Monday, March 31, 2014

Chalk One Up


     During a recent stint helping out at a pre-K classroom, I was given the assignment of cleaning the chalkboard erasers.  Now it is has been many, many years since I was in a classroom and I truly thought with all the high tech gadgetry, that chalkboards have become a thing of the past.  This brought me back to childhood memories (ok fears) of being called on to do math problems  on the board and I can still remember the squeaky chalk sound, the eraser dust and making hopscotch boards on the pavement during recess.

     As I started researching chalkboard projects, I had no idea of all the opportunities and materials easily available to use  on some DIY jobs and I am loving this trend.


   There are so many ideas out there, here are just some to get you going:


    In a recent catalog for Nancy's Notions I found chalkboard fabric.  Imagine what cute projects you could make:  table runners, placemats, all sorts of projects for busy little kid hands:


     One of my go-to sources is  I have used contact paper on so many projects since the days of covering books and kitchen shelves and they have chalkboard contact paper on their site.  Try covering the top of an old desk or bookcase with this.  Also using as a mural foundation in the kitchen or kid's playroom.  They also had adorable table place  holders  and vintage style chalkboards and Wallies brand decals.  Some really affordable materials:

Paper Goods

     I love perusing my local Paper Source store, as well as their online catalog.  They have designed tons of different items to get the chalkboard trend in gift wrapping, home decor calendars, custom invites:

Arts and Crafts Supplies

     No trip to NYC is the same without a visit to The Inkpad NYC.  On a recent visit, I found really cool craft markers and stickers.  I also picked up a rubber stamp to create my own chalkboard project....more on that later!

   The Container Store also had fun chalkboard labels and markers.  I just had to get these as well as fun new organizational pieces for the studio:

Shawn Mosch, design team coordinator for The Buckle Boutique recently posted a fun project using pretty rhinestones and chalkboard paper from DCWV:

     Oriental Trading is another fav resource  of mine for affordable supplies.  I picked up some chalkboard table place settings which I will be incorporating into a future project -- think shabby chic wedding or baby shower!

Friday, March 21, 2014

When Inspiration Strikes...what a feeling!

     While strolling through my local nursery during their annual flower show, I was feeling so inspired walking through all the beautiful plants, flowers and visual set ups.

     What I didn't expect to see was an art piece, celebrating their nursery, that had me completely spellbound and now obsessed.

     Take a look at this amazing piece.....I have been looking at the pics and coming up with ways to incorporate this idea into future projects.  I just love the all black, tin types, old photos.......the steampunk vibe.

     When I feel inspiration like this, it is like no other feeling in the world.  Well, after love and chocolate anyway.  Stay tuned for what I come up with!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Decorate To Celebrate Challenge "Spring Decorations"...Around the House Floral Containers


     I love to find items to repurpose in my crafting.  Call me frugal, but I truly enjoy trying to discover more than one way to use something. Or to use it over and over again.

     As I was thinking about Spring Decorations for this Decorate To Celebrate Design Team challenge, while sitting in the Northeast waiting for another snowstorm to descend, I just kept going back to flowers.  I have a garden full of flowers and herbs once the Spring and Summer come back and I love coming up with simple arrangements that would be great for party favors, table settings; something for your nightstand so you can see one beautiful bud in the morning.  I tend to like minimal arrangements, but these ideas can be adapted to any look you like.

    The key is to look for different objects to use as containers.  All my examples are with silk flowers, so I can hardly wait to implement with some real beauties that are currently sleeping under the snow.


     While my husband and I were doing some renovating around the house, I kept the doorknobs.  What I loved is that these doorknobs were original to the home, circa 1940 and I fantasized about all the hands that touched it.  I added one stem and I thought it looked very elegant in this setting:

     My son is 19 but for whatever reason I still have baby food jars.   Again, very simple but a grouping would be so cute.

          I had some small mason jars left over from Christmas crafting and even though it is Spring, I liked using some of my fake snow for filler.  Again, use your imagination - fill the jar with marbles or sand or pinecones for the winter.

     Votive candle holders are very affordable and you can purchase them in a large box for very little money.  My examples are very plain and you can spruce them up in a million ways.  Since they are so affordable, imagine tons of them around a table.  Elevate some of them to have different heights.

     I'm usually overly enthusiastic when it comes to buying supplies for Christmas crafting.  I had many clear ornaments left over and I thought, why can't I use these?  Be careful with delicate flowers.  With the silk ones, I just pinched them together and fed them through the opening.  You can place a bunch of these in a beautiful springtime bowl or hang from an indoor tree.  Even think about adding some glitter inside the ornament.  I also added them on top of the votive candle holder from above and I think it makes a unique vase.

   I hope I have given you some inspiration on making unique flower containers.  You are only limited by your imagination!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Accidental Art


     My little craft room is not always heated and after this LONG Northeast winter, there were some casualities among my art supplies.

     However, this little gem turned up.  One of my glue bottles was leaking, or exploded, and froze.  You can even still see the little red cap.

     Now there are no accidents in life so the next question is......what can I use this for?


      C'mon....I need some ideas from some crafty friends out there.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kickstart Your Creative MoJo


     I truly believe that we are all creative in many different ways.  But sometimes with family, work, laundry, bill may be hard to find that time for yourself to reboot some of your creative mojo.

     While wandering through Barnes and Noble, I happened upon these books that I wanted to share with you.


   Chronicle Books ( +Chronicle Books  has published these addictive paperbacks that you can use to unleash your inner creative diva.  First up is "642 Fashion Things To Draw".

    The book leads you through 642 exercises and prompts you with ideas on what to draw.  Some of my favorites are:

  • A tattoo you would never consider
  • A Lily Pulitzer Sundress
  • The First Lady
     And the one I'm trying first:

  • A Voluminous wedding dress from the 80s (I can just look at my old wedding photos for inspiration on this one!)
     Other books in the drawing series are "642 Things to Draw" and "712 More Things to Draw".

     And for all you budding Hemingways, pick up "642 Things To Write About".  Some really great ideas to get you thinking:

  • Your friend calls to say she saw you in the back of a police car yesterday.  What happened?
  • Write the lyrics of a catchy jingle for a plumbing service
  • A conversation you regret never having
   So get these books and start playing.  Have them in your tote while commuting, waiting to get your kids from school or pick one activity each morning while having your coffee.  Trust me, you will have fun!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Decorate To Celebrate Design Challenge "St. Patrick's Day"....Kiss Me I'm Irish


     Being of Irish descent, I just love St. Patrick's Day.  I always try to create something pretty for my studio door and since our assignment for the Design Team @ Decorate To Celebrate was St. Patrick's Day, I was ready to go.

     I tend to like using different colors than the standard shamrock green and with a great banner kit from The Paper Source, I love the way it looks.  Once again, my local dollar store didn't disappoint and I found fun little shamrock shapes.  They were perfectly fine as is, but I just had to use some paper and jazz them up.

 Hope you will be inspired to dress up your home of office with a touch of the green.


What you will need:
-(5) shamrock shapes -- you can also get templates on Google

-(5) complementary papers

-(5) Alphabetical banner pieces -- I love the banner kit at The Paper Source, but again, easy to find on the web.


Now, let's go:

1.  Adhere the shamrock shape to the back of your chosen paper.  NOTE:  If your paper has a specific design or lettering, make sure you glue the shape right side up.

2.  Cut out and voila -- you have half your banner done.

3.  Using the banner kit, select the letters you want -- I chose to spell out "IRISH".  Lay your design out to insure you like the placement before you start gluing.

4.  Using a letter, then a shamrock, glue pieces together until done.  I kind of like my things off center, so I did not glue the pieces straight.  I like the movement the crookedness gives it.

5.  The alphabet tiles in the kit have holes in them already for stringing, so just add the raffia and that's it.  Simple and cute!