Kylinn at Five

I met Kylinn and her mom Courteney at an infant storytime at the library in January 2007.  Trevor was seven months old; Kylinn, 7 weeks younger.  The two babies were alike in so many ways and got along so well.  Our families quickly became close friends.

Now 4 1/2 years later, Kylinn and Trevor are still best friends, and I am Kylinn's godmother.  It seems like we've known each other forever.

Each year, I make a framed scrapbook page for Kylinn's birthday.  Here is Kylinn at Five:

And here are the layouts I've made for her other birthdays:

I love looking back on these!  We're so blessed to have Kylinn and her family in our lives.  Happy birthday Kylinn!  We love you.


Crafts of my Childhood: Ribbon Barrettes

Hey look!  It's me at my 10th birthday party!

This was 1982 and I was rocking my homemade ribbon barrettes.  I LOVED my ribbon barrettes, as did just about every girl who was 10 years old in 1982.  I had several pairs, all carefully coordinated with my favorite dresses.  I stopped wearing my ribbon barrettes about a year or so later and I have no idea where they went.

I really wanted to make ribbon barrettes again.  As for who would be wearing them... they don't exactly seem appropriate at 39, nor are they something I'd put on my only child, who is a boy.  Fortunately, I have goddaughters who will look adorable in them!

I decided that Ellia would get yellow barrettes and Kylinn would get purple barrettes.  I brought my supplies with me to Trevor's swim lessons, where I could work on ribbon barrettes at the same time I was watching him.  The first barrette took me an entire swim lesson, as I tried to remember exactly how I'd made them some 29+ years ago.  The three subsequent barrettes took approximately 1/2 swim lesson each.

Here are Ellia's: 

And Kylinn's:

About a month ago, I altered a small box for the Flamingo Four at Flamingo Scraps.  I'd already decided to give it to Kylinn.  Now I realized it would make a perfect jewelry box for her ribbon barrettes.

So, of course, I had to make one for Ellia too:

It was so much fun making the ribbon barrettes.  I have two more blank sets of barrettes just waiting for ribbons.  Hmmm.....


The Strawberry Pinata

Some of you may remember the saga of the Infamous Zebra Pinata back in June. It took a lot of time and effort and tested my patience more than once. Apparently I quickly forgot the frustrating part, because not a month later I asked my goddaughter Kylinn if she would like me to help her make a pinata for her fifth birthday.

Something to know about Kylinn- she has dozens of wonderful qualities (smart, caring, loyal, enthusiastic, outgoing, etc), but neatness is not among them. While Trevor barely touched the paper mache with the tips of two fingers, I knew that Kylinn was likely to be rubbing it in her hair. Or clapping her hands in it to see it fly everywhere. Or something even messier that I couldn't predict. So I made it clear we'd be making the pinata at HER house.  ;)

When Trevor and I showed up at her house on Pinata Day 1, Kylinn was beyond excited. We blew up the oval balloon, tore newspaper strips, and mixed up a paste of flour and water. She loved the feeling of the gooey paper mache and happily smeared it all over everything. Trevor supervised, but did not want to touch it.

Kylinn lost interest after the first layer of paper mache, so I finished the next 5 layers on my own. When I finished, we set it in the sun room to dry.

Trevor and I returned the following week, determined to finish during a marathon Pinata Day 2. We cut a hole and popped the balloon.

The kids filled it with candy, then I added a bent coat hanger and patched the hole.

Then it was time to paint. (Notice that Courteney changed Kylinn from her white shirt into a red one and removed Ellia's shirt altogether? A smart move.)

About every 30 minutes, we added another coat of paint.  It took about 6 coats before it was completely red. In retrospect, we should have added some red to gesso and used that as a base coat. It would have cut down significantly on the amount of coats needed for good coverage. Next time. When the last coat was dry, I carved a pencil eraser into the shape of a strawberry seed, then started stamping on yellow seeds.

Each of the kids took a turn too.

Then it was time to make the leaves. We glued squares of tissue paper on a piece of cardstock that I'd cut into the right shape.

We attached the leaves, then wrapped the hanger in metallic green ribbon, letting the ends curl down.  Kylinn's enthusiastic assessment?  "I LOVE IT!"

The finished pinata:
Here's Ellia hitting the pinata:

And here's Kylinn:

And here's all that was left of the pinata after a dozen more kids hit it.

A lot of people asked me if it bothered me seeing my work get smashed up. No, since I made it to be ruined. Besides, the top can be saved and used as a fashionable hat.


Strawberry Tablecloth Holders

When I found out my goddaughters Kylinn and Ellia would be having a strawberry-themed birthday party at a local park, my brain immediately started going into overdrive thinking up cute strawberry items I could make. 

Trevor and I collected these:

And painted them red. (For the record, it takes about 7 coats of paint to get a nice even topcoat. We should have primed them with gesso.) Here are Trevor's.

My idea was that these four rocks could hold down the corners of the tablecloth on the main table so that it doesn't lift up or blow away.  

Trevor and I drew noses and mouths on our red rocks with a Sharpie, then I sprayed them with a clear sealant. We found googly eyes, and cut green felt to make the leaves and stems. I attached the eyes and felt with a hot glue gun.

Trevor's two are on the left; mine are on the right.

Aren't they cute?! I'm strongly considering making some for myself. I could use something adorable to hold down our tablecloth or picnic blanket when we eat outdoors. They would also make a cute gift.


Carrots for Trouble's Wall

Trevor has been anxious to add more art to Trouble's Wall. I thought it would be fun to make some carrots. I don't remember ever making carrot art in the past, which made it all the more fun. 

We started by gathering our materials: orange and green cardstock, orange tissue paper, scissors, pencil, and liquid starch. We cut the orange tissue paper into 1 inch squares. We used green cardstock to make a green carrot top. Then we cut a large carrot shape from orange cardstock.

We drew horizontal lines along the length of the carrot.

Once we were done with cutting and line-drawing, it was time for one my all-time favorite crafting materials. I LOVE Sta-Flo. 

It's sold in the laundry aisle of the grocery store (or on Amazon!) but I've never used it for laundry. Not even once. But I've probably bought at least a dozen bottles in my adult life. Perhaps more. I use it for tissue paper crafts. Paint a small amount of undiluted Sta-Flo onto the cardstock, then place a piece of tissue paper on it. Then paint over the top of the tissue paper with more Sta-Flo.

This might be my all-time favorite craft technique. I love the look, and it's both fun and relaxing.

Here's a closer look:

It takes about an hour to dry. We attached the greens to the carrot and hung it up on Trouble's Wall. 



Not two minutes after we finished this project, Trevor announced that HE had planned a project for us to do. He sent me up to the craft room to get a variety of colors of construction paper. His idea was that we would cut out some of the foods we feed Trouble and label them.


As you can see, carrot greens are healthy and Trouble can have a lot of them each day. A banana and the orange part of a carrot are both treats and can be given only in moderation. Trevor thought that by labeling some of Trouble's favorite foods as treats, Trouble would understand why he can't have them all the time.

Here's what Trouble's Wall looks like now:

The small red speck is a dried cranberry, one of Trouble's absolute favorite treats.  It is now clearly labeled "Treat" so that there is no confusion.


Ellia at 2

Two years ago today, I had the experience of a lifetime. My friend Courteney asked me to be in the room with her when her baby was born. I couldn't wait for the big day. Each day I wondered when the call would come. It came on a Thursday at 1:30 am; in less than 5 minutes, I was in my car and racing to the hospital 15 miles away.

This was the first, and possibly only, baby I would see born. My son was breech and came via c-section. I wasn't given the option to watch (I probably wouldn't have chosen to see myself being cut open, even if I had the choice). So it was even more special to me that Courteney asked me to be there.

It was absolutely amazing to watch her daughter enter the world. That baby is my goddaughter Ellia. She is awesome.

Here is the layout I made for her second birthday:

And here is the one from last year:

Happy 2nd birthday Ellia! We love you.


Nectarine Ice Cream

For my last experiment with Melissa's fruit, I decided to make nectarine ice cream. I began by cutting nectarines into chunks and cooking them with brown sugar and nutmeg. I then mashed it and put it through a strainer. 

While the nectarine mixture cooled, I made my ice cream base. Instead of using just granulated sugar, I used half granulated sugar and half brown sugar. 

I combined the nectarines with the ice cream base and put them in the ice cream maker. About 3 minutes before it was done, I added in some chopped nectarines. 

This ice cream was really, really good- the brown sugar gave it a toffee caramel flavor, which worked perfectly with a the subtle taste of nectarine. If you've ever made your own ice cream, you know that it is always very soft when it comes out of the ice cream maker. Soft, and so amazingly good.

Any leftovers that go into the freezer are much firmer by the next day.

So delicious and perfect for summer!


Nectarine Ice Cream

                                         3 nectarines, diced                       1/4 c. granulated sugar 
                                         1/2 c. brown sugar                        2 c. half-and-half
                                         1/2 tsp. nutmeg                            1 tsp. vanilla

Combine two diced nectarines, 1/4. c brown sugar, and nutmeg in a small pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until nectarines are very soft. Mash and press through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside until cool. In a separate bowl, combine 1 c. half-and-half with 1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. granulated sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining cup of half-and-half and vanilla. Add cooled nectarine mixture. Put into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's instructions. About three minutes before ice cream is done, add remaining diced nectarines. 


And the winner is....

Thank you to all of you who entered my 100th post contest!  I really appreciate your kind words and support.  It has been so much fun sharing My Creative Life with you these past few months.  I look forward to the next 100 posts! 

I ended up with 12 different people who entered to win.  Unfortunately, one of them posted anonymously without leaving a name, so I don't know who that is.  So that left 11. 

My mom wanted hers to say "Grandma" so that she could hunt for her letters with Timothy and Trevor during our next family Disneyland trip.  Of course I made one for her right away.  She has done countless things for me (including paying for the annual Disneyland trips!), so the least I could do is make her one and not include her in the drawing.  So that left 10 people.

When my husband read my original blog post, he said he felt left out because I made Trevor and Cindy deRosier, but no Steve.  So of course I made one for him too.  He has been 100% supportive of my blogging, including doing all my tech support.  This is just a small thank you for all that he has done to support me in this adventure. 

I took the 9 remaining names and put them in random.org.  My winner is.....

Congratulations and thanks for reading my blog!  I really appreciate it.  Ioana, if you'd like me to make the rest of your family's names, just let me know. 

I made one final name.  I know many of you have been having problems commenting on blogs (not just mine), so I changed my settings to allow anonymous comments.  Some of you still had problems.  I didn't have a way to test how to comment on my own blog, so I was unable to help anyone figure out how to do it.  But one person took the time to help the others by giving instructions.  This, of course, decreased her chances of winning.  So, in my mind, she's a winner too.  Thanks to

Shannon, if you'd like me to make the names of the rest of your family, let me know! 

My mom suggested I do another type of Disney giveaway when I reach 100 more posts.  When I asked her what exactly she thought I should do, she told me that was the part I needed to think up.  Um.... nothing else coming to mind.  I was quite pleased with myself for thinking up this one!

Christmas in July - part two

I'm continuing to work on scrapping the photos from Christmas 2010.  For this layout, I wanted to feature the many traditions that our family has during the holiday season.  Because they're things that we do every year, I don't always make an effort to photograph and scrap them.  I know Trevor will remember decorating the Christmas tree and visiting family; I scrap those every year.  But will he remember that we always go to the tree lighting at the Jelly Belly Factory?  Will he remember the Lighted Boat Parade in Suisun?  Or that we spend two days working at the food pantry?  Or that we always vote for our favorites at the Festival of Trees? 

Now he will.  One of the many things I love about scrapbooking.


Upcycled Gift Card Holders

When I give a gift card, I like to place it in a homemade card or gift card holder.  It helps make an impersonal gift much more personal.  Here's one I made during the Fiskateers CHA-in-Spirit crop that I've been hosting this week:

It was quick and easy to make.  Even better, it's been upcycled from a surprising item- an empty toilet paper roll!  This is not my original idea.  I'm not sure where I first heard of it, but if you google it you can find many variations.  Here's how I made mine:

Step 1: Use a bone folder to flatten an empty toilet paper roll.  Use a very strong adhesive to secure the bottom end of the tube closed.  I used the double-sided tape in the picture and it held for a few hours, then popped loose.  I tried a few other things and eventually used a glue gun. 

Step 2: Wrap the tube in patterned paper.  I recommend lots of adhesive for a strong hold.  Use a circle punch to create the indentations in the top. 

Step 3: Ink the edges and embellish as desired.

Step 4: Create a tag from matching patterned paper.  Add a ribbon and insert inside tube. 

Step 5: Use a Glue Dot to attach the gift card to the tag.  It's ready to give! 

Here's one more that I made.  This one is for a baby shower.

I love how these turned out!  I can definitely see making more for future gift-giving occasions.