31 January 2011

What's the deal with babysitters and ABBA? They always go together.

Seems like everyone I know had a babysitter who loved ABBA, hired a babysitter who loved ABBA, or was an ABBA loving babysitter themselves. Its like there was in international Babysitters Club meeting and they chose Dancing Queen as their anthem.

Did anyone else notice I just made a reference to The Babysitters Club without even trying? Brownie points for me.

 ABBA (Benny, Anni-Frid, Angnetha, Bjorn)
As I recall, the second my parents pulled out of the driveway the babysitter would head straight to the record collection, then a quick flip through the top shelf and out popped four naked Swedes wrapped in tin foil. A minute later the dancing started and before you knew it someone was standing on a chair holding a hairbrush to their mouth singing,
Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more

The karaoke games became increasingly elaborate and ran on for hours. Although the babysitter ranged in age and hair color, they always ended up playing Agnetha (the blond), and the cats would play Benny and Bjorn (the dudes). Sam, the 23-pound white Ragdoll cat made for an especially good Bjorn.

I specialized in performing the role of Anni-Frid (the brunette), better known as “Frida” who was clearly superior in every way. She later married a German prince and wore skin-tight white overalls and sequin jump suits on a regular basis.

Like I said, she was superior in every way.

Nowadays I don’t listen to ABBA a whole lot. They are a little chipper for my everyday taste, but still keep them on hand for the occasional pick-me-up like after the dentist or when you are stuck in traffic with no end in sight. Then, one day Steff commented on another post “Never disregard the effect of ABBA on a child's life.”


My brain went twirling and churning and within a few minutes I was brainstorming things and feelings and colors and textures that reminded me of all those afternoons singing Waterloo with a hairbrush. The end result was a page in my notebook filled with terms like hot pants, excessive back-lighting, Swedish Chef singing Christmas Carols.

Gosh, I really hope no one ever accidentally finds my notebook. They are going to think I'm a real perv. 

Anyhow, somehow by the end of the brainstorm I settled on making something ABBA esque that was silver toned and ruffled like one of Anni-Freds wonderful bedazzled, bell bottom jumpsuits.  But, really, how does one approach crafting for ABBA? This is a question for the ages and the answer came easy as milking a cat.

Long story short, a quick trip to the hardware store and $10.00 in materials later....a lamp was born! More of a petticoat than a bell bottom, I am thrilled with the end result. Its fun, sturdy, and surprising easy to clean. The first lamp (pictured above at the top) makes a perfect reading light, and the one below would be perfect above the stove or some utilitarian spot in need of a little dressing up. I think every home needs a touch of ABBA, don't you?

  • Clamp Light (sometimes called a "site light"). You can find them in the hardware store, usually for under $5.00. Sometimes they come with plastic yellow cages on the front that easily snap on and off. 
  • Aluminum Duct Tape (sometimes called gaffing tape or plumber's tape). It's as sticky as regular duct tape, but metallic like aluminum foil and comes with paper backing. And as long as you have some around the house, check out this awesome pendant tutorial from Michele L. in LA)  

  • Pull out an arm's length of tape and use an Xacto knife to score and remove 1cm of the paper backing.
  • Using your fingers, fold and pleat the tape every inch or so. So need to be exact. Just pinch and press. It will be awkward at first but you will get the hang after 10 inches or so.
  • The amount/length of ruffled tape you will need will depend on the size and diameter of your lamp base (for the 10" lamp here, I would estimate 10 yards all together). If you are a math lover, you could figure it out in advance. I am not a math lover and will leave that ball in your court. Party on, dude. 

  • Stick your ruffled tape to the outer edge of the lamp and work inward, layering as you go.
  • TA-DA! You are done! String it, screw in a light bulb and you have a super cool new aluminum lamp. 

Note: the lamp featured up top came before the one I photographed for demonstration purposes. The one up top is more ruffled and organic looking because I was sloppy with the pleats. As Bob Ross said,  "there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents."

29 January 2011

The Amazing Parade

"Scrambled Eggs"
Did you ever feel like your head was filled with a mass of buttery, salted scrambled eggs?

Yup. Me too.

This week has been filled with challenges and chocolate in equal measure.

Thank you for hanging in there with me.

Sometimes, I struggle.

Sometimes I find myself in a creative rut and rely on my fellow blogmeisters for inspiration.

Sometimes the internet can make me smile.

Sometimes good news deserved to be shared.

I noted some of my favorites this week and lined them up to share with you in one amazing parade.

Marching Band, where you at?


I used to think I made cool party hats. Then I saw these. Whoa. Nelly. 

Paint-by-numbers wrapping paper. Why didn’t I think of this years ago?

Anyone have a Rick James theme party in the works? Get yourself some gold pleather bunting.

For anyone with dry hands and a love of kooky beauty tips: Get your lemon on. (PS: I tried it this morning. It works!)

Look at your shoes. Now, couldn’t they stand to gain some carnation-style pom-poms? The answer is obviously.

Kate Spade coat at half price. It’s like a car payment, but prettier. 

Huzzah! The Two Fat Ladies are back in action!

Valentines for bird lovers. And book lovers. And everyone else. Sigh.

If I were far more well read, I would identify a love poem about a caged bird, print it, then use it to create these little babies, then give away as three dimensional valentines. What is the likelihood of me getting it together long enough to do it? Zero.

Does anyone else think this cat looks like Dick Cheney?

28 January 2011

It's been a long time since the mailman brought me anything nearly this nifty...

As a consolation prize for beating my butt in the Great Gift Wrap Challenge of 2011, Michele sent me two of the amazing the most amazing stained-glass-like paper charms based on her children’s childhood drawings. Aren’t they wonderful?

You know, I see all sorts of artistic creations online all the time, but I rarely see them in person. It’s funny when you become familiar with the image of something in your head and then get to see it up close. It’s sort of like having Paris Hilton in my living room.

27 January 2011

I don’t know about you, but I spend most of January stumbling through a gloomy funk. Somehow the daily grind gets much murkier when the snow on the ground is brown and the snow in the air is coming in sideways. Simple tasks that took an hour in September, can consume an entire day in January. The workload remains the same and yet I constantly feel overwhelmed. Why?

If someone has the answer, please share, because I would really like to know.

Well, I'll tell you , the one thing I do know is that a lot of Creative Types struggle with this same issue, so I thought I would share one of my favorite rituals for combating creative funk: coloring.

Yes, coloring. As in crayons. Seriously, try it.

Look, it’s not going to replace Zoloft, but honestly, it can help. I’m not sure if it’s the smell of the wax or the rhythmic movements of moving the crayon across the page, but there is something about the act of coloring that clears my mind and puts me at ease. On days like today, when I am feeling especially dreary and overwhelmed, I rely on simple rituals like coloring to get me through the day. I cannot praise it enough.

If you have kids then you probably already have supplies on hand, but if you are living munchkin-free, go down to the corner store and pick up a box of crayons! They cost about the same as a candy bar and can do a lot more good than you ever imagined.

And, for those who are too old for coloring books, there is good news: you can make your own custom coloring pages! Simply upload your digital photo to Crayola's free and nifty online tool, or follow these Photoshop directions. You are two clicks and a jiffy away from super keen coloring pages. Huzzah!

25 January 2011

Public Service Announcement

The mangled remnants of digital photo data recovery

If you ever accidentally delete the contents of your digital camera's memory card, or perhaps the lovely airport security people do it for you, please, oh please promise me you will remember one thing: do not take any more pictures.

I repeat: DO NOT TAKE MORE PHOTOS. Get a new memory card and snap away, but leave the damaged/deleted/old card alone.

As soon as you realize the pictures are gone, take the card out of your digital camera and set it on the side. There is a decent chance you can recover the images on the card after you download one of the various data recovery software options.

However, if you take another photo, even just one lousy photo of your foot to test if the camera is working properly, you will lose any remnant images. Gone. You can spend $90 and 12 hours trying to recover the data, but the best you will get is a handful of photos and fractured bits of images layered on top of one another. Just what you always wanted: plaid photographs!

Then the fun only gets better when you can call Canon for help the customer service guy makes fun of you for going all weepy on the phone. After all, it's not his problem you lost 1,300 photographs. And really, "well, the manual clearly states you will lose your data if you continue to use the memory card once it's been reformatted."

So, for anyone out there who missed that line in the manual, THE TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY EIGHT PAGE MANUAL, I would like to take a moment to remind you, please, do not take any more pictures.

Thank you.

This has been a public service announcement.

20 January 2011

Last weekend I met up with The Always Awesome Becca Jo at Uncle Fun. For those who have never had the pleasure of visiting in person, I should explain, Uncle Fun is like the ultimate gift shop for uncles who tell awesome dirty jokes. Think Bacon Band-Aids and "Cat Butt" chewing gum. There is a whole shelf devoted to rubber vomit. Oh hush. I know you want to go.

So while we were there, I found a drawer full of monkeys. Yes I said monkeys. Plastic monkeys. Actually, neon, candy colored, plastic monkeys, to be precise. Like those little thinga-meh-bobs you use to mark your cocktails. Well, they were dirt cheap so I picked up a couple and pledged to find a purpose for them.

La dee dah...I got home that night and went to put them in my drawer marked "Too Dang Neat to Throw Out" (No joke. That's exactly what's on the hang tag.)... and what do I find? Mermaids. Plastic mermaids. Neon, candy colored, plastic  mermaids, to be precise. I bought them at World Market years ago and totally forgot about them. I laid down my newest acquisition in the same box. Monkeys and mermaids should be friends, right?


La dee dah...next day I am having lunch at a diner when what do I see? Swords. Plastic swords. Neon, candy-colored plastic swords OF COURSE. I asked nicely and she let me take a few home.

As a highly superstitious person, I firmly believe all good things come in threes. I also believe that the universe is magically sending me a message by way of plastic rainbow cocktail markers. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the mermaids challenging the monkeys to a duel. Honestly, COULD IT BE MORE OBVIOUS?

It could also be a sign that these items need to come together. In art. Or something. The question is: what something?

They are so unique and interesting all on their own, I am struggling to think of how I can use them. Anyone out there have any good ideas? You all are so creative and I am royally stumped on this one. Please, please help me come up with something. If I don't glue them down and appease the universe, I fear I will wake up and find myself surrounded by an army of jagged, rainbow swivel sticks. Help!

Attention Crafty Peeps!

A while ago I received a wonderful email from Alaleis, who, in addition to having the coolest name ever, is the founder of Kidzlist.com. Her daughter made coffee filters flowers (featured left) for her friends in first grade and asked if they could feature my tutorial on Kidzlist’s brand new arts and crafts section—check it out, and while you are over there, poke around!

Kidzlist is a fantastic local resource guide for all things kid-related. They are currently in 52 cities around the US, perhaps including a neighborhood near you :)

And here is where you come in: Analeis is on the prowl! Kidzlist’s arts and craft section is expanding rapidly and is in need of contributors. If you have a project for Kidzlist, shoot her an email analeis@kidzlist.com and she will send you more information.

Also, while I am on the subject of cross-promoting-all-things crafty...

Quilting Arts Magazine is looking for submissions to their upcoming portrait issue. I know a lot of you out there quilt —wouldn’t it be great to see your work in print? Well then, hop to it and  click here for submission details!

RIT Dye is hosting a creative upcycling challenge! Use Rit Dye to re-create anything that needs to be brought back to life. Prizes aplenty. Click here for details.

If anyone else knows of great places to promote your work, please mention in the comments :)

19 January 2011

Oh my dearest Coffee Filters
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways....
For lining my flower pots so the soil doesn’t drain out...
For hanging out in the produce bag and keeping my lettuce crisp...
For making my own tea bags...
For making clove and soap sachets to line my drawers and closets...
For blotting up greasy blobs when I fry up biscuit doughnuts...
For diffusing the flash on my camera...
For serving up my morning cup of dry cheerios...
For backing fabric when I’m embroidering or hemming delicate fibers...
For wiping glass, chrome and mirrors without ever leaving a trace of lint...
For baking up super-size cupcakes and cornbread...
For lining the food scale when I am measuring in grams...
For straining wine when I shred the cork...
For covering bowls and dishes in the microwave...
And most of all, for being the neatest and cheapest art supply ever! 

Oh my dearest Coffee Filters , how I love you so. There are lots of other uses for coffee filters, but my favorite is making art, especially kid-friendly art. I have found that kids really enjoy working with coffee filters –it’s different from regular paper and there is something deliciously mischievous about scribbling and tearing up functional objects. It’s like getting permission to draw on the wall –it just sounds fun!

Last month, when I saw Sara's amazing rainbow-style snowflakes, I just knew they would be great for making valentines. You can color your filters by painting them, or if you are lazy like me, just ask a munchkin to draw on the filters with a washable marker, then spritz with water and watch the magic happen. Once they dry, just trim into snowflakes, same as always. Cheap, easy, beautiful AND just one more reason to love coffee filters!

PS: Try making a few coffee filter flowers and you can enjoy them all year long!

18 January 2011

Idea file labeled: "Artificial Flowers in Unusual Ways"
Every once in a while I discover a ‘nibblet’ of new-fangled technology that puts a smile on my face. Something that makes life a little easier. Something that makes life a little happier. Something I want to share with everyone I know.

Now, I’m not in the business of promoting products or service, but if I come across something that makes me say “Why didn’t someone tell me about this years ago?!” then, chances are, I am going to let you in on it too. It will be our little secret ;)


Sometimes people ask me where I get ideas for stuff. The answer is usually;

a. Something I did as kid.
b. Something I saw on the internet.

The kid stuff I’ll have to sort out and record one-by-one, but the internet stuff is far more abundant and complicated. At least two or three times a day I see something and say HOLY BAJEEZERS THAT’S COOL!....and I’ll have to make note of it immediately, otherwise it will fall off the hamster wheel inside my brain, never to be seen again.

Now, when I say make note of it that’s a tricky thing.

How do you note it? In a journal? On a que-card? On the back of a napkin?

Ten years ago I would print out the webpage and stick it in a file. Five years ago I would bookmark the hyperlink. Two years ago I would save the image to a file on my computer’s desktop and use the URL as the image description....but, as of six months ago, all that changed. Thanks to a nifty little program called Wishpot, my growing library of inspiration snippets is organized, online, and isn’t consuming gobs of paper or space on my hardrive. Nifty, huh?

If you know about Wishpot, then this is old news to you! If you have never heard of Wishpot, get ready to be impressed. It’s free. It’s fabulous. It’s easy to use. You are going to love it.

Think of Wishpot like a online bridal registry, minus the wedding, and instead of tagging gifts, you are tagging ideas. Interested? I could explain all the knitty-gritty here, but I suggest you pop on over and watch this quick video on Creature Comforts –Ez explains it so much better than I ever could! (BTW, while your over there, pop around the site. Geez, talk about sources for inspiration!)

Wishpot is initially intended as shopping site, but you can use it to organize just about anything online. I use it to record and sort my online inspiration, while my friend Jami uses it to keep track of online recipes. I have a coworker who uses it to store the titles of books and music she is considering buying down the road. I have even heard of people using it to organize their business receipts and invoices. The possibilities are endless!!

I know there are other similar services out there, but I have found this one to be the easiest for me to use. If anyone else out there uses other tools for organizing their sources of online inspiration, or just other nifty tools in general, feel free to post it in the comments!

13 January 2011

Thatched Paper Wall

Living Room at Casa Peaches
A few folks inquired about the book pages in the background of my photographs. I never mentioned it before because I put it up long before the blog began...but since y’all asked....

It was really very easy. Cheap too. AND apartment-dweller-friendly (read: it doesn’t damage the wall. Wahoo!)

If you come to my tiny place, you will see a lot of things, not just the one wall, covered in old book pages. It’s kind of my thing. Not like I invented it, I just like to use it everywhere. I love the visual texture it creates especially when used in mass.  It’s like a neutral.

Yes, I said neutral.

Neutral means beige and gray  and cream and navy blue, to some people...to others, like me, neutral means old books, brown craft paper, black and white stripes and Kermit the Frog green.

But that’s just me.

It might be a little heavy handed for some folks but I like it just fine. It creates a great textural base layer to display all kinds of other stuff. It’s also the one wall in my home that gets flooded with natural light every morning, so you will see it in my photographs a lot.

Hmmm...what do these projects have in common?
It’s like an apartment-friendly alternative to wallpaper. Just use a low-adhesive tape, like painters tape or removable scrapbooking tape. This wall has been up for over a year now and is doing just great. There was an especially humid stretch in the summer when I would find a page or two falling down every week, but big whoop! A little extra tape patched it up just fine.

If you choose to do this, the one thing you will need to be careful about is choosing the book. It needs to be big. It needs to be interesting. It needs to be an author you enjoy.

See, everyone who sees this wall is going to ask you “what book is this?” and it would be really embarrassing if you had to tell them it was some crumby thing you got at an airport concession stand. The book I chose was a three part volume: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island.

Suppose I could have chosen something much more high-brow, but LM Montgomery is my childhood favorite. Plus, she is one of those authors who writes in a way that each sentence stands on it’s own --you can look at any page on this wall and find a wonderful passage. It’s a constant source of comfort and inspiration. I love it to pieces.

One day I will leave this apartment and I’m pretty sure I will shed a tear when it comes time to take down this wall. Maybe the new tenants will be Anne with an E fans too and I can leave it up.  Fingers crossed!

If you aren’t the literary type, there are all kinds of things you could thatch. What about yellow pages? Or sheet music? Or newsprint? (Anthropologie catalogue always does a lot of neato stuff with newsprint)....What about cookbooks? Wouldn’t it be cool to see a whole formal dining room covered in pages from 5 or 6 different cookbooks? They would all come together is different shades of cream and different styles of font....Oooo, I could just swoon. Someone do this and send me a picture!

The trick is to start with the edges, then work from the bottom up.
Must give credit where credit due: First time I saw a thatched paper wall was in the hallway outside Mrs. B’s art room. For a while in college, I toyed with the idea of being an art teacher and was lucky enough to serve as her aide for a semester. Things went in a different direction for me, but I learned an awful lot from Mrs. B, including the concept of layering children’s art work. If you have enough space to hang your kid’s art on it’s won with lots of space around, that’s great. But if you are a Chicago Public School teacher with 250 kids, white space isn’t really an option.

To address the problem and make sure every child could point to their work and be proud, Mrs. B took to layering their work like thatched shingles. The end result was a hallway filled with a riot of color and texture. The pieces would gradually change over the course of the year, but the overall feeling of joyful excitement never changed. Most important, the kids loved it :)

Thanks Mrs. B!

11 January 2011

Check out my new shoes! They are from a party at the G-Dub.

Btw, G-Dub is short for Goodwill, as my friend Dee calls it. Also known as the thrift store, or second-hand shop, or charity shoppe if you are fancy and spell shop with two P’s and an E.

I wish I could pull off fancy spelling.

Well, while I was the G-Dub Shoppe, I got my artistic brain juices (technical term) going by challenging myself to make One Pretty Thing out of Two Ugly Things using $2.00 or less.

I won't show you pictures of the two "ugly things" for fear someone will recognize the items and think I have deemed their personal possessions "ugly"....Heavens to Murgatroid, that would be rude, so you will have to settle for  the recipe, or shall I say, equation;

         One pair of teal satin 1980's bridesmaid shoes
      + One 1970's tapestry needle point thing of a a scary clown 
       =Pretty New Party Shoes!

Just slice up the tapestry into 2cm strips and  and glue to the shoe. Regular white glue works on lightweight materials, but heavy stuff does better with tile adhesive. There are oddles of variations on this method ...check out some of these super cool decoupaged shoes!

That's it. Complicated, right? They looked a little sloppy, so I embraced it and added some raw, red, Frankenstein style stitches. Done.

No one will ever consider them elegant or refined, but they are a pretty nifty. Not bad for two bucks!

06 January 2011

Name that Pink!

Every year, the good people at Pantone pull together color experts from around the world to predict design trends and to select the Color of the Year.
2010 Color of the Year: Turquoise
2011 Color of the Year: Honeysuckle
From Pantone:  

While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

Yeah yeah yeah....elevate the psyche and all that is swell. Problem is: honeysuckle is white. Maybe cream. Even yellow, maybe. NOT PINK.

Should this bother me? No. Does this bother me? Yes. In fact it bothers me to the point that I have avoided using this pink-lemonade like color the last month just because I am irked.

IRKED I tell you!

And that's too bad. It's a nice color. I love me some pink. And yes, technically, honeysuckle comes in a variety of colors, including pink, so I really have no right to be annoyed. But I am . I am annoyed and anxious to fix the problem.

So today, I want to give this color a new name. Doesn't mean anyone will ever use it in an official capacity, but come on, let's have some fun! What shall we name it?

Here, I'll start a list--you chime in some ideas in the comments. Let's do this!

Iced Watermellon
Revenge of the 80's
Pink Lemonade
Mamie Eisenhower's Underpants
Snooki Love
Pink Gumballs
Srawberry Magrarita
Milk Punch Romance
Pixie Dust
Carol Channing Pink

....Your turn!

PS: Anyone share my fixation on color names, read this earlier post.  


05 January 2011

Michele is one of my favorite bloggers. I think I have sung her praises before, but I can't help it. Every time I go to her site I come away with a dozen ideas on what to make next. She is like a sugar rush of creativity. 

A few weeks ago we decided to challenge each other to find new a glorious ways to celebrate something leftover from Christmas. Something wasteful. Something in abundance. What could be better than gift wrap!

The rules of the challenge were wonderfully open ended. As Michele explains 
"We emailed back and forth. Picked a day (today). Decided on a challenge. Created a post with a link to the challenger's post, and that's it! Now all you do is check out what I made, check out what Peaches made, and Bob's your uncle, your work is done! No winners, no losers, just happy happy all around."
HaHa "No winners, no losers" she says. Michele is diplomatic. It's easy to be that way when you are clearly the winner. Just wait until you click here to see Michele's AMAZING Childhood Charms. They are like happy little stained glass pieces made from her children's drawings. Stunning.

I like my plaid bowl just dandy but honestly, it could not be more plain jane next to Michele's project. I'm OK with it, but honestly, it has been a long time since anyone has out-glammed me. A LONG TIME. Something tells me I will be eating sequins with supper tonight!

Well, today's challenge clearly boils down to form vs. function. And while my giant plaid produce bowl isn't nearly as snazzy as Michele's charms, it is something I have been hankering to make for years. Years I tell you! I have wanted a giant pedestal bowl to keep on my kitchen table, to hold fruit and veggies that don't go in the fridge... problem with giant bowls is that they usually come with a giant footprint and take up half my table. No good. Enter paper mache!


  • One old beat up paper lantern 
  • One large chili bowl (you can skip this if you don't want it to be a pedestal bowl)
  • duct tape
  • flour
  • water
  • carpenter's wood glue or mod podge
  • A Whole Boat Load of leftover wrapping paper, including some brown craft paper or old paper bags (for the base layer)
This project is messy and takes a while. The kind f thing you do for 30 minutes a day, every day over the course of a week. The goods news is, this project is hard to mess up and kids love to help out. Just be sure they don't expect immediate results. This one drags out a bit but the rewards are beautiful and will last a long time :)

1. Make a paper mache paste. My typical recipe is: one cup flour + two cups water stirred constantly over low heat for two minutes....but you can also buy it commercially or just google up our own recipe.
2. For the base layer, run brown paper under the faucet to moisten. Squish, crumple and tear into pieces no larger than your hand.
3. Put all your pieces the paste pot and beat it around with a wooden spoon (note: kids LOVE this step!)
4. One by one pull pieces from the pot and use your fingers to ensure they are fully coated (Note: kids LOVE this step even more!)

5. Prop your lantern up on an old bowl. Be prepared for a mess. As you can see, I left my kitchen messy to match the craft today. Yeah, that's it.
6. Lay pieces on the lantern, overlapping heavily. Let it dry thoroughly.
7. Once dry, use scissors to cut the lantern in half.  Now you have your basic bowl shape in place and you can go back and repeat steps 1-4 with wrapping paper, building layers as you go. The more layers, the stronger the bowl. If your bowl is going to be just for decorative purposes, you could probably get away with just a layer of craft paper and single layer of wrapping paper, but since mine is going to hold some heavy duty fruit and veg, I made 5 layers over the course of a week.

8. Cover/Reinforce holes using paper plates and duct tape.
9. Duct tape a chili bowl to the bottom of the larger lantern bowl. Note: Any bowl will do the job, but try to choose something heavy enough to balance the weight of whatever you plan to put in the bowl. 
10. After your final layer of wrapping paper is on and 100% dry (at least 24 hours dry or in the oven at 200F for 30 minutes)...coat your bowl with a water-resistant sealer. I like to use a 50/50 mix of mod podge and water, but I recall my old art teacher saying a 50/50 blend of wood glue and water is a far more thorough sealer. Wood glue can also give a slight yellowy-antiquey finish that is really nice for certain things.
11. And there you have it!  A happy and robust, not to mention PLAID produce bowl you can use all year round! 

With this little challenge project, I have saved space, found storage, utilized some otherwise discarded paper, and had such a fun time working with Michele!  Again, I urge you to check out her AMAZING Childhood Charms and leave a comment on either of our sites. There is no winner here (ahem!) but y'all are certainly welcome to weigh in :)  Many thanks to Michele for coming up with this wonderful idea!  Until next time....

03 January 2011

Long time ago I started a holiday tradition of making one wreath each year dedicated to one person/place/event. It doesn’t need to be fancy or frilly, just made from components that remind me of something wonderful. I hope, as years past, my home will be filled with oodles of nifty wreaths, each with a story to tell. So far I have 10 and counting. I try to make them in between Christmas and New Years, the time of year reserved for family and reflection and eating pie for breakfast.

I’ll save the story behind this year’s wreath, but, let me tell you: this sucker is snazzy. Like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse style snazzy. And, get this, it’s functional! You can even hang it up all year round.

Snazzy + Non-Seasonal + Totally Functional = Awesomeness.

This wreath is like the velour sweatpants of home décor.

I know you want it.

The idea of making a cookie cutter wreath came from this project in Better Homes and Gardens. It’s a lovely piece, but it doesn’t really allow you to use the cookie cutters once they are incorporated in the wreath. Sure, sure, that’s fine for someone who has antique pieces that are no longer in use, but what about my green plastic stegosaurus cookie cutter? If I glue him in a wreath, that would mean no more stegosaurus stamped pie crust. Can I live without stegosaurus stamped pie crust? Hello no.

So what am I going to do? I am going to use the wire branches to create little loop pockets where I can insert Mr. Stegosaurus. This way I can reach in and pull him out any time I want. Beat that!


* Cookie Cutters
* Wire based tinsel wreath. The branches need to be the sort of sturdy wire you can bend and mold easily. Just about any cheapy faux greenery wreath will work. I picked up this pink number in the dollar section at Target. Suppose you could also have fun painting an old wreath you have laying around the garage. And yes, I saw your garage, I know you have an old wreath lying around. PS: I borrowed your camping thermos. Thanks!  


Prepare yourself, this could get complicated.

Step 1. place your cookie cutter on the wreath.
Step 2: use the wire branches to twist in the cookie cutters
Step 3: repeat
Step 4: get a diet coke and take a load off. This is exhausting.
Step 5: insert a thumb tack on your wall and hang it up.

Whew! We made it!
The really nice thing about this is that the wreath is 100% functional. I know it seems odd to think of a Christmas wreath as an organizing tool, but hey, think twice!  Those little branches are sturdy yet super flexible. Perfect for gripping things that you don't access everyday, but don't necessarily want to relegate to the basement or under the bed.

When I was a kid my mom clipped all my hair barrettes and ribbons onto a tacky old wax grape wreath she picked up at a garage sale. It hung in my room and I stared at it every night wondering what barrette I would wear the next day. Pink and green polka dots bows or the Raggedy Ann clips?

Unfortunately, scrunchies came into fashion and the wreath got thrown away. Still, I look back now and realize what a smart idea my mother had back then. To this day I have never seen another quite like it. Now I think about it, there are so many things you could organize and/or display using a wire wreath....kitchen utensils, measuring spoons, pens and pencils, legos, beanie babies, barbie dolls....the possibilities are endless.

Have fun. Have fun Y'all!

PS:  In combing through my cookie cutter collection, I found one that I cannot identify. Can anyone tell what this is? It does not appear to be bent or damaged in any way. I think it might be a platypus. Or a matinee. Ideas? 

02 January 2011

If you stop by regularly, you may notice things are looking a little bit different. Nothing big, just a little lipstick and hair brushing. I'm aiming to neutralize the sandbox so I can leave more room to play with new features down the road.

Couple of new additions include links to my Facebook and Twitter pages. That's right, Social Media, here I come! No clue what I'm doing but you are welcome to link up and join in the ride. 

This could get addictive in a hurry.

Happy New Year Y'all!  

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