Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Creating pretty pottery at local studio October 26, 2017

unfinishedpotteryvase

Starting the project.

I’ve been wanting to head back to the local pottery studio to make something artsy. It was meant to be when my friend mentioned she wanted to try her hand at pottery painting. So we picked an afternoon for our outing, choosing to meet at Creative Arts Studio in downtown Royal Oak (I took my niece here for an aunt/niece outing).

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The studio is a welcoming, sunshine-filled location that offers pottery painting, mosaics, glass fusing and more (I’ve only tried the pottery painting). Walk-ins are welcome and you can bring your own drinks and snacks. This studio charges a flat studio fee for adults and children, in addition to the price of the item you choose (ranging from under $5 to over $100).

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There are a lot of pottery pieces available, from vases to serving dishes to seasonal items to tea sets and more! I spent (too much) time wandering the rows of items, picking up one item only to spot another that interested me. Should I paint a coffee mug? Turtle for my great room floor? Horse-shaped bank? Bookends? Maybe a Michigan-shaped platter? I finally made myself focus, settling on a small vase since I’m a lover of flower bouquets placed around my house (hint to future boyfriend), although I mentally logged some other items I want to work on at a later time. The studio was fairly busy, plus a small birthday party group arrived shortly after us, so it was fun to look around at what others were working on. There were some really great ideas and talent in that building!

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potteryvase2017

My new vase!

The staff was very friendly and helpful. We were directed to shelves of glaze colors. The glaze is food safe on the finished product. I selected a few colors for my vase, then settled at a table with my friend to start the creative process.

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Three coats of each color is required for a deep color upon finish (it’s helpful that there are sample color tiles of the finished, three-coat color). I discovered the only challenge to working at a table with another is you ‘might’ lose track of how many coats you’ve painted while talking. Ha! So one of my colors got an extra coat because I couldn’t remember and decided I’d prefer a darker color rather than lighter.

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You write your name or initials on the bottom of your item and leave it at the studio to be fired. Pick it up in a week and you have a great item to keep or give as a gift!

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5 activities for fun with girlfriends October 23, 2017

girlfriendsonwall

Sometimes simple fun is the best fun!

I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by kind, courageous, fun people, including a wonderful group of women who I call my good friends. I’ve certainly learned over the years that it’s not the quantity of friends but the quality of friendships that help make life meaningful and fun. I love spending time with these friends. And as with most circumstances, it’s not so much what we do, simply that we’re spending time together.

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One thing I look forward to during the cooler months is indoor fun with friends. Our activities of choice change a bit when the weather changes. Makes sense as we want to be outdoors to enjoy beautiful, sunny weather and move indoors when the weather isn’t so beautiful.

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I love spending time with girlfriends, especially lately as I’ve really built some strong bonds with amazing women. We’ve been talking about activities and plans for the winter months. Here are some ideas I’m working to put on our calendars:

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Ceramic/pottery studio: I recently went to a local ceramic studio with a girlfriend and had a blast creating a vase. I love being crafty and artsy so enjoy the opportunity to paint something to take home. It’s a nice time to relax with friends, enjoy girl talk and see what creativity we can spark.

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Painting class: You may think you aren’t an artist and can’t paint, but the popular step by step painting classes are really for anyone. I’ve even seen great pieces by children! These group classes are often by reservation so get a group together, choose the piece to paint and get artsy. It’s fun to compare paintings at the end because no painting looks alike!

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spinningclassImage

Motivate yourself with others!

Girls night in: Sometimes the best fun is hanging out at someone’s home, with drinks, food, movies, games or whatever, and girl talk! As much as I’m dreading the cold weather, I’m looking forward to inviting some girlfriends over, building a fire (a requirement with my new home!), serving snacks, pouring drinks and enjoying time with friends – perfect indoor fun.

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Fitness class: While not everyone loves to work out, many of my friends are willing to try classes if someone goes with them. And I’m usually ‘that friend’ who is game to try something new! Indoor cycling, Zumba, Pilates, yoga, boxing, water aerobics, whatever. There are SO many choices of fitness classes (almost too many) and it’s always better with a partner or three! I love attending Zumba classes for the great exercise I get while dancing to fun music, however, more so lately, I enjoy seeing the girlfriends I’ve made over the years of attending the same class. I even arrive early for the chance to catch up with them, and we meet for happy hour now too (when we aren’t sweaty!).

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Progressive dinners: These can be fun, simple events if you live in close proximity to your girlfriends. Someone hosts the appetizer course, you all move to another house for the main meal and then move to another home for dessert. Have 2-3 women take on a course so it’s more fun, schedule 1-1.5 hours at each stop, and enjoy!

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What are some fun activities you look forward to with your friends?

 

Play time with the little ones October 9, 2013

Filed under: Life Lessons,Random Travels & Exploring — Heather @ 3:32 pm
Tags: , , , , ,
The kids & I love exploring the world outside.

The kids & I love exploring the world outside.

It’s no secret that I’m the proud aunt of four nieces and a nephew, ranging in ages from 2 years to 17 years old. I love being an active part of their lives. Watching them grow warms my heart and I can’t explain the love I feel for them. When people ask me if I have children, I never say no but answer, “Four nieces and a nephew.”

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Having such a diverse age range means we try a variety of activities. Thankfully all five adore each other, and the two older girls are always happy to play with the younger ones (who love spending time with them!). I recently babysat the younger three (A is 6, B is 5 and C is 2; yes, their names do start with A, B & C!) – we packed so much into the evening, I’m not sure who was more tired! There was no argument about bed time! My cheeks hurt from laughing so much. I always try to play toys or come up with fun activities to do when I’m watching the kids so thought I’d share some of our favorite ideas:

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Read books: I am a reading fanatic so any time I get an opportunity to share a book with the kids, I take advantage. My sister takes the younger ones to the library often so we either read those or from the vast collection on their bedroom bookshelf. A is becoming a great reader so lately I encourage her to take a turn.

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Dance: Music is a big part of my family’s life, which translates down to the kids. They love to sing and dance. Sometimes we just turn the radio or iPod on to get into the groove; other times we play Wii Dance Party, Disney Dance Party or Michael Jackson Dance. I love watching the intense concentration on the little ones’ faces while they learn the dance moves, and then the burst of pride when they realize they’re following perfectly! We have tons of fun while promoting an active, “keep the feet” moving lifestyle!

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It's easy to find cool items for craft projects!

It’s easy to find cool items for craft projects!

Art projects: We color, cut, paint and sparkle a lot. With the leaves changing to fall colors, I love taking the kids outside to explore nature and collect leaves, acorns, twigs and other natural items.  Then we grab some construction paper, glue sticks and markers to make fun pictures.

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T-ball in the backyard: America’s pastime can be modified for the younger citizens. So we make bases from the trees or dog toys in the yard, take turns batting and standing in outfield. Even little C is on our team (although she likes to hit and then chase her own ball, which makes the older two roll their eyes a lot!). It’s pure chaos mixed with lots of laughs.

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Be silly and fun: I always encourage the kids to be imaginative. So yes, the stuffed dog ‘barks’ and the Little People princesses ‘talk’ to each other. We ‘taste’ the tea made by C and cover our ears when B’s fire engine sirens go off. There are moments when the kids look at me like I’m a little crazy but then their little giggles come and their creativity takes over.

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The most important activity we always do? Laugh, laugh, laugh! It would be easy to turn on the television or grab the iPad, but those aren’t my personal go-to items for anything. I love talking, laughing and playing with them. I know these are memories that I will remember and cherish forever, moments to look back on as they grow into adulthood. I can only hope they’ll remember and cherish too.

 

 
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