paper jewelry


This is a great low-budget activity that I recently did with a group of girls 8-11 years old–they LOVED it. Megan helped me make my examples, it would be cute to use some of your child’s drawings instead of a printed paper. There are several well respected artisans out there who have made a living from fashioning trinkets out of paper. Experiment with several types of paper. Scrapbooking papers work great, but so do labels, cartoons, newpaper, etc. If you really want to go crazy with it, you can get earring parts, clasps and other findings at a craft store to finish off your pieces. You can glue buttons and beads on, as I have, but paper string and glue are all you really have to have to make some fun jewelry. Try experimenting with adding different things that your child likes. This is a great place to use some of that princess jewelry that has broken, but is too

paper beadsloved to be thrown away. (Yay for turning it into something new!)


Paper (a variety of colors and prints)

Gluestick and/or tacky or white glue

Toothpicks (round work slightly better)

Embroidery floss (Yarn or string will work just fine too.)

Other embellishments, if desired


For the paper beads:

1. Cut several long strips that are between 1/4″ and 1″ thick. I liked the look of making one end more narrow than the other to give the bead a step-like texture.

2. If you are using a strip that gets narrow at one end, start with the widest end. Wrap the paper tightly around a toothpick and continue to roll it until you have reached the end.

3. Glue the back side of the end of the strip of paper. (This is where I really like using glue sticks. You can be pretty generous with the glue and it will hold and dry quickly.) Now roll the paper completely up, pressing the seam to secure it well.

4. Slip it off of the toothpick and you have your bead. The longer the paper, the thicker the bead. You want to have the paper be at least a couple on inches long so that it is stiff.

For the flower bracelet:

front of flower bracelet back of flower bracelet

This is where you can let your creativity run wild! I will give directions for the one that I made, but keep in mind that the sky is the limit. A similar style of bracelet would be cute with paper soccer balls. You could cut a 1″ band and use Velcro at the ends to make a bracelet. You can make a necklace by braiding several strands and lacing in paper beads or tying on some flowers. Just let your imagination go! Since you are working in paper, it is easy to start again if your idea doesn’t work out!

1. I cut out several flower shapes and used tacky glue to glue a button in the center. (and a few beads scattered around.)

2. After they have dried enough to be moved, turn the flowers upside down and arrange them how you want them to be on the bracelet. Now coat the back of the flowers with glue and lay the strings over them however you want the strings to be. I tried to make it so each string was stuck to at least a few flowers.

3. Let it dry. I recommend spraying the finished bracelet with spray varnish. (Which is found in with the spray paint and is only a few dollars.) It will protect the paper and make it a little more stiff–as well as shiny!

If you make something fun, I would love to see pictures!

flower bracelet

worth talking about…

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Who wouldn’t be thrilled to see their artwork and an interview in print in an expensive ($100 retail) coffee table book? Well actually, Darren Di Lieto, the creator of the Little Chimp Society, a gathering place for illustrators–oh yea, and the dozens of artist who had their work pirated in the book. Let me explain. A company calling itself Great Creativity organization, a division of the Azur Corporation scraped LCS’s archive of interviews with various artists and published it, verbatim; including the artwork on a cd rom for people to use as clip art. What’s the big deal? The stereotype of starving artist is around for a reason. Very few artists get paid decently for their work. To get nothing at all while some shifty Hong Kong publisher makes good money off of you has to feel pretty crappy.

Since I really don’t have much to contribute, but this little outlet; I wanted to post the information here so that when someone searches for information about this book/company, they see a plethora (that was for you, Ali) of posts about fraud. You can see some great artwork and read more about this at LCS or Luc Latulippe’s blog. I also encourage you to post about it if you are as outraged as I am. Above all DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!Book full of stolen illustrations and plagiarized work.

(For the engines, here is the info on the book:)

Art Director/Producer: Bernadette J
Graphic Design: Malcolm Lee
published by Great Creativity organization
ISBN 978-988-98142-0-5
12/F Chinachem Johnston Plaza Wan
178-186 Johnston Road
chia, Hong Kong

proof that i enjoy YouTube a little too much

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aka: the stadium pal

There are just so many funny moments to be had, and what variety! What? There is more than just the Flight of the Conchords on there?? I am a long-time NPR fan and noticed this very funny clip from David Sedaris. (He always cracks me up!) Please to enjoy:

For some unknown reason, I was compelled to search further and just about lost it when I found the site for the actual stadium pal. Since this is a family site, I will also just mention that you have to check out the convenient printable sizing guide. What’s that? Makes a great gift for the sports enthusiast in your life? I know what Mike is getting for Christmas….

spring tree paintings


Finished TreeAs I was out for my run this morning, I was spurred on by the view of the apricot trees and forsythias in bloom. I don’t know if it was sentimentality or allergies from the forsythia, but I certainly felt an itch to paint spring trees with Megan. This is a perennial for elementary art projects. Little ones love the novelty of painting with a straw and it is easy adapted for more advanced artists. Similarly, it can take 15 minutes or much longer, it’s a very flexible activity.



Acrylic paint (Tempera will also work)


Paint well or paper plate

Sandwich bags

Megan working on her painting


1. (We did this on the floor so that Megan could get over her painting easier.) Squirt a generous amount of paint into a sandwich bag and add a few drops of water. (Keep adding until it is about the consistency of milk.)

2. Cut off a very small corner and drip a puddle onto the paper. (I recommend doing it about 1.5 to 2.5 inches or so from the bottom of the page.)

3. Put your straw close to the puddle at the bottom and gently blow, directing it upward to create your tree trunk. The paint will naturally want to branch off. Just have fun with it. (I also blew down to make some roots.)

4. Squirt a little paint into a paint well or paper plate (soft pastels will look realistic, but feel free to do whatever strikes your fancy. Megan wanted “Super Why” green, which is her current favorite.) You only need a little puddle, you don’t want it to be too deep. Dip your finger tips in and press them onto the paper to make blossoms on the tree.

4. Experiment with doing different types of trees or up-close views of branches. Have fun!

Advanced adaptation:

Use fabric, yarn or ribbon, or tissue paper to make your own 3D blossoms. Have fun coming up with interesting designs for the blossoms using different materials.

tissue paper blossom The one to the left is made by punching holes in tissue paper and gluing the punches onto a little mound of glue stick glue.

Yarn blossom

The one to the right is made by loosely knotting a couple of strings of yarn and then (arranging them while) pushing them into a mound of glue stick glue.

oh, for pete’s sake!


Let me bring you up to date:

We did have a fun April Fool’s dinner. Megan loved using the funny utensils and insisted that we did too. It was very cute to watch her carefully lay noodles down in her ice cream scoop, then try to dump it into her mouth. Even Mike was fooled by the Jell-o sodas and the cinnamon “garlic bread” tasted great. (Has it really been this long since I blogged?)

Last week I enjoyed mixing the sinus thing with a GI thing–probably what the girls had the week before. Enough said. Now this week is almost over and I feel like I am running to try and catch up on things. Most importantly, finish a sparkling proposal for my book so that there might be a ray of hope in building my (very moderate) dream house while conditions are still good for construction. I will post something a little better next week. Until then Please to enjoy (or marvel if you feel so moved) one of my fun projects of late: Grandma Verna’s 95th Birthday cake. My Grandma Verna (okay, really Mike’s, but I claim her fully) is so cool, she¬† deserved an 18 tier cake! This did the job though, and it tasted so great! Thanks to marshmallow fondant, you can get a great looking cake that doesn’t taste like plastic. (It is pretty user-friendly, just a bit of work/time. Give it a try!) The flowers on top are made with traditional fondant (which you can work into a thinner, more elaborate shape; but it tastes-well-you’ve all had wedding cakes.) Everything on the cake was edible. Now some pictures:

Grandma after blowing out the candles

Isn’t she so cute?



closeup on flowers