Yarn Crafts 101

Yarn Skeins
From pastels to neutrals to the most vibrant colors under the sun, yarn has it all. Natural or manmade fibers and blends are available as thin as thread, and as thick as cord. Whatever your preferences or skill level, there are many amazing opportunities for creating with yarn.

Needlepoint Pillow
Needlepoint kits include a preprinted canvas, all the colorful yarns required, and detailed instructions. You will need good lighting, and depending upon the complexity, a certain degree of concentration to ensure the various stitch types are placed correctly upon the canvas. The finished needlepoint can be incorporated into home furnishings, such as pillows, ornaments and wall art.

Needlepoint Deer
While working on your project, the canvas backing will become softer and more pliable. If you plan to have it framed, be sure to have the finished needlepoint blocked to straighten the stitches and restore the design to the intended shape. A good framing shop will be happy to help.

Knitting Fabric
There are so many cozy yarn choices, suitable for knitting the plushest scarves or sweaters, and even the blankets for our most precious family members, babies! A skein of yarn and two knitting needles are all you will need, to get started. There are many instructional videos online.

Knitting Snail
Knitting isn’t just limited to wearable items. This adorable snail will be a constant companion for your little ones, and joyfully, for busy mothers, he’s washable too!

Macrame Bracelets
Macramé seemed to be a lost art for a while, but it’s making a comeback. Thick yarns, called cords or ropes, are knotted into interesting patterns. Wearing multiple macramé bracelets, in bold colors and patterns, has become a popular trend.

Macrame Dream Catcher
These dream catchers are perfect examples of this artful craft. Macramé can be used to create wall art, plant hangers, jewelry, and handbags.

Hand Hooked:
Hand Hooked Rug
Hand hooked rugs are made by pulling thick wool yarn or wool strips through a backing fabric such as burlap or linen. The stitches create the surface texture, while a liner fabric covers the back. Each hand hooked creation is a treasured one of a kind. Sizes vary, but a room size rug is a real labor of love.

Hand Hooked Pillow
Due to the bulkiness of the wool and backing fabrics, hand hooked items tend to be larger scale items, such as pillows, rugs, and tote bags. The level of detail is quite impressive. Stitches are made using special hooks, and can be made in a linear fashion or in more random fashion, whichever you prefer.

Latch Hooked:
Latch Hooks
Latch hook kits consist of an open weave canvas, and short lengths of yarn in multiple colors. A tool, called a latch hook, is used to pull individual pieces of yarn through to the front, creating a plush surface similar to cut-pile carpeting. Both of these latch hook kits are available at Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

Embroidery Jewelry
Clothing and accessories are often embroidered with intricate patterns in bold, colorful designs. Fine, lustrous yarns, called floss, are stitched through fabric by hand or by machine. Today, embroidery can be found on sneakers, tote bags and monogrammed towels and linens.

Embroidery Hand Beaded1
A combination of embroidery and hand-applied beading adorns designer evening gowns, clutch evening bags, and accessories. Many sewing machines include some basic embroidery designs. For optimal selection, there software programs for embroidery machines that will dazzle your fashion sense.

Cross Stitch:
Cross Stitch
If learning multiple stitch types seems too daunting, cross-stitch may be the needlecraft of your dreams. There’s only one stitch to learn, in the shape of an “X,” and it is applied to cotton fabric.

Cross Stitch
Another advantage of cross stitch is that it can be applied as an accent, and does not need to cover then entire surface, nor does it require blocking like needlepoint.

Crochet Squares
With a crochet needle and a few skeins of yarn, you’ll be completing projects in no time. It’s easy to learn and the repetitive stitches make it an ideal craft to do while watching television. Granny squares are made one at a time and set aside until you have enough for an afghan, making this a very portable past time. Matching yarn is used to sew the squares together in rows and fringe is typically added to the ends.

Crochet Violet
Crocheted garments, accessories, toys and home décor are just a few of the possibilities for this creative and flexible craft. There are a multitude of patterns, and in time you may come up with a few stitches of your own. Once learned, you never forget how to crochet.

Fabric Weaving:
Weaving Fabric
Fabric and rugs have been woven for centuries upon freestanding looms. The vertical yarns, called the warp, are loaded onto the loom, and the horizontal yarns, called the weft, are added one at a time through the use of foot pedals and a shuttle, which is the boat shaped item shown in the lower right corner.

Weaving Fabric
The pattern is determined by the way the yarns are attached to the loom, which is a time consuming process. The beauty of the finished work is well worth all the effort. Commercial textile mills utilize large mechanized looms to produce large quantities of woven goods, but many textile designers continue to create beautiful hand woven textiles as their ancestors did.

Woven Art:
Woven Art
Woven artwork is made using a round or rectangular hand or tabletop loom. The size of the piece is limited to the frame size and wall hangings are the most common type of woven art.

Woven Art
The yarns can be tightly woven together to form a solid surface, as shown in the previous photo. Alternatively, fancy yarns can be randomly added in a loose open-weave to produce a light and airy landscape, similar to a painting.

With the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere, silky yarns are great choices for cardigans on those breezy evenings, and crocheted swimsuit cover-ups for days at the beach. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, fall is the perfect time to curl up under a handmade afghan and dream about your next crafting project. Let your imagination soar.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Everything’s Better with Chocolate

Chocolate Strawberries
It’s that time of year again when stores are filled with mouth watering chocolate treats. With a few simple ingredients, you can make chocolate candy at home, including many of your favorites. Let’s take a look at the process and some of the options to get us started. Ready? Set. Let’s go!

Cacao – Well, they don’t look like much in their raw form, but these cacao seeds are transformed into the mouth watering chocolate treats we have come to adore.

Chocolate Melts
Candy making is easy to do at home using small chocolate wafers called candy melts, which are available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and assorted flavors, such as peppermint and strawberry.

Melted Chocolate
When melted, they begin to resemble the chocolate we’ve been consuming since childhood, and the possibilities are endless.

Chocolate Molds
Chocolate molds are available in an extraordinary variety, including those for making solid chocolates, truffles, candy bars, and 2-piece chocolate boxes. Simply pour the liquefied chocolate into the mold and refrigerate per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Solid Chocolates
Most beginners start by making solid chocolates.

Marbled Chocolates
A marbleized effect is achieved by swirling two different kinds of chocolate together during the melting process.

Chocolate Egg Box
This chocolate egg box, perfect for any Easter basket, looks impressive and is easy to make with a two-piece mold. Be careful removing it from the mold to prevent breakage.

Chocolate Bonbons
Bon Bons, also known as truffles, are easy to make. Click here for instructions.

Chocolate Fillings
These truffles have a chocolate hazelnut filling.

Chocolate Cherry Filling
Cherry crème filling with a maraschino cherry is cloaked in chocolate and crushed nuts.

Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter and chocolate are a great combination. Coat the bottom and sides of the mold with chocolate. Add the peanut butter filling and top off with a layer of chocolate. Refrigerate and in a short time you will be enjoying homemade peanut butter cups.

Chocolate Krispy Caramel Bar
Have you ever eaten a 100Grand candy bar? It’s a delicious combination of crispy chocolate with a gooey caramel center. Click here for instructions.

Hand Dipped Chocolate
Chocolate dipping is fun for the whole family.

Kit Kat Bars
Are Kit Kat bars your favorite? Make your own version at home by chocolate covering vanilla sugar wafer cookies.

Chocolate Covered Cookies
Chocolate covered Oreos are a yummy treat. As an alternative, you could combine chocolate covered graham crackers with marshmallows to make S’mores.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Have you noticed how expensive chocolate covered pretzels can be? Make your own and finish with jimmies, crushed nuts, or rainbow sprinkles.

Chocolate Covered Bananas
Bananas and strawberries taste great dipped in chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Apples
Gourmet apples are very expensive. Melt some chocolate, place apples on sticks, and drizzle with icing or another type of chocolate. Set on a tray, and if desired add chocolate chips or shavings, or sprinkles.

Chocolate Salted Caramel
Chocolate covered caramels are sure to please. Melt caramels in a pan, and allow cooling time. When the caramel has hardened, cut into bars and dip in chocolate.

Chocolate Coconut
Chocolate covered coconut is a popular combo. Make coconut filling in a pan, cut into bars and dip in chocolate.

Finishing Touches
Presentation is everything. For a more professional look, use a cake-decorating bag, filled with chocolate or icing, to pipe on details, such as polka dots or stripes. You might also consider sprinkling the moist chocolate with coconut, cinnamon, or crushed nuts. A nice box or basket showcases your candy and is ready for gift giving.

For more chocolaty goodness, please read: “Chocolate – How Sweet It Is!”

Happy Candy Making and Happy Crafting!

From Trash to Treasure – Mosaic Tile

Mosaic Wall Tile
Recycling continues to be a buzzword in the news. Mankind is finally waking up to the idea that we not only need to protect our planet, but we also need to clean up the damage already done, if not for ourselves, at least for the sake of our children and all the generations to come.

Broken Tiles
Broken pieces of tile are often the building blocks of mosaic masterpieces. What a great way to recycle something that would normally be considered trash! Mosaic art is similar to Impressionism, which uses little dots of paint instead of tile to create a unified scene when viewed from a distance. Everyday items, such as furniture, jewelry, and backsplashes come alive with the beauty of mosaic tile.

Broken Pottery
Grout & mortar choices may recede into the background or become a defining part of the mosaic design. In the photo above, notice how the abstract pattern of the broken ceramic pieces is dominated by the grout instead of the tile. The colors and smooth, irregular shapes contrast with the rough gray background.

Glass Tile Backsplash
Glass tile is a very popular choice for kitchen backsplashes and bathroom accent walls. Here is one extremely important installation tip for glass tile installation: Ensure the mortar is white. DO NOT use the standard gray because it will change the color of the glass. Keep in mind the grout color may also affect the color of the glass; therefore you might want to make a sample board first, before committing to the final selection.

Basketweave Glass Mosaic
With this glass tile, the basket weave pattern provides instant texture with minimal effort. The blue grout perfectly coordinates with the tile, making it barely noticeable.

Mosaic Building Facade
Our ancestors had to position one piece of tile at a time. Today, modern technology has simplified the mosaic tiling process by producing sheets of tile, eliminating the need to place individual pieces, and ensuring the finished product is evenly spaced and level.

Cardinal Mosaic Mural
The subtle shading and vibrant colors of this cardinal looks more like a watercolor painting than a mosaic tile mural. The grout has been tinted gold to reflect the light and add an extra lavish element to this outstanding artwork.

Mosaic Dragon Sculpture
On old maps, unexplored regions typically included a warning, which read: “Beyond here there be dragons!” Poised in mid-dive, I suppose this mosaic dragon is nothing to fear. It must have taken the artist a very long time to complete this large-scale project.

Mosaic Fish
The soft colors and delicate details create a soothing, peaceful atmosphere in this aquatic garden.

Mosaic Frog Figurines
Decorative figurines, such as these frogs, are perfect for showcasing the artist’s playful use of color, and the textured surface begs to be touched.

Glass Mosaic Table
Impressive geometric patterns, similar to those found in kaleidoscopes and mandalas, are beautifully expressed with mosaic tile.

Mosaic Animal Mural
This animal menagerie has been created using an interesting technique. The mosaics have been individually adhered to a stucco wall, and the space in between, which would normally be filled with grout, has been left open. The three dimensional result is quite beautiful, and the placement of the animals conveys a sense of motion and activity.

Mosaic Mythology Mural
Many ancient cultures created vast mosaic murals to not only decorate but to teach their people historical and mythological lessons.

Mural Religious
Worldwide religions have also made use of mosaics, especially those with metallic finishes, to illuminate interiors with an otherworldly glow, and to depict important concepts and teachings.

Mural Tiger Hunting
As human beings developed their skills throughout history, fine arts paintings, murals and mosaics replaced cave paintings and drawings for recording their observations of the natural world.

Stone Mosaic
Weather can be very hard on exterior mosaic installations, which require periodic maintenance to maintain its beauty and integrity. Grout and mortar can crack, loosening stones and/or tile, which is not only unattractive but can also become a tripping hazard.

Mosaic Swimming Pool
Swimming pools often incorporate mosaic tile coping along the waterline, which can also extend across the entire bottom of the pool in fascinating colors and patterns.

Mosaic Turkish Lanterns
Home accessories, such as picture frames, mirrors, and lamps, present many opportunities for mosaic artwork. Lit from behind, these glass mosaic lanterns brighten rooms and moods with the flick of a switch.

This Volkswagen is interesting and attractive, but not very practical. Every time you hit a bump or pothole, more tiles are lost. Of course if you ever get lost, there will be a trail of “bread crumbs” to find your way back home. (lol)

River Rock Mosaic
Countertops with thickset mortar beds can accommodate large smooth river rocks and require thicker grout lines. Use a leveling tool as you go to ensure the finished counter will be level.

Starry Sky Mosaic
As in all art forms, there’s always room for whimsy, and an occasional wish or two. If you have been wishing for a beautiful and unique piece of art, give mosaic art a try.  Please click here to read an earlier post on the mosaic tiling process.

Looking for a challenge? If you’ve been saving chipped or broken glass, dishes, ceramic tiles, or pebbles, then you already have the raw materials for your next mosaic project. In fact, you might need to break them into smaller pieces, which is a great way to work out the stresses of the day.   Fit the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. It all starts with that first piece of tile. What will you create?

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Inspiring Cake Designs

Oreo Choc Cherry Cake

A well-designed cake sets the tone (e.g., romantic, playful, humorous), or complements the theme (e.g., fairytales, natural wonders, hobbies, holidays) for every celebration. Let’s find out more…

What Lies Beneath:
As the saying goes: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Cake decorating focuses upon the exterior, while the inside is often overlooked. These cakes conceal design surprises to wow your guests.

Ice Cream Dream

Ice Cream Cake

Over the Rainbow

Rainbow Layer Cake


Checker Board Cake

Just Roll with It

Christmas Log Roll Cake

Nature’s Candy:
Sweet, colorful cake decorations really do grow on trees. Fruit may be sliced, dipped, powdered, or pureed, but the results are guaranteed to be beautiful and delicious.

Peaches & Cream

Peaches & Cream Cake

Modern Art

Fruit Glaze Art Cake

Creamy Temptation

Strawberry Choc Cake

Textural Wonder

Textural Cake

Layer Upon Layer

Exposed Layer Cake

Little Details:
Whether they are delicate or bold, smooth or textured, real or surreal, little details make all the difference. These cakes are almost too pretty to eat. … Almost!

Let’s Play

Soccer Ball Cake

America’s Sweetheart

Minnie Mouse Cake

Couture Fashion

Designer Handbag Cake

High Profile

Designer Shoe Cake

Rev Your Engines

Sports Car Cake

Home Sweet Home

Owl & Bunny Cake

Gardener’s Delight

Gardening Cake

Five Star Cakes:
These camera-ready celebrities take center stage to entertain via storytelling, visual impact, and evocative sculptural details.

Love Blooms

Elegant Wedding Cake

Perfect Balance

Fruit Floral Wedding Cake

What’s Your Poison?

Jack Daniels Cake

Mermaid Tales

Little Mermaid Cake

Sweet Dreams

Children's Birthday Cake

At the Crossroads

Birthday Cake

Hawaiian Getaway

Sealife Cake

Beyond Here Thar Be Monsters

Halloween Cake

I never realized how frightening a cake could be! Is anyone else disturbed by this menacing creation? It looks like it may eat us instead of the other way around. Yikes!

All Sewn Up

Sewing Machine Cake

My grandmother had a sewing machine just like this one. From the needle and thread to the folded fabric and the dresser it sits upon, it is incredibly realistic and entirely edible. Yum! Maybe I’ll take up sewing after all.

There are so many talented people designing cakes to wow an audience. It seems there is nothing they can’t do. I hope you have been inspired by these photos and will give cake decorating a try. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Until next time…

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Why Do We Wear Jewelry?

Ancient Egyptian
Whether you are the ruler of a country or a household, you probably wear jewelry, which has been a fascinating part of human culture for centuries. The most obvious reasons to wear it are self-expression and personal adornment. Jewelry is art for the body. We express our individuality by creating the image we show to the world, including hairstyle, clothing choices, and yes, even jewelry. The Ancient Egyptians created some of the most recognized precious metal and gemstones treasures in the world.

Indian Bridal Crown
Many brides become royalty for the day as they don bejeweled crowns to celebrate their wedding days. All eyes will surely be upon the bride as they should be.

Triangle Ring
A signature piece is an item worn on a daily basis. Although it may have a significant meaning, the way it makes you feel when you wear it is the most important hallmark of such an adored piece of jewelry.

Hands Love
We wear jewelry to celebrate love – New love in engagement rings, and commitment in wedding bands.

Eternity Bands
Anniversary rings, also known as eternity bands, signify love, which has stood the test of time. The love between BFFs is reflected in friendship rings.

Sapphire Heart
The human heart has inspired many books, poems, songs, and works of art. Heart-shaped jewelry is the most popular choice for expressing love.

Wedding Bands
Jewelry or the lack of it can assist us in the search for a mate. The first thing most singles look for is a wedding band, or a tan line, or that mysterious indentation on the ring finger of the left hand. (lol)  Of course this method isn’t fool proof. Not all married people wear wedding rings, and not all cultures wear them on the left hand. Another more subtle custom is wearing an ankle bracelet to indicate relationship status: wear it on the left ankle if you are in a relationship, or on the right ankle if you are unattached.

Fashion Jewelry
Fashionistas wear jewelry to complement their ensembles, attract attention, and to keep up with the latest trends. Fashion and beauty have become worldwide aspirations and jewelry plays a very important role. The right piece of jewelry can take an outfit from attractive to absolutely stunning.

Olympic Medal
Accomplishments are often celebrated with jewelry. Upon graduation, alumni often wear a school ring. Military personnel receive pins to indicate commendations and even rank. During the athletic competitions, the winners wear medals around the neck, or expensive rings like those awarded to the winners of the Super Bowl.

Dog Tags
Jewelry can be worn for identification, such as ID bracelets and military dog tags. People with certain medical conditions or allergies will often wear medical alert bracelets.

Star of David
Faith is expressed in crosses, the Star of David, and other symbols. Clergy wear rings to indicate their position within the religious community.

Silver Necklace
Collectors see jewelry as a unique art form. They appreciate the design, the materials used, and the handcrafting that goes into each piece, making it a work of art.

Valentines Jewelry
Jewelry is often given to commemorate special occasions such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or a special birthday. The “key to my heart” is a popular love theme.

Mardi Gras Beads
Mardi Gras beads are highly sought after in New Orleans during this multi-day celebration. Many people hang those beads from their car’s rear view mirror as a reminder of the wild parties and the promise of good times next year.

Claddagh Rings
Different cultures wear jewelry for traditional reasons and to express pride in their heritage. The Irish Claddagh rings, signifying love, loyalty and friendship, are often worn as wedding bands.

Hawaiian Leis
As part of the warm Aloha spirit, Hawaiians welcome guests with necklaces called leis, made from flowers, seashells, or nuts.

In many countries, such as England, the Crown Jewels are worn by the monarchy, however those jewels belong to the people.

In the past, people wore precious metals and gemstones to promote healing, and for protection from things real or imagined. Carrying or wearing a particular gemstone often countered superstitions.

Silicone or rubber wristbands started out as a popular way to express charity support. Today, they can be custom made to represent anything from an inspirational quote, song lyrics or whatever has personal meaning for you.

Lord of the Rings
Who could forget the One ring? Although it is a fictional story, “The Lord of the Rings” is a haunting tale, demonstrating what some are willing to do, good or bad, to gain power or to protect and save their world. There have been many examples throughout human history in which the wearer of a special ring is empowered with privileges and authority over others.

Cameo Necklace
Family heirlooms are worn in remembrance of our ancestors, and to remind us of where we have come from and how that helped bring us to where we are today. Starting new traditions gives us an opportunity to contribute to our family histories for the generations to come.

Whatever our reasons, wearing jewelry will continue to play an important role in our future. What does your jewelry mean to you? How does it make you feel? If you’re happy and empowered, good for you, and if not, there are plenty of jewelry options out there. You’ll find the right one made just for you.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Springtime Babies

Baby Mouse with Flowers

Warmer weather, clear blue skies, and an abundance of fragrant blooms are sure signs of spring. It’s time to trade in our winter coats for some fresh air and lots of sunshine. It feels so good to be outdoors, surrounded by inspiring sights. Whether you wander around your own backyard, or visit the local petting zoo, there are plenty of opportunities to see some of the most adorable creatures on earth – baby animals.


Baby Chicks in Grass


Duckling Swimming


Fawn in the Woods


Baby Fox in Woods


Goslings Swimming


Kittens in a Basket


Baby Lamb


Piglets Sleeping


Puppies playing


Bunnies Eating Flowers


Baby Raccoons Playing in Snow

These “Aww” moments are sponsored by Mother Nature. Let’s go outside and see what treasures she has in store for us. Thanks for reading.

Happy Easter & Happy Spring

At the Crossroads – Wall Art

Many people think the symbolic cross originated in Christianity, but the cross has been used for centuries by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Babylonians.

Ancient Egyptian Ankh
Ancient Egyptian Ankh
In ancient Egypt, the ankh represented “Life.”

Compass on Ancient Maps
Crosses have been found in prehistoric cave paintings, most likely indicating astronomical events as well as the cardinal directions, much like the compass shown on the map above.

Crosses can be found in very diverse places, such as cemeteries, churches, clothing, and even jewelry. Before designing a cross, let’s take a look at a few more examples:

Greek Cross
Greek Cross
The ancient Greek cross had equal length arms and resembled the letter “X,” while the more modern version has the typical upright design and the addition of three lobes at each end.

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross
The cross tombstone in the photo above illustrates the intricately woven knots, which are an integral part of every Celtic design.

Ornate Sterling Silver & Turquoise Cross
Silver Turquoise Cross
Silver or gold, jewel encrusted crosses reflect light and dazzle the eye with ornate patterns and precious gemstones of all kinds.

Contemporary Stained Glass Cross
Stained Glass Contemporary Cross
Brilliant stained glass in a kaleidoscope pattern twinkles in the sunlight in this very contemporary window.

Maltese Cross
Maltese Cross
The Maltese cross has four V-shaped arms. It has a more subtle cross design, which in this case could be easily mistaken for a flower.

How to Design Painted Wood Crosses:
Three Painted Crosses
Instructions for 3) designs are presented below: Celtic, Jeweled Gold, and Jeweled Silver.

Raw Wood Cross
Raw Wood Cross
Each raw wood cross is sanded lightly, as needed. The supplies needed vary according to the design chosen. If you happen to have colored pencils or markers on hand, you might want to trace the cross onto sheets of paper and color a few samples to help narrow down your design choices.

Wooden Cross (8-1/4” high x 5-3/4” wide x 1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – black, metallic gold, metallic silver
5) Bottles Fabric Paint – dark green, medium green, blue, purple, & metallic gold
1) Package – 12mm round Jewel Tone Rhinestones
1) Package – 12mm round Pastel Rhinestones
1) Package – Clear Diamond-shaped Rhinestones

Cross Painted Black
Cross with 2 Coats Black Paint
Each cross design in this project starts the same way, by applying 2 coats of acrylic black paint as a basecoat.

The Celtic Cross:
Celtic Knots & Infinity Symbols
Paint the perimeter details using medium green fabric paint for a 3-dimensional effect. Single lines and infinity symbols make up this pattern.

Celtic Cross Inner Details
Using the same fabric paint, paint the inner details including woven chains, and a large Celtic knot design in the center. Create pairs of large round “beads” of paint at each end (top, bottom, left and right).

Celtic Gold Accents Finished Cross
For a more 3-dimensional effect, carefully apply a second coat of fabric paint. After it has dried, add the gold details using metallic gold fabric paint.  This completes the Celtic Cross design.

Gold Jeweled Cross:
Painted Gold Accents
Your first decision is how much gold versus black you want to have in the design. Using metallic gold acrylic paint and a brush, I created a starburst at the center, which radiates outward to the ends. A studded detail was created using metallic gold fabric paint.

Gold Cross Jewel Layout
Experiment with different colors and placement of the rhinestones. Do not glue them down until a later step. After seeing this, I decided to increase the gold areas for a more opulent appearance and because the blue “sapphires” look better against the gold.

Gold Cross Enhanced Accents
Here you can see how the gold has been enhanced, leaving only a few key areas black. All the inside and outside edges have also been painted gold.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 1
In this version, three colors of rhinestones, blue, green, and yellow, have been used.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 2
Here the rhinestone colors were limited to blue and green.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 3
This is the finished version with blue and yellow rhinestones. The deep yellow coordinates well with the rich metallic gold. Use Elmer’s glue to affix the gems. This completes the Gold Jeweled Cross Design.

Silver Jeweled Cross:
Silver Pastel Jeweled Cross
I had pastels in mind for this cross. I started out by testing different combinations of pastel colored rhinestones. I liked the light blue and purple with the green center.

Pastel Silver Accents
Metallic silver and black make a powerful combination with maximum contrast and reflectance. The rhinestone colors were carried into an alternating painted “gem” pattern created using dark green, blue and purple fabric paint in gemstone shapes.

Pastel Silver Enhanced Accents
The remaining inner portions, including the edges, are painted with acrylic metallic silver paint. Layout the rhinestones, but do not glue them down until a later step. Clear “diamond” rhinestones are glued in the center along with one round blue stone.

Pastel Silver Stripes Part 1
It felt like a little more silver was needed. I painted stripes at each end of the cross and then added more stripes along the outer edges.

Pastel Silver Stripes Part 2
Feeling good about the design, more stripes were added throughout the design. I have never been a big fan of stripes, so I’m not sure why I did this. The nice thing about paint is that you can easily change your mind and simply repaint.

Silver Pastel Jeweled Cross Finished
It took 2 coats of black to cover the stripes. Metallic silver was painted at the ends, and only those edges were painted silver, while the remainder was black. This completes the Silver Jeweled Cross design.

Finished Cross Designs:
Finished Crosses
Each of these crosses has its own unique style, but they barely touch the surface of design possibilities. Take a trip to the craft store to see what kinds of decorations appeal to you as well as the different styles of wood crosses available. In fact, you might have so much fun making the first one that you’ll have to go back to buy more.

Happy Easter & Happy Crafting!

Luck of the Irish

St Patrick's Day BannerLeprechauns and a pot of gold are certainly hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day. Below are a few crafting ideas to help you get ready for this upcoming celebration of all things Irish.

Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle, is famous for its shamrocks. If you are lucky enough, you may even find a four-leaf clover. Notice the almost woven effect created by the natural layering of these leaves. Irish knot work patterns, such as the one illustrated below, are inspired by the natural world.

Carved Marble Knots
Eternity knots can be found on everything in Ireland. The pattern shown here has been carved into marble. It could also be carved or burnt into wood, stenciled onto a wall, or drawn and/or painted onto t-shirts, handbags, or even a comforter. Jewelry makers include knot designs for their beauty as well as the symbolism of eternal love.

Cookies & Irish Coffee
A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with a few shamrock cookies and a creamy mug of Irish coffee. In case you didn’t know, this coffee gets its high-octane kick from a shot of Irish whiskey.

Irish Soda Bread
Store bought Irish soda bread is usually made ahead of time and may be too dry. It’s best enjoyed straight out of the oven.

Jewelry Charms
The four-leaf clover is a very popular good luck talisman. A leather cord is a very inexpensive way to make a necklace. The cord can be cut to the desired length, and special cord tips are attached to the ends along with a spring ring or lobster claw clasp. Any charms with a large enough bail can be slid onto the cord and easily changed for a new look. Prefer ready-made jewelry? Ready to wear cords can be purchased with the charms of your choice.

St. Paddy's Day Parade
Of course you’ll need to wear something green to really get into the spirit of the holiday. A little green fabric is all you need – a hat, scarf, socks – anything will do.

Irish Icons
These icons are often found on everything from mugs and T-shirts to bumper stickers. Iron-ons are inexpensive and easy to apply. Craft stores also have stickers, as well as temporary tattoos, which have all the cool designs without any of the commitment.

Irish Embroidery
Embroidery is a great way to dress up any garment with lively, eye-catching graphics and funny sayings.

Shamrocks Crochet
If crocheting were your specialty, these three leaf clovers would make a very unique scarf or hat. They could also be used as decorative accents on a pillow or afghan.

Beer & Shamrocks
There are plenty of colorful holiday-themed sheets in the papercrafting aisle, or you might want to design your own. If there’s a subliminal message in this design, I suppose it would be: “I love shamrocks and beer!” Who doesn’t? (lol)

Art Clay
Working with art clay can be a fun activity for the whole family. Figures like these pictured above could be used as jewelry pendants, or attached to hair accessories or refrigerator magnets, just to name a few.

Irish Angel Stained Glass
Stained glass is a beautiful way to incorporate holiday themes and of course the color green and requisite shamrock for luck.

Ceramic Irish Bear
Belleek, is a well-known brand of Irish pottery, recognized by its neutral cream color, which often includes hand painted shamrocks. You can achieve the same look, at a fraction of the price, by visiting a ceramics studio to paint your own using a similar color scheme.

Lucky Horseshoe
An up-turned horseshoe has always been considered good luck. The addition of a four-leaf clover may be all that’s needed to amplify good fortune to the next level. well, it’s certainly worth a try.

On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody is Irish! So wear something green, enjoy a pint, and keep an eye out for a rainbow – there might just be a pot of gold under it waiting to be discovered!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Crafting!

Ice & Snow Sculpting

Angel & Peacock Ice Sculptures

Artists face many challenges bringing their works to life.  It’s the price to pay for creativity, but it is so worth the effort.  If your medium happens to be ice or snow, temperature and time conspire against you. 

Carving Ice

Chain Saw & Ice Chipper

Many tools are utilized in creating these sculptures, including chainsaws and ice chippers. Changes in texture, lighting, opacity, and color result in spectacular works of art. Let’s explore this frosty world before it melts, living on only in our memories.

Medieval Dragon

Dragon Clear Ice

This dragon springs to life with his gaping jaws, flexing wings, and a swoosh of the tail. Every tiny detail, from the reptilian scales to the razor-sharp teeth, can be seen from a distance. My only criticism is that the individual blocks of ice are still visible in some portions of the sculpture.

Chinese Dragon

Chinese Dragon with LEDs

A golden dragon is an auspicious sight, signifying good fortune and wealth. Backlighting from soft LED lights provides the perfect aura for this highly esteemed creature.

Full-Color Chinese Dragon

Dragon with Colored Ice

Food coloring, added to the water prior to freezing, produces ice sculptures with bold, powerful presence.  Notice how the ice becomes opaque with the infinite color possibilities, while the sleek shine reminds us of its frozen nature.

Wolf on the Prowl

Ice Hotel Bar Wolf Sculpture

Cool-white LED lighting, and precarious placement overhead, on what appears to be a slim tree branch, produces an unsettling sense of drama in this beautiful wolf sculpture.

Bird of Prey

Bird of Prey

A fierce expression, threatening stance and cool color LED lighting give this predator the respect he is due. At any moment, he may fly off in search of easy prey.

Don Quixote Rides into Battle

Don Quixote

Momentarily, Don Quixote pauses his heroic journey to turn and look at his surroundings. Opaque white ice highlights their faces as well as the rider’s contorted body, which is probably an outward sign of his conflicted mind.

Seductive Dancer

Woman Dancing

Soft feminine lighting, a delicately beaded necklace, and long, flowing tresses of hair come together to focus all attention upon this seductive woman’s face, but it’s the opaque whites of her eyes that truly draw you in and dare you to come closer. 

Reclining Smoking Man

Man Smoking

It’s all in the details. The checkerboard flooring, the folds and patterned trim upon his clothing, the tufted cushions, and the exquisite curves of the sculpted waterpipe are astounding. The soft, blue and purple lighting creates a hazy atmosphere as if smoke is floating upon the air.

The Peanuts Gang

Peanuts Gang

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang are very popular with adults and children. These adored comic strip characters spring to life in spectacular, three-dimensional form, and dazzling colors.

Santa’s Reindeer & Christmas Tree

Reindeer & Xmas Tree

It wouldn’t be Christmas without some flying reindeer and a decorated tree. The fragile antlers, textured tree garland and decorative gift bows are meticulously sculpted.

Harbin China Ice & Snow Carving Festival

Sculpted Ice Architecture

The largest ice and snow carving festival in the world is held in Harbin China. Did you know there is an ice sculpture festival in Florida? The Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando hosts its festival in December, where the interior temperature is a balmy 9°F.  Yes, you read that correctly. Fortunately, the resort provides parkas! Brrrrr! Guess where the ice carving artists are from? Harbin China.

Snow Carved Children Playing

Snow Sculpture Kids

Sculptors, who enjoy working outdoors, carve snow in the winter and sand every summer. Not many artists have their materials provided by nature.

Snow Carved Dog

Snow Sculpture Dog

Everyone has built at least one snowman in a lifetime. Why not think outside of the box by sculpting a dog. This handsome boy looks like he’s ready to jump up any minute to chase a squirrel.

Snow Carved Wall Art

Ice Hotel Wall Art Winter Scene

Relief sculptures adorn the walls of this ice hotel. Tiny crystals catch the light like twinkling stars against a field of snow.

Snow Carved Architecture

Snow Architecture

Seeing this impressive structure, with lacelike architectural details, it is easy to forget it is made entirely of snow. The warm glowing lights inspire visions of what it would be like to step inside.

Snow & Ice Carved Lounge

Ice Hotel Lounge

Looking for a place to chill out? The lounge in this ice hotel offers sculpted walls of snow and carved ice seating draped with fur throws. (I have a romance writing friend who will love these chairs.)

Snow & Ice Carved Chapel

Ice Hotel Chapel

Brides, grooms and their guests will need to bundle up before the ceremony inside this chapel carved from ice and snow. No architectural details have been overlooked, from the “stone” walls to the impressive arched windows with diamond-paned glass.

Backyard Snowman


So here we are looking at the typical backyard snowman. Stack a few oversize snowballs, add fashionable accessories, the facial details, and call it done. But it could be so much more…

Frosty the Snowman

Snowman Ice Carving

With blocks of ice and sculpting tools, a master ice carver can create masterpieces like this Frosty the Snowman, an audience favorite.

Mother Nature’s Dragon

Dragon Haareis

Haareis (Hair Ice) is a rather rare but natural phenomenon on dead wood, where ice crystals grow in hair-like formations. This amazing dragon is just a little reminder to all of us that Mother Nature is the original Artiste.

I hope you have enjoyed exploring the world of ice and snow sculpting. Do you have any favorites? Please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Let’s Go Sledding!

Closeup Photo Sledding

We are well into the new year and at the midpoint of winter.  Snow can’t be far behind.  I have some wonderful memories of sledding as a child, and those escapades are the inspiration for a playful centerpiece.  This project is very easy to make, using many items you may already own.

Wooden Sled
Wooden Sled

The most important element in this project is the sled.  The approximate dimensions are: 22” long x 13” wide.  Craft stores have huge clearance sales, making it a real bargain to pick up a sled or any additional items you may need.

Cruising on a Bed of Faux Snow
Sled with Snow
This snow is actually left over Halloween spider webs. Simply lay it out on the table and pull and stretch it into a shape resembling a snow-covered slope.

Snowman Base Form
Base snowman
The main character in this fun sledding scene is a cheerful snowman that started out as a “blank canvas” so to speak, with three foam balls wrapped in white fabric.

Adding a Few Details
Snowman Details
The buttons and carrot nose were sold separately.  The eyes were painted using light blue and black fabric paints and a dot of white. The smile consists of jewelry maker’s metallic blue seed beads, glued in place using light blue fabric paint.

Finished Snowman
Finished Snowman
The scarf was crocheted with some leftover navy yarn. Sticks for arms came from the backyard. The black top hat was the finishing touch, with the addition of festive trim on the brim, cut from a floral pick.

Completed Sledding Centerpiece – Front
Sledding Front
With the snowman in the center of the sled, it’s time to add a few friends to share the ride. Beanie Babies are a great choice in size, color, and whimsy. We chose animals typically found in the snow: a penguin, a reindeer, and a seal. The caroling pig is a family joke, and you can choose whatever characters will bring joy to your family.

Completed Sledding Centerpiece – Back
Sledding Back
We added a few sprigs of artificial evergreen on the back of the sled to coordinate with the existing wreath. The little guys look so cute with their feet hanging off the back.

Alternate 1 – Sledding Penguin
Penguin Sledding
This centerpiece can be quickly changed by switching out the smaller animals, or by using a different central character, such as a penguin, polar bear or moose.

Alternate 2 – Sledding Moose
Moose Sledding
On those gloomy winter days when there is no snow for playing outdoors, enjoy a little whimsical sledding with a snowman and friends.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!