Archives for category: How To’s and Tutorials


I get some pretty strange ideas and until I act on them, I walk around with a far away look in my eye.  I’m daydreaming of the art or craft project.  So, the folks around here were asking me what was cooking in my head and when I told them that I wanted to make celebrity Easter eggs, instead of the normal laughing I usually get, everyone was pretty excited to see what I had in mind.  Terri even offered to go to the store and pick up some eggs.

movie_star_eggs1.jpgHere’s how I made these little babies.

Step 1: I found celebrity faces on Google images by looking for full color, large images of just the face.  Google images has some nice features for narrowing down the images you are looking for.  There is but one catch – you need fairly high resolution and the face needs to be from the front, mug shot style.

Step 2: In Photoshop, I erase all around the face so that just the eyebrows, eyes, nose and lips are left (and facial hair if necessary like on my Johnny Depp egg.)  Next, I use the Select Color Range feature and sample the center of the nose to get the flesh tone.  I use the tolerance slider and push it all the way up to select all the flesh areas and then delete.

Step 3: The little faces are sized to around 1.5 inches wide which will fit a medium egg.  I print two copies using my color laser printer onto water slide decal paper.

Step 4: The faces are cut out and dipped in warm water until the decal picks up easily from the paper.  I smooth the decal onto the egg and remove the water best I can.

Step 5: Here’s the tricky part – the egg is curved top to bottom and side to side so the decal does not smooth out evenly.  After I have allowed it to dry a few minutes, I use a paint thinner soaked q-tip to soften the decal.  It really works well to soften the plastic and allow it to form onto the rounded surface of the egg.

tom_cruise_egg.jpgStep 6:  The fun part!  I created their little celebrity hairstyles with acrylic paint.  A couple of coats provides nice coverage.

celebrity_easter_eggs.jpgI created a total of 9 eggs – Tom Cruise, Natalie Portman, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Johnny Depp, Audrey Hepburn, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and I was going to make an Angelina Jolie egg but I didn’t like the face when I added it to the egg.

Happy Easter!



We have a little song we sing at my house and it goes like this:

“Willow, she makes a lousy little pillow;
when you lay your head on her to dream,
your pillow wakes up and she screams!”

Anyway, it has been far too long since I have had a cock-a-may-me idea (as my mother likes to call them) so it was time for a tutorial.

You’re going to need some cotton, some batting and some fabric transfers for this one, kids.

step1.jpgStart by taking a photo of your baby against a dark background – full length is best and you’ll want arms and legs out straight.  Harder than this looks…
step2.jpgIn Pshop, I separate baby body from background and create a solid red background to go with her outfit. 
step3.jpgI print a regular version and a flipped version (you could also make a solid back) onto transfer paper.  The largest my printer will print is tabloid sized so I fill that size.
step4.jpgThe images are transferred on to the fabric.  You can use an iron-on transfer for this.
step6.jpgI pin the two sides together back side up and pin it.  Then my mother, who allows about 1 hour a week towards cock-a-may-me ideas gets to sewing around the figure.
step7.jpgFlip it back right side and stuff it.  Sew up your little gap and you’re all done!

Willow loves her little Willow Pillow.  🙂


I wanted to create some cute cards for Ryder’s grandparents this year.  He’s 2.5 years old and likes crafts and will even sit still long enough to see a project through.  We have limited craft supplies on hand at home because most of my messy stuff is at the office.  Here’s a quick and last minute way to create Valentine’s Day cards on the cheap for your kid’s special loved ones. 

I keep a ton of construction paper on hand because it’s cheap, durable and colorful. While I’m setting up the cards, Ryder starts to work on the coloring pages.  He gets to select the images for each card and color them.   I let Ryder apply some glue to the back side of one sheet and then fold it in half and again in quarters to create a nice durable card.  A heart is cut out of craft felt and then glued on to the front.  We use puffy stickers that Ryder selects to decorate the outside of the card.  When the coloring pages are done in a couple of minutes, I cut out the characters and let Ryder glue them to the inside of the card.

As a special treat, I let Ryder use a marker to write on the card.  I stand behind him and help him write the letters as I spell them out for him.  We have been talking about writing cards for the last week so he knows to write, “Dear Mimi,” and then “Love, Ryder.”  He gets a kick out of knowing what the card should say.

All in all, allow about 15 minutes for the total project.  Ryder will hand these out to his Mimi and Papa tomorrow and we’ll give Omi’s to her on Valentines Day.  I think they’ll love them! Especially Mimi because she is a talented card maker herself.

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I thought it would be fun to do something a little different with photos for this week’s tutorial.  What better way to use your family photos than right on your finger nails!  I have only seen something like this once – on Katy Perry when she was still in love with Russell Brand. 

Here’s a relatively easy way to achieve the same effect using water slide decal paper.  Water slide decal paper is available for either ink jet printers or laser printers.  I personally have never used the ink jet paper but I’m sure it’s a similar process.  I get my decal paper from Bel Decal.

Paint your nails white.  Another light color will work ok too but the transfers are transparent so white will be the brightest.

Print your photos starting at .5″ wide and about an inch long.  Create a template with all 10 photos at the largest size and then copy them and make them a little smaller.  Make 5 versions of all the photos in largest to smallest. The largest images will be used on your thumbs and the smallest will be on your pinkies.

Cut the photos out and roughly size them to your nails.  Cut a round shape on the bottom and straight on the sides and top.  Allow a little overhang on the top.

Soak one at a time in some warm water for a few seconds.  You will be able to easily remove the decal from the backing and slide it on your nail.  Let it dry before continuing.

Once you have all your nails done, use a coat of clear nail polish to seal the photo on.  The nail polish will soften the extra decal material that hangs over and form a nice little edge.

That’s it!

You’ll have to play around with your photos to see which ones work best.  Personally, I think the head shots work better than full length shots.  Try different things.  Enjoy!

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We had an order for a custom ring bearer pillow and flower girl basket with galaxy blue dedrobium orchids and I thought, sure, no problem.  How hard can it be to find these particular silk orchids? 

Well, impossible.  Seriously, they do not exist.  I have seen a few sites in the UK and Australia selling fake flower bouquets made with these orchids but I could not source them in the states.

So, I ordered the real touch violet, dark purple orchid that florists use to create these orchids.  Apparently, if you place the stems of the dark purple orchids in blue floral die, they become this lovely turquoise, violet shade.  I ordered one stem from  With the promo code and shipping, it was just under $10.

I sprayed the individual orchids with water in a spray bottle and blotted them dry with a clean towel.  Then, I applied varying shades of blue highlighter pen which soaked in to the moistened flowers really nicely and created a pretty gradient.  I continued this until the desired effect was achieved.


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What with Facebook and Pinterest, I am bombarded with newborn photography and I am constantly inspired to try my own hand at photographing my kids.  Well, make that my kid.  Ryder makes a really hard to capture subject.  When he isn’t ants-in-the-pants, he is squinting from the anticipated flash firing.  His eyes are almost always closed or half closed.

So, Willow gets the brunt of my hobby photographer practice sessions.  Here are my tips for gathering some awesome shots of your little one.

1) Natural lighting is crucial.  Lighting sets the mood, the feeling.  While your child is napping, set up your area in a sunny spot where the sun is pouring in.

2) When your child awakes from a nap refreshed, be ready to change his/her clothing and snap some shots.  The first few are usually the best.

3) Rugs and blankets make the best backdrop for babies before they can sit up.  Fleece blankets work great on carpet floors because they grip on and make a nice flat surface.  Also try pillows and bean bags under blankets to create a softer look.
4) Mom makes the best photographer because she shows all the best ways to get those little full face grins and giggles!


The time has come to seriously consider redecorating my son’s room.  He’s 2.5 and the baby room he is currently inhabiting is really just not cutting it anymore.  He is still in a crib with a cute baby quilt hanging over it.  It’s time to consider a big boy room.

I came across this really great tutorial on making a Pirates of the Caribbean poster.  Unfortunately, I only have a photo of his sister in the pirate hat…


New favorite technique!  This is so cool.  You need to be pretty moderately Pshop skilled in order to pull this off but I think this how to tutorial is fantastic and you can apply so many cool effects to your art.

Start with a photo of your kids with a nice light background and remove or lighten anything that is not part of the main image.  Then, create your own brushes (something I have never done) out of their names, initials and birthday to “paint” in the image.  SUPER COOL!

DSC_0218.JPGEver since I started nursing my second baby, I have been CRAVING soda day and night.  DH has been lovely about buying me special drinks but it’s an expensive option.  I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners either, yuck!  So, I started making my own soda.  It’s super easy – just mix 2 tablespoons frozen fruit juice from concentrate (no sugar added, 100% juice) with sparkling mineral water.  YUM!

I have SO many photos of my kids and my life that by the end of the year I feel totally overwhelmed with them.  There are some really great photos and lots and lots of just OK photos – but those are our memories of our little ones.  This year we welcomed our little girl into the family so the majority of 2011 was all about pregnancy and then her birth and newborn months.

Here’s a great way to create a visual representation of the year with a Photo Collage – and if you are decent at PShop, it should just take a few minutes to create.

Start in Picasa.  If you don’t have Picasa already, I urge you to use it.  It is a great way to organize your photos, edit them and keep an online selection of them in albums.  Google offers free storage that lasts a long time and has several partner sites which make it easy to print the photos after you upload them to your online web albums.

collage.jpgStep 1: Create a collage in Picasa.  I went through the year’s photos and selected the ones that stood out to me.  I put them in the tray and pinned them.  After I was done, Picasa’s collage tool did the rest.  I selected a grid format.  I don’t like the way some of the photos go horizontal or vertical so I went in and changed some of those.  Lost interest (and ran out of nap time) but you get the idea.

Open your collage file in PShop.
numbers.jpgCreate a new layer and make your bold numbers.  I chose Impact but get create and try out a lot of fonts.

Control click the numbers layer to select just the number area.  Go back to your collage layer and select the inverse.  Then, delete.  Now you just have the collage in the shape of the numbers.


Now, I like the numbers against a black background but play around with it.  One thing that I didn’t like was the way that a lot of my photos were cropped out when they were between the numbers.  Another font or squishing the numbers closer would solve that but try different effects.

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