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It's all about whimsy, art and Halloween!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Secret Admirer

I had a secret admirer in high school.  He was smart and funny and full of joy.

The first thing that came was a wanted poster taped to my door.  It was a drawing of me as a western outlaw. Then there were hilarious letters describing my wild west antics.  When he finally revealed himself, he would write nonsensical poems in a made up language - O Manhiem De Lo De Cookie, was one.  They were brilliant!

When he finally asked me out, it was to be a day at the park with kids from school.  Cool, athletic kids.  I was neither cool, nor athletic.  It was a lovely day and we were to play all kinds of sports. 

Yeaaaah, that was a disaster.

I was completely self centered, vapid, vacuous and soooo not into sports.  I wanted the date to be about me.  So I sat, looking as exquisitely dejected as I could possibly look.  The other kids just kept playing, occasionally giving me a desrved stink-eye.

It must have seen to him that I was bored with him, or maybe he felt like I thought I was above all the fun they were having.

After that, he called me a couple of times, just to talk.  I was oblivious to the fact that he still liked me.  Ah, well.  Sorry, Howard Gensler!  You were such a sweetheart!

Had I been less self absorbed, I might have picked up on that, but then, I would not have moved to the east coast with my parents and would never have met my wonderful husband, who saw right through my ridiculously shallow self and saw something good in me, as Howard had, that I simply could not see.   

And that, my dear Mary, is my secret admirer story!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

For My Glitter Guru, Mary the Marvelous

Mary England's link up this month is all about SELF LOVE.  I've been in such a funk lately, that I didn't think I could do it, so she suggested that I write some things that I like about myself.  Here it goes:

I learned at an early age to laugh at myself.  I was the youngest and the only girl.  Do the horrifying math, it was do or die!

I'm funny, even if it's only me cracking myself up.

I make a mean pirate.  Observe my pirate hat carefully.  See?  I can be funny.

I practice non judgment.  If anyone criticize you, it has nothing to do with you.  It's a judgement they are making about themselves.  It's worth the practice it to accept that.  It sure feels personal!  Sometimes it's just easier to react with hurt or anger.  Read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.  It helped me so much!

I practice non attachment.  I love being surrounded by brilliant colorful art.  If we had to sell everything and move to a one room apartment, I would paint a wall, find or make colorful art to fit the space.

I like my smile.  This is humongous for me.  I have always hated my smile.  I have thin lips that turn down at the corners when my face is relaxed.  Yes, I've been asked many times why I am frowning. When I smile it looks like a straight line with no lips.  How did I over come this smile loathing?  I worked for three years with Cool2Craft making craft video tutorials.  Tiffany Windsor saw something in me that she thought was worth mentoring.  Passion for creativity.  I always reviewed my footage before I sent it to her and I found, as I became more relaxed. that I was giving birth to my whimsical mojo.  My smiles were genuine and spontaneous.  Thank you, Tiffany.

And thank you, Mary England , you amazing source of glittery happiness!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dia de los Muertos: Celebrating Ancestry

I love Dia de los Muertos!  It's a Mexican holiday that celebrates our loved ones that have passed on, leaving what ultimately is a skeleton.  Skeletons aren't feared or considered to be anything other than their loved ones' remains.

Here's an explanation by Judy King that touches my heart:
 “The Mexican flatters death and woos death, he sings to her, dances with her, he laughs at her. Finally he challenges her and in the challenging, death loses her power to intimidate him. Once he knows death intimately, death is no longer wrapped in a cloak of mystery or causes him to fear the darkness

Once the fear of death has been defeated, the clutch she has on the hearts and minds of the living is lessened once and for all. Death’s morbid side is buried under music and remembrances, while skeletons laugh and dance and sing as Mexico celebrates life in its embrace of death.”

The photo above is a ceramic box I made years ago.  It has a skeleton couple on top (a very common scene in Dia de los Muertos art)
In this closeup of the shrine, you can see that I added tiny photos of my parents in their youth.  All the decorations on the cake are ceramic.  The tryptic frame/stand is painted foam core board. I added lots of glitter, skulls, angels and the Virgin of Guadalupe at the top.

For the typical 3 day celebration, the families of the town would clean up the graves sites of their loved ones and decorate them with marigolds and candles on the evening of October 31st, and then the celebration begins. 

The Mexican s believe it would be an insult to their ancestors to be sad during the celebration.  I read somewhere that the road the spirits follow back to home would be made slippery with tears.  Instead, they laugh and sharing memories, feast together, making sure to bring the favorite foods of their ancestors (the delicious smells help them find their way home).

Here are some history links for more info:

I highly recommend visiting the Crafty Chica.  Kathy's whole family does wonderful Dia de los Muertos art!

Also, this post is part of Mary England's Celebration Blog Party

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Uncustomary Monthly Marvels

Monthly Marvels are the brainchild of Mary England of Uncustomary, creative genius and my daughter from another mother.  For just $10 a month, I get a package of fun things to do all month!

This month's fun started with National Talk Like A Pirate Day.  I know!  Right?  That's perfect for me!  Krispy Kreme Doughnuts celebrated with free doughnuts - one, if you talked like a pirate and a whole dozen if you dressed like one!  Who doesn't like free doughnuts!  You can't tell from the photo, but the place filled with pirates!  The free dozen had to be Originals, (not my favorite, but Hubby freezes 2 per bag and pulls them out for an occasional treat) so we bought a dozen of assorted, too.  I must have me sprinkles.  Arrg.
Yesterday was World Gratitude Day and National Eat an Apple Day.  I practice gratitude every day, because, if you don't, you're wasting your Happy Right Now time!  I made up an apple drawing from the coloring page Mary included.  I don't take enough time to draw for fun.  I really should!
Today is my Hubby's birthday!  Happy Birthday, my love!  It's also the 1st day of autumn!  Yea!  Mary included a paper leaf to write on, so I wrote a poem.
Orange and gold - pumpkin seeds
Chilly breezes and falling leaves

Spiced apple cider and candy corn
All the many costumes worn

Cold dark nights - mountain drives
Fabulous Frights and glowing eyes

The goblins come - the ghosts arize
Axes and chainsaws are sure to surprise

Parties and games filled with fun
Sleepy Hollow awaits, the time has come

Michael Meyers and Freddy scheme
To hack you up and terrorize your dreams

Don't forget to lock the doors
The last scream you hear will, of course, be yours

Thanks for being my muse, Mary!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jackie Eucare: From Ashes to Art

Here's Jackie's Story:

I am a 26 year old mother of a little boy soon to turn 2. I was born in Baltimore and raised in Severna Park. I graduated high school in 2005. I did college for a while, even took an art class! In April 2008, my home caught fire, displacing me over night. The overwhelming feelings and inability to completely grasp everything happening were too much to allow me to focus on school. I shortly dropped my classes after. I decided to move my feelings and focus elsewhere, so I went to my local arts & crafts store. I have been painting for roughly 5 years now!  

  I have used Acrylic paints only. They were my first pick, so I have stuck with them since. With many of my paintings, once I have decided not to add anymore color, I rotate the canvas until something jumps out at me. I paint carelessly, no “final result” in my mind when I start. I also am working on multiple canvas’ at once, because of the drying process. I am highly detail oriented, but I am also very impatient. I have been experimenting with spray paints lately and really enjoy what I have been creating!

  Art in itself inspires me. There is no “wrong” when you’re talking about artwork. It is appealing to someone, for some reason. My true inspiration is a satisfied customer! I take pride in knowing some of my close family and friends have a few of MY artwork displayed in their homes. Creating happiness for an individual is one of the greatest gifts in our world! I only wish to do my part!

Jackie, You're doing you part, and more!   Thank you for sharing your passion!
Here is Jackie's email if you'd like to respond directly to her:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

An UncustoMary Craft haul

My uber creative daughter from another mother, Mary England, is street art loving, yarn bomb making, art mailing genius!  She is out there everyday leaving anonymous and uplifting cards, tiny gifts and such for anyone to find!  She posts lists of weekly happiness with links to all kinds of fabulous things.  How all that marvelousness could fit into her head, I have no idea!

Mary saved up to take a year off from work to follow her dreams.  I can't wait to see where she goes and what she does!

To augment her dream following, you can sign up to receive Monthly Marvel packages or advertise on her well read blog, for hardly anything!  I advertise by blog and have signed up for 6 months of marvelous packages!

When you check out her blog, be sure to click on the 100 Ways to Be Creative post.  Click on as many as you can to see the what a fun art chick she is!

I'll be using all the craft haul of ephemera in my work, listening to her CD of favorite music and eating the ring pop!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Robots are Coming...and They're Adorable!

I just love the robots on Robots Are Awesome!  They are so full of character and whimsy! The one above is one of my favorites!  HerArtSheLoves makes robots for every occasion!  I got permission to try them out with my little artists that they had a ball!  
They made the head, hands and feet from polymer clay, with beads for eyes.  I added the wrapped wire with Aleene's Super Gel. I had a brief moment  where I pictured all of us stuck together and to everything in the studio, so they went out to play while I did that part.
These guys were made by Braden and Vanessa.  Vanessa's is a robot dog, hence the tongue and long ears.  He's also on roller skates.
Here are Lauren's, Steven's (and Braden's again.)
Vanessa's robot dog, Annabelle's robot unicorn and Ana's pink cheeked little guy.

Thank you, HerArtShe:Loves for the inspiration and permission!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Polymer Clay Chocolate Thumbtacks

Bring a little chocolate love into your office and home space with chocolate thumb tacks! This is a super easy way to make polymer clay chocolates to transform your tacks into tiny, delicious looking chocolates!

Watch my Faux Chocolate Thumb Tacks YouTube video tutorial!
Aleene's Super Gel Adhesive
Polymer clay - chocolate color - I mix my own with dark brown, gold and a little bit of orange
Small round, square and heart shaped molds - read how to make some here
Water spritzer
Thumb tacks - the flat kind Polymer clay sealer - satin Paint brush

1. Condition the polymer clay. Roll a small ball

2. Spritz a mold with a little water and press the ball of clay into it. Smooth the back as flat as possible.

3. While the clay is still in the mold, press the the flat side of the tack into the clay to make an impression.

4. Carefully push the clay out of the mold and make sure the tack will still fit before baking the clay according to the directions on the package.

5. Glue a tack into the back of each chocolate. Allow to dry.

6. Coat each chocolate with 2 coats of satin sealer. Allow to dry well between coats. P Faux Chocolate Thumb Tacks Candace Jedrowicz

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Clay and Crowns

This week will be my last regular project post for Cool2Craft.  I have been so blessed to work for and with the Cool girls!  This creative journey has been more amazing than words could begin to describe!  I love all the friends I’ve met here and hope to pop up now and again to say hi!

My creative  roots are in clay and its sultry satin muddiness is calling me back.   I miss the challenge of forming a lump of clay into a something fun and whimsical that takes days or even months to complete!  Carving into leather hard clay is my favorite thing to do!  It feels like sculpting chocolate, and carving layers of rich texture into it.  That’s what it’s all about for me.

I’m also going to be continuing my work with crowns!  I’m learning to solder so I’m ready to go to the next level with bigger, better and busier crowns!

So look for me here and there, clay up to my elbows, splattered on my face and in my hair. wearing a fabulous crown and a big teethy grin!

Love and blessings

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blood Glucose Record Book

I have type 2 diabetes.  In the past six months I’ve worked hard to get healthy.  I walk early in the morning, I watch what I eat, etc.  I actually look forward to jumping out of bed and on the scale, then checking my sugar level.  I wanted to make myself a book to record my weight and sugar levels. 
I LOVE Aleene’s Burnt Brown Bag technique (there are several video demos on Youtube done by the Creativity Sisters – check them out!), so here’s what I did:
I gathered up a bunch of things I’d need:
A paper grocery bag
Aleene’s Tacky Glue ( I used Quick Dry)
Two pieces of 5”x5” cardboard and a ¼”x5” piece for the spine
A sponge brush
Metallic inks, Rub and Buff metallic colors
A heat tool
A candle  and lighter
A bone folder

1.Cut three layers of paper bag larger than the cardboard book cover will be with layers of glue between them.

2. Paint a layer of glue on the top layer of bag, place the cardboard in position and cut the corners for folding.  Fold the edges over and burnish with the bone folder.  Cut one piece of paper bag to fit on the inside of the cover and glue it in place.

3. Take care to burnish the spaces on the sides of the spine.  Let dry.

4. Spread one half of the inside with glue and, while the glue is wet, pass it over the candle flame.

5. It will sizzle and bubble and pop and turn black.  That’s what you want it to do.

6. When it’s cool, use a paper towel or wet wipe to remove the soot.

7. The surface already has a lovely sheen, but I like colors in layers, so I start by rubbing a copper colored ink pad over the whole thing.

8. The copper Rub and Buff is a slightly lighter color, so I skim it over the surface with my fingers.

9. I chose my favorite stamps and added some silver and gold accents.  I’m sure you have favorite stamps that would look awesome on this surface!

10.   If you use inks that require heat setting, do that now and when it’s cool give it a coat of matte sealer

11. Whatever your pages will be, you’ll want to measure your cover and take a ½” off each edge for the paper measurement.  Make two holes about an inch and a half from the ends.

12. Center the paper in the cove and mark where the holes will be on the spine.

13. I attached my pages by threading a wire through the holes and wrapping it twice.  Then I tied a piece of yarn to the wire and added a charm on the end for a book mark.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bejeweled Candy Dish

Pictures don't do this fun and sparkly glass candy dish justice!  It's a ridiculously inexpensive candy dish project that will add glitz to your coffee table!  Featured on Cool2Craft TV.

Watch my Bejeweled Dollar Store Candy Dish YouTube video tutorial!

Dollar store glass dish
Aleene's Jewelry and Metal Glue
Iridescent gems
Tweezers or pliers

1. Clean the dish thoroughly.

2. Pick up one gem at a time with the tweezers, apply glue to the back and place on the dish.

3. Use your finger to seat the gem firmly.

4. Add as many gems as you like.  Warning: It's hard to stop!

If you place gems down in the bowl, be sure to fill with individually wrapped candy only. 

Hand wash.

P Bejeweled Dollar Store Candy Dish by Candace Jedrowicz

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dad's Framed Tie Display

I saved my dad's ties and tie tack collection when he passed. It took a while to think of how to display them, but I hatched a plan to make a fun framed homage to Dad!

Watch my Dad's Framed Tie Display YouTube video tutorial!

Aleene's Fabric Fusion Peel and Stick Tape
12" x 12" x 2" dimensional frame
1/4" dowel
1/4" drill bit
Clear packing tape
Tie tacks, pin and bars

1. Lay out your ties in layers that look good to you and are 12" wide.  Lay packing tape over them to keep them from moving.  Cut excess fabric about 2" beyond the tape.

2. Remove the frame insert and lay over your ties.  Make all the adjustments so the ties fit into the insert.  Use the packing tape to hold the position of the bottom end below where the the frame stops.

3. Measure 3/8" down from the top edge of the insert and mark the center.  Use a small block of wood inside the insert as you drill a hole on the mark.  Repeat at opposite ends on two of the outside edges.   The idea is to slide the dowels in place at the top and bottom to wrap the ends of the layered ties around.

4. Measure and cut the dowels to fit in the holes and cut them so they don't extend outside of the insert.

5. Stand the insert upside down and lay the top of the layered ties, back side facing up, inside with the excess toward you.  Slide the dowel in over the ties.

6. Lay 2 strips of Fabric Fusion tape on the ties (on either side of the dowel.  Remove the tape backing and fold the excess over the dowel and press securely in place.

7. Repeat for the bottom, making sure to pull the ties tight when securing.

8. Add the tie tacks , pins and bars to the front.  Slide the insert into the frame and place the back of the frame on to secure it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wire Bound Dog Book

Mini Keepsake Dog Book Candace Jedrowicz

Pets bring so much love into our lives! Here's a fun and easy way to create a loving tribute to the family pet, with humor and panache.  This mini book is die cut, decorated and then assembled with buttons and wire.

Watch my Mini Dog Adventure Book YouTube video tutorial! 


Buttons  - I used Blumenthal Lansing buttons
Aleene's Tacky Line Runner
Aleene's Tacky Glue Pen
Sizzix Originals - Album Cover & Page Die (or hand cut pages)
Cardboard for the book covers
Card stock for the pages and to cover the cardboard covers
Decorative card stock
Photos and/or drawings
Printed story
Embellisments - gems, tag board bits, letters, fibers and charms
Felt pen to edge the pages - I used black
20 Gauge wire - I used copper
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Wire cutters

1. Cut 2 covers and several pages.  Print the story with plenty of space to cut out the words and phrases.

2. Cover the cardboard book covers with decorative paper using the Tacky Line Runner.  Tape pages back to back, as well.

3. Edge the cover and pages with black felt pen.

4. Lay out the story and photos in order.  Cut backing for the photos from complementary papers. Add the spacer buttons which will line up with the spine holes on the front of each page. These will allow for lots of 3D embellishments. 

Mini Keepsake Dog Book Candace Jedrowicz Side

5. Tape photos and backing onto the pages.

6. Glue on buttons and embellishments.

7. Cut 3 6" pieces of wire.  Feed one wire through each set of spine holes.  Use the round nose pliers to wrap spirals on each end of wire, wrapping right up to the book.  The wire allows the book to open and close easily.