Yeasty Mosaic at Disney's California Adventure

Yeasty Mosaic at Disney's California Adventure
Yeasty Mosaic at Disney's California Adventure

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Honoring the Monarch Butterfly

Completed card honoring Monarch butterfly

I keep reading about how the numbers of Monarch butterflies are dwindling. It would be a huge loss to not have this summer visitor around anymore.

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania featured this  lovely creature on the cover of its latest magazine for members. I hated to waste the beautiful artwork so I decided to turn the photos into a card.

I punched circles out of the cover photos and then played with them for awhile to see how they would look as a semi collage. The first layout didn't work at all (see photo below) but the second one did (above).

Original collage for card; not used
I used the punched circles for the background and then found a graphic drawing of a butterfly on the Internet. I printed it out, colored it in with an orange Sharpie and Tombo markers and then added some bling at the end. (I also edged the butterfly with black ink).

It all sits nicely on a piece of green-striped corrugated paper that I found sitting in my paper stash.

This seemed like a fitting project to honor the Monarch, a favorite butterfly for so many of us.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gelli Printing with Young Friends

Rubbing paint off Gelli Plate onto paper

Anyone who has tried gelli printing with the new gelli plates from Gelli Arts has fallen in love with the technique. The ability (for even those who don't feel very artistic) to make monoprints that are layered and painterly is addicting.

So to spread the love I got together with my good friend's  two creative granddaughters who love art. We laid out the brand new gelli plate, new tubes of colorful paint, new brayers (small rollers for spreading paint) and lots of paper and paper towels on one of their first days off for summer vacation.

It turned out to be a really special day. I felt like I was at summer camp. The girls, ages 7 and 4, took to the painting right away, and then ran away with it. I was so impressed with the color choices they made, having originally thought that they would stick with the pastel paints. I'm not sure why I thought that, but they soon started getting out the neon and the black paints and doing awesome things with them.

What a great way to spend a morning!

Here are some samples of their work:

Making sure the paper is covered with paint from plate underneath

Spreading the paint with a brayer

Pulling a print from the Gelli Plate 

A neon butterfly

A psychedelic print from the Gelli Plate

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's Time to Preserve Old Photographs

Sugar Bowl Confectionery, Butler PA, 1940s

It's scary to think of what is becoming of our old family photos. Too many of them sit in boxes in basements or -- god forbid! -- attics, crumbling away, taking our pasts with them.

Make it a priority if you can to have older family members tell the histories of your photos and identify who is pictured. And commit to saving your photos now with the help of information from these web sites on how to preserve your irreplaceable family photos:

If there is one particular photo you would like to share with the world, visit here  It may be hard to choose just one, but at least you will have done that.

Friday, May 2, 2014

No Gift Bag? No Problem! Upcycle Containers

If you are out of gift bags and desperate to find some way to wrap a gift, look no further than your kitchen counter. All of those plastic boxes which contain tomatoes, fruits, and other yummy goods, can be easily upcycled into cute gift boxes.

These two plastic boxes once held tomatoes and blueberries, two items that are always on my grocery list. This guarantees that I will have some empty containers sitting around waiting to be re-purposed.

With a little brightly-colored paper, some ribbon and a doodad or two, I was able to transform these boxes in a matter of minutes to hold small gifts.

The bigger box features an Eiffel Tower embellishment. This is actually the top of a pad of paper that had a magnet attached to it which I kept on my refrigerator until the paper ran out. The piece was just too pretty to throw away.

The smaller box is decorated with owl paper, always a popular item, and lined at the bottom with a slip of paper I removed from a fancy envelope I received with a birthday card.

Both boxes are filled with shredded paper and the large one with a gift book of bird bookmarks; the smaller one with candy.

There's no end to the ways you can decorate these containers. I already have a large collection of empty containers waiting for that special touch which will give them a new purpose as they are upcycled.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easy Easter Baskets from Recycled Grape Bags

Recycling Rioblanco grape bags easily into Easter Baskets.

I love grapes. I think I could live on them if I had to. The problem was that I had a hard time tossing the plastic bags holding the grapes which have a zipper closure at the top and room to hold other goodies.

With a few small steps, I discovered that these bags could be recycled into perfect Easter baskets.

All I did was stamp a bunny graphic onto some old tags I had lying around. I punched a hole into the front cover of the bag (only through the one layer of plastic) and threaded through some colorful yarn and tied it in a knot to secure the tag. The lucky recipient's name can then be printed on the back of the tag.

I filled the bags with Easter grass and plan to pick up some sweet treats at my next grocery run to place in the bags.

I think I will be looking for other uses for these pretty bags. They could easily hold a plastic bag filled with small plants for a spring gift. Or be filled with small pieces of cheese and crackers for a hostess gift accompanying a bottle of wine. Since they already have lovely pictures of grapes on them, this is a no brainer!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Finding Treasures at a Reuse Center

With the emphasis in our society these days to Reduce! Recycle! Reuse!, cool places like the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse are popping up all over.

Housed in the same building as Construction Junction, which promotes conservation through the reuse of building materials, the Reuse Center is a somewhat organized place full of trash or treasure, depending on your viewpoint.

For me, I fall somewhere in the middle. I love to find some simple treasure that I can carry home and turn into something else. But because I really don't need another thing in my home, I am careful (at least some of the time) to only pick up items I think I may be able to use.

But it is so much fun to go through everything in the store, looking for that one special item which will catch my eye. On my last trip I found a few small things that I brought home (see photo above). Their value may not jump out of the photo at you, but it's possible they will become some awesome new thing. If and when they do, I will try to remember to photograph them and show you the transformation.

Check back.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pin Some Glamour to Your Coat

I made this pin out of a piece of .99 clearance craft item. All I had to do was glue (with strong glue) a pin back on it and attach to my winter coat.

Voila! It was so easy to do and I have gotten a lot of compliments on it. Reminds me of how back in the day  women always had pins attached to their coats. It's a trick that can add color, whimsy or elegance to your outfit.

The pin (which didn't photograph well for some reason!) is colorful enough that people think it's a spring accessory. If  that's all it takes to bring on spring, I say Yea!

About Me

I am the creator of the web's premiere Baby Boomer site: Boom This: A Generational Thing!(