Tag Archives: project

30 Day Journal Project for July

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I’m doing this! Do you want to join me? It is 30 days of journaling, starting July 1, with artist Lisa Sonora posting daily prompts and inspiration. You can learn more about it here.  It’s also free – how cool is that?

A few years ago I signed up for a different month-long project: 30 Days of Creativity, and I did it for three years, with some variation in my participation. Here are some of my favorite creations:


Day 6: June 6, 2013, Mosaic Poppies Art Journal Page


Day 28: June 28, 2013, Collage Sand Gild Stamp Art Journal Page


Day 3, June 3, 2012, Icebox Cupcakes


Day 21: June 21, 2012, Bleach Pen T-Shirt


Day 2: June 2, 2011, Embossed Tins


Day 26: June 26, 2011, Fused Plastic Bags

You can look under the 30DOC tab up at the top of the blog to see all the projects I did over three years.

Last May when I couldn’t find 30DOC online, I just skipped it. I don’t know if it happened or not but I wasn’t part of it.  Of course I could have done it on my own, but there is something about doing it with lots of other people that I find compelling.

I’m excited and a little nervous to be starting this 30 Day Project, #30DayJournal, because I know it is a commitment. But I also know that when I push myself, I come up with some of my most creative work.  I purchased a new journal for the project and I cleaned off my craft desk.

Here is the before…


And after.





Ready to go! Care to join me? #30DayJournal

Thanks for stopping by.




Filed under Crafts

Art from the Heart 2013


Rem and I exchanged our annual Art from the Heart Valentine projects.

Read more about this tradition that we started about 11 or 12 years ago here with pictures of many previous creations.  See the 2012 heart-art here.

I had my idea but didn’t start on it until the Sunday before Valentine’s Day.  Luckily it came together fairly well.  My original idea was simply a dartboard with a heart in the center or maybe I should call it a heart-board.


Rem listens to some British radio shows and I heard a chat about darts one day and that got the seed of an idea planted. I picked up some cork tiles and wire and looked up images of dartboards.

This isn’t meant for real games of darts but I wanted to capture the look of a genuine dartboard.  It is a little less than 12 inches across (the size of our dinner plates, one of which proved handy for tracing a large circle).

I hadn’t planned on making a dart but when the board was done I realized it needed one to hit the bullseye.

Dart in Heart

Half of a bamboo chopstick, wire for the point with washi tape and some gold embossing powder for decoration and red paper hearts for the flight – or what I thought of as the feathers at the back end and I had a dart.

Wire numbers and letters spell out the date and my simple message.

Love letters in wire

I asked Rem about his creation, which he calls the Love Shack.

Love Shack

He was inspired by some aluminum loaf pans we have in the cupboard and he thought of making a little house.

Looking Down on Love Shack

Rem wanted a larger surface to work with than the loaf pans and found disposable aluminum cookie sheets at the grocery store.  He liked the textured surface.

A small heart punch (he knows his way around my craft desk) worked well for windows with red and pink paper glued on the inside of the shack.

Open Door, Heart Windows

He devised a series of tabs and slots to hold the folded foil house together.

Folded Foil House

Both of us spent hours on these creations which will be added to the walls on either side of the bed.  Some of the projects over the years didn’t lend themselves to being on a wall, but many are there.

Creations I’ve made for Rem are on his side.

Rem's Side

And the ones he’s made for me are on my side.

Dianne's side

Rem also made dinner for Valentine’s Day using a recipe from the cookbook I gave him for Christmas, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, The Basics.  We had Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli (delicious.)

He surprised me with deep, dark chocolate brownies for dessert, also from the cookbook, and homemade vanilla ice cream.

Heart Shaped Pan of Brownies

Warm, gooey and really chocolatey.

Warm Brownie & Ice Cream

Which is directly related to my decision to trot trudge up and down these stairs Saturday morning.

Larkspur Stairs

Oh, we also made cards for each other.

Big Red Heart

Photobooth Valentine

I used a strip of pictures from a photo booth we visited at the Groundspeak offices in Seattle while we were on vacation last fall.

Thanks for the visit.



Filed under Crafts

Take What You Need

I saw a flyer like this on Jean Steel’s Facebook page, Happy People Win Jean Steel.  After doing a little search, I found another Facebook page called Take What You Need Project. I really loved the idea and decided to make a handful of flyers and post them around the campus where I work.

It’s pretty simple: Make a sign.  Put it up. Take a photo. Go back later and take more photos. Share.

I made the Take What You Need part on my computer, printed it out and then wrote the needs along the bottom with a big Sharpie. I cut the bottom into strips for easy tearing off.  Then I took a walk and posted flyers in different places.

I like how this one looks amongst the other flyers. This kiosk has layers and layers of flyers.

This one is on an indoor office window.

I put one up on an outdoor column and when I came out of the building 15 minutes later, I found someone had already taken one of the needs!

They took what they needed: Love.

It is in a high-traffic spot.  I went back later in the day and more needs had been taken.

I was delighted to find people had been taking the things they needed!

Another location was getting some attention.  Someone had taken Faith and Hope.

This morning I went back to the popular one.

Everything was taken!  I’ll put up a replacement tomorrow.

I will be looking for new places to post flyers off campus.  Maybe on a telephone pole near my apartment .  I’m also trying to decide which needs to include, so I’m switching them around a bit.

I’ve made some special additions of the flyers for Valentine’s Day with hearts on pink paper.  I’ll put a batch of those up some time next week.

All the needs are Love.  Love is all you need.

Take what you need.  Share what you have.

Update:  I saw this note on one of the flyers.  It made me smile.

Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under Life

Needle Felted Heart Garland

A little crocheted heart garland inspired this project. I loved the sight of the little red hearts along the natural cord. I knew that I wasn’t going to learn how to crochet in order to make the crocheted version. So I decided to try something similar with needle-felted hearts.

Needle felting is a method of interlocking and compacting wool fibers by poking them over and over with a special barbed felting  needle.  If you decide to try needle felting, please be very careful with the needles because they are quite sharp (speaking from experience).

Needle Felted Heart Garland


Wool Roving (clean, combed and carded wool that hasn’t been spun into yarn – in this case, dyed pink or red)

Barbed Felting Needles I use single needles and a “pen” with a trio of needles in it

Dense Foam Pad

Scrap Card Stock or Cardboard for Heart Templates

Heart Punch (optional) or Scissors

Wooden Skewer (optional)

Bakers Twine I found lovely twine in a local shop but you can get it here: (Divine Twine)

Large Needle  with eye large enough to fit bakers twine, for threading the twine through the hearts


First make two templates for your finished heart.  I used a heart punch to make a one-inch heart out of card stock.  I also used it to put a heart-shaped hole in a small piece of cardboard.  I used these two templates along the way to guide the size and shape of the finished hearts.

Pull off two tufts of wool roving.  Fold the end of one piece in half over your index finger, pull it off carefully (still folded) and fold it lengthwise.  Set it on the foam pad and poke at the folded end repeatedly with the needle pen (3 needles held together in a pen-like handle) or with a single felting needle. Leave the unfolded end un-felted. Move the needles up and down into the wool. This causes the wool fibers to start becoming interlocked together.

Fold the second piece and start to felt it the same way.  Now lay one piece over the other crossways.

Give it a few good jabs with the needle.  Flip it over and poke it a few more times.

It’s starting to look a bit like a heart.  It is still pretty loose and I want a more solid, firm shape.  Take the cardboard with the heart-shaped hole in it and put it right on top of the wool you’ve started felting.

Jab your felting needle into the wool.  I find it very satisfying  just working away at it.  It makes an interesting little crunchy sound as you poke at the wool and the foam block.

Turn the heart over, put the template over it and felt the other side.

With a single needle I pay particular attention to the center top part of the heart (the cleavage, for lack of a better description), defining it with some well-aimed jabs.

When you take off the heart-hole template you’ll find the edges aren’t very cleanly defined.  This is when you use the heart made of card stock.  Set the paper heart over the wool heart and carefully felt the edges of the wool heart to align them with the paper heart.

Wrap the loose tails around the shape and felt them in place.  Go all around the shape, trying to make it fairly even.

Sometimes while doing a larger shape I use a wooden skewer as a tool to help fold the wool in place although with this small heart it isn’t needed as much.  You can also use the tip of the skewer to hold your shape in place, keeping your fingers away from the sharp felting needle.

If you find a part of your wool heart is flimsy or too thin, get another small tuft of wool roving and wrap it over the thin part and felt it in place.

Once you’ve got a wool heart you are satisfied with, you can trim it for a somewhat smoother, less fuzzy appearance but for this project I didn’t think it made much difference.

Keep making hearts until you’ve got a bunch.

Now thread your large needle with the bakers twine and thread the needle and twine through the hearts.  I left a space of about 4 inches between each heart.  Once I had them where I wanted, I felted in the area where the twine went through.  This helped to keep the hearts in place along the strand of twine.

If you don’t have a needle large enough for your twine, you can lay the twine over each heart and add a tuft of wool over the twine and felt it in place.

Now find a sweet spot in your home to hang up the garland.  Doesn’t it look great?  Or share the love and pass the garland on to  someone else.

Thanks so much for the visit!


Filed under Crafts

Day 5: Shrinky Dink Rings

UPDATE: Sad to say these rings, made with offbrand shrink plastic, didn’t work!  The ink rubbed off and the rings were too brittle and broke.  Boo.  I have since done a project with the real deal: Shrinky Dinks.  It is thicker and seems to be stronger and less brittle.  Once the 30 Days of Creativity project is over, I’ll revisit this creation and if I’m happy with them, I’ll post it.

These rings are fun to make!  I saw this incredible tutorial by June Gilbank and decided it was my creation for Day 5 of 30. I used Stampin’ Up’s version of shrink plastic and as June pointed out in her tutorial, each brand of shrink plastic is different, so if you want to make them, you’ll have to do some trial runs to get the sizing right.

You need to use alcohol-based permanent ink with rubber-stamps which I didn’t have but you can also draw your design on with a fine-tipped Sharpie.  I did one design of flowers freehand and for another ring I traced words from a rubber stamp using a Sharpie. <<UPDATE: I wore one of my rings today and the ink came off onto my finger!  Some of the colored pencil came off too.  Again, I wasn’t using name brand shrinky dinks and used a Sharpie, not alcohol-based permanent ink.  I hope to do more experiments in the future with shrink plastic and will note my findings!>>  Some shrink plastic has one rough or frosted side which takes the ink well and can also be colored with colored pencils.  Mine was not but I used a fine sanding block to rough up one side and it took the color perfectly.

Another option is to skip the ink entirely and color one side with colored pencil.  That side will be matte and the other side is shiny.  Decide which side you want out – I like the color showing through the shiny side, but I also like the matte side out as in my “coral” ring.

The trickiest part is shaping the ring.  Once you heat the plastic and shrink it, you have to move really quickly to shape it around something before it cools and you probably have about 10 seconds or less.  But you can reheat it and reshape it.  You’ll need to take a ring that fits and find something in your house that your ring will fit snugly over – I’ve got big fingers and was able to find a cork that worked great.  You might use the wooden handle of a spoon or a tube of lip balm.

I roll the hot plastic on the cork as fast as possible, and then hold it in place with a towel.  I got a few scorched fingertips and had to reheat most of the rings to get a nice round shape.  I also had one ring snap and break. The strip of plastic started around half an inch wide – the one that snapped was a quarter inch before shrinking.  Instead of using the toaster oven to heat the shrink plastic, I used my heat tool and wooden chopsticks to hold the plastic in place.  It curls up and looks like it is going to get stuck in an odd shape, but it flattens out.

If you’ve got some shrink plastic in a craft cupboard or desk drawer, why not  pull it out and create a ring or three for yourself or a friend?  Thanks for checking out Day 5 of 30 Days of Creativity.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Art From The Heart

Felted Wool Chocolates

This and all of the following wonderful creations are Valentine projects that my sweetheart and I have crafted for each other. Rem came up with “Art From The Heart”  for a name to our ongoing project and it really is.  He got the idea 9 or 10 years ago after reading an article about a man (one of his coworkers at the time) who made clever Valentine projects for his wife.  Many were made from recycled materials and were created in a clever, whimsical style.

We decided to give it a try and a tradition was started.  Both of us have a lovely display on the wall by our bed, mine to him on his side and his to me on my side.  So here is a gallery of many of the items we have made for each other.  No instructions,  just some details on the various items.

You can click on the little pictures if you want to enlarge them.

Needle Felted Chocolates (above at top of post): This was fun to work on because I needed models to work from (of course).  I’m very pleased with the results.

Heart of the Tree: Rem picked up the piece of wood when we cut down our Christmas tree one year.  It is a slice from the bottom of the trunk and he sanded and polished it up, varnished it and added red glass pieces in the shape of a heart.

Music Box Heart

Music Box Heart: SCRAP in San Francisco is a wonderful nonprofit: a creative reuse center that receives materials from businesses that would otherwise go into landfill and makes them available to teachers, artists, organizations, etc.  I picked up this music box there and decoupaged and decorated it.

Recycled Spaceship

Recycled Spaceship: Parts from a plastic storage box, a milk jug and other bits and pieces came together with stickers and foil in this spaceship that Rem made.  The love story that accompanied this Valentine project made it even more special.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is: I made this small  cardboard and paper house one year for Rem, my happy homemaker. The brown house is covered in a patchwork made from Trader Joe’s grocery bags.  The red heart on the front of the house, and the blue shingles on the roof were made from pieces of boxed products we use around the house (cereal, Kleenex, pasta, tea, etc.)

Puppy Love

Puppy Love: Rem soldered this little puppy bookmark from found parts for me but it was a bit heavy for a bookmark.  It looks wonderful on the wall with the other Valentine projects. I love the little heart nose.

B mine

B mine: A letter B from Michaels is what I started with for this one and then painted it blue and added swirls, charms and letters to spell out “mine”. The B stands for both “be” and “Boo”, one of Rem’s nicknames.

Red wire heart on copper

Heart Wired: This one from Rem just knocked my socks off.  Copper and aluminum with soldered hearts on the corners and a big fat heart in the center made from bundles of red wire.  Tough materials transformed into a sweet token of love. Awww.

“Things I Love” Altoids Tin Closed





















Things I Love: I saw versions of this project online and had lots of fun making it: a little book that fits inside an Altoids tin then accordioned out with decorated pages about some of the “things I love” about Rem.


Heart in the Sand

Heart in the Sand: Rem did a photo project last year: a photo a day, every day, for the whole year!  In keeping with this enterprise he went to the beach, drew in the sand and took a picture of it for my Valentine.

Love Book






Love Book:  This little book was one of the first projects that Rem made.  He used scavenged HVAC metal, complete with little charms and a copper heart on the back.

Morse Code Valentine

Detail of Morse Code Valentine

Morse Code Valentine: I wanted to make something for Rem that included Morse code as he is into HAM radio (and uses Morse code for that).  I punched dots and dashes out of foil and included a foil-embossed design from a rubber stamp.

Altar di Amore

Altar di Amore: More scavenged metal parts (a CD cover and a cake tin) wired together by Rem to create a love altar.  I added little trinkets including a few from Folk Art Gallery in San Rafael and a heart-shaped piece of coral from a friend.

Kinetic Hearts

Kinectic Heart Close-Up

Kinetic Hearts: This is the Art From The Heart for 2011 from Rem and it was another one that really wowed me.  It is like a kind of a mobile but instead of hanging from the ceiling, it hangs from a bracket that comes out from the wall.  A strand of red wire is strung with three thin copper hearts that have a hammered texture.  Fishing line swivels are interspersed with the hearts along the wire so the hearts turn slowly as they are moved by air currents.  The hearts seem to float in front of the wall.

Carved Tree Trunk

Love Note

Tiny Love Letter

Heart Engraved Tree Trunk: My creation for 2011 is this tree trunk with our initials “carved” into the wood (crafted from cardboard, paper mache, paper, string, ink, glue and paint). Hidden under a knot on the lower left is a secret space for a tiny love letter.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at our creations.  Have you got your own “Art From The Heart”?  If so, please send me pictures so I can post them. If not, maybe these projects will inspire you to craft something special for someone you love.

Thanks for stopping by.  Your comments are welcomed and encouraged.


Filed under Crafts