Hmm What to Add?

I promised some new art work...and here it is. I originally planned on showing you the piece I'm really happy with - but it's a gift so I'm not going to post pictures until I know he's received it.

Ever have a piece turn out totally different than what you have in mind?? In this instance that question is not asked in a positive way.
I've been tearing out my hair trying to make this piece workable...but have stopped messing with it long enough to scan a picture for you. I worked on this piece, titled "Aspire Beyond", over the weekend. It started out as something I really liked - until I added the 8 large dots of Texture Magic in the center. For thos of you who don't know what Delta's Texture Magic is, it's similar to spackle. Although I don't use it much, I seem to reach for it (instead of my molding paste) on smaller projects. It dries faster than molding paste and doesn't crack. After adding it to this piece, though, I did realize a major drawback - it's a real pain to sand.
I had painted the large dots red, intending to go in a different direction at first. When I realized I biffed it by adding the Texture Magic before some other elements, I changed my mind - and trying to sand off the red paint was...obnoxious! I didn't want to disturb the turquoise paint on the canvas board - and about half way through my sanding I realized there was no possibility of obtaining a distressed look. Nope. The sand paper kept gouging the Texture Magic. (I haven't had this problem before - I'm guessing because 1) I wasn't sanding "dots" - and 2) I wasn't worried about disturbing anything around the Texture Magic.)

And things seemed to go downhill from if you couldn't tell!

What I like:
~ The Fantasy Film Stained Glass Paper flower petals. Fantasy Film Stained Glass Paper is a technique I learned from Linda over at After Midnight Stamps. (For a fantastic tutorial on this technique, click on the link. I will be doing a review of After Midnight Stamps very soon - so keep your eye out.)
~ The flourish stamps along the edges.
~ The turquoise color of the canvas board.
~ The small flowers I made to go on top of the aforementioned Texture Magic dots. A little hard to see but I punched flowers out of copper sheet and copper mesh, then added either a vintage rounded rhinestone or a vintage flower cabachon.
Clicking on the image will enlarge it

~ The pointing hand and bird embossed with Opals Embossing Enamels, and the metallic rub on medium I used to age the edges.
~ The title, Aspire Beyond.

So I guess that leaves the middle part - sans the little flowers I made to top the "dots". (I should note I added some Pearl Ex to the jarring white dots to try to calm them down a little.)

What I would really like to know is,

what would you do to fix this?

I'm refusing to accept it's hopeless. Please help me salvage this - I can't wait to hear your responses!

Ok...So Maybe I am

Becoming the "Giveaway Queen"...but I promise it's just this time of year. I can't help it. The idea of entering a super giveaway - and actually winning - just makes my heart flutter. Kind of like the prize Dewalt is offering in their super-duper giveaway.
Dewalt is offering an amazing track saw combo kit. Oh the things this glorious saw can do! I would not only love to win, but reviewing it would be an honor. Dewalt products are known for their durability - and oh, the projects I could embark on with this saw. I would absolutely love to make a new headboard for my bed, a dollhouse for Princess, a new habitat for our turtle. How fun it would be to have a "serious" tool to work with!

To enter this fantastic contest, click on the title of this post, on the picture of the track saw - or you can always click
here, too. If you are drooling over this saw (like I am), you can get more information by following the link.

The Queen always takes care of her loyal subjects - because you guys are the best!!

Life As Lou & Cosmo Cricket Giveaway

I just love visiting the blogs of other artists. Thanks to Nelly (check out her beautiful blog!), who posted a comment for the Happy Holidays Surprise Giveaway, I came across another giveaway to tell you about. No, I'm not becomming the "Giveaway Queen" - but who doesn't like to win something? And this, my wonderful subjects, is not a "normal" giveaway. Nope. I think Leah has absolutely lost her mind...she's giving away $150 worth of amazing Cosmo Cricket products - and doing a great tutorial! She's made it easy to enter - just leave a comment responding to her blog post. And I've made it easy for you to get there - either click on the title of this post...or on the picture below.
I'm working on some great art to post - and another giveaway. Stay tuned. Now shoo!

BTW...I love reading comments - so keep them coming! And if you haven't entered my Happy Holidays Surprise Giveaway, hurry! (You can click on the link to be magically transported to that post.) xo

Christmas at the Castle

Everyone at the Castle is recovering from Christmas. There is lots to share about the royal goings-on, so I will try to keep everything short. (As if that's possible for this rather large mouthed Queen!)

Christmas Eve was spent at the home of the Grand Poobahs. This year it was decided by the hostess Grand Poobah, my mother, we would all participate in a "white elephant" exchange. Everyone brings something they already own and do a re-gifting of sorts. The participants draw numbers and choose a wrapped gift from under the tree. After choosing, the person with a higher number can either choose a different wrapped gift - and take their chances - or "steal" a gift from someone who already went. Although the Queen had participated in white elephant exchanges at cookie exchanges and work parties, this was the first time I've ever heard of it being played as the way to do a family Christmas. It was a fun event nevertheless, and I ended up "stealing" two delightful tea cups and saucers from my motorcycle-riding step-dad. Somehow I don't think he minded. ;) In the end everyone left with something they never would have purchased for themselves. (For the record, my contribution was a dinner mystery game, similar to this.)
This is one of the two sets I "stole" - perfect for tea cup fairies, don't you agree?
Since the Princess is at her dad's for Christmas break - - the boys and I just "chillaxed" (the new word I learned from my oldest) on Christmas Day. They played with their new X-Box 360 while I did some work - then we spent the rest of the day on art. A fantastic way to spend Christmas Day!
I also wanted to show you the angel made for the top of our tree this year, by the Princess. Isn't she beautiful?
But the very best part of Christmas - besides the time spent creating?
The pink delight. YUM! Thanks, Mom!
And if you're looking for some really beautiful eye candy, check out these amazing dolls by Susan Snodgrass. The series done on sea shells is just mind blowing!

Happy Holidays Giveaway

Did she say giveaway?? She did! WOOT!

And this is going to be an easy one! I had originally come up with this clever post involving all the giveaways other awesome blogs are doing - and how I was wanting to do something to liven up someone's holiday as well. Then time ran short.

Curiously, I came across this little box I had made last year - on the front is a little stamped Santa suit on a hanger. Below that it says "HO HO HO" - and to the right I wrote "Happy Holidays!" It has a pretty burgandy ribbon wrapped around it.

The problem? I can't remember what's in the box! Seriously - I have no clue. I *think* it was wrapped up for an eBay sale - but the buyer flaked and never paid. Whenever I sold something last year, I wrapped it up - so the buyer got a little surprise. I did several different boxes - Santa suits, ornaments, reindeer...all rubber stamped and colored in. They turned out really cute...but then I had this one left. Apparently I stuck it on a shelf and forgot about it...until this year!

My inability to remember is now your gain! I honestly don't know what's in the box...could be a variety of things. Jewelry I made? Probably. But what? A watch? Bracelet? I have no idea!

I know it won't make it to you in time for Christmas - especially since it's Christmas Eve day right now. However, you have the chance to receive a little gift after the ornaments are taken down, the pine needles vacuumed, and the wreaths put away for another year. And since the stamps are done on a kraft box, all you do is untie the ribbon to open the box - no paper to get rid of!

The contents of this box could be $5...or $50 (retail value). I could probably save everyone some time and just open the box myself - but why? It's more fun gifting it to one of my fabulous readers - just to let you all know you are special and appreciated. I have several other giveaways planned for the next couple of weeks - but I want to get this out first.

So who is it going to be? Do I have any takers?? Bueller? Bueller?

It's easy. Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment telling me what you hope is in the box...OR...just how simply fabulous you think my blog is...OR...what makes you feel royal (besides reading my blog haha). Please be sure to leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you're the winner!!

Now...since it's Christmas, I have additional ways you can enter:
~ For ONE additional entry: Tell me (or link to) your favorite quick gift idea. When you realize you need a gift - and have less than 5 hours to create one. Including drying time. Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!
~ For ONE additional entry: Blog about this giveaway/my blog. Remember to come back and let me know you did by leaving me a comment - and a link to your blog. Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win

So there ya have it. You can enter up to THREE times for this giveaway. Pretty good odds, eh? Just be sure, if you choose to blog about this giveaway to come back and leave a comment so I know. And one more time, but please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!!

The giveaway will end DECEMBER 31, 2008 - and the winner will be announced on JANUARY 01, 2009. The winner will have 2 days to claim the prize...and if it isn't claimed, I'll move on to choose another number. And we'll just keep doing that until someone wants the prize!

The winner will be chosen by one of those automatic number chooser thingys. (Scientific, I know!) GOOD LUCK!! I wish I could give all of you something...but be sure to check back. I DO have several other giveaways planned!
And BTW...If you were the person who won the Hero Arts stamps, would you please leave me a comment?? I've been trying to find you so I can send them to you! :)

Orna-Art...or Beautiful Baubles

I actually made a little art! Ok, so it isn't new and different, but I had been wanting to try to make these since I saw Barb's cool little tutorial over at Joggles a little while back. (And btw - have you seen the new Joggles website? Fantastic job on the update! You can be magically transported to the tutorial page by clicking here. Nope, doesn't cost a cent - it's just because I like ya. Promise.)

For the most part I followed Barb's tutorial, Making Beautiful Bauble Ornaments. It should be noted there is another (similar) tutorial here. (These things were hot this year!) I purchased my Polished Pigments in a kit at - not only was everything for the Brilliant Baubles included (*except the all important baubles*), but it was also cheaper than purchasing the individual components. (I was very pleased with - huge variety, great prices, pretty fast shipping.)

Here's a hint for you if you're going to try making these delish Baubles: I originally chose the heart shape. If I were going to recommend this project to someone, I would suggest starting with the round plain clear ornaments available at any big box craft store. You get more ornies for less cost - especially if you use one of those studly 40% off coupons that strut around so freely this time of year. Also, the regular round ornaments have a much bigger opening in the neck - which is enormously helpful when trying to fill the bulb with powder! I also thought the heart shape was a little more challenging - trying to get the powder inside the round tops of the heart was tough - without getting the Polished Pigments all over your work surface.

It also should be noted that these directions recommend Simple Solutions #3.; while these directions recommend Simple Solutions #2. It's a tough choice when you have to rely solely on the online description...and I bought Simple Solution #2 because I felt like I would use that formulation more. Based on my experience, both #2 and #3 work equally for these oraments
- so there is no need to spaz out if you have #2 or #3 - it's all good!

Something else worthy to note: This really is a family-friendly project. I made 2 of the ornaments pictured - the one with the ribbons (top pic) and the blue/purple one (pictured on the left of the bottom pic). My boys completed the other two Baubles - not only am I surprised they turned out so well, I was shocked when the boys asked if they could make one! Both wanted to make unusual reaction to say the least. My oldest did the rust/purple Bauble (on the bottom pic) - and my youngest son did the other blue/violet heart at the top of the second pic. l'll finish those off with a bit of ribbon later today.

Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them
Leave me a link in the comments if you'e made Brilliant Baubles - I would love to see how they turned out!

My Budding Artist

I think I have a budding artist - which is totally surprising, considering her mom isn't into art at all. ha

I'm glad someone in the Castle is able to get some art done. I thought I would share one of her pictures with you - just to perk up the middle of your week. Happy Wednesday!
By the way, I wanted to give a shout out to They had a giveaway of Clinton Kelly's book, Freakin' Fabulous. Clinton pairs with Stacy London on the tv show What Not to Wear. Of course, the Queen doesn't have problems of that sort...but who doesn't want to be Freakin' Fabulous??

I won the book and can't wait to receive it. Who knows...maybe Clinton can teach royalty "How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be better than Everyone Else" (the subtitle of the book). ha

In order to win, had readers leave a comment stating one thing that makes a Modern Lady fabulous. It could only be one word. My answer was STRENGTH. So my question to you is...what is one quality that makes YOU fabulous??

Just Another Manic...Tuesday

Webster's definition of MANIA:
1: excitement manifested by mental and physical hyperactivity, disorganization of behavior, and elevation of mood ; specifically : the manic phase of bipolar disorder
2 a: excessive or unreasonable enthusiasm mania for saving things> —often used in combination
b: the object of such enthusiasm

(It should be noted that everything on Webster's page for "mania" is related to psychiatric disorders)

The Queen's definition of MANIA:
1. Flat out, uncontrollable, talk-to-"the voices"-and-drool, crazy.
2. Craziness you aren't prepared for, do not want, nor particularly like.
3. Having more than one kid sick at any given time.

Yep, I know the name of the
song is Manic Monday - but mania seems to have lost it's calendar. "It" follows me every day. I can't get away from "it". "It" is inevitable.

It's a regular Tuesday around the Castle...not one, but TWO 'beasts home sick. The insane mania of running Triaminic and ibuprofen between coughing, aching, stuffy headed, fever, but there is no rest, kids is killing me. I have my fingers crossed we don't end up in the hospital with the Princess - she has already started her wheezing. Even with starting neb treatments early, it's still questionable.

The funny part? I've been working on this post for almost an hour. Why?
Because this is all I can see. The kittens are obsessed with the movements the mouse makes on the screen - so they take turns spending time trying to chase it. Not quite sure whether it's just maniac hysteria or what - but I find this incredibly funny and entertaining. (Doesn't take much, I know.) The connection between the kittens and the mouse just pushes me over the edge.

What I was originally going to post today was a reminder to check out Chrysti's blog. She is still offering awesome giveaways - so I'm not sure what you're waiting for. She's at day 12 of her "29 Day Giveaway" - and loads of prizes are still to be had. Even if you don't want to enter the giveaways (in which case you should have your head checked), there is SO much eye candy to look at! Today Chrysti is featuring Pam Carriker - and has some really fantastic pieces by Pam up on her site. They are delish! I also happen to know that Ms Chrysti is closing her open a brand new one! She is putting everything on now is your chance to stock up on some awesome stuff. Just click here to visit her shop and check out all the deals.

One reason I'm supporting Chrysti - she is truly a generous spirit. Not to mention she's able to put the art in ARTist! Even though she's gone through a difficult time since beginning the 29 Days of Christmas, she continues to carry on - and with a delightfully positive attitude. Her post today is inspiring - and definitely work a look. It's rare to find someone who is so giving - and so willing to promote others. You'll be sorry if you don't check it out!

And now the mania is kicking back in...I'm off to rub more Vicks into stuffy chests!

Be well!

I'll Be Cooking Lots Now!

Remember the post I wrote about Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"? No? Well you can see it here.

I just received an email from Lynne over at I won the cookbook. Right on! The idea of owning a book of quick, easy recipes really appeals to me - because the idea of spending hours in the kitchen just to cook is nothing short of tortorous to me. Put me in front of a firing squad, pull my finger nails out one-by-one, but please don't stick me in the kitchen for hours!!

Now feeding everyone Ramen Noodles will be a choice - not a necessity. We'll have some variation in our diet! I can hardly wait to receive the book - I'm so stoked to try it out!

(Let me reassure you, this does NOT mean I will become domestic
in any sense of the word. I promsie. No worries there.)

Monday Thank Yous

Happy Monday!

I don't claim to know everything...or even very much. However, there is one thing I know...when it's 4:45 in the morning - and -17* outside - I do not want to come out from under the down comforter. No matter how loud the alarm blares. Not even the threat of a third day home with the childebeasts was enough to rouse me...WAIT! What am I saying? That was the thought that had me bounding out of bed, tripping on cats, running into art supplies, stepping on dollies left on the floor, stubbing toes on the inconveniently placed wheels under my bed. I'm sure I somewhat resembled an incoherent Superwoman. I may have been unable to leap tall buildings (or even my bed) in a single bound, I am up and ready to go!

I made a couple of cute Thank You cards I thought I would share with you. Both are very easy and took less than 20 minutes each! Not bad for a handmade note of gratitude.
Purple Thank You
I hate that the scan doesn't show the silver flourish accents very well - but I suppose I'll get over it.
* The card itself is a pearlescent purple. These blank cards are available in a variety of beautiful pearlescent colors at Hobby Lobby. (They are white inside and come with matching envelopes.)
* White StazOn ink swiped around the edges
* The silver flourishes are metallic rub ons - I used one in each bottom corner and a larger design in the middle on top
* A purple metal angel with beads
* Chipboard I painted pink; sanded edges
* Pink "Thank You" ribbon (found at Michaels in their awesome "$1" bins). Edges pulled apart to make the ribbon shabby; adhered with glue stick
Bubbles Thanks
* White card stock base
* Slid edges through black ink pad
* Rubbed a little silver pigment ink on front of card, hit with heat gun to dry the ink
* Little "thanks" rub on (placed before the circles so I knew I would have room)
* Walmart has these adorable iridescent circles (along with other shapes). These really add some movement and depth! I sewed them on (they already have holes), attaching each with a little seed bead
* Inside of card was white - to cover up stitch marks, I added some decorative paper

How to Cook Everything Giveaway

That seems like a pretty broad comment to me...How to Cook Everything - but seeing as how I don't cook much (ok, ever!), who am I to debate one can't cook everything?? Then again, as I think about it, I suppose you really can cook's just that you probably don't want to eat everything!

Actually, How to Cook Everything is a cookbook by Mark Bittman. is giving away 5 copies of this handy cookbook - and all you have to do is leave a comment on this page. To me, that is much easier than cooking anything! With 5 stars on Amazon, How to Cook Everything appears to be full of yumalicious recipes that can be cooked in a flash - recipes good enough even the royal childebeasts would eat! So hurry over there and leave a comment...and let me know if you win! (I'll be expecting payment in the form of some fantastic concoction you've whipped up from this cookbook!)

Click on the picture of the book for more information.

Creativity, Organization, & Lesley Riley

The bead shower (mentioned below) prompted me to get relax and catch up on some blogs. A brief exchange with the amazing Lesley Riley had me visiting her website - a site I hadn't fully soaked in before.

Lesley's creative space/studio has given me such a boost. Frequent readers of my ramblings will already know I finally settled on taking over the living room to carve out my studio. I decided on the living room mostly out of necessity...but due to the move, it's a mess. More of a mess than I would like. (At least it isn't as bad as it was in the infamous blog post I did a few weeks ago!) I will admit (only to you, my dear loyal subjects) that I really need a medium-sized warehouse in order to be fully organized and have room to work.

Instead, I live and create much like everyone else - crammed into every nook and cranny possible. However, much like Lesley, my favorite place to create is on my bed. I don't know if it's the yellow and periwinkle walls I painted, before carefully stenciling morning glories around all the walls...or the randomly placed bees, dragonflies, butterflies, lady bugs, etc I painted and stenciled all around. It's bright and I'm just comfortable in there. Even though I've tried to "force" myself to work downstairs by moving my desk down there...I still carry stuff up to my room when I'm serious about working on things.

Back to my point...I see all these studios/creative spaces in magazines that only serve to depress me. Am I the only person in the world who lives amongst disorganization and kids? How do people find time to create when they are constantly putting things away in perfectly lined up spaces? (And how do they remember where everything is?) But seeing that someone as phenomenal as Lesley Riley creates similarly to me, had a great effect on my attitude.

I thought I was all alone in my creative chaos. That everyone else created in quaint rooms with organizational equipment costing thousands. Then I thought maybe my disarray is due to me undertaking too many realms of art...fabric, jewelry, paper, soldering, book making, etc. But why limit myself just so I can be "organized"?? Yes, I get frustrated when I spend part of my limited creative time looking for supplies...but if that's the price I have to pay in order to play in multiple creative realms, then ok. I'll be ok with that.
Here are some articles about studio organization if you're interested. I've decided that until I have a professional come in and put things in a pleasing arrangement - that I can actually keep up on my own - I'm going to be ok with a little funky mess. If you aren't, try these articles for tips.

eHow on organizing art supplies
eHow article on studio organization
A neat blog, Collage Contessa, with some tips
Ideas from Noadi's Art Studio (cool polymer clay artist) - always some helpful info on different topics
Quilting Arts ideas - I want Beryl Taylor's studio...or Misty Mawn's...or Virginia Spiegel's...or... :)
And one more
(You can easily find tips by Googling "organized studios" or similar phrases)

Bead Showers & Kittens

I just finished picking up about 10,000 beads. Of all shapes, colors and sizes.

In a rushed attempt to find a bag to wrap a birthday present in - and not wanting Mom's help - the Princess & the Oldest collaborated with each other to get the bag themselves. In the office. Behind one of the office double doors. In a closet. Behind the shutter-type door. On the shelf. At the very tip top. In the way back. And did I mention they didn't bother to move the tower of plastic cases containing about 10,000 beads of all shapes, colors and sizes?

They experienced a true bead shower. Of about 10,000 beads. Of all shapes, colors and sizes. They reached the bag and were able to wrap the present...and left Mom - the QUEEN, remember - a gift in the process. The remains of their bead shower. All over the office floor. Into the dining room. In every open RubberMaid container within a ten foot radius. Under the dining room table. And if you recall, we still have three kittens. And two adult cats. Who love bead showers. And the resulting bead mecca left by the bead shower.

I think I got most of the beads. At least the ones the cats have not carried off to their secret hiding places. The places the cats only access in the middle of the night - so they can bat things around on the floor, attacking each other to see what could possibly be so exciting. And make more noise than the city ordinance allows. Of course, they only do this at night. This is how they are during the day.

Or this.
But as soon as the lights go out, everyone climbs into bed, and quiet sets in, the precious kitties pictured above instantly turn into something more like this.
Multiplied by three.

That is why I just finished picking up about 10,000 beads. Of all shapes, colors and sizes.

Cool Cards, Minimal Price

So I've known about this company, Vista Print, for quite some time. I was aware they supposedly did "free" products...but you know what they say. Nothing is free. In this case, that is true. Although Vista advertises t-shirts, calendars, checks, and business cards as being "free", they aren't. Totally. But the cost is so minimal, it's almost like the items are FREE!

I already received the coolest t-shirt - and I had designed it with their options. I chose this design as the base, then had "The Queen" written in large letters. Below that, in smaller letters, I had my blog address printed. I left the back plain. I was really surprised when it arrived - for the cost of shipping (less than $6.00) I got a really cute shirt I (pretty much) designed myself. How cool is that?!
And for even less than the cost of the t-shirt (around $3.50), I got the very cool - no, very royal - business cards pictured at the top of this post. I chose their art work, plopped in my details, and BOOM! Cool business cards arrive in less than a week. WOOT!

They offer many other products as well - a good portion are "free" - you just pay shipping. Not only can you personalize everything, they offer a wide variety of designs to choose from. If you don't care for their designs, you can upload your own image or art work for a small fee.

Totally customizable products at next to nothing. Does it get much better??

** NOTE: I am merely including this picture as a reference to the t-shirt. Neither one of us were prepared to have pictures taken that day...just in case you couldn't tell...bahaha**

The BEST Recipe...EVER

I know I throw around words like "the best" quite a lot - but that is only because I feel they are "the best" when I say it. Since I fully believe in living in the moment, you have to make a decision...are things going to be "the best" - or "the worst"? It's much more fun to have a longer list of "bests" than "worsts". Besides, if you're truly living in the moment then you don't have much to compare most things to - so they really ARE the best.

I lovingly call my mom Martha Stupid. Not because there is anything wrong with my mom - or, necessarily, with Martha Stewart. Believe it or not, calling my mom Martha Stupid is a compliment. To both women. It's just that in answering the questions of which woman is truly the Damsel of Decoratoring, the Official Empress of Ornamentation, or the Prime Purveyor at Parties, my mom would win. Without question...or mussed make up. And she'd make it all look easy. Which explains why my mom only has perfect parties - and why I came to call her Martha Stupid.

Several years ago, she began making and serving the most delicious "salad". It was unlike anything else I'd ever tasted - the most delectable thing to ever cross my lips. I was smitten with this new dish from the first bite! It was the one thing I would request at every holiday meal, even taking it upon myself to make it in between holidays...and I don't cook. I can cook - I just hate it. Which is why, many years ago, a friend of mine gave me a metal chicken sign that says:

Isn't that a great sign? I so love it when my friends know and get me so well!

Back to the incredible recipe I'm sharing for today. The first few times she made this, she served it as a salad...but apparently it's a dessert. I'm voting to keep it on the salad plate, tho - if for no other reason that I am always too stuffed to eat actual dessert after a holiday meal. And there is no way a sane (or even not-so-sane) person could pass this up!

Serves 12

1 C. Flour
1/2 C. Butter or Margarine
1/4 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Chopped Nuts
2 Egg Whites
1 C. Sugar
10 oz. pkg. Frozen Strawberries or Raspberries
1 C. Cream, Whipped or 1 pkg. Dream Whip prepared (2 C.)
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Combine flour, sugar, margarine and nuts; place on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes, stiring occasionally. Place crumbs in bottom of 9 x 13 pan, reserving some for top.

Beat egg whites until stiff, add sugar gradually and beat again. Add berries, beat well. Fold in whip cream, add lemon juice. Pour mixture over crumbs, top with reserved crumbs.

Freeze 6 hours or longer.

See how easy that is?? And I swear, I wouldn't tell you it was the most awesome food in all the kingdom if it wasn't. You will not regret trying this...but I take no responsibility if it's the only thing you want to eat from now until July 4th! (Speaking of which, this would be a fantastic thing to serve in the summer since it's nice and cold.)

Thanks for sharing it, Martha...and I'll try to remember to share her amazing Sweet Potato Oranges before Christmas as well. Let me just say that even people who claim to "loathe" sweet potatoes love this recipe.

BTW: I don't know where Pink Delight originated from - and my mom can't remember either. If you have questions, post a comment and I'll get back to you. Otherwise, E~N~J~O~Y!!

Beep! Beep! Beeeeppp! BEEP!

YUM! A book delicious enough to fill your soul's appetite for beauty!

Nope, I'm not trying to be obnoxious - the "beeps" at the beginning of this post signal something terrific for you - another fantabulous giveaway! Yippee!

Now, now...get off your knees. I know you are faithful loyal subjects - which is why I work so hard to maintain my title of Queen. (Trust me, it isn't easy to look this good. ha) As soon as the applause dies down just a bit, I'll continue with the details...

The giveaway listed today comes from Susan Tuttle. She is actually giving away not one, but TWO glorious copies of her new book, Exhibition 36: Mixed Media Demonstrations & Explorations. Go 'head, click on the link. Poof! You'll be magically transported to the book's page on Amazon. Cool, huh?

Some may say I'm just posting this giveaway in order to provide a chance for my incredible readers to win something. True...but it's also much more than that! This book is so amazingly fantastic that you've got to get a copy. Soon. So if you can't win a copy from Susan Tuttle, Ms Author Extraordinare herself, then rush to Amazon and buy one...or two. You can knock out Christmas shopping for your creative friends (and not even have to leave the house!) - and become their hero in the process. (Trust me - they will think of you as their hero if you give them this book!) How easy is that?!

If you want to really treat yourself, stop by Susan's blog as well. It's just beautiful!

As if I wasn't completing my regal duties by providing you with this book recommendation, and giving you a chance to win it...I know of a way you can increase your chances of winning!

Remember that super fantastic giveaway over at Chrysti's blog? Well, Chrysti's prize for day three is a copy of Exhibition 36. Go check out her post - which has a nifty little synopsis of the book AND an interview with Susan - then follow the instructions to enter to win. There are TWO easy ways to win this delectable book!

And as a reminder, have you been keeping up with Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas? Ohhh the tags he's made are simply sublime - and the giveaways he's offering fall nothing short of spectacular! What are you waiting for??

So with my duties fulfilled for now, I am straightening my crown and going to work on something creative. Life is good!

Breaking News

This post falls under the heading "Breaking News" - for as your good and - all-things-art - Queen is well aware, it takes a lot of work to be the Queen! I don't take my title lightly, either. I pride myself on bringing you fun content, along with splendiferous art...and what could be more splendiferous than a delish giveaway including art?!

I was alerted to this blog where Chrysti - a very talented artist and all around cool person - is giving away something for 29 days straight. SCHWING! You can check out her first post about it
here, where she explains her giving spirit and how the giveaway will work. It looks to be a fantastic giveaway - so what are you doing here still? I thought I would only find little puffs of smoke as each reader went running off to discover ART BY CHRYSTI!

And if any one of my readers wins something on Chrysti's site as a result of my posting about the cool contest she's running, please post a comment. I would love to hear about it! While you're at it, why not drop down and take part in the quick poll? Oh come on, you know you want to! Besides, it will help me bring you more of the content you love...and less of what you deem less than royal. Unless, of course, my art work fits in that second category. Then I hate to tell you, you're just stuck with it!

Which Reminds Me...

There has been a group of posts going around one of the mixed media art groups I belong to lately about the need for an Artistic Alzheimer's Asylum. This would be just the place for people like me, who are just dying to buy a specific art supply - and then once securing said supply, putting it aside...and not finding aforementioned supply until months later. Precisely around the time I've completely forgotten why I bought the supply in the first place. Not able to even remotely recall the technique I just had to make when I heard of the supply. (Glad to know there are others who suffer from this affliction!)

The whole conversation reminded me of an exchange I had with two of the 'beasts while we were at the grocery store yesterday. We were quickly perusing the aisles - in a rush to get back before the missing beast was home too long alone - when I happened to notice skillets. On a sign in front of the skillets was a sign: SOOPER CARD CUSTOMERS = 50% OFF! Hu-uh? (Doing Chester Cheetah headshake.) So I say to the kids (who can both see waaay better than I can), "Wow! I've been looking for a skillet like that forEVER! How much is it??"
"$25.00 with the discount."
"You mean it's normally 50 DOLLARS??!!" (I gasped. Which was probably a little too loud.)
"Ah man, that's too bad. I really *needed* one."
"So you could cook without using a bunch of pans?" (My daughter asks innocently.)
"Ummm NO! For melting wax and keeping it warm, DER!"

They looked at each other and rolled their eyes...but I'm *sure* it was just because they were as bummed at the price as I was.


A Reason to LOVE December!

I hope everyone had a safe, healthy, and happy Turkey Day...well, at least those of you stateside. To those of you inhabiting the rest of the planet, I hope you had a fantastic weekend!

It took a few days for me to digest all the incredible scrumdiddlyumptious food my mom made for Thanksgiving dinner (thanks, Mom!), so I didn't have a chance to post over the weekend. I think I have finally gotten over the feast - and, for the first time since last Thursday, I am just now starting to feel hungry. (Mom makes everything in the universe for holiday meals - and this year was no exception!)

Now that we have passed "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday", and assuming you all didn't get in any fights over parking spaces or weren't seriously maimed by the crowds that were out, I just realized something fantastic I wanted to share...

Tim Holtz is at it again this year! In case you happened to live under a rock last year, Tim began the "12 Tags of Christmas" blog posts last year. Each day he completes one delicious tag with a holiday theme - and he usually gives it away (along with a plethora of fantabulous prizes). The post of each tag includes a step-by-step set of A+ instructions, making sure even those without a creative bone in their body aren't left out. Along with the super easy instructions are pictures to guide you from start to finish. he even gives a list of products you'll need to complete the tag! True, most of the products (almost all) are from Ranger or Tim's own line...but I think it's fair to say that both put out some terrific (and well known) products. If your stockpile of supplies doesn't include at least several products of theirs, you're missing out. Every craft store - big and small - seems to carry the Ranger line...and it's been a long time since I've been to a craft store that doesn't also carry Tim's own line. (I know Tim and Ranger work together - but I'm not sure if Ranger actually puts out Tim's line.)

Your instructions for the day are to jump over to Tim's blog and check out the awe inspiring art he has planned for today. Leave a comment on his blog and you are up for a chance to win one of the prizes he's giving away. What an easy way to win something!

The blog is busy - and lots of people leave comments - but as the days go on, the list of comments grows. By leaps and bounds. It is absolutely unbelievable how many people find out about the "12 Tags of Christmas"! Today's post is a knockout - and well, you won't be disappointed in anything he comes up with. Tim's ideas and projects seem to get better and better everyday - and I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how he out did himself from last year.

If you missed his super posts last year - or just want to check them out again - you can do that by going here. And while you're visiting his blog, look around to see what all he has posted. From great blogs you may not yet have checked out, to technique challenges he's run in the past, too all sorts of other things, his blog is like a one stop shop!

Then stop back by and let me know what you think of his ingenuity.

Happy Turkey Day!

Gobble! Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all able to rest, relax, fill up on loads of turkey, and spend time with those you care about most today. This morning I took three minutes to make a list of what I'm most thankful for this year. It's amazing what a long list you can make in 180 seconds - and how many things can flow into your mind. Things that seemingly had no connection at all fluttered into my mind. I wrote quickly, only focusing on my hand scribbling down the words as fast as I could. At the end, the list was only legible to me (or someone experienced in reading hieroglyphics!), but it's a precious list. I'm going to keep mine next to my desk to serve as a daily reminder of everything I'm blessed enough to have in my life. This quick exercise brought me a rush of joy and gratitude - and I encourage you to take three minutes out of your turkey time today, and make a list of everything you have to be grateful for. You just might be surprised at the length of the list you come up with!

Since my studio is currently, umm, shall we say "under construction" (you can see the pathetic state here), I am going to start a new adventure on my blog until I'm able to get back to creating art. I hope you find it as exciting as I do!

I am going to begin reviewing books and products of interest to artists. I am interested in giving you an in-depth, honest, royal review of art-related books and products. My plan is to include photos, a review of the contents (or item), notes from the author (when appropriate), links to see further work by/contact information for the author, and a project I complete based on the book. The intention of these reviews is to inform you of "must have" books - and artifacts that will make your life easier, your art more interesting. These can include newly published books, magazines, and ebooks - or publications you may not have considered - or heard of - before. I will also include new, not-so-new, and all sorts of wonderful products you will want to know about. And last - but definitely not least - I will introduce you to incredible artists brimming with talent. You will want to keep an eye on these fantastic artists! Plus, when I can get in the studio (literally lol), I will begin showing my own artwork and sharing techniques with you once again.

You're probably asking, "What do I have to do to get all this fantastic information, Queen??" - well, the answer is simple. One, bookmark my blog - and subscribe to my feed - so you're sure not to miss any of the great upcoming events. Two, leave me a comment telling me what book or product you would like to see reviewed. In return, I promise to provide you with can't-live-without information that is in-depth and honest. I will let you know about the products you really need - and those you don't. We'll talk about the publications you must order now - which are best checked out from your local library or borrowed from a friend - and which aren't worth adding to your valuable shelf space. You and I will also take a trip to other artist's studios and creative spaces, gain unique organizational tips, and learn the tricks other artists use to break out of the dreaded "creative rut". Plus, you'll get an opportunity to see the fabulous art created in my own studio, The Queen's Castle. You will discover more than you can imagine - and all you have to do is let me know what has caught your creative eye, and what you are drooling over to learn more about. It couldn't be any easier!

So leave me a comment - and I will begin the Royal Reviews with the next post. Can't you feel the excitement?!

And if YOU have written a book - or created a product or invented a technique - you want reviewed, contact me. You can email me at queenkatherine at

I can't wait to jump into this fun process with all of you!

A Fantastic Store

Happy Monday!

I was extremely busy over the weekend - between moving and organizing my studio (or trying to), I was also very busy on the web. I was looking for a neat project to do for a Fat Book swap I'm involved in for the Yahoo group, Art Techniques.

During my search, I spent quite a bit of time at Joli Paquet - which has the most fantastically fun holiday ideas. If you are looking for holiday ideas to create - crafts, recipes, gift boxes - your first stop should definitely be Joli Paquet. (Just a note: The site does have holiday music playing.)

It was at that super site where I first came across the most incredible little store I've seen in a long time. A very long time.
Little Pink Studio, owned by Cerri Campbell, is totally adorable. I don't know how else to describe it. Entering the store is like stepping into a different world. Sublimely vintage - and quite girlie - it's just the place you want to visit to indulge your artistic ways. From beautiful rubber stamps to obsecure vintage findings, this is a place you MUST visit. Now. Look at just a few of the offerings...

Click on the picture to be transported to the page carrying each item

An example of one of the kits

Just one of the wire forms
(With a terrific tutorial at Joli Paquet for Glittery Girl Ornaments by Beth Quinn)

These sweet pink posies are one of several just-as-sweet embellishments

Although I've showcased some of my favorites, Little Pink Studio has many other fabulous finds just awaiting your discovery. I would find it impossible to believe anyone could visit and not find at least several things they want. I will leave the rest of Cerri's magnificent items as a surprise for you to discover for yourself, just as I did. However, I must mention the glorious crown at the top of this post.

Of course, the crown is my favorite, hands down. I have featured one here - but there are other designs available. With the description:

"These paper crowns have been hand embellished with glitter, and have yards of seam binding for assuring a proper fit. An elegant commemorative certificate is printed on the back for inscribing your special date."

Who wouldn't yearn to be the recipient of one of these amazingly royal headresses?

Do yourself a favor and start your week off right...go discover this fun site for yourself!

A special thank you to Cerri for allowing me to use her pictures for this post! :)
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