Smash it All:

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Everyone likes the idea of a scrapbook because everyone likes the idea of having memories you can hold and flip through. But the act of scrapbooking is stressful, you’re always worried you’ll ruin it, printing pictures is expensive (not to mention the paper and the stickers). It’s these reasons and more that we normally choose not to make a bound book of our memories.

So, roll in the idea of a smash book. They’re a company that sells all these premade books and paper, they’re pretty pricey too. But the idea of a smash book is one that I like much better than a scrapbook because it’s much less formal. You do more than just pictures and words and stickers. You can put in recites and movie stubs. You use stuff like construction paper and washi tape. I print my pictures on regular office paper – is it high quality? No! But it gets the job done. Making your own smash book is as easy as getting your hands on an empty notebook with an elastic band (the thing will grow, you’ll want the elastic). I buy post it notes out of the target dollar bin and use wrapping paper if I’m using background paper at all. It’s cheaper and there’s a lot less stress about messing up.

So… SMASH IT ALL.IMG_0855 IMG_0856 IMG_0857

The Book Lovers Craft: Text Ornaments

IMG_9758 IMG_9759A super easy craft for your tree or any of your book loving/writer friends. I’ve made a few ornaments in my life, but I think these are my favorite over the painted ones. And they make my heart happy because they look like they’re made of book pages, beside they aren’t. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A few old magazines
  • any plain ornaments (glass or plastic)
  • mod-podge (I used glossy, but matte would work too if you want that look)
  • scissors/paint brush

First you cut up the text of the magazine in tiny little squares (or triangles or what not). You want them big enough to show the text, but small enough that they will wrap around the ornament without having too many creases. Than you paint both sides of the paper with mod-podge and then stick them to the globe. You’re going to get your fingers sticky, don’t worry too much about it. Leave them out to dry without much touching them. I set them on an old tape ring, but you could cut up a toilet paper roll to set them on.

Hang, give, and enjoy!



Wrapping Christmas Trees: Making the Wreath.

My mom has always made our wreaths, and I’ve never put much thought into it., but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it’s unusual to do so – people prefer the kind they can pull out year after year without fail and quickly hang than move on. It’s sad, we’ve lost so much of our ability to craft with our hands.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to take the hassle out of everything, but at what point did things like this become a hassle?

When my mom stated that they were making them this year I was quick to say count me in.

cfWe had so much live greenery, because we just cut down the evergreen that was completely taking over our driveway. So mixing that with some pine cones, wire, clippers, a frame and pins, we were on our way! gh iNothing says Christmas quite like half the family getting together to make things by hand while Chirstmas carols sing in the background. It was honestly the farthest thing from a hassle. It was just a fun way to rewind on a Saturday with the folks and the finished product was beautiful. My mom let me hang it on the backdoor. Untitled

The Follow Through.


© Anna Katherine Oates, 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

There are times when you pick things up and don’t like them, and then there are time when you pick things up and don’t give yourself time to like them. I’m serious, there is a big difference. I could go with the easy example of reading for myself. I hated reading as a child, loathed it, even. But I was forced to with school, and well, there it was, I found the right book and it took off from there.

I’m not saying that there is going to be a “right book” for everything, that if you try something enough times that you’ll like, but I’m saying there is something to learning or trying something new, and that’s the follow through, even if it’s just a month of dabbling in it. Promise yourself you’ll finish one or two projects. That you’ll not judge yourself based on skill you haven’t given yourself time to learn. I used to say all the time (and still do for that matter) “I’m so terrible at painting and drawing” and my mom would always reply with “to learn to draw you have to draw.”

Life changing advice I received as a seven year old.

Another thing we do? Well, we don’t try things fully, we don’t go into the depths of it. Part of this is our culture, a kid tosses a ball a lot when he’s in grade school and all of a sudden all the parents are saying he’s going to be a college athlete. Oh okay. But we do the same thing in the reverse. I tried realistic drawing a lot when I decided I wanted to draw, and guys, I sucked, and it wasn’t because I was bad at art, and that’s what we’re taught as kids. If you don’t like crayons and markers in pre-k you don’t like art, you’re not creative in the visual way. Not the case. Turns out my visual super powers don’t come from physical on the paper art, but things like photo shop. I would have never found that if I had just said “why would I take that class? I suck at art.”

  • Give yourself time to fall in love with a hobby
  • Give yourself room to fall in love with a hobby

I don’t know if you could say it any easier. Hobbies don’t just grow out of thin air, people who are good at things don’t just happen to fall upon it. Sure, talent counts for a lot, but it can also be built, and more than often, people never make it that far.