Summer Doodling Program for KIDS!

Introducing my first Kids-Geared Doodle Program perfect for summer vacation! What a fun way to keep your kids using that creative right-brain all summer long!

Kids are so proud when they can create impressive artwork on their own. Once the doodles are done, get creative with your kids! Have an end of summer art show, scan their work and have it printed on t-shirts, or decoupage their favorites onto frames for grandma or their teacher.

Here are the details for Doodle Days of Summer!

– 12 doodle demo videos, roughly 1 per week for the whole summer

-Videos will be hosted on my Vimeo page online.

-You will have UNLIMITED! password access to all videos

-$15 per household/family so siblings can all participate.

****Please note: if you are a camp administrator, scout leader, or teacher and would like to purchase for your group, please contact me for group pricing. i am happy to provide it!

Feel free to register at any time and go at your own pace. It doesn’t have to be summer, even!

i’ve created a free printable example for you! (just click the image below) You can expect the weeklies to have about this level of detail. But each of the 12 weeks will have a different theme. This one was CIRCLES. Also planned are: Flowers, Robot, Surfboard, Monsters, Birds, Letters and more!

i’ve also included a little teaser video that shows  a portion of what the tutorials will be like, so that you can gauge whether the program will be appropriate for your little artist. FYI – Beta testing provided by my 8 year old son was a success! : ) Full length videos will feature the warp speed drawing section with upbeat music, PLUS the slowed down tutorial screen capture section with voice-over as i move through each step. Click the image below to view the video example on Vimeo.

***note – please be aware when purchasing that your paypal email address is the one where the login info will be sent.

Register Now! $15.00USD  United States Residents ONLY please

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My First Online Workshop!

Hey gang! So here are the deets on Layers of Color Workshop. i’m giving a pretty detailed summary because i really want folks to know what they’re getting and be able to make an informed decision. i get a lot of requests for me to teach how i work, so that’s what i’ll be doing here. (Don’t be surprised if you hear snippets of NCIS in the background during the videos – just kidding!) If you are looking for a formal painting class to teach traditional methods, this class is not for you. But if you want to get a sneak peek into my process and learn how you can follow along making layered artworks full of color and texture, you’re in the right place.

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LAYERS OF COLOR – An Online Painting Workshop!
* This workshop is just that…a fun, informal, information-packed series of written blog posts, step-by-step photos, and demo videos. I will share my own personal methods for layering color and creating vibrant artworks. Get familiar with my style before signing on to be sure this is what you’d like to learn. I will share my personal favorite supplies, techniques and ideas. The workshop is not meant to take the place of formal art classes.

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Skill-level: Beginner

Materials: (material costs are not included)
basics: water color paper, stretched, pre-primed canvas, watercolor paints, acrylic paints, white gouache, pencils, markers, pens, paintbrushes, kosher salt, crayons, masking tape, squirt bottle, paper towel, paper plates
extras: liquid watercolors, gouache paints, liquid fabric dyes, paper palette

*addendum: while there is no rigid materials list, here are some good specific starter suggestions:Strathmore Hot Press Watercolor Paper/ Talens Angora watercolor pan set/ #6 round brush and a teeny detail brush/ Cheapie Artists Loft or other store brand 12×12″ canvases in a multi-pak/starter set of small fluid acrylics Blick Brand or comparable student grade/ .5″ filbert brush/liner brush/ #6 round brush….or maybe just a multi-pak set for acrylics
paper towels, cleaned out glass spaghetti sauce jar for water/ paper plate for a palette or paper palette pad from art store

** you can read about ALL my favorite materials here.


Class Schedule: Divided by weeks/days, but self-paced class so you can follow along at any speed that is comfortable for you. : )
5 Weeks of full lessons and a final week of daily challenges and inspirations
Monday: Main Topic posts with written lessons, photos and a demo video
Tuesday-Friday:  Mini-posts and prompts to spark creativity to guide participants experimentation with each week’s lesson.


This workshop is being offered via a password-protected page on my website with participants encouraged to share their work via a Flickr Group as well if they choose.
Includes Main Topic weekly posts for 5 weeks which will each include a demo video + lots of photos and written instruction. Includes short, mini-posts each Tues-Friday to spark creativity, and implementation of the main lesson. This will help to keep you painting and experimenting throughout the 6 weeks. Painting every single day is the “not-so-secret” secret!

ACCESS to the Classroom Page and videos is UNLIMITED. Once you are registered, you can always come back and login

Basically, i will share my own process and what works for me after lots of years doing it. this will not be an “art school-follow-the-rules” kind of class. Textbook techniques are not on the syllabus, although you will hear plenty of basics about the different media, how to care for your tools, a lil color theory and the like.

Week 1: Intro & Favorite Supplies,
plus Lesson 1/ Watercolor Basics

Week 2: Acrylic Basics

Week 3: Layering every which way

Week 4: Doodling + Illustration Overlays

Week 5: Color it in!

Week 6: Theme-A-Day + Workshop Review


Register Now!  
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Cost: $65


Kittie Kat Stuffie | A FREE Printable

Here’s a fun little craft project to do with your kiddos. A quick Kittie Kat stuffie they can color and help you stuff. Older kids might even be able to help with the sewing. I’ve made a printable PDF download for you all. You have a few options:

1) print onto inkjet compatible, paper-backed cotton or canvas. You can get this at some craft stores or online. Dharma Trading Co. has some here.

2) print the download onto iron-on transfer paper. You can also get that at Dharma Trading Co. here.

3) print out onto regular paper and use a lightbox and fabric markers to trace the design onto your fabric.

I printed onto inkjet compatible cotton canvas. Then got situated with my trusty fabric markers and some fabric dyes for the larger areas so i could paint them in a bit quicker.

Here’s a detail of the fabric texture. (Click the image to see it larger on your screen)

And here’s how she looked all color-i-fied.

Then i cut out the kittie leaving about 5/8″ of the fabric all around.

I used this piece as a template to cut a piece of fabric for the back of the kittie. I just used some woven, fun fabric from my stash. You don’t need much. I pinned the 2 pieces with right sides together.

Next, I stitiched a 5/8″ seam all around. The fabric marker bled through, so it gave me a good guide as far as staying very close to the black outline of the kittie. I backstitched on either side of an approximately 4″ gap at the base of the kittie. This will be the hole for turning and stuffing. Before turning, i trimmed close to my stitching line and added some notches around curves to make the turned shape lie smoothly. You might want to add a 2nd row of stitching very close to your first row if this little stuffie is likely to get a lot of wear.

Next, I turned and pressed the stuffie so she looked like this.

Then stuffed her with fiber fill and hand-stitched the opening shut. I instagrammed her keeping me company at my desk, see?

She might need some sequins…..but that’s for another day. : )

Oh! and see her cute back?

Click the image below for your PDF download if you want to make a few of your own! Meow!


a DIY tutorial with Lil Blue Boo


Last week i posted a cutie patootie tutorial i helped create with my friend, Ashley, at Lil Blue Boo. Ashley had asked me to illustrate a coloring-book-style backdrop for her adorable “Box o’ Princesses.” And NOW, we have a version for boys all ready for you as well. My illustrated download will again be a freebie. i hope your kiddos have a great time with it! i was inspired by my own little guy who has been peeking over my shoulder asking lots of excited questions as i created.

Just click here for the B&W, letter-size download that you can print at home. It includes a label for your box, the color-able BOY-VILLE backdrop, and some cool extras; a treasure chest, swords and shields and the requisite telephone booth any self-respecting superhero needs to change his persona.

Hope your little ones have a great time personalizing their own set!
Ashley’s super-cool example is shown below and tutorial is here.

a glasses case re-style – tutorial

Wanna hear the only downside to drawing intricate artworks all the time? It strains my old lady eyes and gives me headaches occasionally.

i have glasses for close-work. i just always forget to wear them.

So here’s a little project i did to try to make my glasses seem more fun…you know, so i’ll want to carry them around with me and sometimes put ’em on my face. It’s a fun re-style of my boring old glasses case!

i started with the hard, clamshell-type case my specs came in, and cut a strip of canvas a teeny bit wider and long enough to wrap all the way around the case.

i also traced the end shapes of the case onto the canvas and cut. i went a touch larger b/c i knew i wanted to have frayed, raw, exposed fabric edges.

i gave the case a liberal coating of ModPodge and pressed all the canvas pieces in place. i just tucked and glued the ends of the wrap-around piece with more ModPodge and let it dry with some clothespins as clamps.

Here’s how it looked when ensconced in canvas. Do you remember on Seinfeld when George talked about how he’d like to live his life “ensconced in velvet?” Yeah, like that ; )

Once everything was dry, i painted the canvas with a coat of white primer and then a coat of yellow craft paint. See that wooden prop i’m using? It’s a clapper/seam presser for sewing. Do you have one? i highly recommend it for great, smooth seams without burnt fingers…..and also for holding glasses cases open while you paint them ; )

Next, the fun part! My 5 year old and i grabbed Sharpies, my set of Prismacolor markers, and some gel pens and started going to town doodling on the entire surface of the case to add a great colorful background texture.

When all the colored doodles were on, i went back with white paint pen to add some brightness.

The last step was adding a top layer of black Sharpie doodles and a couple coats of clear Polycrylic.

Result? Well, i did this project a few weeks back. And it has actually got me remembering my glasses a little more often!

Doesn’t hurt that my little helper likes to remind me now, what with his vested interest and pride in the whole dealio, yo.

Speed Doodling!

Doodling is fun on its own merit. But it can be even more fun if you can turn your drawings into quick and easy projects you can actually use!!

i’ve put together a 6-page PDF with great tips & instructions on how to fill a page quickly with your doodless so you can get on to the business of using them for the greater good. : ) Specifically, to create a cute little wall-hung jewelry organizer, and a kid-friendly paper bead bracelet. Both are super-fun summertime crafts, and both are easy enough for little fingers. (Just a bit of help with glue gun and screw hooks needed from mom or dad on the jewelry organizer – please!). You’ll find step-by-step instructions & photos for each project and a page of sample doodle motifs to spark your creativity. I’ve even included a page of my own speed doodle you can print out right away if you want to jump straight to the projects!

This download will be archived as a $2.00 Cheapie next week, but until then, please download it for FREE! It’s my way of saying thanks to all you awesome fans and readers and supporters who make what i do worthwhile!

Just click on the image above to start your download.

If you or your kiddos create the projects, or some fabulous and speedy doodles, i’d love to see! Please share on my Facebook Page!

Happy doodling!


Recycled Tee-Shirt Bracelets: Tutorial

After cutting up a bunch of old tee-shirts to make some Li’l Blue Boo tunics for myself, i had a whole buncha scraps….and some shirts i still hadn’t sliced into! So i shredded up a pile of strips and made these super-easy, super-quick, braided summer bracelets.

Here’s how:

Gather some tees, scissors, tape and a needle & thread. i used 3 different colors, one for each of the strips in the braid, but you can use all the same, 2 and 1….whatever looks good.

Cut off the hem of each shirt and then cut a width-wise strip about 1″ wide. Cut the side seams off.

Stretch each strip a bit until it starts to curl into itself and form a bit of a tube. This conceals the cut edges and gives some bulk to the strip of knit. Its key. (my magenta piece is actually one of the drawstrings from my 3rd shirt….why not use it?)

Stitch the 3 strands of fabric together using a simple slip stitch and keeping the end somewhat flat.

Use some tape to hold the stitched end to your work surface. Leave the needle and thread attached for now.

Braid the strips. Try to keep a nice, even width to your braid.When you get to the end, use another piece of tape to secure the ends while you complete the next step.

Wrap the braid around your wrist to determine length. Be sure it fits as you’d like it to. You don’t need to make it bigger to fit over your hand. It will stretch. Grab the needle and thread which are still attached to your first end and begin slipstitching the tail end together also, trying to keep  it somewhat flat.

Then stitch the 2 ends together. You don’t need to be very neat. The stitches will be covered.

Use a scrap of leftover knit to tie a simple knot around the seam to cover your stitches and add a decorative touch. A few stitches will hold it in place.

If you prefer, you can also tuck the tails under and stitch for a cleaner finish as shown in the photo at the top of this post.

That’s it! Try combining prints and solids and patterns. Stack them up your whole arm! Make super wide ones with bulkier strips of knit or dainty, thin ones with little slivers of knit! Sew on a few beads or tie on a few metallic ribbons for sparkle! It’s the perfect summer craft on a budget!


Making a Pinata- tutorial

Coop’s 5th birthday party is tomorrow. He’s having a Green Lantern theme. Party City had zero Green Lantern piñatas….or even plain green piñatas for that matter. So we decided to make one since boys his age really are fans at smacking the beans out of tissue paper candy receptacles.

I had made a piñata once before for Coop’s 2nd birthday. That time we made the sort with hanging ribbons the kids pull until one finally opens a trap door raining down candy. This time, we went more traditional and the kids will annihilate it. SO i’ll admit i didn’t attempt to make this one completely perfect.

But here’s how we did it.

Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard and tape it into a circle. Ours is about 3 inches tall. Cut 2 circles from newspaper,place one under your cardboard ring.

Cut slits into the newsprint or pleat it up around the cardboard ring and secure with masking tape. The pourous nature of masking tape means we’ll be able to paint it later. Don’t use shiny packing tape or scotch tape.

now carefully start adding a bit of strength to the surface of the newsprint “wall” by using matte finish Mod Podge to apply a few layers of newspaper strips in overlapping fashion. Coop sat on the floor and tore these for me : ) Allow to dry.

You want the piñata to be strong enough to hold candy, but weak enough for the kids to break. Don’t go too crazy with the newspaper strips!

Use an awl to make 2 small holes in the corrugated cardboard so you can attach wire for hanging the piñata. My husband is an electrician and so he gave me a piece of sturdy, pvc coated wire. Cut an extra little square of cardboard to layer in for strength. Punch 2 holes in that also and thread your wire through. then twist the tail ends to secure on the inside.

Add another circle of newsprint to the back of the piñata, pleating the edges to make it fit around the edges with masking tape. This time, cut a slit into the newsprint up near your wire hanger and fold back to form a pie shaped opening for depositing candy. Reinforce the edges of the opening with more masking tape. Then repeat the ModPodge-ing of newsprint strips step that you did on the other side. Once dry, take the piñata outside and spray with one coat of primer. If you are more meticulous than i was this time….you can follow up with a topcoat of spray paint in a color that will match the tissue fringe you will be applying later. i was not feeling that perfection was necessary right about now….to much to do!! : )

Cut 2-3″ strips of fringe from tissue paper. Starting at the bottom of the piñata, begin layering the fringe up the sides of the structure. Use a thin bead of white glue. Your fingers will be sticky and filmy if you’re doing it right!

Once the sides are all fringed, dump in your CANDY!!!!

Then cover over the hole with some flimsy typing paper just taped into place. Start at the bottom again and apply layers of the tissue fringe until the entire piñata back is covered and looking festive!

Paint the front of the piñata a coordinate color using basic acrylic craft paint and allow to dry.

Finally, i printed off the Green Lantern symbol onto thin printer paper (11×17 size). trim the art and attach it to the piñata front with spray adhesive. That’s it!

Happy birthday Coop!! This baby will be in shredded bits on the back lawn sometime tomorrow afternoon. i can’t wait!

tutorial – Stenciled Rocker Ties for Little boys


My son cracks me up. Sometimes he wants to look “crazy.” Mismatched socks. spiked up hair, clashing colored clothes, and most recently, ties over his t-shirts. He started with some bias tape from my craft drawer that he made me fashion into a tie with his Star Wars tee. Then he moved on to my husband’s ties. They hang down to his knees! i was determined to give him some of his own for christmas and he said he really wanted his name, lightning bolts and a rockstar tie…..hmmmm.

The following tutorial shows what i came up with to get some smiles this Christmas.

i’ll start by saying that finding little boys’ ties that aren’t clip-on is HARD! But i found one standard and one “ZIP” tie that is pretty cool and coop will like since he can tighten and loosen it himself.

1- i started by actually scanning the ties in and using their exact width, point angle, etc, to make a template in Adobe Illustrator. Then i created the art i’d use. i went simple on the name tie and included more detail in the guitar tie (keep in mind you have to cut these shapes with an x-acto knife later!) Little boys ties are just the right size to fit the graphic diagonally on a piece of letter size paper. Phew! i used Full Sheet crack n peel label stock to print my templates.

2 – once printed, i sat down with my x-acto and started carving out the reverse areas of my stencils and sticking them onto the ties. For floating pieces, i just laid the template down on the tie and used it like a puzzle to guide where i placed the bits.

3- i secured and re-secured all the sticker edges as much as possible and left the ties overnight…..because i was tired and it was 2am….not b/c its a necessary step : )


4 – i picked up some soft fabric paints by Tulip, including a neon yellow that just seemed fun!

5- after experimenting with a stippling brush and foam stipplers, i went with the foam. The bristles of the brush were too coarse and kept catching on the silky tie fabric.

6 – i randomly dipped and painted until all the open areas of my designs were covered. ya’ll know how to stencil, right?? Pouncing, no dragging! : )

7 – wait for the ties to dry. i hate being patient!

StenciledBoysTieTute2And after a bit of torturous waiting…here they are!


i hope they go over big on Christmas! It will be so hard to wait til then to see his reaction!

Tutorial – decoupage trinket trays

TrinketTrayTuteA few months back, i posted some little decoupaged Trinket Trays and saucers. Everyone really liked them, so i thought i’d give you a little tutorial on the process i use to make them. It’s quite easy, you just have to pay attention to detail.

i originally found random little saucers and such at thrift stores and re-purposed them, but eventually needed more than i could find and ended up ordering round soy sauce dishes from At the time of this post, their site was under construction/maintenance, but i got item YW22. 30 little dishes cost me $15. i thought that was a great deal : )

Anyway! onto the tutorial

1- set up your prints. Use a flexible/cloth tape measure to determine the diameter of your dish. the KOYO dishes are about 4″ in diameter. then set up circles with that diameter on the computer. i used favorite art prints and cropped them into my circles. You could also cut your circles from any thin, somewhat porous paper like magazines or wrapping paper.

2- Apply Mod Podge (glossy) to the inside of the bowl. Be neat. Try not to get it over the edge of the bowl and don’t goop it on. you want a nice even layer that won’t squoosh out too much over the edges when you press your paper disc on.

3- i always have a damp napkin or paper towel beside me so i can lightly press the back of my paper disc to it before applying to the bowl. it makes the paper limp and easier to work with as you coax it along the curved sides of the bowl.

4-place the center down first and gently press, don’t rub too much, toward the edges. Then i get into pie-crust mode. i use both thumbs inside the bowl and my fingers behind to work my way around the circumference of the bowl. you’ll get into a groove. Trust me. Make sure the paper is adhered right up to the edge, but don’t bend it over the edge. We’ll trim the excess off carefully with small scissors once the paper is fully dry and “crispy” again.

5- optional – i make a disk for the bottom of the dish with my logo for retail purposes and you might want to do so also…to include a little note or “love, mommy”

6 – Once the bowl is completely dry and trimmed, apply a layer of Clear Polyurethane or other varnish that is non-yellowing. Dry. Apply a 2nd coat.

* since i’m impatient, i discovered that i can poly the inside and bottom of the bowl at the same time and then rest the bowl on a roll of masking tape (the perfect size!) so that no wet surfaces are making contact with the table! so efficient!

7- When everything is completely dry, you can smooth out any remaining rough edges using an emery board or piece of fine sandpaper. i like the emery board. i sit in front of the tv and file away as though i’m doing my nails – haha

So that’s it! Give it a try and make some lovely keepsakes for loved ones. These are perfect for jewelry next to the sink, coins on the dresser, paperclips on your desk, or even your kiddo’s precious lost teeth on the nightstand for the tooth fairy! Just remember that they are not food-safe and also not meant to be submerged in water since they are composed with paper. Happy crafting!!