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1  COOKING / Dessert / Watermelon Cake! on: July 23, 2014 08:38:42 AM
I hosted my bookclub last night. I wanted to have a light dessert, and had seen this idea for watermelon cake in my local newspaper. I found a few examples on Pinterest as well. Here's the giant cake itself; so pretty!

When you cut it open, surprise! The "cake" is actually a huge chunk of watermelon!

I was worried that everyone would feel let down that there wasn't actually cake for dessert, but this was a big hit and everyone loved it. It was a perfect summer dessert.

Here's how I made it:

One nice sized seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into a cake shape
Cool Whip, softened in the fridge
Slivered Almonds
Assorted Berries (I used blueberries and raspberries)

After you cut your watermelon to size, pat dry with paper towels. I cut mine earlier in the day, and kept it refrigerated it until a couple hours before serving. I have read that if the watermelon isn't good and cold, the Cool Whip won't stick to the sides. I patted it dry again before icing it with the Cool Whip. I then pressed slivered almonds into the sides, and garnished the top with the berries. I kept it in the fridge uncovered until serving. So easy!
2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Cirque Theatre (Clown warning!) on: July 17, 2014 08:16:19 AM
Send in the clowns! This month at Alpha Stamps, it's all about the circus, one of my favorite themes. Here's a wild and wooly clown extravaganza, made using the same Small Paper Theatre box that I used to make "Animal Farm". There is so much aerial action going on in this Cirque Theater, that I turned the box for a vertical presentation, and mounted it on a Small Wooden Theatre Base.

All clowns, all the time. Plus a few stars.

I was working on this over the Fourth of July weekend, hence the Americana feel. Once the theater was built, I filled it jam-packed full with clowns. But don't worry; these are nice clowns!

The clowns are stacked at various depths to give dimension.

A vintage cupcake pick and some metallic hands welcome one and all to the circus, and sit nicely in front of a star-spangled medallion. For this project, I made a semi-circle instead of using a full medallion.

What's this? Who's this clown, sitting down on the job?!? That ain't right.

All of my supplies for this project came from Alpha Stamps.  Smiley
3  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Halloween Trick or Treat Peg Dolls on: July 12, 2014 08:05:48 AM
I know it's the middle of summer, but I love making Halloween crafts so much I just can't help it. Alpha Stamps has started carrying peg dolls, and I've been making little trick or treaters with them. Each of these kids started out with just the basic peg doll kit, and I added a variety of little extras to make them all different.

The first one I made was a witch. I made her a black hat out of cardstock, a skirt out of gathered orange tulle, and then added extras like tiny orange buttons, bat wings, a black mask, a pumpkin pod jack o'lantern, and a trick or treat bag I constructed from a grocery bag.

Next I thought it would be fun to make a little cat. She's got ears sculpted out of Apoxie Sculpt, a pipe cleaner tail, a black mask, a vintage black cat cupcake pick, and a dress and trick or treat bag like her witchy friend.

Here's a little devil, all dressed in red. She's got bright red horns (Apoxie Sculpt), red glittered mask and bat wings, a tail made with a wrapped pipe cleaner, a skull bead, and the cutest little pumpkin treat bag ever (also from Alpha Stamps).

And then lastly, there's this zombie. I'm not sure if she's a trick or treater or an actual zombie trying to pass. She's not coordinated enough to carry a treat bag, and no matter: she's got a skeletal arm to gnaw on, should she get hungry. She's wearing a tattered black tulle dress.

Oh no, BRAINS!

For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Trick or treat!
4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Pet Portrait: Bindi on: July 01, 2014 01:46:49 PM
Here's a little portrait I did for MissingWillow in the IYP not that long ago. It's Bindi, her beloved hairless cat. Done on a 4" by 4" wood block.

Here's a picture of Bindi with her portrait. Jury's out on whether or not she approves. Cheesy
5  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Mini Altered Tin: Virgin Mary Shrine on: June 19, 2014 06:23:04 AM
Here's a little shrine I made for vincentvanbuck, my partner in the Altered Mini Altoid Tins swap. One of his preferred themes was a shrine to the Virgin Mary. I love that! I asked him if he was ok with unconventional materials, and he was, so here's what I sent.

I was really happy with this turned out. Speaking of unconventional materials, I used matchsticks, a rusty bottlecap, some brads, and on the inside of the shrine, some slinky-like wires in two tones of metal. They give it some nice shine and add dimension. Oh, and that red eyeball. I'm pretty sure you don't see that every day on a Mary shrine.  Cheesy

The sides were built up and the elements attached with Apoxie Sculpt clay. I absolutely love that stuff, both for sculpting and adhering difficult parts, like the eyeball. It takes paint so well, so adding decorative touches to the sides was simple.

Here's the back. I added a little hanger. Whenever I add a hanger to a tin, I make sure to cut out the paper covering the back so that the hanger is adhered directly to the tin. I wouldn't want the weight of the hanging tin to rip the paper! Had to add one more little decorative clay swirl on the back. It helps support that bottlecap.

I had to send in that swap extra early, due to other commitments, so I was the first to send. I can't wait to see what everyone else does with their mini tins!
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Mermaid Spoolie on: June 10, 2014 07:34:16 AM
I am participating in the Altered Spool Swap. It's so much fun. You should check out the gallery; we're just getting started but there are so many creative spools posted already.

In any case, my wonderful partner alwaysinmyroom received yesterday, so I can share photos now of the ocean themed spool I sent her.

All of the materials for this spool were in my (massive) stash, including the shells, the green sequins (they were my grandmother's!) and the hideous earrings/charms that became the coral. I knew I'd use those some day!

Here's a closeup of the mermaid's sweet face. Isn't she a cutie? I hope she likes her new fins and seashell bra. She's carrying around a little pearl. Does she not see the giant pearl behind her?
7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Paper Theater. Now showing: Animal Farm, the musical on: June 02, 2014 06:31:50 AM
What's up this month at Alpha Stamps? Paper theaters! I used the Small Paper Theater Box and some of the scrumptious theater backgrounds from collage sheets to make a theater base, and then had a marvelous time making it luxurious. I used all kinds of embellishments: flatback rhinestone studs, metal hands and stars, gold Sweeper Fringe, matchsticks, and a scallop shell charm, to name a few. There are even a few rhinestone stars floating down from the ceiling; they're attached with threads.

Who are the players in this fancy-schmancy venue? After some deliberation, I chose some great animal images from the Circus Animals collage sheets. The animals are in rehearsal for opening night of "Animal Farm, the musical". I just had to give them all googly eyes, as they looked like they were having such fun. Well, most of them, anyway. Ronnie Rooster is a little ticked off that he's not listed as one of the stars. He's folded up his music and is just about ready to stomp off the stage in defeat.

The characters are all stacked up with dimensional foam, and I folded some of the edges of the music scores in their little hands to give them even more dimension. The Animal Farm banner is made using a rubber stamp (Large Center Banner). The title of the play is hand lettered. I cheated on the sign on the side; I printed the animals' names out and then drew and cut out that banner. It's hanging from a pole made from a couple of matchsticks. Baker's twine was used for the cord.

Want to know how I made the folded paper medallion that's behind the star on top? I posted a tutorial here. Smiley
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Folded Paper Medallion Tutorial on: June 02, 2014 06:30:59 AM

Paper medallions can add a lot of pizazz to your papercrafts. Here's how to make them! It's easier than it looks, especially if you have a scoring board. I use a Martha Stewart scoring board. It's small, lightweight, and very affordable. I've made these medallions without the board, and trust me, if you want to make some medallions, a scoring board is the way to go!
1. Cut a strip of paper 12" long, and a little less than half the diameter you wish your medallion to be. The strip I'm using in this tutorial is 1 1/4" wide, and the finished medallion is a little over 2 1/2" in diameter.  

2. Place the strip along the top and side guidelines of the scoring board, and using the scoring utensil, score every 1/2" (on the Martha Stewart board, shown here, you would score on each dot.) Your paper is longer than the board, so when you get to the edge of the board in your scoring, simply slide your paper over to the left to continue scoring your strip.

3. Once you have scored every 1/2", flip the paper over and score between each scored area. Now you will have a score line every 1/4". Flipping the paper makes it easier to fold.

4. Finish scoring all the way to the end, and then fold the strip accordion-fashioned.

5. In order to join your medallion correctly, you'll need to cut off one of the ends at the first fold.  

6. Put a strip of double stick tape on one end, and bring the other end around (your strip should be in a circle now). Attach firmly.

7. Here's the tricky part: stand the strip up on one edge, and using both your hands, gently press the top edge down to the middle. Take a circle, coat it up well with glue, and place it on the center, holding firmly. I use white glue, and then set the medallion under a stack of books to set.

8. Once it's set, you have a festive medallion.  

I used a medallion on a paper theater I just posted, and here's one on a fall banner I made last year. Aren't they fun?
9  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Clarence Photobombs in France (Wood Blocks) on: May 12, 2014 10:23:43 AM
Alpha Stamps' theme for May is Springtime in Paris. Ah, so romantic.

I'm not all that sappy, though, so I took a bit of a different tact. One of the collage sheets we were given is "Paris Postcards", which have reduced images of actual vintage postcards of France. I collect vintage postcards, so I really love this collage sheet. The colors and images are really wonderful. I decided to mount them on some artist trading blocks and other wooden blocks that I painted and then sanded. My original plan was to add other elements on top of the images for a Paris collage, but I loved the way the blocks looked with just the postcards on them, and I just couldn't bear to cover them up.

Enter Clarence. He just couldn't help photobombing every single shot.

I don't know...it just cracks me up.

I did at least collage the backs of the blocks. (More photos on my blog.)

But I prefer Clarence.
10   / PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / January-April Papercraft Featured Projects on: May 08, 2014 08:28:24 AM
Here are some awesome featured projects from the Papercraft boards, chosen by members clicking the "This Rocks" feature. Thanks for the beautiful work, everyone!

Hunger Games Shadow Box-Book by felicitybaby

Purrfect Valentine ATB by pottermouth

A Series of Hope by yzzilnoaj

Corset Trading Cards and Storage Box by rackycoo

Leather-Bound (Re-used) Dark Arts Book Tutorial by arachnea

Perpetual Monster Calendar by kwality570

Old book into Prayer flag journal by P_E_S_T
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