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Lesson Plans

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Below are links to many articles, blog posts and lesson plans that I've written over the years. If you are interested in learning about future classes I plan to teach, demos or other events in which I'll be participating, please see my Classes and Events page.

Invigorating Melt and Pour Soap Bar New Invigorating Melt and Pour Soap Bar

I chose the ingredients in this bar to use some of my peppermint harvest and being aware that cold and flu season is upon us I added some essential oils from a cold and flu blend I mixed up for my own use last year.

Click here for Invigorating Melt and Pour Soap Bar.

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Events Calendar

How to Harvest and Dry Herbs Here are the methods I use for drying and storing herbs. These procedures come partly from the book “Growing and Using Herbs Successfully” by Betty E.M. Jacobs plus years of trial and error.
How to Harvest and Dry Herbs
Bulb Planting and Care Tips for Fall Many popular bulb plants, such as Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths are best planted in the fall. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your bulb investment.
Bulb Planting and Care Tips for Fall
Skeleton Key Necklace This necklace project is great for anyone who likes the vintage or upcycled look in jewelry.
Skeleton Key Necklace
Build a Mosaic Plant Stand In this article I’ll show you how to make a stand to show off a special container plant. Raising a planter off of its surface can really enhance the appearance of a single specimen or help you create an attractive container plant grouping by providing elevation to some containers.
Build a Mosaic Plant Stand
Stencil a Sofa Shelf Made From Distressed Wood I had a lot of fun using stencils that I cut to decorate a piece of distressed wood. I made the plank into a shelf for behind my sofa. My living room looks a lot better and I have more room to display some of my favorite plants and Mid-Century Modern collectibles.
Stencil a Sofa Shelf Made From Distressed Wood
Make a Pollinator House – Part 2 I promised to write up plans for a more attractive pollinator house. Here are instructions for building two different designs to enhance your garden’s decor as well as it’s productivity and ecological health.
Make a Pollinator House – Part 2
Spring Faux Postage #2 Fake "postage stamps" are a lot of fun to make and are good decorations for greeting cards or mail art!
Spring Faux Postage #2
Make a Seed Packet Bouquet Here is a way to give a bouquet of flowers that is a little different from the usual! Mount seed packets on skewers in a vase for a festive gift. Such arrangements can also be used for table centerpieces or party favors.
Make a Seed Packet Bouquet
Decorate a Terra Cotta Plant Pot with Acrylic Paint and Stencils Painting and stenciling terra-cotta pots is a fun and inexpensive way to enhance your patio or garden decor.
Decorate a Terra Cotta Plant Pot with Acrylic Paint and Stencils
Easter Card Tutorial Here is a project that will help you use up some paper scraps!
Easter Card Tutorial
Biodegradable Easter Basket Tutorial Would you like to make an Easter basket that you can cut apart and bury in the garden when you’re done with it? If growing conditions are right you might even be able to grow some wildflowers!
Biodegradable Easter Basket Tutorial
Flowered Card in Shades of Blue Here is a card project that mixes an analagous color scheme with neutrals. An analagous color scheme is one that uses colors that are near each other on the color wheel, in this case blue, blue-green and blue-purple. The colors are so close together that it’s nearly a monochromatic color scheme – a design that uses tints and shades of one color. My samples were made as birthday cards, but you can make the card for multiple occasions by changing the sentiment stamp. This card helps you to use up paper scraps!
Flowered Card in Shades of Blue
Make a decorated seed packet Do you have any garden seeds left over from your spring planting? Seeds can make great spring gifts for gardeners, especially if attractively packaged.
Make a decorated seed packet
Spiced Coffee Soap Bar This soap bar is colored entirely by real coffee beans and the fragrance comes from the beans, vanilla powder and also from soap fragrances. If you enjoy the smell of coffee and spices you should like this one!
Spiced Coffee Soap Bar
Start Some of Your Spring Planting Right Now! The following seed starting tips come from my Master Gardener class and are general for a wide variety of seed starting.
Start Some of Your Spring Planting Right Now!
Christmas Journaling and Icebreaking Activity Cards I was inspired to make some cards with prompt questions to use on our Christmas Day gathering and perhaps to later use as prompts if I ever decided to make Christmas journal or scrapbook.
Christmas Journaling and Icebreaking Activity Cards
Create a Moist Microclimate for Your House Plants with a Humidity Tray Many of our house plants, if they are not succulents or cacti for example, come from humid tropical climates and if you have those type of plants you might want to increase the humidity in their environment.
Create a Moist Microclimate for Your House Plants with a Humidity Tray
A Road Trip Journal for Dad – Part 2 A client of mine threw out a bunch of old photos and negatives, so I saved some of the interesting ones to use in mixed-media artwork.
A Road Trip Journal for Dad – Part 2
Choosing Plants for Winter Interest If you have plants with parts that look attractive dried, don’t be so quick to cut them down in the fall or you may miss out on some nice winter effects.
Choosing Plants for Winter Interest
Make a Mini Album Here is a project that will help use up your cardstock and paper scraps as well.
Make a Mini Album
Winter Care of an Outdoor Water Garden If you do what I do and keep your small water garden from freezing with a bird bath de-icer, there is not much winter preparation that is necessary. Winter maintenance may be a little different, however.
Winter Care of an Outdoor Water Garden
Scrapbooking With Memorabilia Ideas for including ephemera and collectibles into scrapbook pages.
Scrapbooking With Memorabilia
Luminous Decor With Flameless Candles Do you want to create a festive atmosphere for party guests, or just enjoy your own home or yard more?
Luminous Decor With Flameless Candles
Handmade Birding Journal Here is a great handmade gift idea for someone in your life that loves to watch birds. A blank journal like my sample provides places for notes, sketches, photos, memorabilia and more.
Handmade Birding Journal
Gardening for the Birds I’ve been gardening partly to benefit birds for over 10 years now.
Gardening for the Birds
Make a Soft Dia De Los Muertos Skull Make a Soft Dia De Los Muertos Skull

This soft Dia De Los Muertos skull uses discharge paste, fabric paint, embroidery and embellishments – you can use a lot of your toys for this one! Enhance your decor with a small decorative throw pillow or attach a loop to the back and hang it on the wall.

Click here for Make a Soft Dia De Los Muertos Skull.
Kitchen Backsplash Project Kitchen Backsplash Project

I'm decorating my kitchen backsplash with handmade tiles mixed with salvaged and purchased tiles.

Click here for Kitchen Backsplash Project.

Filmstrip Challenge Filmstrip Challenge

This project helped me to get some practice coloring in stamped images and was an opportunity to experiment with mixed media.

Click here for Filmstrip Challenge.

Road Trip Journal Road Trip Journal

The journal is designed so that after a trip we could add photos and ephemera and perhaps write more about our memories.

Click here for Road Trip Journal.

Scrapbooking With Small Format Photos Scrapbooking With Small Format Photos

When you mount standard-sized photos on an 8.5 x 11 inch page, you are left with a lot of empty areas to fill. This is not necessarily a bad thing because as a result there is ample room on the pages for journaling and small ephemera. Lately I’ve been experimenting with another way to fill those empty spots – with small photos.

Click here for Scrapbooking With Small Format Photos.

Stamping Halloween Postoids Stamping Halloween Postoids

The Fall 2015 issue of RubberStampMadness is out and I want to let you know about it because my article "Stamping Halloween Postoids" is featured within!

Click here for Stamping Halloween Postoids.

Upcycle a Metal Tin with Decoupage Upcycle a Metal Tin with Decoupage

Turn a humdrum tin into a treasure with decoupage!

Click here for Upcycle a Metal Tin with Decoupage.

Fun with Stencils Fun with Stencils

During the 1970s, my Mom was really into Pennsylvania Dutch style stencils for home decor - I still have some of her old stencil brushes! I myself used stencils for some of my printmaking projects in the 1990s. Recently I've been experimenting with different ways of applying inks and paints on fabric, which is an application stencils are very well suited for, along with mark making on walls, furniture, paper and other surfaces. You can cut your own stencils or use pre-made commercial stencils. In this project I'll explain how to cut your own and show some samples of how they can be used.

Click here for Fun with Stencils.

Analog to Digital: Waste Paper From Stamping Projects Can Enhance Photoshop Art Analog to Digital: Waste Paper From Stamping Projects Can Enhance Photoshop Art

Sometimes the pieces of scrap paper I put under my rubber stamping projects to protect the work surface from ink end up with really interesting markings on them. Don't throw these pieces out - when they're dry, scan them and import them into Photoshop to make interesting textures that would be difficult if not impossible to duplicate with only digital tools.

Click here for Analog to Digital: Waste Paper From Stamping Projects Can Enhance Photoshop Art.
 Lasagna Gardening Lasagna gardening, also known as sheet composting, is an organic gardening method that entails covering the ground with layers of materials of organic origin and allowing them to naturally break down over time.
Lasagna Gardening
Upcycled Butterfly Feeder The glass bowl-like object rests nicely in the ring, so I decided to make a butterfly feeder out of it.
Upcycled Butterfly Feeder
Make a Garden Sign Out of a Recycled Produce Crate I found myself in need of some new garden signs that would require a lot of text on them. I decided to find a way to computer generate the text and put it on a weatherproof sign.
Make a Garden Sign Out of a Recycled Produce Crate
Decor Idea Book I have made a book to help me organize my ideas and color schemes. If you would like to make a similar book, here is what you’ll need.
Decor Idea Book
Garden Maintenance in Wet Weather In periods of heavy rain you should check your garden and yard for possible detrimental effects.
Garden Maintenance in Wet Weather
Terra-Cotta Mosaic Planter You can make a plain terra cotta planter more interesting with ceramic tile pieces!
Terra-Cotta Mosaic Planter
Stencil a Wood Garden Sign How would you like a practical and decorative wooden sign for your yard or garden? Stencils are handy for such a project because they are available in letters, numbers and lots of fun decorative designs.
Stencil a Wood Garden Sign
Make an Insulator Votive Candle Lantern Do you collect glass insulators? In this project I’ll show you how to make a glass insulator into a flameless candle lantern.
Make an Insulator Votive Candle Lantern
Decorate a Celtic Gift Bag Decorate a Celtic Gift Bag

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day celebrations, here is an idea for decorating a drawstring muslin bag with Celtic designs. Fill with St. Patrick's Day treats or a gift for someone who would enjoy Celtic designs at any time of year.

Click here for Decorate a Celtic Gift Bag.
Collaged Valentine Candy Holder Collaged Valentine Candy Holder

I decorated this hanging candy holder for Valentine's Day, but the design is versatile and can be used for a number of occasions - just change the collage piece inserted in the front of the holder!

Click here for Collaged Valentine Candy Holder.
Praying Mantis Beneficial Insects in the Garden

Are you interested in making your garden more habitable to beneficial insects? Here is a list of insects you might want in your garden, followed by a chart showing what plants are likely to attract them and what plants may repel pests.

Click here for Beneficial Insects in the Garden.
Pearl Ex Rondelle Beads Pearl Ex Rondelle Beads

Normally when I'm planning a new craft project, I try not to be too influenced by trends. The new Pearl Ex Chromatic colors however seem to be in harmony with some things going on in the world of fashion, so I decided that bead-making would be a great application for these bold new colors. Bright jewel and metallic tones are perfect for jewelry!

Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments are a versatile pearlized powder that can be added to nearly any artist medium. They need to be mixed with or coated with some kind of binder for permanence. In this project we'll be rolling the beads in the powder to apply it to the surface of the beads, and then sealing the surface Pearl Ex Varnish or another water base acrylic varnish..

Click here for Pearl Ex Rondelle Beads.
Seed Packet with Collage Insert Seed Packet with Collage Insert

Seeds are a great spring gift for those in your life who like to garden - think Mother's Day, Father's Day, Arbor Day, Earth Day, Easter and spring birthdays! Whether you have seeds to give that you have harvested yourself or you buy some and want to package them in a more festive way, you'll find a use for this project.

Click here for Seed Packet with Collage Insert.
Button Headband and Bracelet Button Headband and Bracelet

Do you like to collect old buttons? Get some of them out of the jar and wear them! The rustic look of this headband is suitable for displaying an assortment of earth-toned buttons (and does not tax my rudimentary sewing skills). I wear headbands constantly and it gets frustrating to have to buy new ones when the elastic goes out. With this headband design, the main part of the headband does not stretch and the elastic in back can be easily replaced when it wears out.

Click here for Button Headband and Bracelet.
Mosaic Table Top With Textured Clay Tiles Mosaic Table Top With Textured Clay Tiles

I love to make things out of reclaimed or repurposed items. While I was digging my garden, I found lots of construction debris in the soil including a number of ceramic tiles, broken and whole. I decided to incorporate them into a mosaic table top on a table that was built for me by my Dad out of scrap wood.

The middle part of the table top is made of random pieces salvaged from the garden soil and other sources, such as broken ceramics and tiles that I made. If you're sad about having broken a ceramic piece that you like, it's very satisfying to incorporate the pieces into something good. I wanted a more regular edge for contrast so I made some square and rectangular tiles to order, some of which are textured with rubber stamps. I also took some scrap composite tile samples made from some kind of plasticy material that I got from Leftovers, Etc. and cut them into squares and rectangles to augment my ceramic tiles.

In this tutorial I'll show you to make some tiles and then incorporate them into a mosaic table top surface.

Click here for Mosaic Table Top With Textured Clay Tiles.
Vintage Collage Necklace Vintage Collage Necklace

Combine tiny rubber stamps and paper scraps with clear acrylic shapes and a favorite charm to make a unique necklace.

Click here for Vintage Collage Necklace.
Shadow Boxes Shadow Boxes

Display a variety of memorabilia on your wall in found boxes or boxes manufactured specifically for decorating. You can even use an old drawer.

Click here for Shadow Boxes.
Tiny Notecard Design Challenge Tiny Notecard Design Challenge

Do you have a lot of patterned papers that you have difficulty finding the right project for? If so, this project will help you stretch creatively by getting you out of your comfort zone. You'll also end up well-stocked with a variety of notecards for future occasions! The envelopes are sized to hold a gift card and with a hanging loop at the top for hanging on a tree, on a doorknob, or anywhere you would like to surprise someone. They also make festive gift tags. I'm including instructions and a template for a box specially sized to hold twelve notecards - a set would make a great gift.

Click here for Tiny Notecard Design Challenge.
Vintage Look Box Vintage Look Box
I used a repurposed tea box with a sliding lid for my example of this decorated box. If you can't find a box exactly like this, any box with a flat lid would work.
Mosaic Box Mosaic Box
If you have a gift-giving occasion coming up, this one might be a winner for you. When my Dad saw this in my house he said "Is this for giving? Can I have this?" That's the reaction I want when I make something! For this project you can either purchase an undecorated wooden box from a craft store, or look through thrift stores to find one to repurpose.
Scrapbooking My Way - On the Highway New Scrapbooking My Way - On the Highway
Read about my rather unorthodox scrapbooking methods.
Valentine Pocket Card Valentine Pocket Card
Make a vintage look valentine card with a pocket in the front for a mini envelope for secret messages. Free template available for download.
Faux Postage Extravaganza Faux Postage Extravaganza
In this tutorial, you will learn to make Faux Postage using Faux Postage frames from the Carolyn's Stamp Store catalog. The finished simulated postage stamps can be used alone to decorate your mail or in a variety of projects including cards, shadow boxes and more.
Making Printable Backgrounds for Stamping, Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking Making Printable Backgrounds for Stamping, Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking
Combine collage with monoprinting and Adobe Photoshop to make exiting printable background and accent papers. You will need at least some basic knowledge of Photoshop to complete the project.
Inchies Holiday Card Holder Garland Inchies Holiday Card Holder Garland
On one occasion I was looking online for rubber stamping project ideas to see if there were any ideas for using inchies. I saw an inchies garland that someone made that I really liked, and decided to make my own version with spiral ornament hangars attached to use as clips for displaying holiday cards. It looks great hanging over a doorway.
Card With Squares Card With Squares
This project was inspired by the project "Tulipia" in the book Texture Effects for Rubber Stamping by and the Sketch Challenge sk091810 on Paper Craft Planet. Acetate layered over cardstock shapes will add depth and interest to this multi-occasion card.
Birthday Card with Ribbon Birthday Card with Ribbon
It's not really the time of year for pink things, but what the heck, I had a couple of cards to make for people who like pink, so here you go. You could give this card lots of different looks by changing the color scheme.
Small Journal with Pockets Small Journal with Pockets
Here is a small journal designed to make and bring with you on a special trip. Take notes and make sketches to remember your journey, or use it for a Letterboxing logbook. By folding the cover piece inward at the bottom, you can make pockets inside for tucking in loose pieces of paper, ticket stubs, photos and other memorabilia.
Barren Strawberry Plant Growing Information
A selection of plants that I grow in my garden.
Convertible Necklaces Convertible Necklaces
If you can't afford a lot of new things, accessories can really help jazz up your old outfits and make them more interesting. By making convertible necklaces, you can bring new life to an old necklace or make interchangeable parts for lots of combinations.
Create an Indoor Water Garden Create an Indoor Water Garden
Do you have an empty aquarium handed down from someone who was formerly in the fishkeeping hobby? Are you eager to work on your outdoor garden but are frustrated because it's not warm enough yet? Do you like the idea of water gardening but don't have space for a pond? If so, here is a fun project you might enjoy.
Thank You Card Thank You Card
Here is an easy Thank You card to make. The designs are abstract, so it's appropriate for any occasion.
Retro Interlocking Card Retro Interlocking Card
Make a retro greeting card for the hipster in your life - it's suitable for a multitude of special occasions. Free template available for download.
Recycled Car Seat Bead Earrings Recycled Car Seat Bead Earrings
By dressing up a couple of wooden beads from a recycled car seat cover, you can make earrrings that are not only pretty, but inexpensive and lightweight.
Muslin Bag Rubber Stamping Project Rubber Stamped Muslin Bag
Here is a quick easy project with bold colorful graphics that would make a good bag for a small gift. No templates to download this time! It's stamped with ColorBox Crafter's ink, which is waterproof after heat setting.
Floral Mosaic Card Rubber Stamping Project Rubber Stamped Floral Mosaic Card
Includes free template.
Petroglyph Card Rubber Stamping Project Rubber Stamped
Petroglyph Card

Includes free template.
Rubber Stamped Pillow Box Rubber Stamped
Pillow Box

Includes free templates.
Rubber Stamped Spring Faux Postage Spring Faux Postage
lIncludes a template to make a mask for a sponged background texture on your stamps.
Rubber Stamped Decoupage Beads Decoupage Wooden Beads
Cover wooden beads with rubber stamped paper pieces.
Polymer Clay Lesson 1: Introduction and Making Textured Beads Covers basic information about working with polymer clay that beginners would find useful and different methods of creating texture on beads.
Polymer Clay Lesson 2: High-Contrast Colors Learn how to mix contrasting colors and build simple cane patterns.
Polymer Clay Lesson 3: Analagous Colors How to mix analagous colors and use them in cane designs.
Charm Bracelet A good way to use odds and ends of old beads and jewelry parts.
Rubber Stamp / Eraser Carving Tools, techniques, where to get images, more.
Melt and Pour Soap Recipes If you can follow directions well enough to cook oatmeal or something simple like that, you can make melt and pour soap at home.
Accordion Book Hardcover accordion book with ribbon closure.
Ransom Note Poetry Book A simple project for play and loosening up.
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