Thursday, December 30, 2010

Creative Juices

Here's a little something to get your creative juices flowing. Just before vacation began I got the greatest gift from one of the 4th grade teachers I work with. She's incredibly creative and talented and likes to draw, create and cook just like I do. She knew I've been eating healthy and trying to keep the weight I've lost off so she instead of giving me chocolate for Christmas she zentangled this orange for me. I love it! She also zentangled these postcards for me. I love them so much that I know I'm going to have a hard time sending them. Then again they're too beautiful to keep all to myself!

I've tried to get my creative juices flowing too. I created some zentangle Christmas bulb tags that I attached to the gifts I gave this year. I just love how relaxing it is to draw these. I've also finally gotten smart and started using my scanner to create/duplicate the designs I've made instead of redrawing each one.

I baked some biscotti then attached a zentangled bulb and a Dunkin' Donuts card so people could enjoy some coffee with their biscotti. I've had a new biscotti idea floating around in my head for about a year so I finally tried it. I usually make my favorite Almond Pecan Toffee biscotti but this year I finally tried making a lemon poppyseed biscotti too. I still like my almond pecan toffee biscotti the best but my mom and my husband really liked the lemon poppyseed biscotti so I'll have to try making it again.

I also made this tote bag for Ann, the teacher I share a room with. I tried to make a second one for another coworker but at 11:00 at night when I finally turned it rightside out the lining was about 6 inches too short. I guess at that hour of the night my creative juices had stopped flowing. I haven't ripped it apart yet to fix it. It's in the large stack of UFOs waiting for me to get back to it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Did I Miss Something?

Last night Nature Girl had her cousins E & M over for a sleep over. We watched movies and had fun last night then had Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast before heading out to see Yogi Bear at the theater this afternoon. When we got home I found this note from my husband attached to this card that came in the mail.
I had to chuckle at his note. Apparently we've ended up on the mailing list for a local dairy company that sends a welcome card and coupon to new parents. We love having extra kids over for playdates and sleepovers but it's always nice to go back to having just one child. I love children and wanted two but after 3 years of infertility treatments and years learning to accept that Nature Girl was meant to be an only child I think we're good the way we are. Our family is little but good and we all agree that we're happy with just the three of us. So did you miss something, honey? Nope. . .we're good!!!
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Secret Santa

This week we did Secret Santa at school. The rule for Secret Santa was to do a gift for the first four days that cost under a $1 with a gift under $10 on the last day. The person I picked liked crafts so I got to make lots of little crafty gifts for her. This photo shows the first four days of gift giving. A snack, a felt brooch with snowflake post-it notes, tissue covers, and chocolate bars with a wool felt ornament for her tree. I had fun crafting for this.

My person for Secret Santa likes snowmen so for the final gift I gave her a Lia Sophia snow flake charm bracelet and a pair of children's skates I bought at a thrift store. I painted a skate, then added some artificial greens. I think it turned out pretty cute but it reminded me why I never became a florist. I'm terrible at arranging flowers and greens!!!

I painted these skates for myself about 5 years ago. This was a pair of skates I wore as a teenager so they have sentimental value as well as being a winter decoration. I love them! I'd like to find some black skates to paint snowy scenes on. I'm also collecting wool sweaters to felt and craft with through the winter. I have quite a few ideas for projects now I just need the time. Thankfully Christmas vacation is just around the corner!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Best Guacamole Ever

I mentioned that I made guacamole with my students at school last week. Since then, they've been asking for the recipe. I'm printing out the recipe so they can make it at home. I thought you might enjoy the recipe too. I did my quick and easy version of this recipe but here is the full recipe. Enjoy!

The Best Guacamole Ever

By Christy at Mamarazzi

So here’s what you need:

2 ripe avocados

1/3 medium yellow onion

1/2 tomato

1/4 cup Salsa

Louisiana hot sauce

garlic salt


  1. Peel avocados, de-pit (save one pit for later). Chop avocado with knife until it creates a chunky but slightly creamy mixture.

  2. Chop onion & tomato into small, chunky pieces & add to avocado. **

  3. Add a few sprinkles of Garlic salt., 1/4 cup salsa, a few squirts of the Louisiana Hot sauce & stir everything together. Stir until a creamy yet chunky combo forms. Keep one of the pits and put into mixture (obviously not to eat), this is said to keep it fresher a little longer, I still recommend serving right away, at the most, within a few hours.

  4. The recipe size here will serve 2-3. If you are making this for more, you can easily double it. Serve with Tortilla chips or on crackers.

A few notes:

Avocados are ripe when you can squeeze them gently and feel them smoosh just a little. If they are real hard, they aren’t ready yet, if they smoosh too much, they may be too ripe.

Also, depending on your tolerance for hot & spicy should depend on whether you get hot, medium or mild salsa.

Last: If you are not familiar with avocados, they are similar to bananas in the way that, after being peeled, they tend to “brown” quickly and taste does change. I highly suggest you make this recipe same day as you intend to eat it, for best outcome, immediately before serving. Remember: Fresher equals better when it comes to this recipe.

Visit Mamarazzi for photos and directions on making the Best Guacamole Ever.

** Note from Jill:

When I'm in a hurry I skip this and add extra salsa. It's still delicious!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A New Apron

Yesterday I received a package in the mail from Hawaii. I was expecting this package knowing it contained some Christmas presents for Nature Girl. This fall, my sister J moved to Hawaii for a year with her husband and three girls. We keep getting lovely photos from their adventures on their new island home. Of course the teacher in me uses this information too. As a matter of fact this week my students took a reading assessment featuring a few passages and questions on the island my sister is living on and avocados. After the test I took out my phone to show the students the pictures of Hawaii that my sister has taken. Then we talked about the land and avocados. To my surprise only one of the students in my room had ever seen or eaten an avocado! One of the passages on the assessment described avocado skin and flesh. Many of the kids missed the questions on this passage because they had no experience with avocados. Needless to say I brought in avocados the next day cut them open for the kids to see and sample. Then we made guacomole and have the pits susspended in water to see if they will root. The kids loved it! Not only that they added to their background knowledge and experiences, they now know what avocados look, feel and taste like.
Sorry I digressed a bit there, back to the package. My sister sent Christmas gifts for Nature Girl and at the bottom of the box this lovely apron for me. Isn't it pretty?!! My sister knows me so well and is so sweet to me! It was handmade in Hawaii. It has three pockets along the bottom. It's lovely! I didn't have any baking or cooking to do last night so I wore it to hang out and watch movies on the couch instead. Thanks Girl for the beautiful apron!!!!
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Monday, December 6, 2010


So I have been busy working. Even with IEPs and evals to write for school I've managed to fit in a few crafty projects. Granted I haven't done as many as I'd like given that Christmas is just around the corner, but I have gotten a few things made. Sadly there are many more projects on my list that I probably won't get to before Christmas. Oh well, I won't dwell on that now. Instead I'll concentrate on what has been finished.
I made this patchwork stocking for my partner in the St. Nickolaus Swap. I love how it turned out and hope to eventually make some for us of course that probably won't happen anytime soon.

I also worked a little bit with wool felt and felted wool sweaters to create these brooches. I sent the blue bird brooch to my partner for the St. Nickolaus Swap. The rest are destined to become gifts for co-workers. I keep forgetting how much I like working with wool felt and old sweaters. I've got to come up with some more projects to use my sweater stash.

I also made and sent this apron to my St. Nickolas Day Swap partner. I love the color combination and the polka dots. I was tempted to keep it for myself but that wouldn't have been in the spirit of St. Nickolaus so I sent it on the way to it's new owner instead.

As you know I'm a bit zentangle obsessed so I've done a some of that over the last month or two. I zentangled this red umbrella for a swap. It took a lot more time than I thought it would to draw on the whole thing. As I was getting ready to mail it out I noticed some black on my hands so now I'm not sure it's even waterproof. I almost didn't send it but decided to send it anyway since I spent so much time on it. It may have to be used as a parasol or a decoration instead of a functional umbrella. I was afraid to test it out!

Lastly I altered this dress for my sister. My sister was looking for a dress to wear to a formal holiday party and asked me to alter her green dress. She originally wore it in her best friend's wedding last year. It was about 5 inches longer and strapless. The dress kept falling down and had to pulled up frequently so it definitely needed some alterations. I have to say I was scared to death to cut it and attempt the alterations. I am not a seamstress and get nervous about cutting and altering items for other people. Especially expensive clothing! My sister was very calm and trusting and didn't seem worried at all. That's okay because I worried enough for the both of us!!! But in the end I worried for nothing as it turned out really cute. It's a little wrinkled in this picture but think it looks even prettier now that it has been altered. My sister wore it to the party last weekend and got many compliments on it.
So what have you been up to? Are you done your Christmas crafting?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Introducing Ruby

This is Ruby. We adopted her 2 weeks ago. Ruby is a 2 year old english bulldog. I have been in love with bulldogs for at least 12 years. I have wanted one for many years. They have a face that only a mother can love! Ruby is no exception, I think that she is beautiful!!!! I tell you that face just kills me!

Ruby is a sweetheart and loves lots of attention. She's thrilled to see me when I get home and wants to spend all of her time with us. She can fetch but most of the time she just watches us throw the ball. Which brings me to a few of the reasons I think she was meant to be my dog.
1. She doesn't really like to exercise. Me neither!
2. She's afraid of all cleaning tools and supplies. I hate cleaning!
3. She needs lots of love and patience. I have lots to give.

She's very smart and quickly figured out that the dog food was in the basement. She kept sticking her head through the large cat door we have in our basement door looking for it. I couldn't resist taking pictures.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We have so many things to be thankful for today and everyday! So today we celebrate the countless blessings we have as we spend time with our friends and family. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too! Happy turkey day!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Portraits

I love zentangling. When I started to zentangle Nature Girl wanted to join in the fun. I gave her a marker and some paper and let her go. Now she zentangles often and really enjoys it too. She has her own ideas about zentangles and likes to use colors not just black. It's fun to see what she will create. This sweet apple zentangle is one that she recently drew for me. I love it and have it hanging in my classroom.

Apples make me think of fall and school portraits. The last two years she's had a forced fake smile for her portraits so I wasn't expecting them to turn out this year. In fact I had already scheduled a portrait session for our family portraits and had decided to get her pictures done when low and behold this portrait from school showed up. I think it turned out great!

These last two are from our family portrait session. She wanted her picture taken with the fake rock because she loves rocks so much.
In fact she loves rocks so much that she wants a meteorite. I think we'll have to add it to the Christmas wishlist. Last year she wanted Santa to bring an ostrich egg and this year so far the list includes a stuffed husky, a lava lamp and new twinkle toe sneakers that light up. I think a fossil would be cool too but she hasn't mentioned that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Whole New Bag

Nature Girl visits the library at school each Tuesday. At the beginning of the year each child was given this green bag to put their library books in. They have to bring their library book back each week in the bag. Last week, just two months into the school year, the string broke and Nature Girl began to fret about returning her library book this week. I probably could have threaded a new string through the old bag but it was all crinkly looking, like it's seen better days. Instead of messing with a new string I just made a whole new bag.

I bought this corduroy owl fabric awhile back to make something for Nature Girl. It seemed like the perfect print for a new library bag. So I sat down at my sewing machine tonight and made this library tote bag.

She was excited and exclaimed "Oh mommy, I love it!" I think it passes the kid test. Let's hope it passes the school librarian tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Fall!

Time really files these days! It's hard to believe it's already November! Before we know it we'll be leaving fall and heading into winter. I'm not ready for winter yet and haven't even begun to think about the holidays or holiday shopping. Thinking of it now makes me a little queasy. In an effort to enjoy fall and slow the impending winter I thought I'd share some of Nature Girl's recent fall art. I just love to see what she will create when she sits down to draw. It's fun to watch her!

She traced her hand print then colored, cut out and glued the leaves and the pumpkin. I love that the turkey has been nibbling on the pumpkin.

I also love this squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. He is so cute! He reminds me of Scaredy Squirrel. We love all of those books!
Like me Nature Girl really enjoys drawing and creating. I have been creating too. I'm working on a couple of swaps but I can't share yet. I'll post more when my items have been finished. In the meantime we're wishing you a happy fall and a delay in cold winter weather!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spookify Me Challenge

A few weeks ago during a meeting a co-worker challenged me to zentangle something for Halloween. Of course I took the challenge and created this eyeball. It's hanging in our classroom now. My students love it and have been asking me to make eyeballs for them. This week the students will be doing a few Halloween activities so I decided to create an eyeball that they can complete. I created one for the kids that don't like to draw so they can color it instead and one for my budding zentanglers so they can zentangle their own eyeball. I thought I'd share the pdf and open up the challenge to you. What kind of eyeball can you create?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Zentangled Shoes

Yes you read the title right! It may sound strange, but what does someone who is obsessed with zentangles do to their shoes? Why draw all over them of course! I've zentangled bookmarks, name tags and a pencil can, so why not shoes. I saw this tutorial for painting on shoes back during the summer. It sparked my creative juices and got me thinking about zentangling shoes. I bought a pair of white ballet flats at Walmart this summer for $7. I set them in the closet to draw on later. Well, later finally came last week when I pulled them out of the closet and decided to try it. It took me about two and a half hours to finish both shoes.

Here's a side view. I didn't follow the tutorial, I just used a sharpie to draw on them. I decided to do a series of floral patterns and designs on the shoes. I didn't repeat any of the patterns so each shoe is totally different.

Here's what they look like in the front.

Now the view from the back. I was very happy with how they turned out. The only problem, when I put them after they were finished I decided that they are a little too tight. My toes were at the end. I swear they fit fine when I bought them this summer. Oh well, nothing lost. I had them at school to show some co-workers and my students. The teacher I share a room with has a daughter in college that wears a size 8 so they're being mailed to California for her to enjoy. Maybe I'll eventually make another pair but I think I want something with a little bit of a heel. In the meantime I'll be thinking about other things I can zentangle all over.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frankenstein & Ghost Brooches

This week for Spookify Me Saturday I'm sharing some Halloween brooches I made a couple of years ago for a Halloween swap with Val our wonderful Spookify Me host. Click here for a PDF with the pattern and simple directions.

Don't need a brooch?! I also made this pin the nose on the monster game using the same pattern. I just blew up the pattern really big and added a layer of batting in between. We hang Frankie up each fall. We have lots of different colored noses for him so everyone can choose a different color to pin on his face. Sometimes we just use him as a decoration instead of as a game.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Another Spookify Me Project

Here's another project for Spookify Me Saturday. I made this cat wall hanging for a swap and was really excited to see how this turned out. I fell in love with it, so it was hard to send it on it's way but I did. I'm glad the new owner loves it! I created this tutorial so I can make another one when I have time. In the meantime I decided to share this tutorial for Spookify Me Saturday.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Poe Swap & St. Nicholaus Swap

I participated in the Poe altered art swap. I've already shared the great package I received from Little Messy Missy here. So what did I send? My partner was not a fan of gruesome or scary so I went with the sweeter side of Halloween. My partner chose the story The Black Cat. I couldn't find a cigar box so I altered a paint can to look like a black cat. I made a few bookmarks, a cat coaster, a candy corn brooch and included some candy as well.
This is my favorite piece. I made this quilted black cat wall hanging for my partner. It took longer than expected but I'm really happy with how it turned out! It's the first time I've made my own binding so I wanted to keep it! I mailed it, so hopefully my partner will love it.

I sent off the Poe package to my partner then received my St. Nickolaus Swap package. Cindy made this incredible quilted wall hanging for me. Don't you love it?!!! I hung it right away!

These are the other goodies Cindy sent. Thank you Cindy!! She even sent some rocks, polished sea glass and a cute little owl bag for Nature Girl. Nature Girl was very grateful as these things are all her favorites.

Look what she made with the rocks . . . . St. Nickolaus! Isn't that cute?!!! I'm always impressed with Nature Girl's creativity!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spookify Me Project

I made this cat coaster and thought it would be perfect for Spookify Me Saturday. Each Saturday in October, Val from Yarnigras will be posting projects for Halloween. It sounded like fun to me so I made this coaster from wool felt then wrote up a quick little tutorial for it. You can use this coaster to get into the Halloween spirit or use it all year if you choose. You'll find the tutorial here or on the sidebar. Check in next Saturday for another Spookify Me project and don't forget to check out Val's projects.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Poe Swap

I participated in Val's Edgar Allen Poe Altered Art Swap. I received my package from Little Messy Missy on Saturday but didn't open it until tonight. I was under the weather for a few days last week so I'm not finished my package to send out. I thought waiting to open the package would help me get my goodies done faster. It helped but one project took much longer than planned so I'm still not quite done. My husband and daughter just can't stand walking by the package knowing it's been left unopened! Tonight Nature Girl became the camera girl and snapped some pictures of the goodies Missy sent.

Inside the box was wrapped. Nature Girl claimed the sparkly white fabric right away.

Missy altered a cigar box to fit the story I picked, The Tell Tale Heart. Doesn't it look amazing?!

This is the picture Nature Girl took to show what was inside.

I took this picture to show what was inside. Missy also made some amazing tags and a Poe necklace complete with blood spatter. Poe does to have a bit of a gruesome side, perfect for Halloween.
Thank you Missy for an amazing package! You are great at altering art! I think I need to take a few lessons from you. Too bad you didn't live closer!