September 2022 Create Date – uPaint Pottery Studio

September felt really busy friends – did you feel that as well? By the time we would get to talk about a create date for the month, the option was full or canceled or our schedule changed. So, this was the month that I had no choice – the month I made Keith paint pottery with me. My wonderful husband has tried so many new things with me, but he really, really doesn’t like painting pottery. And his job is stressful right now, so that stress is bleeding over into other areas as well. I would love to say that this was a pleasant time for both of us, but that would be a lie. I did really like the people at uPaint Pottery Studio and thought they did a great job explaining things to us. I thought they were missing detail work brushes which made some of the things we wanted to do really hard. Maybe we just didn’t ask. Maybe it was because we were at literally the last table they had. Who’s to say? Regardless, we were there on a create date mission.

We each picked a pumpkin themed project and a fall leaf. Keith’s had a spooky face on one side and was a plain pumpkin on the other, so we figured we could just turn it around after Halloween and leave it up through Thanksgiving. I picked a fun pumpkin dish and decided to use the special writer paints they had to write the season/my name. Here are some before shots:

In the second photo, you can see we used quite a few sponges to “erase” mistakes. We will most likely just be displaying a plain pumpkin all fall – the jack-o-lantern face did not go as planned. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked everything up, though – it all turned out pretty well.

Could I list all the mistakes we made. Yes, yes I could. Am I really happy to add these to our fall decorations anyway? Also yes. I love that the leaves are our wedding colors – we wanted a fall wedding and used leaves as our inspiration even though our date was in August. Would I take someone else to paint pottery with me at uPaint Pottery Studio? Definitely. I loved their selection of projects and their wide array of colors to use. I love that they had special paint writers.

Have you ever painted pottery? Where did you go? What did you paint? Let us know in the comments!

August 2022 Create Date – Animation Experience at Conservation Station

As soon as we decided to go to Disney World for our Anniversary, I knew that I wanted to do the Animation Experience while we were at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as our Create Date for August. I knew we both wanted to see the new Pandora section and all the new rides, so it was an easy addition to make to that plan. We took the Wilderness Train to Conservation Station and got in the queue. I was really happy to see we would be drawing Pua – I have always loved pigs. Keith has not, but even he admits that Pua is cute. The area of the class is amazing – there are sketches and paintings of animals and characters all over the walls. It was nice to have something to look at while we waited for the class before ours to finish. They drew Shere Kahn from the Jungle Book which was cool to see as well.

When it was our turn, we grabbed a golf pencil, a guide sheet, and a lap board to work on. There were long rows of seats, so we were actually not able to see the animator that was doing the demonstration very well, but they had big monitors set up so that everyone could see his hands as he drew. Here are some set up and in progress shots.

So far, so good. The ears, though. That is the tricky part. The part that made you really wish that golf pencils had erasers… We will probably go back and add some finishing touches to these, but this is what our drawings looked at when we finished the class.

As a side note, the animator shared with us that the pig they used for inspiration for Pua is actually named Charlotte Mae, and she is actually a deaf pig that lives in the petting zoo at Conservation Station. How cute is that?!

Have you ever done the Animation Experience at Animal Kingdom? If so, what did you draw? If not, what character would you want to draw? I think if I could choose any Disney animal character, I may have wanted to draw Tod or Copper from The Fox and the Hound, but Pua was definitely just fine with me. 🙂

July 2022 Create Date: Starting a Photo Collage Wall

When we arrived home from Seattle it was July 28th. I knew that I wanted to create the start of a photo collage wall with some of our trip photos, so we immediately started trying to narrow down our choices. If you have read all of my July Adventure Date blogs, you know that we had some gorgeous photos – and the best ones weren’t the ones I posted here from my phone. I knew it was going to be a struggle, but I did not foresee my husband testing positive for COVID two days later. That definitely stalled our date opportunities. We did, finally, narrow our choices down to 3 photos that represented the core of our trip. Our first choice is this beauty that has Chihuly and The Space Needle both represented.

Our second choice was this shot of an Orca from our FRS Skipper Whale Watching Tour.

Rounding out our pics is this gorgeous shot of Mount Rainier with some tiny rapids and waterfalls in front from our time in Paradise.

We added our bicycle spin art to the wall as well – might as well make it about as many Create Dates as we can, right? We also added a little painting that we bought with 2 ladybugs because it reminds us of a story Keith used to tell the girls when they were younger. I LOVE how it turned out and I can’t wait to continue adding to it. We may go back and add some things from previous trips, or we may wait to add new adventures to it. Only time will tell. 🙂

Do you ever display photographs from trips? Do you have a photo wall? I would love to see and hear about it in the comments! 🙂

July 2022 Goals

I know I say this every month, but I sincerely can’t believe it is already July! Wow! I am not complaining, we are getting so close to some super fun vacations, but we also have online classes and fair projects that need some time. Looking back, June was actually a really productive month. First of all, I stopped coughing, so I was able to be more active. Secondly, Keith and I had our little waterfall tour in Cleveland which was wonderful. In fact, we liked getting away on our own so much we decided to book a Disney trip for our anniversary in August. Celebrating 23 years during their 50th anniversary celebration just seems right. Also, we were there for the 25th anniversary birthday cake castle, so we decided we needed some redemption for that…

Without further ado, here is a recap of my June 2022 Goals:

  • Add 20 products to my TpT store – I did this! I am up to 80 products and need to start switching gears to get more traffic to my store.
  • Write a second insect flex class and a second sewing flex class – I did this, too! I wrote a Slumber Party Sewing Club FLEX Class and a Discovering Insects – Ancient Bugs FLEX Class. They won’t run until August because I need some time to get things ready, but I am super excited to have them written and available.
  • Make 5 blog posts, 25 Instagram posts, 25 Facebook posts, and 40 Pinterest pins – This was not a good month for social media and posting on the blog. I got 3 blog posts, 7 Instagram posts, 8 Facebook posts, and no pins. This will be my focus for next month.
  • Update Play-Doh listings for TpT to follow copyright guidelines – I finally took care of this!
  • An Adventure Date, Create Date, and 2 Family Game Nights – We did the 2 dates, but I am going to have to rethink Family Game Nights. We are not doing well… I am hoping maybe we can play some games on the planes or in the hotels this month when we go on vacation.
  • Organize cabinets and shelves in my office, including clearing craft supplies from front room – This is about three quarters of the way done. I have more organizing to do, and I think I need to host a FREE Garage Sale with everything we are getting rid of.
  • Reserve the rest of our Seattle tours and tickets – This is done! I am so excited for this trip!
  • Make dinner at home at least 16 times – I think we did about 10 dinners at home this month.
  • Walk 12 times (cough and energy dependent) – It took until about June 10th to be able to walk without coughing, but I think we got in 10 walks.
  • Hike 6 times (cough and energy dependent) – I had to look these up twice, but we did this! Our waterfall tour and Schnormeier Gardens tour helped a lot.

I feel really good about this – I earned a 7.5 out of 10 this month! It’s amazing what feeling good and having a little extra time in my schedule will do for my productivity. As I mention above, this month I am pivoting a little to start driving more traffic to my TpT store. With that in mind, here are my goals for July 2022:

  • Add 10 TpT products to my store.
  • Write a Sticker Collectors Club class for Outschool.
  • Make 4 blog posts, 25 Instagram and Facebook posts, and 31 Pinterest pins.
  • Set my Fall schedule for Outschool.
  • An Adventure Date, Create Date, and 2 Family Game Nights.
  • Finish organizing my classroom and our front room.
  • Have a Free Yard Sale with everything we need to give away from organizing efforts.
  • Make dinner at home 12 times (this is a stretch with tech week, fair, and vacation all falling this month).
  • Walk/work out 15 times (I am starting a new health program this month, and I am hopeful).
  • Hike 8 times (we have a few tours and hikes planned in Seattle, so this should be okay).

I am really looking forward to our family vacation this month – it has been almost 6 years since we have taken a true family vacation to somewhere new and 10 years since we have flown anywhere as a family. We are running out of time for these family trips, so I am so glad it is working out. I can’t wait to share the adventure with you in a post later this month! Have you ever been to Seattle? What are some things you loved? What things did you think were over-rated? Let us know in the comments. 🙂

June 2022 Create Date – Pandora Bead Class at Glass Axis

In April, I tried to set up 3 months worth of Create and Adventure dates. At that time, we were supposed to take this Pandora Bead class at Glass Axis in May, but it got postponed to early June. That left us scrambling a bit for a May date, but it made things really easy this month as I was at a dead end with the company I tried to work with for June. So, we made the trip over to Franklinton for our class. We were pretty excited to find out that we were the only ones signed up, so we got a lot of attention and tips from our wonderful instructor, Helen.

To get us started, Helen explained the tools and supplies we would be using. Neither of us had worked with a flame so closely before, so I know there were definitely nerves involved. We chose our colors and got all set up.

After we had our colors in front of us, Helen gave us examples of a couple of techniques we would be using. Then it was trial by fire to create 5 beads each.

After we finished each bead, it was labeled and then placed in the kiln to safely cool over the course of a week. We were able to pick them up about a week later, and I am so very proud of both of us! I think they turned out fantastic and I can’t wait to maybe wear some and give some as a gift. There was one bead that broke, but everything else turned out better than expected. 🙂

All in all, I found the process of making the beads pretty meditative. You had a lot to think about (preheating, always rotating, keeping things hot but not too hot, mixing colors, etc…) but it was also easy to get into a rhythm. I would definitely do this again, and I’m pretty sure Keith feels the same.

Have you ever done any flame work? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂

May 2022 Create Date – Sweet & Savory Grilling Class at Sur La Table

We did it! It was the last few hours of the month. It was the day we had to be up at 3:30 to take Charlotte to the airport. But we totally did a create date for May. Originally, we were supposed to make Pandora Beads at Glass Axis a week ago. That class was moved to next week by Glass Axis, though, so I was scrambling a bit to find something we could do. Then I remembered how much we liked out last cooking class at Sur La Table. After checking their website last week, I signed us up to do their Sweet & Savory Grilling class because it was definitely a new technique we’ve not tried. We don’t even own a grill anymore, but we have been toying with the idea of getting a new one. So, I thought this would convince us one way or the other.

Our class tonight was small – only 4 students – but it was really nice because I feel like we learned a lot and got to try everything. We started by chopping and prepping all of the ingredients for our dishes. Once everything was prepped, we were given a demonstration of how easy it is to make homemade whipped cream – and we got to try vanilla paste for the first time. I loved that we put cinnamon and cardamom in it – so yummy! That was quickly put into the fridge to wait for dessert. Our first creation was sweet pea and mint puree in a small food processor. We spread that on grilled bread and then topped with parmesan cheese, radish slices, olive oil and salt/pepper. It was amazing – I can definitely see us doing that again.

The next thing we did was chargrill corn, cherry tomatoes, and red onion slices to make a refreshing salad/salsa. A little basil chiffonade, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt/pepper mixed in and it was one of my favorite parts of the meal. We ate it with the grilled salmon, and it was a really refreshing combination.

The final part of our meal was grilled nectarine halves. The nectarine halves were soaked in honey and Grand Marnier before being grilled. We topped it with the whipped cream we made earlier in class and it was divine. I would seriously recreate this entire meal – and it wouldn’t even take that long.

Overall, we give this class 5 out of 5 stars. The chef was very knowledgeable and I feel like we learned lessons that we can use to make variations on the recipes. We also learned a lot about grill pans and knives, which I appreciated. Last of all, she gave us the best idea for a gift for my Dad – but I can’t reveal that before Father’s Day/his birthday this month.

Have you ever taken a cooking class? Where was it? What did you learn? Leave any and all ideas in the comments – we are always looking for new things to try. 🙂

April 2022 Create Date – Bicycle Spin Art Columbus

Last Sunday, we finally had a chance to do our Create Date for April at Bicycle Spin Art Columbus. The Columbus location opened April 9, 2022, so they don’t have a sign outside yet. You have to enter through Columbus Axe Throwing which was a little bit confusing. I went in just to ask where we needed to go, and that’s when we were directed down the stairs by the bar – after getting a couple drinks, of course.

Upon arrival, we were asked to cover up in coveralls and boots which they provided. We also had to sign waivers and create our name tags. There was a list of artists, a list of bike manufacturers, and then you added the name your kindergarten teacher called you. Keith and I were just called our names, so our tags aren’t the most creative ever…

Our Bicycle Spin Art host, Brooklyn, gave us a run down of how the process works, and then we were set free to experiment. Since I am, by nature, the more chaotic and experimental creator, I went first. I decided to mask the center with letter stickers to spell CREATE, and then I did just that. It was really fun to experiment with how fast or slow to pedal, how to pour the paint, and which direction to spin.

Keith went with a lot more negative space in his painting, and he was a lot better at directing me on the bike. He also had the advantage of all of the experimenting I did, so I think he was able to be a little more precise with his choices. Either way, I think our paintings are pretty much polar opposites. LOL

We really enjoyed this experience! We have even talked about going back as a family to make more. We are planning to add our art to the front room of our house, but it is not a project we are taking on right now. Here is what our final products look like – I love them so much! 🙂

Have you ever done any spin art? Would you love to try it? Let us know in the comments. 🙂

March 2022 Create Date – Glass Axis Sushi Date Night

We recently had the opportunity to take the Sushi Date Night class at Glass Axis. We had been to Glass Axis in 2019 to make Glass Sculpted Shamrocks, but this class is a totally different way to work with glass – glass fusing. Basically, we got to make a picture on glass with glass and then it was all melted together. The evening started with sushi and drinks, but I did not take any photos of that part. We were also given instructions on how to use several glass cutting tools and what types of glass we had at our disposal. Alex was a really helpful teacher and we enjoyed learning from her. After a talking through a few ideas for our design, we settled on a sun and rainbow motif.

Keith worked on the rainbow for the main sushi plate while I worked on the dip bowl. I think that Keith’s idea to make the rainbow a little fractured was brilliant, and I enjoyed doing just a little mosaic work for the sun.

We were told that we needed to wait 2 weeks to pick up our pieces because of the kiln schedule and COVID, so it was really exciting when I got to pick up this week. We love how they turned out, but we definitely have ideas for how we would do things differently if we were to do it again sometime.

Bringing home our pieces inspired an impromptu family sushi snack time, and I am totally here for it. Look how gorgeous this spread is (sushi is from Kroger – I can make it, but chose to buy it this time).

Family sushi snack time!

Incidentally, we will be heading to our favorite local sushi restaurant, Mr. Sushi, this weekend to celebrate our youngest daughter turning 17. Time can slow down a little bit… Do you have a favorite sushi restaurant? Let us know in the comments!

February 2022 Create Date – Columbus Cookie Academy

When everything shut down in March 2020 and Keith was suddenly home for lunch, we started watching television together while we ate everyday. We started with rewatching Community, we’ve watched every season of Taskmaster we can find, we went through as much of the Goldbergs as we could stand, enjoyed Schitt’s Creek, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. Over the holidays this year, we went through all 5 seasons of the Christmas Cookie Challenge. We loved seeing the techniques the contestants used, and Keith mentioned that he would love to take a cookie decorating class. You know that I was all over that!

After searching a bit on Facebook, I started emailing back and forth with Molly from Columbus Cookie Academy. Keith and I seem to have a lot of meetings these days, but eventually we were able to find a date that worked for us to go try our hand at some icing techniques. That date then had to be pushed back due to the ice and snow storm the beginning of this month, but we were finally able to make up that class this week. We made the drive up to Galena very excited to decorate some cookies.

Molly was so personable and easy to talk to. She had an amazing way of explaining things so we could understand, and she was very sweet to answer any questions we asked. The first thing she did was demonstrate making the royal icing that we would use. She included that recipe and her cookie recipe in the goodie bag we got to take home after the class, and she made sure to walk us through it step by step so that we can replicate it at home. The next thing she helped us with was getting the icing to the right consistency and colors to decorate our cookies.

Next it was time to learn to flood the top of the cookie with icing. We then learned some wet on wet techniques. She seemed to think that Keith and I were naturals – I did volunteer that I have taken cake decorating before, so I wasn’t exactly a beginner. But Keith was definitely excellent at this from the start. I am so proud of him!

In between steps, the cookies went in the dehydrator so the icing could harden a bit. It was fun to decide how to divide each cookie for decorating and what techniques to use.

In the end, we both decorated 5 cookies. Molly also gave us some quadruple chocolate cookies she had made – mine had sea salt on top and was divine. Yum! We were thrilled with the box of cookies we got to take home – and so were the kids. 🙂

Our finished cookies – can you guess who did what? There are clues in the photos above. 🙂

We both left this experience feeling really positive – Keith is already planning to make cookies for the Spring musical cast party in May. I think we should choose a slightly smaller project for our first one, but I like his enthusiasm. We definitely recommend Columbus Cookie Academy if you have any desire to learn to decorate cookies!

Have you ever done any cookie decorating? What is your favorite royal icing technique? We’d love to hear in the comments.

January 2022 Create Date – Pleasures of the Cup

I am so excited to be writing about our first Create Date for 2022! I have missed this so much – although I will admit that we have done some creating and adventuring that didn’t appear here in the blog. I am really just thrilled that I have adventure and create dates on the books through March! So many things to look forward to!

For this particular Create Date, we did a little mixology with the Ohio History Connection in their virtual event called Ohio On The Rocks – Pleasures of the Cup. The event featured 3 segments where we mixed new cocktails and 4 segments where we learned some facts about Ohio during the Ice Age. Was it a little bit cheesy at points? Yes. Was it still super fun? Absolutely! We have actual done one other virtual event like this called Once Upon a Cocktail (it was fairy tale themed), and I have enjoyed both. We got to buy and mix new drinks and we definitely enjoyed making some cocktails from our last class over the holidays. Also, both times, we have done this “with” a friend, so we spent the time sending messages and photos back and forth. That was definitely wonderful and I would recommend attending the event with friends for that added fun.

I am going to leave you with some fun photos of our set up and drinks – we made Sex on a Glacier, The Purple Mammoth, and Damn the Weather. I think Damn the Weather was our favorite, although we enjoyed The Purple Mammoth a lot as well.

Have you ever taken a mixology class? Do you have a favorite mixed drink that you would recommend we learn to make? Have you ever attended a Pleasures of the Cup event? Let me know in the comments.