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Posts tagged ‘found objects’

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Everyday Objects Reimagined

Well, any hour now we’re expecting our next snowstorm AND it’s a long weekend with the holiday on Monday. What will we do with ourselves? For some good, cheap and creative fun, I’m loving these spur of the moment sketches done by Victor Nunes via Visual News. Beyond how cool these look, what’s even cooler is how there aren’t major preparations involved to pull this off. And who doesn’t have objects like food, matches, and scissors at home? It’s fascinating to see these inanimate 3D pieces come to life with simple sketches.

Try it for yourself… spread some paper on the kitchen table, go on the hunt for objects then challenge the family to create. Make a game of it… try and guess each other’s sketches or build upon each other’s, creating a story and scene.

Have fun with it!





Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The Laundry Lamp

I love this story of a mom who kept all the things she found in her son’s pockets when doing the laundry during his childhood. So sweet and so sentimental but that’s not all! She then added creativity to the mix by putting all the small finds inside a lamp… love it! I can’t think of a better way to capture growing up at a glance!



(images courtesy Twisted Sifter)

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Concrete Planters

On Mother’s Day last weekend Brian and Livi finally revealed a secret project they had been working on: concrete planters!


We have boxes full of shapely plastic containers and bottles and these guys found a fun and inspiring way to make use of them.


They made a variety of succulent gardens for all the moms in our life but these could also be used as holders for miscellaneous items or even just as sculptures to place on a shelf.



Keep your eyes out for containers, bottles, caps and bowls with interesting shapes. See the yellow tomato package below?


It turns into this!


A simple yet lovely shallow bowl to hold small treasures.


Love the texture on the side.


Or go for a smooth finish.


A new project in the works.


Here are the steps involved:

  • Select a mold. Choose an outer and an inner form.
  • The mold should be something that won’t grab the concrete once it has set. Containers with indentations will hold the concrete in place, which is fine if you’re willing to destroy the mold to get it out.
  • We used QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix (No. 1101) which was recommended online. (You can find it at any Lowe’s or Home Depot.)
  • Mix the concrete in a large bucket or wheelbarrow.
  • Coat the mold surfaces with cooking spray (motor oil works too).
  • Pour concrete into the inner mold and tap repeatedly to get rid of air bubbles.
  • Remove the mold 24 – 36 hours later. The concrete will still be a little wet which makes it easy to smooth out any rough spots.
  • Drill a hole through the bottom if you want to use it for a planter.
  • Sand any rough edges with a sanding block or a rock. Sandpaper works for finer sanding.
  • Let the concrete cure for about a week before using.
  • Consider putting felt dots on the bottom to avoid scratching furniture.You can find more inspiration here… love the votive candle holders!

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Outdoor Weaving Project

Now that we are headed into an awesome spring weekend here, taking our crafts outside sounds like a great idea. My daughter has really shown an interest in weaving projects over the last six months so this awesome project caught my eye. This has me dreaming of a weekend of camping during which we leave technology behind and focus on just one nature project like the one below. Though there still isn’t a lot of new growth outside yet, it doesn’t hurt to set an intention and start collecting bits and pieces as spring leads into summer. After all, half the fun is in the hunting and gathering.

Happy weekend!


Friday, February 1st, 2013

Where Inspiration Lives

As a part two to my LA trip last week, I’d like to share my friend’s home. I’ve posted about Erin before (see Erin Pata: Real-Life Style Maven), and I have to say that her homestead in person is no less impressive than her awesome photography and documentation of it. I could post a million photos about the 1,500 acres of rolling hills and farm land that they live on (let’s just say it’s beautiful and authentic enough to warrant visits from film and TV crews!) but for this post I’m going to focus on Erin’s creativity in her studio and home.

Let’s start with her studio. You could seriously live in here for a week, maybe even without meals. There is so much groovy stuff to look at!

In one corner are her handmade purses that she sells.

Next to those you’ll find beautiful chicken eggs grown onsite, cleaned out and ready for anything.

Next to those are blocks of homegrown beeswax.

And don’t forget the honey!

There’s also a letterpress that she uses for cards, wedding invites and other freelance design projects.

Even her storage is creative and authentic. Fabric swatches are hung on an antique headboard.

Inside their farmhouse, every nook and cranny holds one-of-a-kind surprises.

One of my favorite spots: the mantle above the dining room table. I love mantles because they’re a great opportunity to showcase art and treasures.

But Erin’s collection above the mantle goes beyond cool; the beloved treasures are inspired by family heirlooms and experiences.

Places like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn — eat your heart out. Truly authentic and inspired living finds its home here, not on a store shelf.

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Driftwood Bird

Heading to a beach this summer? You’ll want to look extra hard for just the right beach finds after seeing this little bird, found in an Anthropologie clearance bin, made with driftwood and wire. Love it!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Nature’s Day Traders

As a follow-up to the Cincinnati Museum Center’s recent craft class, I had to share one more related post. There is a super groovy room within the museum of natural history and science called Nature’s Trading Post, where kids can bring in cool nature finds for points that accumulate in an online system. These points can then be deducted from a child’s account to “buy” something from the stocked shelves of the Trading Post. Perhaps you’re in the market for a cow skull, antlers, coral or an unusual rock? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Where to begin? There’s so much to check out! (I’m just glad I don’t have to dust the place!)

Yikes! Looking up might be the place to begin. I’m glad these are skins without the snakes!

Think you’ve seen everything? There’s no telling what you’ll find when you open the many drawers!

Let the shopping begin! There’s no shortage of petrified wood, geodes, stones and crystals to choose from.

This is such a great rewards system, which inspires kids to be curious, observant and budget-conscious. Not only do kids get points for bringing things in, they also accumulate more points when they can talk about their finds. Not to mention, there’s a monthly scavenger hunt in which kids can also collect points for correct answers to fill-in-the-blank questions which relate to the museum’s exhibits.

I can’t think of a more fun way to learn about nature and natural history!

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Newspeepers at the Museum Center

Livi and I attended another super fun craft class at Cincinnati’s Museum Center this weekend. Even if you’re not in the Cincinnati area, keep reading for a fun and easy craft for kids and adults alike!

Local artist, Karen Boyhen, led the class in creating one-of-a-kind craft creatures out of newspaper and masking tape. First, we were properly inspired by seeing a few of Karen’s works of art. Karen makes papier mache animals covered in collage.

Since I’m a designer and organizational freak, I love this process shot as much as the finished sculptures. For her collages, Karen tears up magazines and newspapers, then arranges the pieces by colors, like a painter’s palette.

Here is how the form begins; a bird comes to life below, using wadded up newspapers covered in masking tape.

Once the body is formed, some kids used colored masking tape to cover the outside, while others used paint. (This was the kid-friendly, non-papier mache technique).

Finally, a buffet of embellishments to consider for details like eyes, wings, appendages, etc.

A funny find: Karen has a boot fetish. Seriously, she has a giant bag of miniature boots and was so kind to give a few away in class. (If your Barbie is missing her footwear, you know who to go to.)

In the end, everyone had a smile on her face and a new friend to leave with. For us, it was a bright, flamboyant parrot. Watching the kids create such magic from newspaper and tape was truly inspiring. Many thanks to Karen and the Cincinnati Museum Center!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts?

from Jamie

You be the judge in this instance. Not only is this super cool to look at; it makes my obsessive designer genes smile. Check out more in the unique series by Ursis Werhli here.

(found via Design Mom)

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Tree-ific Fall Finds

from Jamie

October is such a busy month, with Halloween events, fall festivals and everyday life, that I find I have to pencil in “savor fall” on the calendar. But when you live someplace where true winter is just around the corner, you’ve got to make it a priority or wait a year for the next opportunity!

When you look outside, there’s certainly no shortage of leaves, carpeting the ground and piling up here and there. But this week Livi and I took a walk to find some favorites. Once we had a good collection, we sorted through those to create a color spectrum, or rainbow, as Livi likes to call it. It’s also interesting to focus on the different sizes and shapes—details often lost when they’re blowing in the wind and piled high outside.

At left: Livi makes a wasp creature out of found natural objects (and a few buttons). At right: A very groovy leaf crown, found here.

Remember making leaf rubbings as a kid?

Ever wonder about the names of all those leaves you’re raking? I was looking for some well-designed leaf cards a few years ago but didn’t find much out there. So I made some simple ones at home and had them laminated…

… Which then led to a tree audit that my dad had always talked about doing. We finally made it happen a couple years ago, on a beautiful fall day. My dad, Livi and I spent the afternoon walking our wooded lot with tree book, hammer, nails and caps in hand. We then numbered the various tree types to match a list that I made so that I can always refer to the list if I forget what the numbers stand for. I enjoyed finally finding out what kinds of trees are on our property, but most importantly, I cherish the memory of that day—three generations of family enjoying and exploring nature together.

More discoveries beyond tree types… a hedge apple; I love the look and feel of these!

Keep your eyes peeled for happy accidents like this!

And watch where you walk; the last thing you want to do is run into one of these: the spiked trunk of a Honey Locust tree. At right: some type of hairy tree vine.

Muffin top? Apparently people aren’t the only ones who get bulges in the middle as they age.

At left: another unusual find. At right: the characteristic peeling bark of a Shagbark Hickory.

At left: yellow wood! Only visible when you cut into the Honeysuckle undergrowth that’s so prevalent in these parts. At right: don’t forget to look up; there’s some great color above you!

Happy hunting and stay tuned for Monday when I’ll share a children’s book to complement this post. Until then, happy weekend!