Friday, December 31, 2010

the domestic transformer

This is amazing!

holiday recap

Now that the holidays are over (or close to), I can share some of the sewing projects that were given to family members this holiday season!

First up, the place mats:

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Since they were for my brother in law, I opted to go with a simple, subtle flourish…. you know, so that the place mats could be still somewhat manly!

I actually used a stamp but had to clean up the edges because it wasn’t as deeply carved as my block print stamps are. But good news… now I know how to use my stamps for block printing…

Next up, Christmas holly table runners!

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These were block printed from a design that my husband actually drew for me (he’s pretty artistic too… and sometimes I can coerce him into co-creating my crafting projects!) then I carved them into my own stamps!

And finally, setting the table (in our living room for more space!):

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Because I’m lazy, the circle garland is still hanging… I’m actually sort of tempted to just take down the red circles and then leave up the white circles! Festive living room, aka laziness, here I come!

It was a quiet holiday on our end, but still good. I hope it was the same for you on your end!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

holiday fun

Sometimes I think that I never want to have kids because I’m not sure if I could handle all the noise, chaos, and sacrifices having kids entail.
But then I spend time with my nephews and I am reminded of all the lovely things that kids can bring into your life :
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There’s just something lovely about the time that kids encourage you to take and enjoy, doing the simple things that we tend to forget about in our day to day life

i [heart] burlap home decor

A friend and I were recently discussing some crafty partnership ideas… inspired, of all things, by French Country decor using burlap.

“French Country,” you say, “Really? That seems uncharacteristic for you!”

“I know,” I reply, “but really, I’m pretty diverse in my decor/style tastes. And I’m always a sucker for design aesthetics that please the eye. In fact… I’ve always had a deep seated love for French Country kitchens with white washed cupboards and blue accents, which, much to my husbands chagrin, is likely to be the theme of our next kitchen….”

“Interesting… who would have thunk…”

“Indeed,” I reply, “but seriously, can you blame me after taking a look at these beauties?”

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This table runner and various other Burlap inspired goods

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burlap pillows

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source

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Burlap stencil tutorial

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Cause I love me the birds! Source

Oh… just cause you can’t not love French Country Kitchens:

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Source

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Source

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

black, white, and elegant: Origami Etsy Treasury

Working on a new project: an OrigamiEtsy team!


























Sometimes I'm awed by the things that people create with origami. Really, truly, amazed. So I want to promote it more, develop the niche as it were. If you're interested in keeping tabs on unique origami creations, come read the blog or join us on facebook:




Or, if you are an origami inspired artisan, come join the OrigamiEtsy group!

holiday baking

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… and Marya is baking up a holiday storm!

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While sharing a glass of vino (or Bailey’s) with my mother in law and husband, I was busy baking mince meat tarts (the vegetarian friendly, sans beef suet version), apple tarts, and speculaas cookies (the recipe and spices were sent to me via the Netherlands last year in a secret santa blogging by mail exchange)!

Ironically, while the mince meat and apple tarts smelled yummy while baking, the speculaas didn’t… which even odder when you know that the spices inside include cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and pepper… all super yummy smells. The dough before baking taste and smelt yummy, but not in the oven. But don’t worry, the cookies tasted great when done!

More baking to follow!

 

Monday, December 20, 2010

holiday snowflakes

Recently Updated

I was inspired by this post about making paper snowflakes to try my hand at making my very own 5 pointed snowflake. And then, because I loved it so much, I had to take a gazillion photos of it using my hipstamatic feature, just so that I could capture it in all its different coloured glory!

Yes, this is what I do when I’m avoiding my huge pile of holiday gift sewing projects!

Monday, December 13, 2010

notes from my first craft fair

So I did it and it was fun, and long, and an invaluable learning experience! In the summer, in anticipation of doing a craft fair, I did a lot of research to learn about what people like to see on a table and the biggest, most common piece of advice was LEVELS so that things are clearer and easily seen if there is more than one person looking at the table.

So we made a big table cloth and put boxes underneath in order to create this:IMG_0568

We also hung things from the front and used a Christmas tree in order to display my ornaments (which helped create more levels).

One of the additional perks of using the tree was that, since it’s fake, the branches bend and fold over to lock the ornament on the tree, which helped make the ornaments safer from touching, shopping hands (adult and children). I was told this was important when I polled etsy readers about craft fair table tips, as people are leery of fragile items (as was I, every time I watched people play with the ornaments!).IMG_0566

The fair was quiet, so there weren’t a ton of sales, but I was happy to have the experience and learned quite a bit from it.

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Biggest things I took away from the experience:

  • Other vendors are buyers, so play nice with them!
  • Have something to do (like folding origami or knitting… to keep you busy during quiet times)
  • Bring a friend or business buddy so that the work is shared and the experience easier
  • Talk to other vendors to find out about their experiences in order to learn more about the process (pros/cons, which fairs were worthwhile and which weren’t)
  • Fairs get you exposure AND give you the opportunity to get to know more people in your crafty community!   

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

my first craft fair and other news

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That’s right. This weekend I’m participating in my very first craft fair. I’m excited. And nervous. And mostly just excited to see how things going and get my feet wet! And get a sense of how things sell at a fair vs online through Etsy.

In the meantime, I’ve been busy making these:

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And these:

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It feels like there is oh so much left to do between now and Friday afternoon, my head is spinning. Spinning I tells you!

Things done so far:

  • Table cloth
  • co-sewing  56 various table linens with the lovely Fleur de Pixie
  • block printing 7 sets of napkins (4 per set)
  • block printing 7 sets of place mats (4 per set)
  • new ornaments (more to make)
  • printed out more business cards

Things still to do:

  • Prep my craft day kit (scissors, snacks, cash, decor and more)
  • Wash and iron remaining linens, then package them
  • fold mini cranes for ornaments
  • attach business cards to all items
  • mini stickers for prices

Oy vey! Maybe I shouldn’t have written a list—I feel more stressed now!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

and the giveaway winner is…

First of all, I apologize for doing this late (excuses for what they’re worth: sick on the weekend and working WAY too much overtime)

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Congratulations Sunlite!

Please send me your snail mail address and I’ll send you your very own corset origami ornament!

Friday, November 26, 2010

more holiday ornaments…

… for my not so secret project!

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felt hearts with crystal beads

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felted bird

all part of this….

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You can’t tell from the pictures, but there’s only 1 more ornament to go!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

my not so secret ornament project

For those of you who have just joined me, welcome! It’s nice to have you here. (though I do have a slight confession… as my reader numbers increase, I feel a little intimidated at moments when I stare at the blank page before starting to write… but don’t worry, I’m the chatty type, so it’s only for a moment!)

That said, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

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Making ornaments! Of course, I had to start with my standard, crane in the bottle… but you may not be able to tell from the not so fantabulous photo… but this is a mini ornament (about 2 inches max with a 2 cm crane). Ironically, it’s actually easier to make the mini crane ornaments because it’s SOOOO very much easier getting the crane inside the bottle!

Next up, mittens!

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I made this from felt and buttons (obviously) and it is about 3 inches in size.

Hmmm… just noticing that the background table cloth actually looks pretty festive when paired with holiday ornaments… odd! It’s actually a very summery madras style fabric. Who knew?

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Let’s face it, no holiday season would be complete without a Grinch! My husband actually made this one from a round wooden piece that he glued the string then image onto. Finished it up by coating the image with diamond glaze.

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Another ornament made by Paul. Little did he know when he married me that he’d become such an avid crafter himself! Secret fact about this ornament: cardboard backdrop comes from beer case!

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Final ornament, I swear. At least for now.

Why am I making all these ornaments? They’re for a super secret, 12 days of Christmas project—which I guess isn’t so secret anymore is it? Me and my big mouth…. we’ve never been very good at secrets!

The rest of the project to be unveiled at a later date….

Last, but not least, for those of you who made it to the end of the page, past all the photos and text… and weren’t in the know: I’m hosting a giveaway that’s ending soon. Here’s the post with all the giveaway information

block printed table linens—take one

So I’m about to enter into my first crafty partnership. The project? Making table linens with a friend.

We’re going to make napkins, place mats and table runners, using my paisley design block print.

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Normally, I think, you’re supposed to use a glass surface (so that it’s smooth and non-porous) to roll out your ink, but since I don’t have one… I used Bristol board on my table top!

I used speedball water based inks and I’m just waiting for the block print to dry, so that I can heat set it, wash it, and see how it stands up over time!

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So what do you think? Would it make it a nice napkin? Place mat?

Monday, November 22, 2010

guest blogger at Campfire Chic

I while back (way back in Oct), Kam from Campfire Chic encouraged her readers to get out there and start writing guest blog posts. I thought her points made a lot of sense, so I decided to give it a go!

So without further ado: my very first guest blog post, a star origami garland tutorial is up at her site.

To add more excitement to mix... she's hosting a giveaway to go with it! Go check it out!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

dear internet

In case you haven't noticed, we've been on a bit of a break lately. It's not you, it's me, I swear...

I'm busy binge reading but I promise to return soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

being a guest at a wedding, post wedding experience

It’s been busy over here in Marya-land. My cousin-in-law got married this past weekend, so we were fully immersed in wedding festivities.

We made our very own wedding card (yes, we, together, 50/50):

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In an effort to really be present during the event, I left the camera at home (because let’s face it, if you’re busy taking pictures you tend to not be actually participating in the moment as much). But I had to share this one picture of the 2 of us, all dolled up, taken with my iPhone (you can dress me up, take my camera away, but don’t you dare ask me to leave my favourite toy at home!)

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As my very dapper looking husband pointed out, it was very different to be a wedding guest after we’d gone through the process ourselves. Really. Different.

Just before our wedding, I went to other weddings with an eye towards the things they’d done (you know, scoping out what I wanted for our own big day), and this time, well, as I watched the day from the outside in, I found myself nostalgic about our own big day.  I actually found myself a lot more weepy than I’ve ever been before. And filled with love for my husband and the adventures we’ve been through together since then.

We grew so much as a couple through the process and it was a rite of passage that I may not have needed (I don’t think that marriage is required for a commitment), but one that am thankful for nonetheless.  And I’m glad that being a guest at someone else’s wedding helped to remind me of that and to put my own experiences into perspective.

And to my cousins-in-law… best wishes for a life full of joy, love and laughter!

etsy treasury love

Yay, a Montreal based etsy treasury featuring a version of  my double happiness cranes!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

simple origami butterfly video tutorial

I made a video! Woo hoo! Check it out and let me know what you think.

simple origami butterfly for crafting

They’re super simple to make (I use 2x3” paper) and can be used in scrapbooking, card making, and bookmarks:

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It was actually easier than I thought it’d be, but there are some glitches with the video because of editing… but it’s ok… I’m still learning!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

5 confessions of a messy crafter

A recent podcast about being your more authentic self on the web from SisterDiane’s CraftyPod Podcast, got me to thinking about the ways that we represent ourselves online or more specifically the ways that I represent myself online.

Aside from discussing wedding planning woes or political rants, I think that I try  to keep my posts positive on this blog. To be fair, part of the reason for my reticence to go into the more negative sides of my daily life or crafting world has less to do with wanting to maintain a professional persona on the web and more to do with being aware of how certain members of my husband’s family would feel about discussions about the more private elements of my life.

And while I’m sure that the podcast wasn’t advocating for full emotional disclosure on our blogs, I can definitely identify with the issues that arise from the fact that so many blogs can end up making us feel like the blogger in question’s life is productive and perfect in ways that our own will never be.

I read these blogs and I end up wondering, “how the hell do they find the time to do it all?” And I think the answer is, that they don’t show the stress or breakdowns, or inside the craft room or office.

So without further ado, let me draw back the curtain:

1. This is my craft room on an average day (sometimes it looks worse)!

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Yeah, my husband wasn’t joking when he made the comment about the craft bomb, aka Hurricanus Craftis, in his guest post about the perils of a crafty partner. To add to the offense, I haven’t mopped the floor in ages and it only gets swept when my husband ventures bravely forth to do so. (He spoils me… or just can’t stand my slovenly ways—either way, it’s win-win for me)!

2. I have a 10 foot list of things to do, but in reality I may only complete a few of those intended projects. Case in point: wedding scrapbook. 7 pages is enough to get a sense of the day, isn’t it?

3. I can be a real cranky bitch if you interrupt me when I’m in the midst of crafting. Yup. And don’t even try to talk to me when I’m focused on a craft project, I will literally ignore you unless I want to take a break, which of course wreaks havoc on my marriage, my communications with my brother, and my friendship/social life!

4. I never really read instructions all the way through. And when I knit, I never check gauge. Never. Ever. I’m a teacher who never listens completely to instructions and even though I know it makes a difference, just can’t be bothered!

5. I rarely make things for others. That’s right. I’m selfish. But I’m working on it and admitting it is half the battle, isn’t it? Right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

thanksgiving garland of gratitude (to adapt for other holidays)?

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While the Canadian Thanksgiving is long past, I like this idea of creating a festive fall garland of things we’re grateful for, courtesy of a guest post by SimplyModernMom on the blog, MartaWrites (click on last link to go directly to the tutorial).

Thinking of ways I could adapt this to be more appropriate for Yule time. Maybe more red and green? Holly instead of maple?

Monday, November 8, 2010

meditations on fall hibernations

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I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s fall and things are starting to get colder, but I’ve been feeling very introspective lately. Hell, correction. I know it’s because it’s fall. This is a yearly ritual for me. I start getting colder and so I start turning inwards.

I don’t go out as much, I bundle up and read more. I watch more movies. The big difference is that this year, I’m doing a lot more crafting than I used to do while watching said movies. From origami stars (I’ve folded WAY too many of them now) to crocheting

In between all of this hibernation, I’ve taken up meditating. I’ve meant to do this for years, but now I’m actually doing it EVERY morning. Craziness. But here’s the thing… you’d think that all this meditation would make me more Zen, but it’s not. Not at all!

My only hope is that, with more time, my Zen-like self will emerge (and that my cat will learn that I’m not her personal jungle gym while doing said meditation).

It’s funny… in an amongst all this meditation, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m far too scattered and need to narrow down my focus on to one or five goals. I’ve purged my google reader down so that I’m not overwhelmed by a list of things to do and try anymore (you know, so that that craft list isn’t so large that I never actually do anything). I’ve started blogging less, which is ironic because I’m actually full of thoughts right now but lack the desire to carve out the time to finesse my ideas into sentences that make sense!

All my meditations have lead me to the conclusion that I need to stand back and re-assess what my goals are for this space, for crafting, for what I want to do about having an etsy business vs in person craft fairs. Because for all that blogland tends to represent the crafting world in a positive light full of productivity and creation, I just don’t have enough hours in the day to get it all done.

And I’m ok with that. But in the meantime, I need to figure out what projects I do want to complete and which I don’t. Which are investments that reward me and that pay off (literally and spiritually). I’m not a niche artisan, nor do I want to be, but I do recognize that if I want to grow a crafty business, I need to focus my energies a bit more in order to create a business that prospers. But at this point, as I enter hibernation mode, I find myself wondering if this is really what I want anymore. Do I want to have a handmade business or do I just want to craft for the sake of crafting? Am I selling items in order to justify my crafting expenses, or am I doing it so that I can share the ideas? What motivates me when it comes to art?

I’m not sure that I know the answers to these questions right now. I guess it’s back to the meditation mat for me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

some of what i’m working on at the moment

Random updates from my world to yours.

I’m currently in love with this song:

I have too many craft projects on the go and none of them are particularly quick projects!

Here are a few I have on the go:

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Crochet leaves on a chained vine. It’s for a necklace but we’ll see how it turns out. I may use it instead as curtain drawback ties.

More crochet in progress:

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A crochet sweater. I’ve never made a sweater before, so this is a huge endeavour for me! I’m on row 14 of the first 30 rows…. and then the next 100 or something rows! Sad smile

And life wouldn’t be complete without a little origami:

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What do you think of my mini origami wine glass thing-a-ma-jigs? I’m actually making the stars for a top secret project but thought I’d steal one to try the idea out. I think it’s cute and if you make them small enough they’re pretty sturdy (though a bit more challenging to fold). Would rainbow star origami wine thingies work for you?

The rest will remain a secret… hey a girl needs some secrets after all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

share the blog love: my very own blog button!

Kam from Campfire Chic has been on fire lately with all her helpful better blogging tips and I decided to take her good advice and run with it!

So without further ado, I introduce you to my latest blog improvement: my very own blog button:

Lotus Tree Crafts
It took me WAY too long to figure out how to do it, but it shouldn't have because it was a very simple template. (Turns out that when I was copying it from word, blogger was adding extra " " to my html... once I realized that, it worked like a charm)!

So if you want your very own blog button to spread the blog love, visit Kam here and steal her code...

the perils of a crafty partner

When Paul Before Swine was invited to guest blog here at lotus tree crafts, there was only one topic apropos and prevalent for my attention beyond all others: the perils of a crafty partner.

For the record, I fully support The Misses and all her crafty endeavours.  But being in a relationship with a crafter is not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.  In fact, I would argue it requires just as much patience and diligence as the art of crafting itself. 

For those of you already in such committed relationship, you know what I’m talking about.  But for you na├»ve folk considering or on the verge of a relationship with a crafter, heed the following warnings…

1. “I spent more than I should” is a common phrase used by the crafter, who is usually not the financially conscious one of the relationship.  This further compounds the problem, because do you have any idea how much crafting hardware and supplies cost?

I do now.  Because you can’t use the same ink for stamping as you do for block printing, you can’t use the same sewing needles for cotton as you do for denim, and you can’t use the same scissors for paper as you do for fabric.  They’re scissors – they cut – why must they be specialized?

And she says golf is an expensive hobby…

2. The Craft Bomb.  As the crafter’s partner, you are also most likely the neater of the relationship.  Yet despite the presence of a craft room – and I highly suggest you get one – your kitchen table, your coffee table, and yes even your bed can go from prim and proper to dishevelled and run amok in the blink of an eye. 

This is commonly known as The Craft Bomb; or, in scientific terminology, Hurricanus Craftis.  It usually occurs when the crafter begins a new project; its effects linger for the entirety of the project since the crafter is unable to clean up hardware, supplies, or rogue off-cuts at any time during the process.

3.  Honesty versus Sugar-coating is a fine line on which you must balance.  Be it in regards to fabric, quality, hand-made versus home-made, or such and such, the crafter is an insecure species.  And one ill-advised comment and you are likely to get a knitting needle across the head. 

Always begin your opinion with “it’s nice”.  Always.  Even if that painting looks like a bunch of monkeys flung colors onto a canvas.  If you have something negative to say, DON’T.  Instead, make suggestions beginning with “it’s nice, but…” 

For example:
Crafter: “What do you this of the scarf I’m knitting you?”
You: “It’s nice, but maybe pink isn’t the best color for a guy.”
Crafter: “Well, what if I make it in green apple martini?”
You: “It’s nice, but maybe black will go better with my winter coat.”

4. High risk, low reward.  Despite all your patience and all your diligence, despite all the stress and all the sacrifices, despite helping to pick out fabrics and colors, despite being the waiter refilling the glass of vino and the masseuse easing the aching back, and despite all pitfalls mentioned above, who gets ALL the credit and thanks? 

Not you, that’s for sure.  No, you’re the Robin to the Batman, the Watson to the Sherlock, the “oh you too, I guess” to the crafter’s “thank you so much, it’s beautiful!”

In the end, as the crafter’s second fiddle you will get just about as much recognition as that leftover pink craft fallout on the floor (which you will probably end up vacuuming).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

paper flower gift decoration

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I like this idea, courtesy of bystephanielynn.  I’ve seen it before, but I liked the added element of the letter and leaves that make it look that much more polished!

Monday, November 1, 2010

post halloween shenanigans

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Halloween is over. I can stop baking cookies, tarts, and sewing trick or treat bags. Whatever will I do now? No worries, as the malls have already started to remind me… Christmas is coming!

Now I just need to figure out… how crazy am I going to go with the Yule time crafting? And what projects will I create this year? What are you doing? Got any good ideas you care to share? Looking for some inspiration over here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

netflix in canada

Netflix has come to Canada. Ever a movie lover, I was keen to give it a go and promptly signed up for their 1 month trial.

The Canadian version only streams  videos online—there are no mailed videos, which to be honest, I don’t really get personally. I’d never wait for a movie to be mailed to me. I guess I’m just too much of an instant gratification kind of gal.

So far, about 3 weeks into my trial, there are my impressions:

  • It actually sucks up a lot of bandwidth (more so than the illegally streamed videos that can be found online, with lesser video quality).
  • Some of the selection rocks (if you are looking for Indie or old films, it’s great).
  • However, more modern films and TV shows? Forget about it. Honestly. Mad Men is about 2 seasons behind and forget about things like The Vampire Diaries or True Blood or …

My husband is not a fan. I like more obscure movies, so I am. But unless they update their lists fast, I don’t know if there’s actually enough to keep me there long. $7.99 isn’t much, but then again, why pay for the same things I can find for free if what I find for free is more current than what I’m paying for? You know?

I’m all for video quality and am willing to support the service, as long as the service offers enough variety to keep me coming back.

At this rate… well, I’m not sure if I’m going to keep my membership once the trial is up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

paper pumpkins tutorial

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Image source: WhipperBerry

Ever on the lookout for paper art ideas for Halloween! Rolled paper pumpkins! Click on link above to find out how!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

origami ornament giveaway

Christmas is around the corner, believe it or not and I’m starting to think about ways to spread the holiday cheer (yes, already) and have decided to offer an origami ornament giveaway.

Interested? Of course you are! Who isn’t interested in free stuff!?

I’ll give you up to 3 tries (third time is the charm after all) to win your own ornament, here’s how (there’s always a catch!):

Main entry: Visit my etsy shop and then leave a comment letting me know which ornament you like the most (colour, style, etc) . Please make sure if you’re not using blogger, to leave me an email/blog link, etc so that I can track you down afterwards! 

for extra entries: 

Follow the blog publicly via Google Friend connect (if you already do… just drop me a comment and let me know) or Facebook or Twitter

or/and

Tweet or blog about the giveaway (send me a link or include an @lotustreecrafts tag)
Giveaway will end on Nov 27th 2010. I will use random.org to pick the winning number, notify the winner and announce it on my blog. If the winner does not respond within 48hrs, I will choose another winner and will announce it again in my blog.

Good luck to everyone and thanks for playing along!

NOTE : Please remember to include some way of me contacting you if you win.

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