Inspiration

Superhighway Brief #004:
Morning routines & the moon

September 4, 2015

Becoming a Morning Person

Adventure

Monthly Adventure: SUP & Yoga at Echo Lake

September 1, 2015

Paddle Boarding in Pagosa Springs

As summer nears its end, we decided to go paddle boarding at Echo Lake for our monthly adventure.  Still without any extra money to our names, and SUP boards being fairly expensive to rent, a good friend luckily lent us her boards. Our intention was to set off early in the morning to get some good morning light.  However, mom-duties made us get to the lake a little later than we wanted. The light and weather was beautiful.  Echo Lake is only 10 minutes from our downtown, and great little escape!

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Floating along the still-water with nothing but quiet surrounding us in the crips early light was the perfect meditative experience.  We stretched here and there, leisurely, and the got a little energy to try some balancing yoga poses on the boards— that was a challenge! The morning was so peaceful and beautiful that I couldn’t help but be full of gratitude for the friends in our lives who help make our adventures possible, and the abundant nature that surrounds us.

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Art & Creativity Little Souls

Painting in Acrylics with Children

August 30, 2015

Painting with children

Watercoloring with children is fun and convenient, but working in acrylics can be quite a treat for both the littles and the adults. While the thick opacity and intense pigment makes acrylics much more daunting and nerve-wracking to watch small kids trying to navigate, if done mindfully, the collaborative process can be an inspiring, therapeutic experience. There’s nothing quite like working alongside an individual void of creative inhibitions, free from pre-conceived notions of what art is “supposed to” be. These bright, saturated paintings can also be beautiful works of legitimate art if you follow a few principles and guidelines.

Painting with children

The Space & Materials

Use smocks and drop-cloths

If you, your child, and your space are covered, then you can avoid any tense moments of cleaning up accidents, and allow yourself to drop in to the creative process.

Use a hard or thick surface

Don’t try to paint on paper that can’t handle too much water. Flooding is common with children, so avoid the trauma. Use a canvas or a board. I like to use old paintings from the thrift store.

Multiple water jars

Have a few different jars of clean water, since kids have the tendency to dunk brushes still full of paint into the rinsing jars and running to the sink to get clean water is lame.

Painting with children

The Guidelines

Always wash & wipe

Keep your brushes clean between colors, and be sure to blot them on a rag after washing to avoid mucking up the colors.

Choose an image of inspiration

A reference image is nice to pull main elements from, even if you’re going to create a non-objective piece of art. The design principles and elements are usually already present in printed photography or art books, so you don’t need to rack your brain during the creative process, trying to unify the painting before your child gets bored.

Pick out an art or picture book and choose a few images that are fairly simple. For young kids, you don’t want too many colors or interlocking lines. Then look at the chosen photos with your child and have them pick which photo to use as inspiration for the painting. This way the child still has a choice in the matter, but you don’t need to bore or offend them with why some other complex image they chose isn’t prime material. Plus, you want to have fun making the art as well!

Painting with children

Limit your color palette

To avoid getting a ton of brown smeared all over the canvas (since kids usually want to use all the colors on the palette and all colors mixed = brown), limit your colors to 2-3. Preferably they will be two compliments and then either white or black. When the paint is nearly dry you can introduce another batch of colors.

Allow for silence

While it’s nice to explain the design elements and principles here and there, demonstrating your own technique in silence is equally, if not more effective. They will likely pause and watch you work and make mental notes about what they like or don’t like about your style. Freedom to simply observe can be more enjoyable than being instructed every step of the way, for both parties involved.

Painting with children

The Steps

Dominant features

Before digging into the colors, point out to your child what the dominant features of the painting are, and how the canvas will be broken up by those features. If they are old enough, have them paint the darkest lines first which will act as lines in a coloring book. As they paint these lines, work behind them by filling in the shapes with color. For kids under 4-ish years-old, you may want to reverse the roles.

Bring in the Light

Point out where the lightest colors are and see if they agree where your next shapes of light will go. While they work on applying the light, help by blending to create mid-tones.

Cover the surface

Children usually see the world in symbols when making art, and without direction, their drawings often become line-drawings. Yet, they are often thrilled to see their work with colorful backgrounds. Throughout the process, make it a collaborative effort to cover up any canvas that peeps through.

Add the details

Dripping or globbing paint to add the detail prolongs the excitement of painting. Explore application techniques with your child using different sized brushes, amount of water, and speed. Using sounds to emphasize the movement of your brush is always fun too!

Bring it together

Instruction on contrast and balance is a bit exhaustive for young children, so take the final touches into your own hands— unless they express a desire to want to help. When you sense that your child is getting restless and is ready to be done, quickly add a bit of the darkest and lightest tones to bring out depth, and balance out the opposing corners. These final elements will really bring the piece together and make it more display-worthy.

Painting with children

Painting with children

Although the final result may not be a masterpiece, it will likely serve as a reminder of a great art-making experience. The collaborative mix of strokes and blended visions is an inspiring representation of what happens when the child-in-you mixes with the grownup-in-your-child.

Style

What We Wore: Summer Styles

August 27, 2015

A few of our favorite styles from summer.

Summer Styles - Native Roots

Summer Styles - Native Roots

Summer Styles - Bohemian Pinup

Summer Styles - Bohemian Pinup

Summer Styles - Mexican inspiration

Summer Styles - Mexican inspiration

  • Embroidered Méxicana shirt gifted
  • Lace shorts thrifted
  • Platforms by Farylrobin
  • Pearl necklace by Christa Laos

Summer Styles - Bohemian Pinup

Summer Styles - Bohemian Pinup

  • Dress Buffalo by David Bitton
  • Vintage parasol
  • Vintage purse
  • Sandal wedges by Dolce Vita
  • Thrifted sunglasses
  • Antique bangles
  • Earring a gift from Ursala during her trip to Bolivia
Body & Mind Meditations

Materialism & Happiness

August 23, 2015

On keeping only the things that bring you happiness

My sister recently mailed me Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it’s got me all worked up. It really is magic. Being a woo woo junkie, I am completely sold on KonMari (Marie Kondo’s tidying method) because the entire act of minimizing and organizing is solely based on contentment and only holding on to the things that spark joy. If we are surrounded by things that trigger any other feeling than joy, we are creating distraction and noise that we subconsciously try to avoid or tune out, disrupting our full potential for happiness and productivity. KonMari is not just a method for organizing your crap, it’s a method for clearing your space of things that no longer serve you to make room for beauty, clarity, and happiness.

On keeping only the things that bring you happiness

The KonMari method suggests that you start your purging of the non-joyful in your closet. So I pulled out my four 20-gallon storage totes and everything in my closet and began asking each garment, “do you spark joy?”

The most revealing part for me was going through my stockpile of vintage dresses. Half of them were my mother’s 40s frocks that she got from a mentor in her early 20s. When I held up those dresses a sort of resentment arose. My mom couldn’t fit into those dresses anymore, and I was certain that no one else would love them as much as I did, so I had to hold on to them or else I would be the cause of their death. As for the rest of my vintage, they all reminded me of a time when I was a more naive, carefree, and sassy girl who spent hours getting ready in the morning, and if I were to let go of them, I might lose that part of me.

Then there were other garments that I’d worn SO much at one time that I couldn’t let them go because I owed my life to them. And there were pieces that I’d only be able to wear if I lost 20 pounds (never gonna happen). And there were pieces that I spent way too much money on to discard. With items that were bringing up feelings of guilt, false hope, sad nostalgia, or resentment towards having to store them, I had to let them go. After going through each and every item in my closet, including all my socks and scarfs, I was left with an incredibly condensed selection of things that spoke joy to me, all organized by color and comfortably hanging or folded happily. Outside my closet door sat 6 garbage bags full of returns to my mother, vintage for Drie, consignment, donations, and just plain ole trash.

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On keeping only the things that bring you happiness

Given my tendencies in relation to laundry, the pictures above and below make me super duper proud. Usually I wash my family’s clothes and then bunch them up in numerous baskets for a couple days before I decide it’s time to tackle folding. Yet, for the past 3 weeks I’ve been so excited (OCD excited) to put everyone’s clothes away that I fold the day of the washing, and my closet & drawers have looked like this since I finished KonMari-ing the closets!

On keeping only the things that bring you happiness

Of course, there is more that fills your house than clothing. There is artwork, furniture, appliances, knick knacks, dishes, blankets, towels, etc. If you take a moment to think about each item you own, to see what role each one has filled or continues to fill in you life, it’s easier to determine if those things are still working for you. Sometimes they are not just the beautiful or sentimental things. There are objects that don’t bring obvious joy, but they offer it up discretely by making your life easier. For example, my big, ugly dehydrator makes me happy, as does my ghetto $15 hair dryer.

Identifying Joyful Things

Clothing

It shouldn’t matter if an item is out of style or if you haven’t worn it in a year. As long as seeing it and holding it still sparks joy, let yourself be affected by it and keep it!

Photos

Most of us keep photos and other mementos to remind us of happy memories. However, if you haven’t purged your photos before, chances are that many of them spark sadness and regret. To allow space for more light and love, release those that are joyless.

Gifts

Gifts are meant to serve a purpose, and they serve that purpose the moment they are given. Do not keep a gift to avoid feeling guilty for discarding it— nobody wants their recipient of a gift to feel that way. If a gift no longer sparks joy, thank it for serving its purpose of demonstrating love. Then let it go. Relief will follow.

Furniture

After purging of the things that no longer trigger joy within you, you’ll have less to store and you can begin to look at your furniture and see what large items are stagnant downers. You may be left with abundant floor space for a happy-dance.

Once you are left with only the things that bring you joy, you will become more mindful of the things you buy as well. By being grateful for all the things you are surrounded by, gratitude swells into all areas of your life.

Happiness-generating Objects

Plants

Research has shown that the presence of plants leads to reduced stress and anxiety, increased feelings of calm, a marked improvement in mood and self-esteem and increased feelings of optimism and control. Many of them help clean the air your breathe.

Moving objects

According to Feng Shui principles, mobiles, water fountains or wind chimes increase the positive flow of energy, therefore increasing joy.

Dim lights & candles 

Dim lighting helps maintain a calming environment. Fairy lights create a balance between the light and dark areas of your home, while candles invoke the energy of purification in Feng Shui.

A Himalayan salt lamp

It is said that the miners in the Himalayan salt mines are the happiest miners on the planet because Himalayan salt emits negative ions into the air. When negative ions pair with overly abundant positive ions they help cleanse the air and the flow of oxygen to the brain is increased. Negative ions are great for your mind, body, and soul.

Nature

There is an innate human need to connect with nature. Tree branches, feathers, rocks help bring a sense of peace into the home.

KonMari Method

When objects surround you that bring up guilt, remorse, feelings of wanting a different body, feelings of failure, those objects do not serve you. They make you dwell in the past, or hope for the future. They do not encourage the practice of living in the present. Be mindful and confront these objects that do not bring joy, and let them go.

Style

Tutorial: DIY Circle Skirt

August 21, 2015

Circle Skirt Tutorial

Figure out how much fabric you need. You will need enough fabric to fold twice: once hot dog style (salvage to salvage), and then hamburger style, with a little left over for your waistband. The pattern you will make is 1/4 of a circle. You will cut the pattern out of the folded fabric, which will then unfold to a full circle, like cutting a snowflake!

This tutorial uses about 2.5 yards of woven dupioni fabric, a matching 7″ zipper and thread, hooks & eyes and a 1/4 yard of interfacing for the waistband.

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Measure your waist to determine your radius. You can calculate your waist radius or use the guide provided above.

A little side-note: I subtracted a bit from my radius. From my circle skirt sewing experience, the waist and hem are on bias, meaning they will stretch (lengthen while sewing), and your waistband is on grain, so it won’t. It’s already going to be difficult to pin the skirt to your waist band because of this, so subtract a tiny bit. My waist is 27″, so instead of 4- 3/8″, I just did a 4″ radius.

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Making the Pattern

  1. Gather Your Supplies
    Pattern Paper:
    When making the pattern you can use dotted paper or brown paper.  I used dotted paper for this tutorial and prefer it because the numbers and dots help keep you in line. If you don’t want to order pattern paper by the roll, buy brown craft paper at your local hardware store for around $10.
    Scissors: I designate my paper and fabric scissors because cutting paper with your fabric scissors will eventually dull your fabric scissors. If you’re not planning on making more garments then don’t worry about it.
    Tape measure: To get your waist measurement.
    Pencil and ruler: I love C-Throu rulers for making clothes. They help square off your lines perfectly.
  2. Draw your radius at the very bottom of your paper using the guide above. Make sure to square your lines to make a perfect 90 degree angle.
  3. Draw the 1/4 circle for your waist. Here’s a trick: use the pattern paper as a compass! Cut a long strip of the pattern paper and mark the measured radius length on that strip.  Pressing one marked end of the paper strip on the corner of your pattern (the right angle), poke a hole in your paper-compass at the end to stab your pencil through and draw the circle.
  4. Keep one end on the mid point and and draw the 1/4 circle with the other end.
  5. Draw the length you want your skirt to be.  It’s your preference, just make sure you start that measurement from the waist, not the radius. Add your hem to the length. I included 1″ for my hem.
  6. Use a long piece of pattern paper again to compass out the length of your skirt.
  7. Your skirt pattern is finished and it should look something like this (above).
  8. Pattern your waistband.  Think of how wide you want it and then double it because you’ll be folding it over. For length, use your waist measurement plus an extra 1/2″ – 1″ overlap for hook and eyes or buttons.  I only did an extra 1/2″ for hook and eyes and I wanted a big 3″ waistband so I made my waistband pattern 6″ wide by 27.5″ before adding the seam allowance.  To add a seam allowance add 1/4″ all the way around your band. Pattern is done.

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Cutting

** Pre-wash fabric before cutting.

  1. Fold your fabric first hotdog style and then hamburger style.
  2. Place your pattern on top of the fabric so the large curve faces the open ends and the 90 degree angle faces the folded edges. Hold the pattern in place using weights.  I just use found-objects like sea shells and rocks.
  3. Pin your pattern through all the layers of fabric.
  4. Cut out waist quarter-circle.
  5. Cut out hem quarter-circle.
  6. Cut out waistband.

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Sewing

** Before you start please note that I did not finish the frayed edges. You can finish the frayed edges before you sew together by using pinking shears, fray check or by zig zag stitching the edges.

  1. Fold your skirt in half and cut one end open.
  2. Measure your zipper and mark the length from the waist with a pin. Pin and sew the seam you just cut open only to the zipper mark.
  3. If you’re using interfacing (which makes the waistband stiffer) press (iron) it on to your waistband now.  Make sure the sticky side is on the wrong side of the fabric. This will be inside for extra support if you want.
  4. Press and sew your waistband with a 1/4″ seam allowance on each side. Trim the little corners off at 45 degree angles to make sharp corners.
  5. Turn the waistband right-side-out. Use something pointy (pen, pencil, etc.) to push out the corners of your waistband. Be careful to not poke through the fabric— we just want to make a sharp corner.
  6. Pin either edge of the waistband to your skirt. Make sure you pin your fabric face-to-face.
  7. Sew the waistband to the skirt with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  8. Press the seam allowance (just sewn) up over the waistband.
  9. Pin and sew in your zipper. Click here to see that zippers are actually fairly simple to sew in.
  10. Now that your zipper is sewn in you can pin the other side of your waistband 1/4″ overlapping the waistband/skirt seam. This will sandwich your skirt and the top of your zipper inside the waistband.
  11. Once your waistband is pinned into place, you can turn over and “stitch in the ditch” meaning you sew right into the seam that connects the skirt and waistband.
  12. Make sure your waistband overlaps on one side 1/2″ – 1″ for your buttons or hook and eyes. I like to slip stitch that overlap; it’s quick and clean.
  13. Press your hem.
  14. Sew your hem. This can be difficult because your skirt is cut on the bias and curved. You have a few options here: 1) sew with that machine, if you’re brave, 2) hand-stitch it, which looks really nice but can take along time, or 3) use bias tape to get a nice, clean hem.
  15. Sew your buttons or hook and eyes on to your waistband. Voila! You’re done!