Thursday, September 30, 2010

Easy, Affordable, and Personalized Children's Art

Do you ever wish you had cute, modern art for your child's room that doesn't cost a ton?  I know that it can be difficult to find exactly what you're looking for, so why not make it yourself? And as an added can be meaningful and personal!  

I made this piece of art in Photoshop Elements for my son's 1st birthday.  

1) I opened up a photo that I took for his 1st birthday in PSE.

2) I chose my foreground color and my background color (orange and white)

3) I went to the Filter tab at the top menu bar.
Under the filter tab, I went to sketch and chose stamp effect.

4) I played around with the light/dark balance and smoothness until I found a happy medium.

5) I added one more gold/yellow color for the sky.

6) I added the first letter of his name in the foreground color and decreased the opacity just a tad. 

And voila!!  There you have it!  SO SIMPLE!

I found that it works best when you have some strong graphic prints in the photo like stripes or when the subject is against a simple background.  My photo worked well because it's a bit more artistic in the sense that his face is away from the camera.  Also, you could add numbers, a fancier monogram or an initial in a fresh, modern font, etc.  Be creative!  That's the fun of it!   

I would love to see your finished products if you try this out!  Email it to me at and I will try to post the results for all to see!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apricot Nutmeg Cookies

I made these cookies on Sunday night and they are a new favorite!  A delicious treat to end summer and roll into fall.  I experimented with an existing recipe and added a few twists that are scrumdiddlyumptious!.  My husband and I love the chewy pieces of dried apricot and the hint of nutmeg and cinnamon...they taste like a cobbler.  Mmmm  :)  Happy Baking!

Apricot Nutmeg Cookies

In a mixer, combine:

1 cup of salted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar

Cream together on medium speed.

Then add:
1 egg
1/4 cup of apricot or mango nectar (thick juice)
1/2 cup apricot, peach, or raspberry preserves
3/4 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped

Beat on medium speed until smooth.

Then add:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Blend on low just until combined.  Do not overmix (it will make your cookie have too much air in them and end up cakey).

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper 2 inches apart.  
Bake at 300 degrees F for 22-24 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave cookies on parchment to continue cooking for 5 minutes.  
Then gobble some up and share some with your neighbors :)  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Winner! Winner!

I decided since it's my 1st drawing EVER, there should definitely be 2 winners!  
I used to help in the process.  Drumroll...  
The winners are:
3-John 11-Rita
Timestamp: 2010-09-27 07:06:54 UTC
Please email me at with your mailing address and I will get those in the mail to you :)  
Thank you to everyone for your very sweet comments and entering the giveaway!  Wow, I'm feeling the love!  I just have so much fun doing this so thanks for looking and cheering me on...that's what life is all about!  Encouraging each other and uplifting each other and I've felt that from all of you this week...even blog-land friends  :)  So thanks!!  There will be more crafty goodness to come and more giveaways in the future, so if ya didn't win this time, you'll have another chance!

State Fair 2010!

We headed to the State Fair this past weekend and had a blast!  It's a great way to kick off the Autumn season.  So many interesting things to see!  Our little boy had so much fun looking at all the animals...I did too :)  
This is a humongous pumpkin that someone carved!  Did you know that my grandpa grew the worlds largest pumpkin in 1984?  It was over 700lbs.  He won $10,000 and a trip to Hawaii!!  Now, the world's largest pumpkin over well over double that weight!  CRAZINESS!  Who knew large pumpkins were big $?!  

That's me :)

Baby goats...uh, soooo cute!

And Oliver the Cow.  I loved his hairdo :)
Hope you all had a fun weekend!  Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Children's Halloween Garland

I wanted to make a darling garland for Halloween this year.  My parents always made Halloween a fun, happy, candy-filled day rather than too spooky, and I want to keep that tradition alive.  I whipped up a few illustrations in my sketchbook, scanned them into my computer and colored them in digitally in PS. 

[right-click to save and then open the picture and print it]

Then I used a punch to cut out some scalloped circles that are slightly larger.  I made 2 for each illustrated circle.  You can print as many pages of the pictures as you like and make the garland repeat.  You can even cut out the pictures for both sides of the scalloped circles...get creative :)  You can also put cute shiny stars or other spacers in between each picture on your ribbon.

I glued the picture to the scalloped circle and then glued a washer/penny to the back of the scalloped circle.  Then I glued the second scalloped circle to the back to cover the washer/penny.

I measured the length that I wanted my garland to be and cut a ribbon about 3 inches longer.  I spaced out the pictures evenly and glued them on with a hot glue gun (not pictured).

I turned out cute and is fun to have hanging up for the little guy to see :)  If you make this project, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see your pictures!!

Scroll to the next post entitled "A new toy and a giveaway" and leave a comment to enter to win some cute Halloween postcards :)

A new toy and a GIVEAWAY!

I am learning how to use my new bamboo pen tablet (I got one Ashley  :)  and decided to make a 
Happy Halloween postcard to test out the painting capabilities.  Still learning, but having fun doing it :)

I love creating art that brings a smile to the heart and makes people laugh to themselves.  I was headed to bed the other night after working on this drawing and had this cute idea pop into my head...the fake ghost meets the real one  :)  I'm getting so excited for Halloween and dressing up together as a family.  I'm thinking of a swashbuckling pirate for my little one...he knows that pirates say "Arrrrgghh" so it would be perfect.  Do you know how you're celebrating Halloween yet?  Have you decorated or made any craft projects?  I have a fun craft project you can do with your kiddos coming up soon...stay tuned :)
If you comment on this post, I will enter your name into a drawing for a free set of my Halloween postcards which I will mail to you to use in time for Oct. 31st.  Entries must be in by Sunday, September 26th and I will post the winner next Monday, September 27th!  A very Happy Halloween indeed  :) 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Mobile

I found an online tutorial to make paper globes (her pattern is on the right-hand side of her blog as a link). They can be made into topiaries, Christmas tree decorations, etc...the options are endless.  I decided to make 3 and turn them into a mobile.  I bought a generic wire mobile at a local baby boutique (they make these wire mobiles so that you can hang anything you'd like on it) and attached a cute felted bird and little tree.

I also attach new letter flashcards on it for him to look at and learn every few weeks.
Such an easy and fun project that adds a lot of character and color/pattern to a child's room.  Baby Michael LOVES his  :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Something to Celebrate!

I am working on putting together a bunch of my illustrations for my Etsy shop.  I will be selling prints, original paintings, greeting cards and postcards SOON!  I also have a few other projects in the works that I hope to unveil in the next few months.  This is one of my favorites!