Sunday, January 19, 2020

Valentine's Day Gingerbread House

At Christmas I wanted to make a gingerbread house but never got around to doing it. So, I decided on this long holiday weekend, I'd make a Valentine's Day Gingerbread House, with the help of my daughter and daughter-in-law. And this is how it turned out.

If you want to see how I did it, click on the link below.

Video of how I made the gingerbread house

And, if you watch the video, please let  me know what you thought.


Monday, January 6, 2020

The Great Critique - coming 1/18/2020

Winter Great Critique – January 2020

Date(s) - 01/18/2020
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
TaborSpace, The Dining Room
5441 SE Belmont Street - Portland, OR 97215
SCBWI Oregon’s Great Critique is an event that happens twice a year. Each session is an awesome opportunity for writers and illustrators to be critiqued by a professional and their peers.

Never been in a critique group? Wish you could be critiqued by someone who is ahead of you in the publishing game? Want to strengthen your work? Need a fresh set of eyes and ears on that oft-revised piece? This is your chance. A published author or illustrator will lead each small group and critique your manuscript or art. You’ll also hear/see others’ work and get feedback from those writers and illustrators too. Plus you’ll learn from the comments by the critique leader about the work of others.
So sign up for a morning of perfecting your craft. And, who knows, you might make a few new like-minded friends to start a new critique group, too.
There will be a meet and greet at 9:00, where attendees sign in and get their name tags, then can enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack while meeting other writers and illustrators. Faculty books will be available for purchase during the refreshment time as well.

Sign up here:

The faculty includes;

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Twelve Days of Christmas - with Pinspirations

 It’s December 13th, which means IT’S OFFICIAL!

The countdown has begun!

But come on people…FIVE golden rings, wouldn’t one be enough?

Yes, Christmas is coming and, in the spirit of The Twelve Days of Christmas, I’ve been searching the web for a little pinspiration because I need some new gift-giving ideas.

You see, over the years, Christmas around my house has always meant a lot of making, baking and creating is going on. I’ve always loved to make homemade gifts to share with my family and friends. But this year my kids told me, “no more knitted hats or scarves.”


This is a brave new world I’m trying to live in, which means, I’ve been searching for something different to give my kids. And I’ve found some fun sights on the internet. So, in the spirit of giving, I’m going to share some of these things.

1)      Free Bullet Journal Doodles are here, so you can learn how to draw
2)      Free Printable “I Spy” Activity Sheets for kids or kids at heart here.
3)      Nine Free Printable Christmas Carols you can download here.
4)      Free STEM Kids’ Activity workbook
      (full disclosure – this one is from my own book Irma the Inventor-which is now on audible) and you can download the FREE workbook here.

And to really kick off the season, let’s all sing along:

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Plus, I thought I’d share a little history about the famous song.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was originally published in 1780 without music. It was more like a chant that came from a French rhyme. Still, more than 200 years later, it is still sung today and has become one of the most well-known Christmas Carols of all time.

Of course any parent, who sings the song with their kids, understands this is a cumulative song (which means each verse builds on the last) and plays to the excitement of the season with the giving of grand gifts that grow bigger and more extravagant with each of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Really, eight maids a milking…?
And, could a partridge even be found in a pear tree, since they are ground nesters?

But I am easily distracted. Just follow the links I’ve provided and enjoy this beginning to The Twelve Days of Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Poop Emoji Cupcakes

Have you ever wanted to make a poop emoji cupcake? Well I have. So, I did. I made these little guys for my brother-in-law's 60th birthday. (He's a plumber - so it seemed sort of appropriate.) I simply baked a couple dozen chocolate cupcakes and then I piped chocolate frosting onto the top using a piping pastry bag, without using a tip. 

At first, I tried using a #10 Wilton tip, but the rings of frosting were too small so I piped them into a bowl and started over. I decided not to use any tip at all so the rings of frosting would be big. And, I think it worked out great.

Then I cut out the mouth and eyes using black and white fondant. I used piping tips to get the circles. And I cut the largest circle in half to make  the mouth. 

I filmed it all using a time-lapse setting so it wouldn't be too boring.

I also printed out these little signs and taped them onto cupcake sticks and stabbed them into the cakes. 

Let me  know what you think. And, if you try this, please share some pictures with me. I'd love to see them.

Friday, December 6, 2019 just a name

PORTLAND OREGON is known as Potlandia but around my house it means something else entirely.

I have my own hanging gardens. Of course, it's just a few potted plants I have perched up on my picket fence but I think it's pretty.

But then, when the cold weather and holidays roll around, I want to transform my fence into a holiday display so I update the little pots with floral stems I've purchased at Joann Fabric and Crafts

I used red and white paint because if I’d used red and green in the garden, the green wouldn't have shown up. And white makes the plants pop!

After the paint dried I stenciled some fun festive words on the front like Hope, Wish, Dream, Love, Inspire, and - of  course - believe.

This was a fun, easy craft, and I love to watch people walk past the house and stop to get a word of encouragement as they go on by.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

I'm Dreaming of a . . . Pink Christmas

Some people dream  of snow...not me, I prefer a warm, cozy Christmas. And what could be better than spending the cold weather inside, crafting?

This is an old craft I've done before...but believe me, I'm working on new ones but I thought I'd share this oldie but still a goodie one with you.

This is an easy tree to make. Don't feel restrained to go small; you can make it as big as you want.

All you need is a little tulle, which you can pick up at any fabric store. And, if pink isn't your color, you can go green with a green tree...

Or purple, if you prefer.

Here's how to do it. Lay out your fabric 

Then cut it into strips
Use a dowel and a heavy piece of wood to hold the tree and simply start stacking your strips...
It's as simple as that - then add a star

And you could be finished there. Or pull out your handy-dandy 
glue gun

And then add whatever embellishments you like...I like sparkly rhinestones or fake gemstones

And voila - you'll have a pink or green or even purple Christmas! But no matter what color you prefer,  I hope it's a  healthy, happy and fun-filled Holiday!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Thanksgiving is Almost Here . . . Be Brave!

With the holidays coming … I'm getting ready to do some serious baking. But before I pull out the rolling pin and flour, I'm trying to remember some of the cakes I've made in the past. And, maybe by taking a moment to remember, I won't make the same mistakes.

But believe me, I'm going to be trying some new things (this is where I'm trying to be brave) so there will undoubtedly be a few fails, flops and hopefully even a few things that turn out.

I know they can't all be winners and my family will be sure to tell  me which ones are the failures.

But, I thought I'd share one fun Thanksgiving cupcake and one fantastic flop of a cake I made one year. Of course, I think it's almost okay that this failure looks so miserable, I mean after all we're all getting ready to eat him. And even though he didn't turn out as cute as I wanted, he still tasted least if you can tell by how quickly he disappeared.

Anyway, I hope you have some fantastic baked goods for your holiday feast. And, if you do, please share a link to your blog or a photo in the comments, so I can take a peek - I'm always looking for inspiration to create more delicious goodies. 

And, I wanted to wish you all  a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!