It all started with a little nick


Disclaimer… this post is more about my wife’s creative outlet than mine.  I’m the crafter and she’s the cook.  And an amazing cook she is.

A couple days ago, she noticed a little nick in the top of our glasstop stove and then realized it had turned into a hairline crack that went from one side to another.  Not good for a glasstop stove.  Then, all these amazing things started happening…

1)  I had an old friend who we haven’t seen in a while come by to tell us whether or not the gas line in the kitchen looked like it was in good enough shape for a gas stove.  We decided it might be but we couldn’t be sure, but we did make plans to meet her and her new girlfriend for dinner this week.  (Her girlfriend, it turns out, is just finishing school in graphic design and my brother works for a company that does graphic design, so I gave her my brother’s info to pick his brain.)

2)   So, we started pricing new stoves, realized we probably couldn’t afford one, and then turned to our Facebook family for help.  Within an hour, a friend posted that she had a stove in her basement that she and her girlfriend had used for about a year and then hadn’t needed when they moved to a new house.  She was willing to sell it to us for a really good price.  Sold!

3)  Then, we had to find someone to help me go get it.  Having a dad with a truck is great but having a wife with a bad back is sometimes problematic (she makes up for it in other ways).  So, we started asking around and checking Craigslist for people who can be paid to do such things.

4)  My amazing aforementioned brother agreed to help.  He usually works on Saturdays, and this was bound to take most of the day (our friend lives about an hour away), so I’m really grateful that he was willing to take time out to help.  (p.s. He’s an amazing photographer and photo-retoucher, check out his blog here:

5)  We drove out and got the stove, caught up with our friend (another one we haven’t seen much of lately), and brought our treasure back home.  It was in even better shape than she described.

6)  Literally less than 5 minutes after putting the old stove on the curb, a couple guys (father and son, maybe) in a salvage truck came by and took it away.  They gave us their card for next time we had something to get rid of and were really appreciative (as were we).

It was like everyone was a winner in this story.  I like this stove even better than the original.  It has a much more classic look (with the “old-fashioned” electric coils) and fits perfectly with our kitchen.

This is what I woke up to this morning (she’s the early riser in the house):

ImageAnd this is the view at the end of the day:

ImageI love my life!

Challenge entry for The Stampsmith Challenge (and my new favorite stamps)


I LOVE when neatly decorated packages come in the mail.  It’s always the sign of a crafter sending me supplies or a piece I ordered.  This one from Estelle was no exception.  I’ve been starting to experiment with stamping and loving all the resources on-line (and, of course, at good-ol’ Michael’s).  I found this challenge and knew it would be the perfect excuse to get some new stamps:

The “shabby chic” and “grunge” themes certainly helped peak my interest!  So, here’s my contribution to this week’s challenge.  I’m thinking it ended up being more of a grunge look.  I usually start out envisioning shabby chic, but then I keep adding more and more layers, pushing things over into “grunge-range”.  This card started out with really pretty circles using a few different yellow acrylics and “floating medium”.  You can see it more than in my last post’s card’s background.  It works amazingly well with shading and blending.  Then, I used one of my new Stampsmith stamps to add this great Anais Nin quote (I love her).  I used the cute heart stamps that I’ve had forever and a Sharpie to make little flowers in the centers of the circles I had made.  Then, I added some roses with the “extra” stamp that Estelle threw in (I LOVE extras).  The coolest thing about her stamps is the intricate details in some of them.  I had no idea stamps could actually be photo-realistic, as well.  I know that I’m going to get better at using them- there’s quite a skill to stamping.

This is where I started venturing into “grunge-land”, I think.  I recently made some spray-ink with acrylic and rubbing alcohol so I thought a little spray would add some more interest.  (Oh, here’s my post in which I made spray-ink, in case you’re interested:  Little did I know, but the not-yet dry ink in the quote stamp ran a little with the spray, but by then I was committed to grunge, so it worked out.  Then, I took quote stamp that still had a little ink on it and randomly stamped over the rest of the card.  The black hearts are actually a wooden heart that I used as a stamp.  So, there you have it!


As a bonus, here’s another ICAD I made this week, I used torn up coin wrappers for it.  Funnily, I used the label from a sheet of letters I got from the Stampsmith to stamp the letters over the top and grunge this one up, as well.  (By the way, the letters are in these intricate nouveau art flower designs- be on the lookout for a project with them soon.)

So, there you have it.  What’s the most unique way you’ve used a stamp/stamps?  I think I’m addicted.

Creative Corners Challenge entry and a new, cool tool


GLITTER!  Who can pass up a challenge with glitter!?  This week’s theme at the Creative Corners blog is “Let it Sparkle”.  Here’s the link:

Now, I’m not a big sparkly person in real life, but in my creative life I think a little bit of well-place glitter glue can absolutely MAKE a design.  (for example: The ICAD (above) is my contribution to the challenge.  I used a background that I made with a couple different shades of yellow acrylic paint applied with a “floating medium” (yes, I finally learned how to use it and I love it).  Then I went over it with a rough layer of gesso using a folded index card to apply it (ICAD all the way, baby!).  I used a few different stamps with “Distress Ink” Black Soot, “Color Box” Curry, and “Craft Smart” Kelly Green.  Some of the stamps I used were from Inkadinkado (the quote and Zeppelin from an awesome vintage collection).  And then, the pièce de résistance was some green glitter glue to highlight it.

The other cool thing I used on this card is my new “Stamp Press” from Fiskars:


I saw Aaron on Imperfect Impulses use it in a tutorial and fell in love.  And then, my lovely wife got it for me!  Here’s him using it (with home-made foam stamps- how cool is that?!):

The funny thing is, in a previous post of mine I was bragging about my new Fiskars weeder (  This company really needs to pay me for all the advertising (or, I should invest in them because they make GREAT products for all my favorite activities).

So, a lot of link-backs to previous posts, references to other blogs, and product references in here.  What do you think?

Our garden (the flowers)

ImageLast summer we got married in our backyard.  It was the wedding of my dreams and our yard has never looked better.  One of my bridesmaids is an amazing gardener, so she helped us make it beautiful.  This summer, I’ve been more focused on the vegetable garden (which I had to forgo last year in the interest of space), but there are still some lovely plants and flowers left over.


The yard is a nice mixture of flowers, fruit plants (a peach tree, blueberry bushes, a raspberry bush), a small vegetable garden, and plenty of grass for playing (and mowing).  The front yard has a couple rock gardens (which I love).  I’ve been focusing more on some of the flowers in the past couple weeks.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of them:

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Yes, I do love lilies.

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And this was one of my favorite pictures from the wedding.  Courtesy of Brian Hale @


Knack- My New Favorite Place!


A pop-up store I went to last year has opened up permanently and I’m SO EXCITED.  The pop-up store was all arts and crafts made from upcycled materials.  I got a bunch of holiday gifts there last year.  The new space is like the pop-up store on steroids.  It was founded by two upcycle artists in the area who are so creative and talented that it makes me crazy!  Not only does it have great finished upcycled crafts to buy, but they have tons of upcycled materials to buy, as well.  And really cool, unique ones, at that.  The first time I went, I ended up with a bunch of clear VHS tape cases that I’m going to use to store supplies (6 for $1- who can beat that!?).  I also got some random metal objects that I want to experiment on with welding (I know, “experiment” and “welding” don’t sound like the safest combination- do not try that at home).

Here’s the link to their web site and they also have a Facebook page:


And the coolest part is that they have a crafting space and classes for kids every other weekend.  We’ve gone twice and had so much fun.  The first time, we decorated the handles of marshmallow sticks.  A local artist had donated the handles from a bunch of spatulas that he had only used the tops of for a piece (I’d love to see that). Amber used twisted wire to make a long skewer and then supplied home-made mod podge and tons of fabrics, yarn, paints, and stickers to decorate the handles.  Here’s mine (and the neat way she attached the wire to extend the handle):


This is my wife’s.  I think hers is my favorite.  She put on letter stickers, painted over them, and pealed them off.


And our boy with his:


He won’t do crafts with me at home, but he’s loved doing these at Knack.  Maybe it’s because he’s a captive audience when we’re out.  Also, one of the women who owns the store has a couple boys about his age so I think she has his demographic in mind when selecting materials and projects.  (For this one, he found some camo fabric and who doesn’t like the prospect of making something that can be used to make s’mores?)

The next project we did was these simple but really cute bottle top hanging ornaments.  I think I know what our family craft for the holidays is going to be this year.  Try to guess whose is whose in the pictures below:

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Okay, so I gave it away with the collage of our boy working on his.  But, I think it’s funny that my wife and our boy have a really similar ascetic.  (Yes, hers is the Batman/Catwoman themed one.)

If you’re going to be in Western Massachusetts (US), I totally suggest you check this place out!  There are endless possibilities  for ideas, materials, and inspiration.  Next week’s craft: wine bottle cork boats.  Can’t Wait!!!

A few more ICADs- on the home stretch

ImageI saw a “recipe” for making spray ink on a blog recently and decided to try it out.  Not only would it be a money saver, but it would also be a way to upcycle come spray bottles I already have and a new technique to try- TRIPLE WIN!  Here’s the blog with the really simple instructions:

I started out all these cards with a little spray-ink from the first bottle I made.  The only glitch I found was that the spray-nozzle seemed to get clogged up after not too long.  I think I’ll have to clear it out with water pretty frequently.  When I started out, I didn’t have as much paint in the solution, but it wasn’t very dark on the page, so I guess the clogged sprayer is the price I pay for wanting more color.  I also used the tulle to make some texture on the card with a brush in the same color paint.


I had printed this little poem/blessing on a card with my new printer when I was testing it out a couple weeks ago.  It had come to my attention when I saw a blogger post a request from Jan to let people know that it was actually her work, rather than the work of someone else it was mistakenly being attributed to.  Here’s that post:

And here’s a link to one of Jan’s blogs:

I love Jan’s work and am going to a retreat being sponsored by my church that she’s leading in the fall.  I can’t wait.  I used the washi tape prompt on this one for just a little more color, but I didn’t want to do too much to it because I think the words are just beautiful as they are.ImageImage

These last two I just made for fun.  The Dr. Seuss quote is one of my wife’s favorites so I’m going to put it in a little frame for her office (and the rainbow wording is a big theme for us, for obvious reasons).  I tried using some “floating medium” I had around but couldn’t really figure out what it did.  I have to check out some tutorials and try it again when I have some more time and patience.

The last one is just a quote that popped into my head with the combo of the “ocean” and “bicycle” prompts.  I kind of messed up the bicycle wheel, but it’s only an index card, after all.  After the spray clogged, I just took the cap off and started flicking and wiping the straw on the card.  I made a little washi tape fish and then put on the reverse of the fish for good measure.  (Who’s ever seen an ocean with only one fish?)

Here are a few other ICAD posts from some of my other favorite bloggers:  – She used some spray-inks this week, too.  I love all the techniques she tried, especially her scrap washi heart (I need to start my own scrap-washi collection, now.) – I know I’ve already linked to Natasha’s cards but I just love them and her daughter is still doing them right along with her.  She was just published in Altered Arts Magazine, which is the coolest thing in the world.  (She totally deserves it.)  – And here’s another blog I recently started following.  I especially love his art journal stuff and I’ve watched a bunch of his tutorials on YouTube.  They’re not only fun to watch, they teach great techniques.  Here’s his YouTube channel:

Thanks for looking.  Two more weeks of ICAD… what will be my next “challenge”???

Mandala Monday (with a little Macro Monday for good measure)


It was only in the high 80s tonight, so I worked on my mandala outside. I let some of my greens go to seed (oops) so I decided to use some of them for my mandala. My lily is full of blooms that are all about a day away from wilting, so I was willing to pick one of them, too. I took a few stones from my rock garden and here you have it:


While I was working, a cute little pincher bug crawled up onto one of my lettuce leaves. He just kind of hung out with me for a while. And I love the close-up of the lily. ImageImage

When I was done, I just tossed the salad into my yard. I’m not sure what the dogs thought about it (I think it was too bitter even for them). Next time I mow it will just get mulched up with the clippings. The circle of life.IMG_6884 IMG_6883

My two favorite Mandala bloggers both had beautiful offerings this week. They almost make me look forward to Mondays (almost). – I love Dawn’s detail and precision. I could really get lost in her mandalas (which is, I guess, the point). – Patty’s mandalas are much more soft and pretty. I also love the way she uses linens and china in the staging.

Fungus Friday (a la Woodland Whimsy)

Bonus post for today!  After seeing the neat post from Woodland Whimsy that this post is named after, I couldn’t resist.

I’ve just been finding myself noticing a lot of mushrooms around lately.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m noticing them more or there are more of them to notice.  The weather has been pretty perfect for fungus, though, so it’s probably that there are just more of them.  So… here goes:

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That’s all.

Where I Create


Karen at the “My Desert Cottage” blog has created a great big blog-hoppin’ party where bloggers have shared pictures and thoughts about their creative spaces.  I’m a day late to join (it started this morning) but better late than never.  So here’s the link to the round-up and here’s my “space”.

I call it my “crafting corner”- having taken over a corner of my boy’s playroom.  He doesn’t seem to mind and I love playing in my space while he’s playing in his.  I also kinda took over his little table, after giving him a much bigger table for his Legos/cars/Skylanders/whatever else he wants to use it for. Sitting in those little chairs seems to somehow get the creative juices flowing- maybe it takes me back to childhood a bit.  (I’m going to be in trouble when I can no longer get up out of them, though.)  Oh yeah, that’s a wedding picture of me and my wife on the wall.  I’m the one with the dimples.  🙂  (We LOVED our photographer:

This is a little canvas I started a while ago and just haven’t quite finished, along with some other things that I know I want to do something with but am not quite sure what.  I tried experimenting with using old spices as glitter and paint pigment a while ago, but kind of stalled out with that.

I love this little roll-top desk that a friend rescued from a curb and bestowed upon me.  I didn’t do much other than clean it up, fix some of the loose joints, and add new knobs.  It’s perfect for my sewing machine when it’s not in use (and the roll top doesn’t really close all that easily, anyway).  Next to the machine is a little birdhouse I’ve been working on.  I saw this idea of using hardcover books as birdhouse roofs at a local artisan’s gallery several years ago and have made several since.  They’re so fun!  As you can see, there are a couple others waiting in the wings.


I don’t love all the plastic boxes on my shelves, but I do love that they’re labeled AND see-through- it helps inspire me, I think.  But I just made this new box for the ICADs I’ve been working on for the past month and a half.  They’d been just collecting dust on the corner of my table, and I’d seen all these cute ways other crafters had started storing theirs, so I decided to try my hand at making a box.  I used an album jacket that I’d been saving until I found a new life for it (the record having long since been melted into a bowl) and just figured out how to fold and cut it to make a box.  Then, I decoupaged strips of paper scraps and washi tape for decoration and reinforcement.  My favorite part is the little beads I used to make the closure.  I “sewed” them on with some wire I had pulled out of a roll of wired ribbon.

So, that’s my “space”.  Thanks for looking.  I can’t wait to start gawking at everyone else’s spaces on the blog-hop.  I’ll be sure to add links to some of my favorites here.

Inspirational ICADs/Inspirational People

The ICADs I made this week were all from a series of some of my favorite inspirational quotes that I printed out  one day with my new printer, playing with colors and fonts.  I was recently turned back on to Thich Nhat Hanh at a DBT training; a big part of that treatment modality is mindfulness and he’s pretty much the mindfulness guru.


The first two were made with crayons in a couple different techniques.  The first was just a basic rubbing over a scrap of wire fencing I had left over from a project and the second was from a technique I keep seeing people talking about.  I made a pattern with glue and then let it dry.  The dried glue became a relief for me to rub the crayon over.  I kind of like the technique and it’s so easy.  The last one was kind of a “peek-a-boo” card, using the weaving theme from Daisy Yellow’s ICAD Challenge with a paper bag from PJ Chang’s on top, the quote stapled on the bottom, and (under the quote) a reminder to myself.  I also used the colors from the  2013 Summer of Color 3: Artist’s Choice challenge on Facebook.  (The colors this week are candy apple red and yellow).


This quote from Ghandi is of my favorite of all time.  I actually just used blotting towels I’ve been accumulating on my craft table, ripped them up, and Mod Podged them on as the background.  I played with some “WordArt” in Microsoft Word to make the quote.


For this, I played with oil pastels (another new material for me).  It’s such a visceral approach to art: the feeling of the material on my fingers.  I love it and definitely need to keep playing with them.  And I continue to be inspired thinking of our recent trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in DC.  He was truly an amazing man.


This one was a combination of the dried-glue-relief and the crayon rubbing ideas from above.  I wrote the word “fruit” with the glue and then used crayon over it.  I tried using several colors in a rubbing over the wire mesh, moving the card just a hair for each new color.  It kind of made a muddy color, rather than the rainbow effect I was looking for, so I ended up covering most of the card with collage.  I raided one of my National Geographics for the images.

Here are the Facebook links to the ICAD and SOC Challenges:

They continue to be so much fun, and are really encouraging me to do at least one creative thing a day.  It’s a habit I really think (hope) I can keep up.  I’m also learning so many new styles and techniques from the other participants who are posting their work.  It’s such an amazing variety and there are so many talented people out there!  They’re inspiring, too.