Creating at home, a few easy and flexible autumn activities by Lauren DeMarco

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As far as values go, creativity falls into a "top 3" spot in our home, up there with kindness and gratitude. I value creativity above order and efficiency and material goods and convenience. I can even choose creativity over health at times, skipping breakfast for an extra 20 minutes to sew or ignoring neck pain when I am "in the flow" of creative work.

Staying true to this value might mean screen printing with very damaging ink in our dining room or neglecting social engagements. It might be moving some bins in the garage to get to that special spray sealant from a locked cabinet, even though it's entirely inconvenient.

This weekend we decided to go for it with a bunch of pumpkins and some cookies. Right there in the kitchen/dining room. I have every art supply from every medium in the house and Chi was encouraged to do whatever she wanted to decorate her pumpkin. We laid out some drop cloths (AKA old, fugly canvas fabric) and she decided on "painting a spooky face".

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She had a really great time and asked for more and more colors throughout the process. We used simple plastic plates as palettes and a few cheap brushes. We used various inexpensive acrylic paints and they were perfect.

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Chi was confused as to why I didn't want to make my pumpkin spooky. Frank did a carved face which was super cute and festive. I sealed our painted pumpkins with a spray from Wal-mart or some hardware store. So far, so good with the paint staying on.

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I don't really care for these yucky, packaged cookie kits but Chi convinced me in a moment of weakness and they were fun to put together. Again, I created next to her, giving her freedom and a few of her own cookies to do on her own. She mirrored me for the first one or two but then got creative with the materials.

We set our pumpkins on the stoop, ate a cookie each, and then took a 2.5 hour nap with the crisp fall air coming into the open bedroom window.

Don't be afraid to make a mess or to make something unattractive! I know my daughter will look back on her childhood, think of the paint brushes in the dish drying rack and bits of thread stuck to our socks, and remember our joyful days creating together. I am prouder of this than most things.

Handmade pottery is in the shop, ready to ship! by Lauren DeMarco

Hey friends,

A few pieces from the Summer 2017 collection, 3 "Ladies" pieces and 1 Floral Bowl, are live in the shop, ready to ship!

 
This is a slice of my  perfect banana cake...

This is a slice of my perfect banana cake...

 

I want the art I make to be used every day!!
I make every piece for function, not just beauty.

The bowl you see below is
YOUR NEW FAVORITE BOWL!


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I think these also make perfect gifts. Did you know that the red lips on the "Ladies" represent POWER and the pink cheeks represent VULNERABILITY. I really love seeing these qualities in the women in my life, especially the moms and makers like me, whom I always look to for #laurenspiration!!

If you are not in the market right now but are want to stay informed... follow my instagram for updates!

Read more about me and the "why" behind Laurenspired.
Or visit my portfolio to see what else I am working on!

Crabs and Ice Cream, Waterballoons and Jumprope. Summer Bucket List by Lauren DeMarco

Another check on the summer bucket list, my family's annual crab feast was a success. It is so joyful to use traditions as reminders to be present in the current season.

Other items on the bucket list this year:
Fireworks, s'mores by the bonfire, Chi's birthday party, start and finish tiny tiles quilt, bake a peach pie from sunny slope peaches, grill steamers, rides on the boardwalk, Photo booth pics with Frank and Chi, sea glass hunt at sea breeze, 4th of July weekend shopping and cousin time, solstice picnic on sunset beach, berry picking, brown's donuts, beach week, Megan and Amanda's weddings, Mo's birthday beach dinner, and more!!

What's on your bucket list for summa'!? I always want more ideas!! Let me know on Instagram!

The Best Banana Chocolate Chip Cake, if I do say so myself by Lauren DeMarco

Guess who got the bigger piece?

Guess who got the bigger piece?

I am not a professional baker or chef but I have made this cake so many times that it is now seriously perfect. I made Molly's recipe from the Orangette with the coconut cream icing and it was AMAZING. I love it just how it is. But keeping the icing stuff on hand is more of a pain to me than just keeping mini chocolate chips in the pantry so I made this twist on it. Now, I can make this whenever I have over-ripe bananas.

Ingredients:
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (+1 tsp for the chips, see below)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ cup puréed very ripe bananas
¼ cup sour cream
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup of mini chocolate chips (tossed in the above 1 tsp of flour so they don't sink to the bottom of the cake)

How to make it:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl.

In another bowl beat the butter and brown sugar until combined. Add the egg, banana (smashed), sour cream, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Add the dry mixture a little at a time. Don't overmix.

Sprinkle the floured chips into the batter and fold them in. Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. I usually do about 35. The top will be a nice gold color and a toothpick will come out clean. Let cake cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove it from the pan.

Holy moley, its so good! And the smell, OMG. Any questions, send me an email:

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Wabi Sabi Tiny Tiles Quilt (In Progress) by Lauren DeMarco

I love a good long term project.

I had a little over a week off between the school year and summer school and I wanted to have something creative to show for it. I saw a tutorial on Purl Soho for a Tiny Tile Quilt which looked manageable yet challenging for me, and gave me room to be the rebel I always need to be with projects. I chose my own colors/fabrics, adjusted the size, and decided to hand-stitch the top to the batting and back. I chose to use a dark purple Kona cotton, dark purple linen, a mustard Kona cotton, mustard linen, a small scale blue floral print, a navy Kona cotton and muslin. (If you wanted to make one with the exact materials in the tutorial, here is the bundle they offer to make it that much easier).

I am using a giant embroidery hoop and just moving it around as I go. I will be stitching in the opposite direction as well once I finish this direction. It is so wabi-sabi, just the way I like it and is taking a long time which is perfect. I am using hand-stitching thread which is more coarse so it won't knot. I'm pretty obsessed with how it is coming out!

I will post a picture of the final product when it's complete.

Any other questions? Just shoot me an email:

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