Monday, December 21, 2009

Let it Snow!!!

Yesterday, it was 70 degrees where I live in California and I attended a party where my friends had five tons of snow made for us to frolic in on their front lawn. Such fun!!! Kids, adults, babies were all enjoying the unusualness of snow at the coast. The food was fantastic, I met new people and the funness of playing in the snow on a warm day was so fantastic! AND, I got to talk to my friend's sister-in-law who met Dale Chihuly and he not only signed her book, he drew a stylized heart in it too!!! She's going to show it to me soon! My friend is taking a class in all paint mediums and showed me her creations - one she's finishing up for her mom for Christmas of beautiful yellow roses - she mixed pastels and watercolor. So lovely. I told her she was going to bring her mom to tears...

I LOVE things made from wire so my goal is to find a wire tree at a great price after the holidays!!! Anyone find one, let me know.
Enjoy your day whether it's zero degrees or 70!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tea with Old Aleene's Friends

Denise had a yummy lemon and pomegranate sorbet while Jean and I had Sweet Potato Soup. All VERY wonderful!

It was old friend and old hometown day...It was so fantastic to enjoy an afternoon of tea with two friends I've known for ages!!! We all met years and years ago when we worked on the Aleene's Creative Living television show. I picked up Jean and then we headed down to my old hometown, Lompoc, for a delightful afternoon of yummy goodies and of course tea! We then went back to Denise's home that was all decked out in Christmas beauty and enjoyed the movie Benjamin Button...being a crafter, I liked the buttons in the movie. Enjoy your weekend and remember to give a call or drop a note to an old friend...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vegetable Christmas Tree Centerpiece

My friend is having a dinner party tonight and told me to bring whatever I wanted and since I'm trying to eat healthy, I'm taking this topiary made from vegetables. Looks good and tastes good!

Start with a foam cone in the pot and place veggies on skewers and stick them into the cone until it's covered!

Hearst Castle Christmas Tour

Our tour started at 5:10, so we had the magnificent sunset all the way up the hill and when we arrived at the pool we had a spectacular show waiting for us!

So beautiful and we weren't even inside yet!

The kitchen was fabulous! The faucet handles were huge metal birds! I loved the shadows from the utensils.

The docents were dressed in period clothing and only spoke in 'present day' or Hearst's time in the 1920's and 30's. And, we were guests so our guide talked about OUR dinner, US watching movies later, US swimming in the pool...

The dining room
I highly recommend going on the Christmas tour at Hearst Castle, it was truly MAGICAL!!!

Shrink Plastic Christmas Earrings

I LOVE shrink plastic!!! (Tiffany Windsor even called me the Queen of Shrink-It on the Aleene's Creative Living television show!) When I was getting ready for a party this week, I found this adorable shrink plastic earrings a fan sent me years and years ago (they've held up really well!!!)She got fantastic detail with permanent pens.
You can purchase shrink plastic at a craft store or check out your recycle bin for #6 plastic containers. Coloring books or graphics from the internet make great patterns.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Craft for Health

Yummy Monster Roll-Up!

I'm stoked!!! An article I wrote entitled Creativity to the Obesity Rescue is featured on Craft for Health's philosophy is:

Crafting is the Secret Weapon. . .. . .in helping people improve their health, feel better and make something they feel good about. At Craft For Health, design & craft expert Kathy Peterson and Nurse Practitioner & RN Barb Dehn, The Craft Practitioners, join forces to share empowering anecdotes, inspiring stories and crafty tips about the therapeutic benefits of crafting.
Thanks, Kathy and Barb for spreading the word of how Crafting is the Secret Weapon!!!
Check out how to make the Yummy Monster Roll-Up! with my seven-year-old nephew, B Man and me at
Make today and everyday YUMMY!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Edible Christmas Tree Centerpiece

Here's a way to serve healthy food and have a beautiful centerpiece, all in one!!! Try it with veggies too!!! Learn how to make it at

Aleene's Creative Living Magazine Pot

This story starts ten years ago this month. I was the Editor of Aleene's Creative Living Magazine and the team that got the magazine out every month was AMAZING!!! So very talented and so very caring - we published a magazine that I am so proud of!!!

Just before Christmas in 1999, Erin, who was a graphic artist, gave us each a wonderful gift. A ficus tree in a pot she'd painted herself. I remember the day she gave me the gift - she said something like "I wonder how this paint technique will hold up." - she'd tried something different - I think it was milk painting.

We all went our separate ways soon after that Christmas and I lost track of Erin, but thought of her often. Years and years went by and I would admire my ficus and the hand-painted pot wondering what happened to Erin. Well, thanks to Facebook (if you're not on FB, it's a fabulous way to find people - I've found classmates I haven't seen in over 30 years, old co-workers and relatives!!!) Erin and I found each other this year - ten years later! I was finally able to show her the pot and the tree she so lovingly planted for me ten years ago when Erin visited me this year and it was wonderful to catch up on where life had taken us.

In honor of the 10th anniversary, I repotted the ficus - I can't wait to see how he grows and how Erin and I grow too in the next ten years. Thank you, my friend, for your gift that still makes me smile after 10 years!!! You're the best!

The lesson here is for all of us creative types to put love into every project that you make because we never know how it will touch someones heart, ten years or more later!

Mr. Ficus in his new pot!!!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!!!

Last Friday a friend had a cookie exchange party at her lovely home. It was a mix of wonderful people from different groups my friend belongs to - from restaurant owners to golfers to people who helped decorate the tree because my friend didn't get around to it before the party...nice party, nice people.

I was very impressed by the person who brought not only the cookies, but used lovely edged scrapbook papers to print off her recipe!
I wish you could see out the window. My friend's home looks over the bay and has incredible views. My friend and I spent one recent rainy afternoon looking out over the ocean, sipping tea and eating cookies. Such a dear friend!!!
The holiday festivities have just begin and I can't wait!!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Craft & Hobby Association Craft SuperShow

Disneyland and CRAFTING!!!
What could be more fun??? The Craft and Hobby Association is holding a Craft SuperShow in Anaheim (just a block from Disneyland!) where everyone is invited to come experience crafting through fun workshops at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Make Healthy Fun! Workshop

I'm VERY excited to announce a Make Healthy Fun! Workshop at the Craft and Hobby Association Craft SuperShow!!! Save up to $5 with the discount code below and come to Anaheim ready to make three exciting projects in the workshop. Check out the details at
The Make Healthy Fun! crew will be there to help you make creative projects to get your family to exercise, eat healthy and unplug without them knowing it! Fun projects include a 'Purse'onal Garden where you learn to sponge paint and plant a garden in a purse. Make cool marbles from cornstarch and glue for hours of fun and raid your kitchen cupboards to create amazing bubble cards. Come join the fun!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Mosaic Table

Mosaic Masterpieces!!!

My sister, Nancy, and I got together recently and created some mosaic madness!!! Check out how easy it is to create your own in the next post.

I started with a glass-top table I found in the after-season clearance for $7.99.
I smeared on the grout and it all quickly came together since I started with a 12" square tile center piece I picked up at my local hardware store. I then broke up some black and white tiles to fill in around the edges.


Mosaic Birdbath


My sister, Nancy, made this pretty birdbath from an inexpensive ceramic saucer that goes under a pot.
Start with your base.
We adhered the tiles and glass baubles with an all-in-one grout (meaning we glued the tiles / baubles to the base piece and then used the same grout as the filler between the pieces). Grout comes in two basic types, and the choice of which one to use depends not on the tiles but on the width of the joints between them. Narrow joints of 1/8 inch or less call for unsanded grout. Joints wider than 1/8 inch get sanded grout. The sand helps bulk up the grout and keeps it from shrinking in the joints. You can add color to your grout (or buy it colored), I've even added acrylic paint to my grout. Once your tiles and baubles are in place, let dry, following instructions on the grout.
Smear grout over your tiles / baubles with a float. Let dry for a little bit (again, following grout instructions) and then get out the elbow grease and start wiping the grout to remove the excess, rinsing your sponge often.

Here's the finished product! Nancy is ready to start her next mosaic project!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hearst Castle at Christmas

Just Magical...
Last night was such a wonderful evening...first being at Hearst Castle for a special docent tour and party, the whole being there at night and The Castle being decorated for Christmas was such a special treat! I kept wondering who had stood right where I was...Clark Gable, Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, George Bernard Shaw, and Amelia Earhart, Mr. Hearst himself???

Dining Room

By the time we left, it was getting spooky foggy!!!
This tree had a hole in the center of it and was still there a metaphor in there???

We also toured the kitchen - that's one part of the castle I'd never seen so it was a special treat.
Everything was just beautiful! I get to go back in a couple of weeks for a 2 hour tour with a group of friends.
Enjoy your holidays...