Author Archives: cassilliscreates

About cassilliscreates

Let’s all run away from stress, deadlines and responsibility…just for a bit, to a fun place where the only limits are your imagination. I’ve been crafting since I was old enough to hold a crayon. Plasticine, paints, rubber cement and plenty of glitter were the mainstays of my childhood. Now I’ve expanded; tacky glue, found metals, embossing powders and costume jewelry are some of my fun supplies, but certainly anything I find may find it’s place in a mixed media project. So come and join me as I share some techniques and help you put your own spin on creating!

Aromatherapy You Can Eat

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I have always loved baking and cooking…I think mostly because even if the recipe doesn’t turn out Pinterest perfect, you can usually still devour it. Eating your mistakes, much easier and more palatable than eating your words. Or a canvas or mixed media piece. I always remember in M*A*S*H the T.V. series, Max Klinger tried every which way to get out of the Army, including attempting to eat Jeep parts. I know I am crazy, though relatively harmless, and prefer to Wear or display my art, not eat it. That’s why food and recipes are a good alternate outlet for me.

One of my latest new finds is a wonderful plant based protein powder called Orgain. It comes in both vanilla and chocolate fudge. I especially like that it’s full of flavour but not a lot of weird chemicals or sugar. It makes a wonderful smoothie, mixed with almond milk, peanut butter and Greek yogurt. However, I wanted to test its versatility in other recipes.


I tried using it in some protein bites and it turned out so so good. The texture was like that of halvah so my mouth and mind were registering mega treat. I’ll post a recipe for them shortly.

However, since I just purchased a plethora of juicy berries, I wanted to make some granola so I could enjoy a morning parfait. So I thought to myself, “self, what if I put some of this Orgain powder in my granola recipe?” Since I know better than to argue with my self, it quietly agreed that was a good idea.

What follows now is that recipe, and it’s tasty happy goodness result. Taste buds….rejoice!

My Crazy Awesome Protein Packed Granola

Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut

3 scoops Orgain protein powder

1 tbsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup oil (I use olive oil but use what you like)

1/4 cup honey (or agave)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Warm the oil and honey in a saucepan or the microwave just until you can stir them together. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir until well incorporated. Spread the mixture over the parchment paper. Place in oven and stir mixture every 10 minutes for 35-40 minutes. Let cool.


Store mixture in an airtight container but if you’re like me, it will be gone far sooner than you need to be worried about it getting stale.

A Para’s take on a Teacher Survival Kit

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Hey hey ! So, finally I have secured a position so i can breathe. If you have lived on a teeny bit, had no paycheques in the summer, know every school within a 40 mile radius, you may have been or are, a substitute teacher.

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It’s been a crazy, but enlightening, ride. I’ve learned that I can live on very, VERY little. And I found that my creativity greatly diminishes when stress increases. I know some of you are nodding your head vigorously. Well, before you strain your neck or get dizzy, let me tell you…I have been offered a full time position at my favourite school !

So, as well as increasing my creativity and lessening my stress, I had to think of something to give my new classroom cohorts. It’s a big difference to be part of one school, not a cameo appearance in a LOT of schools.

Since survival has been a part of my world, a humorous approach to the theme of survival seemed natural. So with that I created my own version of the…..wait for it…

teacher survival kit

But alas, what shall I put in this kit? what would I want to get me through the days, weeks, nay…months ahead?

The first thought of course, went to coffee. Coffee is the nirvana, the nectar, the mainstay of life itself. But what for those days when your nerves are frayed, your brain has frizzled, and you just need to calm the heck down. Tea, my friend, tea is the answer.

And so on, my brain and imagination hippity hopped, frolicked if you will, through, until we, that is, me, myself and I, came upon the final list of…what every educator needs at the ready for those emergency situations that have nothing to do with actual emergencies but sure feel like it.

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If you know…or are, a teacher and would like to create something of this nature for them…or you,have fun and put together your own survival kit.

 

 

Creative Crunch

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I am here to divulge to you that I am a snacker. To be honest, when I’m on my own, snacks substitute meals. I’ve heard several smaller meals are better for your digestion than three large ones. I must have skewed this a bit in my brain to mean snack all day, my friend. I don’t know that nachos, crackers or scones were what was referenced as examples of small meals. But interpretation is in the eye (or stomach) of the beholder right? 

Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I just won’t put the effort in if I’m the only one partaking in the meal. So I’ve worked on finding some half decent healthy snacks to counter the cookies and chocolate. 

So here is my take on a crunchy cereal mix…it’s not a health food, but it has some whole grains and honey. It’s easy to make and very easy to eat. 

4 cups Golden Grahams

1/2 bag honey wheat pretzels, broken in half

1 cup cocktail peanuts

1/8 cup olive oil

1/2 cup honey

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Place oil and honey in microwave safe cup. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir. Add to dry ingredients and toss to coat. Spread onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool.

Now you can add things like mixed nuts or coconut or whatever sounds good to you. 

Then munch away. I think it gives me inspiration. I know it makes me happy. 

If I had a paintbrush…I’d make a curtain

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I’ve always been pretty good at staying focused…most of the time, well, unless there’s a T.V. on, or a good song on the radio I need to sing along to, or a dragonfly. I really love dragonflies. But seriously, I like the feeling of accomplishment in a finished project. So I may have more than one project going at a time, but they usually always get completed.

organized chaos

So during the recent spring break, I offered to paint the walls and ceiling of the bedroom. And I did stay focused, though I have to say, during the latter part of the ceiling area, I gave myself every reason I could think of not to finish it right then. Feed the cats, wash the dishes, fire up the Keurig, see if there were any more jobs to apply for in the past two hours, hour, fifteen minutes. Check the weather, check my email, check, ummm, okay so then I ran out of excuses and just finished that blasted ceiling.

Then I proceeded to the main bathroom to rinse out the trim paintbrush. And noticed how dingy the paint looked on the walls there. So a small swipe of the brush against that faded hue brought it to life. Which then led me back to retrieve the paint roller, and next thing the bathroom was painted.

Well of course, you know as well as I that this newly painted surface now created a glaring contrast to the curtains in the bathroom…I know right? So what else could I do but go through my fabric stash and sew a quick window treatment. 0408161626

 

And see, you know what I’m going to say now right? As soon as that window covering was hung, yep, the outlet cover looked so out of place. So back to the fabric stash. I have to interject here, I am not a pattern type of sew person…seamstress, whatever. Put a pattern in front of me and I reply with a deer in the headlights look.

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So here’s how I made a window covering that looks pretty nifty, and a matching outlet cover. Follow along, this is easy and you don’t even need to sew if you doesn’t wants ta.

 

 

All you need is a rectangle of fabric. Measure your curtain rod length and width. You’ll be making a pocket at the top of your fabric so the dowel will go through. Otherwise your pretty curtain will just fall off the rod, silly. Decide how tall you want the curtain. Add another inch on the bottom of the fabric for a hem, add the width measurement of the rod to the top of the fabric measurement. What I like to do, because I’m pretty lazy about measuring picky like, is fold the fabric before I sew it, so I can make sure the finished size is what I need. If you want, you can iron the fabric at the folds 0416160840(again, makes it easier if you’re like me and just want to see the finished project.) Now it’s time to either sew or glue the hems….YAYY!

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And now, if you want to get all crazy and make this project look even more involved without much effort, after you’ve hung the finished curtain on the rod and placed it on the window, you can take a piece of ribbon (I used satin 1 inch) and wrap it around the rod. Now cut the ribbon to one inch longer. Find the middle of your curtain and gather it up to the bottom of the rod, then wrap the ribbon around the gathered curtain and secure the ribbon with some double sided tape.

Now just grab a favourite beverage and admire your awesomely cool mad decorating skills.

 

The Leaf not the Tree

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When I was in school, this was the name of a language arts book. The title stuck with me….working on finding the details, not just scanning the big picture. I love details; embellishments, a bit of colour, a little crystal accent. Especially in this very busy world, slowing down to enjoy life’s little details is so important and rewarding.

So today, I would like to share with you a fun technique which, ironically after that wonderful prelude, has nothing to do with leaves. Yeah, that’s kinda how I roll. But you know, if you are now disappointed and feeling sad, having gotten all geared up for leaves, you can certainly add some. Make yourself happy, self gratification and all that.

leavestrees

So now, what do you need? This stuff here:

  • painters tape
  • watercolours
  • black sharpie marker
  • 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 inch cardstock or watercolour paper

Begin by masking off vertical stripes with your painter’s tape. I cut my tape in strips because 1) trees aren’t all uniform sizes and 2) I am cheap. Decide where the ground is going to end so you don’t end up with floating trees.

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Now use watercolours to colour the ground. Colour it springtime green, winter white, summery brown (depending on where you live) or just a mess of weeds if you’d like to emulate my yard.0408161057

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, the sky is the limit…or the rest of your paper. Again, sunrise colours, sunset, rainy grey, again with those forgiving watercolours. Now, go get a cup of coffee and wait for the paint to dry0408161100

 

 

 

 

When I was a kid, I loved magic. Magic shows, magic deck of cards, heck I even got to go to a magic shop in Seattle during a family trip. See, my parents really did embrace my…quirkiness. Alas, I did not pursue magic as a career, and a collective sigh of relief resounds from all in the field of prestidigitation. But I am still fascinated by all things magic. Why do I bring this up now? Because now is the time to unveil some magic you’ve just created. Ladies and gents, peel your painter’s tape and……VOILA !!!!0408161139

Okay, so what kind of trees do you have there? You can use a fine permanent marker and create birch trees with short horizontal marks. Or watercolour a light brown and define with a darker brown. Or use a water based marker to create horizontal marks, then go over with a watercolour watered down light grey.0408161147

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a card I made using this technique as a background for a stamped image from Unity Stamps that I cut out.

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I hope you have fun with this technique…it’s fun, easy and doesn’t require any expensive tools. Except for your imagination as that is a priceless resource.

Find Your Flag and Wave It

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I’ve been marching, dancing, prancing and giggling to the beat of a different drummer for as long as I can remember. Gratefully I had parents who allowed me my creativity, and also encouraged me to embrace it. For that and many other things, I am grateful. I was always drawn to everything creative, even if it didn’t start out as a creative thing. Basically I was upcycling before it was cool….or labelled as such.

So it makes sense that I also encouraged my daughters to embrace their creativity, their individuality, and to take life with as much fun as possible while understanding when is the time to be serious.

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Many days were spent, playing with papers. clay, bottle caps, wires and beads. And I am not too proud to say many instances of my asking how one of my daughters did the crafty thing they did, and learning to do it from them.

I have worked with origami, which I absolutely love, though if I don’t have a YouTube video to show me the way, I immediately get a deer in the headlights look. I have worked with clay, which looks way cooler in my mind than at it’s completion. I enjoy metals, which are surprisingly easier for me to manipulate into what I want than that elusive clay. And beads….ooh yes, colourful textural sparkly happy sensory overload jewels of joy.

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So what makes you happy? Do you love markers, paints, papers, clay, beads? Or a bunch of those and more? Then allow yourself the time to play. It’s good for the soul and the mind and the body. I’ll be posting some ideas for different types of crafty fun, but don’t limit yourself. Let’s all find our creative flags, and fly them with pride!