A Project You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

In The Studio


There are few things in this life that squick me out more than tooth issues, but even my dental demons didn’t stop me from creating these cute tooth fairy pillows for the Helmar blog.

Just the right size to slip under a pillow

Just the right size to slip under a pillow

Growing up, I had one of those interactive board books called Bruce’s Loose Tooth, about a moose named (you guessed it) Bruce, who had a tooth that just wouldn’t come out, despite how loose it was. So there was a string running through all of the pages showing all the different ways he and his friends tried to rid him of the tooth. The most memorable involving a moving train, I seem to recall.

At any rate, like most kids in the US (a safe generalization, right?) when a tooth came loose it was placed under a pillow and magically replaced my money in the morning. Silver dollars were the big money prize, back then, but I know I’ve heard of modern day tooth fairies bringing 5 or 10 dollar bills.

Inflation is everywhere!

While it might have been cute to make one of these for Duncan’s puppy teeth, I think we’re past that stage (not to mention he’d just destuff it), it’s a cute and simple project for those with little ones of the tooth-losing ages. It uses a fray-blocking medium as well as a basting spray that would come in handy in any number of projects, so go check it out!

Creative Team Project Round-Up

In The Studio

How was your weekend?

It was supposed to be absolutely miserable down here but the weather was gorgeous after Friday night’s showers. As a friend called it on Facebook: there’s nothing so blue as a rain-scrubbed sky. Really, it was amazing.

Of course, I spent the vast majority of it at my computer, staring at InDesign. Why? Because I’ve signed on as the Art Director for Millin’Air Magazine as of the spring issue (which will be released later this week). And while I can’t show you the full magazine (yet!) I can at least let you see the cover!

The cover was finished a couple weeks back, it was the other 53 pages I was finishing up this weekend!

The cover was finished a couple weeks back, it was the other 53 pages I was finishing up this weekend! Complementary subscriptions available at www.katherinecarey.com

And that reminds me… I’ve been remiss in sharing some of the projects I’ve been doing for the teams I’m on. Let’s do a full quarter-1 recap, shall we? (Links are under each project if you want to see the play-by-play.)

Helmar Creative Team

March wrapped up my 3rd (6-month) term with Helmar and I’m happy to be staying on for the next 6 months, as well.

Backing up to the beginning of the year, though, I started with a mixed media tag:

Reading Road Map Bookmark

Something about book pages at the beginning of the year.

Reading Road Map Tag

And followed that up with some decoupaged tile coasters.

Tile and Map Coaster Project

And maps. No clue why I was hung up on maps.

Where You Are, Where You’ve Been

In February I pulled out one my adorable (if I do say so myself) digital stamps for a Valentine’s card. Valentine’s was the earliest we said we might get a dog, and I was hoping real hard!

Not that stuffed pup, but another one I gave Todd on our first Valentine's together says "I wuf you" and blushes when you squeeze it.

Not that stuffed pup, but another one I gave Todd on our first Valentine’s together says “I wuf you” and blushes when you squeeze it.

Puppy Love Valentine’s Card

Of course, with the bathroom renovations still in full swing, I think we’d have been the ones in the doghouse had we gotten a pup in the middle of all that!

It’d been so long since I’d had time for any doll-related projects, I was afraid they were going to stage a tiny, plastic mutiny. That, and the slow pace of the real-life renovation, had me jonesing for some instant gratification, miniature-style.

My Cricut made this miniature project even easier!

My Cricut made this miniature project even easier!

Tiny (Cardboard) Taxidermy with Helmar Zap Dots

In March I returned to a favorite theme of mine: the phases of the moon. Now, you might recognize the images from an old Gauche Alchemy project. I photographed them and printed out the sizes I needed for my cross between a sun-catcher and a dream-catcher.

I still love these moon phase paintings.

I still love these moon phase paintings.

Moon Phases Mobile

And just before Easter I tried my hand at the classic “Exploding Box” card.

I've been holding onto those carrot-colored Easter eggs for *years* wondering what I was going to make with them!

I’ve been holding onto those carrot-colored Easter eggs for *years* wondering what I was going to make with them!

Exploding with Easter Fun!

Now, that technically wraps up the first three months, but I have one more Helmar project to show you.

I mentioned on Friday that I’d participated in an April Fool’s post over there, despite my dislike of the “holiday” and, well, I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. Not only did it backfire, but it did so in an entirely unpredicted way.

I mean, not in the way that Cake Wrecks did (where they apparently lost readers over the faux-sponsored post), but still. It did not go over well.

Here’s the project:

It's tougher than you'd think coming up with adhesive alternatives...

It’s tougher than you’d think coming up with adhesive alternatives…

A New Direction

If you read that post and project, you might pick up on the fact that there’s something missing from the project. Namely any Helmar adhesives. See, I thought that a project for a glue company that used absolutely no glue was appropriately inappropriate. Drop a few broad hints about a change in direction and, well, it sounded good in theory. There were some crossed wires between Georgia and Australia, however, and a lot of conversation at 6am (my time) on the 1st, before we got them untangled.

All’s well that ends well, and all that, but I think it’s safe to say I won’t be doing another prank post in the future.

Imagine Crafts

So far I’ve really been enjoying my time with the Imagine Crafts Artist In Residence team. There are just so many fabulous products to work with (and more coming, from what I hear) as well as some neat collaborations/team swaps coming up that I’m really looking forward to!

I started the year with a planner dashboard project that I’m pretty sure I’ve already shared on the blog, but let’s post it again just for completion’s sake.

Still loving my word for the year!

Still loving my word for the year!

One Word Planner Dashboard

The interesting thing about the AIRs team (at least in the beginning) is that we submit multiple projects but not all of them go up on the blog, as was the case with the other two projects that I submitted for January.


February fared much better and all three of my projects made it onto the blog. There were some technical issues, though, so these links go to pdf files instead of web pages.

My first project incorporated one of my new favorite tools, the gelli plate. I’d ordered them for The Crafty Branch and they are just so fun to play with. Usually you use paint, but I wanted to try them out with inks and I think I like that even better! This print was for the Anything But Red Valentine’s theme.

The versatility of the gelli plate is an awesome thing!

The versatility of the gelli plate is an awesome thing!

Love in Bloom Embellished Monoprint (pdf)

This decorated onesie (for the White T-Shirt theme) might be one of my favorite IC projects so far–I love the way the flowers turned out!


Had to sneak a monkey in there somewhere!

Growth Potential Onesie (pdf)

And then, inspired by Leap Day, I created a canvas using their Tear It! Tape and embossing powders for accents.

That background is all ink pads and Creative Medium and reminds me of a sunset or sunrise.

That background is all ink pads and Creative Medium and reminds me of a sunset or sunrise.

Seize the Day Mixed Media Canvas (pdf)

In March we switched to two projects a month, and I started to feel like I was getting into the groove of creating for Imagine Crafts.

For Easter I tried out an old technique favorite of mine with some new players. Using white embossing powder as a resist for watercolors is the way I’m used to doing it, but I got to play with their Ink Potion No.9 and it gave me a similar effect using ink pads, instead!

The embossed resist is a great technique in general, but perfect for Easter!

The embossed resist is a great technique in general, but perfect for Easter!

Easter Mosaic Card

And if you noticed that there was no mention of invitations on Todd’s Luau post, it’s because I was waiting for IC to share how I’d embellished them with their Radiant Neon Amplify! products.


I designed the invitations to look like the classic Hawaii Five-0 dvd covers. (And, yes, I drew the image of Todd.)

Amplify!’d Party Papers

That’s not bad for three months!

On top of that, I managed two art journal spreads…

I saw the background technique on a YouTube video and had to give it a try.

I saw the background technique on a YouTube video and had to give it a try.

And this one is actually a mini journal in one of the books made from the Bound & Determined kit.

And this one is actually a mini journal in one of the books made from the Bound & Determined kit.

And some mixed media canvases for The Crafty Branch giveaway winners:

This one went to the grand prize winner.

This one went to the grand prize winner.

And this one went to one of the runners up.

And this one went to one of the runners up.

Another runner-up prize. I really love writing with that flat brush!

Another runner-up prize. I really love writing with that flat brush!

Finally, how about a peek at a project I started Friday night during First Friday at Studio 209?

Work-in-Progress 16x20 canvas

Work-in-Progress 16×20 canvas

This, and three more like it, will be decorating my birthday party at the end of the month. I’d brought the canvas and supplies with my to First Friday because the forecast was rain, rain, and more rain, and that usually means low crowds. So I thought it’d be nice to have something to work on and when folks did stop by my table it was a good conversation starter. I think I’m going to keep doing that!

Between the bathroom renovation, the party, and all of these projects, I think my time was pretty well spent these last three months!

So… what have you been up to? I wanna hear!

2016 Goals, My Word of the Year, and More!

Everyday Adventures

I feel like not doing a resolutions post in the early days of January is like breaking some sort of blogging rule. Add to that, I like to put my goals out there and hold myself publicly accountable, so here we are!

A few nights ago, as part of the Bloggers Get Social January Instagram/Periscope challenge, I did a ‘Scope on my Resolutions (which aren’t resolutions, but goals, and it’s an important distinction, even though it all boils down to the same thing in the end). If you haven’t heard of Periscope yet, it’s okay, it’s a twitter spin-off (as I understand it) and it’s live video streaming–raw, unedited, whatever happens, happens–and then it’s available for viewing for the next 24 hours. Thanks to a service called Katch, though, you can archive your videos for replay past the Periscope window.

So if you want to see/hear me chatter about my goals so forth, here you go:

(Direct link for the feed readers: 2016 not-Resolutions Periscope via Katch.me)

But if you’d rather just see everything in a list, why, I can certainly accommodate you there!

House Projects

  • Downstairs Bathroom Gut job renovation, starting soon (sooooon!), though we just added another element to the project that we hadn’t previously discussed. I’ll leave you with two words: Pocket. Door. Ooooh!
  • Driveway and Fenced yard Driveway is iffy, depends on getting City approval for it and there are a couple of things that make that less of a certainty; one being the proximity to the main water valve/access thingy and the other being a city sign that would need to be moved a few feet farther down the sidewalk… yeah. And there’s really only one place to put a driveway, so it’s not like we have a lot of options. But even if we can’t get the driveway approved, we still want to and will fence the yard, the driveway potential just determined where a gate needs to go.
  • Recycling Sorter A honey-build for Todd, this is projected to be done this weekend and it’s so we can stop being lazy and get back into the recycling habit. The sorter will have three large, removable tubs that fit into a wooden frame with covers and a space underneath for additional stuff (the cardboard recycling can flat-pack its way under there). This way we can grab the totes that are full, pop them in the car, and take them downtown easily.
  • Compost Bin I know we could just designate a far corner of the yard for a spot to put compostable kitchen waste, but I’d prefer something that’s more than just a heap on the ground for a variety of reasons. I’ve seen some that involved rotating parts and a hatch to keep any odor contained and I think that’s more what I’m looking for. This is a mid-year project.
  • (Extra) Back Hall/Mudroom Once the bathroom is finished and the wall between the hall and bathroom is redone as part of it (more on that another time), the rest of the back hall/butler’s pantry/mud room area is largely cosmetic. Of course, I say that, but we’ve had discussions on what to do about the supremely sloped floor in there so, yeah, maybe  not quite as cosmetic as it seems. But this is an extra project, if it gets pushed to another year I won’t be heartbroken.
  • (Extra) Utility Room–Currently the home of the washing machine, dryer, and chest freezer, this room isn’t exactly destined for greatness. It is, however, destined to hold the water heater and fridge from the current kitchen (which requires moving gas lines and adding some more outlets) before we can redo the kitchen. A remodeled kitchen is high on my list of projects for 2017, I think, so yeah, if could get this out the way, all the better.


  • Get a dog! Finally! Every place we’ve lived together I’ve made sure we could get a dog because I knew Todd really wanted one and I’m not exactly opposed to the idea, either. In fact, I’ve had major puppy fever for the last couple of months and it is not abating. That’s part of the reason for wanting the fenced yard (the others being privacy and a noise-break), but with the current chain-link fencing on the side we could easily install a doggy door in the back hall and the pup-to-be-named-later would have safe, easy access to the back porch and shaded side yard. It’ll be at least another month, but the clock is ticking and we are perusing the rescue orgs and PetFinder on the lookout for our new family member.
  • Celebrate some milestone birthdays! Todd turns 50 in March and I turn 40 in April, and plans for parties for both are in place. I’m super-thrilled Todd gave me the go-ahead to throw him a party this year (he generally prefers not to mark the passing of his own years) and it was because he came up with a theme he likes (Hawaii 5-0!). And my friend L has been planning my 40th shindig for months.
  • Visit Savannah, GA. It’s not too far away, it’s some place I’ve always wanted to see, and it just seems like a good year for it. I’m not going to specifically say I want to do this for our anniversary, like last year’s goal, but just when the opportunity strikes.


  • Career change. Oooh, sounds big, right? Before the end of 2015 I’d put in for a job in Thomasville but, just after the calendar change I got the word that they were no longer looking to fill that position. Bummer! So I’m keeping my eye out for something that suits me, but this goal is a little shakier than it was when I first wrote it down in December. Of course, the side business(es) could take off, and that’d be a freakin’ fabulous way for this to work out, but I’m open. It’s not that I *have* to find a new job, but I’ve been with my current company for 21 years, I’m ready for a change. And to not have an hour commute one way.
  • Book Projects Okay, this is left over from last year and the one goal I really didn’t even touch. Granted, there were good reasons for it (ahem, The Crafty Branch), but that doesn’t make them any more done than they were this time last year! So the eBook of What to Feed Your Raiding Party is actually in progress, and the Low-FODMAP book is in a verrry rough draft form. The sequel to Raiding Party is more in my head than anywhere else, but it’ll get there. And there are always a few more on the back burner.
  • The Crafty Branch Speaking of which, TCB is technically one year old come the end of this month, but is, in reality, only 4 months since launch. February will see our 5th kit released and my main goal for this year is to implement my marketing strategy and see continuous sales of the kits. Gotta pay those bills!
  • Scraps Of Life Yes, I consider this under the career umbrella, even though a successful blog-as-a-business-model is as rare as hen’s teeth these days. Still, it’s part of my whole package, and I mean to keep it going and growing. I want to do a video a week (be it YouTube or Periscope), I want to finish our initial trek through the 64 Arts. And I want to build up the Senses Project that I stumbled into this week into a regular (at least monthly) feature. And I’d love to do some sponsored posts for brands I use in my normal, everyday life.


  • Move more. While I’m sure my doctor would love me to put “lose xx pounds” here, I’m not gonna (write it, that is). I don’t actually care about the number on the scale, I’m comfortable in my body the way it is now and my weight/size doesn’t stop me from doing anything I want to. I do agree that my sedentary lifestyle isn’t the best and will make a more concerted effort to be a bit more active this year. Todd and I got Garmin Vivosmarts as Christmas presents this year and we’re both trying to hit those step goals each day.
  • Be more productive. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I get a lot done on a regular basis, but I also know how easily I get distracted and how ineffectively I put my available time to good use, leaving me to scramble sometimes to meet deadlines. I want to be more consistent in my output and feel good about what I accomplish each day instead of fretting over what I didn’t get done.
  • Art Every Day. This can be anything from sketching/doodling to working on a painting, to making something for the house to whatever. Just so that at the end of the day I can say yes, I did something artsy or creative today. I’m usually thinking about projects on the daily, but doing them comes in fits and spurts, and I want to be more consistent. In the last week I’ve sketched on several occasions, drawn some digital art, and designed some bookplates. Not bad for week 1.

Which leads me to…

Word of the Year

My word for 2016 is Show. As in show up (be present), show out (put my best foot forward), and show me the money (I’m in business, not charity, right?!). Last year’s word was forward and I really feel like it kept me from getting down when things didn’t turn out like I’d hoped, planned, dreamed. The Crafty Branch is the best example–the first plan didn’t work so I kept moving forward and took a different approach. Now it’s time to take that momentum and have something to SHOW for it!

And speaking of show, look who’s showing up on the Imagine Crafts blog today: me!

One Word Planner Dashboard for Imagine Crafts

One Word Planner Dashboard for Imagine Crafts

Just before Thanksgiving I got the word that I was accepted onto the Artist in Residence team for 2016 and this is my first project for them. Our first prompt was all about organization so a planner dashboard featuring my word of the year seemed like the perfect thing. (That’s a stunt planner, up there, I made a similar wrap cover for my planner inserts, too.)

Their products will also be showing up in more of my Helmar projects as the months go by. Like in today’s Reading Road Map Bookmark where I used their great StazOn ink pads to embellish the decoupaged bookmark.

Reading Road Map Bookmark for Helmar Adhesives

Reading Road Map Bookmark for Helmar Adhesives

What are your goals for this year? Any exciting news to share???

A Tree for Every Room: Gilded Dining Room Tree

In The Studio


Last year I had a goal to really do up the house for Christmas, including (as the title suggests) a decorated tree for each room. Between a convention in Mississippi in the middle the month and sheer end of the year exhaustion, it didn’t happen. I got 2 trees decorated and Todd put the lights on the big tree on the landing, but that’s as far as I got.

I did, however, order supplies for the dining room tree, so I was set to get started this year! Over on the Helmar blog I have step-by-step instructions of how I made the kitchen-themed garland for the centerpiece of my tablescape. Here’s the rest of the story, as it were.

I started with a simple artificial tree from Big Lots. It was the right size, but it was green, and the picture in my head was of a white and gold scene. So I used a tip from Jen over at EPBOT to flock our tree with spackling. Only thing was, all the spackle we could find was the heavier stuff, but there was spray spackle on the shelf and we decided to give that a shot. It worked perfectly and didn’t even take a full bottle to cover the little tree. If I find the second tree we bought (but is currently buried in the Christmas closet) it will be no problem to do it up as well.

Once flocked and the garland made, it was time to add a few more items. I didn’t want to overwhelm the tiny tree, so I added a single strand of white LED lights and a strand of small pearls to balance the heavier wood and gold garland. And it’s the dining room, it’s okay to dress up!


Finally, I made some ornaments from a set of metal chocolate molds. I used an awl to punch small holes in the top and bottom of each mold and wired a loop at the top with gold wire to attach a hook. From the bottom hangs a large faux pearl.

I still need more to really fill out the tablescape–one tree isn’t going to cut it–but for now this is a really good start. I love seeing the tree on our dining room table when I walk through the room and I’m really excited to go get our big tree for upstairs this weekend!


The Abyss Has Been All Topsy-Turvy This Month!

In The Studio

And it’ll probably stay that way for a little while longer–there’s just so much going on!

At the beginning of the month, the first of my two Helmar projects went up: a trio of fabric-covered tombstones.


And then today, book-ending the month, my second Halloween project is live on Helmar, this time a quick pedestal project.


Also at the beginning of the month, the FACES exhibit for the local Artist Collective opened at Grassroots Coffee here in Thomasville. We attended the opening night reception on First Friday and then went out to supper with friends who came up from Tallahassee. It may seem like a little thing, but it felt pretty big as it was the first Collective show I’ve had a piece in.


The Clock Has Many Faces by Jennifer “Scraps” Vanderbeek | mixed media on canvas 10″x10″

The exhibit runs through the beginning of January. The next theme is still life… not sure how I’ll approach that one, but it’ll be a fun challenge.

Of course there was the whole process of getting the house ready for Halloween, but I’ve also been a bit preoccupied getting the new Creative Mischief Kits ready to go. We had a slight delay from one of the paper manufacturers, but everything’s in and the two card kits are now ready to ship!

CPR Holidays Winter Whimsy Kit

CPR Holidays Winter Whimsy Kit

CPR Holidays Classic Christmas Kit

CPR Holidays Classic Christmas Kit

The CPR in the titles stands for “Cards Prepared & Ready,” an idea I had many years ago about simplifying the process of sending handmade cards by batching them up together. These are holiday kits, of course, with enough supplies to make 20 cards in each. You can find more about them and place your order at TheCraftyBranch.com

Finally, I’ve been working on my Halloween costume for this year. I can’t remember if I mentioned it before or not, but we decided to go as Wreck It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz this year.

Finding a pullover with both pocket and hood (when I would otherwise want neither) in the right color and size was a bit like searching for a teal unicorn. But I think my semi-DIY will do nicely!

I had to convert a long-sleeved hooded t-shirt into Vanellope’s hoodie by trimming off the bottom 6″ or so, adding elastic along the new hem to get it into shape, and then using the cut-off area to create the kangaroo pocket in the front. I finished it off with some hot-pink paracord to match the details on her hoodie.

Just needs the small "double stripe" on the one leg and I can call these done.

Just needs the small “double stripe” on the one leg and I can call these done.

I’ve almost finished painting the white tights I purchased to match the character design–I took a tip from a costume Instructable about cutting out leg-ish shapes from cardboard to act as forms for the tights while they’re being painted. So far it seems to be working just fine.

The one thing I haven’t started on, yet, is the candy scatter for my hair. I have everything I need for it, I just haven’t had a chance to put them together. I’ll definitely have it done by Halloween, but the scatter might be a bit sparse for the party tomorrow night–depends on how much I get done on my lunch break today!

Those slippers are super creepy to me. Anyone else?

Those slippers are super creepy to me. Anyone else?

For Todd’s part he’s been letting his hair get shaggy and even extending his sideburns to look more like Ralph. He bought a pair of brown overalls, a red v-neck tee, and a pair of really creepy barefoot “slippers” since Ralph doesn’t wear shoes. For the larger-than-life hands, he found a pair of Hulk hands on eBay for a good price and painted them a flesh tone. He’s planning to wrap his forearms with ace bandages over some sort of padding to bulk up a bit. We also have a heart-shaped cookie medal in the works for him.

I’ll be sure to have someone take our picture tomorrow night to show you how it all turned out!