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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Printables Peas box

It has been a really busy week. Since it's all stuff I want to be doing, it's been fun too.
Here's a printable peas box- click on the image for the larger version, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue! It might make a nice way to package a small gift for a gardening friend.


I'm currently working on animating a mandala video, the idea being that if it's on youtube, some people might find all the mandalas here that way! However, animating it it is taking a while. So far I have 13 seconds of animation which is about 153 frames. I'm planning to loop some of the frames, but it's still a very slow process.

Also the weather here has been glorious for Anchorage in April. So wonderful it threw my planting schedule right out the window. So I've been working in the yard and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. On the really good side, my strawberries which were late to make an appearance last year are popping up all over the yard. TATG and I opened the last jar of raspberry jam from last year and have been enjoying it. We also pruned my raspberries, said hi to the rhubarb which is starting to pop up and unfurl it's leaves, and started planting all the annuals. Like my sugar snap peas, which are doing twice as much as last year.

For everyone in a place that's seeing bad weather, my thoughts are with you. Stay safe, and I hope your loved ones are alright too.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Groovy printable sun box

Groovy sun and rainbows
Remember the moon and stars mandala the other day? Modifying the moon face a bit, I got this happy sun. I hope you enjoy this box. Click on the image for a larger version, print it on cardstock, score the fold, fold and glue!

Printable groovy sun box #gifts #papercrafts #rainbows

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Birthstone and Flower mandalas- a second option for October

Calendula and opals mandala

I've had mixed feelings about October's Calendula and Opals mandala since drawing it, but at the time I was facing a deadline and pretty entranced with square mandalas.
Then Spoonflower announced a contest for floral themed WALLPAPER. Imagine that. Wallpaper that you can color. If you're a fan of The Birthstone and Flower series of Mandalas you can get it as wallpaper after I order the proofs. Or if you don't want to wait that long, you can vote for it in the contest and if I get in the top 10 Spoonflower will print it before I finish filling out my next sampler of fabrics to order. Voting will be open on April 24th. The design I submitted has all the flower/stone/month names in the corner, double checked for accuracy and consistent layout, it does not have my URL on it. This is the mockup from the Spoonflower site for how it would look as wallpaper. It's laid out in 4 rows and 3 columns. 
VOTING OPEN NOW!



So I redrew the October mandala to fit better with the rest of them. Click on the image for a larger version and print it to color.

Small JPG version:

Large transparent PNG version:

Coffee? No problem with this stain fighter!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Biz Stain & Odor Eliminator. All opinions are 100% mine.
Stains happen. In my family the most common stain is coffee spills. We brew it strong and dark, and tend to get cups too full. I also like to borrow my husband's white teeshirts during the summer while I'm working in my yard. He can tell which ones, because a lot of the time they will have coffee stains on them.
So that was the big test for Biz Liquid Stain Fighter. Those coffee stains are harder to get out than the dirt, oil and various other stains that happen in our lives. Biz contains more stain fighting ingredients than other brands, combining the enzymes to break down protein stains like milk, detergents for dirt and normal soiling, peroxide that can tackle things tomato based stains and whiteners to brighten colors and whiten whites. Biz can be used directly on tough stains as a pretreater, and used in a normal load of laundry with your detergent as a booster that will get laundry cleaner and smelling good.
Coffee stained
Coffee with cream is a milk and coffee stain, and needs enzymes and peroxide. I consider "mostly gone" a victory with coffee stains, so delibrately staining a shirt was an act of faith.
Pretreating is easy. Just rinse the stain with warm water, and work in Biz straight from the bottle. Rub it well.
Pre-treating with Biz
It has a nice scent, but I still wasn't sure if it would get out the coffee. I also used it as a booster in all my loads of laundry.
Washed as normal, and check it out!
Stain gone!
I was in shock. Washing it with hot water after pre-treating, I would have been certain I pulled out the wrong shirt, except there was only one white teeshirt in that load.
Need to know where to buy Biz? You can also save $1 on Biz.
Coffee spills? No problem with Biz #BizChallenge #ad
Like Biz Stain Fighter on Facebook, follow them on Pinterest and follow @BizStainFighter on Twitter.
Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stars Mandala to color

Stars and moon mandala
This mandala came to me just as I was going to sleep a couple nights ago, then I completely forgot it until yesterday. I hope you enjoy it!

Click on the images below for larger versions of the mandala to print and color.

Sm jpg version:
Stars and moon mandala to color- also available in transparent png format

Large transparent PNG version:
Stars and moon mandala to color- also available in jpg format





Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review- The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook

The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook - book review **Turnip Girl Approved** #comicgeek
BAM! POW! CRASH!

Matthew Mead is a designer, crafter and theme cookbook writer with a great eye. You expect a book from him to be attractive with good photos and ideas, and this is a great example.

Done being all grown up now. It's DC SUPER HEROES! It's old school. None of this New 52 stuff, none of the angst of the 90s, it's Dick Grayson's Robin in green shorts with elf boots, it's the heroes you remember from Super Friends on Saturday mornings if your my age. It's retro and it's awesome.  Of course, I'm biased. I grew up on DC comics.

So what does my daughter say about the look? She's Batman the Animated Series, she's Nightwing and all about the modern comics.  She likes it, she grabbed this as soon as it arrived and gave it her seal of approval.
See? Right there. Her seal of approval.
So it looks great. The bright colors and layout are fantastic and I'm totally digging the retro thing. The whole book is in full color with tons of super hero goodness. So now about the recipes.

I have a fairly good collection of children's cookbooks, and what I look for is easy to prepare food, healthy choices, good safety tips, foods that will appeal to kids, and something that will teach them how to follow recipes and learn new skills. 

This is well done in that respect too, the recipes are rated by difficulty level, and that's explained in the introduction. So a from scratch pudding is rated 3 stars because it involves more skill. The pudding is Plastic Man's Pudding and one of my daughter's favorite recipes in the book because it's white chocolate and vanilla decorated to suit Plastic Man. The Kapow Punch is 1 star because it's very simple to make, but the glasses are cleverly masked to look like the Boy Wonder and the Caped Crusader. 

Healthy entrees include things like Seven Seas Saute which is a mix that grown ups will enjoy too, and features a nice amount of vegetables. The bright Plastic Man fettuccine has peppers for color and a fun, play with your food texture.

There are a lot of recipes for drinks and desserts, but also enough meal recipes to balance it out.

Where this book absolutely shines is in the decorating ideas. In the back of the book are card stock figures and stencils to use to decorate the food, and a lot of recipes that use food- like the Superman burger on the cover, or things like duct tape to create a super hero theme.

The heroes include all the classics, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and the Flash and some that you need to be more serious fan to know like Plasticman, Atom and Firestorm.

Do I recommend this? Absolutely. It's one of the best themed cookbooks I've ever seen, even when I put aside my total comic book love and consider the recipes. 

Full disclosure- I got a copy of this cookbook to review at no cost. This review reflects my honest opinion of the book.
Fuller disclosure- My family is full of comic book fans with a strong preference for DC. We can spend hours talking your ear off about the personalities of the different Robins, or why Aquaman is actually awesome, and you never want to get us started on Batman because we can talk about him forever. I have Wonder Woman sneakers and my husband has a huge collection of super hero comic shirts. 

Want this book right now? You can get it from Amazon using my affiliate link and help support this site.
U.S.A. U.K.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Printable Mini Baskets

Mini Basket for Easter

These mini baskets print two to a page and easily fit one plastic egg, or a Peep! The grass used in the photo is an edible Easter grass (Kroger brand). I also like using paper grass sometimes.

Click the image below for a large version to print and make. Follow the instructions in the corner to assemble it.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review- More Felt Friends from Japan

Congratulations to Susan, the winner of the Origami Flowers giveaway. I hope you're enjoying the book!

More Felt Friends from Japan- review and giveaway #sewing



Kodansha is a Japanese publisher with a US division for great translations and I'll get back to this review in a second, I'm kind of lost in their website.... Oh, I need The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving, and my husband might like one of the sword books, and my kids love manga.. oh SHINY! Clothes, embroidery and textile.. need to get back to the review... 

Ok, I'm back now, it's just awfully distracting. How long did it take you to stop browsing the link and come back to read the review?

Felt mascots, toys appliques and accessories, all of them super cute. The projects are wonderfully photographed. Like a lot of Japanese craft books, the first part of the book is photos of items, with the instructions in the back of the book. Page numbers are given on the photos to find the instructions.

The photos are adorable. They are captioned and done on good backgrounds to show them at their best. It takes minimal supplies to make them. Craft felt for beginning sewers is an economical choice, then switching to wool felt for a higher quality finished item when you're comfortable with the hand stitching.

So with this book, before you start a project, read the tips at the END of the book. They will show

  • how to do the stitches including the embroidery accents
  • tell you what kind of supplies to use
  • how to use a wire armature, 
  • how to use the patterns
  • how to stuff the toys
The projects are good for a wide range of skills. There are some very easy applique projects, coasters and pouches which are perfect for beginners. They are whimsical and sweet. The Happy Coasters include a fish, a frog face and a chick, with easy embroidered accents. You might like to make the pouches and eyeglass cases as gifts.

A little more complicated are the lightly stuffed but still mostly flat Face Brooches, which are a bunch of cute animals and can be made with small scraps, the finger puppets and the charms which are strung with beads into darling hanging curtains.  My favorite of those types of projects is the Little Forest Birds charms because it reminds me of the felt ornaments my Great-Aunt Elizabeth made. 

The most complicated are the fully dimensional stuffed toys. These are more of a challenge because it's a small scale, but they are made using the same basic stitches, just more parts to create things like a giraffe, elephant or posable retro dolls that look like they came right off the set of an old stop motion movie. There are also dolls like Miss Kitty from the cover that have a full wardrobe you can sew for them. 

Some of the patterns you'll copy out of the book, the more involved patterns are printed on the inside of the dust jacket. 

The diagrams in the instructions are clear and show how to put the items together. 

This is a lovely book, and a must for anyone who really enjoys Japanese crafts.

Kodansha USA gave me an extra copy to give to one of my readers! Giveaway is open to people in the USA only because of shipping costs.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Goldfish Mandala to color

Goldfish mandala

I hope you enjoy this goldfish mandala to color. The fin and tail lines are very fine and just there for definition. Coloring the fins and tail a solid color would be a lot easier than trying to color them in the way the example is colored!
Click the images below for larger versions to color.

Small JPG version:
Goldfish mandala to color- also available as a transparent png

Transparent PNG version:
Goldfish mandala to color- also available as a jpg





I'm going to post a couple of book reviews in the next day or two, and work on a new youtube mandala video. Have you seen my first one?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mason Jar Lamp

LED Jar Lamp tutorial


The jar lamp above was so simple to make, it only takes knowing three knots. The simple overhand knot that everyone uses, and how to tie a good square knot, and a lark's head.

I use one of my Ball Heritage Blue jars for this, a strand of battery operated LED fairy lights, and inexpensive cotton cord from the local grocery store. The most expensive part is the strand of LED fairy lights at 10 dollars a strand, but they operate off of standard AA batteries so it's easy to swap out batteries. I also used aluminum foil to cover the battery case, and provide reflection. You can also use little LED tea lights.

This is the kind of cord I used- you can find it at Menards, Fred Meyers, and hardware stores- but it doesn't have to be this kind, any kind of medium weight household twine will work. Don't use yarn, it's too stretchy.


You will need:
  • cord
  • a jar (doesn't have to be a Ball Heritage jar, but isn't that pretty? This year they have GREEN jars!)
  • scissors
  • glue- I used Tacky Glue
  • strand of LED fairy lights (optional- could use a battery operated tea light instead)
  • foil


Cut 10 strands of cord 30 inches long- about an arms length from the center of your chest out to your finger tips if you don't want to measure! 

Then cut a piece that's about 14 inches long, fold the 10 long cords in half, and tie them in lark's head knots along the length of the 14 inch piece. Lark's head means you'll hold the loop on one side of the cord, then pass the ends around the cord through the loop and pull to tighten.

Take the lid and band off the jar, tie the 14 inch piece tight around the top of the jar under the threads, securing with a square knot.
A good square knot is a strong knot, accidentally switching the orientation of one side of the knot makes a granny knot which isn't a good knot. So always remember, right over left and twist, left over right and twist. 

Count 3 cords out from both sides of the knot, arrange those so they are directly opposite each other and the same distance from the center knot.Tie those two sets of cords together for the hanger. Tuck them into the jar for the time being.

Arrange the rest of the cords so they are spaced evenly around the jar, and take one right hand cord from pair, and a left hand cord from the cord pair to the left and tie a square knot about an inch down from the anchor cord. Repeat all the way around. If it helps to use a piece of cardboard to space them, do that.

Keep repeating that around, until you've made a set of knots that's about an inch past the bottom of the jar. 

Now for the trickiest part. Except it's not really tricky. Knotting the bottom so it will be flat enough to put on a flat surface if you don't want to hang it.
Please ignore the hair in the picture. I know better than snap these shots without putting my hair up first, but I was too excited about how good it looked with the fairy lights in it!

Tie the right hand cord from one pair to the left hand cord of the next pair in a square knot that's directly under the last row of knots. Repeat around.
Then do that again. Seal all the knots with a bit of glue and let the glue dry and trim the ends.

If you are going with the same set of battery operated fairy lights I used, make a loose pouch of the foil to put the battery case in, and stuff the whole thing in the jar. You'll need to be able to get to the switch so make sure it's on the open end of the pouch.

 These are the lights I used- they also come in blue so The Amazing Turnip Girl is making a jar lamp for her room using the blue lights.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bright Creme Egg Box

Printable box set for Cadbury Creme Eggs

My family looks forward to the weeks approaching Easter because I wind up buying candy especially for these boxes. Then they get to eat them after the photo is taken!

This box is my Cadbury Creme set, it will hold 4 eggs. I do recommend gluing the bottom tab as well as the side tabs because of the weight of the eggs.

Click on the images for larger versions, print 2 pages of the egg boxes, and one of the base. Cut out, score folds, fold and glue!

You can buy the blank template to decorate yourself at my Etsy store.

Printable creme egg box in bright pastels- boxes
Printable creme egg box in bright pastels- base




Book Review- Pretty Quilled Cards

Review- Pretty Quilled Cards by Cecelia Louie

I enjoy the delicate look of paper quilling, and it's something that my daughter and I do together.

If you are a quilling enthusiast, or just getting started quilling, this book is a nice addition to a library. The author has created cards to cover a lot of occasions, and a few all occasion cards and tags with well written patterns. There are designs for Easter, Christmas, bridal showers, baby shows, housewarmings and weddings as well as components and designs that can be used for other things.

The introduction includes a list and description of tools you'll use and basic techniques and tips for working with the strips of paper. It also explains gluing the design elements in place.

Her style is uniquely clean, almost like drawing with curls, spirals and open shapes. The designs are open, spacious and stylized. Each pattern starts with a rating for difficulty. Under that is a supply list for paper, which shows how long the strips need to be and where they will be marked for folds. Great photos and instructions will help you create the designs exactly as shown.

My favorite designs are:
Songbird Greeting which would make a good housewarming card, or a card for spring or bird lovers. It features a cute bird singing on a branch with a little bird house hanging underneath.
Dragonfly All-occasion, a delicate filigree that makes a pretty and elegant dragonfly card.
Mother's Day Vases which has 3 vases with stylized flowers

All of the cards are suitable for framing, which makes them a nice gift. The end of the book includes some patterns for entertaining like a wine glass charms and place cards.

This is a lovely book, full of designs that can be used for all sorts of projects, not just cards. It's very easy to follow and one that I happily recommend.

Cecelia Louie's webpage- Paper Zen
Follow Lark Crafts on Facebook for lots of ideas, giveaways, and projects.

U.S.A. U.K.
Amazon.com affiliate links don't affect your cost, and provide extra income to me personally, which helps support this site.

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dove printable gift box

There may be Peace without Joy, and Joy without Peace,but the two combined make Happiness. -John Buchan

I hope you enjoy this dove themed printable box. Click the image below for a larger version to print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue together.

Printable dove gift box #gifts #papercrafts #boxes


The last week has been pretty sad. I found out that a close friend had passed away. Sam McAlpine was one of the people who helped me through the grief of losing my best friend in 2011. He told me then
"The people we lose are never gone, they never die completely. Who you hold in your heart and who inspires you will keep on having an effect on the world."
Sam was brave, compassionate, smart and just a wonderful man. He will never be forgotten, and his impact on the world was huge because of the people whose life he improved and the ways he helped them. He will never be entirely gone, and will continue being an inspiration to so many people.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book review of Five-Plant Gardens with a FREE garden plan

Five-Plant Gardens - 52 Ways to Grow a Perennial Garden with Just Five Plants

Frequently people ask me questions about gardening. The truth is that a lot of the time I have no idea- just a very extensive library of books to consult. Most of those books are centered on growing edibles, not decorative plants.

My favorite kind of plant is perennials, and this book focuses exclusively on those. Perennials are the plants that come back year after year. This is a great book for people who want to plant decoratively but have no idea where to start. Perennials are easy to care for, and you don't have to buy new plants every year. Most perennials will get fuller and spread as time goes on, so a sparse initial planting will fill out nicely in the following years make them even more practical.  The perennials used aren't new plants, they are tried and true classic garden flowers that have been time tested.

The author has picked plants that handle a wide range of zones pretty well. She also includes a map with a legend of zones so you can figure out which zone you live in. She also has plans and plants for other variables. So if you have an area that's not getting full sunlight, but you still want to plant something there- you can. If you have a really wet corner of your yard, like where a drain spout pours off- there are plants that like the damp conditions and will thrive.

There are tips, zone information on the plants and a lot of information about how to get started with growing a garden. It's clear, simple, and very easy to understand. There is information about the different kind of plants,  and Latin names are included. The "Digging Deeper" tips offer ways to expand on the original plan, and do a bit more. If you're a beginning gardener, or someone who wants some nice looking plants growing in your yard but don't know where to start, this is a great place. The photographs of the plants are very well done and will help you pick the perfect theme for your garden. The illustrations of the gardens are also beautiful. The shopping lists show the number of plants to follow the plan.

The plans are simple, it's 5 plants each that are picked by color, appearance and height or to fit a theme, then arranged for a pleasing symmetry. Because of the simple shapes of the beds, they can be expanded, multiplied and joined to create new shapes and larger gardens. Several diagrams are given as examples.

Now, most of the best areas of my yard have perennials in them, like my berries and rhubarb, or they are beds for planting annual vegetables and herbs. But there is a shady corner that doesn't get quite enough sun but still gets a fair amount- and it would benefit from some order and prettiness, and I'd benefit from not having long grass grow right up against the house right there. So a mulched bed of flowers is perfect. Because I love floral scents, the plan I decided on is one that has a lot of very scented flowers that will work in my zone 4 area. The other thing is that my family likes to leave a lot of decisions up to me, but they can follow the plan for this area while I work on the other beds. The other reason that I picked this plan is the fragrant flowers in it are mostly good even down to zone 3, so a colder than average winter won't kill them.

We all be rewarded with floral scents, flowers we can cut, and the spot of pretty in the yard on sunny evenings while my husband barbecues.

Follow Storey Publishing on Facebook for recipes, gardening tips, giveaways and all sorts of DIY goodness.

The following plan is the one I'm using.


Perfumed Perennials
A garden that smells as good as it looks is a scent-sational addition to a shady yard. Put it near a deck or patio where you like to relax or entertain guests, or next to a window so you can enjoy the fragrance indoors. The secret to a successful scented garden is to include scented flowers that bloom at different times; that way, their perfumes won’t clash or be overwhelming, and you’ll have something pleasing to sniff over the longest possible season.
Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.
Lily of the Valley

Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.
'Clouds of Perfume' woodland phlox
Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.
Stargazer lily

Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.
August lily
Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.
'Hillside Black Beauty' bugbane
Click the image below for a description of the flowers and zone information. The numbers on the descriptions match the numbers on the plan.
Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.
Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.
Isn't that a pretty arrangement?

Five-Plant Gardens- Perfumed Perennials- used with permission.


Excerpted from Five-Plant Gardens (c) Nancy J. Ondra. Photography by (c) Rob Cardillo. Illustrations by Beverly Duncan. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.
U.S.A. U.K.
Amazon.com affiliate links don't affect your cost, and provide extra income to me personally, which helps support this site.
I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.





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