A View from Above – Giraffes

One of the most easily identifiable animals upon the face of the earth is the giraffe.  There is nothing else like it – that long neck, towering legs and a fur pattern that resembles mosaics.  Giraffes are so tall, that the babies are born at a minimum height of six-feet tall to feed from the mother. 

Adult Giraffe

Each subspecies has unique fur patterns and colors.  There is a ridge on the forehead and two horn-like protrusions on top of the head. 

Giraffe Herd

Some have spots down the length of their legs, while others have solid tan or white below the knee.  For this project, you will need to look at giraffe photos and decide which pattern you prefer. 

How to Paint a Wooden Giraffe:

Raw Wood Giraffe

Raw Wood Giraffe

Both sides and all the edges will need to be sanded and painted.  Ensure the giraffe stands without wobbling.  If needed, restore balance by gluing pieces of thin cardstock to the bottom the feet. 


Giraffe Paints

Wooden Giraffe (8-1/4” high x 4-1/4” wide x 1-1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – red, brown, orange, black, tan
Bottles Fabric Paint – brown, black

Sand & Paint Base Color

Sanded & Painted

After sanding, paint the entire body tan. 

Reference – Giraffe’s Face

Giraffe Facial Close Up

I bet you didn’t expect to have a Giraffe anatomy lesson!  Typically, wood craft animals stand facing forward.  If you look at the close-up photos above, you will notice this giraffe is turning his head to the side.  This effects both sides of the head.  Both eyes need to be on the same side.  We will address the back of the head in a later step. 

Hand Draw Details

Draw Giraffe Details

Because this appears to be a baby giraffe, the facial features are cute but small, including the ridge between the eyes.  I began drawing some of the spots to understand what the layout should be.  To keep the pencil lines to a minimum, the remainder of the spots were freehanded with the paint brush. 

Mix Custom Paint Color

Plastic Covered Paint

Be sure to mix enough paint for the giraffe’s spots to last throughout the project.  To keep the paint moist on a paint palette, cover it with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic is pressed down upon the paint surface and the edges are sealed.  You may need to moisten the paint, but the color will be preserved.  I created a reddish-brown by mixing brown, red and orange acrylic paints. 

Paint the Spots on the Neck

Painted Pattern

Use a fine brush for the spots.  Be sure to leave space in between, which resembles mosaic tile set in grout. 

Paint Spots – Right Side

Painted Body - Right

As you work your way down the body, the size of the spots diminishes.  Be sure to paint spots on the edges, including the front and back of each leg and the neck too. 

Paint Spots – Left Side

Painted Body - Left

For this step, the following areas will remain tan: the back of the head, the mane, the inside of each leg, the feet, and the tail. 

Defining the Details – Right Side

Painted Face Tail & Feet - Right

Paint the head and facial details, except for the eyes, which will be completed in a later step.  Paint the tail and hooves black.  The muzzle and fur between the eyes are darker, while the cheeks are lightly spotted.  The “horns” are a combination of black and brown. 

Reference – Back of Giraffe’s Head

Giraffe Back of Head

Figuring out the back of the head was difficult.  Because our giraffe is looking off to the side, you will only see a portion of the face. 

Reference – Back of Head & Mane

Giraffe Back of Head

When the giraffe moves his head and neck, the mane twists and turns. 

Reference – Back of Head & Mane

Giraffe Back of Head

There are no spots on the ears.  Notice how the mane twists as the neck shifts. 

Defining the Details – Left Side

Painted Back of Head

Draw the details on the back of the head.  Be sure to show the twisting mane.  Paint all the details except for the mane. 

Paint 3D Details – Right Side

Finished Giraffe - Right

The eyes are painted with brown fabric paint for a 3D effect and outlined in black.  After it dries, add black pupils and white dots in the center to bring life to the eyes.  Using brown fabric paint, create a raised mane, centered down the entire length of the neck.  It will take two coats to make the furry mane to stand upright.  Create fur on the “horns” with black fabric paint. 

Paint 3D Details – Left Side

Finished Giraffe - Left

Paint the eye with brown fabric paint and outline with black.  Using brown fabric paint, complete the twisted mane on the back of the head.  Create fur on the “horns” with black fabric paint.  Allow it to dry overnight. 

Finished Close Up – Face

Finished Close Up - Right

The following steps apply to both sides: Because fabric paint is shiny, paint over the mane with brown acrylic and then highlight it with reddish brown and tan.  Paint the horns with black acrylic.  Some reddish-brown paint was brushed into the ears and up onto the furry horns. 

Finished Close Up – Back of Head

Finished Close Up - Left

Touch up any details as needed.  The spots on the left side of the neck, closest to the face, curve toward the face to give a three-dimensional roundness to the upper portion of the neck. 

Giraffe – Before & After

Before & After Giraffe

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the original raw wood giraffe and the fully detailed project at completion. 

I had a lot of fun painting this little guy.  Figuring out the anatomy was challenging and rewarding.  There are many wooden animal crafts waiting for good homes.  Check out your local craft stores or the internet to find one you will love.  Good luck! 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Hidden Messages – How Businesses Use Color

Color Wheel

Believe it or not, color influences our behavior, actions and expectations. Businesses use this knowledge to gain customers, build trust and brand recognition, and increase their profitability. Sometimes it is quite obvious, and others are more subliminal. There’s a delicate balance in creating a memorable impression to play upon our emotions or inspire particular thoughts and actions. Let’s look at some examples of how color is being used on a daily basis.

Mystery Businesses
But first, let’s play a game! Can you name each of the companies associated with the four photos above? Your subconscious mind has been trained to recognize brands. Many are instantly known by a particular color combination. Did you guess them all correctly? Read on to find the answers.

Day Spa
Day spas offer renewal and relaxation by reconnecting with Nature through pampering treatments set in rooms with earth tones, blues, greens and purples to soothe away the stresses of everyday life. The sweet floral scent of lavender is known to promote restful sleep and has an instant calming affect simply by smelling the fragrance.

The laboratory interiors are typically white to give the impression of cleanliness and purity even though we know there are millions of microscopic germs. Antibacterial wipe, anyone?

Bank Vault
There was a time when banks were red brick buildings, symbolic of strength, wealth, and confidence to weather any storm. Today bank’s branding colors include red (a power color and a nod to bricks of past), and green (the color of money and abundance.) Regardless of the colors your bank uses, the message is the same: “Your money is safe with us.”

Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co. is easily recognizable by its robin’s egg blue packaging, store displays, and interior accents. Many people refer to this color as “Tiffany Blue.” Because it is rather rare in nature, the color suggests bold but delicate designs in timeless jewelry to be treasured for a lifetime.

Leopard at Sunset
The jewelry designer, Cartier, often uses leopard print and their signature red packaging in their advertising, but as you can see from the photo, Mother Nature is the originator of this color, pattern and texture combo. It’s wild, exotic, and luxurious.

Na Hoku
Na Hoku, a Hawaiian jeweler, entices shoppers with a deep blue storefront dotted with shiny silver sparkles, and pairs of lit torches on either side of the entrance, which calls to mind warm tropical evenings under a star-filled sky. Inside, palm tree murals further that beachy vibe, while jewelry designs celebrate the beauty of this paradise found.

Tommy Bahama
Another name synonymous with the tropics is Tommy Bahama. Their merchandise and stores exude island charm with natural wood plantation shutters, vibrant floral decor, and exotic prints on everything from clothing to umbrellas and beach chairs. Sometimes the stores feature musicians playing guitars or steel drums to foster a playful, party atmosphere inviting everyone to come on in, stay a while, and take a piece if the tropics home with you today.

You would think that limiting yourself to a palette of pastel colors would restrict your options for creating new products and drawing new customers. Lilly Pulitzer has successfully accomplished this and is one of the most easily recognized brands in the world.

The French company, L’Occitane, stands out among a sea of retailers because of its signature golden yellow color on its products, storefront and interior. Competition is fierce so it pays to draw attention with a bold presence. Back it up with fine quality and service, and you will have customers for life.

Coffee Shop
The warm, rich, layered flavors of coffee are echoed in the earth tones, wood grain and brick textures in this popular coffee shop. This down to earth atmosphere invites you to kick back and stay a while, as you enjoy a few cups of your favorite beverage and maybe a scrumptious, fresh-baked muffin too.

Grocery Store Fresh Produce
The green walls and brown display case suggest nature. The signage reassures shoppers it’s fresh and organic. The light purple labels and packaging are appealing against the reds, oranges and greens found in fresh produce. The better it looks, the more you’ll want to buy.

Refrigerated Foods
Food packaging depicts professionally prepared and photographed dishes to tempt you. The actual product may look nothing like it, but manufacturers pay consultants hefty fees to select the perfect colors for their products as well as the packaging. Supermarkets invest fortunes in colorful displays to entice shoppers to buy more.

Time Square
Time Square – Billboards, storefronts, and signage all vie for your attention in a very competitive world. Where will you spend your shopping dollars – probably at the shops with the most inventive storefronts and/or branding? Those advertising campaigns stick with you, and your brain is all too happy to supply you with purchasing options.

French Cafe
You’re seated at a table in a fine restaurant sipping wine in an elegantly appointed room with red walls. Why? Studies show the color red stimulates the appetite, which results in consuming more food and drinks and more profits for the restaurant. Restaurant ambiance is created by combining many elements – light level, color scheme, lamp type, china color and pattern, linens, upholstery, etc. Nothing is by accident – it’s tailored to make you spend more.

Fast Food McDonalds
McDonalds enlists the help of the color red to encourage eating more, but it’s combined with yellow so don’t get too comfy. Hard seats and dense table arrangements ensure guests will make this a short stay. The subliminal message: Eat fast and go!

Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory – What will you do to pass the time while you wait for a table? You’re hungry. You could take a look at the menu, but most customers peruse the Takeout Desserts counter, which is filled with the most tempting cheesecakes and sweets. The rich chocolate browns and caramel colors, in the interior as well as the foods, entice your taste buds. You’re not walking out of here without buying dessert.

Eddie Bauer
What could be more outdoors than forest green accents, river rocks, and lots of natural wood trim? Eddie Bauer immerses customers in the great outdoors long before their adventures begin.

Take a look at your office, the local supermarket, and the stores you frequent. What kind of atmosphere are the colors and textures creating? How do they make you feel? If you could make one change, what would it be? Hopefully this has given you some food for thought. If you have any ideas to share, please note them in the comments section. Until next time…

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Decorating Easter Eggs

Dyed Eggs

Dyed eggs are a staple of any Easter celebration. All you need is an egg dyeing kit and some vinegar, which makes it easily accessible for all ages.  Decorating doesn’t have to be limited to dye and farm fresh eggs. Options include paints, fabrics, markers, ribbons, and appliques, while the eggs can be wooden, foam, or plastic, just to name a few. Let’s look at a variety of decorated eggs to get your creative juices flowing. 

Painted Broken Eggs

Broken Eggs

Crackle Finish Egg

Crackle Finish Egg

Pierced Eggs with 3D Painted Accents

Pierced Eggs

Fabric Wrapped Eggs with Decorative Trims

Fabric Covered Eggs

Dyed & Lace Appliqued Eggs

Lace Decorated Eggs

Scrapbooking Eggs

Scrapbooking Eggs

Quilled Egg

Quilling Egg

Decoupage Egg

Decoupage Fairytale Egg

Multicolor Marker Egg

Marker Egg

Illustrated Egg

Hand Drawn & Colored Egg

Silk Flower Applique Egg

Purple Floral Egg

Dyed & Beaded Eggs

Beaded Eggs

Paint Pour Egg

Marbleized Paint Pouring Egg

Sponge Painted Egg

Sponge Painted Egg

Hand Painting Eggs

Hand Painting Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

Hand Painted Eggs

3D Hand Painting Eggs

3D Hand Painting Eggs

Hand Painted 3D Metallic Eggs

Fabric Paint & Jeweled

Romanian 3D Metallic Eggs

Metallic Romanian Eggs

Ukrainian Egg

Oversized Ukrainian Egg

Fine Art Eggs

Fine Art Eggs

Hand Painted Abstract Art Egg

Chocolate Eggs

If you have an egg allergy or if painting is not in your skill set, chocolate eggs can be decorated using the same design principles shown throughout these photos.

I hope you have found some inspiration and will try your hand at decorating eggs.  Do you have a favorite? Please let me know in the comments section.  

Have fun decorating and thanks for reading.

Happy Easter & Happy Crafting!

Collages: Old School vs. High Tech

Camera & Collage

Collages can be created by two different methods: 1) “Old School” Traditional -Assemble and glue groups of photos onto a backer board, or 2) High Tech – Use photo editing software. Both methods are fun and produce impressive results. Let’s look at several possibilities…

“Old School” Collages:

Postcard Collage

Travel Collage

Many people collect postcards during their travels. Instead of stuffing them in a drawer, create a collage, frame it, and hand it up so you can reminisce about past vacations and dream of future destinations. 

Vision Board

Vision Board

What are your dreams? A vision board helps focus mental and physical energy toward achieving your goals.  Magazines, catalogs, travel guides and brochures provide great source material for collages.
For more information about traditional collage making, please click here.

Digital Collages:

Horizontal Grid (a.k.a. Photo Montage)

Dog Collage

A horizontal collage is a great way of displaying your favorite photos, such as family members, fur babies, or anything else that warms your heart.

Horizontal Grid

Fireworks Collage

Whatever you love – fireworks, lighthouses, beaches – can be assembled into a frameable work of art.

Layered Images

Peacock Collage

Compose a one-of-a-kind masterpiece by overlaying multiple images.

Symmetrical Grid

Antique Door Hardware

Displaying your collectibles, such as antique door hardware, requires a lot of space, but a photo montage makes it easy to enjoy your collection on a daily basis.

Asymmetrical Grid

Undersea Collage

The placement and sizes of photos can be easily modified to create a visually pleasing composition.

Custom Grid

Flower Collage

With photo editing software, you can experiment with colors, layers, and special effects. Bring your imagination to life right before your eyes.

Hybrid Collages:

Bold Design

Parrot Collage

Much like the traditional collage making process, images from different photos can be digitally “cut and pasted” onto new backgrounds.

Action Adventure

Wave Collage

Spice up your family vacation photos with a few thrills and chills.

Out of this World

Universe Collage

To achieve this otherworldly image, photograph a model leaning upon a beach ball. Cut & paste it onto a star filled background. Replace the ball with a photo of the earth and add a planet or two. Enjoy!



Drawing, painting, or traditional collage making would take forever to create this complex mandala. Thanks to digital technology, you can create one quarter of this design and then mirror it vertically and horizontally to complete the circle. You could add three-dimensional sparkle by gluing beads to the completed composition.

Mixed Media Collages:

Siren of the Sea

Mixed Media Mermaid Collage

This mermaid and sunken ship can be made using a combination of traditional and digital collage making. The background would be easier to create digitally. After printing out the full-size image, the mermaid and ship could be hand drawn. Based upon desired colors, textures and patterns, pieces cut from the pages of magazines can be glued in place, producing a three-dimensional effect.

Flower Power

Mixed Media Floral Collage

Who wouldn’t love eternal spring? Make it a reality by starting with a photo of a beautiful flower garden. Enhance it by cutting and pasting layers of colorful flowers on top of the finished image.

Creature of the Night

Mixed Media Owl Collage

A digital sepia tone background can be printed full size on canvas. The owl is drawn and detailed with a combination of markers and paint. Genuine feathers, layered and glued upon the wings, bring this owl off the canvas and into the viewer’s world.

Abstract Words

Mixed Media Abstract Collage

It is said you should choose your words carefully. Choose a poem or quotes, whatever appeals to you. Layered colors, words, and embossed textures harmonize, creating visual movement and a palpable sense of warmth and peace in this abstract masterpiece.

The Cat’s Meow

Mixed Media Cat Collage

What do you think he sees? A bird? A butterfly? Maybe a mouse? Whatever it is, those reflective amber eyes capture our attention. The antiqued background, with embossed floral motifs and pen and ink style writing, ensures this quizzical feline remains center stage. Additional detailing of the cat’s body and punching up the contrast of the purple and green flowers around him will make it appear as if he is sitting in front of a wall.

I hope these collages have inspired you to playfully experiment with the infinite possibilities of photography and collages to create personalized art to be enjoyed for years to come. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section. Good luck with all your future creative projects.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting! 

Mother of Pearl – A Gift from the Sea

Mother of Pearl comes from mollusks, and is naturally a blend of tan, cream and white, with an iridescent finish. It can be bleached white, or dyed and color of the rainbow. Mother of Pearl beads come in an amazing range of shapes and sizes, while the thicker pieces are carved into cameos and pins, or cut into squares as mosaic tiles. Let’s turn a few round beads into a lovely pair of earrings.

How to Make Natural Mother of Pearl Cluster Earrings
Mother of Pearl Earrings

These 1-1/2” long Natural Mother of Pearl earrings swing and shift with your movements, and they’re a neutral color, which coordinates with whatever you’re wearing. In this design, five beads orbit around a dangling two bead central core. These earrings are a little challenging in Step 6. At times you may feel like you have fumble fingers. If you are looking for an easy pair of earrings for beginners, please click here.

Required Beads & Findings:
MoP Earring Supplies

To make this pair of earrings you will need:
12) Silver plated Head Pins – 1” length,
14) 7-7.5mm round Natural Mother of Pearl beads,
2) Silver plated Surgical Steel Fishhook Earwires with ball & coil

(Please note: Head pins are the foundation of these earrings. They are inexpensive and come in big packages. Be sure to have several on hand just in case. Craft stores carry jewelry making supplies, including beads, accents, and tools. If you get hooked on jewelry making and yearn for the ultimate selections, look no further than FireMountainGems.com)

Required Jewelry Making Tools:
Round Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers – the smooth, round tips on these pliers make it easy and safe to manipulate wire, pins, and small jewelry metal pieces known as findings. Please don’t use standard pliers, which have teeth that will damage delicate precious metals.

Jewelry Wire Cutters
Jewelry Wire Cutters – a sharp pair of wire cutters makes jewelry making so much easier. Do not use them for other crafts, such as floral arranging, which can damage the blades.

Earring Making Instructions:
Beads on Head Pins
Step 1: Slide the beads onto head pins as shown.

Grasp Head Pin with Pliers
Step 2: With the round nose pliers in your right hand, grip the wire just above the Mother of Pearl bead. Hold the pliers in this position for the next step.

Bend Head Pin
Step 3: Grasp the end of the head pin with your left thumb and index finger, and bend the wire toward you. Continue bending the pin over the tip of the pliers until it touches the Mother of Pearl bead.

Beads with Partial Loops
The reshaped pins will look like the photo above.

Cut Excess Pin Length
Step 4: Cut off the excess wire. Leave enough wire to form a small loop above the bead. This may take a few tries. Don’t worry if you cut it too short. Simply use a new head pin and repeat the steps.

Beads with Trimmed Pins
This photo shows the beads with trimmed pins.

Attach Earwire
Step 5: Hook the double bead pin onto the loop on the bottom of the fishhook earwire, and close the loop using the round nose pliers.

Core Beads Attached
The earring will look like the above photo.

Close the Loop
Step 6: Attach the first “satellite” bead to the earwire in the same way.

First Bead Attached
The earring now has a center core and one satellite bead. Repeat this step for the remaining four beads. If you have trouble getting the beads to lay correctly, remove the dangling two bead central core. Shift the five satellite beads with your fingers until they form a circle around the earwire, and then reattach the two bead central core.

Finished Earrings
Congratulations! You have successfully made a pair of Mother of Pearl cluster earrings.

Black Onyx Version
Here’s the same pair of earring made with Black Onyx beads. Note how the color dramatically changes the look. You could also experiment with different gemstones, glass or wood beads.

Jewelry making is a great way to explore your creativity. There are so many options available that it’s hard to choose. After making several items for yourself, keep in mind that people love receiving jewelry as gifts.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Flowers – Reality vs. Illusion

Assorted Flowers

Today’s silk flowers easily fool the eye and are available in an infinite assortment.  Prepare to be amazed with the side-by-side photos of silk and live flowers.  Which are real and which are an illusion? Can you tell the difference? Let’s find out…

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise Live vs Silk

Calla Lilies

Calla Lilies Live vs Silk


Chrysanthemum Live vs Silk


Daffodils Live vs Silk

Dogwood Blooms

Dogwood Live vs Silk


Ferns Live vs Silk

Gerber Daisies

Gerber Daisies Live vs Silk


Hydrangeas Live vs Silk


Magnolias Live vs Silk


Orchids Live vs Silk


Poppies Live vs Silk

Pussy Willows & Forsythia

Pussy Willows & Forsythia Live vs Silk


Roses Live vs Silk

Roses – Two Tone

Roses Two Tone Live vs Silk

Stargazer Lilies

Stargazer Lilies Live vs Silk


Sunflowers Live vs Silk


Tulips Live vs Silk

With silk flowers, there’s no need for water, fertilizer, sunshine, or a green thumb.  In the challenge of recognizing live flowers versus silk, how did you do?  Please let me know your thoughts and favorites in the comments section. 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Walk on the Wild Side

Whose turn is it to walk the dog – I mean dinosaur? Something tells me that 25-foot leash will not be long enough! Dinosaurs are real fan favorites. You can’t get much wilder than that. And what’s not to love?

Dinosaur Eggs
A Dinosaur Nursery – They’re kind of cute at this stage.

Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood they seem to lose their charm! (lol)

Dinosaur Skeleton
Even when they’re dead, they instill an odd mixture of fear and fascination. Movie Director Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs back to life on the big screen in the epic movie, Jurassic Park – an emotional roller coaster, that started with awe and wonder, but quickly escalated to bone chilling terror.

We love dinosaurs anyway. Want proof? Look at all the books, movies, television shows, and merchandise. At some point, every kid draws and colors his or her favorite dinosaur. Here’s your chance to feel like a kid again. Grab some paints and brushes and let’s go!

How to Paint a Wooden Stegosaurus
With a little paint you can design your own dinosaur. It can be as simple as a single coat of paint, or as detailed as you like. First we need a little inspiration.
Iguana Closeup
Since dinosaurs lived sixty-five million years ago, there’s no one around to tell us exactly what they looked like. For this project, photos of creatures living today, such as iguanas and lizards, can be inspirational. Check out those spines!

Raw Wood Dinosaur
This carved wood stegosaurus, available at AC Moore, has sturdy legs, making it a freestanding, three-dimensional piece. Both sides and all the edges will need to be painted. Due to the raw nature of wood, it may require sanding, especially along the edges. (There are several types of animals in this carved wood collection. To see a painted flamingo project, please click here.)

Wooden Stegosaurus (4-1/4” high x 7-1/4” wide x 1-1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – black, brown & metallic green
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown

Dinosaur Painted Green
Step 1 – Paint the dinosaur with green acrylic paint, including both sides and all edges. The great thing about paint is that it’s cheap. Feel free to experiment. If you don’t like the results, it can be easily changed.

Dinosaur Tail Detail
Seeing it in color revealed a major anatomical mistake in the tail design. If you loved dinosaurs as a kid, you’ll remember that the stegosaurus has spikes on the top of its tail. The artist chose to curl the tail underneath, and as a result, mistakenly placed the spikes on the underside of the tail. This poor animal would have trouble walking because the spikes would continually get caught on the ground as it moved through the forest, making it easy prey.

Dinosaur with Cut Tail
Step 2 – To make it right, cut off the tip of the tail as shown.

Dinosaur Painted Black
Step 3 – Turn the cut tail piece around, and glue it in place. Paint the entire figure black as a base coat, which will help delineate the scales added in a later step. Looks much better doesn’t it?

Dinosaur with Fabric Paint
Step 4 – Paint the top of the head, the back plates, and the tail with brown fabric paint. Paint the sides of each plate with green fabric paint and add spikes along the sides of the tail.  Brown acrylic paint was applied with a brush in between the back plates, because it was too narrow to fit the tube of fabric paint.

Dinosaur Scale Pattern
Step 5 – Add brown fabric paint on top of each leg and more spikes along the entire length of body. Create a scale pattern on the body using metallic green paint, and use the same color in the sides of the plates on his back.

Finished Dinosaur
Step 6 – Add a small dotted pattern to each leg. Paint the head brown, and add a few green scales along with the eyes. Congratulations! You now have your very own pet dinosaur. Fortunately for you, he’s a “Veggiesaurus,” unlike the one in the next photo.

Dinosaur Jaws
What a view, right? Thank goodness this is only an observation tower! Because if it was real… It would be the last thing you ever saw.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Picture Framing Do’s & Don’ts

You finally found a photograph, painting, or drawing, which speaks to your soul, evoking special meaning in a style uniquely your own.  Before rushing out to buy whatever frame you can find, you might be able to refresh a one you already own, or you could personalize a readymade frame. 

Painted Frame

A room’s lighting & color scheme will have major effects upon your artwork.  Be sure to view the item in the room you wish to hang it.  The frame can be easily painted to match or contrast with existing décor.

Sponge Painted Frame

Sponge painting is easy and fun way to add color and texture.  Paint the base color first with a brush and then apply two or three additional colors with sponges.  Experiment with different colors and techniques on scrap paper first until you find the combination that works best. 

Decoupage or Scrapbooking Frame

Decorative scrapbooking papers, wallpaper and contact paper offer infinite possibilities.  Whether you decide to cover all or part of the frame, simply glue on your designs. 

Seashell Frame

Frame with Seashell Border

A plain picture frame gets a fashionable update with a seashell border.  Beads, glass marbles, pom poms, flower petals, and anything else you imagine can be applied for a unique finished art piece. 

Fabric Wrapped Frame

Fabric Wrapped Frame

Textile designers continually push the limits of color, geometry, and texture, ensuring you will find fabrics you absolutely love. 

Gilded Carved Wood Frame

Carved Wood Frame Detail

For a museum-quality finish, apply gold or silver paint on the surface details.  The recesses will remain dark, while enhancing the three-dimensional carvings. 

Background & Border Colors

Mat Color Choices

Look for colors, patterns, and textures within the image, which can be coordinated with matboards, metallic trims, fabric wrapped edging for needlepoint, and decorative frames.  The same applies to plaque mounted artwork. 

Do’s & Don’ts:

Triple Matted & Framed -Options 1 & 2

Neutral vs Blue Mats

This neutral gray mat will work with any décor but choosing colors within the image, such as blue, creates a more dramatic piece of artwork. 

Triple Matted & Framed -Options 3 & 4

Dark Green vs Dark Red Mats

Green is also a great border color to harmonize with the artwork.  Although there is a small amount of red in the image, the red border pulls the viewer’s attention away from the image. 

Carved Wood Frame

Girl with Wood Frame

This field of wildflowers grows outward onto the floral, carved wood frame.

Metal Frame – Options 1 & 2

Warm vs Cool Colors

This frame is pretty, but the cool silver tone works in opposition to the warm pink flowers.  The cool grays in the owl photo harmonize with the frame. 

Ornate Metal Frame – Options 1 & 2

Silver Frames

The bold silver frame overpowers the delicate baby’s breath flowers.  The frame’s scroll designs resemble shells, while the strong geometry and saturated colors of the seashells hold your attention. 

Floral Frame – Option 1

Scrapbook Papered Frame

While orange provides the maximum contrast to blue, this floral frame is too “busy” for the multitude of leaves in the photo. 

Floral Frame – Option 2

Scrapbook Papered Frame

Here we see a perfect match between subject and frame.  The bluebird and delicate crabapple blooms harmonize with the blue hydrangea frame. 

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 1

Wood Frame

The rigid geometry of the border and heavy appearance of the frame competes with the delicate butterflies and flowers in this springtime photo. 

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 2

Wood Frame

The rounded, faux wood grain frame borders resemble tree trunks in the forest. 

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 3

Wood Frame

The warm wood tones coordinate beautifully with the soft orange and green in this nature scene.

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 4

Wood Frame

There’s quite a bit of “masculine” energy in this photo, including the high-performance sports car, raptors in flight, and the rugged desert landscape, which are perfectly showcased in this tailored frame. 

Gilded Carved Wood Frame vs. Color-Coordinated Frame

Wood Frame vs Pastel Frame

This ornate gilded wood frame freezes the motion of the ship upon the stormy sea, while the second frame extends the movement and accentuates the purple sky. 

Gilded Carved Wood Frame – Options 1 & 2

Wood Frame

The cheetah’s spots and the surrounding colors are echoed in the frame, as are the textures of the leaves and bricks in the second painting. 

As you can see, choosing the right frame to showcase your artwork is easy to achieve.  Let your artwork tell you what it wants by observing colors (warm or cool, pastel or bold, light or dark), patterns, textures, and themes.  The most important thing your artwork should do is make you happy!  

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Carnival in Venice

Carnival of Venice is one of the oldest pre-Lenten festivals in the world.  Venetian masks and costumes are lavishly decorated with luxurious fabrics & braided trims, feathers, beads, intricately hand painted designs, and touches of gold or silver leaf.  Together, let’s explore this magical celebration. 

Bold & Beautiful:

It’s All in the Details

Red & Gold Costumes

A fantastic location like Venice calls for equally dramatic costumes.  Every intricate detail in these opulent red velvet and gold costumes mimics the delicate lacelike architecture.

Lady in Red

Red & Gold Mask

“All eyes on me” is the message of this feathered beauty.  With mesmerizing blue eyes and matching lashes, it is impossible to look away.

Flirtatious Orange & Black

Orange & Black Costume

Who is the flirtatious woman behind the mask?  You may only catch a glimpse of her, but the impression will last a lifetime. 

Pretty in Pink

Pink & White Costume

Mirror Mirror…who is the fairest of them all? 

Passionate Purple

Purple & Gold Costume

From sequins and beads to feathers and fabrics, this purple and gold ensemble stands out in a crowd.

It Takes Two – Couples Costumes:

In Perfect Harmony

Gold & Green Costumes

Although individual details vary, these costumes are perfectly coordinated by design.  Lush green feathers create frames for showcasing their lovely golden masks. 

Too Close for Comfort

Maroon & Gold Costumes

No matter how hard they try, these two lovers will not be able to kiss, but their body language makes us believe anything is possible. 

Somewhere in Time

Vintage Costumes

Wearing vintage costumes, while standing upon a dock on the Grand Canal, time seems to stand still. 

Eternally Yours

Gothic Horror Costumes

Most couples vow “until death do us part,” but this macabre pair are going above and beyond for eternity.

The Four Classical Elements:


Earth Costume

In ancient times, it was believed that the world was made from four basic elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  Layered in flowers, vines, butterflies and birds, this costume would please Mother Nature herself. 


Air Mask

Simply by walking, these voluminous feathers stir the air.  Twinkling rhinestones, glitter, gold trim and sequins create the illusion of fluid movement in this light and airy mask. 


Fire Costume

Even from afar, it’s easy to recognize this fiery costume.  While I appreciate all the work that went into making each of the individual flames, I think lighter weight reflective fabrics would be more successful in conveying the illusion of flickering fire. 


Water Costumes

When you live in Venice, water plays an integral part of daily life.  The shimmering, reflective, color changing effects of these costumes mimics the ebb and flow of this watery world. 

Focal Points:

Gemstones & Beads

Beads & Gems Costume

Faceted gemstones, iridescent beads, rhinestones and sequins adorn every inch of this one-of-a-kind dazzling costume. 

Luxurious Fabrics

Luxurious Fabric Costumes

Everything from gossamer fabrics to lush velvets, adorned with braided trims, call attention to this interesting trio.  The undecorated white masks and blank stares do not complement the design, causing the wearers to appear to be mannequins. 

Exotic Feathers

Feathered Costume

Peacock feathers certainly make a statement.  Metallic paints, faceted gemstones and glittering gold accents perfectly complement the natural iridescence of the feathers. 

Intricate Layers

Layered Costumes

How many hours do you think it took to make these costumes?  Both have layer upon layer of fabrics.  The one on the left is adorned with pearls and gold trims, while the one on the right consists of sheer pastel fabrics wrapped upon soft wires, making each one adjustable in any position.

Earthy Textures

Textured Costume

Cool metallic “half” mask with granulated glitter accents, soft tulle fabric, fluffy feathers, rhinestone studded trim, polished beads, and smooth porcelain come together in this beautifully textured ensemble. 

Staying In Character:

Flamboyant Performer

Performer Costume

Ready to perform at a moment’s notice, this performer awaits the first musical notes to set her feet in motion in the ancient art of dance. 

Sassy Fashionista

Fashionista Costume

This feathered headpiece reminds me of 1920’s fashions.  Her sassy posture and look of confidence and curiosity in her eyes work in such harmony that it’s easy to forget she is wearing a mask. 

Woodland Sprite

Woodland Sprite Costume

Like hummingbirds, fairies seldom stand still.  The surprised facial expression combined with the sideways glance, tilt of the head and arm position imply she may dart off at any second. 

Masks with Personality:


Humorous Mask

Want to be the life of the party?  Without saying a word, this amusing mask will make you smile.  Add a funny walk or a few bobbing dance steps and viewers will be laughing in no time. 


Mischievous Masks

Being naughty can be fun.  Either of these masks will keep them guessing what you will do next. 


Mysterious Costume

Want to add a little mystery to your life?  Glowing eyes, in the darkness, keep their secrets hidden.  What lies beneath that sly smile? 


Playful Cat Mask

If you have a warm and bubbly personality, or you are a cat lover at heart, this mask may be the “purrfect” choice for you. 

Taking Center Stage:

Our Solar System

Solar System Costume

Until I saw this costume, I never realized one person could represent an entire solar system in an elegant and stylish fashion. 

As always, thanks for reading! 

Happy Carnival & Happy Crafting!

Daily Dose of Color

Colorful Butterfly
Color plays an integral role in our daily lives. It affects our moods, decisions and actions. Let’s take a look at our activities on a typical day to observe how influential color can be.

Most of us rise with the sun and sleep at night. Our internal clocks are preprogrammed for this routine. During the gray days of winter, it’s tough to get motivated. We need that burst of sunshine to jumpstart our morning activities. The longer days of summer encourage more outdoors events, bringing us closer to nature, which energizes our minds and bodies. Vacations are most popular in summertime.

Peach Bedroom
In our homes, the walls, floors, and furnishings vary in color from room to room, often based upon our activities. For example, sunrooms are usually a cheerful yellow, while bedrooms and bathrooms promote relaxation in soothing tones. Choice varies by individual preferences, and emotional responses to those colors, which are affected by memories, experiences, upbringing, culture, etc.  (Photo courtesy AMS Interiors, LLC.)

What about your wardrobe? What colors do you see when you look in your bedroom closet? Do you prefer the warm tones of red, orange and yellow, or do you lean more towards the cooler greens, blues, and purples? Perhaps more neutral colors, such as white, tan, brown, and black are to your liking?  Whatever the colors, you feel good when you wear your favorites and it shows.

You start the day with breakfast, and a great view if you can get it. Fresh fruit brings a natural burst of color and sweetness to an otherwise ordinary bowl of cereal. Maybe you prefer bread or a bagel. It has to be toasted to that perfect shade of light tan or golden brown – nothing else will do.

Kid's Breakfast Cereal
If you’re a kid, you hope breakfast will look something like the photo above. Kid’s cereals are great examples of how color attracts attention, even from the younger members of the family. Hiding a toy inside the box doesn’t hurt, and if it’s part of a collectible set, boxes will practically fly off the shelves.

Traffic Lights
On the way to work, or running errands, drivers are directed to go on green and stop on red. Yellow seems to be a bit confusing. For some it means proceed with caution, but others believe it’s time to stomp on the gas pedal – some more successfully than others.

Police Lights
Depending upon your driving habits, you might see flashing lights like these in your rear view mirror.  As you pull over to the curb, you breathe a sigh of relief when the police car flies past you.  Whew!  That was close!

Gas Pumps
Gas stations have installed color-coded gas pumps to ensure motorists select the correct type of gasoline for their vehicles.

Grocery Store
A quick stop at the grocery store offers a multitude of selections. With so many products competing for your attention, how will you ever decide?

Fresh Produce
When selecting produce, color is the first determining factor for freshness.

What’s for lunch? Maybe today you’ll have a salad. Notice the amazing combination of colors, shapes and textures. Remember we eat with our eyes first. Looks delicious!

Parking Garage
How about a trip to the local mall? Finding your car in a crowded lot can be a nightmare. Color-coding in the multi-level parking garages saves us a lot of time and frustration. We might not notice what floor we parked on, but the color is easily remembered.

Ski & Outdoor Gear Shop
Inside the shopping mall, retailers vie for your attention and dollars with colorful displays and eye-catching signage.

A much needed jolt of caffeine to boost your energy through the afternoon. The brown cup and saucer, and use of aged wood countertops reinforces the natural connection of coffee beans growing in the forest, and builds anticipation for the rich creamy flavors of this hot delicious coffee.

Cheese Burger
The arrival of summer means it’s time to fire up the barbeque grill. Crisp lettuce, and juicy slices of tomato with two kinds of melted cheese on a soft bun make this hamburger a mouthwatering sight to behold.

Watching the sunset or sunrise is a worldwide activity. We may not speak the same language, but we share an appreciation of natural beauty. People go to great lengths, traveling vast distances to reach the best vantage points, often atop mountain peaks, where visitors have to stand in freezing cold temperatures, to watch the sun rise or set at the horizon in royal splendor. All those fiery reds, oranges, and yellows in the mornings and magnificent blues and purples at night flash across the sky in a dazzling performance remembered for a lifetime.

Family Room
In the evening, most people unwind in a comfortable family room or great room, surrounded by colorful family mementos, sharing stories of the day and joking about the silly plots of whatever is on television. Earth tone walls, flooring, furniture and furnishings promote relaxation.

It’s time to get ready for bed. You wrap yourself in your favorite pajamas, or sweat pants and a t-shirt – you know the one from your first concert, 10 to 20 years ago. With that wild logo on the front and tour dates on the back, that t-shirt has outlasted the band that inspired it. The color may have faded, and it may be a little ragged around the edges, but it still has years of wear and lots of fond memories attached to it, and no matter what anyone says, you’re not going to part with it! Sweet Dreams!

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!