Monthly Archives: May 2011

Starting tomorrow…

30 Days of Creativity!  I have pledged to create something everyday for the month of June.  In a burst of pre-creative-project creativity I’ve made several cards, tried out a new craft medium for a future project and together with Rem, made a checkerboard cake.  I’ve made a list of ideas for recipes to try, crafts to include, blogs to check out and stuff I might make. I will post pictures of everything I create for my 30 Days of Creativity.

In the meantime I’m featuring two wonderful, local works of art: this Cyclisk, an obelisk made entirely from bike parts in the town of Santa Rosa, CA, created by Petaluma-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector.  It is 60 feet tall and and weighs 10,000 lbs.  Follow the link for more information.

The photos at the start of this post are yarn bombs, knitted “sleeves” stitched onto street signs and bike racks.  These are in front of Dharma Trading Co. in San Rafael, a fiber art supplies shop.  The artist, Streetcolor, has a blog, here,and she writes about her yarn bombing.  I LOVE both of these art works and the creativity behind them.

I’m looking forward to (and a little nervous about) working my creative muscles over the next month!

Stay tuned!


Filed under Crafts

Scratch & Sniff Stamping

As promised, here it is: Scratch & Sniff Stamping!  This is a fun way to add scent to your cards which brings an additional component to your design.  It is fairly easy to do with a few supplies you might already have on hand or can pick up at the grocery store. Beate at Splitcoaststampers has a tutorial here.

The basic idea is to use a powder, such as sugar-free drink mix or cinnamon, and combine it with embossing powder, stamp your image, sprinkle on this enhanced embossing powder and set it with a heat tool.  You want to be sure to use a sugar-free mix because if you used sugar it would caramelize and turn brown when you heated it.  I’ve read about using sugar-free gelatin for this technique, but I haven’t tried it yet.


VersaMark watermark ink pad

VersaMarker pen

colored markers

pigment ink (optional)

clear embossing powder

sugar-free drink mix (or cinnamon or cocoa powder)

small container for mixing embossing powder with drink mix

measuring spoon

heat tool

tweezers (optional)

rubber stamp (fairly solid designs work best)

card stock

Directions Using Drink Mix:

Note: Although I try to match flavor/scent with color, I didn’t buy every drink mix flavor possible.  Lemon works fine, in my opinion, for any citrus fruit and red punch is equally good for cherries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.

In a small container combine 1 part drink mix (I use about 1/2 tsp.) with 1 1/2 parts embossing powder.  And to be honest, I don’t measure precisely – I eyeball it. I tried with with ultra thick embossing powder but I prefer the regular kind.

The method that I’ve had the most success with is to color my stamp with colored markers, stamp it onto the card stock, than to draw carefully over the stamped image with a VersaMarker pen.  This ink is a bit sticky and is slow to dry, so the embossing powder/drink mix combination will stick to it.

  • If you have a VersaMark ink pad but don’t have a VersaMarker pen, you can ink your stamp on the VersaMark ink pad then color your stamp with the colored markers.  This wasn’t as satisfactory for me, but it will work. If you have a portion of your design that you don’t want to be embossed with the drink mix (for example, the stem on the cherry stamp), be sure to either wipe of the VersaMark ink or carefully ink only the cherry part of the stamp with the VersaMark ink.
  • If you have pigment ink in the color you want your finished image, you can use that instead of the marker pens and VersaMarker Pen combination.  Pigment ink is also slow to dry.

Sprinkle the embossing powder/drink mix over your stamped image and  tap off excess powder.

To protect yourself from scorching your fingertips, hold the card stock with tweezers and aim your heat tool at the back of the paper, moving it back and forth a few inches away from the paper.  As it heats, the embossing powder melts and and gets shiny. I found that when I started by aiming the heat tool at the front of the paper, directly at the image,  the embossing powder/drink mix blows away.

Finish by aiming your heat tool directly at the embossed image for a few more seconds so it is completely melted.

Let cool off then complete your card. The embossed image is kind of grainy which I think adds a nice texture to the finished project.  Scratching the stamped image will release the scent of the drink mix.

This is a really cute card for showing off a scratch & sniff lemon slice: it has a cup made from vellum popping right off the front of the card! This tutorial at Splitcoaststampers will show you how to do it, step-by-step.  The piece of vellum is cut at an angle, a 1/4 inch edge is scored and folded on each side.  You sponge colored ink on the inside of the piece of vellum and attach with the other side of the vellum facing out.

When you adhere it to the front of your card, bring the edges in a bit to form the curve of the cup.  A bendy straw is a great addition (I didn’t have a paper umbrella) and that tangy, scratch & sniff lemon slice garnish really finishes the card.

Directions Using Cinnamon or Cocoa Powder:

For the cinnamon scratch and sniff Scotty Dog I stamped the image with VersaMark ink and embossed it with clear embossing powder.  Moving quickly I sprinkled cinnamon over the image, tapped off excess and heated it from the back with heat tool.

I found the cinnamon didn’t adhere to the full image but after heating again I sprinkled more cinnamon, tapped off excess and heated a bit more and it worked out.

The finished card is blue card stock with a piece of blue and white striped paper.  The Scotty Dog, with a striped paper collar and a bit of silver ink on his dog tag has been matted with blue patterned paper and a brown button is a nice embellishment.

If you had a little gingerbread man stamp like this one, this would  be pretty cute for a Christmas card!  The cinnamon is fragrant and festive and just the right color for gingerbread without any colored ink.

Using the cocoa powder was a little frustrating but worth persevering because who doesn’t like chocolate?  OK, I know not everyone loves chocolate but those who do love it would be very happy to receive a handmade card that smells delicious and chocolate-y.  It is more subtle than the cinnamon but still carries the aroma of the cocoa.

I tried sprinkling cocoa powder over the warm embossing powder but that wasn’t very successful so I used the same method as with the drink mix: combine embossing powder with cocoa powder.  This worked fairly well.   Here is a chocolate lab I stamped:

For the card at the start of this post, I drew an oval with brown marker and filled it in, than inked over the whole oval using my VersaMarker pen.  Next I coated it with the mixture of embossing powder and cocoa powder, tapping off the excess powder and finally I heat set it, starting with the back of the paper and finishing it from the front.  I cut out this oval for my cupcake.  (It doesn’t look like much yet, but it sure smells good.)

Next I put a piece of pink card stock through my paper crimper.  I used a scalloped oval punch to cut a half-oval from one edge of the crimped paper and than cut the angled cupcake base shape, giving the look of a fluted cupcake paper.

I punched a small circle from deep pink card stock, inked it with VersaMark ink and embossed it with cherry drink mix/embossing powder to garnish the cupcake.  I finished the card by adhering the scratch & sniff chocolate cupcake with pop-up dots to white card stock stamped with  Happy Birthday, topped off with the scratch & sniff cherry with a green paper stem.  This was matted with green card stock and attached to a deep pink card layered with patterned paper and green ribbon.  Chocolate and cherry…doesn’t it look good enough to eat? Yum!

Please do let me know if you use this technique for one of your own projects.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Show and Tell Cards

I’m really proud of two fabulous, handcrafted cards I’ve recently made, so this is a show-and-tell post.

One card celebrates the birth of a little baby boy and the other also celebrates a birth, but this one was 94 years ago!  It is a birthday card for a lovely woman I visit every week.  I sing in a choir of women called Threshold Choir.  We sing at bedsides of people who are struggling: some with living, some with dying.  We visit clients in care facilities, hospital rooms and in their homes, and usually go in small groups of  two or three singers.

I’ve been singing for Pat for about a year now and have become quite fond of her.  Though she has lost most of her eyesight, she doesn’t miss much and has a wonderful sense of humor.  She asked my singing partner and me if we would sing at her birthday celebration and we agreed  that we would be honored.  In fact, seven choir members joined us at her party and it was a wonderful event.  A trio, including the guest of honor, performed several songs accompanied by ukulele and tambourine.  The room was packed with residents and staff of the facility, relatives including a great-grandson, choir members, and friends.

Because Pat is essentially blind, I wanted to create a card that she could enjoy using some of her other senses.  The theme was Cornucopia of Blessings to honor a song that was written for (and sung at) the occasion.  I wove strips of paper to form a cornucopia that would be tactile and then stamped scratch and sniff fruit for the basket.  I promise to show you how to do scratch-and-sniff stamping because it’s so fun!  That will be my next post.

Both of these projects were over-sized cards.   The Cornucopia Card filled the page with it’s large woven basket spilling fragrant, ripe fruit, musical notes and little hearts.

The second card is for a good friend and his wife who had a baby on Mother’s Day. The design I used was of a clothesline hung with baby clothes.  I started with two 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of turquoise card stock, scored and folded in half and than adhered together to create a trifold card.  I sponged white swirls with craft ink and then used a cloud template to sponge and air spray cloud shapes in two shades of blue ink.  Green printed paper served as the ground and strips of brown card stock made great poles.  The line was made from bakers string.

The clothes were drawn free-hand on colored card stock and patterned paper.  I used a pencil first (and yes, an eraser) to draw the shapes and went back over the pencil lines with a fine-tip black pen,  and used colored markers and a silver pen to bring out or add details such as snaps and zippers. Some embellishments were cut or punched from contrasting paper (such as the light green pockets and cuffs on the green overalls) and the little critters were cut out from a piece of printed paper called “Born to be Wild”  that I picked up a Michaels. After cutting out each little onesie, bootie, and bib, I used pop-up foam dots to adhere them to the card with a little double-sided adhesive to stick the top edge of the clothing to the clothesline.

Finally, a folded and glued strip of light brown cardstock cut into small bits served as clothespins. Because the dad often wears Hawaiian shirts I included one on my line and since he works in a lab, a lab coast seemed like a good idea.  The finishing detail is the name over the pocket on the lab jacket.  This was added after I took the initial photos.  One pair of little shorts didn’t find room on the line, so I pasted them to the back where I sign my cards.

Cards like these take time and effort but they are a labor of love.  It is very satisfying to envision a design and then work towards the finished piece and have it succeed as well as or even better than the original idea.

Thanks for stopping by and come back soon to see my post on scratch and sniff stamping!


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Red Hat Card

Here is a card that salutes the Red Hat Society with over-the-top embellishment and bold colors. It is another look at the hat card from Mother’s Day in a different guise.  This variation is more of a Carol Channing in “Hello, Dolly!” than Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” style hat.  It is a perfect card for a Red Letter Day – or for any woman you want to support and encourage.

You’ve probably heard of the Red Hat Society and maybe you are a member of a chapter.  Their website says:

We are a global society of women that supports and encourages women in their pursuit of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness.

That sounds like something I can support and this was a fun card to create.

Here are the opening lines of the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph that inspired the Red Hat Society:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

This is the template for the card, and directions are one post back here.

Replace the pale yellow paper with red paper for the hat, rose for the accent piece and purple plus patterned purple for the roses. 

When you are trimming a hat card, it doesn’t take a lot of trim because it is so small.  I decided to really glam it up and used both feathers and netting that I purchased at Joann Fabric and Craft store.  Swirled paper roses (directions on previous post with hat directions), ribbon and lots of self-adhesive jewels and stars complete the decoration.  Stamp a greeting on the inside and sign the back and it’s done. 

I love the results and hope you do too!

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Mother’s Day Hat Card

Some occasions just cry out for a flower-covered hat.  A garden party, for example, or the Kentucky Derby. And of course the Royal Wedding.  You can probably guess what my inspiration was for this beautiful Mother’s Day card in the shape of a hat adorned with paper roses and ribbons.

I knew I wanted to use flowers for my Mother’s Day card so I was delighted when I saw these swirled paper roses created by Gladys Chia.  Her site is loaded with cards and ideas and worth a visit.  One note: the roses add a lot of dimension to the card so it won’t fit in a flat envelope.

You can download the template for the hat or you can make a few of these roses to add to another card.  They’re not hard to make but take a little patience. You may want to make the hat card and add your own decorations – a paper milliner.

Swirled Paper Roses


card stock paper circles about 2 3/4″  to 3 1/2″  in diameter. You can trace a jar lid or ribbon spool or use circles on the hat template.


craft tweezers

round toothpick

glue dots I used the 3/8 inch Zots medium clear adhesive dots


(Theme music for this step: Paper Roses)

Trace and cut out circles – I made 7 roses in two sizes and several colors.

Cut each circle into a spiral.

Trim off any angles that may result from cutting the spiral.

Starting from the outside of the spiral, roll the paper up into a rosette.  I start by rolling around a toothpick and you can roll the whole rose this way, but I found it easiest if, once it was started, I pulled out the toothpick and used my craft tweezers to continue holding the spiraled-center and rolling until it is done.

Press the finished rose onto a glue dot. Continue until you have as many roses as you want for the project.



scraps of green card stock


pinking shears and/or scalloped edge scissors (optional)

oval punches  with plain or scalloped edges Mine are from Stampin’ Up!

foam pad or other soft surface (several layers of folded paper towel will work)

table knife

bone folder


green ink pad


Punch ovals or cut leaf shapes using plain or decorative edge scissors from green card stock.

Place paper shape on foam pad, and use the rounded end of the handle of a table knife to rub the leaf, pressing it into a curved shape.

With the leaf still on the soft surface, use the point of bone folder to score a line down the length of each shape and add angled lines to form the veins on the leaf.

Turn the leaf over and gently sponge green ink over the surface, making raised lines more visible.

Other options for leaves: Stamp leaf images onto green paper and cut out.  Add dimension by shaping with table knife handle on foam pad as above.  Cut out leaf images from printed paper, shape as above.

Now you’ve made the roses, you’ve created leaves, it’s time to put them all together in the hat card!

Hat Card


pale yellow card stock, 7 1/4” x 6 1/2”

apricot card stock, 2” x 7 1/4”

ribbon I used green grosgrain for the hat band with a pink gingham bow and sheer white organdy streamers

swirled paper roses

paper leaves


adhesive gems and pearls (optional)

rubber stamp greeting and ink (optional)


pop-up adhesive dots

adhesive (I use Tombow double sided adhesive)


Download and print out template and cut out pattern pieces.

Score and fold the yellow card stock the long way to form a narrow rectangle and put the top edge of the pattern on the page at the fold as indicated. Trace and cut out hat. Be sure not to cut at the fold or you’ll have two hat shapes!

Trace and cut out accent piece from apricot card stock.

Adhere the apricot piece along the front edge of the hat card.  If necessary, trim edge of yellow hat that may show below accent piece.

Adhere a piece of green ribbon as a hat band.

Adhere a piece of sheer white organdy ribbon folded in half to hang down as streamers.

Tie the pink gingham ribbon in a floppy bow and adhere over the white ribbon, again leaving long ends for streamers.

Using adhesive pop-up dots, adhere some green leaves.

Adhere roses, building up a cluster.  Start with larger roses and fill in with smaller roses around them.

Add an additional leaf or two if desired.

Add accents of adhesive gems and pearls to the roses and the hat.

Stamp your greeting inside the card, sign your name and sign the back.  Now it is ready for mom.

Hat’s off to mom’s everywhere, past and present: Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you for stopping by.


Filed under Crafts

This Is Really Juicy!

So that got your attention.  Did you think I had some big news?  Or hot gossip??  I just wanted to tell you about our latest caper.

It all started when Rem and I went to the Rafael and watched a documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”.  You can learn more about the film on their site but suffice it to say we were intrigued and inspired enough that we bought a juicer.  A  Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus to be specific.  And we’ve started The Great Juice Adventure!

Some people go on a juice “fast” but fasting means to abstain from food.  Others go on a “cleanse” which sounds so clinical and unpleasant to me.  What we’re doing is juicing loads of fresh fruits and vegetables and consuming the juice.  For ten days.

Rem started a day before me so he’s on Day 4 and I’m on Day 3.  We juiced 2 x per day as part of our transition prior to going all-juice partly to try different blends of fruits and veggies and partly to ease into it.  I’m feeling  low energy today (better after my morning juice) but from what we’ve learned, that is to be expected.  We’re curious to see what else will happen.

Since I’ve been eating more wisely and making better food and activity choices I’ve been eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and I savor the taste of veggies.  Rem has been struggling more with the taste but  I’m having fun creating interesting combinations and with trial and error, we’re finding  what works for us.

Because I want to keep this interesting I decided to try many different things.  Some ingredients I was fairly skeptical of (kale, sweet potato, fennel) but found perfectly tasty.   Others (cabbage) have been dropped from the ingredient list (shudder).  Granny Smith apples, pears, carrots and celery have all been stalwarts and one of them is in just about every juice I make.  I’ve learned to add things like lemon in increments and taste before added too much and that a piece of ginger, some lime, or a handful of cilantro or mint leaves can be the difference between a so-so juice and a really delicious one.

Following are some…well, not recipes because I didn’t measure everything precisely, but some blends that I’ve enjoyed.  Yields vary according to the size of the fruits and veggies used as well as the type of juicer used.

We start our day with a fruity one but include some veggies too.

Breakfast Blend Juice

6 carrots, scrubbed and ends trimmed

2 Granny Smith apples, quartered and cored

1 orange, peeled

1 tangerine, peeled

1/2 beet, scrubbed and trimmed

about 4 large strawberries, stemmed

a handful of red grapes

1/2 cup of pineapple chunks

Juice together. Stir to combine.  Enjoy!

Drink Your Greens (this is pictured above and is also the earlier picture showing the separate red and green colors)

This is bursting with nutritious and flavorful ingredients.  One sip and you can taste the vitality.  It reminds me of a tree with buds bursting into green leaves.

6 kale leaves, washed, ends trimmed

4 large chard leaves, washed, ends trimmed

A handful of beet greens, washed

1 zucchini, trim ends

2 Granny Smith apples, quartered and cored

2 stalks celery, ends trimmed

1/2 lime, peeled

about 1 inch piece of green onion

1/2 small bunch of cilantro

Juice together. Stir to combine.  Taste and add more lime or cilantro if needed.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Sunshine

I really wasn’t sure about sweet potato juice. But Rem and I both like this sweet juice spiked with citrus and ginger.

1 medium garnet sweet potato, scrubbed and ends trimmed

4 carrots, scrubbed and ends trimmed

4 stalks celery, ends trimmed

1 Granny Smith apple, quartered and cored

1 orange, peeled

1 tangerine, peeled

1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded

about 1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Juice together. Stir to combine.  Enjoy!

Gazpacho Juice

I love gazpacho and this has that flavor plus the nutritional punch of added greens.

1 cucumber, peeled

3 tomatoes, cored and cut to fit juicer feed chute

1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded

1 Granny Smith Apple

4 kale leaves, washed and ends trimmed

2 chard leaves, washed and ends trimmed

1 inch piece of green onion

1/2 lime, peeled

1/2 bunch of cilantro (or basil)

small piece of chile pepper

Juice together. Stir to combine.  Taste and add more lime or cilantro if needed. Enjoy!

Fennel and Fruit Juice

This is a beautiful jade green juice that is sweet and refreshing with the distinct licorice flavor of  fennel.

1 bulb of fennel, ends trimmed and cut into pieces to fit juicer feed chute

about 1 cup packed spinach leaves

3 leaves kale, washed and ends trimmed

1 pear, quartered and cored

1 Granny Smith apple, quartered and cored

1/2 lime, peeled

Juice together. Stir to combine.  Enjoy!

Cantaloupe and Carrot Juice

I fixed this for Rem this morning and he said it was enjoyable: “semi-sweet and fruity”.

4 carrots, scrubbed and ends trimmed

about 2 cups of red grapes

about 1 cup of cantaloupe chunks

Juice together. Stir to combine.  Enjoy!

If you are interested in more information you can check out this site: Join the Reboot.  It was started by Joe Cross, the subject of the documentary as well as the Executive Producer and Co-Director.  It has nutritional information, reboot guidelines, recipes and community forums.

As always, thanks for stopping by.


Filed under Cooking, Life