastline heading into communities 2-3 hours west of us. As a Category 4 Hurricane its wind strength and size were massive and we felt it. We got little sleep that night. But we awoke Saturday morning to calmer winds and the news that it has fallen to a Category 1 Hurricane. Most of the day Saturday was spent driving around locally in what looked like a sleepy little town waking up. Stores were open, people were sporadically out and about and the attitude was that we'd missed the worst of it. But I'd been watching and knew from forecasts we were just getting started.

Once it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, many in our community on social media sites felt like it had been blown out of proportion, despite the Weather Services telling us we needed to brace for torrential rains that would leave many communities crippled. As darkness fell on Saturday night, we would begin to see just what those meteorologists were talking about.

The slow moving storm would dump more than 18-inches of water on our small community that sits halfway between Houston and Galveston. We didn't get much sleep last night either as well drained the pool, watched for flooding and listen to our phones buzz constantly with updates. Lil Monkey slept, but Dear Husband, Buster and I got minimal sleep. I packed snacked and water as well as blankets in an interior closet in the event that we got tornadoes. We got so many warnings. It seemed like as soon as one ended another started. They were all around us and Dear Husband was on constant watch from the South windows.

We awoke this morning to stories of members of our small community of 40,000 being stuck on roofs, stuck on second floors of their homes, water up to 12-feet in homes and lots of air and water rescues. 

We have received constant updates from our community leaders and the surge of community members helping each other has been nothing short of amazing. Volunteers bringing our boats to rescue others, dropping off boats for water rescues and so many people have stepped up to donate supplies as our schools were turned into the shelters because the sheer number of people needing help left our prepared shelters at capacity and strained.

The thing that no one tells you about living in a Mayberry-style community is that the concern goes beyond your personal world. I didn't expect to cry over the lost homes of people that I'd only met at community events or spoke with on community Facebook pages. Small community life becomes part of you and you hurt for those who are hurting.

So many people texted to check on us and we texted to check on so many. In the past all of those people would have been people we knew who were watching from the outside, like family, college friends, military friends. But today there were so many who reached out to check on us despite being in a devastating position themselves. It's a feeling you can't put into words.

It's not over. We've got a long ways to go. We are expected to have 2-3 more days of this and the recovery afterwards could be months, but Harvey is no match for this community and the hearts of these people will band together to overcome whatever this storm can throw at us.

Until later, stay safe Friendswood. Stay safe, Texas.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Parrot Steals the Show

Seriously, I have the most entertaining kid!

Last week, well a little more than that, but on July 12, I shared an image on Instagram of a Parrot's cape that I was making for my son, despite being in the middle of a flare up due to a back injury. That week he was at Music Camp at a local church and had been chosen to play the part of "vendor" at the beginning of the play, and Petey the Parrot in the second half. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Exploring the Science of Creativity with Kiwi Crates

Today we tried our first Kiwi Crate and we had so much fun!

So I know this is a craft blog, but I love how crafting and and science both give you the opportunity to create and learn. Earlier this year, as I was looking for things to do for the summer with Lil Monkey, I once again wondered over to the Kiwi Crate website and ordered a 3-month subscription so we could try it out this month (since June was filled with 5 weekly summer camps.)

This morning, Lil Monkey decided that he wanted to do the Arcade Pack. In it, there was instructions and materials to make a Crane and 2 yarn creatures. In the 30 minutes I used to clean up the table after breakfast, I heard a lot of the Toy Story "The Claw" references!! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Camp Creativity at Michael's

The past few weeks Lil Monkey and I have explored a variety of activities, but one of our favorites has been the Camp Creativity at Michael's Stores. We have made a few Disney themed projects from painting to Perler Bead projects, and Model Magic. 

Each week had its own theme and we have 2 hours provided to do 2 projects and a journal page. Here's a view of some of our projects ...


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Throwback Thursday with Kids Craft

You may remember last year a Father's Day post from last year when Lil Monkey and his friends, The Princess and The Professor, joined us to decorate fabric that we turned into pillows for the 2 dad for Father's Day. We had a lot of fun and the Dad's loved them ... though the kids enjoyed them just as much.

This year, we didn't really plan n doing a craft, but lately I'd been toying with the idea of DIY Shrinky Dinks. Remember those from when we were younger? I loved them, but that may be giving my age away. 

Well, I'd heard that you could make them yourself using plastic from specific clear to-go containers. If I could recycle some plastic, that was more preferred than buying specially packaged plastic sheets and of course, that's less waste in the garbage.

 I was intrigued, but then none of the places we'd eaten at had the specific containers I was looking for ...