Sunday, January 31, 2010


Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
It will never fail you.

- Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Live Simply

There is no greatness
where there is not simplicity.

-Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Personal Touch - Painted Picture Frames

With a few small brushes and some acrylic paint you can turn ordinary, store bought picture frames into small personal works of art.

Add some swirls, flowers, leaves, stars, checks, dots, etc...use stencils, stamps or even permanent markers. If the frames finish is very slick and shiny be sure not to add too much water to your paint or else it will just bubble up and slide off.

It is a good idea to protect your designs with a coat of a water based polyurethane once you are sure the paint is completely dry.

This can add another dimension to a gift or coordinate to your home decor.

Don't forget to sign your work of art!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nature...and Happiness

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.

Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.

- Anne Frank

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chaos and Creativity

One of the advantages of being disorderly

is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
- A. A. Milne

Judging by this particular chaotic moment in my studio...

I would say there was enormous opportunity for exciting discovery!

This was during a rush of activity and shows a build up of supplies that happens every once in a while.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Three More Days!

"The most important things in life,
aren't things.”

- Anthony J. D'Angelo

Friday, January 22, 2010

Treats - Good or Bad For You?

Tasting good and looking festive doesn't have to mean it's bad for you.

We have learned how to make the most delicious, moist, flavorful desserts that fit within our food allergy boundaries...which in turn means eliminating several ingredients that are better left out of most people's wheat, dairy, eggs and animal products.

Some of the desserts we make are baked, like these cupcakes above but most are raw and crafted with fresh, whole foods.

Check out the health food section of your supermarket...or your local health food store and give some of the mixes and kits a try. I would bet that you can't taste the difference between vegan chocolate chips and the more processed, refined sugar kind.

You probably won't miss what is missing!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Cutting Edge

A small decorative tip for custom looking matted photos...

Buy a frame slightly larger than your picture...then using a pair of (readily available) patterned edge scissors, cut the edges of your picture. There are many patterns available but I prefer the "Deckled Edge" pattern for a natural, torn finish. Using double stick tape apply your photo to a coordinating piece of paper and slip into your frame.

Another option is to cut a piece of paper with the decorative scissors and then mount your photo on that background with double stick tape...see below.

Either way, layering is the idea. Think about mixing colors...for a high contrast or a more subtle look. There is no right or around and see what looks good to you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Protecting Your Special Chrismas Ornaments

This is a really simple system I developed for our family, many years ago. It makes packing and unpacking our treasured ornaments a piece of cake. It also stores a ton of ornaments!
All you need is a large storage bin and a bunch of tissue paper...white, acid free is the best for the long haul.

I lay my tissue paper stack out on the floor or table and it helps to have one or more assistants to hand you the ornaments off the tree.

Then I start in the corner of the top sheet and wrap one ornament, just until it's covered...then I lay another next to it and roll the first over that one to cover it...then lay another...and so on. Each sheet of paper will have 3-4 ornaments made into a type of bundle...depending on how large they are. Then I lay the bundle carefully in the bin. I continue on to the next bundle...and the next...laying them carefully next to each other, kind of like a puzzle.
It is a good idea to put the heavier bundles on the bottom and the more delicate, lighter ones on the top.

I found the bundles sort of lay gently against each other and stay safe
Then when it's time to open them the next year I simply take out a bundle and lay it flat so I can carefully unroll it...the ornaments are intact, untangled and ready to be hung.I flatten out the used tissue and place it back in the bin to use again after the holidays!
All of the ornaments from this tree...including the star and the skirt fit neatly and safely into the bin pictured below.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child...

What do you see in this picture?
Snow? Slush? Shoe prints? A mess?

This is what a child sees...tiny bird tracks.

A reminder to take time
to see and appreciate
the little things this year!

Monday, January 18, 2010


"Life is full of beauty.
Notice it.
Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces.
Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams"

- Ashley Smith

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Studio Help - Tool Storage

Found at a National office supply store...this black, mesh bin is the perfect rack for my jewelry tools.

I hang them on the sides for easy access...then in the center I have room for small items and my jewelry hammers.

I like the clean lines of the metal mesh and being able to see inside the bin.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Crafty Abode - Creative Tile

A little decorative trick...
I wanted a tile effect in my bathroom but didn't want to do actual tile.

What I did was print an image...cut it into tile shape squares, decoupaged it on the wall...and hand painted dark "grout"lines. Then I added a coat of polyurethane for shine and protection.

be sure to curve the corners for a more realistic effect...

You could also do this with a poster, photograph or even fabric!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Starting Young...

Because of food allergies, my son and I have had a quick and detailed education about foods and healthy eating which has actually been a blessing in disguise.

One case in point is my son's selections when he has control over making his own meals.

This was a breakfast he designed recently...not only healthy and safe for his allergies but also served in an attractive, pleasing way!

Bravo, Logan!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Interesting Lemons

Visiting my parents in Southern California I saw these odd lemons...

They had the dots like normal lemons but not the dimples.
They were actually smooth and had a sort of chalky finish.

It thought they were pretty so I thought I would share them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Getting Creative with Legos

My ten year old is Lego put it mildly.

He also loves video games.

So when he wanted a Halo version of a Lego (and at the time they didn't manufacture them) I had to step in. Having your child know you are an artist can present interesting requests.

He produced a Lego that he wanted me to paint to look like a character from the video game Halo.

This is the result...

Of course now they actually make Halo MegaBloks toys but I think this custom version will always have a special place in his heart.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Toy - The Spiralizer

Getting creative in the kitchen...

Because of food allergies and particular food choices, I sometimes feel limited in what I can eat.

Recently I found a bunch of recipes that I just HAD to try...but it meant purchasing a new kitchen tool...a spiralizer.

I know, I know, it sounds like I made up that word but it is actually a really cool piece of equipment.

It makes "pasta" shapes out of veggies like zucchini and squash (among others). It has different sized blades and is super simple to use and clean. I think it's kind of pretty too. I researched and ordered mine online - based on reviews.

I tried it and it was fabulous!

Below is the result.

I topped the raw, veggie pasta with a vegan, raw sauce with a creamy texture...


Light and refreshing...

Monday, January 11, 2010


These are an example of some fun and interesting work my son's art teacher has them doing.

She focuses on a particular artist and then designs projects based on that artists work. This project was inspired by Alexander Calder's work.

These were self portraits they made out of coated wire.

The one above is my son's...below are some classmates. They all had such personality and most even resembled the child.

I thought they were really fluid and beautiful.

It was a simple project but they really enjoyed taking their flat artwork and sculpting it into a three dimensional work of art.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Keeping it Simple - Community Brunch

As a festive, non-denominational, social gathering, my son's school hosted a Quest Community Breakfast the day before vacation started.

Being a Montessori school, it was a given that the kids would be involved with all aspects of planning, preparing, serving and entertaining their families.

I thought the decorations were clever and really simple...ideas that could be translated into other occasions...say for a child's Birthday party, a charity event or other family, holiday celebration.

The walls were decorated with white paper chain garlands...super fun for all ages to make and can be color coordinated for any event.

The tables were covered in black butcher paper and the children drew winter scenes with white pencils on top. Inexpensive and a nice way to involve all ages. You could use rubber stamps, stickers, stencils, have guests decorate...the list is endless.

The centerpieces were twigs...some of which were natural, some painted white to keep with our winter theme. Then they were tied into bundles with rope. We then sent the kids on a hunt for some nature "life"...greenery, berries, tuck in the twig bundles to add another layer of interest. A few pine cones and they were complete.

The kids had fun arranging their finds and took pride in their creations.

They also helped with the food prep...cutting fruit and baking muffins.

The morning was a big success and served as a wonderful send off for our holiday break.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gingerbread Trifecta

We ended up with so many gingerbread projects this year at my parents...

We had our regular pre-baked house, then my mom found a really cute train and I found a new bakery in Rhode Island that offers allergen free gingerbread so my mom had one of those sent too.

We did the train first because it was the easiest. It came with a base to hold the pieces and we were able to get to the fun decorating quickly.

Then we did the allergen free gingerbread...not built as a house but as individual cookies.

Then finally the traditional house.

So much holiday fun!

Friday, January 8, 2010

You Have the Tools

"Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself.

- George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fun Pig Toast

My son LOVES pigs!

So when I saw this pig toast maker, I had to get it.

It was part of one of his Chanukkah gifts...along with a pig flashlight.

I wasn't sure if it would work because we eat special bread, but it did...It was one of his favorite gifts.

The only problem is he didn't want to put his sunflower seed butter on the toast because he didn't want to cover up the image!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Very Clever Gift

Because I work at my son's school, I sometimes get treats from our families.

This was such a welcomed gift, I wanted to pass it along.

They prepared a complete a meal for my family with a wonderful, fresh salad, home-made dressing, home-made soup and Italian bread.

It was delivered warm, with the most perfect timing...the beginning of our last week of school before our winter break...when we were all crazy busy.

What a treat not to have to worry about dinner that night. Actually I had the salad and dressing for two lunches too!

A gift appreciated by all of the staff and teachers.

An idea I will definitely be using in the future.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box...or House

Gingerbread houses are fun to decorate but I intensely dislike the assembly of the pre-baked houses...slippery frosting, trying to find the right sized cans to hold up the walls while the frosting dries, waiting overnight for it to all set before you can do the fun part, etc...
I found myself putting off doing ours this year until I was lying in bed one night and a brilliant idea hit me.

My thought was "glue gun"!

We are not going to eat this house because we have allergies and this has ingredients we can't eat. (We actually purchased separate allergen free gingerbread that we could eat)

Suddenly all of the pressure was off and I couldn't wait to get up and start. Visions of decoration ideas filled my head almost making it impossible for me to fall asleep.

We got up the next morning, I heated up the glue gun and voila! In about 10 minutes we had a sturdy frame to decorate. I was even able to build a fence made out of broken bread sticks and to stack up small stones we found outside around the base of the house for added interest.

The frosting was used to add the candy decorations and to simulate snow.

Below is the finished product.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Look Deeper

"Everything has it's beauty,
but not everyone sees it."

- Confucius

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Easy Cleaning!

Eating raw foods, makes kitchen clean-up SOOOO easy!

Just some rinsing...and into the drier rack.

Just one of the many reasons to explore the wonderful world of raw foods...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Crafty Abode - Make it Work for You

When looking for curtains for our slider in the kitchen I didn't want to be limited by the choices for the specific size I needed.

Also, being a bargain hunter, I wanted the freedom to check out discount stores too. The problem is, when you do that, you don't always have many choices on size.

What I ended up doing is finding two different thinner panels...that might be used more for decorative treatments on the sides...and sewed them together to create a fuller, custom window treatment.

I liked the natural, floral print but didn't want that for the entire span. I found a neutral panel with just an interesting texture that worked perfectly with the background of the floral. Then with just a simple straight sewing line...I had full, custom curtains.

Get creative and mix patterns. Don't be limited by the obvious.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Take What You Need

"The roots of every plant seek out,
from among the many substances which the soil contains,
only those which they need."

- Maria Montessori