Short Hiatus for This Ohio Life

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Hello Readers! This Ohio Life will be taking a short break for the next few weeks. Our little family is moving to the Dayton area! We’re excited to be closer to family and friends, but sad to be leaving our friends and the Queen City. I’m busy packing, cleaning and job hunting, with little time to left to post here.

I’ll be back in a little while, well before the end of the month. Have a wonderful October – read something spooky! 🙂

DIY – Love Rock Magnets

Love Rock Magnets

I have a new DIY tutorial for you! These little magnets are so cute and simple! I call them love rocks because last year I started a project where I painted over 100 rocks with hearts and hid them in various spots around Ohio (check them out on my tumblr blog). Those that found the rocks could go to my tumblr address (which I wrote on the back of each rock) and share where they found the rock. Some people kept the rocks they found and others hid them again!

I decided to turn some of my favorite love rocks into magnets instead of sending them out into the world. ♥

They now decorate my refrigerator and my green metal tray magnet board that I wrote a tutorial on for the Mother Earth News Blog. The supply list for this craft is short and sweet.

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The materials you need for this project should be readily available at your local craft store.

You will need:

  • Smooth rocks, these can be purchased at a craft store or found outdoors
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brush
  • Mod Podge
  • 1/2″ round magnets
  • Super glue or hot glue and a glue gun

Gather your materials – let’s get crafty!

Batch of New Rocks to Paint

First, you will need to clean and dry your rocks. I have used found rocks and rocks that I bought at a craft store for this project. The found rocks are usually dirty and the purchased rocks are almost always dusty, so give your rocks a good soapy scrubbing, rinse and set them out to dry.

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When they’re fully dry, paint your base color. I try to match the shape of my background color to the shape of the rock, rather than painting an oval or circle on every rock. Depending on what color you use, your rocks will need at least two, possibly three, coats of paint each. Allow the paint to fully dry between coats.

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The next step is painting the heart. I free-handed this part, but if you’d be more comfortable tracing a heart, you can print some hearts out on your computer, cut them out and trace with a pencil before filling in with paint. If you mess up, you can always wipe the wet acrylic paint off your rock with a damp paper towel, or wait for the paint to dry and then paint over everything and start over. Just like the base color, each heart may need two or three coats of paint.

I had so much fun choosing the colors for my rocks! I have a pretty large acrylic paint collection so I had a ton of options! If you don’t have very many different colors, you can make your own by mixing your paints. Here’s a little tutorial on mixing blue and orange and all of the different colors you can create!

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I love this next step: adding the dots! I mainly used the end of a paperclip that I straightened out, but you could also use a toothpick or even make your dots with a Sharpie marker. Have fun with your designs – make hearts, circles, swirling designs – whatever suits your fancy! The dots only need one coat of paint.

Once the dots dry, give your rocks one or two coats of Mod Podge and allow to dry.

Now they’re ready to be knocked off your craft space by a bored cat. 😉

The final step is using super glue or a hot glue gun to adhere a strong magnet to the back of each of your love rocks. Super simple and super sweet!

Now they’re ready to adorn your fridge, holding up grocery lists, photos, recipes and whatever other bits of paper find their way into your kitchen!

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Cincinnati Nature Center + Rowe Woods – Photoblog

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This post has been languishing in my drafts folder for far too long! These photos, taken at the lovely Cincinnati Nature Center and Rowe Woods, are from a trip Kenneth and I took with my Aunt Susie and cousin Emily (plus their adorable, perky dog, Cosmo) last summer.

My aunt and uncle have a family membership, so we joined Aunt Susie, Emily and Cosmo as their guests for an afternoon hike. I’ve heard about the Cincinnati Nature Center for years as it’s a favorite of my Aunt’s and has hosted one of our favorite artists, Charley Harper, many times and continues to sell his work posthumously.

This was Kenneth and my first visit and we had a wonderful time! It’s not a park that we are able to get to very often, but it’s worth a bit of a drive to explore the 16+ miles of hiking trails. It’s one of Cosmo’s favorite places too – every dog we saw looked thrilled to be there!

Enjoy the greenery below!

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ohio-120x120Cincinnati Nature Center + Rowe Woods

Address: 4949 Tealtown Road Milford, Ohio 45150

Phone Number: 513-831-1711

Hours: Grounds hours change seasonally, check website before visiting.

Admission: Children 4-12 $3, Adults $8 and Active military and Seniors (65+) $6.

Social Media: BlogFacebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube

The Garden of Girls – an Excerpt

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Hello again! It feels like I’ve been offline for ages. I took a break from the computer for the past several days in order to get over a nasty cold. Most of my time was spent snuggling with the cats on the couch, watching Netflix and reading or listening to a book on tape. I’m the type of person that can get sick by watching a movie with sick people in it (though that might just be the hypochondriac in me talking), and when I get sick I’m sick. I’ve gone through two in a half boxes of tissues in five days and have whined about it to Kenneth the entire time. But, since I can almost taste my food again, I think my cold is (thankfully/hopefully) abating.

Since I don’t have any new blog posts to share with my readers, I thought I would show you something else I’m working on. The Garden of Girls (or In the Garden of Girls, I haven’t quite decided yet) is a story I’ve had in my head for the past several months. It’s a fairy tale with a botanical twist. I’m not sure yet if this will be a short story or something longer, but I’m going to be working on it nearly exclusively for the next couple of days and I’m really looking forward to it!

Without further ado, here is a small excerpt from The Garden of Girls:

Halldora wasn’t your typical fairy tale version of a “bad” witch. She cast a few spells every once in a while to make her garden grow and sometimes, when she was feeling particularly tired, she’d enchant her spinning wheel to spin for her or she’d enchant her little black cat, Cinda, to wash the dishes after dinner. Cinda deeply resented this and would often not sit with Halldora in the rocking chair by the fire for days after, so it was an enchantment Halldora rarely used.  

Halldora and Cinda lived a simple life and for the most part they were happy. As the years wore on however, Halldora became lonely. She found herself having long, animated conversations with Cinda, who only ever replied with a short “miaow” or long trill, both of which meant she was hungry. Halldora would wake up in the middle of the night clutching a butternut squash or large zucchini to her chest, like the vegetable was a newborn baby. She desperately wanted a child.  

At first she tried ignored her devastating loneliness by keeping busy. She expanded her garden, her wonderful, ancient garden. She added a second row of raspberry canes and planted more potatoes. She even wrote to the famous botanist, Rowan Cy, for some new herbs to grow. She started knitting her wool and selling scarves, mittens and shawls in the village.  

Once, after allowing her mind to wander while knitting, Halldora accidentally knit a small pair of blue wool booties, the perfect size for a newborn babe. Shortly after, she stopped going to the market to sell her knitwear, it was too painful to see the mothers with their small children stop at her stall. She needed a baby.

That’s all you get for now! If you’d like to read more about the botanist, Rowan Cy, you can read my flash fiction piece The Master Botanist, published with an interview of me on the NEAT blog. And in case you were wondering, this fluffball, Emma, is my inspiration for Cinda.

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