Thursday, November 27, 2008


If the only prayer you ever said was, "Thank you," that would suffice.
--Meister Eckhart

Looking at my blog history I'm seeing that it's been 10 DAYS since my last post... OUCH.
Here's a little peek at what we've been working on the last few days. I think this is one of my favorite projects I've ever done with Olivia. It's a garland of things that little girl is thankful for.
She put so much of herself into this project. We spent one afternoon to cut the leaves, one night to paint them, one morning to write the words and create the garland. She's really getting into writing letters now, so I let her write the words herself.

And close-ups of each of the leaves showing what she's thankful for:

Paper and hearts

Dad and mom


Yellow (her fave color)

Friends (note the upside down F)


a close-up of the smaller leaves

Ever thankful for all the gifts in my life,

Monday, November 17, 2008

I knew it'd happen sooner or later....

...I was just hoping it wouldn't be this weekend.

Liv had just "rediscovered" one of her stuffed kitties, the one she had gotten for her birthday two years ago. She stroked its soft lavender fur and hugged its neck. Then she starts inspecting, as kids often do - looking first at the ears, then the big stuffed bow around its neck. Then she sees the tag.

Liv: Why is my name on this tag?
Me: Because you took it to school last year for nap time and we had to label it.

Liv looks closer at the tag and then her face lights up.

Liv: Oh, look at this! (pointing to the label) It's a DISNEY kitty!

Yes, little girl has learned to recognize the ubiquitous Disney logo, stamped on everything from stuffed animals to lunchboxes to bandaids. And apparently this little Disney logo makes the items more valuable.

We had the little "do you think this makes this a better kitty?" followed with "it's just a word they put on the tag" talk, but it was all lost on her. The logo-twinkle never left her eyes.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Inspiration: Paper Box Tutorial

Take a look at this paper box tutorial by Sweet Miss Dasiy at Sassy & Sweet! I know, there's lots of tutorials out there for making any number of sizes and shapes of paper boxes. But I liked this one for how easy it will be to customize and how perfect it will be for holiday giftiness. She shows it with fancy tea packets, but it could also totally rock with hot chocolate, cookies, soaps, craft supplies, anything.

I also like the thriftiness of this. The base is plain cardstock and the fanciness is one strip of patterned paper. If you used 12x12 cardstock for the base, you could get this box out of one piece and still have some scraps left over.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I'm still knee-deep grading papers, but the good side of that is my avoidance of said papers has resulted in a cleaned studio. Semi-cleaned I guess. Okay, so my mother would refer to it as "a good start," but for me it's clean enough to work in. Funny how a clean work table and the absence of clutter on at least 1/2 of the floorspace results in a flurry of creativity. It's like viagara for impotent crafters.

It was on the heels of my cleaned studio high that I went into the local Target store. There, in the dollar spot, they had a bin full of these wooden games. You know, the ones where there's a little picture on the back, and you have to roll some little ball bearings into holes spaced around the picture? Anyways, they looked like collage fodder to me, so I bought one and took it home. What can I say, I'm a big gambler - the whole $1 and all.

Guess what, folks? With a little bit of prying, you can take these suckers completely apart! Dissassemble, paint, collage, bead, and then reassemble them into little shadowboxes. Like this one:

I went back that night and bought a dozen more little games - I mean, shadowboxes. I would have gotten more, but I don't have room to store them in my semi-neat studio.

Viva viagra!

Grinning in my crafting afterglow,
PS - Did you notice those little smears around the top edge of the glass? Apparently E6000 has some sort of paint thinner as an ingredient. I also noticed that it was crazing the silvering on the backs of my little acrylic gems. I love me some E6000, but this paint thinning thing is causing me to rethink it as my stand-by. Anyone know a better all-purpose super strong adhesive?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I won, I won!!!!

Hey, check it out! I'm one of the winners of the cupcake contest over at Marisa's blog. Woohoo!!!!!!

Her illustrations are simply divine, and now there's one heading my way. I am so totally excited!! If you want some of her artwork for your own house, check out her Etsy shops, Elegant Snobbery and Tootsie and Grace.

Truly a lucky girl I am,


It's amazing how easy it is to get motivated to clean my studio when the alternative is to grade papers... If I keep it up, I might actually see the floor soon!!!

Somewhere in the recesses of my studio actively avoiding reality,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

For the want of a throne...

Yesterday was Liv's 5th birthday. I'm still kind of reeling at the thought of having a kid-aged-child instead of a small-child. But I digress... When we first mentioned that she could have her birthday party at a place outside of our house, her first thought was, "Oh, maybe we could have it at the JumpZone, cause I haven't had a chance to sit in the chair yet." The JumpZone being one of the favorite places to have parties. And "the chair" is this big fiberglass throne thingie that the birthday kid gets to sit on while opening presents.

Well... To make a long story short, we decided to have her party at the local Y where the kids could swim in the indoor pool. They had a party room downstairs, but it didn't have any kind of special chair for the birthday kid.

And so, a craft project was born.

Here's what I started with:
  • a tri-fold cardboard display (think science fair projects)
  • an old electronic box (happily freecycled one afternoon on the way home from the park)
  • yellow spray paint
  • white and gold craft paint, the cheapest that money could buy
  • smattering of flat-backed acrylic gems
  • some gold glittered holiday berry picks

The plan was this:

1. Shove the empty box over the back of a kitchen chair. Isn't that incredibly lucky how it fit???

2. Cut the science fair display into a throne-ish shape, spray paint yellow (Liv's fave color), and then paint details in white and gold. This was all totally made up on the fly. Please, please ignore the totally messy house in the background.

3. Embellish the throne shape with sparkle gems and the gold berries. Not going to show a picture here, lest it spoil the grand reveal down below.

4. Glue the throne shape to the front of the empty box, wrapping the sides of the display around to the back as much as possible. (Tape the sides to the back of the box.)

Put it all together and you get one very yellow, very sparkly, very cardboard birthday throne.
Total cost: $20. AND I have leftover acrylic gems and glitter berries...

See how the name frames her face oh so perfectly? Yeah, that was totally random.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Inspiration: Fabric Tea Cups!

I've had this post in draft form for 3 days at least, so I'm sure you've all had a chance already to drool over these fabric tea cups - and the matching teapot, of course! If not, go check them out...

Anyway, besides these being the cutest stinkin' little teapot and tea cups ever, I was totally inspired by the stick-to-it-iveness that was required to take these little cups from idea to reality. If you dig back through her blog posts you can see that the finished product was preceded by many experiments. None of them were tossed aside as failures; instead, she takes each experiment and learns something from each. Now, THAT'S inspiring for me.

Me, my approach is to get a grand idea and then make on half-assed attempt at it. When it doesn't work, then I hang the whole thing up. Who knows what I might have been able to make if I would have just stuck with the design through the whole process? Persistence - another little something to add to my creative perspective.

Catch ya later,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More cupcakes!

But not mine - this time it's Marisa who's making them. And she's giving a couple of them away!! Alls you have to do to enter is describe the cupcake of your dreams. How fun is that???? Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day dreaming of buttercream, sprinkles, and little piped flowers.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Haul, Part Deux

This time it wasn't I who made the haul. It was little Olivia. Halloween night, of course. I'm just really really slow in putting up the pics on my blog.

Look at my little witch!
She thinks she looks really scary here.

I made the dress. I know it's plain. Really, really plain. I tried to bling it up, I promise I did. But the little girl would have nothing of it. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Do you want a fancy apron for your witch costume?
Liv: Witches don't have aprons.
Me: Okay, how about a CAPE then? Wouldn't that be fun?
Liv: Witches don't have capes.
Me: Well, what about a ruffle for the bottom of the dress?
Liv: Witches don't have ruffles on their dresses.
Me: Do witches have big buttons on their dress? Or maybe a bow?
Liv: Witches don't have that either. They just have a vroom.
Me: Okay, so how about we decorate your broom?
Liv: Witches don't have pretty vrooms.

So it remained a pretty dress. But I DID get to make her a fancy schmancy treat bag, complete with sparkly kitty & pumpkin fabric and dingleberries.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


Yikes! Erin, Miss IdyllHands herself, tagged me. I've already fulfilled the first part of the assignment by mentioning the name of the person who tagged me. Now I'm supposed to tell you 6 random facts about myself.

1. One of my favorite breakfasts is an Asiago Cheese Bagel from Panera Bread. Toasted with cream cheese. Another all-time favorite is a chocolate-filled croissant. Mmmmmmm.....

2. I've become addicted Kakuro puzzles. They're kind of like Sudoku but I find them more challenging because you have to do math to figure out which number goes where. Like Sudoku, you use the numbers 1-9 and you can't repeat a number in a grouping. I now know that the numbers 1-9 add up to 45, the only four-number combination that adds up to 10 is 1-2-3-4, and if you have a three-number combo that has to add up to 20 no one number can be less than three. I'm supposing that one day these particular facts will come in handy.

3. I have some kind of bizarre-o autoimmune condition wherein stress and/or too much physical activity cause my feet break out in hives. It's called pressure urticaria, and the hives are actually on a lower layer of skin which makes them less rash-like and more just swollen and painful. Once it flares up, it can actually continue for weeks or months. It took years to figure out exactly what it was, though once I read this article I considered myself lucky. Seems other people can have this happen to their hands or their buttocks.

4. When I was in junior high, I played the baritone horn in band for two years. I was also a huge geek, big surprise there, and the kids called me "Tuba Girl."

5. I teach a writing course online at the local university. Nothing super exciting about that, but the $$ does buy all the groceries. Cause at our house we've kind of grown accustomed to a little thing called eating.

6. I drive a mini-van. That totally cracks me up about myself. It totally cracked all my friends up when I bought it, too. They all threatened to put soccer ball stickers on my van. It quit being funny after the 5th person said it. In my defense, we got it at deep discount after a tornado hit the car lot. And you can haul a lotta crap in there if you take out the back seats.

Youch. That was hard. Now the last part is that I'm supposed to tag 6 other people, except that Denise and Erin have already tagged most everybody I know to tag. I mean, I could think of a couple but then the list would be imcomplete and the OCD side of me just wouldn't have that. I guess this means that I'm just gonna ignore that part of the assignment? The rebel side of me says, "Hell Yeah!"