And Away We Go! ~ by Sam

IMG_0674After years of procrastinating, manufacturing excuses and waiting for someone to help me, I spent the last several days setting up my etsy shop.

For a long time, I waited because I “wasn’t sure how it worked.”  You know, there are ways to learn these things.  You can, for instance, go to etsy, and read all about how it works.  Then, there was “what if it stresses me out, and I can’t handle the pressure?”  Well, then, I guess I stop.  Or, you know, learn to manage stress.  Then there was, “I’m not sure I understand how to set it up…”

But all of those things were just excuses.  Why would I make excuses to avid doing a thing I wanted to do?  I had to think about that for a long time. At one point, I tried to convince myself that, maybe, I didn’t really want to do it.  But I didn’t believe me.  The truth was I was scared.  I was afraid of failing.  Wouldn’t that be a sad way to live life ~ so afraid of failing that we just never try?  That’s not me.  I am a risk-taker.  I leap in.  I take chances.  I crave a adventure and excitement (which means I would make a terrible Jedi, I guess).

So, you know what?  I figured it out.  First, I took pictures.  They aren’t the greatest pictures, and I know that.  I will take better pictures in the future.  I didn’t wait until I had all of the things I wanted to list, because, for crying out loud, can we just be done with all the waiting and freaking DO something already??  I listed what I have now.  I wasn’t sure what to charge, so I searched similar items, and decided on what seemed like reasonable pricing, based on what others are charging.  I wasn’t sure if my stuff would sell.  You know what?  I am STILL not sure if my stuff will sell; and, really, so what if it doesn’t?

I did it.  I said I would open my shop, and I did.  2016 is looking better every day.

And, you know, I have gotten off track here at “The Low Life,” too.  For that, I apologize.  Maybe I have gotten off track in life altogether.  The way I see it, now that I have taken time to work it all out in my head, every day is a new opportunity, and I plan to keep leaping.

I know I haven’t been posting about ways to save money, live gently and frugally, minimize stress, etc. lately; and I am not doing much better with this entry so far, but I promise I will try to get back on track (See?  Terrible Jedi material.  I still think there IS “try.”).  Let’s see if I can turn that around just a little bit today.

Today, I can say this: I have skills that I think are marketable.  Maybe people will like what I make, and want to buy it.  If so, I will make a little money.  That takes a little pressure off our shoulders financially.  Awesome!  Also, I find making these items enjoyable.  It’s one of those things that feeds my soul: creating something beautiful.  It makes me feel connected to my world, like I have purpose and the work I am doing is meaningful, because it makes people happy.  So, this could help me with money matters as well as stress management.  Then there’s that part about living gently.  I firmly believe that putting beautiful things out in to the world for others to enjoy is like making a deposit in my own happiness bank. You know ~ what goes around comes around.  So, I hope my designs will bring people joy, because then there will be more joy in the world, and that makes the world a better place.  I guess you could say there is a kind of gentleness toward the world in that.  Right?

Okay.  That last part was a reach (but I really do believe it!).  How’s this? ~ I promise to come back with some good money/stress/environment-saving tips in the very near future.  In fact, (I think) I have a pretty great one up my sleeve already, and can hardly wait to try it.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you are interested, please hop on over to etsy and check it out.

Thanks for stopping by!


Homemade Glitter Playdough ~ by Sam

The other day, we were bored, so we decided to make something.  We weren’t exactly sure what to make, so we sat down and looked at all of the crafty, science-y and/or cooking ideas we had “pinned” or bookmarked for later reference.  We settled on this:

It’s sparkly homemade playdough ~ fun to make, and fun to use!  Now, you might be thinking that some of the kids (aged 10,14 & 16) might be too old for playdough, but, I assure you, one is never too old for playdough ~ especially if it has glitter.  The truth is, it’s good for your brain, hand-eye coordination, imagination and creativity, and manual dexterity to mold with clay.  Also, I have learned a couple of tricks that make playing with playdough even more therapeutic and beneficial.  So, if it’s been a few years since you’ve played with playdough, I highly recommend you revisit the idea.  There’s also something strangely satisfying about the idea of creating masterpiece after masterpiece, each for its own sake, enjoying each for a moment, and then squishing it to make something new.  And the glitter?  Well, everything is better with glitter.

We couldn’t find any black food dye, so we decided to just wing it.

Kaia made a beautiful deep purplish-blue, using a combination of blue and violet.  Image

Hallie made a gorgeous deep teal using green and blue:Image

Here are a couple of tips:

* Use baby oil or sweet almond oil in place of cooking oil, and your playdough will soften your hands while you play.
* Add a few drops of essential oil (or a blend of several) to make playing an aromatherapeutic experience.  
           Kaia added Rose Absolute (in jojoba oil)
           Hallie added a blend called “Anxiety Release” + a few drops of grapefruit essential oil
* Years ago, we invested in several large plastic trays that have become known as “art trays” in our home.  I found ours at IKEA, I think.  For this purpose, I prefer large trays with a fairly high rim around the edge.  Using these trays makes clean-up after projects involving glue, paint, glitter, paper cutting, and other small pieces an absolute breeze.  
* The easiest (and most fun) way to mix in the glitter is to sprinkle it on the tray, and then knead it in to the dough.  
* Store your playdough in a sealed plastic bag, being careful to remove as much air as possible, so it doesn’t dry.  We divided ours, storing half of each colour in a sandwich bag, and then storing all 4 sandwich bags inside a gallon-sized ziplock storage bag.