My 5 Favorites Crafty Finds

I get asked all the time what I like and what I do not like. I hesitate to share what I do not like because it is strictly my preference and opinion. I do not want to give a product a bad rep simply because I do not vibe with it. However, I am more than happy to share with you what I do like and use often. These five things I use in my craft room on a daily basis.

1) Neenah White Cardstock

This should be a given right? I know most paper crafters know exactly what this is and have a stash of it that is dug into on a regular basis. However, some of you have no clue what it is and why it’s such a big deal. Isn’t cardstock all the same? It really is not. Neenah cardstock lends itself well to stamping, ink blending and alcohol markers. It makes a great cardbase and is universally known for it’s superior quality. Since I use it daily it is only fitting that this is the top of my list! I like to get it here along with all of my cardstock because the prices are excellent, shipping is cheaper than most, they get the order out fast and have excellent customer service. Plus they have a lot more things besides cardstock like ribbon, pens, envelopes etc.

2) Dream Drops

I have been a huge fan of Nuvo drops for years, but Dream Drops is an evolution of the traditional Dew Drops. It is dreamy to say the least! I use them on almost everything that comes across my craft table and I have them in every color. You can find them here.

3) Blending Domes

I have a confession to make. Ready? Oh boy! Please don’t throw things at your screen as you read it, but……I do not like blending brushes. There I said it. In fact, I rather loathe them. Remember how in the beginning of this post I said I would not say what I don’t like? Well, apparently I lied because I don’t like those brushes. I can not ever seem to get them clean and they don’t blend smooth for me. I do like these blending domes by Scrapbook.com though! They are cheaper than the brushes and can be used on any handle you have. You can just get the refill instead of the handle and the domes. What makes these so awesome is they are cheap enough that I can have one for each ink pad and they blend effortlessly because there are no hard edges like on other foam or sponge blenders. You can get them here.

4) Silicone Mat

This silicone mat is my best friend. It seriously has been a game changer with my videos because I can put it over my glass mat and it cuts the glare plus I can still see through it. It stays put and has been able to handle everything I have thrown on it. I have really struggled with finding a perfect craft mat. Either it can withstand everything, but slides around or it can’t withstand much and stays put. I would have never considered buying this mat either. In fact, I have passed over it several times because I thought it was just another craft mat. I even rolled my eyes up in my head because I thought it was just another product on an over saturated market of craft mats. Ranger sent it to me and I have been hooked ever since! If you are a YouTube Crafter or enjoys doing lives on any social media outlet you are going to want this mat! The price point on it is not bad either. I have paid far more for less superior mats. You can find it here.

5) Rinse Well

Do not let this cruddy picture fool you! Rinse Well is awesome. I like to dabble in paint, but constantly having to dump my water to get fresh can be annoying. Not to mention the times I have accidentally mistaken my paint water for my coffee. I keep this on my desk. It actually has dirty paint water in it now that I need to drain. There are little grooves on the bottom of the bowl that you can really scrub your brush on. Once the water is dirty you just push the little valve. It washes away the dirty water and fills the bowl with clean water. There also are some handy spots to dry brushes. I paint a lot and only need to change this out weekly. The link for it is here.

I hope you enjoyed these five picks. Tell me in the comment what your go to craft items are these days. I want to know!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

Layouts from Trash

I created these layouts from trash. Literally, everything was heading into the garbage can. Then I felt this overwhelming feeling of guilt. I just could not throw anything away! It went against every grain in my body. I am a scrapper at heart — meaning I like to use scraps to create. I love repurposed home decor pieces and using things in ways they were not intended to be used in. Same goes in my art! The older and more beat up the better. With that being said I made these two layouts from trash.

Now, I know you are looking at these layouts (especially the second one) and wondering why on earth I was going to throw any of that away. It’s shameful really…my reason….”last in the package” is the reason. I only had one or a few left. They were taking up precious space in my craft room. My real estate is valuable and I don’t have much room. It’s like Manhattan in craft land. Therefore, if it is just sitting there doing nothing it has to go! In this case, these items were spared.

I used nothing new on either of these layouts. I must confess that creating these was quite gratifying. Something happens in my soul when I am able to create something from nothing much less something from what I had decided was trash.

What are your favorite things to recycle? Tell me in the comments!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

Fear Is A Liar

I drew a face. This is the very first time I actually drew a face. Once I had it drawn I thought it would be fun to go on Facebook and do a live coloring it in. That was the scariest thing I have done in a long time. First, I am not an illustrator. Second, my art is not painting. So why did I do it live? To show that just because you are a novice in an area does not mean you should not try it. It’s art. Art is subjective. Besides, if you mess up who cares? You can either toss it or gesso over it. With all of that being said I surprised myself with how well it turned out.

Everything I used to create this page is Dina Wakley Media except for the Stickles in the hair.

I did not come up with the title for this art page until the end. I did not even have a clue of what kind of words I would use on it. Then I realized that I almost did not do it because of fear, so “Fear is a Liar!” was it!

There are two things that I enjoy creating — landscapes and hair. I know completely opposite of each other, but true. I spent more time creating her hair than I did her face.

Here are the videos I used to learn how to draw this face.

I truly hope that this inspires you to venture out of your comfort zone and maybe face a few of your fears in art. You might just surprise yourself with what you can create!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

The Left Overs

As I previously stated in another post, I had the pleasure of being a guest educator for the Clique Kits this month. I created a mini album featuring my bout with depression. I taught how to use a gel press plate to create background pages as well as different ways to use gelatos and foam stamps. I was sent a ton of beautiful paper that did not make it’s way into the mini album I created. So I made the following layouts with the paper as well as the odds and ends of what I had left.

To create this page I fussy cut and tore a few of the collage pages I was sent. After I adhered them to the 12 by 12 page, I outlined them and added some dots along the edges. I used a rainbow foam stamp with some gelatos to create the corners of the page and topped it off with a sweet layering butterfly stamp.

A combination of mixed media techniques were used to create the above pages. I love to splat paint in layers. Starting with a blank 12 by 12 paper that will be the base of the layout splat one paint color. Adhere pattern paper on top of the base and splat another color of paint. Finally, add the mats for your images and splat with another paint color. By layering the paint splats you create great texture without a bunch of bulk which can make it challenging to store.

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

Out Run The Darkness — The Struggle is Real

Baby Blues Out of Control

I am going to address a hard topic. Something a lot of society steps away from because there is a lot of fear and shame associated with it. Depression. Yep, I said it — depression. I did not even know I really had it until I started to come out of it. In 2004 when I had my last baby I got the “Baby Blues” in a bad way. I did not see a doctor about it because I had three little ones under the age of four and we were in the middle of a move. I just did not have the time to deal with it. I became accustom to dealing with it. The months I spent napping when my kids napped turned into years of wanting to sleep all the time. I thought it was normal — aren’t most Moms exhausted all the time even after their child is sleeping through the night?

Fast Forward 8 Years

In 2012 or so my blood work came back bad. So, I blamed my lack of energy, not wanting to be around people and general soreness on my health. I was diagnosed in 2017 with Celiac Disease. That did contribute to most of my symptoms. However, that underlying low energy and just wanting to be alone did not go away. In 2018, when my oldest started his senior year I hit rock bottom. Not only was I sad, I also did not even know what my purpose in life was now that my kids were turning into young adults.

On the outside I faked it well. I always appeared to be looking on the bright side. In fact, I was accused of being an optimist to the extreme that people thought I was unrealistic and never had a bad day in my life. If they only knew the truth was I was trying not to fall apart. I was scared that if I let on that I was miserable and sad I would crumble and be judged.

Time To Get Better

Finally in January of 2019 I decided I did not want to feel bad anymore and I started working out. I lost 29 pounds pretty much off the bat, but I was not doing it for that — I was sticking to it because I was not feeling bad emotionally. Eventually I hit a stand still with the weight loss and decided to see a trainer. My daughter was the receptionist at a local semi private gym and was working out with a fantastic lady who shed 185 pounds. She really helped my daughter deal with the stresses of high school. I knew that if there was anyone I wanted to train me it was her.

That was the best decision I have ever made regarding self care. Not only was I feeling better about myself I actually wanted to go to the gym — not necessarily to work out, but because I liked the people. I wanted to be around people for the first time in over 15 year.

I took up running in October of 2019 as another way to get my cardio in. That’s when I finally kicked depression’s ass! Don’t get me wrong — I hated running at first. I also did not just start off running. It was a gradual growth. Pretty soon I recognized that I felt really good after I ran. Next thing I knew I was able to run a mile without stopping. Three months into it I started to like it. I looked forward to my run days. I signed up for my first 5K and have been running them about once a month.

It’s Time….

I worked in collaboration with Clique Kits for April 2020 in which I put together a mini album documenting my struggle with depression and loss of 65 pounds (so far). Here is what I used to create the album:

Here is what I created with the Clique Kit:

I divided the album up into four sections. The first section is the “Before” section. I briefly discuss what lead me to the point of finally realizing I had an issue.

The next session is about the journey I took to get out of depression. My journey is far from over. It is something I will be on for the rest of my life. I really feel like this is my life long battle, so I left extra pages to fill up as I continue to grow and change.

Naturally since I took up running I have a section for the 5Ks (maybe marathons someday) I complete.

Thrive is the last section of the album. This is a lifetime process for me. I am never really going to have an end to it. I will reach milestones along the way and learn how to thrive. Therefore creating a section celebrating that was needed. Right now it is blank because I am still waiting on pictures to be delievered, but also because I have so much more work to do and document in this section.

To see a complete walk through of the album check out my video here. You can also find links to everything I used to make your own album like mine.

Finally, here are the videos I created to make this album.

In Conclusion

I want to thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you. If you struggle with depression please understand that you are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I would like to encourage you to seek outside help. Go talk to a counselor and don’t try to beat it on your own. There is no shame in it and if you need medication that is OK! We treat broken arms with casts and pills to help deal with the pain, right? Same holds true for mental health issues!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

A Little Birdie HOP!

I am stoked about today’s hop! Make sure you visit Designer Crafts after you read this post for the hop list. It combines my first love (scrapbooking) with mixed media. This fabulous line truly bridges the gap between paper crafting and mixed media. Here is what Little Birdie sent me for this hop and their Grand Launch in the USA!

It’s All About the Birds!

What could be better than celebrating the Grand Launch of Little Birdie than to create layouts featuring birds? My son has wanted a bird for several years. For his Birthday we finally got him one –Ari. She is a sweet little thing that has captured out hearts.

The Mixed Media paste can be used two ways. You can use it as a modeling paste (which I did in this layout) and/or gesso by adding water. To create this type of background use the paste over a stencil. Once it dries mist it. If the mist is to vibrant add a light layer of water before the mist dries.

I finished off the layout by adding a little water to the paste and flicked it on the page.

For this layout I used the paste as gesso by adding water and then applying it with a paint brush. Once it dried I applied layers of the Color wash making sure each dried between layers.

The paper pack came with a fussy cut sheet. I ran mine through a Scan N Cut. This made it really easy to add to layouts with the hard work done This sweet blue bird is from the fussy cut sheets.

This was my final layout I created with the Woodland Series and it is my favorite. I utilized the images I cut on my Scan N Cut in several spots on this layout. My favorite was tucking the birds into the flowers.

A Little Bitty Art

Have you ever had an art itch? Something that you just had to create because you could not stop thinking about it? When I saw the little journaling cards and twine I had to create a sweet little ATC.

Background Creation

I have created a video showing how to create these backgrounds. I demonstrate how to use the Mixed Media Paste through a stencil, how to use it as gesso, color washing and adding layers.

Time to Hop

Now comes the fun part — hopping! Leave a comment on my blog sharing with me your favorite product from The Little Birdie. Once you leave your comment please hop on through the following designers’ blogs. Little Birdie mailed each of us a different kit, so you are going to see new stuff and ideas at each stop!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

Big Toppers!

I had the urge to make huge toppers perfect for a flower arrangement. I really have no rhyme or reason on why I wanted to make these, but I did and they turned out darling.

To create a topper just use what is in your stash! I created two fans, glued them together and layered more paper on top. I used Lisa Kettell’s sweet little hand painted pieces as the center and attached the entire thing to a paper straw in my stash.

What is something you have created from your scraps? I would love to know! Tell me in the comments.

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

Heart Flower — Be Mine Valentine Hop

Hello friends! Today I am super excited about the hop because one of you can win a $40 gift card to CutCardStock. Now, let me tell you something….$40 can go along way in the store because the prices are rock bottom! The inventory is huge too with paper, stationary items and ribbon. In order to be entered for a chance to win you must comment at each stop along the hop or upload a project that includes product from CutCardStock.

Heart Flower

I made a flower from hearts created from one sheet of cardstock.

I used one sheet of paper from this pack:

First cut 3 small hearts ( I started mine at 2 inches), 4 medium hearts, and 5 large hearts.

Distress the edges…

Now ink them.

Place them on a brad from smallest to largest fanning them out with each placement.

Starting on the inside of the flower crumple each heart until you are left with what looks like a piece of trash.

To make the flower bloom simply peel back each heart. Pop a center if you want to complete it.

Hop List

Now it’s time to hop on to the next wonderful crafter. Make sure you leave a comment at each stop.

Blog Hop List

1) CutCardstock.blog – https://cutcardstock.blog/2020/02/07/be-mine-valentine-blog-hop/‎

2) Niki – https://www.tealkatsblog.com/cutcardstock-valentine-blog-hop/

3) Amber Rain – https://notableink.com/?p=6521

4) Betz – https://betzgolden.blog/?p=5121

5) Teri – https://terismailbox.blogspot.com/2020/02/be-mine-valentine-giveaway.html

6) Samantha – https://coykoicrafting.wordpress.com/…/…/my-punny-valentine/

7) Crystal – https://crystaljustus.blogspot.com/2020/01/cutcardstock-valentine-blog-hop.html

8) Heidi – https://bluescallopcreations.wordpress.com/2020/01/24/cutcardstock-be-mine,-valentine!-blog-hop/

A Few of My Favorite Things in 2019!

I must admit that as a crafter of over 3 decades it is challenging to find new products that blow me away. My 2019 list of My Favorite Things are not all new things to the craft industry. The items I have listed are currently my “go to” things this year. Most are new, but not all and there is one that might surprise you! Here is the direct links to each item. To see them up close, in action and more information please check out the video I created for you!

The List!

Rinse Well The most go to thing on my desk to clean my brushes!

Ultra Mod Podge This is a multi-purpose medium! It is a glue, sealer and can be used to paint pour. I like it because I can use it as traditional Mod Podge and get no brush stroke marks.

Dina Wakley Media Journal The paper in this little journal is amazing! It is super absorbent with wonderful texture and thickness.

Make Art Station I think it is the magnets that set this apart for me. They don’t pinch!

Simon Hurley Stamps Not only are these super cute, but they also can work with other sets in his line.

Archival Mini Ink Pads The best waterproof ink pads around and in the perfect size for my over crowded craft room (my real estate in my studio is super valuable!)

Dome Ink Blenders Not only do they leave no harsh lines I like them better than blender brushes. They are cheap and can be used with a multitude of handles.

Catherine Pooler Mini Ink Pads Once again the size is what gets me! Take the best colored ink around and put them in an easy to store container. You will want the refills for these!

Etchall Stencil Spray I like this better than the trending Pixi spray because I can actually find it and it’s not sold out. I have been using this for years!

Tri-Blend Markers I appreciate that this solves all my shading questions in one marker! No longer trying to match and buy three markers. Tri Blends take the guess work out of it.

I hope you enjoyed this year’s list! Now, I want to know…what are your favorites for 2019? Tell me in the comments!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!

Textured Tags

I created some pretty awesome textured backgrounds with stencils recently and wanted to use them, so I created three tags! To create the backgrounds I used Colorburst and modeling paste over a stencil. You can see how here:

After I die cut the tags I added my stamped Rita Barakat images to create these:

I used alcohol markers for the skin and hair. Here is how you can use copic markers to create skin tones and hair!


For each tag I added a little glitter and glitter drops to finish them off!

These tags were created for a swap! I am super happy with how they turned out!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!