Saturday, October 17, 2009

Speaking of Halloween

Before September 2009 I had never owned a set of Halloween stamps. It always seemed a bit wasteful to buy stamps that can only be used once a year. I've never really seen a lot of Halloween stamps that appeal to me either...

Making Do

Instead of buying specific holidays, I enjoy finding ways to make "regular" stamps work for holidays and special occasions. Pictured here are some of my ideas for using stamps in my current collection for Halloween this year.

Technique on Left: Word Play

I always loved that silly knock-knock joke that ends in "orange you glad I didn't say banana?"

I had a cool citrus theme stamp that was just right for a word play for the holidays. I stamped the collage-style image from Club Scrap onto paper treated with the polished stone ink technique. I scribbled the wording with a fine tip pen on crooked cut scraps and accented with printed papers and a small hand stamp.

Technique on Right: Stamp, sketch, or die cut a holiday shaped accent

The focal image of this card was also stamped on polished stone paper using a Tim Holtz stamp. I sketched a witch's hat onto purple card stock for the little girl to wear. The focal image was matted, accented with a hand die cut and handwritten wording on an orange scrap. The entire front panel was wrapped in metallic bronze thread.

Both cards achieve holiday status with choice of color scheme as well. Just like red and pink say Valentine's Day--orange, green, and purple say Halloween.

Bonus Idea from Halloween 2008

Die cuts and pre-made elements are also great tools for once-a-year greetings. They also qualify for the "flash card" series since this type of card assembles very quickly. The pre-printed element is by Crafty Secrets and the leaf die cut was cut on The Wizard using a Sizzex die. A few inked edges and some fiber complete the card.

Flash Cards for Halloween

Card making is one of the most satisfying forms of paper art for me. I’ve had a busy schedule this fall trying to work part-time at Anton Aesthetics Academy. While I may not qualify yet as one of those “busy people get more done” folks, I have made conscious efforts to keep the creativity in my life as my workload increased.

For all you visuals out there
I’ve been recruited by to create how-to videos on a variety of topics related to art and crafting. I’ve had a few stumbling blocks in the process because I’m still learning how to edit and resize my videos for publication.

This Halloween Flash Card video is one of my projects for that is being pre-released to blog views on my web site with a slide show of the individual cards.

The Why of it all
Over the years I’ve taught lots of fun card-making workshops but my favorite topic by far is the “Flash Cards” series. There are lots of approaches, but the goal is always to create 6 or more cards in an hour.

Intricate gorgeous cards are a treasure and I make them for very special occasions or when I am struck by a great pattern or design. However, I prefer to create “Flash Cards” the majority of the time for these reasons:
v In about an hour, I can create 6+ cards that can be mailed that day which gives me a wonderful sense of accomplishment along with nurturing my creative spirit.
v Face it, cards are relatively disposable art which means that devoting hours and hours to one card can be a let down when you realize that the card may not be even be cherished for the length of time it took to create it.
v I love to “share the wealth” when it comes to creative projects and the card making allows me to give more away than any other type of project.

Stay tuned Paper Art fans for more footage from the Trailer Park Studios of the Artful Tourist.

Regular Features

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently:

Ten Two Studios for project ideas and supplies to make recycled altered art from matchbooks, tin cans, bottles, and more:

Basic Grey’s newsletter online is amazing and see it easily if you sign up for their mailing list. Here’s October:

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— Orange, green, and purple for Halloween!Media Moments- Just changed this from only music to all media. Ratings are based on a 5 star system.

Media Moments- Just changed this from only music to all media. Ratings are based on a 5 star system.

We watched three movies over the weekend of October 9th:
Duplicity: 3.5 stars
Gran Tornino: 4 stars
Curious Case of Benjamin Button: 3.5 stars from me and 2 from Sir Henry

Just finished a book called “The Reincarnationist” my M.L. Rose: 4 Stars

In the kitchen—

Easy Cheesy Cracker Spread
Henry and I love appetizers and finger foods. We ate this spread this week as an appetizer one night and beside some chicken noodle soup on another night.

2/3 (regular) bar of softened cream cheese
2 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar (about a 1/4/ cup) I love using my Pampered Chef™ cheese grater for this.
1.5 teaspoons McCormick ranch seasoning mix (we buy it by the jar)
1 tablespoon of Tastefully Simple™ Sweet Red Pepper seasoning or you can substitute a another spicy type mixed seasoning.

Combine all ingredients in a mini mixer or by hand. Serve on wheat crackers or on celery sticks. To spruce this up for a party you could refrigerate, form into a ball, roll in nuts and serve on a platter.
*I use a cream cheese and sharp cheddar base for lots of different spreads. Play around with it and enjoy the creative process.

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): I combined September budget with some birthday money and spent about $30.00 in my local scrapbook store at the beginning of the month. In keeping with my goals, I used most of the materials right away. I still need to create something with that new collage stamp from Magenta™ and the cool new champagne watermark ink from VersaMark™. See photo.

My opinion and where it may lead: Since the birth of our grandson almost a year ago we have really been focusing on recycling. By my friend’s standards, we’re late to the game here, but we’re on board nonetheless. What I never realized is how satisfied I would feel to try and lighten my global footprint. I can find guilt in just about anything and I had no idea how much guilt I had been carrying around about not recycling.

Lesson 1: Recycle to make a better world for yourselves and our children.
Lesson 2: Find places in your life where you can release guilt and enjoy living.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fruity Crabs

Back in 2002 or perhaps 2003 Sir Henry and I went to Vegas for a Dream Impressions stamp convention. We had a great time together.
Every hotel in Vegas has to have a theme and our Imperial Hotel set out to be the Asian hot spot on the strip. It looked like a standard strip hotel with some pagodas glued here and there. The hotel had a big polynesian dinner one night and everyone at the convention attended. The food and the show were cheesy but fun. During intermission I walked around and took pictures of all the fruit scuptures.
This crab was one of my favorites. I printed several copies of it a few years later for a scrapbook page I was designing for Spellbinders. There were plenty of crabs left over and I finally used them to make a series of brithday cards.
A. There was a point to this long winded story
B. I used up more of the "stuff" that I have had laying around for years.
So click on the crabby cards and see all the fun ways you can make cards from your extra photos.
Enjoy the creative process!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

'Tis the Season

Artful Tourist blog posts may be viewed chronologically and in their entirely by visiting .

Birthday Season, that is….Unfortunately, it’s also been sinus infection season, I’m currently fumbling in the relapse zone but this go around is destined to be my last.

Timely Gift/Late Blog Posting
I really want to make several posts so I’m skipping the regular features in hopes that I can get a few more up. My philosophy is that if I got the gift/card mailed before the birthday (I’m O for 5 so far this season) then a late blog posting will not receive a penalty flag.

Score with economic paper options
On my July frugal spending budget I bought a DCV paper pad on sale at JoAnn’s. This one was a treasure for me because it was glittered and double sided not to mention a “summer collection” of colors which fits our Florida lifestyle all year around. If you shop the major craft store sales for your scrap papers, I can’t say enough about the value in these DCV paper stacks. They’re coordinated, there is a huge variety for every season and taste, many are double sided and glittered, plus I’m enjoying how fun they are to sand to a white core.

Add new to old and stir well
For my girlfriend’s card I used double sided paper from this new stack to create a 5” square card that practically made itself when I used the pattern on the paper as my base. I added punches and recycled wording to the front and additional punches and strips to the inside. The pop-up element on the inside was also recycled from a birthday card given to me over 8 years ago.

Yes, you heard it right folks, I kept items in my studio intending to recycle them for over 8 years. Truthfully, I’d hate to count how old some of this stuff is—but if I can’t throw it out then I’m determined to put it in. Nice, there’s a new motto, “If I can’t throw it out then I must put it in.

Tool Revival-The Boxmaker
Okay, back to the photos and this short version of a blog post. (wry smile). The bottom photo is a handmade box that I created using K & Co. reversible print card stock on top and ColorMates Textured solids on the bottom. In addition to recycling elements I am on a mission to recycle tools as well. The box was made with a tool called “Aleene’s Creative Box Maker” which I purchased sometime back in the mid-nineties. You can still find it online in Marlene Watson’s site here: I was reminded of this tool when I saw a new scoring tool that Stampin’ Up™ is promoting. The great thing about the box maker is that you can create a perfect top and bottom for your box every time just by turning the tool over.

The note cards in the box are pre-made but purchased at a discount because the original box was damaged and one card was damaged. Again, this set has been in my “to make” area for a couple years now.

Hence my studio may not look a lot different, and I’m sure it doesn’t look a lot better; however, I am having an impact on my environment. I’m working more creatively and using fewer new items. Eventually, the results are bound to show up.

So crates…
During my rest periods for this crazy sinus plague I’ve watched more TV than usual. As you may recall, I’m just not a big fan of reality TV unless it comes from a home shopping channel. Tucked between reruns and reality TV this week I caught the 1988 film “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures” starring Sean Penn and Keanu Reeves. I leave you with a flick of my air guitar and their line, “party-on dude.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tea Party Birthday

Enjoy this blog post and along with its predecessors at

I’m behind again…I have all these blog posts I want to make and yet the congestion of my mind is rivaled only by the congestion of my sinuses as I fight an infection. …sigh.

So, when all else fails just start one at time and go from there. August-October is birthday season in my world. Many family members and cherished friends were born during this three month period.

While I hope to post many of the birthday cards and gifts I’ve worked on I will just start with Miss Betty’s tea party. My dear and delightful friend Betty invited me to a tea party celebrating her birthday this weekend. Since the party was in Richmond and I couldn’t arrange a trip up there, I decided to mail in my contribution. Now Miss Betty said no gifts, so I decided to send a bit of presence instead of present. I just loving playing with words—grin.

The photos shown here represent the collection of items I mailed off to Miss Betty:

--A vintage navy hat that reminded me of my Aunt Minnie. Miss Betty says she wore it to work on Tuesday for her birthday and she channeled “Aint Bee” from Mayberry all day. I created a digital sign and used a hat pin to attach it so that it might be used as décor for the party too.

--A dozen green tea bags enclosed in print papers with stamped images of women’s faces and ribbon embellishments

--A mini pizza box filled with more little tea bags. I used the same pattern I worked with for Sir Henry’s father’s day gift but enlarged it. Our friends at Split Coast Stampers I provided the template.

--A 5” square card that coordinated with the tea bags—decorated both inside and out because I’m really in to decorating all of the card lately.

General overview of supplies: Spellbinder’s tea time die set, Ranger Inks, EK Success circle punch, Offray ribbon, Face stamps from Post Modern and Stamper’s Anonymous, sentiment stamp from A Country Welcome, solid cardstock from WorldWin, marbled cardstock from Murphy’s, print papers from scrap pile. I did all the scoring on my EK Success cutter with a stylus.

Regular Features
Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently:
If you ever read my newsletter, “Get the kNACk” then you might recall links to a kids’ web site called Making Friends. I visited there again recently thinking about some back-to-school projects for my neighbor girls. Take a look at the traveling swap book for Girl Scouts here:
Wouldn’t that be fun to do with some art friends near and far?

Get five free fonts from Scrap ‘n Fonts by clicking this link:
I downloaded them this week and used the architect one on the two photo collages of Betty’s birthday. The dot matrix one would be fun for distress stuff, techno game layouts, and maybe even Halloween. Face it, fonts are just fun.
Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— pink, pink, glorious pink. Miss Betty really isn’t a big fan of pink, but I didn’t have a lot of other colors working for me on this project. Turns out the china she’s using for the party has some pink in it…hurray for pink.
Most played song- “Wait and See” by Brandon Heath. You can hear it and see the lyrics on You Tube:
Studio progress: Did I mention I’ve been bedridden with a sinus infection?
In the kitchen— Sir Henry went on a quest to find tea bags with Cardamom in them since I had read that this particular spice is good for infections. Turns out there are brands of Chai tea with this valuable spice in them. Whether it was the power of suggestion or the magical ingredient—the tea really seemed to soothe and help.

---Progresso chicken and wild rice soup is good for my pitiful feeling self and good enough for the husband to enjoy too. He fixed some Winn Dixie™ brand whole wheat canned biscuits with it and they were quite tasty too. Best canned biscuits we’ve eaten…Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): Well, if I’m sick I can’t exactly get out and about to spend…Wait, before you think it, I also refrained from online spending and shopping channels too—grin.

Points of Interest: (random things I’ve paid attention to lately)
--- I’ve been resting and reading a lot as I heal. If you enjoy fantasy epics I have enjoyed the first two books in Tad Williams’ series “Shadowmarch.”
---I’m creating a book with the working title “Memoir Triggers” about creating your memoirs with word and image. I’m envisioning sort of an advanced “Book of Me’ that scrapbookers sometimes work on with a more edgy and universal appeal.
My opinion and where it may lead: Being kind to yourself makes you strong. It’s time for me to take my own advice, swallow my own medicine, and go back to bed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Picture Post Overload

It's past time for me to catch up on some phot posts so here they are in no particular order except top to bottom:
1. The decorating for Henry's birthday dinner. one of the digital scrap party decorations I made for Henry's birthday.
2. Henry and I eating our anniversary wedding cake that Henry insisted on freezing...I liked the frozen wedding punch better but the cake did hold up pretty well in the air tight bag...
3. My favorite picture of my beloved Sir Henry at his birthday dinner. Daddy sent him that bandana so he could be a "biker dude."
4. Daddy and me at the gardens in Westminster in July
5. I finally got a photo of the balloon bouquets I keep talking about. Get the sticks from Oriental trading and make instant festivity. Most parties, including this one, include digital scrappy signs too. I'll try to get one of those up too..
But wait, there's more....But I guess I will wait since this is plenty for now. As a reminder to myself I'll put up: newest wedding scrap page (what a pair), more digi Henry decor, four new cards (as soon as I find the scans...sigh), and perhaps even more...grin
Regular Features:
Surf stops: find everything from jobs, to discount services, to curb alerts for freebies you didn't know you needed and much more. If you scrap or do other paper art for money try advertising your services there--it's all free.
Touch of Color: Bronze and glitter showed up in my most recent traditional layout.
My opinion and where it may lead: Or in this case, where it has lead. Last Thursday I had an aspiration performed on two troublesome cysts in my breast. This procedure was preceeded by two years of frequent self-exams, mamograms, and sonograms every 3-5 months. I never felt these cysts until they started to cause me pain in the last 3 months. The point is all the self exams in the world won't catch lumps in your breast--do them, by all means BUT also get your mamograms regularly. Please...your life matters to me and to many.
Now, I'm off to change the ice pack in my bra and give thanks to my great Creator that an aspiration was all I needed done.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Christmas in July

Somewhere around the mid ‘80’s I began having Christmas in July celebrations. My motivation was two-fold—first, I have always loved any excuse to play Christmas music, haul out some decorations, and read the second chapter of Luke. And secondly, I was trying to find a way to celebrate Christmas with friends and family that became too spread out around December 25th.

During the past seven years that Sir Henry and I have been together we have greatly relaxed our Christmas visitation standards. We make efforts to visit more during the year, we seem to have less vacation time to travel around the holidays, and after moving 1000+ miles away from everyone, we don’t feel as much pressure to visit at a specific time either.

Elf Duties
Christmas is so grand for me, no matter where I spend it, and I have not let go of my desire to show friends and family that they are treasured during that special season. So these days I still have Christmas in July by getting to work on my “elf duties” such as making handmade gifts, cards, and preparations for the annual, “Home for the Holidays—Trailer Park Style” event right here in West Palm Beach. Seriously, you don’t think all those flamingos are going to make their own hats do you?

As I’ve mentioned previously, Facebook™ has become a real jolt of delight in my world since it is allowing me to reconnect with people that I didn’t think I’d ever hear from again. It’s also brought me closer to the “everyday lives” of other friends and family members that I do see more frequently. One of my favorite things to do with Facebook connections is share some memories I have from that person’s impact in my life and I love it when they do the same. In the past few months four different people from four different decades in my life have commented on owning a Christmas ornament I made for them. They still hang them on the tree every year and were thinking of me every time they did so. Talk about feeling cherished, those sentiments are so very dear to me.

Thus inspired, this year’s elf duties have begun with making Christmas ornaments to give as gifts. Still embarking upon my journey to clear the studio before I bring in new items, I rummaged around recently for ornament ideas within the framework of my current inventory.

Ornaments from Crystals
I’m starting with beaded crystal ornaments. These can be tree ornaments or they can hang from a window sill or be wired into planters and other decorations too. My sweet sister-in-law Kim gave me a great bag full of chandelier crystals about three years ago and I’m using them as the ornament base. Fortunately for me, she gave me a ton of these jewels so I’ve used them for wedding decorations and home décor for a while now and still haven’t run out.

Pictured here are the first three ornaments I’ve finished. The crystals were strung with E-beads, metal beads, and other shiny baubles. There is no pattern or reason to the designs, I’m just sitting in the living room near my darling husband and stringing away. Hint: The metal beads come from charm bracelets I bought at the dollar store and opened to re-use the beads and charms on other projects.

I plan on adding some silk ribbons and perhaps even some curled wire embellishments before these are ready as gifts. If I manage my time wisely, I’ll also make a little tag or gift card to complement each one.

Also pictured are a couple of the chandelier crystals already hanging on windows in my home. You can get a peek at my handmade tie dye fabric curtains too. Aren’t they fun? I love my life.

This year, Christmas in July is extra special for two other reasons:
1. My delightful niece Katie is expecting the delivery of her “first-born child” any day now.
2. My amazing Mother has invited me to participate in her Christmas in July charity sale going on this weekend in her Richmond, VA community.

Enjoy the season, no matter what the season and create something to give away today.

Regular Features

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently:
The Swell Life Blog-I ended up here on a link from her latest entry is a list of other cool links that are fun to surf around but I went there to check out some Christmas ornaments she made with photos last year which can be seen here

The CHA Craft Super Show site- CHA show in Orlando this summer is offering lots of opportunities for consumer crafters to get involved including a world record attempt for the largest scrapbook crop ever…Wish I could go, but it’s the weekend of my first wedding anniversary and I’d rather be with my dear Sir Henry.

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— Brown and red. I worked on a gift bag for my Mom and Daddy that was printed in those colors and I had fun creating a matching tag. I had forgotten how comfortable I am with brown and red.

Most played song- “Santa Claus is coming to town” performed by Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street band.

Studio progress: I spent about 20 minutes clearing and reviewing this week. It’s something.

In the kitchen— Sir Henry’s grilled Bison Burgers made from some meat given to us by neighbors. He hand pressed patties from the meat seasoned with McCormick’s streak grill seasoning and Tastefully Simple’s Onion seasoning.

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): My sweet God-daughter Brittany accompanied me on a trip to Michael’s special 20% off entire purchase sale. I hadn’t spent any money from the craft budget for three months so I allowed myself the entire $45.00 for adhesives, inks and refills, and some fun sale items like rub-ons for my grandson album and a Love rubber stamp. My big extravagance was one of those swirly things marketed toward kids. It works great for making alcohol ink backgrounds too and it was reduced and then discounted again so I got a $16.00 item for $8.00.

My opinion and where it may lead: Stop fretting over misplaced items and release them to your higher power.

I can get very frustrated when my clutter seems to swallow up random items like my wrist brace, my sun glasses, my black Staz-on™ ink refill, etc. I read somewhere to just start an “MIA list” and post each item that is missing on the list. Look at it once a day, say a prayer for it, and let go. It’s amazing what will resurface, just this week I found a diamond ring that I thought was lost forever. Guess where I found it? It was in the box with my Christmas jewelry that I got out to wear for Christmas in July!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Have a little faith...

there’s magic in the night. You ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re alright….and that’s alright with me.”
--Bruce Springsteen, Thunder Road

This has to be one of my all time favorite quotes. It’s like permission for all the “not media perfect” girls to feel as desirable as Mary who “like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays.”

Today, I don’t just apply those words to myself but I apply them to my creative endeavors too. Not everything has to be absolutely “media perfect.” If you get a photo you’re not crazy about you can adjust it in your software or layer a sheer covering like vellum over it or make it small as an accent or make it large as a blurry background or crop out a tiny area that you like…and that’s just with photos. Celebrate the moment with your creativity. Celebrate all the human imperfections that make the world interesting and transfer that celebration to your art.

My camera’s battery was on its last leg when we went downtown for the July 4th celebration this year. It might snap one picture and then it needed to rest for 5-8 minutes before another photo could be attempted. Just trying to turn the flash off for fireworks shots sent it into a blinking nothingness that wouldn’t allow the view screen to work.

I didn’t ever try to download those July 4th photos until today and even then, it was just to empty the camera before taking it out again. But just tooling around in PhotoShop™ for a few moments and I had a fun little photo. I finished it off with another favorite quote from one of my favorite movies.

Enjoy, relax and have a little faith.

Regular Features-----------------

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently:
Embellished Dreams-Heidi Blankenship’s blog—This was one of the launch preview blogs for Spellbinder’s newest line of dies. They are called pendants and are really intracite dies that layer and layer and well, they’re almost too cool to describe…. Heidi is a member of Spellbinders’ Design Team and the team for Just Rite Stamps. All her blog entries are well photographed with lots of details.

Shameless Plug —I added a new digital gallery to my web site recently. I hadn’t realized how many digital designs I had completed until I started adding them to the site. I still consider myself quite a novice, but I’m enjoying the process.

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— Navy blue and lime green. I went thrift store shopping with Sir Henry last weekend and I kept being drawn to these colors.

Most played song- That would be Thunder Road by Bruuuuuuce Springsteen-- weren’t you paying attention earlier?

Studio progress: Zip, nada, nothing, sigh…..I

In the kitchenParty in Your Pasta Salad meal—great idea for busy day dinners and hot summer nights:
1 box Kraft bacon ranch pasta salad mix prepared as directed
Add about ½ to 2/3 pound of pre-grilled or cooked chicken tenders, cut veggies in bright colors like sweet red and yellow peppers, carrots, peas, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes.
Supplement with more mayonnaise and ranch seasoning or dressing as needed.
Add additional flavor with McCormick’s salad seasoning, more bacon bits, salt, pepper, and sprinkles of flax seeds.
Serve on a salad plate over a bed of mixed greens alongside slices of sharp cheddar cheese, wheat crackers, and seedless grapes.
Yields 6-8 servings

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): Once again, I have been too busy to shop for supplies and I haven’t started any projects this week either. I do have a list now so I’ll probably report some spending soon.

My opinion and where it may lead: When you have heart concerns, it’s heart disease. When you have kidney issues, it’s kidney disease. When you have a mental imbalance—it should be brain disease. Regardless of what you call it, health insurance coverage should be just that—coverage.
And while I’m at it—things like periodontal disease and eye sight that has to be corrected for the purposes of functioning every day should also be a health issue covered by fair and equitable health coverage for everyone in this country. Hey, the topic does say opinon….

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gift Certificate Giving—Father’s Day Style

Man-gifts are always tougher for me, even when they are going to the man of my dreams. This year the dog-children and I got gift certificates for Sir Henry and then my parents got him one that needed "dolling up" as well.

Inspired by a tutorial from my friends at Split Coast Stampers, I created a mini-pizza box and made tags for each of the gift items. It worked up fast and fabulous which was a good thing since I had to do it all before he woke up on Sunday.

I used Heidi Grace™ double sided print card stock for the tags and WorldWin ColorMates™ cardstock for the box. The top of the box was a layered decoration created separately and then secured to the box after completion. The palm tree is colored using water color pencils with a vellum overlay for additional softness. Stamps by Making Memories™ and Stamp Affair™ were used as tools on this project.

Perhaps because my card stock was a lighter weight than the sample or because I assembled it in such a hurry, the lid would not quite stay down. I just tied a closure with twine to add a finishing touch.

My best laid plans are to keep this idea in mind for gift cards and other small gifts throughout the year. Even though the tin gift card boxes available at craft stores only cost a dollar, they aren’t always laying around when you remember it’s time to give a gift.

Check out other great interpretations of this template in the Split Coast Stamper’s Gallery--


Make your own gift cards and certificates for items like: Two hours of alone time, doing laundry for a busy friend, delivering a homemade meal on a weeknight, babysitting, research, resume writing, addressing invitations, etc.

Hide clues in the box that direct the reciepient to the location of larger and harder to wrap gifts.

Fill with candies for party favors or small treats at the office, gym, or classroom.

Regular Features

Surf stopsweb sites I’ve visited recently:EK Success hosts a relatively new community online with great options for project posting--

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me--Boy colors—brown, green, rust, with yellow

Most played song- “Simple Love Like This” by Allison Kraus. We set the Ipod™ for all Allison during Sir Henry’s Father’s Day dinner. This one song was the one he walked down the aisle to during our wedding so it got special recognition.

Studio progress--The only possible thing I did to assist in the process this week, and yes I know I’m stretching it, was to set aside a great carrier box to pack full of the stuff I really am going to let go of as soon as I get going more on that…..

In the kitchen— We have family night every week. Sir Henry and I give a standing invitation to his 27 year old son and my 21 year old God-daughter to attend this time around the table. We say Grace, we eat, we talk about our lives. Last week I served one of my “fall back” recipes that is worth repeating.
Step One: Purchase a pork roast on sale at grocery store
Step Two: Gather other ingredients: bottle of honey BB! Sauce (store brand works great), one sweet onion peeled and cut in half, and (optional) some MoJo™ brand or other general grill seasoning
Step Three: Dump it all in a crock pot on high for 3 hours and low for another 2-4 hours
Step Four: Slice or shred with a fork (it’s that tender)
Step Five: Serve with coleslaw on sandwich buns

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools)--At least if I’m not up to speed in the clearing department I can say I haven’t spent any more money---not even on books, classes, or digital goodies. I am getting low on some adhesives and inks though so it won’t be too long before I list a receipt.

My opinion and where it may lead-- Being kind to yourself makes you stronger. Stop finding your flaws, there’s plenty other people who can do that for you. Instead, take care of yourself and seek out people, activities, and simple moments that allow you to refresh and renew.
I start work this week for
Anton Aesthetics Academy where I’ll be doing marketing and recruiting. Did you know that almost all spa training facilities offer services to customers at a lower fee than standard spas? If you’re local to the West Palm Beach area-- call for an appointment and treat yourself to a “frugal luxury.” If you’re tempted by the idea of a career as a spa professional, email me today to learn more about working in this elegant and rewarding field.

Monday, June 15, 2009

After arriving home with 100+ photos I immediately began digital scrapping. These are from shots of my niece and her fiancé at their new little home on the lake. Next Henry took off to see our grandson so here’s a quickie of sweet Sam too.

There were no posts while I was traveling because I didn’t want to lug my ancient lap top around and I thought I could use other computers as I traveled. I did get a few moments on other computers, but I didn’t do more than post status on Facebook and return a few emails. After all, what are vacations for if not to get away?

Now that I’m home I’ve already done some digital scrapping and I created three traditional pages yesterday along with four cards last week during my recovery time from my journey. I mailed the cards without scanning, so those are lost to the wind, but I’ll scan the layouts soon. The layouts are nothing fancy, I'm just trying to finish the majority of our wedding book before our first anniversary-wry smile.

My last post before I left was about making handmade journals. I didn’t want to post any of the party decorations I was working on because I hated to give away the surprise. Naturally, I didn’t take too many pictures of those either…sigh. What I did was create some fun digital designs and then layered them onto cardstock, stands, and sticks to make 3-D décor for Katie’s shower.

Pictured here are some the original designs along with a shot of the balloon bouquet I made. Her theme was tie dye and we all dyed white baby things at the shower. I narrowed the field a little and made the decorations with a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds kit downloaded free from

Regular Features

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently: – Great safe site to watch TV shows and movies. I watched four seasons of “Rescue Me” in May and June and now I have a new favorite TV show. -Feed your addiction with great links to cool sites, new products, and freebies every week.

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— I found some color combinations that are hot for weddings this year. I worked with one I liked on digital and traditional scrapping: deep burgundy and orange.

Most played song- Learning to Live on Love by Mike Cross. I couldn’t find a snippet on online, but you can hear some other samples from this gifted artist on his web site

Studio progress: Ashamed to say, it’s a wreck after getting Kate’s shower ready and then coming home with an irresistible urge to create cards and pages. I’ve done 4 cards and 3 traditional scrapbook pages since I got home. It’s on the list this week…

In the kitchen— inspired by the cheesy chowder from one our favorite Ashland restaurants since 1979 when I first landed at Randolph-Macon College—the Smokey Pig. I created my own version.Essentially, sauté onions in chicken broth, add more broth and frozen soup veggie mix plus extra frozen corn and boil for 5 minutes before lowering heat and adding cheddar cheese soup and/or Ragu cheesy sauce or Velveeta. Season as desired, I added all-purpose Greek seasoning and something new to us called MoJo seasoning. Just comment on the blog if you want specific measurements.

Austerity Plan--- progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): Haven’t spent a penny in this direction so far in June. My opinion and where it may lead: Although it took a lot out of me to drive 2500 miles across six states—I’d do it again in a heartbeat (or at least after a week’s rest) to be with my loved ones. Mamma always said, “Family is family,” and I totally appreciate that.

My opinion and where it may lead: Although it took a lot out of me to drive 2500 miles across six states—I’d do it again in a heartbeat (or at least after a week’s rest) to be with my loved ones. Mamma always said, “Family is family,” and I totally appreciate that.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Journal for a Cause and Digi Bonanza

Journals—celebrating and promoting journals is one of my greatest passions. Today is a great day to start a journal or add an entry. It’s an even better day to decorate a journal that will start a young person on the path of journaling. Click here to view my latest web page about making journals.

Create a Journal to Share
My fifteen year old friend Kelsey Salerno has made a request that we should all consider filling. She wants to collect handmade journals to give out at summer camps for kids who have lost a loved one to cancer.

Keeping a journal was a big part of the healing process for Kelsey when she lost her Grandfather and now she wants to share that with others. Kelsey also volunteers at Gilda’s House and works with cancer patients there. I created the journals shown above at her request for someone she works with there. Click to enlarge the photos for viewing.

Kelsey may have some additional information online and I’ll keep you posted on the process. Although she currently lives in New York, some of the West Palm Beach residents might remember her and her Mom, Mel Salerno, from the Paperie store here. Mel and her business partner Jodi owned and ran that fabulous store.

Email Kelsey at to get the address for mailing your completed journals.

Digital Grandson Layouts
My step-daughter is doing a great job of keeping us in the loop with photographs of our growing grandson. Here’s three layouts I made last week about his first haircut. See links under Surf Stops for details on how I got the free kit to make these. Click layouts to enlarge.

Regular Features

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently:
Digi Scrap Addicts is having this cool contest for digital kit designers. Every week they have a theme and elimination as they get down to the final winner—reality show style. The kits from all the contests are available for FREE download. If you ever wanted to get a great collection of digital scrap tools, this is your moment! is the link and you need only look down at the bottom to find previous week entries. You have to register, but it is way worth it.

Week three theme is kits inspired by Beatle’s songs. I just love them all….

A kit from week two called Project365 was used for the Sam’s haircut pages…

The Freebie Queen has links to all kinds of wacky free stuff, deals, and delights:

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— Yellow again, but this time with lime green

Most played song- The Taters! If you live in the Richmond, VA area and have the chance to see this band live—don’t hesitate. Our favorite venue for them is Ashland Tea & Coffee where they’ll be May 30th. You can see their schedule and click on stream to hear some song clips here:

Studio progress: Well, it’s been on my mind a lot. –sheepish grin-

In the kitchen— Bubba Burgers! I never thought I’d prefer a frozen burger over home-prepared, but wow, these are great burgers. Pull one out of the box, note how they’re shaped like the state of Texas, and throw it on the grill. They are the perfect summer cookout fare.

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): I’m still enjoying “shopping” in my own studio and rediscovering my own supplies and tools. I haven’t set food in a craft store in over six weeks yet I’m creating regularly. I was tempted by an envelope deal at a local discount supply place, but after carrying them around in the store for 15 minutes—I walked out with nothing.

My opinion and where it may lead: We saw the newest Star Trek movie last weekend and I can’t remember having that much fun at a theater in years. It was a brilliant combination of today’s actors and the characters of my youth. So far, the only place this opinion has led me is to Burger King to buy the kid's meal so I could get the toy ship Enterprise that says “Red Alert” when you push the sides together.

Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spring means


For the last few months I could not get the idea of a camping trip off my mind. My family used to camp every year in a little travel trailer all over Virginia. We even hauled that thing to the World’s Fair in Canada once. I have such vivid and happy memories of camping.

From age seven to age thirteen I went to sleep away camp every summer where I slept in canvas sided huts, swam, paddled canoes, sang, ate all kinds of strange foods I would otherwise never touch and, of course, my favorite arts and crafts time…smile. As an adult I camped with various husbands, friends, and family members and never tired of the experiences.

Sir Henry and I have had a charmed life together, but before last weekend, we had never been camping. I couldn’t stand going a moment longer without camping so when my dogs asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day—I got a weekend at the KOA in Lake Okeechobee. Those dogs are just so thoughtful; they even made sure they could come along for the fun.

We rented a little hut with a bed, a porch swing, and, because it is Florida, an air conditioner. It was like camping in hard sided tent with AC. We loved it! The campground had all kinds of amenities and special events. I had an ice cream sundae as an appetizer for dinner Saturday night and we went to an all you can eat pancake breakfast by the pool on Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day
Before we left I enjoyed making Mother’s Day crafts with my neighbor kids. I had to hold them in my house to prevent early gifting (smile). Plus we made their Mom a white chocolate cheesecake with strawberry garnish.

New Card Gallery
There’s nothing like crafting with kids to get you excited about making things. I’ve been on such a creative binge since February. The Destination Heartfelt Art has really inspired me to get things out of the studio and into the hands of my loved ones. I put up a gallery 55 new cards I’ve put together since mid-February. I hadn’t even realized it was that many.
Playing with Pink
Repurposing and recycling have become my standard in the studio. Yesterday I decorated a little pink box that Smashbox™ make-up came in to create a fun birthday card for my 8 year old neighbor.

Happy Spring everyone!

Regular Features:
Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently:
1. Smilebox—Created a fun slideshow to be delivered to my Mom and a copy for my brother on Mother’s Day while we were out camping. Edit HTML and post code into the body….

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Thanks Mom
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow
2. Dirt Cake Recipe for 8-year-old’s birthday,196,150160-224197,00.html This cake is the most fun dessert on the planet. I put gummy worms in the top, flowers, and made a customized sign for the birthday girl. Too fun.
Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— yellow, sunny yellow.

Most played song:Mercedes Benz" by Janis Joplin, sung by a woman at the campground so well that I‘d swear Janis was still with us.

Studio progress: Emptied some stuff for projects you’ll see soon, not a lot of clearing. (abashed shrug)
In the kitchen: Camping food! We used the Coleman stove exclusively for cooking dinner. The first night we had stuffed chicken breasts with salads and the second night Kielbasa stir fry with salads.
That old standard, the five cup, salad recipe, is perfect for camping:
1 cup sour cream, 1 cup mandrian oranges, 1 cup pineapple, 1 cup mini-marshmellows, 1 cup cocconut--all mixed up. You really can use more or less of any ingredient and throw in other stuff if it sounds good to you.
Oh, it was goooooood.
Austerity Plan progress-($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): No art related purchases this week and sent out several recycled items from a converted nut can (for camping cookies) to a card made from a Smashbox™ make-up box and a vase from an old Pringles™ can to hold a bouquet of balloons.
My opinion and where it may lead: Getting away, just for a weekend camping trip, is healthy for the body and soul. Even if I need more “recovery time” afterwards, I don’t ever want to stop going on adventures.