Tooray! Winner of Soul Comfort Class!!

We totally pushed pause on buzzing about our other give-away for the excitement of the Soul Comfort class give-away.  So be sure to check that out as this one’s ending…you can win some awesome ephemera!!  And we’ll be back tomorrow to share a sneak peek at what’s in that awesomitacular collection!!

Hosting this give-away has been terribly rewarding…I have totally loved all of the comments and feedback about what everyone does as comfort to the soul.

Originally, I had all kinds of reasons for wanting to host this.  I loved the thought of being involved in drumming up excitement for a class from Brave Girls’ Club…I guess you could say I’m kind of a fan girl 🙂  I was so excited about being a part of that!

You know what I found, though?  Brave Girls’ Club devised such a beautiful way to share their own successes and excitement.  They offered out the classes for the other bloggers to give away, FOR FREE!!  I know, it seems like it was a great way to get other bloggers to reach out to their own followings and spread the news of the new class, but really.  Brave Girls’ Club has a way bigger following than does St John Studios.  And when I asked to be a part of the whole give-away blog fest, they didn’t say “Oh, no, your blog is way too small.”  They didn’t tell me I don’t have enough of my own subscribers.  They were totally positive and delightful and then pushed my blog out on their own messages to send people to this blog to enter the contest!!

Talk about sharing in the success!  We have had such an amazing boost in traffic and interaction and lovies from people who might not have run into our blog otherwise!

And I get the joy of giving away a spot in their new class!!!

Talk about paying it forward, about spreading joy and love, about helping others, about building up other artists.

I can’t thank them enough.  I can only profess here, publicly, that I so love and appreciate Brave Girls’ Club and Melody and Kathy for their precious gift.  Thank you.

Alright, so on with the WINNER!!!

Random Number 2Autumne Horan Sep 17, 9:04 am

When I hear the words soul comfort I think about being deeply rooted in the ground, I think of being empathic of myself, self care, and being gentle with myself. I have post traumatic stress disorder and spent the summer in trauma treatment centre, soul comfort would help me with the transition from this centre to home, self care, connection to self, and self love.

 

Tooray! 2

Please drop me an email Autumne to verify your email and other details so that Kathy can get your spot in the class all set up.  Congratulations!!

I do hope that those of you who are new to St John Studios will come back.  You can follow the blog and get wind of new posts and goings-on around here by subscribing over at the left.  You can also find our FB page and follow us there, we’d love to see you!

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see the sneak peek of our AWESOME ephemera pack!  It will be fun Art Fodder™ to use in your Soul Comfort class 🙂

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We’re Hosting a Give-Away to the New Brave Girls’ Club Course, Soul Comfort

Hot dog!

I have the honor of sharing with you the details of a FABULOUS class starting next week…Tuesday September 24…with Brave Girls’ Club!!!

Do you ever have one of those surreal moments, where you look around and wonder how something this groovy happened?  I was at work, pouting pretty much cuz I couldn’t play hookey and paint all day…when I found out I was going to be sharing with you such a super-cool opportunity…that I get to give away an artsy-journaling class!!!

I shared with you earlier this summer new of a meaningful class I was taking with Brave Girls’ Club here, and then finished up the summer sharing with you the cover to the book I worked on throughout the class (check it out here).

And now Brave Girls’ Club has a new class coming, next week!!  And I am honored to share with you an incredible opportunity, to win a spot in the class!

Outstanding 🙂  And we will be holding the drawing, a random winner chosen out of the comments left on this very post…it could be any one of you, just leave a comment below answering this question:

What do you think of when you hear the words “Soul Comfort”?

WOO-HOO!!!  Here’s some class details:

To the tired, the exhausted, the overstretched…here’s an invitation…

Life can be simple.

What if we celebrated the brave act of….taking a break?

What if simplicity,
comfort, and quiet were the goal?

What if there really was a way to quiet the chatter in our minds and let us recharge our body & soul?

And what if it was fun, too?

Introducing a new eCourse . . .

Soul Comfort

Soul Comfort is a fresh new concept using art and journaling as a means to relax and comfort yourself and to get grounded while dealing with the craziness of every-day living.

This course if full of beautiful projects to fuel your creativity in very simple and easy ways that are meditational and relaxing , beautiful comforting things that will have your soul infused into them so that you want to keep them forever.

Brave Girls Club - Melody RossMelody (course creator and teacher) says, “I want to teach you some new habits of creativity mixed with simplicity that I have learned over the years. Being a recovering hoarder of supplies and techniques, this is really a new way to give yourself permission to do things simply but beautifully.

One of the most wonderful things about this course is that everything fits into one fabric tote bag . . . I wanted to create a whole course where all of the supplies fit into a tiny space so that you could take it everywhere you go…so that you could do it sitting on your bed, on your couch, with your family, do it with your children, in the car, wherever your day takes you. It’s incredible. This has changed my life. This has been something that I have used on my own and I can’t wait to share it with you.”

Brave Girls Club - Soul Comfort - Melody, Patrice, Kathy

You can count on this class to be . . .

  • enlightening, enjoyable, fun, & simple
  • customizable with many choices to fit your exact style
  • interactive, encouraging, and supportive with a private community on Facebook and weekly live chats
  • a beautiful experience that will help you relax, simplify, and enjoy your life 
  • a place to learn simple new ways to journal, plus the  ”Brave Girl” way to use stitching and such to create both beautiful things you’ll love AND peaceful relaxing moments
  • a place to learn exactly what nourishes YOUR body and soul, and how to fit comforting rituals into your day
  • something that you can finish without feeling overwhelmed
  • produced with the level of caring and  excellence and attention to detail that Brave Girls Club is known for

Brave Girls Club - Soul Comfort Stitchery

We’ve worked to narrow down things to quench the yearning of your soul…to be able to be creative but also to be sensitive to the mess that it makes and the time that it takes as well as the brain space it takes for complicated tools and  techniques. We will teach you fun ways to make beautiful things while relaxing yourself . . .and we’ll be participating in the class right along with you.

  • This will be relaxing, fun, and simple
  • You’ll be able to take it along with you, everywhere you go
  • Instead of overwhelming you with one  more thing to stress out about, this eCourse will help you relax, enjoy, and feel comfort and peace no matter what else is going on in your life.

Brave Girls Club - Go Create Something stitchery

It is YOUR time for some Soul Comfort. Come join us!

        • Supply List – simple, inexpensive supplies
        • Register Here – tuition $99
        • Class begins September 24. Access the online classroom through January 2, 2014.
        • Divided into 4 segments, with a new one released every two weeks to give you lots of space to breathe.

Brave Girls Club - Soul Comfort journal prompts

Remember: Leave a comment below, answering the question,

What do you think of when you hear the words “Soul Comfort”?

We will choose the random winner Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 9 a.m. PST.

Princess Bella’s Birthday Soiree, with a Polka Dot Cake and More!

Crown

I can’t believe that Princess Bella’s Birthday Soiree was already two days ago!  I have been fixin’ to get ready to post some pics since then, but so many other happenings kept happening!

So let’s get straight down to it.

The cake.  Oh, wow, what can I say.  The hubby is the most brilliant, wonderfully creative, enabling kind of guy.  I know this is all about Bella’s birthday and the cake and stuff, but I just have to say super quickly, my hubby rocks!  He doesn’t ever try to damper my whacky party ideas, he doesn’t try to bring me down to Earth and tell me I can’t do anything.  He actually jumps right in and has a blast with me, and even goes so far as to make it even more awesome than I had imagined!!!

Okay, so back to the cake.  I wanted some kind of cake befitting the Royal Princess (ya know, I hope that doesn’t start sounding like we do nothing but spoil our children, although we might, Bella just really was born in to this world to command it, her personality!)…and it needed to be a total girl cake.

And here’s how it finished up:

Cake

And here’s what was in the middle:

Cake Balls Baked

I know, polka dots!  That is all Christopher’s doing.  I’ll include here a couple of pics of how to polka dots were put together, I might come back later and do a super-quick how-to on that whole thing 🙂

Cake Balls Cake Balls 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But on to the Birthday Banner.  That has become some kind of tradition in our home, at least the kids think that they are supposed to have a banner now for every birthday and holiday event.  My fault…so this time around I just started grabbing stuff out of my fabric stash and throwing it into the sewing machine.  And the kids colored the crown cut-outs to add as decorations.

Swag

Swag 2

Swag 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, that’s some of my paintings on the wall, Bella wouldn’t let me move them for the party!

Now, the party favors.  We don’t do huge parties with all kinds of kids and people over.  Remembering our kidlets are home-schooled, so we don’t have to outdo all of the birthday parties of the whole kindergarten.  We do have a couple of buddies that play with ours just about every day, so we have them over with a couple of close friends.  So I don’t have to put together an enormous pile of party favor loot.  I got to really go for it 🙂

Party Favors

I made the treat bags out of pieces of denim from my stash, all from old pairs of blue jeans.  Jeans that have been outgrown, jeans that have gotten holes in the knees, jeans that finally have too much paint to wear in the light of day.  And I used boys’ jeans and girls’ jeans.  Some had sections that I could use as a whole piece, and some I had to piece together with patches from other pieces.  I also frayed the edges of everything a bit and left the seams on the outside.  For handles, I used lace and ribbons from the stash box.

Party Favors 3I worried throughout the week as I made the little bags, by the way.  I kept thinking they were looking dumb, or that they were a bad idea, just like going through hating some other piece of art I’m creating.  Not sure why I’d get away with it on party favors…

But I just kept sewing, and as the kids were in and out all week, they’d see the little bags coming together.  They were so excited when they finally got to have their little homemade artsy bag creation!  And they’ve been carrying them around with them since, including the neighbor kids!  They’ve all got the little journals I made them stuffed in the bags, along with video games and plastic jewelry and doodads and candy…they just carry their little things in them, even the boys!  It also helped that the bags had lollipops and ring pops and tootsie rolls and starbursts and plastic gemstone rings, too.

Here’s a quick peek at the journals I made them, a la clear packing tape and rubber bands (like the duct tape journals you see all over the place) and patterned papers and cardboard-painted covers.  And just like with the bags, the kids all watched me making the little books and squawked with delight when they finally got their hands on them and could start drawing in them!

Journal cover Journal cover 2 Journal inside

We cooked out burgers, and ate yummies and cake and ice cream, and Princess Bella delighted in all of the rightful attention she was getting.  And everyone showered her with gifts of love and sparkles, a whole pile of dress-up fodder…which she has been donning and trying on and admiring and wearing for the paparazzi.

It’s funny.  I didn’t have to run out and buy anything to do all of this preparation.  I just dug around in my boxes and bins of stashed fodder…so much of it was recycled material, or free craigslist stuff, or thrift store finds saved for a rainy day.  I spent a lot of time, and put a ton of love into it all, but not so much in monies.  But this will be one of those birthdays she’s gonna remember as one of the most magical and love-filled parties ever!

 

Planning the Princess Birthday, the Perfect Project for a Glitter Mama

A dream is a wish your heart makes.

~ Cinderella

My baby girl is turning 5!!!

She’s telling me that I don’t get to call her the “baby” anymore…yea, right…she’s still my baby 🙂

And because she is a Princess, you know, I get to have the most fun prepping for her birthday gathering on Monday.

I used to be one of those gals that would run up (or send Christopher up to) the party store, gather all of the trappings of a boxed birthday party, blow up balloons, and call it done.  Well, we also usually make some kind of crazy cake.  But the rest has been more of a boxed sort of birthday plan.

The more I art, and the more I collect stuff, the more I get away from the boxed approach and go more towards a do-it-yourself approach.

This birthday, Bella’s 5th, is coming together really really super-sweet!!  And cuz she’s all girl, a true Princess, I get to decorate in pink and shiny and flowers and glitter and all of the trappings of girlie stuff, perfect for a glitter gal like myself.  It’s better than Happy I Love You Day!  Along with the lovelies for the cake and the decorations, Bella’s getting some new tutus and dress-up pretties, and I’ve made some cute little packing tape artsy journals and favor bags for the kidlets, that will be tucked in with candy.

I’ll have pics of the interesting swags that I’m making, once I get it hung up and installed.  I put up some kind of Birthday Banner for each of their birthdays, they range from paper flags, to butterflies with words on them, to paper chains.  This one is a yellow and pink and fringe and lace thing.  And they all seem to think that I’ve upped the bar, since I had the sewing machine out for this one.  They’ve all started putting in their orders for their next birthday soirees!

And when I’m back, I’ll show you what we come up with for the custom birthday cake.  We have made quite the assortment of cakes over the years, some of them are total masterpieces, while others are, uhm, well, embarassing, heehee.

Here’s a fun look at some of our past cakes to tide you over till then.  These are quite the memories in our little fam, the kids remember the cakes that we make with joy and laughter and sometimes even a bit of anxiety (see the Elmo cake)!  The beautiful white and raspberry cake is Bella’s birthday yummy from last year, you can see it in more detail, along with the recipe links and so forth here.

Al's Cake

Pokeball ice cream cake\

Ry's Cake

350Bell's Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ally 4 cake 2Sunshine cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend, I’ll be here playing Birthday Prep.  Be sure to check back for pics of all the festivities!

xoxo

Happy I Love You Day! Get in the Swing of Things!

Baby, I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song,

You right me when I’m wrong,

Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.

~ Paul McCartney

Cuppie Cakes 5

 

Happy I Love You Day is here!  My little kidlets made it all the way till after breakfast before swapping their sweet little Valentine cards with us and each other…and we already had to get into the cupcakes, as soon as breakfast was over 🙂

Cuppie Cakes 2

 

 

And before the giant, teen-aged boy left for school this morning, I slipped a little booklet of Valentine jokes in his lunch.  Oh, and marshmallows (we’re not sure who’s kid he really is, he doesn’t like chocolate!).

 

And I made cute Happy I Love You Day cards, stuffed into an envelope with some Valentine joke bookmarks and mazes and coloring pages, and actually mailed them out ahead of time for the kids!  We’re gonna sneak out to the mailbox and put ’em in there so the kids get mail today.  How fun is that!  I almost never get things done ahead of time like that, lol.

If you haven’t gotten in the spirit of things before now, it’s not too late.  Plenty of Valentine lovey-dovey fodder around.  These cuppie cakes were super easy, just used the FunFetti cake mix and baked them in the flat, cake cones.  Don’t over-fill them, though, or they will overflow all over the place (yes, I did get one whole tray of them like that).

Or make a Valentine card…plenty of cute things around on the interwebs.  We’ve posted ideas the past two weeks, and you can still check out some of the lovies we posted last year.  Write a love letter to your loved one, to yourself, to the world…make a journal page with hearts…write a love poem or haiku…recite some Shakespeare…watch a romance…listen to a love song or two…Just feel the love!

I hope you feel the love today.  That’s what it’s all about.  And know that here, someone is thinking of you, as I think of you to whom I am writing, all of the time!

Valentine Logo

Valentine Party Favors, Perfect for Little Valentines

Here in the St John household, we love to party, er, celebrate.  We have themed dinner parties (which are a total blast), we have Saturday night cookouts (no matter the actual day of the week), and we totally we make our own cakes for all of the birthdays.

Valentine’s Day is no different.  We decorate and make cookies or cuppie cakes or some such thing.  Sometimes I even make them from scratch…and we have some kind of wonderful dinner together, with red and white tablecloths and the works.

Valentine treats 3This year I made some cute treat holders for yummy little chocolates for the kidlets (I am one of those mommies that saves everything) using toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes.

You just decorate ’em up, use tissue paper to wrap the goodies and pull through the tubes, and tie off the paper, just like a candy.  Voila!

Valentine treats 2

On a side note, I did make a bunch of these for the elder daughter’s birthday in the fall…they were a HUGE success!  I filled them with candies, little plastic Pokemon figurines (the theme of the party), and plastic rings and bracelets.  For those I used paper towel tubes…the kids loved them, and they were not just plain ole plastic bags from the party store.

Celebrating Christmas in July ~ Some How-to Projects to Inspire You

Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.

~ Dale Evans

I know, I know, Christmas in July can seem a bit hokey.  It’s tough for me to think about Christmas this far out, when we’re focused on bbq’s and going to the lake and entertaining kidlets now that they’ve been out of school for so many weeks…

I do start thinking about little gifts and treasures for the holidays, I start stashing goodies that I find on clearance racks and on ebay and craigslist and at the many yard sales during the summer.  When you have four kids, you have to plan ahead and watch great deals.

And every year I promise myself that I’ll start my Christmas projects earlier, so that during the actual holiday times I’m not absorbed with the projects so I can enjoy the festivities more fully.

In honor of that whole idea, I’ll be sharing several fun holiday-inspired projects with you, including a couple of my most-favorite recipes for the holidays.  If you, too, think of getting a few projects out of the way before the holidays are upon us, then hopefully these will help you get inspired.

I’ll be including the How-to Instructions on the projects I’m posting, along with pictures and thoughts on how to adapt the projects for other uses.  As we truck along, I’d love for you to share any thoughts or ideas you have on preparing early, and on what kinds of projects you make for the holidays.

One year, I made everyone on my list custom dream catchers.  Another year it was all jewelry, followed the next year by birth chart necklaces.  And still another year everyone got multi-media canvases.  I’ve made hand-made journals, rag rugs, beautiful photo albums, music compilation CD’s, and Christmas scrapbooks.

I hope you’ll join me this week for a couple of jump-start projects!

xoxo

Prompt: Do you make gifts for Christmas?  Do you like to make decorations and holiday foods and treats?  Do you make your own gift wrap?  What kinds of artsy-craftsy projects do you like to make for the holidays?  

Yummy Birthday Cake, Recipe and Notes for Your Pleasure

I promised you that I’d bring you pics and the recipe for the new cake we made for Bella’s Birthday celebration dinner…

Christopher does most of the cooking in our house…I see cooking mostly as a chore, while Christopher sees cooking as his favorite artistic expression.  That probably explains why no one will eat my cooking and they all love his!!

I am really good at ideas and inspirations, so I find stuff for him to make.  His gift is taking the ideas and flavor inspirations and making wonderful creations for us.

I do get to help with all of the baking, though.  I have mastered the art of cookies, and I have been conquering the cake.

We’ve been making all of our kidlets’ birthday cakes over the years…some of them turn out to be wild and even a bit weird Elmos or garden flowers and even Lightening McQueen cakes.  Some times we don’t do the character thing and keep it to yummy and beautiful creations, like strawberry shortcakes or chocolate-cake-and-cream-roll cakes.  But they are always a work of love and joy and celebration.

Bella’s Birthday Bash Cake was adapted from a recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine.  I actually get the hard-copy magazine delivered to my home (one of the best gifts I have ever received), but I will include links to the recipes online for you.  On a side note, Living is one of the best sources of inspiration for all kinds of neat stuff ~ color schemes, decorating, how-tos, party planning, collage fodder, crafty projects, recipes, all kinds of stuff.  Some of the inspiration is exactly what is in the magazine and other inspiration is indirect, but every month it is chock-full of great stuff.  I visit the online site for ideas regularly as well.  I most often go to allrecipes.com for food ideas, but Martha Stewart totally rocks!

You can find the recipes here for the Raspberry White Cake and the Meringue Frosting.

I know that ours doesn’t look exactly like Martha’s cake, but we opted out of the flaked coconut on top of the cake and put on the raspberries.  Bella loves all things produce, and for her, more is better.

Christopher and I actually did this whole thing together.  We had a great time, and the cake turned out beautifully and yummy and was a big hit.

I would only suggest a couple of adaptations for the next time around:

  1. We used Knotts Berry Farm raspberry jam for the goo in between the layers.  It was way too sweet.  WAY too sweet.  Next time we will make our own raspberry compote for in between the layers.
  2. We did not fold a bunch of raspberries into the batter just in case the kidlets didn’t like the cooked raspberries.  The batter got a little bit dry, as the batter accounts for the juice in the raspberries cooking into the batter.  Next time I will add a bit more whole milk to make up for that and keep the cake a little more moist.
  3. I cooked it too long, by about 3 or 4 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook, just let the cakes get barely golden before getting them out of the oven.

But the flavor and texture were both awesome, the meringue was the perfect amount of sweet and fluffy, and the whole thing is a fairly simple recipe and didn’t take too long.  Definitely one we will try again in the future!

Prompt:  Do you have a favorite cake recipe?  I would really love to hear about it 🙂