Potato Print Art DIY.

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I found this Rebecca Atwood DIY on Emily Henderson's site over a year ago. I think Rebecca's work is phenomenal and was blown away with how Emily styled it just so magnificently. The more I thought about it, the more enamored I became with the way that you could tailor this kind of art to however you like - it's really so simple! Potato printing has been around a long time, and there are infinite ways that you can express yourself using potatoes as your stamp!

Supplies Needed:
- a canvas (I grabbed a massive one on sale at Michael's!)
- 3 kinds of paint (or more!) I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White and Old Ochre, along with a simple black acrylic paint simply for mixing and adding depth
* I used the chalk paint because I wanted the crackled texture/effect when the paint dried, but if you are look for more of a smooth texture, definitely stick to an acrylic ;)
- 1 potato (I used a sweet potato!), to be used as the stamp, cut into half-moon shapes (I made about 6-7 stamps)
- a few paper plates for mixing the paint

Method:
It's really a matter of touch with a piece like this. I used the 3 paint colors and mixed them in 6-7 different ways, then I assigned a different potato "half moon" stamp to each of the paints I mixed up. I am kind of a touch artist, so I don't do a lot of measuring when it comes to something like this, I just feel out the dimensions (this drives my husband crazy but its MY ART). So I eyed the width and length of the canvas and knew that I wanted to keep a thick white border around the paint, and started pressing the stamps (dipped in the paint) a few inches in. I just began pressing the stamps into the canvas, mixing up with paint and shapes with every few presses. I didn't dip each stamp into the paint every single time, because I wanted the effect of some being more bold and some being lighter for contrast.

I continued this process, standing up a lot to make sure my lines were straight (I actually like the bit of wiggle!), and making sure I was mixing up the shape of the half moons consistently.

I also decided to add a pure white "border" on the bottom of the piece, gently working my way up until fading it out at about half way. It's extremely subtle and hard to see in the photos, but I love the effect and it made it feel like "mine" this way.

The Result.
This piece was extremely therapeutic for me to make. It was something that was in my heart for a long time, so actually doing it was kind of emotional. Don't laugh, but I actually cried through some of the process. I love how art (and using your hands to create it) can be so helpful in processing what is happening in your life. I personally have had a lot of up and down emotional experiences this summer, and this painting really helped me with some of my coping. And I didn't expect that! So this piece is extra special to me.

I planned for the piece to look more black and white, but the black ended up adding a blueish effect to the white paint. The ochre shade added a sandy tone, and along with the slight movement in the piece, the end work reminds me of the ocean. I love it! And this ended up looking more like the example then I expected! But I absolutely love the result and I am super proud with the uniqueness of this. I've been inspired to do it again, perhaps on a smaller canvas with a yellow/orange vertical style. And maybe using a different medium for the stamp!


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I'd love to hear your thoughts on this DIY! Is this something you would be up for trying? What kind of DIYs are you interested in learning more about? Let me know in the comments below!

DIY Essential Oil Bug Spray.

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It's that time of year - when the mosquitoes love to FEAST in the sunset glow. I love spending time outside with my boys, but we do seem to have some enemies out there with us, especially right around twilight. My poor little Daxton boy seems to be anointed with my blood type and we get especially bitten up in the summer months if we forget to apply bug spray. I really hate conventional bug spray because most are loaded with toxic ingredients and with our skin being like a sponge, I just can't in good conscience put that garbage on my children. But I have a great, easy bug spray DIY that I've been using since last summer which is completely natural, non-toxic and safe for kiddos - and it works! My boys have gotten used to having this sprayed on as soon as we get outside, and I do re-spray if we've been outside for more than an hour. This DIY is based on DoTERRA's pest-repellent oil blend, TerraShield which is so awesome and smells much, much better than regular bug spray. So it's a win-win! So without further adieu, enjoy this essential oil DIY!

Supplies:
- 2 oz. glass bottle (I got my ombre bottle here)
- Quinn's Witch Hazel
- DoTERRA TerraShield oil blend

Method:
1. Measure out 1/3 cup of water and pour it into the 2 oz. bottle.
2. Add 25 drops of Terrashield essential oil to the glass bottle.
3. Top off the bottle with Quinn's unscented witch hazel (this should be between 1/3 - 1/2 cup).
4. Shake bottle to distribute and voila, you're ready to say, "Shoo mosquitoes!"

Notes:
-  I prefer to use unscented Witch Hazel so that the only scent is from the oil itself.
- When making any kind of blend with essential oils, you want to make sure that you are using a glass contained. Plastic or other material can "pull" on the essential oils and release toxins, etc. into the mixture, whereas glass, aluminum and stainless steel don't have that effect with the EO's.
- I like to make several of these bug spray mixtures and keep on in the car, one in the stroller, one at home, and anywhere else you would find yourself reaching for bug spray! Like the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared!

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Interested in learning more about DoTERRA essential oils? I would love to share more about why I love them, how I use them, and how you can get some in your home, too! You can shop for them here, or leave a comment and I can invite you to one of my online classes where you can learn more! xx

Who Wants to Join a Book Club?!

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I announced this on Friday to everyone who tuned into this Facebook Live, and now I want to extend the fun to you - I'm starting a book club and you're all invited!

How Will It Work?

This will be an online book club where we read one book each month, then come together to discuss the book in a Facebook Live-esque forum, that way we can chat and interact. Make sure you like my Facebook page so that you can get the updates! At the end of each month, I will announce 2 new options for the following month and you all can vote on which one you would like to read! Over the weekend, many of you voted between The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and The Miracle Morning won!
 

What Is The First Book?

I'm super excited about The Miracle Morning because a dear friend of mine recommended it when I shared with her how I've been struggling to get all my work done AND feel like a present and engaged mom during the day. It seems like this book will give some really helpful strategies and tools for creating a peaceful and productive early morning. I know a few people mentioned in the comments that their kids wake up super early, so they don't know how to possibly cram more into their morning - I get it! I'm very interested to see how this book can lend some insights on that. Make sure to snag your copy here or find it at your local library!

I shared more in my FB Live (you can watch it below) about why I want to start this book club. I've been toying around with the idea for a few months and I was going to wait until the Fall when people were getting back into a normal routine, but I just decided to go for it in July!

Why A Book Club?

To be totally honest, I've been feeling like I've been kind of living on the surface for a while now. Being a stay at home mom, I do a lot of cooking, cleaning, wiping, washing - all "doing" activities that keep me busy and on my feet. Like, I wear tennis shoes everyday to keep up. But I've been feeling like the person underneath all the doing is feeling neglected - the person with a mind and a heart and opinions and feelings. I realized I haven't been doing a great job exercising my mind and taking time to really think. I want to be able to get bored and let my mind wander, but I'm just not in a boring season of life. Since I've always loved reading I've MISSED it, and probably like many of you, I haven't made time for this thing that I love. I thought that maybe a few of you might feel the same way so why don't we embark on a group project together? Book club! Plus, every time someone says, "We talked about this in my book club", I've always been jealous. Ha. Time to start one.


Final Thoughts.

There's no commitment! Join in and read the book one month and take a month off if you like! I think I will do some giveaways for those who participate, because why not? I love giving presents. Also, I'm re-posting the video in case you missed it and you want to catch up on the announcement! This is the format where our book discussions will take place, so this should give you a feel for it!


Tell me! Do you have book recommendations for what we should read in the coming months? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Lessons From My Father.

I put together a little series over on my Instagram Stories about advice and stories from fathers, answered by women who I love and admire. Check out the series here!

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1. Traits I've Inherited From My Dad:

My Dad and I both relish the opportunity to be goofy and make people laugh. And we love to laugh at each other.

I love to write music and sing, so growing up my Dad and I spent a lot of time doing that together. He plays guitar and sings and led all the music at our church growing up, so he gave me lots of opportunity to join him and explore music with him.

Also, perhaps most importantly(?) - LORD OF THE RINGS. We live and breathe and rhetoric of Tolkien's brilliance and it's fine guys. We're fine. We're not obsessed or anything weird like that.

2. Best Advice I Learned From My Dad:

My Dad has always pointed me to the bible, no matter what situation I am going through. He has encouraged me for my entire life to continue reading the bible and find wisdom its teachings. After his years of exploring and studying so many religions, and after having his own spiritual experience which brought him to Jesus, he always points to the bible - "It's all in there, everything you need."

He also taught me to celebrate big - "Go big or go home!". It's probably the Italian in him, but he loves to eat, drink and be merry and he encouraged us to all live large and enjoy the moments life gives. My Dad knows how to have a good time! Which I just really appreciate.


2. What Dad Taught Me About Marriage:


Be quick to apologize. My Dad told me (and showed me), that if he was wrong about something, he would quickly admit he was wrong and immediately apologize. This is hard for me to do, especially in the heat of a disagreement, but when I am feeling really stubborn about something, I remember that my Dad would apologize if it were him. And that little bit of knowledge helps (sometimes).


3. What Dad Taught Me About Parenting:


Be a firm disciplinarian. My Dad was hard on me when it came to discipline, and he needed to be! I wasn't the best listener! He used to take everything away from me when I got in trouble - not just the usual "You're grounded, no TV!", but everything. No phone calls, no books, no dream journal - I had to sit in my room and stare at the wall. It's kind of funny to think about now but at the time I hateddd being grounded.

But now that I'm a parent, I get why it mattered. And I hold a firm line with my boys and believe strongly that if you discipline your children, you will enjoy being with them. If you don't discipline them, then they will be maniacs and you will never want to take them anywhere.

Also, he taught me that bribing works.


5. How Dad Gave Me A Head Start:

When I was a sophomore in high school I was dealing with frustration and unhappiness at my school. Even though I was a super involved student (cheerleading, chorus, theater), I was feeling overwhelmed in my classes (especially in math) and felt like I was falling through the cracks of my mega-big highschool. My parents didn't know what to do or what I needed, but they knew something had to change.

My Dad (and my Mom!) were always so for me and so they did all the research and ended up getting me into a smaller private school, where I attended my last two years of high school. I needed that change, and the school I graduated from was the perfect place for me. I was so happy there, I felt valued and had so much support and resources (especially with the math and science classes that were challenging for me). My parents didn't just make me "suck it up and wait it out" at my other school - my Dad did everything in his power to help me along and I know it was an expensive choice to make. I am so grateful to him because I can't imagine my life without that wonderful school and the experience I had there.


6. Dad One-Liners That Still Pop Up In My Head:

Oh, there are so many! Probably the one that frequently pops up in my head is, "Think before you speak, Kristen!" Growing up I never stopped talking, and I would say the most ridiculous things a lot - I was basically born with no filter. My parents would constantly be telling me to think about what I was going to say before I said it - not everything that popped into my head needed to be vocalized. And gosh, they were right. This is one that I still hear in my mind all.the.time. And I'm super grateful for it. And now I find myself telling Everett the same exact thing!


7. How Dad Showed Me Value Growing Up:

My Dad worked really hard to provide for me and my sisters. I was a really active kid and involved in every activity under the sun - I went to cheerleading camp every summer, was tutored in math during the school year, was constantly auditioning and performing in plays and chorus and had private gymnastics lessons for years to keep up my skills for the teams I competed with. Looking back now, I can't imagine how incredibly expensive I was! And my Dad had his own business so it was all on him to provide for us. He worked very very hard and never once complained that having three daughters was legit pricey! All that being said, he supported all of my interests and made me feel like all of those things were important and mattered. 


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Happy Fathers Day to you, Dad! I love you with all my heart and I am so grateful for all the life lessons you passed along to me. You're a good man and I have utmost respect for you AND - I like hanging out with you. xx