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creativity

creativity Kids

it’s the end of the year

Time goes by faster the older you get, but seriously I don’t know where 2015 has gone. It seems to have gone by faster than previous years. Perhaps it was the kids starting a new school and the busyness that school brings. Perhaps it was all the gymnastics competitions and karate championships we watched. (Side note: Joshua just advanced to purple belt, and Emma Grace won gold at her recent Rock and Roll competition! Scroll the photos at the bottom of this article, and you’ll see her in action.) Whatever made it go fast, I’m choosing to savor this season that is upon us so as not to rush into 2016.

We're busy making end of the year teacher gifts to say thank you. She's busy sewing while I'm baking. #teamwork

Monday the kids and I flew to the states and met Jeremy in Dallas. I was happy that we breezed through immigration in S. Africa with all the new laws regarding traveling with children. Perhaps that’s a post for another time. We endured four flights, but the kids were troopers, the benefits of traveling with older children.

thank you, teachers

The days leading up to our departure were full, making the days pass faster until we saw our much loved husband and father. The kids wrapped up their school year with end of school parties and awards ceremonies. I am so proud of them for doing so well as third culture kids in a new school. They made friends quickly and did well in their academic studies. My biggest shock was Emma Grace receiving academic excellence in Afrikaans. This girl had to take two languages. Apparently she has a knack for them. She spoke Afrikaans to me the whole way to the states. When I try to answer back, she just laughs at my accent. I’m not so good at languages.

cookies

We also made sure to thank our teachers for such a job well done. My kid’s education is our responsibility, as parents, and I’m so thankful for the teachers that put in so much time investing in our children. Combined, the kids had about 14 teachers we needed to thank, so I had to think of something that was lovely but could be mass produced. We settled on some homemade goodness with cloth gift bags stuffed with chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, and jam thumbprint cookies. A little beaded keychain was attached for that extra flair. Emma Grace was a master seamstress as she sewed all the bags…just a simple dishtowel cut in half and then sewed up the bottom and side with a ribbon sandwiched in between. We printed thank you cards from here and here, and the kids and I wrote our own words on the back. Emma Grace also made lovely name tags for each gift. We packaged it all together with recipe cards for each cookie. Thank you, teachers! We appreciate you!

We are now in full holiday mode, decorating the tree, making our annual gingerbread house, and squeezing in a game or two here and there. I hope you are having a lovely holiday season, savoring the goodness all around you!

creativity House Project

outdoor pallet coffee table {diy}

outdoor pallet table

Some of you got wind of my pallet project(s) on Instagram. It’s slow going, but I’ve had the table done for a couple of weeks now, and I think it’s high time I showed you! It’s super simple, y’all, and as you’ve probably gotten used to, I have no photos of the process. I really tried. I even brought my camera out, but I get so carried away that I forget to pause and shoot.

This, however, is the most simplest of things to make. Really, it is. I’ve never made furniture except the occasional IKEA piece. I do believe if I can do it, anyone can.

Supply List

  • 2 pallets – any size, it just depends how big you want your table to be
  • hammer or crowbar
  • drill & screws
  • 4 wheels
  • primer & paint OR varnish to seal the wood
  • paint brushes

Instructions

1. Using a crowbar or hammer, start by taking all the top pieces of wood planks off of the piece that is going to serve as the top piece to your table. You can leave the two ends. You will also need to take off about every other plank from your second pallet. This step is totally optional, but I didn’t want such huge gaps in between my planks of wood. This is, by far, the hardest, most time consuming step.

2. After you get your wood planks off, arrange them on the top piece, trying to make it as flush as possible. Mine still had a little gap after I added about four planks of wood.

3. After you get the planks arranged, drill them into the pallet. You’ve already made your top piece!

4. On the bottom side of your second piece, screw a wheel into each corner. This is also optional, but I wanted wheels to make it easier to move around and sweep the verandah.

wheel

5. After your wheels are screwed in, flip that second piece over and put the first piece on top of it. My pallets were so heavy that there was no need to screw the pieces together. VoilĂ ! Your table is finished!

6. Finish your table by sealing the wood. I chose to prime mine with wood primer and then paint it white, because that’s what I had on hand.

outdoor pallet table

I’m making plans to start making the outdoor couch and chairs, so stay tuned for more amateur furniture making coming up soon!

Africa Community creativity Fun

colour party

color throw

color!

all coloured up

Several weeks ago, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a colour party where we celebrate creativity, diversity, and the many different cultures that make up Ten Thousand Homes?” From there, we started planning a party full of colour with creative outlets galore.

happy hello!

so colourful nice hair

When I showed up to the party, casually late as always, I saw a sea of white. Instructions were followed to a tee. “Come as a blank canvas.” Between the all-white and the coloured kool-aid that our US friends brought over, well, let’s just say that I’m glad no one who didn’t know us showed up. {Kooky…}

The biggest prep for this party was making the colour powder. It wasn’t hard. I just only had so many trays for drying the stuff. I followed this recipe. Super easy! Oh, and it actually did wash out of clothes rather easy. Our other stations included…

twister and prize board

playing twister

  • A Twister game station with a prize punch board for the winners.
  • A painting station with a very cool art piece to paint on created by one of our staff.
painting station

painting

  • A writing station with a real typewriter. People always seem to find those old typewriters super fun.
  • A photo booth station with those cheap, plastic tablecloths as the backdrop.
  • A music station complete with a keyboard, drum, and guitar.
  • A colouring station with good, old fashioned colouring books.
  • A luminary station for creating some outdoor ambiance.

    writing

    Of course, there was dancing, games that involved silliness and shaving cream, glow sticks to adorn ourselves, and FOOD! Our friends from the US prepared a fantastic feast of kebabs, both fruit, veggie, and meat, rice, and banana pudding!

    shaving cream game

    We kept decor simple and colourful. Balloons, streamers, buntings, cupcake paper garlands, and polka dot garlands.

    love him

    me and my boy

    So fun. So easy. Lots of laughs. Lots of smiles. That’s what it’s all about!

    creativity

    tree branch shoe rack

    close up shoe rack

    I am in a de-clutter, organize my house mode. This is where my family needs to watch out, because chances are, I will 1. throw something away, 2. move something resulting in someone asking me where said thing is, and 3. make to-do lists, lots and lots of to-do lists. I currently have a list for each room in my house and what needs to be done in it. I get like this every once in a while, and my family exercises their patience while I get it out of my system.

    This past weekend Joshua and I embarked on a little project. He desperately needed a shoe rack for all his shoes. We got some ideas from Pinterest, but I told him it had to be made entirely out of stuff we had at home, no rands could be spent. I like the challenge of that, and honestly, find such satisfaction in it.

    shoe rack

    I LOVE the results of our shoe rack! We found two planks of wood that were the perfect size and cut ten tree branches to hang the shoes on. We let those dry out for a few days. We mixed a 1/4 cup water and 1 cup of white paint in a yogurt container and shook each tree branch in it to cover it in white paint.

    I didn’t take photos of the process. Ain’t nobody got time for that when you’re on a creative mission, guys. Sorry. I just get so involved that I don’t think about documenting it!

    rack of shoes

    After the paint dried, we drilled each tree branch to the wood plank. We drilled holes in the branches before the paint wash, but they weren’t big enough, so I had to drill a bigger hole resulting in paint coming off a bit. I’m ok with that. I call imperfections like that character spots. It works and Joshua was totally fine with that.

    We had a bit of a challenge screwing these into the wall. I hate concrete walls for this very reason. They are hard to drill into! Jeremy has been out of town (he gets back today!) so I was determined that we could do this. At one point, Joshua said, “Shouldn’t we just wait until Dad gets back?” The lion came out and I said, “No, we can do this!” And we did. And it looks great. Sometimes I stand at the bottom of the stairs and just look up at it. Not really. Well, maybe.

    Inspiration for this project (including step-by-steps that I didn’t provide) found here.

    Community creativity Fun

    a valentine’s party

    Valentine's Table

    Last week my special events team and I put on a Valentine’s Party. It was meant to be simple, but I’ve realized that I have a hard time doing simple. I get ideas, and ideas, and more ideas, and of course, once I see something I like, I just can’t not do it. Anyone else like that?

    BoxOfChocolates

    The tables really were simple but quite beautiful, I do believe. White tablecloths, white taper candles, and bougainvillea adorned each table. The place settings were my favorite. What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Love? Flowers? Chocolate? All of the above, right? Each plate was adorned with a box of homemade chocolates for everyone to take home! I used the Mixed Nut Dark Chocolate Truffle recipe from Sweet Confections. Ah-mazing. These are gluten free and sugar free, so they fit my diet! It’s hot here in SA right now, so it was quite the challenge to keep these babies from melting. In this case, it was totally appropriate to consume dessert before dinner!

    FORTUNE

    We also topped each box of chocolate with a paper love fortune cookie. I love giving away things at these parties, and these were going to serve as tickets to a very special drawing! I love having surprises up my sleeve.

    We used this paper folding tutorial to make the fortunes. I typed out 50 love quotes to insert inside. Throughout the night, we drew fortunes and whoever had that one in their cookie won an original piece of art {thanks to the talented Phoebe} that was centered around the theme of love!

    Art

    I didn’t get photos of the food, but the menu consisted of a garden salad, French bread, grilled chicken, and rosemary oven roasted potatoes which we served family style. We skewered strawberries, brownies, and marshmallows for dessert and served it with a side of ice cream.

    LipSinging

    I do believe our 48 guests had a good time which is always the goal. In our line of work, you have to have moments like these that are light where you can kick back, relax your shoulders a bit, and just laugh. There was even some impromptu lip singing that broke out and of course, a dance party, because every party needs to end with dancing, right?