Sunday, February 26, 2012

Can Comic Book-Sci Fi and Vintage Marry?

When my husband I first moved in together his decorating style was more comic book store stockroom while my style looked more like a Gothic antique shoppe exploded all over the house.

We never fought about the differences. We just mixed our things in a giant melting pot. One bookcase in our tiny apartment living room held my gold angels, Greek sculptures, and vampire Gothic. Another held Stormtroopers next to a lighted case my husband build to showcase his life-size vinyl batman cowl.

When we bought our first house, the extra space allowed us to carve out niches to make our own. We began to get "a little more grown-up" in how we display our collections. Later, as life got more complicated, we found that we needed to create a less hectic space to retreat to at the end of the day. We both streamlines our collections, becoming more selective about the pieces we display, choosing quality over quantity.

As we experimented with new things, we discovered decorating styles that merged our styles in more subtle ways than the literal, over-the-top decorating themes we gravitated to in our 20s. Brushed nickel and deco lines make for a lovely marriage of vintage and modern.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


"Radiance" Etsy Treasury
When you have a shop on Etsy sometimes your work is selected to be in treasury. If you belong to any of the Esty teams, your work probably appears in lots of treasuries. I have been blessed to be part of several teams (Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy and Etsylvanians) that actively promote my work.

While I appreciate being part of a supportive team family, I must admit there is something exciting about being featured in a "stranger" treasury. And when the excitement of a "stranger" treasury is coupled with a truly stunning treasury design, the moment is a magical one for me.  This is one of those magical moments.

My celestial earring appeared in  "Radiance,"  a treasury created by Dan and Heather of Conceptions3D. They make "decorative concrete gems for the home and office" not to mentions beautifully artistic treasuries.

The treasuries they have curated include some of the most amazing product photography I have seen on Etsy. You can see more of their collections here:

Before I let you go to take in some gorgeous eye candy, I thought I would share some of their stunning decorative concrete pieces.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tease Me Thursday

These photos are teasers of things to come. The top photo shows one of those wonderfully weird ideas that pop into my head and I can't rest until I get it out. The bottom one is a bit more traditional, but the final project will have some surprises. Both are a study in details. Can't wait to share these with you!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kids Birthday Cakes: Creating Characters

Looking for an easy (semi-easy) way to transfer a design onto a sheet cake. Look no more. As promised in my last post, I am going to share my technique for translating line drawings into icing characters. I've done Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine, and some of my own designs using this technique. While it is pretty straight forward it does take some practice. I'd suggest starting with a simple design like a flower or a happy face to get a feel for how to build up the icing plaque.

First you need a pattern. Coloring books work great, but any relatively simple image will do. In this case, my nephew wanted an Indiania Jones Lego cake. I found an image online and traced the major outline with a sharpie marker to simplify it. I also reversed the image so it would appear normal when transferred onto the cake. (Image 1)

I placed the pattern image under a sheet of glass from an old picture frame. Then I taped a piece of wax paper on the top side of the glass. (Image 2). The next step is to trace all of the lines in black icing ontop of the wax paper sheet. Canned dark chocolate frosting can also be used for this step.

Personally, I like to use a tube of Wilton's prepared icing. They carry it at all of the major craft stores. You can screw your tips right onto the tube. I do this for small amounts of red and black because dark colors are a PITA to mix.

 After you have everything outlined. then you start filling in on top of the outlines. You have to think in layers. I usually start with small areas such as the eyes and then work to larger color areas. (Image 1)

Once in a while hold the image up to the light to see if there are any gaps that you need to fill in. After all of the colors are added, make sure you have a thick layer of icing behind the whole image. Place the icing plaque in the freezer until totally frozen which may take a couple of hours.

When it is frozen, untape the wax paper layer and flip in onto the cake where you want the image. Gently pull up the wax paper and smooth any areas where the icing sticks with powdered sugar or cocoa.

Good luck and send me pics!

You might also like my post: How to Make a Star Wars Cake. It shows a more 3-d cake decorating style.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Harry Potter Indiana Jones Birthday Cake

One Party-Two Themes

It is February-that means "Birthday Time" in our family. My niece and nephew both have February birthdays, and despite their age difference of 9 and 6, my sister has managed to throw one big birthday bash for them.

Maintaining the combined birthday tradition, the kids once again picked a shared theme, well sort of. They picked "Legos" but Ryan wanted Indiana Jones while Jessie went with Harry Potter. The cake above is my solution to the combined theme. For my complete instructions on how to transfer character images onto a sheet cake, visit

I added this mini cake to bring in the Lego figures. The scale was far too small for the main cake. This was the one we used for the 15 candles that we needed for both kids to blow out.  Okay, so I forgot "the one to grow on," but it was getting pretty full.

If you are wondering about the pink hair, Jessie and my sister Marcie are showing their support for Marcie's friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It is a good look!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vintage Valentine Day Pop Up Cards

Family Heirlooms: German Valentine's Day Pop Up Cards

Like so many of us, my great-grandmother saved her favorite Valentine's Day Cards from friends and loved ones. I'm lucky enough to have four of her vintage cards in my own keepsake collection. They are pop-up valentines that were manufactured in Germany.

I'm not sure how old they are, but what amazes me is that the construction techniques are those still employed in card-making, except now we have the added benefit of home die-cutting machines.

I found a wonderful online tutorial that shows you step-by-step how to make vintage-inspired cards like these ones. If you aren't a fan of music on blogs, you'll want to turn your volume off before you visit her site:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Terrific Tie

Pastel mini bicone necklace by Lisa of HiGirls
Spring Wedding Cake Topper Love Birds & Spring Bouquet by Marie of YoungCreative
Thanks to everyone who voted in the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy Challenge. My love bird wedding cake topper tied for first place in the public voting category! I am honored to share first place with this fabulous necklace by Lisa of HiGirls. She made these glass-like beads from translucent clay with a tiny amount of alcohol ink and a smidge of mica powder.

And congrats to Angie Nuzzo, Ellen Greene Bush, and Linda Grow. They are the winners of the voter drawing. Each will get to select a prize from one of the sponsoring shops.

See the other winners at

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hearts Galore

Young Creative Valentine's Day Collection

I've been busy this month creating lots of hearts for Valentine's Day. Now that my Young Creative shop has its share of romance, I'm moving on to new projects including a birthday cake that will somehow feature Indiana Jones and Harry Potter for my niece and nephew's party next week end. Stay tuned, that one should be interesting. Unfortunately I'm not sure I can top the Star Wars cake from last year.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Challenge Time: February Edition

Love Birds with Spring Bouquet Wedding Cake Topper

Spring is here! Well, sort of. We are experiencing wonderfully mild temperatures here in Pennsylvania. Plus this month's theme for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy challenge, "Spring Color Palette," has me in a spring mood.

These romantic cuties are my entry. There are so many great entries this month. You have to check them all out. Vote for your favorites and you could win the prize of your choice from a well-stocked prize pool. Voting is open until Feb. 7 at:


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