In painting, you have unlimited power.

Let’s face it: college is really stressful. Grades, scholarship programs, and outside organizations all stress us out to no end.

At the end of the day, we all need something that can calm out nerves and help up refocus our attention. For some people this could be sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book, killing something on a videogame, or working out.

For me, I find that painting is a fantastic form of stress relief. It allows me to clear my mind and just focus on the brush and the canvas. After I put on some music and shut myself away for a few hours, I feel completely refreshed and refocused.

I’ve come across some articles recently about art therapy, which sounds really interesting! Read about it here and here.

Something I never expected when coming home for Christmas Break was the stress that I’d feel. Maybe it’s the long list of things I have to do over break, going back to work, or the realization that everything is different. Nevertheless, I felt ridiculously stressed the other day and felt extremely relieved that I brought my painting supplies home from college for the break.

I spent about an hour painting this:

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An hour well spent, I’d say. This is part of my Christmas present for my best friend, Macy. It’s so fantastic to have her back from Florida, even for just a few short weeks.

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What kind of things do you do to realive stress? Let me know in a comment!

Happy Crafting and Merry Christmas!

Katie

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More Wine, Less Whine

Today my lovely friend, sorority sister, and EMAC buddy Jenna (find her blog here: http://jennalaursen.wordpress.com/) showed me pictures of some adorable crafts that her mom has made simply out of wine corks!

These sure make me want to get some serious crafting done over break with some extras that my mom has been collecting! Jenna’s family is quite lucky to have access to so many wine corks by being friends with winery owners!

Take a look here:

Let me introduce to you, the lovely crafter herself! Pictured are Jenna’s mom, Shelly, and her Gradmother, Sharon.

So many option, so little time.

The master in action!

For these adorable letters, Shelly bought flat wooden letters at Michael’s and simply hot glued the wine corks on. I think these would make great presents- maybe even make a monogram out of three letters!

To make a garland, just drill holes in the corks and string beads through!

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Hopefully you can find some inspiration with these like I did!

Happy Crafting!

Katie

Ready, Set, Save

As a college student, finding ways to be thrify and save money without giving up your old lifestyle is a huge accomplishment.

A few months ago, I heard about a service called MyGlam on a YouTube beauty video. After hearing its praises confirmed from an orientation leader when I was getting ready to go to college, I went ahead and signed up for the service. The company has since switched to the name Ipsy, but the concept is still the same- $10 a month gets you 4-5 full size or “deluxe size” sample products from popular brands. These items can include anything from makeup to hair or skin care. While a good number of the brands are ones I’ve personally never heard of, the products never seem to disappoint. Some notable brands I’ve received in the past (and also this month) have included Urban Decay, Costal Scents, and NYX. Each month the company bills your credit card on the 1st and your package arrives by the 15th – in obnoxiously adorable packaging! I’ve heard comments from the mail room people every month on the packaging- it just makes getting mail 10x better.

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Inside the package you’ll find coupons to Ipsy’s sister companies and a cute makeup bag with the products inside.

The content's of my December bag!

The content’s of my December bag!

As you try the products out during the month, the company emails you coupons to buy the full size or a replacement product. All in all, I adore my Ipsy subscription and cannot wait to get my package for next month already!

Stay thrifty, my friends.

Katie

Glitter is the Herpes of Arts and Crafts

I’ve seen tutorials for this project on Pinterest for months now and finally decided to try it out! Unfortunately I can’t glitter my dorm keys since I have to turn them back in at the end of the year. Since I’ll be heading home next week, I decided to spice up my house keys. They’ll actually be getting some use soon- yay!

I started out with some Elmer’s white school glue and some of the never-ending red glitter left over from my Halloween Dorothy shoes. (If anyone has any idea what else I can do with all of my red glitter, PLEASE leave a comment!)

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I painted the glue straight onto the keys up to where the lock wouldn’t interfere.

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Next, I sprinkled the glue with the glitter and let it dry. I did one side at a time and did two coats on each side. When done, a coat of clear nail polish will seal the glitter on.

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Happy Crafting and safe travels for those of you heading home soon!

Katie

Faith, Hope, Love.

This week was ridiculously busy with and finals and wrapping up the end of the semester. Somewhere in the middle, my fabulous big, Cassie, turned 21! Woohoo!

Cassie and I on Big-Little reveal day!

Cassie and I on Big-Little reveal day!

Since I didn’t have a lot of time, I had to admit to myself (and her) that she’d have to wait to get her present until after the break. I know, worst little ever. I’m painting her a cooler, in my defense. For those of you who don’t know what that means- here’s an article explaining the strange tradition. It’s a southern Greek-life tradition, don’t worry. While it’s typical to paint coolers for a date, significant birthdays are also a common event that warrants a painted cooler.

In the meantime, I wanted to craft her something quick and easy. In typical Books and Bows DIY fashion, I decided to bust out the sharpies. I took this bowl that I found at Sur La Table over the Thanksgiving Break (for less than $5!) and decided to write the words Faith, Hope, Love on it. These words have a lot of significance to us since we’re Kappa Alpha Thetas.

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I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out- and more importantly my big loved it!

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Of course I had to package it up cute. I personally believe that the presentation of a gift should be half of the effort. At the same time, please excuse how janky the hearts look- like I said, I was in a rush. 🙂

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Happy Crafting and TLAM to any Thetas out there!

Katie

“Santa! Oh my God! Santa’s coming! I know him! I know him!”

Thinking back on Angela’s post about Sharpie mugs, I recently saw this post linked on Pinterest. Christmas is coming up quickly, and presents on a college budget can be hard to decide on.

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Use the holidays as a good time to express your creativity through making presents for your loved ones! Be creative and know that the thought is what really matters in the end.

“It isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Crafting!

-Katie

Real Raw

There has been many controversy in the diet world on whether cooking your vegetables loses its nutrients or not. Therefore, they have come up with the Raw Diet.

So is it fact or fiction? Does cooking your veggies result in loss of nutrients?

According to Scientific American, cooking your vegetables doesn’t necessarily create an issue with not getting enough nutrients. As a matter of fact, it helps the vegetables keep in and preserve some nutrients. Antioxidant, Lycopene, is known for reducing the risk of getting cancer and any cardiac diseases. Normally, this antioxidant can be found in pink-colored pigments such as watermelon, and tomato. A research that was done expressed that the heat actually breaks down the plant cell’s walls, which then releases these vital nutrients into the cell’s body. A study in 2002 stated that cooking and boiling carrots increased the amount of beta-carotene, which is compatible to Vitamin A. The health benefits of this is very potent; it helps with eye sight, growth, and regulating the immune system.

However, after many researches, scientists have concluded that cooking your vegetables will decrease the levels of Vitamin C. Reason being is that Vitamin C is known for being very unstable, therefore exposure to high temperature will dissolve the nutrient into the air as it cooks in water.

So the answer to the common question asked: does cooking your vegetables create a loss in your nutrients?
Well, true and false.

As I’ve stated above, even though there will be a loss of some vitamins, you will also gain some (you lose some, you win some). Each vegetable has its own levels of nutrients and antioxidants, creating a separate grouping on which vegetables are better to leave raw and which ones are better to cook.

Broccoli is a vegetable that is known to have more nutrients when raw. Broccoli contains an antioxidant called sulforaphane, which aids in keeping cancer out of your body. When cooking broccoli, you lock in sulforaphane, which then can’t be released into your body-  even when you eat it.

So next time when you’re picking your menu from the item, you may want to opt for the salad! It will bring health benefits to your body, and it’s healthy!

Love, Angela

Which Stroke to use?

Artists are very particular with the type of brushes they use. Each brush holds a distinct style of stroke that adds its own unique feeling to the art.

    • Flat tipped brushes are the type of brushes that work well for the base of a painting, or blending in a range of colors.
    • An Oval Wash, also known as cat’s tail, has a great use of adding texture and shadows to a painting. Creating a 3D or more realistic look.
    • An Angular Brush is similar to a flat tipped brush; however because of the slant of the tip, the brush itself holds less paint and less water, creating a smoother flow.
    • The rake brush is a flat tipped brush with a rake-like tip also. Creating a softer edge.
    • A brush used quite often is the Fan Brush. The Fan Brush can drag the paint lightly across the surface of your painting creating great texture. It creates a great wood-grain effect.

Not only are brushes a crucial art tool, but so are sponges; if you want to create a realistic addition and technique to your painting.

  • Natural sea sponges are the universal sponge. Considered as “nature’s paintbrush”. Sea sponges are the least expensive of the brushes and can be found in bulk.
  • Polyurethane sponges are also quite common. You will see these sponges in use when painting walls, or even cleaning kitchens. These sponges create a pore-like design. Unfortunately, Polyurethane sponges are not environmentally friendly.
  • PVA Sponges are newer substances that are the opposite of Pore Sponges. These sponges are incredibly dense, creating no visible pores when in use. These sponges are ideal in painting for there are no visible textures.

When creating an art work, it’s important to be knowledgeable in what tools you’re using. Difference sizes, types of hair you use on your brushes create a big difference as compared to your ordinary water coloring paint brushes.

Happy crafting! ❤ Angela.

Wreathed In Smiles

Another great way to get into the holiday spirit, no matter where you’re living is to hang a wreath on your door. Wreaths just feel so festive and  liven up a room or a hallway in no time. However, really nice wreaths in stores can cost ~$30-$100! No college student has money sitting around to spend on a wreath that will be up for maybe a few weeks.

However, what college students have sitting around are t-shirts. Lots and lots of t-shirts.

This tutorial shows you how to make an adorable wreath made out of a few green shirts that you longer care to wear. You could even take this tutorial into any other season or as a year-round decoration. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Happy Crafting!

Katie

Let it snow, baby, let it reindeer.

The holidays are quickly approaching and living in a dorm can unfortunately make Christmas spirit feel very far away.

Spruce up your dorm room by bringing the Christmas spirit inside! Think a mini Christmas tree or some ornaments hanging from the window, like shown below. Wrap a café rod in some garland for an extra special touch. Slap a bow on it and you’re good to go!

Another cute idea I’ve found is to cut out snowflakes to hang in your windows! Who said college students can’t enjoy the same things they did in elementary school?! This article from DormWise gives a few more ideas of how to pump up your holiday spirit- think about a pine or cinnamon scented air freshener!

A little holiday spirit goes a long way, y’all!

Merry Christmas and happy crafting!

Katie