Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Burlap Wreath

You know those cheesy tinsel wreaths that they sell in the dollar store
at Christmas? I took all the tinsel off and used the frame to make this
burlap wreath.

I cannot take credit for this idea and as soon as I find the source
again I will gladly give that crafter recognition!
I took a burlap strip that was 4" wide and looped it in and out
between the wires of the frame.
I had to manipulate the loops quite a bit to get the look I
wanted and to make sure that all of the wire was covered up.
Burlap is messy to work with so you can always expect to find "stuff"
flying around for quite a while. 
The flowers are made from the ribbing of a sweater that I
picked up at Goodwill, I am thinking that the middle one looks
a bit large. I tried to see about replacing it but it is 
glued down really tight with hot glue!
What do you think?
You can't see it in the picture very well but there are silk leaves 
with the flowers too.
I used a few glass stones throughout the piece to fill in a few spots.
And there you have it.

Linking to these parties:

Linking up to these parties:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Iris Folding

I am working on a few unfinished projects that are not ready to reveal yet,
so today I am sharing a card technique that I learned in a class a few years
ago. It is called Iris Folding, a technique that originated in Holland. It
was coined Iris Folding because the center resembles the iris, or eye of a
camera. See it?

Here's the cards we made during the class...


You start the process with a numbered pattern--
the picture below is the pattern for the cherry card.

The lines indicated where you will place the strips, and in what order.
You can either use one color as in the cherry or multi colors--solid
or patterned, as in the first two cards. The paper must be lightweight,
such as origami paper or wrapping paper, since it is cut in strips about
 5/8" wide, folded in half again. One tip is to not fold the paper completely
 in half to cut down on the bulk, since the papers are layered on top of
each other.   
Thin scrapbook paper or vellum works well also.

First cut the shape out of the white card front.
Lay down the pattern, then the card front, and
tape with painter's tape so that neither paper will move around.
You are now looking at the pattern through the open shape and will
be working on the backside of the white card.

The strips are taped over the pattern in numbered order, using
ordinary tape.
Make sure the fold on the paper strips face the inside of the design
as you lay them down to attach them.
You do not want any raw edges of paper showing.
The center, or iris, is the last piece of paper, that is filled in.

And when you turn your paper over, you have this interesting effect!

How is that summarization --clear as mud?

If this technique peaks your interest, here is an excellent reference:

Iris Folding--Instructions and Video Tutorial

There are many, many free patterns on the Internet.
Just google Iris Folding free patterns and you will find
just about anything you want--from abstract designs, to cats and
horses, to the alphabet--simple to very complex.    

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How To Tuesday

How about some more How To's?
How to Harvest and Preserve Basil @
(just bought a beautiful plant at Trader Joe's)
How to Keep Strawberries Fresh @
How to Raise Good Cholesterol and Lower Bad Cholesterol @
How to Add Old Home Character and Charm
to Your Newer Home @ DIY Cozy Home
How to Successfully Grow Tomatoes in a Container @

Monday, April 22, 2013

How To Dry Lavender

We have another lovely batch of lavender in our yard this year thanks to my
husband's green thumb. Well, actually, it pretty much comes back by itself.

With last year's batch, I made this wreath,
which is now gracing the hallway of
our son and daughter-in-law's home in
New Jersey.
Somehow they safely transported it home
on the airplane, even in it's delicate condition. 
It takes a lot of lavender sprigs to make a wreath! 
I did not have a very efficient way of drying the lavender
for that project, so I decided I had better come up with a new plan
 if I was going to tackle another craft using this year's blooms.
I just could not imagine letting them go to seed!. 
My free-standing garden trellis worked great when I was
drying basil, so I brought it out again.
Here is my process for drying lavender...
Cut the beautiful blooms, leaving as much of the stem on
as possible. Fortunately the flowers are not too fragile
when they are fresh.
Divide the lavender in bunches and fasten them with wire
wraps from the produce department.
Using clothes pins, attach to trellis, hanging upside down.
Since the trellis is portable, it is easy to store it in a cool,
dark place,such as a closet, until the lavender blooms and
stems are dried.
This process sure beats having lavender bunndles
hanging all over the house!
Stay tuned to see how I will use them this year!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Card on a Card

Such a pretty paper--those hexagons with the soft images.
It would have been really nice if I would have made the
white top card a hexagon instead of a square--I just realized that
looking at this photo.
I could have traced one of the hexagons--oh well.
Thr inside of the white card is going to say...
"Just sitting here thinkin' of you"
(if I can ever find the stamp here amongst all the rest!)
You don't ever have that problem, do you?
The inside of the large card will have plenty of room for a nice
note to that person that I am thinkin' about!
Main image by Rubber Romance

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How To Tuesday

How to Make a Smoothie @ Super Skinny Me
(Every ingredient you will need)

How to Relieve a Cough Without Cough Medicine @
A Day in My Life
(You may not have heard of this remedy before!)

 How to Remove a Splinter with Baking Soda @ wiki How

How to Make Crispy Homemade French Fries @
Martha Stewart
(Pre-soak in cold salted water--the salt releases the moisture in
the potato before baking so that they will crisp up
without burning. Pat dry, toss in EVOO and bake, turning once)

How to Keep Your Clothes From Slipping Off the Hanger @

"There are FOUR general things that you can do with
your hands: 1) put them in your pockets for safekeeping;
2) fold them in apathy; 3) wring them in despair; or
4) lay them on a job that needs doing."
--The Best of Bits and Pieces


Friday, April 12, 2013

Freebie Friday--Freebie Offerings for Tax Day

Have you done your taxes, or is that what you are going to be doing this
week-end? April 15th is right around the corner, and there are some
businesses that are offering little-known freebies to relieve your stress!

So I am here to let you in on their secrets--
available no matter where you live!

This list comes directly from Tip Hero.com, Your Guide to Saving Money.
And who doesn't like to save money?
There are weekly coupons, giveaways,
valuable articles,  website recommendations,
free samples, and much more.
If you are techie, there is an
electronics category with all sorts of
insight to interesting websites and apps. 
  1. 5 lbs. Of Free Paper Shredding at Office Depot:

    Have a lot of paper clutter to get rid of in your spring cleaning efforts? Take advantage of this coupon for free paper shredding at Office Depot. Good for use through May 1.

  2. Free HydroMassage Experience:

    Just find a location near you, call and make a reservation, print out this coupon and bring it with you to your free massage appointment! This freebie should help relieve some of the Tax Day stress in no time. Offer available April 15-19.

  3. Free Curly Fries at Arby's:

    Head into Arby's on Tax Day (April 15th) and get rewarded with a free order of curly fries or potato cakes.

  4. Two Free Cinnabon Bites:

    Visit your local Cinnabon on April 15th to score 2 free Cinnabon bites. No coupon necessary.

  5. Free Meal at Panda Express:

    Print out the coupon at the link above, or show it on your smartphone, to receive a free Samurai surf & turf meal from Panda Express locations on April 17th.

  6. Free Preview of Starz and Encore:

    All customers of DirecTV, Verixon FIOS, Cox Communications and AT&T U-Verse will get a free preview of Starz and Encore over tax day weekend (April 11 to April 15).

  7. Free Small Popcorn at AMC Theaters:

    If you want to use this weekend to unwind a bit and a trip to the movies sounds like just the way to do that, don't forget to print out AMC's coupon for a free small popcorn. This offer is good from April 12-15.

  8. Free Birthday Cake Cookie from Great American Cookie:

    Head into one of their locations on April 15th and score a free sprinkle-loaded cookie to make Tax Day a bit sweeter.
Here's a sampling of Tip Hero: 

(I've heard od this--now I know how to do it!)
(You're the buyer)
Have a wonderful week-end.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

One of our sweet guests was having her birthday on Easter Sunday,
so I wanted to make her something special, along with the desserts
that were being brought that day. I searched for a strawberry recipe
since I had extra from the fruit salad I was also making.

Lady Behind the Curtain  came to my rescue with her
You can find her recipe by clicking on the link. I halved the recipe
and still made about 20 cupcakes.

The inside is a dense sweet pound cake texture.
It didn't look like the butter was going to work into the batter,
but I kept adding the dry ingredients and it eventually did.
Do NOT fill the liners any more than 1/2 way as recommended in the recipe.
After they were baked and thoroughly cooled,
I carved out the middle to make room for the strawberry.
It's ok if it sticks up a little over the top of the cupcake, but you
can always trim it down too. 
NOTE: I made the cupcakes on Saturday and refrigerated them.
The recipe said that they could be frosted the day ahead also,
but I chose to make up the frosting on Saturday and then
frost a few hours prior to guests arriving on Sunday.
I found that the whipping cream did not hold up even though there
was cream cheese in it. So next time I would not make the frosting a
day ahead.
If you would like to make this cute
cupcake stand and other berrylicious
party accessories such as bag labels,
invitations, and boxes, goes to
Two other strawberry posts:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pretty Poppies

Yesterday was a terribly windy day in Phoenix and I wanted to take photos of
the poppies in our yard before the wind destroyed them. The petals are as
delicate and thin as tissue paper--I knew they would be gone by the end of
the day.

Poppies are self-seeding and they come back every year.
Lovely poppies were the inspiration for today's cards.
The stamp set is by Papertrey--Botanical Silhouettes.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

How To Keep Shoe Laces From Untying

This may seem like a trivial topic, but as I was putting on my shoes today,
I was reminded of this little trick I learned a few years ago. It really has
solved an aggravating problem for me--my shoe laces constantly coming
unitied--and  I have thought many times that I should share it with you.
Today is the day.

I was shown this technique when I went to purchase my last pair of athletic
shoes at a specialty shoe store. The sales person told me that is is how the
runners tie their shoes so they don't come undone and also because it keeps
their toes from hitting the front of the shoe due to the fact that their foot stays
in place. I'm not a runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like the
way my foot feels in the shoe, and my laces to not come untied anymore. I'm
not sure why, but it works.

Here's the easy steps:
Begin lacing as usual.
When you get to the second to the last hole on each
side, instead of crossing over, thread through the
last hole on the SAME SIDE. 
This will form a loop.
(You can see in the first picture that I am not using the hole way down on
the side past the tongue. Your shoe may or may not have one there.)
Now take the end of each lace, cross it over the tongue, and
thread it through the loop on the opposite side.
Pull the laces tight and tie in a bow.
You are now off and running...or walking...
or dancing...or shopping...
or hiking...or biking...
or whatever your little heart desires!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crabmeat Party Pizza

Crabmeat Party Pizza
is an appetizer that is very easy to put together,
requires only a few ingredients,
and always seems to go over well.

Here's how you put it together:
  1.  Start with a round plate, about the size of a dinner plate.
2.  Spread 8 oz. brick of cream cheese over the bottom of the plate.
3.  Spread chili sauce over the cream cheese, generously.
4. Drain a can of crabmeat and layer over the chili sauce. 
5. Sprinkle chopped parley over the top and chill well.
6.  Serve with crackers. I like Ritz, but whatever you prefer. 
Last but not least, let me say thank you for the kind comments left on yesterday's
post. They are greatly appreciated. You have no idea how much it means to me
to know that I have friends out there that I have never met other than through my
blog. It makes it all worthwhile. 

"We need people in our lives
with whom we can be as open
as possible. To have real conversation
with people may seem such a simple,
obvious suggestion, but it involves
courage and risk."
--Thomas Moore

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hello, I'm Back

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your patience during my absence. We lost a very dear member
of our family, our brother-in-law, on Sunday, March 17th. It is difficult to
comprehend that Tom is really not with his family any more. He was a
wonderful husband and solemate, father, provider, and loyal friend to many
people. He was very caring and always thought of the other person first. He
excercised all his life and was diligent about his diet. But he had pulmonary
fibrosis and this was the one thing he had no control over. Tragically there is
no cure for this awful disease which robbed him of oxygen.

Being with Tom's family during this time was a privilege. When I watched
someone dear to me struggling to take a breathe, it made me realize just how
precious that basic function was. It was the difference between life and death.
We take it so for granted, with many people compromising their lungs and
thinking nothing of it. I ask you to think twice about it if you are one of those

I returned home a week ago and now that Easter is over (16 people were here),
I am getting back to my routine.

I will have a good recipe for you tomorrow and more fun things to come.
Thanks again for sticking with me, and welcome, new subscribers and followers!
You've made my return that much sweeter.
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