Tuesday, October 30, 2012

cinnamon apple french toast made easy

this is a quick breakfast to make on a sunday morning and it's even pretty healthy with lots of fiber and less sugar because it's not drowned in syrup. i use all-natural ingredients; organic whenever i can.

1 fuji apple
1-2 tsp brown sugar
1-2 tbsp honey
3 slices whole wheat bread
cooking spray
3 eggs
1 tsp milk
cinnamon sugar butter
1 tbsp dried cranberries

core and slice an apple and lay slices on a piece of foil. sprinkle with a little brown sugar and drizzle with a little honey. bake in toaster oven at 350° for about 15 minutes, turn apple slices over and bake a few minutes more until soft. if you're using a regular oven, times may vary.

while the apple is baking, spray a large non-stick skillet with a little cooking spray and preheat to medium-high. mix 3 eggs well in a cup with a splash of milk, pour on to a dinner plate. dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture, thoroughly soaking/coating each side. transfer to skillet and fry on medium-high heat for a few minutes until each side is golden brown.

spread a little cinnamon butter on each slice of french toast, cut in half diagonally and arrange 3 pieces on a plate. Add baked apple slices on top, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle dried cranberries. serves two at 465 calories per serving.

i think what makes it easy is the pre-blended butter and also using my toaster oven. enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

make a glittery card in 12 snarky steps ;-)

1. dust off the fabulous die-cutting machine you just had to have (but haven't used in years) and clear off a nice big open space (yeah, right) to work on your kitchen table, dining room floor, or perhaps the top of your dryer in the garage. then dig through several drawers looking for that one cartridge that you remember had some cool shapes. once you find the cartridge, you're not through digging. you still need to find the sticky cutting mat and the little rubber keypad cover so you know which key to press for the shape you want.

2. curse just a tad when you realize your cutting mat has lost all its stickum, then do a little dumpster-diving to find that 40% off coupon that you tossed because you thought you needed more craft supplies like you needed a hole in the head.

3. drive to the craft store and fight the halloween crowds in the aisles for about fifteen minutes, then march to the checkout line feeling pretty good because you snagged the last sticky cutting mat hanging on the hook of their woefully understocked display (because that's just how old your machine is).

4. after waiting more than twenty minutes in line with "mommeeeee i don't wanna be a farmer for halloweeeeen" ringing in your ears, curse just a little more (under your breath while you smile) when the clerk explains why your coupon cannot be used on the mat.

5. leave the craft store with your full-price sticky mat, while shoving a snickers bar into your mouth that you bought for 40% off. before driving out of the parking lot, take a moment to appreciate the marketing genius of placing chocolate bars at the registers in a craft store.

6. once you're back home, curse a wee bit more as you try to remember how to program the machine to cut multiple quantities of a variety of shapes to fill up the whole sheet of paper, so you can go another couple years without having to use the machine again, but still feel good about your brilliant advance planning and multi-tasking skills. while your machine is buzzing away, you can trim a sheet of card stock to size for the front of a greeting card (mine is 4.5"x6.5") and prep it for the spray adhesive and glitter (see instructions here in my last post).

7. try to stay calm, in spite of a sugar high, as you carefully try to peel dozens of skinny little die-cut shapes off a very, very sticky new mat without tearing them. be very, very thankful for the little mini spatula that came with the machine, which you initially thought was the silliest craft tool ever.

8. lay the salvageable shapes (mine are rings) on your card stock as desired, in position for spraying adhesive. even though the spray coats better when you hold the can vertically, i opted for the shake, spray, spurt and repeat method of holding the can horizontally, so i could leave the card and rings laying flat.

9. once you have sprayed the card with enough adhesive, dart over to the open window to take a few gulps of fresh air, then run back to your card and dump, i mean sprinkle, a crapload of fine glitter on top of it, while the adhesive is still nice and wet.

10. move the card out of the glitter pile to a clean space, and using a pair of tweezers in each hand, carefully extract the rings, tap off excess glitter and set them aside to dry. then pick up the card, tap off the excess glitter and set aside to dry...takes about thirty minutes, depending on how much you sprayed. take a moment to revel in the beauty of the negative space on your glitter card.

11. now quickly brush all the excess glitter onto a creased sheet of paper and pour it back into the glitter jar, before your sugar high wears off and sends you crashing into that "i'm too tired to clean-up" frame of mind. trust me, you gotta clean up glitter immediately. i have worked around piles of excess glitter for three days before and it just gets everywhere, including places i'd rather not mention on a family blog.

12. once your card is dry, use a soft, wide paint brush to gently wipe away any last bits of stray glitter and embellish your card as desired. i glued on a couple of the glittered rings and added a gold sun button.

now you can send a sparkly sentiment to someone special...see now, wasn't that easy?

professional disclaimer that should not be necessary, but you just never know these days:
please take my humor in stride and rest assured that i really do love all the products and equipment i used in this project and creating glitter masks is a super cool way to use die-cuts and spray adhesive! now i'll add a smiley face emoticon so you'll know i'm sincere.  :-)

Friday, October 26, 2012

glitter 'n glue halloween greeting cards

as many of you are, i'm a fan of aleene's original tacky glue from way, way back. now there are so many aleene's glues and adhesives to choose from—wet, dry, clear, sprays, tapes, dots, some for paper, some for fabric, heavy-duty, fast-drying—it's quite a comprehensive line.

i've become especially fond of the clear gel tacky glue for my cardmaking. it's great for glittering and also for adhering small or narrow embellishments because it's clear, strong, and the bottle has a small pointy tip.

then when i was on craft wars, one of the most fun things we did was glitter a denim-covered tree trunk using a spray adhesive. so of course i was thrilled to see a can of aleene's crystal clear tacky spray in my box of supplies from i love to create!

i recently got a couple bat diecuts from an atc swap that i wanted to use while the occasion is upon us, plus i wanted to try using the tacky spray with a mask (pun intended) to glitter up a background for a halloween card.

so here we go...trick-or-treat...glitter my feet!

- use a tiny piece of folded painter's tape to temporarily hold your mask in position on top of the front of your folded card (use another bit of tape to keep card closed too). choose a color of card stock that complements the color of your glitter. I used a gray card with black glitter.

- on small projects, you can keep spray adhesive contained by spraying it inside a grocery bag, and you should work near an open window.

- the can sprays best when holding it straight up, so another little piece of painter's tape on the back of your card will keep it on the bottom of the bag so you can set the bag on it's side and make the card vertical. spray the card evenly and rather generously with adhesive, then quickly pour on the glitter.

- i learned that if you don't get good enough coverage of the spray before adding the glitter, the glitter will stick at first, but then you can easily brush most of it off after the adhesive is dry. my first attempt might have become an epic craft-fail, but turns out i actually liked how the random puff of glitter that i was left with looked kinda smoky and eerie around the keyhole mask.

- on my second try with another mask, i did achieve a lovely solid glitter coverage that stuck - but more on that in another post. today i am celebrating how to turn a mistake into a design opportunity!!

- i covered some of my embellishments with aleene's clear gel tacky glue, poured orange glitter on them, and set aside to dry.

- for the masked card with the puff of glitter smoke, i dabbed a sponge on a purple ink pad and gently rubbed some color around the smoke. then i edged the card with a purple marker, and used aleene's clear gel tacky glue to attach my embellishments.

- for the second card, i added brads to the top and bottom of my gorgeous black-glittered keyhole diecut, distressed some pretty purple patterned paper with dabs of the purple ink pad, and used aleene's clear gel tacky glue to adhere everything on to a black folded card
(i used a little black foam adhesive square under the left side of the key to balance it).

i'm looking forward to trying more of the aleene's glues and adhesives from i love to create!

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{my disclosure}

check out all these other great projects using aleene's!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

painting a glass jar + martha stewart crafts giveaway!

so i really love these peaches that come in these super cute little barrel-shaped jars, and i really love those little fake flickering battery-operated tealights. eat the peaches, paint the jars, and you end up with some super cute (and safe) candle holders!

i used the new glass paints and pattern tape from martha stewart crafts. this low-tack pattern tape has a little bit of stretch that regular painter's tape doesn't seem to have.

i was able to give the strips of tape a slight curve as i applied them, which gave me stripes that were skinny on top and wider in the center, to complement the jar's shape. the glass paint goes on nicely with a fingertip dauber and becomes nice and bright with a second coat after the first coat dries. the bottles have a pointy dispenser cap that was perfect for squeezing a tiny bit paint right on to the dauber without needing a palette. the cap also worked great for dotting a little pearly border along each stripe.

to cover the threads for the jar's lid, i painted the back side of a piece of filmstrip ribbon and adhered it around the top with a couple glue dots.

the glass paint cures by air in a few weeks, so you can safely wash it, or you can cure it faster in the oven.

click here to see another peach jar that i painted with a self-adhesive silkscreen. my head is spinning with all kinds of cute ways to paint these jars to use for storage, too!

and now for the giveaway! our friends at plaid provided me with a generous shipment of martha stewart crafts products for a marketing campaign i participated in. i'd like to share some with one lucky winner!

this valuable prize package contains a glass spray paint kit, a set of alpha adhesive stencils, two bottles of glass paint, plus two bottles of liquid gilding paint. just leave a comment here to enter and i'll draw one comment at random to win! deadline to enter is 10/25/12 - good luck!

Friday, October 19, 2012

autumn tablescape for two

wow, wow, wow! i've been having so much fun with my giant box of stencils, silkscreens, and paints by martha stewart crafts from our friends at plaid. scroll down to the bottom of this post to watch my oh-so-dramatic box-opening video i made when my shipment first arrived...and the falling in love part is all true, baby. there is just so, so much inspiration in her product line!

the hardest part was figuring out what to design, followed closely by trying to narrow down which of martha's many products to work with first. i landed upon a tablescape for two reasons:

1) i don't have a formal dining room, but i have a tall, prominent, and empty pub table in my family room that was just crying for some adornment.

2) i'm trying to make a dent in my fabric stash, and this autumn-themed layer cake (a coordinating set of 10" fabric squares) was just begging to be ripped open and run under the sewing machine.

then i decided i wanted to try martha's stencils and silkscreens with her glass and craft paints on three different surfaces—fabric, paper, and glass. so that's how i ended up creating a patchwork table runner, a poster board pumpkin pedestal, and a tealight candle holder (upcycled from a cute little glass jar of peaches). click on the pics to enlarge.

i chose a pumpkin (i trimmed off the jack-o-lantern face inside) and a leaf from the holiday stencil pack to paint on the solid squares of my table runner:

•  secure the stencil into position with painter's tape

•  spread some paint onto a piece of freezer paper (just a little dab'll do ya!)

•  pick up some paint with a fingertip dauber, tap it a couple times on the freezer paper to remove the excess, then lightly tap the color on to the fabric inside the stencil

•  carefully peel back and remove the stencil immediately, while the paint is still wet...if you leave it there to dry, it will get stickier on the fabric and be harder to remove

•   remember when stenciling—less is more!

too much paint can seep under the stencil and ruin everything...the dauber should seem almost dry on the surface, but there is plenty of paint inside that sponge tip that will come out nice and even as you tap (aka "pounce") straight up and down. i painted the pumpkins solid orange, then came back after they were dry with a small brush to paint the stems green.

i wanted to really glitter up the leaves. i started by blending a little red glitter paint into yellow, but since stenciling requires a lighter application of paint, i couldn't get much glitter in there. i decided to switch to sprinkling gold glitter, which needs more wet paint to hold, but i didn't want to risk seeping at the stencil edges. so after lightly stenciling the leaf, i removed the stencil, added more paint with a small brush, and then piled on the sprinkly sparkly!

after everything was dry, i gently heat-set the painted areas with an iron (medium heat), using parchment paper between the iron and the fabric.

the self-adhesive silkscreens have beautiful detail and are super easy to use with martha's little squeegee brushes. both are flexible enough to use on curved glass, although i still secured the edges of the silkscreen leaf with painter's tape to make extra sure there'd be no shifting, which also gave me more space around the edges for paint overflow.

after silkscreening my leaf on the outside of the jar with opaque glass paint, i used my finger to dab a little gold craft paint inside the jar to give the leaf a little transparent glow of color. safety first...i recommend using battery tealights instead of real candles, so as not to burn the paint on the inside, plus these peach jars are probably not made from tempered glass.

the silkscreens and squeegees work great with craft paint on paper and fabric, too (oops, I used glass paint on the fabric, but guess what...it's just fine).

for my pumpkin pedestal, i alternated a leaf stencil with a few different leaf silkscreens in different colors on a long strip (approx 6"x20") of black poster board. i glittered the stenciled leaves here too, except i left it in clumps for extra texture and contrast. i also tried a two-tone striping effect on one of the silkscreened leaves which i think turned out so pretty!

once the poster board was dry, i lightly scored the back side to divide it into four even sections, then folded the strip into a square and taped the edges together on the inside. i placed a cup inside it that was almost the same height, laid a couple pieces of folded fabric down, and set my pumpkin on top.

i'm in love, love, love with all of the martha stewart crafts stencils, silkscreens, paints, and tools...they are so incredibly easy to use, and you get such amazingly gorgeous results. i will definitely be screenin' and stencilin' up a storm for a good long while!!

and now for your viewing pleasure...the opening of the martha box.

please visit the plaid website for loads of inspiration.
follow them online:  facebook •  twitter  •  pinterest
[ my disclosure statement ]

be sure to check out all these martha-mazing projects, too!

Monday, October 15, 2012

the joy of finger painting

these are 8" square journal covers that i had painted a few years ago, quite literally by hand. i just came across the photos again and felt inspired! click the pic to zoom in.

finger painting is sooo not just for kids. there are beautiful lines, textures, and color blends that you can get with your fingers which no brush or tool can match. circles, streaks, arcs, dabs, taps...i'm here to tell ya, do not fear paint under your nails.

acrylic paints and mediums are water-based and non-toxic; they can be scrubbed off your skin and nails with a little soap and water. even if your hands are stained for a day or two, wear your colors proudly...we're artists!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

glow-in-the-dark fabric panel

the fabulous folks at the blueprint social challenged me to create something for halloween or fall, using puffy paint™ from iLoveToCreate.

not just any puffy paint, but glow-in-the-dark puffy paint.

my first thought about puffy paints was a kid drawing outlines of simple images on shirts. my next thought about glow-in-the-dark was the little plastic stars that kids put on the ceiling of their bedrooms. i remembered how i used to like to see the stars glow for a few minutes right after turning out the light to go to bed.

alas, i have no kids...what to do, what to do. i decided to create something that combined these two initial thoughts, but with a grown-up twist.

my own bedroom is small and uncluttered with dark furniture, drapes, and bedding. i'm trying to pay attention to the stress gurus who say that your bedroom should be a calm, meditative sanctuary. so it is indeed that...but i've been wanting to add a pop of bold, graphic color on the wall above my bed - like a pair of paintings or fabric panels. i am wary of hanging anything heavy over my sleeping head though, since we deal with earthquakes here in california, so creating some light fabric panels were my first choice. but like so many other diy ideas i have, it has been on that perpetual back burner...until now!

i had this yummy african batik fabric panel (20"x26") in brighter shades of traditional fall colors that was perfect for outlining with the glowing colors of the puffy paints.

i knew the falling leaves pattern would look really cool glowing in the dark, too.

i found some flat glass beads and a wide striped ribbon that matched the fabric really nicely and i chose three shades of puffy paint—natural, yellow, and gray—that blend well with the fabric colors.

here's how it all goes together - super easy!

  • outline parts of the fabric pattern with desired color(s) of glow-in-the-dark puffy paint
  • use a skewer to clean up and smooth out your outlines as needed
  • adhere decorative beads and a ribbon border with aleene's clear gel tacky glue
  • apply a self-adhesive picture hanger to the back of the mat (or have it framed)

i gotta say, i really like how the puffy paint works with the beads to add dimension to the fabric...and i love how it glows when i go to bed at night. it was pretty easy to squeeze out a consistently smooth line when you're tracing a pattern. even if it gets wobbly, bubbly, too thick, or too thin, a few pokes and scrapes with a skewer will fix it right up.

plus it's easy to wipe away with the corner of a damp cloth while it's still wet if you make a mistake (or lean your wrist into what you just painted like i did, more than once, lol). the paint dries in just a few hours.

please visit the iLoveToCreate site - there's lots of inspiration to explore!
follow their facebook, twitter, and pinterest pages for lots more yummy creative ideas.
my post disclosure statement }

be sure to check out all these talented bloggers who created great projects for this challenge!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

painted inchie mosaic greeting card

here's another example of how to make use of leftover acrylic paints (and texture mediums too) instead of tossing out those little puddles. brush them on to thick watercolor paper, then punch out inchies to create a mosaic.

i liked the idea of two layers of inchie tiles - the bottom layer was glued on symmetrically. the backer fabric is white cotton that was handpainted with an ink waterwash and then salt-printed.

then i edged the next group of tiles with a black marker and placed them in an abstract pattern on top.

i love a square card that opens top to bottom too, don't you?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

fabric panels for greeting cards

here are a couple greeting cards i made, using some fabric swatches from my stash that i had painted with leftover dabs of acrylic paint.

this first panel was paint-stamped on white cotton with a cosmetic sponge, a foam marshmallow, a pencil eraser, and the edge of a credit card. then i accented it with some white flake medium.

the panel below was white cotton that i water-washed with green and yellow inks, then paint stamped with a fleur-de-lys.
i framed it with a piece of fabric i monoprinted with stripes scraped on to a gel plate. i wrapped each fabric panel around a smaller square of cardstock, adhered with mod podge.

painting fabric is one of my most favorite things to do - so fun and easy, and i just love the texture fabric gives to a card.

click here to watch my demo from a world cardmaking day webcast i did - it's at the top of my video tutorial page.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

great ways to use leftover paint

i had a great time this weekend on two different webcasts, sharing some techniques for painting on fabric and paper to create unique backgrounds and panels for cardmaking.

i'm miserly with my paint, so my techniques were all about ways to use up leftover dabs of acrylic paint from other projects.

the strips on the left were cut from a piece of fabric that i randomly stamped and sponged with paint. because the paint stiffens the fabric, it feels more like paper and frays less when cut into ribbon strips or other shapes.

the blue fabric on the right was water-washed with a few different colors of paint, then left to dry under my ott light with a flower stencil on top...it's basically sunprinting indoors. the green piece at the bottom is white tone-on-tone fabric that i water-washed...the printed pattern acts like a resist.

i demonstrated striping techniques on watercolor paper, as well as scraping, stamping, and reverse stamping. it's fun to be loosy goosy with leftover paint, and i end up with a great stash of swatches to work with.

later in the week, i'll show you a few greeting cards i made with waste paste swatches.

click here to watch my demo from saturday (youtube).
click here to watch my demo from sunday (linq-to).
be prepared for casual, silly, and hopefully inspiring!

it was so great to spend some time online during world cardmaking day with my creative friends! many thanks to cyn, fab, and leslie rahye for all their hard work putting together these great webcasts! here are the various supplies i used during my demos:

- Soft Body Acrylic Paints
- Glazing Medium
- Iridescent Medium
- Fabric Medium
- White Opaque Flake Texture Medium

Crafter's Workshop 6x6 flower stencils
Fingertip sponge daubers
Foam marshmallows
Palette knife
Notched spreader
Permapaque Paint Markers
Martha Stewart Striping Brush
Mod Podge
Aleene's ClearGel Tacky Glue
Fluid 6x6 Watercolor Paper

Friday, October 05, 2012

world cardmaking day—live webcasts!

it's world cardmaking day tomorrow! this is a great weekend to hang out indoors, sit in front of your computer, and craft along with all of us.

i am joining a cast of thousands (ok, maybe just dozens) on two different all-day live webcasts...we'll be chatting and showing off great ideas for making greeting cards.

on saturday, i'll be at the odd show, streaming live on youtube. their webcast runs all day and features 11 fabulously talented designers...there will be prize drawings!  i'm doing two demos:
     10:00am pt  (1:00pm et)
     —paint-stamping fabric backgrounds
     10:30am pt  (1:30pm et)
     —waste paint striped backgrounds

on sunday, i'll be in the creative cynchronicity video chat room for another live webcast - this one runs all weekend with prize drawings from 30+ awesome designers...lots of big names in the craft world are joining in! plus they're selling raffle tickets to win a $350 prize pack to benefit the charity wings art center.  i'm doing one demo:
    11:30am pt  (2:30pm et)
    —waste paint inchie mosaic cards

click here on saturday (7am-5pm pt) to join the odd show (look for the youtube links)
click here on saturday and sunday (9am-5pm pt) to join creative cynchronicity

don't miss out on this amazeballs weekend of creative inspiration and chatting with cardmakers around the world...and you'll get tons of chances to win some really great prizes!
please share this post and tell your friends!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

stitching up an atc

the theme for my september online artist trading card swap was stitches.

i started with a piece of stiffened fabric and attached a little paint-stamped square of paper to it with a mini button brad.

then i hand-stitched inside the circle with embroidery floss and punched a few rectangles around it.

i used glue dots to adhere it to a gray backer card that i edged in black ink. it's on the way to emi!

here are the atcs from the other four women in the swap...

domo monster is by emi from puerto rico (mine!)

pink passion is by robbin from florida (sent to linda)

teal sunset is by linda from canada (sent to sandy)

red & white is by sandy from australia (sent to robbin)

quite the worldwide bunch of stitchers we are!

ps...i won't be hosting any more online swaps this year...but if anyone ever wants to swap with me directly, i'm game!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

tropical fish in the sea - greeting card

my brother needed a birthday card for one of his buddies, so i went looking for some papers in my stash that weren't too cutesy or flowery.

i found these gorgeous sheets in the new tropical travelogue paper pack i recently won from graphic 45. i love working with different patterns in the same hue, with a pop of contrasting color.

i used mod podge dimensional magic to gloss up the yellow fish, then i used foam adhesive squares to attach the panel so it sits up higher and they look more 3-d, swimmin' in the sea. i used coordinating stickers for the greeting inside.