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Creative Casey's Blog

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fun Things I've Done This Winter

1. My friend and her "little sister" invited me ice skating outdoors at Manhattan Square Park. It's the first time I've been there in the 12 years I've lived in Rochester. Of course it was a freezing cold day. Thank goodness I remembered to bring hand warmers! We had a blast and later watched a movie and had hot cocoa to warm up.
That's me trying to skate with one foot in the air. I still "got it"!

2. Created By Us pottery with my mom. Totally fun. Next I want to check out their wine and pottery event that they host once a month.

3.  Saturday art is always fun. A great opportunity to hang out with friends, catch up and learn a new art technique.

4. Stampin' Up card making party with my friends. Lots of food (and yes I actually cooked and made an awesome creamy tomato basil tortellini soup) and fun creating on a cold winter night. We actually had a large snow storm the previous night and into that morning. For the first time in almost 2 years I got out the snowblower that was given to me when my sister moved south. I've been afraid to use it as I like all of my limbs.  Neighbor Bob came over and made me give it a whirl. Ironically I loved it and I have the biggest and strongest snow blower on the block!

Arrr...the power. Loved it! Even snow blowed Neighbor Bob's driveway!

5. Hosted book club at my house. 14 people and an entire table and counter full of potluck food and drinks. This was a lot of fun!
New books read this winter:
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick    *****
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bojahlian      ****
Currently reading; The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler    TBD

2013 ROCO 6x6 Phenomenon

Hooray it's that time of year again! The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery is gathering submissions for their 6th annual 6x6 fundraising exhibit.  I've participated every year by donating artwork and have been a sold out artist. I've also purchased a piece of artwork each year so I have a little collection going in my art studio/office. Hmmmm I wonder what piece I will add to my collection for this year?

Anyway, I enjoyed working with actual 6x6 canvases last year and decided to purchase another set this year. With a 50% off coupon at Michaels I was able to get a pack of 4 for $7.  I've had them for about a month but haven't had any time to work on them. Something about working full time and taking part-time grad classes. Yuck!!!  I finally made it to Sat. art and lugged all of my materials, stamps, and paints with me.  I'm glad I did as I had fun working with layers, textures and prints.  Originally I wanted to use charcoal and put images and maybe quotes on the canvases after layering the background but ultimately I decided to leave them as they are.  I thought they came out looking pretty cool and are versatile this way. I'll keep you posted on if I'm a sold out artist this year and which piece I end up purchasing for my collection. 

If you'd like to participate in the exhibit, donate a piece or purchase a piece you can check out this fundraiser at; Don't forget you can always share your creations with me here on my blog! Go create today!

DIY Hanging Lamp

If you saw one of my previous blogs I explained and showed where I got the idea to make a scrap fabric lampshade for my spare room. I also said my next goal was to make a lampshade to hang in our comfy group room at work. Well...I actually followed through and did make it.  It only took about a half out last night to make.

I purchased the square frame from Savers for $3.50 and the light kit from Lowe's for $9.95.  Using the same concept as the previous most I tore the lampshade apart down to the metal and then ripped scraps of fabric knotting them around the lampshade frame.  The only difference this time is that I left more space in between the fabric strips and didn't due the upper or lower edging.

Luckily I was having neighbor Bob over for dinner last night so I asked for his help in putting together the light bulb kit. This was the difficult part because you had to snip and screw wires together.  Overall the project took about 45min. total.  I hung it up in the group room today and it looks awesome. I've received a ton of compliments on it already.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pottery Fun!

I purchased a Groupon to Created By Us pottery for my mom for Christmas. She fought a wicked snow storm last weekend to come up and visit with me.  We went to create our pottery pieces and as part of her birthday present I told her she could pick whatever piece of pottery she wanted. We decided to paint each others pieces. We both picked out the colors we would like but the other person chose the design and painted it.

We had a ton of fun creating. I just went and picked up our pieces after they were fired. Unfortunately for my mom she has to wait another month before I see her again. My mom created a business card holder for me and I created a fancy candy/party dish for her.

Before final fire.

Before final fire.

All completed.

Special purple glaze. My mom's favorite color.

Finished piece.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Creative Light Weaving

I've had the pleasure of viewing for a couple of years a beautiful weaving that is hung in the art therapy clinic at the college I work at. If I remember I will take a pic and share.  I've been unhappy with the lighting in my office all academic year and only recently after seeing the wall weaving again did light bulbs go off in my head.  I decided to try making my own weaving but more thin and transparent. The thought process was that I could make two and drape them under the ugly fluorescent lights in my office which would hopefully block some of the strong fluorescent lights.  While I have a large window and three lamps if you live in Rochester, NY you will realize why this is sometimes not enough light during the 5-6 months out of the year that it is dark and gloomy.

I basically had no idea what I was doing and other than glancing at the wall hanging I didn't do any research.  What I did was find some great broken sticks in my backyard, bring them inside, put them on the floor and found some twine. I proceeded to tie the twine from one stick to the other at the distance apart I desired and about 1" from each other down the sticks.

Then I took scrap yarn (the funkier the better), cut up wool sweaters, scrap fabric, and felting wool and weaved them in from one side of the twine to the other. *Hint start first row weaving under, next row weaving from the top, next row under, then top, etc... the entire time until you finish the length of your weaving. I did not do this for the first 25% of the weaving and wished I had. It stays together better and looks more dynamic.  When finished with the weaving portion I then tied glass beads throughout and small little sticks I took from an old wreath. Total time took about 3 to 3.5 hours. I thought it looked good but wasn't sure if it would work.

In the end I had facilities help to replace the fluorescent bulbs with a warmer bulb and then put the weaving up. I decided to only to one weaving as two might be to much. Right now I have clients and co-workers who immediately notice it, love it and walk closer to observe and look at it. I think the color combo I used looks warm, inviting and wonderful. I'm pretty pleased with the results and it fits in with my eclectic artsy style office.  Ironically for once this was something I didn't find on Pinterest but everyone keeps asking me if I got the idea from Pinterest!

Here's pics of the wall hanging that inspired this piece:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mary Lou Panter Scholarship: 2nd try

I'm excited that I have again this year attempted to win the Creativity and Madness  (, Mary Lou Panter Scholarship.  This is my second go around in submitting an essay.  I got a bit creative with my essay this year, but I can't let my secret out of the bag yet because I don't want anyone to steal my idea! I have good vibes about my submission.

They have to be sent in via email which always makes me anxious because I worry that it will get lost in cyber world.  However; I sent it this morning at around 11:30am and have already received a confirmation reply. Hooray!

Good Morning Casey

Thank you for your essay

We will announce the winner on line on April 14th

Good Luck


Barry M. Panter, MD
The American Institute of Medical Education

So pleaseeeeeee keep your fingers crossed for me!!!! I'd really love to win a trip to this conference. It would be such an honor and a wonderful life adventure.

Update: Well, I didn't win yet again! But this time about 2 weeks before the winner was announced I received this book in the mail as a thank you for entering the scholoarship. I was excited and still think this is a great consolation prize.

Monday, February 4, 2013

DIY Shaggy Lamp Shade

I've been searching for a lamp replacement for a few months since my last cool lamp fell and broke. I did try multiple repair efforts but none of my efforts worked.  Once again I didn't quite realize how expensive lamps are. I found a neat one at Target after Christmas (my sister has it), the sign underneath it said $15 so I decided to get it only to find out at the register it was $25! I said no thank you.

I came across this Pinterest picture of a DIY lamp shade and thought "yes I must make this".  I set out to find myself a lamp base and the correct lamp shade and it took a bit.  Eventually after going to two Savers Stores, I hit the jack pot and found everything on my list at one of them. I purchased this new (but ugly colored) lamp base and a beat up lamp shade for about $6 with a 20% card.  

I got home and ripped the lamp shade apart, used a file to sand down the glue and extra fabric adhered to it, spray painted it black, ripped lots of extra fabric into strips and went to town tying a ton of knots while watching the latest episode of Vampire Diaries. :)  The fabric ripping and tying took about 1.25 hours. I then moved down to the basement, laid down some plastic, decided on using black spray paint (was going to try for a green/blue but thought it would be to much in the room it was intended to go in), and proceeded to spray on a couple coats of paint.

The next day I put it all together and I loved the results. I may want to someday paint the lamp base a more daring color like the green/blue I originally thought of but it's good for the space it's in now and looks pretty neat lit up at night.

My next project using this idea comes from the original link;  I want to get a shade like this and tie fabric further apart and create a hanging lamp for our group therapy room at work. We are in need of additional lighting for the room and I love the effect this lamp shade has on the ceiling with the main light off.

Below are some pics of the steps I took. Sorry for the poor quality photos. I went with the quick and easy "craptastic" phone of mine instead of my camera.

*Not to fond of the energy saving light. May have to switch it out.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Life is a Balancing Act

I created this simple image today as I facilitated an art therapy group. The directive was to share something about yourself. I created these birds on a line and wrote "Life is about finding balance and trying to maintain it." I'm sure I've seen similar quotes before but this was my own version.  I've also created similar birds in other projects before.  I shared with the group that although I put 5 birds on the line (which isn't an even number) that it still means you can find balance. That often times life isn't perfectly balanced and we have some sort of stressors but that we can work on balancing life the best we can at any given moment. It's hard to tell but the white edges of the paper were colored black with a permanent marker.

Feel free to share your favorite quotes here...

Jolly Rancher Lolly Pops

I found this recipe if you want to call it that, on Pinterest the other day. I thought "hey I can totally make these." Of course you'd have to know the following about me; I don't cook or really bake. I've been working on it slightly but I'm way away from being a chef. Cooking has never really interested me but I do enjoy others great cooking.

Anyway here's the link from Pinterest;  Now if you try to follow the link somewhere you get nowhere.  You have to just use the visuals provided.  I'm having a girls night party at my house next weekend and thought I'd make some of these lolly pops up as a thank you. I also thought sending one to my nephew and giving one to my co-workers 4 y/o would be pretty cool.

So this Saturday morning I set out on an adventure to make these easy peasy lolly pops. Here's what I learned.
-Parchment paper goes in the oven not wax paper.  (Thankfully co-workers corrected me prior to putting wax paper in the oven. )
- The recipe said put the oven on 200 and bake 5 min.  It took 10min. at 200 degrees.
-Then I stuck the lolly pop stick on them squishing it down but it did not cover the stick like the picture shows. I ended up taking my "clean" fingers and having to pull the melted candy over the stick.

Overall a bag of jolly ranchers made 23 lolly pops. Besides the jolly ranchers I purchased lolly pop sticks and plastic bags from Micheal's Craft Store, both with 50% of coupons.  I probably spent $6 dollars on this project total. Was kind of fun and was neat to try once. I have a lot of left over sticks and bags so we'll see what I try next. I think this would have more fun to create with kids.