Thursday, June 30, 2011

Independence Cake

Our Independence Day celebration generally involves a BBQ, perhaps strawberry shortcake, and several cold dishes brought by my aunts.  This patriotic piece of cake would knock my family's red, white, and blue socks off.

I can appreciate an interesting artist in the blog world.  So, I was thrilled when I stumbled upon  When I was 17, I was featured in the high school play.  This young lady, now 19 years old, is being featured in national magazines.  

I think this adorable cake is a great idea and deserves more attention.  You can find out how to make it here.  This teenager may make you feel a bit inadequate.  Hopefully, she'll also inspire you to do something you love.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lamp Shades

Have you ever wondered how to take an item from drab to fab?  Try using a little hot glue and ribbon! That's what I did with these lamps. These were simply white shades before I touched them up.  I thought it would be great to use some decorative trim and ribbon to give them interest and a better connection to the room.

Such a simple idea. In less than an hour, I trimmed four shades and gave my room a fresh look for the summer.  If you want to change the ribbon down the road, you can!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Fabulous Feast

Doesn't this just make your mouth water? YUMMY! This was the meal my lovely hubby made me for Mother's day! I just wanted to share with you this amazing meal! Filet Mignon topped with some melt in your mouth cheese that I can't remember the name of, lobster, risotto and asparagus!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Adding Color

My mother is not the type of person who would understand the phrase "less is more".  Her home is the craziest on the block during the winter holidays.  People drive by slowly to look at everything in the yard.  She has the same zest with her landscaping in the Summer.

Mom loves these little figurines.  There are boys fishing, kids cuddling, and animals lounging throughout the yard.  She certainly doesn't need more.  Yet, my mother can't avoid buying them.  I think part of the appeal is that she has turned this yard decoration into a craft project.  We all know how therapeutic it feels to paint something pretty.  Many people like the "stone" appearance.  My mother prefers to add color.  The results compliment the varied hues throughout the garden.  If you've had one of these around for years, consider giving it new life with paint.  You may need to touch up the colors eventually.  Perform a makeover every few years.  Give your girl a new hair color and a brighter dress.  If you see a woman in the lawn section of the store with a cart full of these, she is probably my mother.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shutterbug Sunday: Try It

Sometimes you just don't know if you will get the right picture.  Does that make you give up?  I tend to take a lot of pictures and use a few.  I love being able to preview my pictures with a digital camera, so I can delete what doesn't work. I remember being very careful when snapping pictures with my film camera.  Didn't you hate it when half of your roll was blurry or didn't come out?!  I did.  That money could have been spent on crafting tools!!  I took this picture when I was giving a doll a boil perm.  At the exact moment I clicked, a big poof of steam fogged my lens. The end result was amazing. I just loved how it captured the doll in a foggy state. My advice today- just try it! You never know what the end result will be and you may be pleasantly surprised!  Sometimes unintended obstacles produce the most interesting results.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Joliette, Canada

Have you heard of  It's a great website where you sign up to send and receive postcards with strangers around the world!  This is a fun educational tool for your child and exciting for the adults in the house too.  We have a huge map of the world on the wall in the kids' bedroom.  When a new postcard arrives from somewhere across the globe, we mark the spot with a tack.  Mom is clearly the most interested in the project.  But, it is providing some excitement for the kids, who check the mail box everyday. You get to learn about a little piece of someone's life and the postcards are so beautiful and sometimes quirky!  I have the urge to use them in a craft project, but the written message on the back are as beautiful as the pictures on the front.  I'm torn!  You'll find some of the cards we have received below. If you'd like to learn more about postcrossing click here

Touchuan Village, China
Kassel, Germany
lago Ericina, Spain
Lappeenranta, Finland
and Hutchinson Island, Florida-- This one is from a lovely family member! SHHHH-- don't tell the kids!
He he he.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Paper Bag Book

This can be filed under the most clever creations I've ever seen from my friends at Captured Moments in Rotterdam, NY.  This is a flip book for pictures, made out of two PAPER BAGS!!  Who comes up with something like this?  Tara and Tiffany are so creative.

The crazy thing is...this is so simple to make.  You start by stamping the edges of your paper bags.  Layer two bags on top of each other, facing opposite directions.  Fold them in half.  Punch three holes in the fold and tie them together with ribbon.

You'll want to cut blocks of designed paper for each page of the book.  Another thing I love about Tara and Tiffany is that they are not afraid to use bold patterns and mix them together.  Ink your edges.  You can place photos or notes on these pages.  The girls chose to use titles to inspire a theme for your pictures.

The bottom of your bag with half a fold.  You can use that for something fun and unique...a clever pocket.  If you prefer to cover it, simply glue the fold closed and adhere your patterned paper over the top of the fold.

The tops of the bags offer pockets for pull-out pictures.  Throw a block of patterned paper inside and attach some fiber to the edge to give your book some texture.  This makes the book interactive...some pages flip, others pull out.

Embellish your cover and enjoy.  I think I had more fun with this project than any of the other make-n-takes I've brought home.  Mostly, I was impressed by the originality of the idea.  You can find more work by Tara and Tiffany at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Soul of Scrapbooking

Years ago, when my grandfather passed away, I was given four albums that had belonged to his father.  They were a combination of journals and old style scrapbooks...full of news articles, pictures, and little notes.

A couple of years after I was given these albums, I moved away from home for college.  My room was cleared when I left and I was told by my mother that she'd thrown away a pile of old books.  I was devastated.  I hadn't really taken the time at that age to read those journals.  But, I knew I wanted to one day.  That day has come.  I've spent years anguishing over the loss of those albums.  I felt terrible guilt that they had been kept for decades by my grandfather, only to be lost in my hands.  I take my duty, preserving family heritage, very seriously.  I wanted to pass the journals onto my own grandchildren.

This summer, my parents decided to clean out their attic.  They called on me to sort through a few boxes that had been set aside for me.  Twenty years has passed since those items were stored away.  I didn't know what I'd find.  There were old report cards, school papers, and drawings.  My biggest surprise came from a dusty bin with my name scrawled across it with sloppy black marker.  There, in the bottom of the bin, there were four albums with aged paper.  The words my great-grandfather took time to write down were now ready for my attention.

While I was sorting through the pages of the final five years of his life, this man I never knew came alive.  I read all about life on the farm, his wife, how much he adored his kids...including my grandfather.  I found a picture of my mother when she was a little girl.  There are photos of my great-grandparents, a recipe, even a photo of my great-great grandfather cutting wood.  I learned that most of the men in the family were very tall.  My great-grandfather worked hard, right up until his death, plowing land and trimming trees.  There is the story of almost running over his little sister with a roller on the farm.  The newspaper clippings recount a time when people were miffed that penny postcards suddenly cost 3-cents and there was anger that the postal service had created this confusing "zip code" system that was bound to mess everything up.

Knowing that the zip code system eventually worked out just fine, I realized that people complain in the same way they did half a century ago.  They still want the same things...a happy family, a steady job, merciful aging, and people want to be remembered.  I also learned that the scrapbooking bug was born with me.  There is a purpose behind this hobby.  We all hope the loved ones we give our crafts to will enjoy them, appreciate them, and cherish them for years.  Now, for the first time, I understand just how amazing it feels to have these albums.  I feel connected to my heritage.  I feel honored to have been trusted with these memories.  I feel a bond with this related stranger.  Most importantly, I feel relief.  My great-grandfather has finally been heard.  Keep scrapbooking.  It is more than a hobby.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nothin Like a Little Herb and Scrapbooking!

Check out this cute little gift Crafty Cat brought to our scrapbooking get-together recently! If there's one thing scrapbookers like- it is gifts!  She brought little baggies filled with her own fresh grown dill, parsley and basil, embellished with a cute little sunflower and fibers (of course!)!! She also bought us a little paw print hole punch!! Too cute-- loved the gift Cat!

Next time you get together with friends, why not bring a little token of your appreciation? It will surely be a hit!  Make it a tradition to exchange handmade treats every few months at your craft night soiree.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Italian Love

Two types of Italian meat, Fontina cheese, kalamata olives and homemade spicy pickled eggplant on 12 grain bread! 
Living in the Northeast, we have access to some of the best Italian meats and cheeses in the U.S. I can't wait to go to Italy some day to taste their authentic creations. Until then, I will enjoy this!

The meats are rich and a bit spicy. The cheese is robust at first, then melt on your palette in excitement and OH!! The pickled eggplant??  It's tart from the vinegar, yet smooth because of the olive oil and, oh yes, you get a surprise by one of the hot peppers.  This dish is one of my favorites!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crazy Accordion Book

This is a puzzling twist on your traditional brag book.  I've been on a kick showing you some of the make-n-takes Crafty Girl and I brought home after our scrapbooking retreats over the years.  I have a box full of them.  I really should fill them and give them away as gifts.  That little task is on a long to-do list, stored in the back of my brain.  First, I need to show you how to make one.  I can't be the only person with a box full of little books taking up room in my crafting area.

Here's what I could make of this handmade treat:  Start with a full piece of paper and envision a sharp-edged spiral.  Ultimately, you'll need 16 squares.  That's four rows across and four rows from top to bottom.  Once you've made your folds, it will be easier to figure out where to cut.

Fold it up in different directions, so the squares come together in a flat book.  You can use a thick card stock as your front and back covers.  Before you adhere the card stock, fold your favorite paper design over the top of it.  You can fold the paper around the edges and cover the center with the front and back pages of your spiral book.

Embellish the cover and hold it all together with a cute ribbon.  Fill it with pictures for a gift.  You can either use 16 different photos or one large photo that fits together like a puzzle when the book is opened.  I recommend starting with a traditional flip book.  But, if you've made a million of those and would like to try something different, this is one idea that was shared with us.  Go for it!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Shutterbug Sunday: Posing Dolls

This is kind of a "pulling the curtain back" moment like in the Wizard of Oz. I honestly wondered, how did girls get their dolls to stand up and pose in these great positions when my doll's head seemed too heavy?  She'd always fall over. Well, I asked my friends on the social networking site, Blythe Kingdom.  Their answer was so so simple and should have been obvious!

To pose a doll you need to prop her up against something and do your best to hide the item.  So, it should look as if the doll is standing up on her own!  The best items to use are either chopsticks or skewers. I had a ton of BBQ skewers left over from a gathering and pulled mine out.  Instantly my girl came to life.

You dig the item into the ground and then strategically prop the doll's head against the other end. Some women use photoshop to get rid of any sign of sticks. I prefer to strategically pose and not have to worry about post editing.

When working on a surface in which you can't dig the stick into the ground, try to use a pencil!  This is such an easy solution to help your doll come alive!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Crazy Little Box

I think I took a trip to crazy town for this little treasure box. It was a fun little trip! LOL- Really, I wasn't so sure what I was going to do with this box.  So, I decided to stain the wood.  Once the stain dried it seemed to be just about the same color as the original wood.  That's when I decided to slap some yellow acrylic paint on my finger and experiment.  I was in a playful mood and the ink was right there, beside a squiggly little stamp. Before I knew it, the box was covered in little beige squiggles. Is that a word? 

Honestly, I think I'm going to revisit this project later and Mod Podge over it or something! I'll be sure to share my adventures with you if I decide to revisit this crazy little box!