Anticipation

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We planted two planter boxes with a mix of spring bulbs.  I read an article about planting bulbs in containers in layers, based on when they bloom.  We planted pretty late (early January) but the bulbs have sprouted and now some have buds.

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It’s fun waiting and watching.  If all goes well, we’ll have flowers throughout spring.

We planted crocus, daffodils, tulips, and iris.

I’ll update again.

Thanks for coming by.

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Cobalt & Magenta Valentine’s

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Who knows when inspiration will strike, but recently it was a vase of flowers that inspired the color choices for my Valentine’s this year.

I picked out a brilliant bunch of magenta anemones at the Farmer’s Market and put them into a cobalt blue glass vase.

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I’m afraid my skill with a camera is not up to the challenge of capturing this combination and making it look as rich and wonderful as what I’m seeing.   Even as the flowers started to fade, they deepened to a darker shade that was lovely.  I bought the same kind and color of flowers two weeks in a row.

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Anyway, I started going through my paper and did a little shopping so I could put these two colors together.

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I added brown paper tags and hearts, vintage buttons and some sweet little heart embellishments.  Not shown are some off-white and cream-colored sheet music, textbook pages and other vintage ephemera from my stash that I used.

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Although these cards are more focused on paper, I still use rubber stamping and I pulled out my Valentine stamps.

I knew I couldn’t really capture the color of the cobalt blue glass, but I added richness to the card designs with sparkly blue glitter tape and shiny gold paper and ink.

My friend Carson recently showed a technique for a “Braided Paper” background on her wonderful Pine & Plum blog, and I used that for a batch of Valentine’s.

Cut strips of paper in equal widths.

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Put adhesive on a piece of paper (this will be covered by the paper strips – I used thinner copy paper rather than card stock).  I like the Tombow Mono Adhesive tape roller.

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Lay the first two strips to create a V on the paper.  The ends of the strips can go off the edge and when they’re all glued down, just turn the paper over and trim off the extra.

Cover the paper.  I did a long strip and cut it to size for several small cards.

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Once all the base paper is covered and you trim the strips, you’ll have a beautiful piece of paper that looks similar to a braid.

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Here are finished cards using this technique.

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These small cards will go into little glassine envelopes I found at Paper Source and I’ll be sharing them with friends at work and in my choir.  Heart stickers and washi tape decorate the outside.

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I am making more cards, some this same small size (I used place cards) and some more standard size  and all will be using similar collage designs and the same colors and embellishments.

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Thank you for your visit.

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Just a Reminder

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Here is a recent project from Craft Gym at Once Around in Mill Valley.

It was only last week that I realized the Craft of the Week page has directions for the crafts! So even if I miss one, I can still go to their site and get directions.  The directions are posted 1 week after they’re offered in Craft Gym.  This one took awhile to download, but others have been really fast.

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Rem is a little bemused with these two stitched decorations.  I think it reminds him of a “Home Sweet Home” needlepoint. I haven’t figured out where I’m going to hang them up, but I think it’s good to be reminded that we’re all loved.

I didn’t finish them in class.  I decided to go on YouTube to get some tips on stitches.  The satin stitch used on the heart and leaves has other stitches underneath to add some thickness to the shapes, and I used a chain stitch on the small hoop heart.  I don’t know that I want to start any large needlepoint or embroidery projects, but I found the act of pushing the threaded needle in and out of the fabric to be very soothing and relaxing.

The embroidery hoops are fairly inexpensive and I’m going to use them as the frames when I hang them up.

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Thank you for your visit.

Coming soon: cobalt and magenta Valentine’s.

 

 

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Castle Card

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Along with making Valentine’s last week, I had a birthday card to make.  Not just any birthday card either, but a birthday card for a Princess.  What does every Princess need? A castle! So I made a castle-shaped card.

Although I saw several different castle cards on Pinterest, I didn’t find one that was fitting my mental picture, so I just sketched out what I wanted with a pencil, and starting cutting it out with scissors and an Exacto knife.

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This shows it unfolded all the way, which shows both the front of the card with the big medallion (sticker) on the front door, but also the birthday greeting on the inside

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The flip side includes a strip of vellum on the far left  (it added stability to the tall tower).  When the card is folded, the doors open to reveal “Welcome!”

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It was fun using little scraps of paper for the turrets and rooftops, and than using different pens to add even more details.  Sparkly glitter tape is perfect for a banner on either side of the entrance.

To go with the Castle Card, I made a little garland of needle-felted wool hearts in ombre shades of blue.

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A few years ago, this is the  card I made for this friend:
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Thank you for taking time to stop by.

 

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Bad Day/Good Cookies

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Tuesday, January 20th, was the first day of the spring semester at College of Marin, where I work.  It is usually a very busy, stressful time with classes getting changed, students getting lost, and a good amount of panic, misunderstanding and poor communication.  By Friday, all I wanted to do was eat peanut butter and chocolate. For dinner.

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I know I ate something more sensible than that, though I don’t remember now what it was.  What I do remember is the cookies I baked after dinner. I’d enjoyed them at my friend Maria’s house on the Monday Martin Luther King holiday when we were crafting Valentine’s with her daughters and remembered their rich, crumbly peanut buttery goodness, loaded with chocolate chips.  Happily, Maria had the recipe on her phone and sent it promptly.

Maybe it’s just me, but I found it a little strange that Maria’s recipe came from King Arthur Flour and it is a no-flour recipe. It doesn’t matter though, because this recipe makes a wonderful cookie and I certainly didn’t miss the flour.

No-Flour Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

From King Arthur Flour (and Maria)

Ingredients:

1 cup smooth peanut butter (I didn’t have enough smooth peanut butter so used part creamy and part crunchy and they were delicious)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips (when I made them, I used a generous hand with the chocolate chips and felt it was a little too much chocolate for the peanut butter, so next time I’ll stick with the recipe as written)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine the peanut butter, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl and beat together with a mixer at medium speed, until well-blended.

Add the egg and vanilla, and blend on low-medium speed until incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop dough by rounded tablespoons (use a tablespoon cookie scoop if you have one – I don’t and just used a soup spoon), making them about the size of a walnut.

NOTE: I used natural peanut butter which the King Arthur site warned against as it makes a more dry, crumbly cookie.  The dough was very crumbly but I could scoop it with a spoon, gathering the crumbly dough and roll it in my hands to make balls.

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Press the top of the dough to flatten just slightly.  I forgot to take a picture until they were already in the oven but I didn’t press them down much.

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Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan. The tops should be slightly crinkled. Pull them out before they begin to brown on the edges.

Yield: 20 cookies.

Less than a minute until the cookies are done.!

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I know that eating cookies isn’t the answer to stressful situations. I was also walking my 10,000 steps every day and I’m not going to get worked up about baking a batch of 20 or so cookies.

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Thanks for your visit. Here’s to good cookies AND good days.

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Little Paper Houses

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When it comes down to it, I’m a big homebody.  I enjoy the warmth and simple pleasures of home.  I haven’t traveled that much but loved it when I did, but I also am very happy to come home. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to these sweet Little Paper Houses, and my recent Art Journal: Home page.

I made these for my mom for Christmas.  I know it’s it’s a little late but these are too cute not to share. They have battery operated votive lights inside so they are really house-shaped Luminaries.

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I saw them on Cathe Holden’s fabulous site Just Something I Made. She has several variations, but these ones with vintage-style paper and button embellishments were what caught my eye.

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I enjoyed changing things up a little bit by using different paper for the walls and roofs, cutting different windows and doors and using different embellishments.

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I found another site (Little Glitter Houses) that had a pattern for a steeple.  The first one I made for a friend was a little bit too large in scale for the rest of the building.  I also cut the slot for the roof a bit too wide so the steeple was a little wobbly.  Luckily it was only made of paper so it wouldn’t have hurt anyone in the case of an earthquake.

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I scaled it down a little and my second church worked out better.  I still think there’s room for improvement but for now I’m finished with paper house construction.

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Little clips on the roof of each house come off to give access to the votive light.  I included embellishments on the back of the buildings as well.

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My initial trial didn’t work out because I made the mistake of using double-sided paper.  Unfortunately, it hadn’t occurred to me that when you put a light inside, both sides of the paper would show through.  But I’m very happy with these completed Little Paper Houses.  I’m also content to be at home, crafting and writing blog posts about it.

Thank you for coming over to see my post.

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Valentine Craft-O-Rama

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Yes, folks, 2015 Valentine Production was in full swing today and we had all the makings of an excellent crafty day. Craft supplies were abundant and the table was spilling over with paper, paper punches, rubber stamps, ink, adhesive, embellishments, scissors, embossing powder, ribbon and washi tape.

It was the first time for me to craft with Maria and her daughters Margaret and Elizabeth.

Here is Margaret, already an expert with the bone folder, scoring hearts to fold and staple for a Fluttering Hearts Valentine.  We also made Paper-Strip-Heart Valentines.

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When she wasn’t using the heat tool to emboss greetings, Elizabeth was using the microwave for a Brownie-in-a-Mug for each of us.

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As far as I’m concerned, chocolate is one of the important supplies for a great day of crafting.

A scoop of local Three Twins vanilla ice cream was the perfect topping for the brownies.

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Maria, who had already baked a batch of cookies and had pot roast in the slow cooker by the time I arrived at 10 am, worked to keep the paper and other supplies from completing taking over the table, put out a platter of sandwich makings and created a fabulous Valentine garland from recycled materials, craft paper, bakers twine and double-sided tape, but I’m afraid yours truly didn’t get any good pictures of it.  All that and she also made some Valentine’s.

Garland supplies included packaging from a box of cereal, a box of tissues, some old calendar pages, and a few other items.

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The lighting was challenging – it was much cuter and more colorful than it looks in this photo.

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Some of the finished creations.

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We decorated envelopes too.

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We even had the assistance (or at least the company) of Flora the kitty.  Pip Squeak the Guinea Pig seemed neutral about the whole operation.  Kitty #2, Fauna, made a very brief appearance. She wasn’t interested in any level of participation.

The Roomba cleaned up the floor after we were done.  A good time was had by all (except maybe Fauna).

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Thanks for checking out my blog today!

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