We have a winner!

Congratulations to LaTanya T., the winner of today's random drawing! 

She takes home a Snap Ray's Guide Light. For more info on this illuminating prize, click here

Thank you to all who entered this drawing. Be sure to pop back soon for the next prize announcement.


Tutorial Tuesday - 7 Beachy Keen DIY projects

Beach Canvas DIY from UnoDosTresChic

Welcome back to Tutorial Tuesday! I don't know about you but I have a case of summer-brain and am already counting the days to the weekend! Here are some fun beach-themed projects from all over to get your imagination flowing. Click the link below each photo to visit the matching tutorial.

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Today's theme was inspired by a cute knotted bracelet DIY that Etsy shared for How-To Tuesday, another great source for all kinds of fun projects.

Am I the only one who has a cheap flip-flop "blow out" on a regular basis? This braided strap upcycle has me actually looking forward to the next one.

And this Towel Bag seems easy enough that even I can sew it. While I have some crafty genes, sewing is my kryptonite. It also seems like a great way to re-cycle those perfectly-good-if-a-bit-worn bath towels that have started fraying on the edges. (I only need so many "dust rags").

I love this simple (and simply yummy) idea for infusing and transporting your favorite beverage. The recipe is for sangria but fruit infused seltzer or water is tasty too (and good for public beaches that don't allow alcohol).


Lets end our trip with some ideas for the treasures you've collected. The Dude keeps bringing home shells and I keep meaning to try Martha's shell candles project. Alternatively, check your craft store for some picture perfect shells while you are picking up the candle making supplies.

driftwood craft project

This Driftwood Fish sign just makes me smile! I think I am going to see if the Dude want's to make one for his Grandpa's birthday this fall. I would look cool next to his antique "Ocean House" sign and remind us all of lazy summer days at the beach.

Do you have any favorite coastal projects or recipies? If so, please share! I'm always adding to my crafty to-do list.


By the way, if you are reading this before 1 a.m. (EST) on 7/10/14 there is still time to enter the random drawing for a Snap Ray Guidlight outlet cover. Click here for details or to enter the drawing.


Tutorial Tuesday - Ten July 4th DIYs

Ready for some summer fun?

Dress up your Independence Day with these crafty & tasty ideas. Click the links below each image to visit the tutorials. Lets get the party started with these cute and colorful kicks:

Top off your festive look with a printable holiday hat:

instruction and step by step on how to make a paper hat july 4th

Now that you are looking good
lets top off the table with some easy DIY decorations.



And something yummy for the tummy:

Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler Recipe

Menus4Moms: American Flag Fruit Kabobs

Time for Fun & Games:

Air Mail Ballots Game

 After Dark:

For the shutter bug:

On a separate nighttime note - If you haven't entered my July 10th random drawing for a Snap Ray Guide Light / LED outlet cover Click Here for more info and to put your name in the hat.


Thursday Giveaway - Win A Snap Ray Guidelight + review

I first spotted The Snap Ray Guidelight on Pinterest and thought it sounded like a cool idea. The pinned ink brought me to this kickstarter campaign. Looks like a lot of other people were impressed as well. The creators asked for $12,000 to fund their start-up. By the time their crowdfunding campaign ended over 9,000 people donated more than $480,000. 

What is the Snap Ray Guide light? Basically, it is a special light sensitive outlet cover with LED's set into one edge. These light turns on as darkness falls. They are easy to install and take their energy from you electrical system. Curious? Click on the above video for details.

Yesterday my set of Snap Ray outlet covers arrived. I have to say they are super easy to install. With a few turns of the screwdriver you simply replace your existing standard outlet cover with a special Snap Rays one. It is really that easy. 

Now that I've installed a few, here are my thoughts. Like I said, very easy to install. However the light sensor is hyper sensitive. It worked great in open spaces like my dining room but is a little too sensitive in shady spots, like the wall between my kitchen counter and overhead cabinet. The plastic outlet cover is more flexible that I expected and would not sit flush on some of my walls (they have a stucco-ish texture and are not especially straight & level). Overall it is a pretty cool product though, and one I recommend for open spaces. 

You can see the gap in my photo above. I shot it at twilight with my phone and no flash. The outlet is just under the windowsill. It leaves a deeper gap than my old, basic Home Depot outlet cover. (I live in FLA and keep picturing bugs squeezing in, and chances are I'll probably return to my old cover.) But I think this is the fault of my wall, not the Snap Ray product.

Since I have more Snap Ray covers than I can use, I'm giving away an unopened one to an Artsnark reader in need of a little extra illumination. The prize cover will look identical to the one in my above photo. Please note: this outlet cover will not fit all styles of outlets. You have until 1 am (EST) on July 10 to enter this random drawing. This drawing is open worldwide and it is possible to enter more than once. Simple follow the instructions below. Good Luck!

By the way, this review and giveaway are in no way sponsored by Snap Power. I just think it is a pretty cool product and want to share the love.


Tutorial Tuesdays - Transfer Tile easy artsy DIY

Are you like me, pinning the heck out of that to do list - just waiting for the day you win the lotto or find "just a few extra minutes" in your hectic day to do something new for you

I've decided to add a new DIY's feature: Tutorial Tuesdays. On especially busy weeks, other folks' tutorials will be highlighted. Other weeks I will put some of those famous "foolproof" Pinterest lessons to the test. And once a month I'll create an original tutorial to share with you; it will probably be an eclectic mix of misc. experiments, projects created over the last few years for the C&T Publishing design team... and who knows what else.

Today I am sharing this Tile & Tape tutorial I made back in 2009 for the Melange Transfer Challenge. This one is super easy! People have told me that "they don't have a creative bone in their body" and have been happily surprised with their final creation:

There are many ways to transfer an existing image from one place to another. Anything goes in this challenge - use printers, glass, fabric, paper, magazines, whatever. Here is the original Melange Challenge post listing the (non) rules.

I decided to try something easy & went with a packing tape transfer. I used the contact paper transfer listed in Claudine Hellmuth's book Collage Discovery Workshop as a guide. I recommend this book, by the way - I have yet to try most of the techniques. But it is very easy to follow with great pictures and clear directions.

So here's what happened. Please note, I used the products I had on hand. Similar products by other brands should do the trick too.

I started with an original image that was laser printed onto basic copy paper over 2 years ago. (Yeah, I have some pack-rat issues). I popped the image a bit with colored pencils.

I taped over the image with clear packing tape & burnished with a bone folder.

More rubbing to make sure there are no air bubbles.

Soaked in water for several minutes.

Immediately, the piece curled up & kept sticking out of the water. I added more water & poked it a few times until it stayed submerged.

After 5-10 minutes I started gently rubbing off the wet paper. The ink stayed on the tape.

Still rubbing. Took a while to remove the last furry bits of paper that were only visible once dry. I just kept wetting & rubbing.

Here is the tape sticky side up. I was surprised it was still sticky after all the soaking.

Claudine Hellmuth adheres her transparent transfer to an altered playing card. I decided while my tranfer dried to use a white marble tile. Stamped the tile with this cool architectural stamp from Judikins. Pigment inks were used so that the line would soften a bit when sprayed with Krylon before the ink was completely dry (Figured this out while working on my last box)

Then I went in with a touch of color pencils & sprayed the tile with a Krylon Clear glossy finish.

After trimming the tape's edges, I glued it down with Liquitex gloss medium & varnish. I scraped across the tape's surface with the edge of my glue brush to remove air bubbles. An old credit card would work well too.

The contrasting finish was awkward (tape was too shiny), so I went over the whole piece with the gloss medium which I dry brushed again before it set. The faint texture of the brush strokes seems to bring it all together. You only see the strokes at certain angles. Viewed from the front, it has a uniform glossy finish. Now all is needs is some hanging hardware glued to the back.

Overall, this was a quick and easy process. A lot of fun too. If you give it a try, I'd love to see what you make. I have to stress that you must start with a laser print or photocopy. Not an inkjet print, as the water will make the ink run.

The other projects inspired by this Image Transfer Techniques Challenge can be found in the comment section of this Melange post . It is worth checking out. Not only are there some cool, easy to follow tutorials, but many of the participants have since become regular contributors to mainstream craft magazines. I will warn you thought that some of the links are dead after 5 years. Some blogs are gone. Others are now published authors and in-demand workshop teachers who have moved their sites.

On the aside, I know there must be blog hops based on this Tut- Tuesday idea (and hope to find them soon). If you have any favorites, please share! 


Illustration Friday - Summer

Sharing this mixed media reworking of an older drawing for the sunny IllustrationFriday.com prompt, Summer.

Click the link above to visit the I.F. site & enjoy what everyone is sharing. Please feel free to post your summer-inspired creations; the challenge is open all week. If you do play along, pop by and let me know so that I can check it out.


The 13 Clocks, by James Thurber, read by Neil Gaiman

So very pleased to have caught this animated intro to James Thurber's The 13 Clocks on twitter today. It is tactfully twisted, wonderfully fun and I love listening to Neil Gaiman read just about anything. 

I did not know that the Wall Street Journal has author led book clubs and signed up for this one today. There is a new book each month, with weekly questions and discussions. Click Here to read the June 12th article, Neil Gaiman on a Skewed Stylish Fairytale, for more info about Mr. Gaiman's pick and the WSJ book club.

I am also enjoying Hayley Campbell's The Art of Neil Gaiman. Picked up a virgin copy at my local library; recommend for fellow fans.