Friday, March 25, 2011

Artsy Crafty Round-Up

Welcome to this week’s State Department Blog Round-up!

Before I distract you too much, make a note to tune in next week with Stephanie – she’s hosting the round-up at Where In the World.

My optional theme this week is arts and crafts, plus whatever else I come across or receive as submissions. Be warned: this post is not happening with any sort of plan or rational order – I say as I pause in the middle to write the intro – welcome to how my brain works! I’m hoping you’ll enjoy the ride anyway.

Just look at this lovely artwork! They are frame-able! The artist is one of the young Nomads in the Nomads by Nature family
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(would you believe they’re chalk? I love these!!)

Donna is sharing some Mother’s Day crafts that her kids brought home. One of the lesser known perks of living overseas is celebrating local AND US holidays. Here in Jordan we get Mother’s Day in March as well as May! A couple of these school crafts are very familiar looking… makes sense, as Brian and Honor are in the same grades/school as Shay and Aiden. Honor was a bit upset when she presented my teacup card and found that the tea had fallen out and gotten lost, but we dug into my stash and replaced it. I had a good laugh at Shay’s note in his card to his mom, hoping their dog won’t ruin it. I had the same thought about our cats regarding Brian’s card to me. I thought Ninja would be unable to resist those bright yellow bits of tissue paper – she chose to chew up the envelope Honor’s report card came home in instead.


Becky at Smallbits has posted photos of custom murals, painted on the walls of her home. Truly, the work of a budding Michealangelo… Michealangelina?

Her little artist is very flexible and does flooring too. Fortunately, Becky has a cure for a day like this!  I can see where her junior artist gets her inspiration though. Read about these most unusual Easter eggs!


Andy at Travel Orders had this observation to share in light of recent world events. So very true, the world is much smaller now, not only due to the job, but the technology. One thing that drove this home to me recently happened during the crisis in Cairo. I was keeping a close eye on our former home anyway, but then I received an urgent message from a civilian friend in Florida asking me if I had Embassy contact numbers because her sister, who was in Cairo to visit with Egyptian friends, was trying to get out and could not contact anyone. The numbers I have were the ones on the website, but of course, her sister couldn’t use the web because all internet was down! Her sister eventually left safely. The interesting thing is that I’ve never actually met this civilian friend, although I adore her absolutely! She was a friend of a friend on Facebook and we went to the same school, at different times. We’ve become ‘virtual friends’ and were able to be ‘together’ over a crisis in another part of the world… so, don’t ever tell me that there’s no value in hanging out on FB, bonding over Farmville!

Check out the redecorating that occurred over at Jill’s place! No my friend, it most definitely does not make your butt look big. On the contrary, there’s something about it, the color? the layout? It makes your eyes sparkle (or is that simply a glint of mischief?)  ;)

Holi painted celebrations Batman! err. I mean… Stephanie. She and her family participated in a rather extreme form of painting in India, even the baby got involved. I’m sure pink hair can be very flattering!

Wander over to Just Us for a glimpse at a wonderfully creative, kid-friendly housing idea! Can we come over and play?

Jess in Manila shares a sweet idea on Lindsey Mae’s Blog – pudding paint! I would have never considered this!! Go see her incredibly adorable artist at work … the smile in that last photo says it all! Jess also posted about a small quake that had them feeling a little wobbly, considering what’s happened in Japan.

Sometimes being crafty is not about decorating your home, it’s about improving the lives of others. Visit Nomads by Nature where, not only should you read her reflections on moving house as a frequent transient with FS, you can also learn about Livro Aberto, which means “Open Book”, an amazing recycling project in Mozambique that recycles packing materials (you know.. the TONS of materials that often go to waste in so many parts of the world?!) into BOOKS! I love recycling, I love books, I love programs that believe that education is the key to the future! From their website:
A quality children’s library equips children with a passport to travel anywhere that their interest and imagination will take them. It opens up to all children a world of diverse people, places and ideas; so that children regardless of ethnic, religious, socio-economic background or other special needs, can travel simply by using their minds. When such a children’s library is paired with a center that excites and fosters children’s language, literacy and learning, the seed of lifelong learning is duly planted.
Meanwhile, back to crafts…

I’ve never made a single sock… yet over at Crafty Foreign Service, we have a super crafter making so many colorful pairs that she can create photographic art with them (and other creations)! I’m jealous, but in a nice way! I love the variegated blue pair in the upper right corner.


Speaking of spectacular socks… Lydia and kids have reached their evac point safely. We’re so sorry you had to leave your hubby and your home! Hopefully this time of unrest and turbulence will calm soon – not only so you may put your family back together, but for the sake of the Bahraini people(!). Knowing what to pack in a situation like this is tough enough when you’re dealing with moving suddenly, or packing for the kids. Departing Manama for Idaho at this time of year can be especially challenging in the wardrobe department! Lydia managed to walk in with no closed shoes for herself. She posted a lovely photo of stripy socks with sandals on Facebook… I almost felt sorry for her, being in such a cold-feeted predicament, but, after seeing a later photo posted of some fabulous looking boots, I’m wondering if she simply wanted a good excuse to go shopping?

Why is crafting important anyway? Isn’t it easier to go out and just buy stuff? Cheaper? Faster? Easier? For your answer, scroll down to the last series of photos on A Fisher Out of Water’s post here and ask yourself how Grandma must feel now, about each and every stitch she invested in this pretty gift… for a very pretty little girl!

Adrian of Life in the Land of the Long White Cloud shares a personal obsession with a phenomenon he’s discovered in New Zealand. (….If I end up counting pelicans this summer, it’s YOUR fault!)


Shannon at Cyberbones has a quilting question. This is a craft I have only just taken my first timid steps into. I gave her my thoughts, but haven’t much experience! Whether you quilt or not, why not drop by and see what’s she’s up to and why. Don’t go over there hungry though, she also describes her homemade lasagna, yum!! (ok, true, it’s in the guise of longing for a bit more convenience here and there, but still, yum!)

Perhaps Shannon and Kelly of Well, That was Different need to connect. Kelly is a long time crafter and word of her quilting skill became known at one of her former posts, Bolivia. Next thing she knows, she helping assist in the creation of a new business! So much of crafting is about sharing, and Kelly really took that to a new level. Her yarn work and examples of dyed recycled yarns are also an inspiration!


 At Rambles and Ruminations, Linsey has written up a very clever and useful guide on How To Play Tourist in Your Own Home Town. This is such a good idea, important too, and she shares a list of great advice! She sets her example lesson in DC, and has a couple of very handsome, assistant tour guides helping her show off some of the sites visited. I love the photo of the boys ‘driving’ the bus!

Kate at Undiplomatic is creating magic in Berlin. She also writes about a couple of subjects that I find very true when it comes to crafting. Some of us just have a need to create. We can be successful in all this ‘other stuff’, but crafting is almost a ‘need’ rather than a want. I get that! She also talks about finding her medium… and find it she did! Felting! Aren’t these lovely? I know another princess who would adore this, but you ought to check out Kate’s beautiful fairy princess model.

Of course the royal baby model has a grin to melt your heart too! Then, you should scroll on down through Kate’s blog and check out some of her other fairy tale projects. Like these pretty elf siblings.

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I’ve had a couple of people suggest I make more of a certain project that they like and go commercial, Like when I made this hat for my daughter:

I don’t think I could take this sort of project commercial, but if I ever find something, I’ll follow Kate’s example and check out Etsy, she has her own market now. Good luck Kate!

I’ve finally posted my own blog post on this subject, btw, I’ve been really trying to get back into crafting. I have been crafting, haphazardly, but I want to make it a bigger part of my life. I want to drag my family into it. I have managed to help some friends with crochet recently, but it was my friends who dragged me by way of local crafting groups … I wasn’t resisting, but I hadn’t actually planned it! I’ve been learning to quilt, playing with computer graphics, gardening, and of course, crocheting.


Whew! I am happy I started this round-up a couple of days ago! I haven’t had decent net, so I haven’t had too much luck roaming around reading blogs on my own, but I have received so many wonderful contributions! If I’ve missed something good that should be included this week, please let me know. I’ll edit this post and add anything that comes in for the rest of today, Friday.

This reminds me… a number of people have had issues with their internet eating their posts as they work on writing up the Round-up. I’d like to share a tool that I use that just happened to come on my newest Dell laptop. I can write and format my blog OFF-LINE. Add photos, insert videos (uploaded to You Tube) etc. If I hadn’t found this tool, Windows Live Writer, I probably would have given up my blog. My net drops out so often… I find that I enjoy being able to start a post, save it as a draft, come back to it when I have time, etc. It works with many popular blog services and maybe you will find it useful.


Heather Dray said...

Awesome Round-Up! Great crafty theme! Thanks!

Linsey said...

Excellent round-up! Yea you!

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

Great job, Connie!

Becky said...

(Fixed my typo.)

What a fun Round Up! You did a great job Connie. I had such a good time reading it. Thanks for including me. Adrian's post made me laugh out loud the first time I read it and again today. (And yes, I was secretly wondering if I'd be counting pelicans for the rest of my life!)

Donna said...

Nice job!

Daniela Swider said...

Great job with the round-up. Loved all the crafty things people are doing around the world.

I too am a Windows Live Writer user and love it!

Stephanie said...

Great job! Hope I can live up to it next week!

Nomads By Nature said...

Well presented, Connie! You had a lot of diverse submissions too. There's no denying how crafty us FS folks are; especially since there is so much proof. Hope you have a relaxing weekend to enjoy. And thanks again for a well done round-up!

Just US said...

Great Round-Up!! I always love reading your entries!

Connie said...

Thank you for the kind comments! Thank you also, for the amazing posts and submissions too :)

Jill said...

It's amazing to see how talented everybody is ... I'm always impressed with everything people make!

Love your use of photos here ... I miss the photos in the Round-Up!!


Adrian Pratt said...

Great job, Connie. Thanks for all the hard work that went into this.