Thursday, January 28, 2010

Line Edits

Well, I finished my short story for the Writer's Digest Prompt Contest today. I spent the afternoon locked away in my bedroom (thank goodness hubby was home to manage the kids) and after a couple of clacking away on the laptop, I was able to type those two blessed words, "the end."

By that time, it was 6:30, which is exactly when I have to leave if I'm going to make it on time to the coffee house where my Thursday night writer's group meets. So I hurriedly plugged it into the printer, and ran upstairs to change while my copy came out.

It's a fairly decent story with a nice surprise ending, if I do say so myself. ;o) And my writer's group only had positive things to say, so that's always nice. The only trouble is, it's 871 words, while the word limit for the contest is 750. So I've got a bit of cutting to do.

So, if you're looking for me tomorrow morning, you'll find me at my favorite Tim Hortons, a cafe mocha and a red Pilot Precise pen in hand, "murdering my darlings" as we writers like to say. When it has to be done, it has to be done. And a story is usually the better for it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Notecard Notebooks

First off, I want to say a HUGE thank you to Kathy from The Daily Marker, who hosted the blog candy giveaway that I mentioned two weeks ago. She announced the winner last night and IT WAS ME!!! Can you believe it? I can't! I never win anything! I'm beyond thrilled. The supplies are just gorgeous, and will really add so much to the little stash I've started. I can hardly wait to start crafting with them! So thanks again, Kathy! You're amazing!

On to today's craft. This project was so simple and easy, that I cannot believe I never thought of it before. I don't know about you, but my boys love little notebooks. They often play firefighters, police, or my personal favorite, spies, hiding around corners and taking notes on the suspect (me) as I partake in questionable activities such as folding the laundry or wiping down counters.

Last night they were once again out of notebooks, but rather than buy them as usual, I thought of this blog and my goal to live more creatively, and decided to make them myself. After scrounging around for something to use as a cover, I opened my stationary box and had a complete DUH! moment. Notecards! Of course!

Here's what you need:

any size notecard (you could even use a special birthday card you don't want to toss)
5 or more sheets of paper - printer, lined, graph, whatever
scissors or paper trimmer
stapler with bottom that hinges out

Here's what you do:

Measure or trace your notecard onto paper stack. Cut out with scissors or paper trimmer to about 1/8" smaller than outline. Line paper up inside notebook, train into the fold. Hold carefully in place with fingers or paperclips. Open stapler, staple 2-3 times along outside fold of notecard.

Tip: If you're having trouble getting your staples to fold over, staple onto the arm of a couch, or a sturdy throw pillow. The staples will stick straight out and you will be able to fold them over by hand or with a letter opener or butter knife.

And that's it! My kids loved them, and it was such a simple, quick and easy thing to do. These vintage cereal box cards were part of an 8 pack I picked up in the $1 bins at Michaels like two years ago, so it was also extremely inexpensive. And bonus, I can use the leftover envelopes for the handmade cards I create. Or you could use really cute cards and make them as gifts or party favors, tucking them into the envelopes as gift wrap. Lots of options here.
Hope you like them!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yaki Soba

Okay, so last Friday when I volunteered in my son Chaztin's second grade class, one of the stations that his teacher had set up was reading the childrens book "Yoko" by Rosemary Wells. It's the story is of a little Japanese girl (cat) who brings sushi to school for International Food Day, which no one wants to try. To coincide with that, she made Yaki Soba (Fried Noodles) and all the kids got to taste some.

Chaztin loved it so much that on the break from my station I went down and tried some myself and got the recipe. And the two of us decided to cook it tonight for the family.

Doesn't it look good? Because his teacher was making it for a bunch of students with different likes and dislikes, hers only contained noodles, edamame and egg. To make it more filling, and more suited to my family's tastes, I added a few other ingredients to the mix. You can copy mine or change it up however you want. It's a really easy recipe to play with.

Yaki Soba

ramen noodles (I used four packages of beef flavored, but you can make any amount or flavor)
thin "minute" steaks, sliced in strips (I marinated mine overnight in a little teriyaki sauce)
sliced mushrooms
matchstick carrots
green onion
2 eggs
olive oil

Open desired amount of ramen, set seasoning packets aside, and cover with boiling water for 3 minutes or according to the package directions. Drain well immediately. Toss with seasoning packets. Set aside.

In a wok or frying pan, add a little olive oil and saute mushrooms, set aside.
Scramble eggs with a tablespoon of water, pour into pan and cook on medium until set, carefully flip over, cook, remove, chop into slices, set aside.
Add meat to pan, cook until no longer pink, set aside.
Add a little more oil to pan, saute matchstick carrots and edamame, set aside.
(Btw, if you don't want to dirty up a bunch of dishes, just layer these in a large bowl (with the exception of the noodles.)
Add last bit of oil, fry noodles until they reach desired crisp-tender state.
Dump in cooked ingredients, toss to combine.
Thinly slice green onions and sprinkle over top.
Serve warm.

I added shrimp eggrolls as a side (Do they even have eggrolls in Japan? I don't know.) which I just bought frozen. They were yummy though! The whole meal was a big hit. Lots of great flavor, texture and color, and everybody cleaned their plates with no complaints.
I'd give it 5 stars, and I'll definitely be making this again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Prompt Contest #24

This morning after I dropped the boys off at school, I had 2 1/2 hours to kill before I had to go back and pick up my youngest from preschool. I decided to head to my favorite "me time" place, Tim Horton's, to get a little writing in.

I'm working on a short story for Writer's Digest Magazine's Prompt Contest #24.

Prompt: Parents look on in horror as a magician's trick goes horribly awry during a child's birthday party.

Interesting, huh? I thought so. I got a spark pretty much right off the bat when I read it last Thursday, but I had to do a little internet research to ensure that my idea would work. I got about half of it on paper today before I had to make a grocery run, and I still feel jazzed about the rest.

If you're interested in entering, send your 750 words or less story to or via the online submission form at Entries must be pasted directly into the body of the email; attachments will not be opened. Don't forget to add your name and mailing address. One entry per person. Deadline is February 10th, 2010, so you've still got a little time to get it in there. The winner will be published in a future issue of Writer's Digest.

Who knows? For a couple hours of work, you just might see your name in print!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another Blog Giveaway!

Today I volunteered in my son's second grade class, and we made the cutest little craft! It was super easy and only used a few very basic supplies. What I loved most about it was that it really allowed kids to use their imaginations. I'm not going to tell you what it is, because I'm going to make one myself next week, and I'll show you how to do it then.

In the meantime, stop by the Think Crafts! blog and sign up to win this adorable valentine making kit. All you have to do is answer one simple question to qualify. Let me know if you win!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Danish Snowmen

Once again, my creativity compelled me to the kitchen today. Normally I wouldn't post two similar crafts back to back, but I promise this one is worth it. I made a brunch/lunch for the two younger kids and myself today, eggs, bacon, toast, and orange juice, and afterwards my sweet tooth was acting up again (darn thing!). I wanted to make something that was easy and fun for the kids using ingredients I had on hand. I came up with these adorable little danish snowmen. Aren't they cute?

Here's the low-down.

Danish Snowmen

2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 8oz block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
mini chocolate chips or halved raisins

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tsp milk

Open your packages of refrigerated crescent rolls. Keeping them rolled, slice through the center perforations of both rolls, making 4 halves. Cut in half again (making 8), and then each of the 8 into equal third rounds. You should now have 24 crescent rounds.
Lightly grease two cookie sheets (or use baking paper if you have it -- I did) and preheat oven to 350 F.
Arrange rounds on cookie sheet, stacking two touching each other to form snowman bodies leaving 2" between each snowman to give them room to "grow."
With your thumb, press out a hollow circle in the center of each round.

In a medium bowl, blend your cream cheese with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Taste, add more sugar if needed to reach desired sweetness.
With a small spoon, fill the hollows with cream cheese mixture.
Decorate with mini chocolate chips or halved raisins to make snowman faces and buttons.

Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes, until the bottom edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven to cool.

In a small bowl, sift 1/3 cup powdered suger. Add milk very gradually, stirring well with a small spoon until you reach a glaze consistency (this is one case where it's better to be too thick than too thin!). Drizzle glaze with spoon over each still-warm snowman.

Allow to cool completely for 1-2 hours.
Makes 12 snowmen.

Have you ever seen anything so darling and delicious in all your life? My family couldn't get enough of them! So yummy! I do recommend that you do everything in your power to resist the temptation to eat them while they're still warm! As in the case with cheesecake or any other cream cheese based dessert, it tastes so much better when cooled. If you cave, not to worry. There's eleven of his friends just waiting to join him.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

Today my creativity led me to the kitchen. After spending the morning out in the winter weather, I came home craving something warm and tangy and sweet. After flipping through my recipes, I decided to try my hand at a new one: Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake.

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

1 egg
2 cups Bisquick mix
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed, rinsed and well-drained
1/4 cup Bisquick mix

Lemon Glaze

2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp lemon juice

Beat egg slightly in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups Bisquick mix, sugar, milk, and lemon peel.
In a small bowl, toss blueberries with 1/4 Bisquick mix (this is to absorb excess moisture and prevent the berries from clumping together in the cake), fold into batter.
Spread into a greased 9"x 1 1/2" round cake pan or 9"x 13" rectangular baking dish (I bet you could also use a bundt pan).
Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes. Drizzle with Lemon Glaze. Serve warm.

Look at all that yummy blueberry goodness! This came out tasting like a big blueberry muffin. It hit all the right notes as far as warm and tangy goes, though it could have been a little sweeter for my personal preference. The next time I make it I will definitely increase the sugar to 1/2 cup. The Lemon Glaze was the perfect compliment. I had one piece warm when it came out of the oven this afternoon, and another one cold (well, room temperature) just a moment ago that was equally good.

If you decide to try it for yourself, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Frog on a Log (in watercolor)

Do you ever have a day where you just aren't feeling it creatively? One of those blah kind of days when you can't seem to muster up any inspiration? Today was one of those days for me. After enjoying the nice long holiday weekend with my family, you'd think that I'd be raring to go with this week's blog entries. Didn't happen. I wracked my brain all day trying to come up with a craft to do. I flipped through library books on card making, scrapbooking, and floral design hoping they might fan the inspirational flame. Not a flicker. Not a spark.

The kids came home, I helped them with homework, put a meatloaf in the oven. Still nothing. Then my four-year-old pulled out his oft used, muddy-colored basic tray of Crayola watercolor paints. As he worked on his masterpiece at the kitchen table, I plopped down beside him to watch. I hadn't painted with watercolors since gradeschool, but the more I more I watched him, the more I thought how much fun it looked. Tentatively, I picked up a brush. The yellow and orange were blackened beyond recognition, so I began with green, then added some blue. I let the paint run and blend in washes of color across the page. Before I knew it, a picture began to form.

Not bad, huh? For my first grown-up try at watercolor painting? Again, this was with a (very) used Crayola basic 8 color watercolor tray, and regular printer paper. I'm thinking I might pick up some watercolor paper and a better set of paints and play around with it and see what happens.

Okay, so it might be a little silly or juvenile, but it doesn't matter. I think all art is about taking risks, being willing to just dive in and try something new. And putting yourself out there for the world to see. It's so easy to dismiss what you've done, to tuck it away in a drawer or toss it out with the trash. But we all have to start somewhere. It's keeping at it that helps us grow. And if we aren't willing to share with others our humble beginnings, how will they grow with us?
So here you go, my little frog on a log.
Ribbit, ribbit!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter Twilight

It was overcast this morning, the winter sky a gunmetal gray framed with silvery clouds. Later, going through my bead stash, I was immediately drawn to some gunmetal gray hematite and silvery swarovski pearls. It just seemed like the perfect day to use them.

As I went outside to take pictures, twilight began to fall and cast shadows through the trees that reflected in the stones. It just seemed fitting you know? That the winter morning sky would inspire them, and the winter evening sky would be absorbed by them.

So that closes out another week of living more creatively! I hope you'll come back and join me next week, and maybe even feel inspired to do a little creating of your own.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Written Word

When it comes to being creative, my first love has always been the written word. I fell madly in love with writing in the sixth grade when I wrote my very first poem for a school assignment. But even before that I loved books. The way they looked, the way they felt, the way they smelled, and most especially the way they made me feel when I read them. At any moment I could crack open a cover and be transported and transformed. I became Sara Crewe in A Little Princess, Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, and Mary Wallace in Baby Island. A new book was like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia -- a whole world of excitement and adventure awaited within those pages.

So it was only natural that once I was able to put together words into sentences for myself, that I turned them into the one thing I loved best: a good story. Writing is so much a part of who I am, I don't think I would recognize myself without it. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Unfortunately, I'm also a perfectionist, and for many years I set the bar so high for myself and my writing that it was nearly impossible to attain. Fear that I simply wasn't good enough crippled me so that I was unable to finish any book I started. I've learned the hard way that a rough draft is simply that, rough. My perfectionist tendencies don't need to come into play until much later, when the story is completely written and the editing process begins. If you are an aspiring writer, I beg you to learn from my mistakes and write for the pure joy of it. Putting demands on yourself when you are still in the creative process of a story is like holding your muse at gunpoint. It might give you what you want, but it will be done begrudgingly and I promise you it won't be your best.

So last November I finally gave myself permission to write crap. You heard me! After all, as the great (no idea at all who he is) Will Shetterly once said, "It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all." I've learned that I don't have to have the story all figured out the first time through. I don't even have to know where the story is going. It's okay to figure things out along the way.
It all sounds so simple, but I can't tell you how freeing it was for me to realize that. I'd been carrying around this enormous burden, weighing each and every word, testing every sentence for strength, as if my entire future rested upon them. I was trying to run a marathon when all I should have been taking baby steps.
Long story short, I'm currently three chapters in to my current WIP (that's writer-speak for Work In Progress) and I'm loving it! The desperation and unrealistic expectations have fled the premises and the sheer delight and sense of adventure and discovery that made me fall in love with writing in the first place have returned in full force.
My internal editor will have its way soon enough, when the plot twists and turns are mapped out and all the loose ends are tied up. But for now, I'm just enjoying the journey.
For creative writing inspiration and advice, including a weekly Wednesday writing prompt, visit my other blog, Penciled Whimsies at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Firefighter Elliott

My middle son, Elliott, is six years old and dreams of one day becoming a firefighter. Every day he comes home from Kindergarten, eats a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich with his little brother, then runs upstairs to change into his "fire gear." It does my heart good to see my boys engaged in pretend play. I just love to see little imaginations at work!

In the three years since Elliott discovered a love for firefighting, we've gone through at least half a dozen firefighter dress-up jackets. Those you find at the store are always cheaply made of thin cloth that easily rips and tears at the seams and never seem to last more than a couple months. One birthday he received one that actually split the first time he put it on!

I wanted to get him a new one for Christmas, but I couldn't find one anywhere that was good quality and reasonably priced. If I knew how to sew and owned a sewing machine, I could have made him one from scratch, I suppose, but since I don't, I did the next best thing. Check it out.

What I did was buy a regular Hanes sweatshirt at Walmart for $4.00, as well as a roll of yellow duct tape, since my husband already had silver on hand. I enlisted his help (I've explained my inabilities with straight lines previously) and we just cut the shirt front from bottom to top, applied the silver in strips to look like the reflectors on a safety jacket, and the yellow to give it some trim.

I wracked my brains and searched all over for something to make a badge out of. The cheap plastic ones never last more than a day or two before the clip on the back breaks off. The Monday before Christmas, I still had no ideas, so on my way up to the mall for some last-minute shopping, I pulled into a local firestation. I explained my situation to the kind firefighter who opened the door and told him about Elliott and his love for firefighting. He went to his locker and brought me back this authentic fire patch that area firefighters wear on their dress uniform sleeves. Perfection! Not only did Elliott get his badge, but we had a special story to share with him about how he came to have it.

I glued the badge on with some fabric adhesive, piled on a few heavy books for a couple hours to make sure it was good and stuck, and that was it. Total cost was around $7, total time, maybe 10 minutes plus gluing time. You should have seen the look on his face when he opened up that box. Sheer joy. And doesn't he look adorable all dressed up in his gear?

We did have to remove the yellow around the sleeve cuffs. We didn't realize that the material wouldn't be able to expand enough to fit his hands through with it on. But I think it looks fine without it. I was concerned about the duct tape losing it's stick and coming off, but so far it's held wonderfully. If it does, it's easy enough to pull off the old and put on some new from the leftover rolls. There's more than plenty. Did you make any gifts this Christmas?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sweet Chocolates

For today's craft, I thought I'd try out one of my new stamps from the Hero Arts "What's the Scoop?" set that arrived yesterday. I was really digging that yummy-looking box of chocolates, so I thought I'd pair that with chocolate card stock, and some pretty pink paper sprinkled with polka dots that I'd picked up in a little pack from one of the $1 bins at Target. I stamped the box of chocolates twice, in pink and brown, then cut out just the chocolates and popped them off the card with dimentionals. Added a bit of ribbon and punched out the "sweet" from the "I'm sweet on you" stamp for a sentiment. A little faux stitching in white gel pen and it was complete. I say that as if it were that simple, but it actually took over two hours of hemming and hawing and second-guessing every decision. But I think it came together nicely in the end.

There's a few minor errors -- I got a little tear in the pink paper near the right bottom corner while trying to reposition on the card stock. I decided to leave it and just cover it up with ribbon, but being new to this, I didn't realize that would make the card open wrong. Oh well. Live and learn. The faux stitching also went a little farther off the right side than the left. I can't draw a straight line to save my life! And, I wasn't thrilled with the effects of my colored pencils. (That box is colored pink, by the way, I don't know if that showed up in the pics.) But you get what you pay for. These were just a cheap 12 pack I skiffed from the kids leftover school supplies. A nice set of Prismacolor pencils is on my ever growing list of supplies to invest in as I can.

Not bad for my second card, I thought. I obviously still have a lot to learn, but I think that's best done while doing. Practice makes perfect and all that. And since every card needs someone on the other side of the envelope to cheer or encourage, I decided to send this one to my lovely grandmother. A classy box of chocolates for a classy lady.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Chile Enchiladas

Happy Monday, all! I have recently discovered a new love for Mondays, thanks to the very talented Kristina Werner and her MACM (Make A Card Monday) tutorials. If you haven't watched one of Kristina's videos, drop everything that you're doing and head over to her blog and then meet me back here so you can tell me how wonderful I am for sharing that link. You're very welcome. ;o)

Another reason I love this Monday in particular, is because I received a package in the mail today! Yay! About a week ago, I was reading through Paper Crafts magazine and I saw an add for a site called, and even though I'm not a scrapper (yet) I decided to check it out. Turns out they sell all kinds of paper crafting supplies, and I spent a delightful couple hours (I was sick, so I had an excuse to lay around) scrolling through all 6,859 rubber stamps they have. (I'm dead serious. 6,859!) Well, my husband happened to walk by and saw my longing glances and the saliva dripping from my chin (okay, so I'm not serious about that part) and after I'd explained to him that it just happened to be the last day of a sale where you could take 40% off any one item and showed him the adorable stamp set which I could use in so many different ways, he very generously bought them for me. (Thank you, Pookie! You're the sweetest!) Today they arrived! Take a look.

I thought it was very nice that they also sent me a pretty sheet of scrapbook paper and three pieces of candy. Okay, so it's cheap candy that I will probably just throw away, but that's beside the point. They've made their impression. I know that companies sometimes throw in freebies for people who make a $50 or $100 purchase, but I thought that was unusual for someone who spent less than $20 total including shipping.

Here's a closer look at the stamps. Aren't they cute? It's the "What's the Scoop?" collection from Hero Arts and they're even better in person. I love that they can be used in so many different combinations. My head's already swimming with ideas.

Well, as if that weren't enough to blog about, there's more. I decided to get crafty today by trying a new recipe. In the grocery store yesterday, I came across a can of green chile enchilada sauce that had a recipe on the label called Creamy Chicken and Chile Enchiladas. I decided to try it, with a few minor alterations. As the Pioneer Woman says (don't you just love her?), here's the cast of characters.

A pound or so of shredded chicken breast (I boiled and shredded 4), 2 cans of green chile enchilada sauce, 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles (that's my "few" alterations. recipe called for plain diced green chiles, but I thought the tomatoes would add a nice sweetness.), an 8 oz block of cream cheese, an 8 oz package of shredded cheese (I used a colby jack taco blend), and 12 or so tortillas, depending on how much you stuff them.
So, I started by draining and heating up the tomatoes and chiles in a large saucepan, cut the cream cheese into blocks and added that until it was melted and combined, then added my shredded chicken breast. That mixture I spooned onto each tortilla, and then wrapped them up by tucking in the short ends first, and then the long ends and putting them fold down in a greased 9x13" baking dish. My recipe made enough for 12 enchiladas and since I could only fit 6 in a baking dish, I ended up using 2. Over each pan of enchiladas I poured 1 can of the green chile enchilada sauce, and topped it off with half a bag of cheese (we like a lot of cheese). Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for 20-30 minutes (mine took 30) or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is lightly browned.

And here's how it came out. We are a family of 5, with three boys ages 8, 6, and 4. Each of them ate a half an enchilada, I ate 1 1/2 and my husband ate 2. So we ended up with one, plus an entire dish of 6 left over. Not bad if you don't mind eating them as leftovers later in the week. If you want to avoid this and think your family would eat a similar amount to mine, I'd recommend just cutting the recipe in half.
I also made a little salad by mixing up some diced tomatoes, a can of corn, a little ranch dressing and some salt and pepper in a bowl and it was a nice accompaniment. I would have liked to add a little something green to the plate for color, but I couldn't find anything suitable, so I just left it. Refried beans would also make a great side dish, but no one in my family will eat them except me, so it's rarely worth the trouble for me to make them.

The finished result was pretty good! I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. It was yummy, but the recipe could be improved upon. Next time I think I'll add a little taco seasoning in with the chicken mixture to give it a little extra kick. It was pleasantly spicy without being overly so. I wouldn't have minded a little more heat, but since I'm cooking for kids, I usually stick on the mild side. The chicken mixture looked a little dry, but it was actually pretty creamy. Still, next time I might not drain the dickens out of the tomatoes and chiles. A little extra moisture would not have been a bad thing. All in all, it was a decent recipe. One I'll definitely revisit again, but be sure to play around with some.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Arctic Waters

Happy Friday, everybody! Aren't you glad it's the weekend? More time to sleep, more time to craft...

I'm especially excited for tomorrow because it's not just any Saturday -- it's the 2nd Saturday of the month. For me that means it's a writers group weekend! I belong to a wonderful organization called Pennwriters, Inc. and our branch meets the second and fourth Saturdays of every month at a local bookstore. I love, love, love my writers group! I cannot tell you how much those people inspire me. Such talent! If any of you out there are aspiring writers, I highly recommend that you find yourself a local writers group and join their ranks. I know I've grown leaps and bounds in the year and a half since I found mine.

But anyway, on to todays craft. I was in a jewelry making mood today, especially since I'm about to send out a package to my loved ones in Germany. For those of you who don't know me, my husband is German, and though we met here in the States, we were married in Germany and lived there for several years. All three of our children were actually born there. So we're a bilingual family, which brings on both blessings and challenges. I'll tell you one thing, it sure comes in handy when you're out and about in public (say, buying a new car, for example) and you don't want anyone else to be privy to your conversation!

I have a tendency to ramble, in case you haven't noticed. Back to the craft! I made this pair of earrings today as a gift for my sister-in-law Tina. She's the head nurse on the geriactric floor of a large hospital in Germany (and she's only 28 -- so accomplished!) and she can only wear studs or very small dangly earrings to work. So they're quite simple, but I just thought the color combination was stunning.

I don't know if you can tell, but there's actually a pearlized wash over the light blue glass beads. It makes a pretty diamond pattern in shades of pink, lavender, and green, but I don't think it came out as well in the photos. I name all my pieces, so I decided to call these Arctic Waters, because they remind me of the deep turquoise of the Arctic Ocean and the blue-tinged snow you see on all the lovely polar bear videos. At least, that was my thinking. ;o)

Maybe you can see it a little better here? Anyway, I used Bead Gallery glass beads and Crystazzi crystals, as well as silver plated findings. I usually prefer to use Swarovski crystals, but I was low on cash, these were cheaper, and held next to each other you really couldn't tell the difference. I think they'll do this time around. All supplies came from Michaels.
If you've made anything new this week, please post it on your blog and then paste the link in your comments. I'd love to check them out!
Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hero Arts Giveaway

I just wanted to let you all know that the fabulously talented card artist, Kathy from The Daily Marker is hosting a Hero Arts paper craft supply giveaway. You can find more information and sign up to be entered to win these great items at her blog:
Just take a look at all these goodies!

While you're there, take a look around at her beautiful creations. You're sure to be inspired!

You're A Deer

The journey begins! Or rather, it began earlier this week. I made my first ever greeting card with a handful of paper craft supplies that I receieved from my wonderful husband for Christmas. Yes, ladies, it's true! You too can train your men to shop in craft stores! All you need to do is make a list, complete with the exact pinpointed location of each item on the shelves and detailed drawings of the aisles in relation to the door and cash registers.

Anyhow, there was nothing in particular that I really needed for Christmas this year, and I'd been wooed by all the stamps, inks and pretty patterned papers at Michaels for quite some time, so I decided that paper crafts would be my next venue in the world of creating. I somehow stumbled upon a youtube video of the extraordinarily talented Kristina Werner, which led me to her blog (see sidebar -- she's totally worth checking out) and after watching a few of her Make A Card Monday and Finally Friday videos, I knew I just had to try my hand at making a card of my own.

And viola! (Or however you spell that. It never looks quite right to me.)

Not too shabby, right? Okay so, it's not fantastic, but it was my first attempt. Considering the fact that I had no idea what the correct card size was, and no idea how to use my new Fiskars rotary cutter (Is that even what it's called? I'll have to look that up.) I was pretty pleased with the results.

I don't know why the top of the card looks crooked in the pic. It's really not. It must be just how I placed it for the photograph. Let's take a closer look at some of the detail.

I stamped the little deer in walnut colored ink, then added a little detail with some colored pencils. At first I colored his little nose pink, but that didn't look right, so I went over it with brown. The combination turned a deep red, which made him look a little too much like Rudolph, so ended up having to go pretty dark to cover it up. I tried to balance it out by giving him some hooves, which I think actually tied in nicely with the dark brown stripe in the ribbon. Happy accident. :o)
And that's what I love about creating. There's really no right or wrong, just trial and error. Just stress-free, rolling with the wind, going with the flow, cool runnings and all that kinda vibes. And really, couldn't we all use a little more of that in our lives?
If you've created something new this week, post a pic of it on your blog and copy a link to it in your comments. I'd love to take a look at your little piece of happiness.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Venture Into Blogging

I don't know what it is about the process of creation that fascinates me. I just love the idea that a few ordinary elements, sprinkled liberally with imagination, can transform into this beautiful, unique thing... It's exhilarating!

There are so many opportunities out there for someone with a little creative spirit. As a writer, I can set my pen to the page and transport you to a world beyond your wildest dreams. As a baker, I can take flour, and sugar, and oil and bake a feast for your palate that will make you weak in the knees with delight. As a jewelry designer I can create pieces that accentuate your beauty, make your eyes sparkle, draw attention to the delicate curve of your neck.

Creating brings out the best of who we are. Give five people the very same supplies, the very same ingredients, the very same story prompt and you will end up with five very different results. And anyone can do it. It's in all of us in one measure or another.

As a wife, a homemaker, a stay-at-home-mom, it's easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Between the laundry and the dishes and the meals and the homework help it's hard to find time to do much of anything that brings out who we are deep down inside. Nothing brings out my inner being, the core of who I am, like creating. So this year I'm going to purpose to create as much as possible, whether it be taking 30 minutes try a new recipe for dinner or sitting down for 15 minutes and making a greeting card while my kids color at the table, or spending an hour working on my novel after everyone else is fast asleep.

I want to spend 2010 getting to know myself again, and surprising myself and my loved ones in ways I didn't even know I was capable of. I want to learn and grow and well,... CREATE.

Who's with me?


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