Thursday, December 28, 2006

jI'm very excited!!!

I'm off to San Diego to ring in the new year! I haven't been there for ages and it will bring back many memories of the 4 years I lived there. It will be an interesting journey for me. Of course, I'm taking my camera to take some hopefully awesome photos of the area and of some creative things that I spot.

Resolutions! Yes, I've been thinking about them and will continue to think about them - I'm a goal oriented kind of gal, so this time of year just begs for me to come up with some challenging things to pursue.

Definitely one of my resolutions is to craft more and create something for me! Maybe a life collage...

Until next week, have a safe and creative weekend.
You just never know...

Another party - can it possibly be? And how can another party relate to crafting - well, one never knows what will happen or who they will meet anywhere on their journey.

This party was at Doug's house, again and here I am out by the fire pit - the dreaded fire pit that melted my shoes later in the evening. That's where the crafting comes in. I rested my shoe against the fire pit and it melted the sole apart. As I hobbled out to my car that night, I reminded myself to get out the ol' Aleene's 7800 All-Purpose Adhesive when I got home and fix my shoe - it worked great!

OK, so back to the you just never just never know who you'll meet (or in this case I already had met him) at a party or anywhere for that matter! To the left of me in the photo is Mark Alvis, the Producer and Star of a new PBS series on Sustainability that will air soon.

What is sustainability you ask? The goal of Mark's company, Alvis Projects, Inc. is to design and build, cost effective, energy efficient buildings. The ultimate goal would be buildings that made as much energy as they consumed: a net zero building - which they do! Check out his website:

Now, to go get a sneak peek of Mark's show!
That's it for now!

Friday, December 22, 2006

lHappy Holidays!!!

May this holiday season bring you safe travels, lots of hugs and much joy!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Early Present!
Don't you just love it when something totally unexpected happens?
Well, it did for me this week, but it actually started back in October...
I took this photo on my way home from my vacation at Big Sur - I stopped by the road to take a picture of a beautiful lighthouse and looked down to see some rusty barbed wire. Being a farm girl, it intrigued me and I snapped a couple pictures. It wasn't until I got the enlargements back that I realized there was a spider web clinging to the wire - it doesn't really show up in the above image.
The good news - on a whim, I submitted 5 photos to a JURY for a "fine art exhibit" at a local winery. I was thrilled to get the letter this week that one of my photos was selected for display at the Quady Winery during the Madera County Wine Trail in February.
This is TOTALLY out of the box for me, so it will be very interesting - there is even an Artist's Social with a dinner party at the winery!
Strange thing is, I wasn't going to submit that particular photo...
One never knows, so grab that brass ring and go for it - TODAY!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

eLast Minute Gift Idea

Tool Tote

My mom requested a gift this year, which is totally unlike her - she asked for a Do It Herself Tool Kit. I'd given her one years ago and guess what? Someone (who shall remain nameless) has borrowed her tools and now her tote is empty. I have a tool kit just like hers with a hard plastic case and it's a pain to keep everything in it's place and when you close the lid, stuff falls out of place.

Crafting to the rescue! I ordered the cute butterfly hammer and tape measure from a friend at work.

Then, it was off to the fabric store to find fabric for a bag and trim for the drawstring.

I really didn't want to drag out my heavy sewing machine from the bottom of the closet, so I got out my trusty Aleene's Platinum Bond Super Fabric Textile Adhesive.

It was super easy to make this bag - I applied the adhesive along two long edges of the fabric (one end was the fold). I placed two right sides together to form the bag. Then I folded over the top and glued along the edge to form the casing. I applied dots of the adhesive in two spots in the casing, let it dry and snipped through them and ran the trim through the holes and tied it at the ends.

I added a few things to the tool kit - a packet of screws and nails, a wrench and an extension cord.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Not Your Ordinary Party...

Doug's holiday party was phenomenal!!! (see next post for more details about Doug and the party)

Not only did Doug go all out with decorations and food, he provided us with entertainment - and it wasn't your usual entertainment.

Find the Pickles and Find the Fairies - Doug had hidden 3 fairies who "needed to find their way home" and two Christmas Pickles - we scurried around inside and out and had great fun finding the unusual items.

Make a Christmas Tree - This idea is wonderful for any age - Doug had green and beige paper, a whole lot of embellishments and of course, Aleene's Original Tacky Glue set out on a table. Notice I didn't mention scissors - nope, we couldn't use scissors. We folded, we creased, we tore, we calculated - we had fun! Check out our creativity. It was also great fun to just sit, chat and dance around to Christmas music as we made our trees. (It's Monday morning and I'm hearing from lots of people that their tree isn't shown here, so you'll be seeing more soon! Doug tells me he's bringing them all in so we can vote.)

Smores - We huddled around Doug's backyard firepit and made smores! See, Matt, I did put up your photos!!! (Matt's been not so secretly wanting to be on my blog and see what I'd write!)

Matt, Megan and Josh making the perfect smores!

Decorating Ideas Galore!

I attended a most fabulous party last night given by a co-worker, Doug - he's a local and national celebrity! He's been appearing on a local TV station giving home decor, gift and wrapping ideas. Last year he won a national contest - the Scotch Brands Most Gifted Wrapper 2005. Doug does so much more!!! This year he decorated model homes and at work he makes our tradeshows look fantastic! He's awesome!
I'm busy just like you getting ready for the holidays, so I won't post much, but wanted to share pictures of Doug's home - every room was decorated to the max! Thanks, Doug, awesome party!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ceramics by Justin's 5th Grade Class

I had the pleasure of working with my nephew's class to create these awesome ceramic projects.

On my vacation, I took a painting class where there were no rules and thought it would be interesting to see what 5th grader's did with no rules. Here are the awesome results.

Each got a ball of clay to create whatever they wanted. I fired them and then it was time for them to glaze the pieces. Back to the kiln one more time and here they are. I'm taking them to the class on Friday and I think they will be pleasantly surprised.

What a wonderful experience. Their teacher was totally behind the project - her mom has a ceramic project she made 50 years ago!

Another quick gift idea - this one's for the shoe lover on your list, but this could be used for anyone - just change the theme.

Snazzy Shoe Gift Ideas
Designed by Joan Fee

Canvas bag or towels
Fusible web
Fabric: animal print, black
Iron & ironing surface

1. Freehand design or use clipart. Trace on paper side of fusible web. Cut out, leaving a 1/2" border.
2. Lay traced fusible web on back of animal print fabric, with paper side facing up. Iron to fabric according to the manufacturer’s instructions on packaging.
3. Repeat step #2 with shoe top, on black fabric.
4. Cut out around edges.
5. Peel off paper backing and iron both pieces to bag/towel, placing pieces of shoe together to complete image.
Option: Sew around edges of fabric with a zigzag or applique stitch.
Friendship Bracelets

Here's a fun bracelet idea made with Artistic Wire and alphabet beads!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Let the parties begin...
It is so good to get together with old friends. This weekend I had the pleasure of getting together with my old walking buddy, Kathi, to catch up and do some crafting. She worked on finishing up a project for her office workers. It was interesting to see the project she'd selected because it was a project my friend Frances had designed for a magazine ages ago. Too cute! It was a very rainy, windy day, so it was nice to sit back, have some hot soup and craft. Oh, yes, I worked on my mom's mosaic spheres - need to get those done this week.
Then, it was time for the annual Aleene's Christmas Party. Six of us gathered and shared old stories, caught up on who's going to be GRANDMA's and how old everyone's kids are. We always make predictions for everyone for the upcoming year...I can't tell you mine, but maybe as the year unfolds I'll share.
Now, it's back to dipping ceramic pieces for my nephew's class so they can be fired and given back to them before they go on vacation at the end of the week.
Take care and have an awesomely creative week!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Weekend happenings...

But before the weekend starts, I'm heading this afternoon to my nephew's 5th grade class - their greenware hand built ceramic pieces have been fired and now it's time to paint the bisque pieces. I'll bring them back tonight, dip them in Clear Glaze and fire them so they can be given to family members for the holidays. I can't wait to see them come out of the kiln next week. Pictures next week!

The weekend! It's our annual Aleene's Holiday Get Together. It's been a tradition for probably 12 years for us to gather. One person is coming from Arizona, I'm traveling 2 hours to get there and most of the remaining are local to the Central Coast of California. We chat and eat, but this year we're doing something totally different. We're attending a Victorian Holiday Event where houses will be decorated, carolers singing in the streets, bands...all kinds of festive things. I'll be on the lookout for different crafting ideas to let you in on next week.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


It's been a fun week, full of surprises and yes, holiday festivities.


I had a fun treat this week, with 26 fifth graders in my nephew Justin's class. Everyone was given a lump of clay and given no rules. After an hour we had awesome clay sculptures everywhere. The weather has been very cool, so it's taking a little longer than I expected to dry so I could get them in the kiln. We're going to glaze them this week so they can be holiday gifts. We had lots of snowmen, an entire holiday scene, an elf, leaves and lots of imagination! I'll show pictures next week.

Speaking of Clay/Ceramics...Here is a picture of the ceramic leaf I made recently. I rolled out the clay and pressed in the leaf. I think it turned out great! I'm making a bunch and giving them as coasters. My mom is mounting hers on painting canvases.

Seems like I'm on a ceramics roll...

I'm busy making holiday gifts and a quick and fun one I've been doing for a lot of friends and family is the bubble technique. Here's one I did - it hasn't been fired yet, so it's still in the bisque stage.

The smell of the holidays...

I had a fun time Friday night at a candle making and decorating party! We poured the soy candle wax into containers and then decorated the container with beautiful embellishments. It was so great to make something and take it home finished! I haven't decided if I will keep the lovely cinnamon scented candle or give it as a gift.

Bread Dough Web Video

I got a sneak peek at the Bread Dough Video Alexis and I taped a couple weeks ago. It should be up soon at It's a hoot talking about good ol' bread dough. I remember making zillions of tiny bread dough roses for segments when I was on Aleene's. Ahhhh....the memories. It felt good to be back in front of the camera again!

Paperworks Magazine Ad

As if life wasn't exciting enough, I'm going to be in a full page ad for Paperworks Magazine. The photo shoot is tomorrow and I'll be in a crafty setting working on one of my favorite projects - decoupage. I'll keep you posted when it hits the newstands.

More Exciting News

The big craft trade show is coming up the end of January and I've been asked to do a decoupage make it and take it at the show. Yippeee!!! I haven't demonstrated at a trade show in ages. It'll be great fun, plus I get a couple days to "walk the floor" and see what's new in the craft world and I'll let you in on what's up and coming before it hits the stores. I just found out this morning that I get to hear Martha Stewart speak at the trade show! Should be exciting!

Well, tomorrow starts a new week...I can't wait to see what it holds!

Make it a great week!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Gorgeous Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving was gorgeous in my neck of the woods. After we'd gobbled down the turkey we were crafting away! I even got my nephews, Chris and Nathan, to work on their own Christmas presents - boy, does Aunt Joan know how to work it or what?

Chris is an engineer with Boeing and Nathan is a college student looking at a degree in architecture. It was interesting to see the difference in their creations - we did ceramics projects where you added dish soap to the glaze, blew bubbles, dipped the bisque piece in the bubbles and the colored bubbles remain. Chris just put a few random bubbles on his and Nathan covered his mug with them. You can see my mom in the picture workin' the bubbles. They're going in the kiln tomorrow, so I'll show you some pictures soon. Here are the how-to Bubble technique instructions

On Friday, my mom and I went to Morro Bay and enjoyed the awesome weather! We had fish and chips at an outside restaurant along the ocean and then were off to Cambria, a great place to find unique gifts.

Let me know what crafty things you did over the weekend.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Whooosh!!! Can it be Thanksgiving already? We've had unseasonably warm and beautiful weather here, so it kind of snuck up on me.

I'm picking up a premade dinner at a local restaurant, picking up my parents and we're heading to the coast for the day to meet up with my sister and her family.

It's been requested that I bring clay. Last time we all got together we sat for hours making beautiful ceramic leaves. We rolled out the clay and pressed leaves in it. We used hollyhock, liquid amber and just plain ol' weeds. I had them fired and then we glazed them and oh my! they turned out awesome! My mom was so impressed she's going to adhere them to a canvas and hang them. Hard telling what we'll make this time!

The last couple years I've sent out Fall cards instead of Christmas cards. This year I printed a photo I'd taken on my vacation and glued them to a blank card using Aleene's Memory Glue.

Speaking of photos from my vacation, I had a VERY pleasant surprise this week when a lady I work with saw some enlargements I had in my office and BOUGHT 3 of them. So, does that mean I can call myself a professional photographer? Only time will tell.

Have an awesome turkey day!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Video Taping and a Photoshoot!

It's been an exciting week! I was photographed with my decoupage projects for an ad that will be featured in a craft trade magazine in January. I love decoupage - it's so easy and the results are fantastic! Here's how I created these floral projects:

  • I photocopied the picture of a flower I took on my vacation last month.
  • Cut it out.
  • I applied Aleene's Instant Decoupage on my base piece and on the back of the photocopy. I placed the photocopy on the base piece and brushed Instant Decoupage it.
  • I wanted some dimension, so I attached silk leaves to the pieces by dipping the end of the leaf in the Instant Decoupage and placed it along the stems.
  • I wanted to add a touch of sparkle, so I attached Tulip Glam-It-Up! Iron-On Crystals in the flower centers and along the stems.

I love being able to show off the photos from my vacation instead of sticking them in a photo album!

Video Taping

I had so much fun this afternoon taping a Bread Dough How-To Video featuring Aleene's Original Tacky Glue with Alexis, a designer I work with. We laughed so hard watching our play back. It needs to be edited (just a little) and will be at under the Education section. I'll let you know when it's available.

If you haven't tried bread dough in a while, Alexis shows some new ways to mix the dough and also includes how to make a dough with cornstarch.

Upward and onward...


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Time flies when you're having fun!

Seems like it was just Friday a few minutes ago! My mom, sister-in-law and I loaded up my car and headed to our WOW (Women Only Weekend!).

We got sidetracked on our way there because I got a last minute assignment on Friday afternoon to make a project using Aleene's Instant Decoupage and Tulip Iron-On Crystals - my two favorite products! We stopped at a craft store on our way over and found some pieces to use for my projects. We had a great time getting the after Halloween bargains and finding some holiday gifts.

We always do marathon crafting and this weekend was no exception - bedtime is whenever we feel like it and for some of us that's into the wee hours of the morning.
Saturday was to be our PJ Day where we stay in our jammies all day and be creative. We got sidetracked AGAIN! when we happened by a local Hallmark store on Friday night and noticed they were having their Holiday Open House at 9 the next morning. We hesitantly got out of our jammies and into street clothes to be there at 9. Well, that took longer than we expected (but we got some great gifts) and then we had to hit the women's clothing store at the local outlet - there went another hour! Finally, back in our jammies at noon, we set to crafting!

My mom worked on binding a quilt she's worked on for quite awhile and SHE FINISHED IT! Awesome job Mom! She also worked on a fun advent calendar for my nephews.

Nicki, my sister-in-law, being a scrapbooker sorted photos (it was fun seeing old pictures of my brother and his family), cut and sewed felt gingerbread people for the kid's to decorate at an upcoming Christmas party (I need to remember to get her some Tulip 3D Fashion Paint to use at the party!) She also started a cross-stitch baby blanket for her son.

My sister, Nancy, worked on a very cute snowman door hanging. She finished a 3D pumpkin with beautiful scenes on it.

And me. I worked on my decoupage and crystal project - I used photocopies of pictures from my vacation last month to decoupage on to a vase, side table and canvas. I added the beautiful crystals for that special touch. My mind was whirling with ideas for future projects too! I love decoupage because it's so fast and the results are fabulous!

Still more unpacking to do, so I'd better get busy!

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Scary, Scary Halloween

We had a fun Halloween day at work, dressing up as our new line of ceramic Fantasy Divas. Do you see a resemblance between me (yes, a blonde!) and Skye, my ceramic counterpart?

Our group (the Creative Department) did the Diva Thing and went all out including some motorized wings! The two Divas on the right in the group picture are guys - oh, my! What we'd do for a free lunch!

I'm off for a girl's getaway weekend - we call them WOW's - Women Only Weekend!!! You guessed it - no guys, lots of food, lots of crafting and lots of fun - I'll let you in on that after the weekend. We have declared Saturday as Pajama Day - that's where we don't get out of our jammies all day. We usually have a Finished Wall - that's where we put/hang all the projects we finish during the weekend - some projects take more than a weekend to finish so we have projects that have come to WOW's for years.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Falling Leaves...

So, here's where it happens...this is my cubicle (or cube as we call it at work). I have become the party girl or at least the party decorator at work.

Jesus, one of my co-workers, had a birthday last week - he's a die-hard Raiders fan, so I copied the Raider's logo and hung them from the ceiling of his cube with ribbon.

Well, that made my cube area look mighty bare, so I glued some silk fall leaves to orange ribbon and stuck them into the ceiling tiles. See the fan in the background? We've had unseasonably warm weather, so I've been turning on the fan and then have dancing leaves - quite awesome!

It's fun to find little ways to bring the seasons into your workplace and home.

Halloween Party

Seems like this is the time of year for PARTIES!!!

Saturday night I attended a Halloween party at a friend's home. It was fun to listen (and sing along with) to her family singing Karoake...even little Morti was out dancing on the floor - he's a little ham.

Recycling...remember my $15 Second Chance Prom dress? When it came to recycling it into my Halloween outfit, I had a tough decision to make - my dress could easily have been made into an angel costume with the addition of wings, but I decided to be transformed into a Greek Goddess with just a couple inexpensive props. The hair garland was made from gold leaves from the craft store and wrapped with a little wire around the stem for stability. Every Goddess has to have her gold snake armband - a quick snake could be made with gold chenille stems, some wiggle eyes and a felt tongue.

I'm always thinking how I could take what I have and transform it into the next me imaginative or just cheap...

Happy crafting!


A party...a speed bump...bummer!
Well, last weekend I was on my way to a party in a neighborhood I'd never been in before. I was running late and took a speed bump a little too fast...I'd been carting around a couple ceramic spheres I was going to do mosaics on for Christmas presents. Yep, they broke! Bummer!

Aleene's Patio & Garden Outdoor Adhesive came to the rescue! I was able to glue the spheres back together and then apply the mosaic and grout to them. I also used the Patio & Garden Outdoor Adhesive to apply the mosaic pieces and then, remember, the old Aleene's recipe for grout that Darsee and Pattie used? I'll post the recipe soon. You can find very fine sand at your local home improvement store. You can even tint the grout with Tulip Soft Fabric Paint to get the perfect color to coordinate with your mosaic pieces.

I have two more spheres to complete by Christmas so I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Oh...the party was excellent - my friend and his wife roasted a turkey and other friends brought yummy side dishes!


Monday, October 23, 2006

Vacation memories...
OK, I'm finally caught up for the moment with laundry, work and all that good stuff to do after a vacation and I want to tell you about my FANTASTIC vacation.

I left home on Sunday morning, driving up Highway 1 - one of the most magnificent drives on earth! The highway (not really a highway, it's one lane each way) is on the cliffs with huge dropoffs to the ocean. Needless to say, you want to leave plenty of time to arrive at your destination on this road. I followed some old restored Woody cars for miles, not caring that they were only going 20 miles an hour on the curvy road.

I arrived at my destination, Esalen, about 25 miles from Monterey. There are not enough words to describe this 160+ acres of paradise on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The grounds are sprinkled with flowers in every color of the rainbow and the grass is a green that can't be described. The peace that immediately enveloped me was incredible. We were treated to the freshest fruits and vegetables at every meal, mostly grown on the premises. I love monarch butterflies (something that shows up in a lot of my past projects) and I happened to be there when monarch butterflies were EVERYWHERE drifting with the wind.

I arrived about 45 minutes before my scheduled 1 hour and 15 minute massage. I had plenty of time to soak in the mineral soaking tubs taking me deeper into my peacefulness - cue the beautiful ocean, the sound of waves, the smell of the ocean and a warm day. The massage room was like no other I'd seen - the front wall (facing the ocean) was floor to ceiling and wall to wall glass doors. My masseuse opened the doors and let in the incredibly powerful sounds of the ocean and the balmy October breeze. Near the end of my massage, she placed a cloth over my eyes and I was left to relax and get up when I felt like it...I do believe I fell asleep.

The workshop I attended was called Awakening the Creative (from the Esalen catalog) is a journey into the wild territory of painting directly from intuition, an unpredictable venture into color, form and image where no rules apply. The potential is to tap into an extraordinary resource: the vibrant, driving force of your own creative spirit - Awakening the Creative is an opportunity to embark on the greatest of all human journeys: embracing your own path and confidently following it.

The workshop was so incredible. Stewart and Sarah guided me through my darkness to clear my way for my new future - what that is I'm still working on. Their guidance took what I had painted and with their gentle nudge or suggestion lead me to discover even more about the things deep within me. Who knew a little paint could lead to a life changing experience.

I was sad to leave Esalen and the people who nurtured me during that week. I know in my heart that I will take one (or more) of Stewart's workshops and I will certainly head back to Esalen very soon.

If you look real close you can see red paint on my shoes as I relax overlooking the ocean at Esalen.

Until next time! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Vacation...

I have so much to tell you about my amazing week in Big Sur, but I am at a loss of words for the moment.

I will gather my thoughts and post them this week.

Can you guess what this is? It has to do with crafting, but not where you usually find all these beautiful gems and ribbons. Details and more pictures later!

Have a grand week!