Thursday, December 30, 2010

Confetti Hot Dogs

New Year's Confetti Hot Dogs

Are you looking for an unusual appetizer or main dish for your New Year's Eve dinner? Here's the ticket and it's healthy too!!! Grab some turkey or chicken dogs, some reduced-fat crescent rolls, the kiddos and bring on the new year in healthy style. Check out the recipe at

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You Know...

You've been doing too many spray adhesive projects when you release the spray nozzle and it comes off the can and sticks to your finger. That aside, I love working with the Aleene's Crystal Clear Tacky Spray.

I rescued this changing table a couple of years ago from my brother and sister-in-law's 'to sell pile'. I love the clear openings until I started using it in my bedroom and when someone would come into the room they could see ALL of the items in the drawers. So, I bought some inexpensive lace fabric, cut it to the size of each opening, sprayed on some spray adhesive and within minutes I had all of the drawers covered.

Before and now it's so much more feminine. You could use other things to cover the openings - I was even thinking beads, but the lace won out.

Tip - if your fingers get sticky from using the spray adhesive, spray on a little WD-40 - it's take it right off.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Facebook Self Challenge

How to Make a Valance from Place Mats
I posted two challenges for myself yesterday on my Facebook page - I figured if I let my FB Friends know I'd be sure to get them done, after all, there were only two things on my list...then Mother Nature took over. You've probably heard about the heavy rains we're having in California - well, they interrupted my progress but I'm here to say that I achieved my two challenges, but it took a day longer.

My two goals were to finish the valances in my living room and to hang my photos over my couch. Both projects are done as of tonight.

I fell in love with these place mats from Pier 1 - I love leaves and the colors in the place mats are some of my favorite. I felt though, that I needed to add some green since my two chairs and couch were green. I had some leftover fabric from when I upholstered one of the chairs (I didn't really upholster it, I used safety pins to anchor it on the back - looks good to me!) I cut leaves from the leftover fabric and glued them on where I thought it looked good. I glued the place mats to the existing curtain rod with hot glue and since the place mats didn't quite fit the entire length of the curtain rod, I pleated a place mat (using hot glue to hold the pleats) and glued them on the end.

Oh yes, the whole Mother Nature thing that interrupted my self challenge...I received a call from my parent's renter that there was a leak and water was pouring in the house. We couldn't get a handyman out yesterday (he was too busy with leaks!) and when he worked on it today he couldn't find the source. When my parents were at my house dealing with the leak they got word a huge oak tree had fallen down and grazed the roof of their barn. Mother Nature, enough all ready...

Happy Crafting!

Photo Display

Here's a great way to display all of those photos you have!

I have TONS of photos I've taken and wanted to display them in my new home. Here's the outcome - first, I laid them out on the floor to get a feel for what they'd look like, then I took a photo of the layout to make sure I knew where each one went. That's good in theory, but check it out - I expanded on it as I went along to fill up the huge wall.

I started by having my photos enlarged at COSTCO - it's super easy - just upload them to their website and in an hour you can pick up your awesome enlargements (and they're cheap!).

I bought some foam core at a local discount store (it's available at craft stores too) and some Aleene's Crystal Clear Tacky Spray (I LOVE this product!).

I sprayed the spray adhesive on the back of the photo then placed it on the foam core and smoothed it with my hands - I'd recommend a brayer next time for a super duper professional look. Oh, don't forget to protect your work surface really well before you use the spray - follow the instructions on the can too.

I laid the photo on a cutting board and used a box cutting knife to trim around the edges (hint - use a new blade and change the blade often so you get a good cut).

To adhere the photos to the wall I used a 3M product that attaches things to the wall and doesn't leave a residue when removed.

My display is picture perfect, I'd say!

Friday, December 17, 2010

More Christmas Decorating Ideas

I had a few snow people that I'd been given over the years so I sprinkled them around my kitchen - on top of my vertical blinds (who knew there was a ledge on top?), put a snow couple on my fridge, but I wanted to keep the family theme going that I'd used in the living room, so I printed out a collage of past Christmas family photos and placed them in a vase.

Remember the Aleene's / Michael's Magic of Christmas television special and book? I so loved being a part of that - I am lucky enough to have one of the creations from it. The wonderfully matching quilt was made by my friend Kathi ages ago. It matches perfect! Thanks, Kathi!

I love the dollar store!!! I was able to get these stockings for one dollar each and able to fill them with dollar store finds...I think no one is ever too old for a stocking!!! It brings wonderful color and festiveness to the stairs.

A friend had a great idea - a Christmas Sock Party. We were instructed to wear our Christmas socks to her home and what a colorful party it was. She had Chinese food waiting for us and I got an A from my friends on decorating my cookie 'platter'. We did some silly Christmas charades (ever hear of a movie The Lemon Drop Kid? - I had to act that out...)

My socks for the event.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!!!

Merry Christmas

If you've known me very long, you know that having worked in the craft industry for years and years that we pretty much live Christmas every month of the year. But, I have to admit, I haven't decorated for the holidays in a few years and haven't had the home to entertain. Things have changed - I moved into a larger home a few months ago, so this year I pulled out all the stops and started from scratch since I'd given most of my decorations to Goodwill a few years ago.

All of my eleven family members will be at my home this Christmas, so what better decorating 'theme' than Family. I knew I had to do it inexpensively so my crafty brain went into full gear and let me show you what I came up with - AND there's a special gift just for you at the end, so be sure to check out all of the ideas...

I started with my love of the color burgundy and added gold for a touch of elegance. I came up with the idea of little frames as ornaments and when everyone leaves they can take the photo home with them. You can find the mini frames at your local craft store or thrift store - don't worry if you can't find them all to match, that's half the fun and they can easily all 'match' with the same coat of spray paint.

I searched my photo archives from this last year and came up with photos of all of my family members - this was a unique shot from last month - it's my dad sitting in the driver's seat of one of his proud possessions - his Model T - I took the shot through the back window.

I tried to find 'activity' photos of each family member - this one is my nephew, Steven, who will be joining us from Washington, DC - he competed in his first triathlon this year. Oh, yes...Facebook is a great place to find 'activity' photos of your family and friends - just cut and paste them into a photo altering program or even a word processing program and print away.

I ran across these beautiful ANTIQUE postcards when I was at my parent's house. They belonged to my great aunt and are over 100 years old. I scanned them into my computer, printed them off on sturdy paper, cut them out, punched some holes near the top then tied them to the tree with burgundy ribbon - another way to bring family into your decorating. All I was out was the cost of the printer ink, the paper and ribbon.

My tree wouldn't be complete without the angel my mom made for me 25 years ago. She's in great shape (the angel and my mom!).

Once the tree was decorated, I moved on to the fireplace. Once again, I wanted to bring in family. I purchased the gigantic wreath at my local craft store for only $10, got some 60% off poinsettias and I had some gold ribbon. I printed off photos of my family members, mounted them on red foam sheets (I could have used burgundy paper but I didn't have any), then glued them on some printed scrapbook paper. I tucked the photos into the branches of the wreath and it's another take-away gift for my family.

Dollar Store Find!!! I have beautiful cathedral ceilings in the living room and kitchen and wanted something eye-catching. I purchased the bells and bows at the dollar store, tied them all together and used a push pin to hang them from the beam. Nope, no family here...I just like them.

I almost's my gift to you (you'll see you get a bonus, one's for Thanksgiving). These are the same postcards I have on my tree. Print them to the desired size and use them for decorations, nametags on gifts wherever you want some vintage love - have fun and have a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Target Bag Kites

Plastic Bag Kite

The plastic shopping bags are piling up - oh, what to do? Grab a plastic bag, some straws, glue and make a high-flying kite.

What You’ll Need

  • Plastic Bag
  • String
  • 2 Straws
  • Heavy-duty Glue
  • Scissors
  • Permanent Marker
  • Ruler

How To Make It!

  1. Print kite patterns and enlarge to desired size. Place plastic bag over patterns. Trace patterns with permanent marker. You can make the kite larger, but this is a fun size to get you started.
  2. Cut shapes from one layer of bag.
  3. Cut three strips 18” x 1/2” for tails.
  4. Place straw down center of main kite piece. Cut extra straw that goes over edge of kite. Glue straw in place. Place other straw coming out from center straw. Cut to edge of kite. Repeat on other side. Glue straw pieces on the sides.
  5. Glue smaller kite piece to center of kite over center straw. Let dry.
  6. Glue string to end of small piece on kite.
  7. Glue the tails onto the bottom edge of kite. Let dry.
These and other kids' craft ideas are in Make Healthy Fun! book featuring over 120 projects for happy, healthy kids. Check it out at

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Family Craft Project

It's Time Capsule

OK, so you're looking for a fun project for the entire family. Here's the perfect craft project that involves EVERYONE!!!
Time travels so fast – capture a bit of the moment with things from today.

What You’ll Need

  • Capsule - Plastic Container with a Tight Fitting Lid if You’re Going to Bury it in the Dirt or Tin, Plastic, Wood or Cardboard if You’re Not
  • Glue That’s Waterproof if You’re Going to Bury Your Capsule
  • Zip Top Plastic Bags

Ideas for Things to Put in Your Time Capsule

Photo, drawing, comic strip, event ticket, today’s newspaper, toy, coin from the current year, predictions, photo of your family or friends, something that represents YOU! Be sure to include the date the capsule was buried. Have everyone contribute something.

How To Make It!

  1. Place your items in zip top bags before placing in capsule.
  2. If you aren’t going to bury your container, decorate the outside with permanent markers or by gluing things on.

Place your capsule in a warm, dry place or if burying, seal with waterproof glue and let dry. Dig a hole, place the capsule in the hole and let each person take a turn placing dirt over the container. Decide when you’ll open your capsule, maybe next Thanksgiving!!!

More fun family and kids' craft projects are available at and in the book Make Healthy Fun! available at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shrink Plastic Leaf Napkin Rings

Copper-Look Leaf Napkin Rings

With one of these napkin rings at each place setting, your table will assume an air of classic elegance. You can use a real leaf for your pattern too! Shrink Plastic shrinks 60% of the original size and to the thickness of a nickel.

What You Need

Shrink Plastic or check your recycle bin for plastic containers with the #6 on the bottoms

Baby powder

Baking sheet


Acrylic paints: verdigris, copper

E6000® Craft Glue

Artistic Wire 10 gauge copper wire

Permanent pen, black, fine line

Sea sponge (small scrap)



Wire cutter

2” diameter bottle to shape napkin rings

Round nose pliers

What To Do

  1. Place Shrink Plastic over pattern. Trace with permanent marker. Cut out. Pre-heat oven to 275 - 300 degrees. Lightly sprinkle baking sheet with baby powder. Place Shrink Plastic on baking sheet. Place in oven until shrunk and leaf lays flat. Shrink desired number of leaves. While leaves are still warm, bend edges upward. Let cool.
  2. Sponge copper paint on front, sides and back of leaves. Let dry.
  3. Sponge verdigris over leaves, allowing a small amount of copper to show through. Let dry.
  4. For each napkin ring, cut a 12” length from wire, using wire cutter. Wrap center of wire length around 2” diameter bottle, leaving ends straight. Remove from bottle. Grasp end of wire, using pliers, twist, forming a large loop, referring to photo. Repeat at other end of wire.
  5. Glue leaf at center of napkin ring.
Other Shrink Plastic ideas can be found in The Guide to Shrink Plastic book

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Shrink Plastic Frames

Here's a great gift idea - and you just might have the main 'ingredient' in your recycle bin right now! Shrink Plastic is so much fun to work with - it shrinks 60% and to the thickness of a nickel!

What You'll Need

Baking sheet
Baby powder
Oven or toaster oven
Hot pad
Shrink plastic or #6 plastic (check bottoms of plastic containers in your recycle bin)
Wood frame
3D paint
Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue™
Tape for checkerboard
Acrylic paint to paint frame
Foam paintbrush
Masking tape for checkerboard frame

*Aleene’s® Shrink-It™ is available through

What To Do

1. Paint frame desired color. If you want the checkerboard look, use tape to divide off sections before you paint.

2. Cut various sizes and shapes from shrink plastic.

3. Pre-heat oven to 275-300 degrees. Lightly sprinkle baking sheet with baby powder. Place shrink plastic pieces on baking sheet. Place in oven for a few minutes until they flatten. Remove from oven and let cool.

4. Use permanent markers to color shapes.

5. Glue and layer plastic pieces to frame.

6. Add squiggles, dots and personalize with 3D paint. Let dry.

Make It Yours!
Paint frame in the person's favorite color (school colors make a great checkerboard frame!), add shrink plastic pieces that fit the person - megaphones and mascots for a cheerleader, airplanes for the plane enthusiast - check out rubber stamps too! The checkerboard is perfect for a checkers enthusiast by adding shrink plastic checkers and how about for the NASCAR or racing person? Make cars from shrink plastic to race around the frame.

Let them make their own custom picture mat - Include the mat, some decorative scrapbook paper and a can of Aleene's® Crystal Clear Tacky Spray™.

Use the same idea on a wooden or paper mache box to store treasures.

Wrap It Up!
Add a bow and actually place it on the wall. It's a decorative touch to the room and a gift all in one!

The Guide to Shrink Plastic ebook is available at

Friday, November 05, 2010

Get Those Old Records Off the Shelf

We all have them...a pile of old records and no record player or the records are so scratched that they won't play. Here's a fun project to preserve the album covers - make a tray for that special person (you included!) and it will be music to their ears...My buddy, Cheryl Ball, from the old Aleene's Creative Living television show days and I put together tons of ideas to repurpose the old records in our ebook - you can check them out at

Servin-up Rock ‘n Roll

Designs by Joan Martin Fee


  • 1 Record Album Cover
  • Frame with glass to fit album
  • 2 Drawer pulls
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Scissors


  1. Cut album to fit frame. Tip: Cut and paste to fit frame or buy a mat to fill in open space.
  2. Drill pilot holes for handle screws on ends of frame.
  3. Attach handles. Replace glass.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Gift Ideas

Are you looking for a special family gift idea? How about taking all of your family's favorite recipes and creating a one-of-a-kind cookbook? It's super simple and oooooh, so special!!!

Cook-It-Up Family Style Cookbook

What You'll Need
  • Notebook with Clear Front Pocket
  • Family Photo
  • Background - Print Graphics on Computer or Use Construction Paper and Stickers or Have a Member of Your Family Draw a Picture
  • Stick Glue
  • Scissors
  • Computer with Printer
How to Make It!

1. Print family photo, title of cookbook and background page.
2. Cut cookbook title and family photo desired size and shape. Glue to background paper with stick glue.
3. Slip in front pocket of notebook.

Copy or type-up your favorite recipes and decorate these pages too!

For more fun family and kids' crafts check out The Make Healthy Fun! book with over 120 craft projects and recipes is available at

Monday, November 01, 2010

Magic of Christmas

Aleene's Magic of Christmas Book

I received a request last week from a reader wanting to locate the Aleene's The Magic of Christmas book from 1998. Well, I dug around a little in my craft room and found three copies. Looking through the 120 pages brought back amazing memories (I was the Editor on the project) of stunning ornaments, centerpieces, stocking ideas and tons more terrific holiday ideas. Anyone else looking for a copy??? There are only two left! Send me an email for details at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I did it!

I sent in my entry to the Costco photo about you? The deadline is tomorrow and it's super easy to submit. Go ahead, you just might win...

COSTCO Photography Contest

Yikes!!! The deadline for the Costco photography contest is closing in on me...Have you submitted 'your best shot'? The deadline is September 30 - that's tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Butterfly Bathroom Valances

I love sister gave me a vintage doily a while back and I just didn't know what to do with it until I moved and was decorating my new bathroom. I cut up the doily (there were stains so I didn't feel too bad about cutting it up - it was that or leave it folded in a drawer). I think it turned out pretty darn cute - and I made it all while I watched Dancing with the Stars last night!!! See what you can do during commercials...

My New Home

Wow, I feel like I haven't posted anything in quite awhile - I even had to stop and think how to start a post...well, I am in my new home and the craftiness in me has taken over. Take a look at these inexpensive and quick ideas to decorate your home or even for gifts.

I took several of these photos on my trip to London last year when I was visiting my high school friend, Kathy. All you need to mount the photos is the photo (of course) - I love to upload my photos from my home computer and send them to COSTCO - they're inexpensive and the quality is great and not to mention, they're done in an hour, some spray adhesive, foamcore, ruler, craft knife and mounting material of your choice (I used the 3M removable strips)
How to Make It
1. Spray the adhesive on the back of the photo following instructions on the can.
2. Smooth the photo on the foamcore with your clean hands.
3. Cut to desired size using ruler and craft knife.
4. Place the mounting material on the back and hang on the wall.

I've taken tons of photos the last couple of years, so I took my stash and laid them out to see how they'd fit over my couch - an after picture soon...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Better Homes & Gardens Fall Centerpiece Photo Contest

Fall Centerpieces Photo Contest

Check it out...fall is upon us and Better Homes and Gardens wants to see your best fall centerpiece idea.

Win $1,000 and a place of honor in Better Homes and Gardens. Submit your best fall centerpiece idea that shows your love of the holiday season. We're offering a $1,000 grand prize - plus a spot an upcoming magazine issue. So enter our Home for the Holidays: Fall Centerpiece photo contest and share the ways you celebrate the season.
Here's the website: