Candy Melt Witches

After making my peanut butter graham cracker owls, I was playing around with the leftover candy eyes and candy corn and realized they'd make awesome witches. My witches are green, because I was born after 1939. Fun fact: People who grew up before 1939 grew up seeing witches portrayed with red or orange skin. Affiliate links below. 

Candy Melt Witches



Put a sheet of parchment paper onto your work surface. Prepare the Candy Melts according to the package directions, then spoon a blob of melted candy onto the parchment. Drag the spoon through it to create a chin. 

Place a piece of candy corn in the middle of the face for the witch's nose. Drizzle additional melted candy over the top. Put the eyes in place, then choose two black jimmies as eyebrows. Push additional jimmies up against the edges of the still-melted candy for hair. Finally, add a sugar pearl wart on the witch's nose. 

Let the candy set for approximately 15 minutes, then peel it from the parchment paper. Every witch is going to turn out a bit different, which is half the fun!

I'd intended these for Halloween, but they would also be fun for a Wizard of Oz themed party. Turn the finished witches upside down, put a lollipop stick on each, then 'glue' the sticks in place with more melted candy for a super fun Witch-on-a-Stick treat. Wouldn't they look cute alongside this famous quintet? (Answer: Yes.)

*Same problem as with the owls. It appears the Wilton candy eyeballs printed with the eyelashes are be discontinued. Make your own by drawing eyelashes onto the candy eyeballs I've linked above using a black edible marker


The Last Day of 8th Grade

Nobody likes Dolores Umbridge, but the Umbridge Rules Sketch Challenge was one of my very favorites from the Yer a Wizard Online Virtual Crop. I always love a good sketch challenge! Here's what I made:

Last Day of 8th Grade (affiliate link)

And here is the sketch:

As you can see, I did some flipping and rotating, but all the elements are there. I'm particularly happy with the circles. I dug out some ancient vellum and it gave me just the look I wanted. I'm going to hang onto this sketch, as I can totally see using it again. 


Same Height? Not Quite! - Scrapbook Crop with Victoria Marie

This layout isn't quite the usual Cindy page. After all, there are 4 different patterned papers, die cuts, a punched border, and (gasp!) enamel dots. Only a single photo. And no journaling!

Same height? Not quite! (affiliate link)

I participated in the Yer a Wizard Online Virtual Crop with Victoria Marie Designs and made this page for one of the many challenges. I'll get to that in a second, but first some details about the crop. The theme was Harry Potter / Halloween and it was a blast! There were five live 2+ hour Zoom events over the course of the weekend (a Friday night welcome party, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday), each with plenty of scrapping and chatting. We were encouraged to wear our Harry Potter stuff on Friday and one of the Saturday events was a costume party. There was tons of inspiration and plenty of enabling (for those who don't speak Scrapbook, enabling is when one crafter tells another about a fabulous product that is a must-have). There were 11 challenges with prizes and 4 giveaways. All this for $7.99 - quite a bargain! Victoria Marie online crops occur monthly, so I'll definitely be joining another. Not monthly, because that is more of a time commitment than I want to make, but a few times a year for sure. 

Anyway, I made this layout for the Potions Class Ingredient Challenge. We were challenged to use the following ingredients to create a layout: 3 patterned papers, die cuts, chipboard, enamel dots, and a dimensional element. We were allowed to substitute as necessary. I used a border punch instead of an additional dimensional element, since the chipboard and the enamel dots already had enough dimension to make me twitchy.

I was exceptionally prolific during the crop, which is a great feeling. I'll be sharing all the other layouts I made over the next few weeks, intermixed with other projects I want to share.


Candy Corn Black-eyed Susan Edible Flowers

Candy corn seems to be a polarizing treat - people either love it or they hate it. I'm one of the rare people in the middle. I like it, but not enough to buy it over a different sugary treat. No matter your stand on candy corn, I think you'll agree that it is beautiful when you turn it into flowers. Specifically, Black-eyed Susans.  

Candy Corn Black-eyed Susan Edible Flowers



Place a piece of parchment paper on your workspace. Follow the instructions to melt the yellow Candy Melts. Place a small dollop (about the size of a nickel) of yellow candy on the parchment paper, then arrange seven pieces of candy corn to make the petals. Repeat until you have the desired number of flowers. Let the candy set for 15 minutes. 

Pour the jimmies onto a cutting board and chop them into small bits, the way you would mince garlic. 

Melt the cocoa Candy Melts according to the package instructions. Dip a piece of candy corn into the melted candy and then press it to the center. Remove the piece, then sprinkle the wet candy with the minced jimmies. 

Let the candy harden for 15 minutes and your beautiful Black-eyed Susans are ready to serve!

Fun fact: The Black-eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland. I'm going to be on the lookout for them the next time we visit the Old Line State!


Legoland 2015 and Keeping Track of Stories to Tell

After having the photos on my desk for five years, I finally scrapped Steve and Trevor's 2015 trip to Legoland. They went while I attended the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show in Anaheim. Why did I wait so long to make this layout? Well, on top of these reasons, I've been searching for my LEGO scrapbook materials. I'm convinced that I have LEGO paper and stickers somewhere, but I've torn the house apart and they are not here. I must have dream-bought them. I did find some Star Wars LEGO stickers amongst Trevor's art supplies, so I used those for this super simple page. 

Legoland 2015 (affiliate link)

I'm really glad to get this layout in the album. It's been sitting at the top of my list of stories to scrap for far too long. See? There it is, right at the top:

I use this list along with my post-it trick to make scrapping out of chronological order work for me. Basically, any time something happens that I want to scrapbook, I add it to the bottom of my list. Every so often, I transfer those topics to post-it notes for the album. That's when I determine whether an event gets one page or two. I indicate the 2-pagers in parentheses in the notebook. When I order photos, I circle the topic. I can see at a glance what topics are ready to scrap, if they're 1- or 2-pagers, and where they fit in the album, as well as what photos I still need to have printed. When I complete a layout and share it here, I draw a line through that item. 

When the list gets too messy (which happens every few months), I recopy it. 

As you can see, our trip through the Panama Canal in 2017 is now the oldest story not-yet-scrapped. It's a 2-pager and the pictures are printed. But that doesn't mean it will be the next thing I scrap. It all depends on my mood. There are a few recent events I'm itching to scrap, so those might be first. Either way, I'll make all the pages eventually.


Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Owls

 Meet the Owlan family. 

Here are Mr. and Mrs. Owlan with her sister, Owlicia Owlexander. 

Can you tell I had the best time making these? Because I totally did. They were a hit with my family and you should definitely make some. Affiliate links below. 

Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Owls



To make Owlice, use a knife to spread peanut butter onto a graham cracker. Add two eyes and a candy corn beak. Follow the package directions to melt the Candy Melts, then use that to add the forehead and wings. 

Owlejando is basically the opposite. Start with the cocoa candy melts, add the facial features, then use peanut butter to make the forehead and wings.

To make Owlicia, I spread the peanut butter smoothly, then used a toothpick to draw in the forehead, wings, and tail feathers. 

The owlets (Owlison and Owlex) are made with half a graham cracker each. The easiest way to get them to split cleanly is to use a sharp chef's knife and press down along the score line with equal pressure along the whole knife. Spread peanut butter on each, then pounce the knife up and down repeatedly against the peanut butter to create their fluffy feather texture. Add the eyes and candy corn beaks.   

*I wasn't able to find the Wilton candy eyeballs printed with the eyelashes that I used anywhere online.  I've had them for awhile and it looks like they might be discontinued. You can make your own version by drawing eyelashes onto the candy eyeballs I've linked above with a black edible marker


Boo! Eyeball Art

Sometimes, the inspiration for one of my projects comes from a previous craft. When I shared the Boo Halloween mobile, it struck me that the double O's of BOO would make awesome eyeballs. From that idea, I made this:


Boo! Eyeball Art



Cut two white circles for the eyeballs. Draw wiggly red capillaries on them. Cut a pair of smaller green circles for the irises and even smaller circles for the pupils. Glue the eyes together.

Cut a letter B from green paper. Instead of cutting out the counters from the green, cut them in black and glue them on top of the B. Cut a black witch's hat and glue it to the top of the B. 

Make an exclamation point with a brown broom handle and yellow bristles. Cut the bristles almost all the way to the top. 

Glue everything to purple background paper. 


I did a search on Amazon for "candy eyeballs" and the search yielded all sorts of interesting things. Lots of fun Halloween possibilities!


World Card Making Day: Watercolor Cards

I don't consider myself a cardmaker, which is weird because I make every single card that I send. But I don't have dedicated cardmaking supplies, don't know the different card size dimensions by heart (99.9% of the cards I make are A2), and haven't tried most of the complicated card folds. I don't use stamps often, don't have a die-cut machine, and rarely emboss anything. So while I am definitely a card maker, I'm not a cardmaker.

Anyway, all this to say that I not only participated in World Card Making Day 2020, but completed the WCMD Colour Challenge at Scrapbook and Cards Today. The challenge was to use analogous colors (or colours - the challenge host is American and the magazine is Canadian, so you see both spellings pop up) and this fun watercolor technique. I used different color palettes to make four different cards.

These two cards are very similar. I drew light pencil lines on watercolor paper, painted in the bands of color, used Sharpies to write the sentiments, darkened the lines and added subtle patterns to the painted areas with colored pencils, mounted the card with coordinating cardstock, and decorated with sequins. 

I started this next card the same way, but I didn't use colored pencils or sequins. I simply added a line of dots with the same bronze Sharpie I used for writing the sentiment. 

For this card, I drew the pencil lines coming out of a central point (which is now covered with the star). I made a gradient of 12 colors from three basics in my beloved Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Set by Sakura (affiliate link). I used a gold Sharpie to add the sentiment and color the lines and die-cut star. 

These cards aren't masterpieces and definitely keep me in the category of card maker rather than cardmaker. But that's ok. The goal was to try a new technique, complete a challenge, and have fun, so mission accomplished. 


Wizard's Workshop Watercolor

Kids have the best imaginations. This fun project challenges them to think what a wizard would keep on a bookshelf. A pile of bones? A skull under glass? Lots of spell books? Potions and a magic wand? A jar of eyeballs? Perhaps all that and more, or something completely different! Affiliate links below. 

Wizard's Workshop Watercolor



Use a ruler to draw a bookshelf on the watercolor paper. You can make it as tall/short and wide/narrow as you want, with as many shelves as you'd like. I used the ruler to draw the floor boards and books, then did everything else freehand. 

Fill the shelves with whatever you think would be in a wizard's workshop, sketching lightly with a pencil. When you are done sketching, trace over everything with a Sharpie. (I used brown.) Do not use a water-based marker!

This was my first time trying out Sharpie pens and I loved them! If you've never tried Sharpie pens, they are different from the Sharpie markers you've used a hundred times. The fine tip is just the right size for detailed drawing, and the ink doesn't bleed or soak through paper. The ink dries immediately and doesn't smear when you brush your hand over it (perfect for us lefties!). And Sharpie pens are acid-free, so you can use them on scrapbook pages, too. 


After you've traced over everything, erase the pencil lines. Then use watercolors to bring it to life. I started with the bookcase and floor, then did the broom, then the cauldron. 

Next was the books, bottles, jars, and wand. After that, the walls. The last thing I did was to fill in the back of the bookshelf.

By the way, I used my beloved travel watercolor set for this project, even though I only traveled from my upstairs craft room to the downstairs living room to paint. I originally bought it exclusively for travel, but I love it so much that I got rid of my other watercolors and just use this. In looking for the link, I discovered there is a 48-color set. Now I'm totally tempted. Because twice as many colors is probably twice as awesome, right?

(Dear Santa, I've been good.)

I had so much fun creating this! If you or your kids paint a wizard's workshop, email a photo to me or leave a link in the comments. I'd love to see what other people dream up!


Future Pegasus

Trevor is a member of the freshman class of Early College High School. This innovative program takes place entirely on the local community college campus. The students take the standard high school classes, as well as at least one college class each semester. ECHS is a perfect fit for Trevor and we've been hoping and praying for years that he would be admitted. We were all so excited and happy for him when his acceptance letter arrived in February. I used the letter as the journaling in this layout. 

Future Pegasus (affiliate link)
The ECHS mascot is the Pegasus, explained visually in the main photo (actually a slide from the presentation we attended for prospective students). ECHS students are technically enrolled at Rodriguez High School (the Mustangs), even though they won't necessarily ever set foot on campus. Their classes are all at Solano Community College* (the Falcons). When you combine Mustang and Falcon, obviously you end up with Pegasus. I love that.
*At least they will be, once we beat this pandemic. 


Crayon Melt Skull

Crafting with the warming tray is so much fun that you can't stop with just one project! I filled a paper with purples, blues, and greens to make a background for a paper skull. 

To make the background paper, I used the same technique as with the iguana. Plug in the warming tray, put a piece of paper on top, peel the crayons, place them on their sides, and glide them across the paper. I layered five different colors on top of each other. 

Here you can see how the same finished paper looks sitting on the table and held up to the window. 

To make the skull, I folded a piece of copy paper in half and cut out the general shape of a skull, including the eye sockets, nose, and mouth. When I was happy with it, I used it as a tracer on a second piece of paper. After cutting out the final version of the skull, I used the paper scraps to make teeth, which I glued behind the skull. Then I glued the skull to the background paper. 

There is no end to the things you can do with a warming tray!


Popcorn Cake

When I was a kid, my friends knew that when they came to my birthday party, they'd be served a money cake. My friend Rachael had a similarly-distinctive cake at her birthday parties: her mom always served a popcorn cake. Mrs. Sato made her version of a popcorn cake in a bundt pan. It had colorful mini gumdrops throughout. She served it in thick wedges we ate with our hands, like a popcorn ball. It was delicious. 

I've been thinking about that popcorn cake recently. I've never been served a popcorn cake by anyone but Mrs. Sato, and Steve and Trevor had never had one. I'm not sure of her recipe, but it was basically rice krispie treats with popcorn instead of cereal, so I started from there and did some experimenting. I didn't have gumdrops on hand, but I had M&M's, so I made a chocolate version and added a drizzle of ganache and sprinkles to my popcorn cake. 

While the ganache looks pretty and tastes great, I honestly think the cake doesn't need it. Give it a try and tell me if you think the chocolate adds anything, or if the plain cake is the way to go. 

Popcorn Cake

12 c. popcorn
1-2 c. candy (M&M's, gumdrops, etc)
16 oz. marshmallows 
3/4 c. butter, divided

You will need approximately 12 cups of popcorn to make a cake. If you use microwave popcorn, this is 2 bags. Carefully pick out any unpopped kernels. Pour the popcorn into a springform tube pan. It should fill the pan completely. You may need to add more popcorn. 

Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. Check again for any unpopped kernels (they like to hide). 

Generously grease the pan with 1/4 c. butter, making sure to cover every surface, including the tube. This will seem like a lot of butter. That is ok. Put any extra butter into a saucepan, along with the remaining 1/2 c. butter. Melt the butter and the marshmallows together over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Remove the marshmallow mix from the stove and pour it over the popcorn. Stir completely until all the popcorn is coated with marshmallows. Stir in the candy. 

Cover your hand with a piece of plastic wrap, then press the popcorn into the buttered tube pan. 

Let it sit for 10 minutes, then release the spring and invert the cake onto a cake stand. Let it cool completely.

This is the way Rachael's mom did (just imagine those M&M's are gumdrops). Feel free to serve it like this, or add the ganache, sprinkles, and candles.  

This cake brought me right back to Rachael's June birthday parties in the 1970's. Good times. 


Craft Stick Scarecrow

When I was a kid, I loved making things out of popsicle sticks. That's what we called them in the 1970's. I wouldn't have had the slightest idea what someone meant if they said 'craft stick.' The ones I used at home were stained from having once been inside actual popsicles, so it was quite a treat to go to camp and use clean sticks that came from inside a box rather than inside a popsicle! On special occasions, the camp counselors would bring out the 'big popsicle sticks,' aka tongue depressors. They might have been sold as craft supplies back then, but when we crafted with them, they came out of a box labeled as medical supplies, not as craft materials. It was so exciting to use two different sizes of popsicle sticks - there were so many different things we could build!

Crafters today have so many more options when it comes to craft sticks: everything from 2.5" mini craft sticks to gigantic 10" craft sticks (affiliate links here and throughout the post). I used the two largest sizes to make this adorable scarecrow.  

Craft Stick Scarecrow



Paint most of the 8" craft stick with the shirt color (I used Yellow Citron) and the ends a burlap color (I used Country Twill). Paint the 10" craft stick Country Twill where the face will be, Yellow Citron where the shirt will be, and a blue for the pants (I used Dark Hydrangea). 

When the paint is dry, add details with Sharpies. I started with blue to draw the waistband, belt loops, pocket, and a leg-dividing line on the pants. Then I used green to draw the collar, pockets, sleeves, and buttons of the shirt. With a paler green, I drew diagonal lines to make a plaid on the shirt. Then I drew on orange patches and 'stitched' them with brown. I added black eyes, an orange nose, and a red mouth, then 'stitched' the nose and mouth. Finally, I used gold and yellow to make the hair and the straw coming out of the sleeves and the top of the shirt. 

Cut a cardstock hat. Glue it to the scarecrow's head, then glue the arms behind the body. 

My scarecrow will be an indoor decoration, but if you want to make an outdoor version for the garden or to put in a potted plant (or anywhere else there would be moisture), seal the scarecrow with multiple coats of Outdoor Mod Podge

This would be a great project to do as a family. Imagine how cute all the scarecrows would look holding hands, suspended as a banner!

Looking for other fall decor? Check out these great ideas from my fellow craft bloggers.


Textbook Pickup

Trevor has been in 9th grade for about two months now. So far, it is 100% distance learning, which has actually worked out really well. He'll be doing distance learning for at least another few weeks, but likely through the end of the semester. 

During the first week of school, each student had a designated time to pick up textbooks. Only three of Trevor's six classes have a text (Biology, English, and Math), yet his stack was quite impressive. 

Textbook Pickup (affiliate link)
I'm really happy to have this layout in the album. Not only does it document something we'd never done before COVID-19, but now I have a photo of his new school in the scrapbook... even if he has only been inside for the pre-admission tour.


Sweet Strawberry Snakes

Care for a sssweet ssstrawberry sssnake? They're delissssious and ssso sssatisfying!

They're made from the same dough as Rose Rolls. Just follow the steps through dividing the dough into 18 pieces. 

Roll each piece into a long, thin rectangle. Spread a small amount of jam in the center, then roll up the dough like a jelly roll. Place the snake, seam side down, on a baking sheet. You can see from the picture that I didn't use a Silpat (affiliate link). I should have. Learn from my mistake. 

Cover the snakes loosely with a clean towel and let them rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

When the snakes are completely cool, add a small amount of orange juice to powdered sugar to make a glaze. Place the wire rack back over the now-cool Silpat-covered pan and drizzle the glaze over the top of the snakes. You can leave the glaze clear (like the two snakes at the bottom of the photo) or add food color. I experimented with two different ways to get bands of color. For the red and grey snake, I coated it entirely in grey, let that set, then dripped red glaze on top to make the stripes. For the green and grey snake, I made grey bands then immediately added bands of green in between the grey. Both worked, but gave different looks. 

Did you notice my green-stained fingers above? Oops. 

When the glaze is completely dry, arrange the snakes on a platter to serve. The sweet bread dough with the strawberry filling and citrus glaze is irresisssssstible!

Ssssseriously delissssious. 


First Day of 9th Grade

Trevor started high school in August. For the first time since preschool, there was no school supply list, and no shopping for a new backpack, lunchbox, or clothes. No packing a lunch, no drive, and no meeting up with friends. Of all the things that COVID-19 has changed in our lives, nothing has had as big of an impact as the schools going to 100% distance learning. 

We are lucky, as Trevor's school year has gone very well so far. I love having Trevor home with us all day. He is old enough to do schoolwork independently, yet I'm here on the rare occasion he needs my help. He is a very conscientious and hardworking student, so I don't need to monitor his work or tell him to study. His teachers, principal, and counselor are doing a fantastic job with online learning. It's not ideal, but it's working. 

Our tradition is that I take Trevor's photo in the backyard just before school on the first day. (By fun coincidence, our new fence was installed the previous day, so this was the first-ever picture of it.) Ordinarily, I would have taken a photo of him in front of his new school, but instead I took a picture of him sitting at his desk in our family room. 

First Day of 9th Grade (affiliate link)

When school started, we knew that the kids would be 100% virtual through at least October 16. The school board meets on October 5 to either extend that date or move toward the next level toward in-person instruction.

What's the current school situation where you are?