a halloween wreath – and the new Aleene’s Tacky Glue bottles!

Just the other day I got the best surprise – a huge box filled with the new always ready bottles from Aleene’s Tacky Glue, a sweet note, and a cookie (which is not featured in the picture because I ate it – yes, yes I did and it was good…)

Aleene's tacky glue new bottles #alwaysreadytacky

Since the team at Aleene’s was so generous to send this to me, I thought that I should promptly do a project with the glue that they sent!

First, before I start the project, however, I want to point out something huge about these bottles…  you can store them tip down so that the glue is ready and waiting for you…  how great is that?!?!?!?  Plus, the tip of the glue is already cut off for your now, so no more sticky scissors from cutting it off on your own.  I have to say, I love the new design and it was still the same great glue I already know and love…  win win!!

#alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath dreco

Ok – now for the project…  Here’s what you are going to need:

  • grapevine wreath
  • black spray paint
  • Halloween bits – I used skulls of various sizes and some black glitter accents – spiders and some spheres
  • Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue
  • Scissors
  • Tulle and ribbon

Here’s how you put it all together:

  1.  Spray paint your wreath on both sides.  Do this in a well-ventilated area.   Halloween wreath with black paint
  2.  Once your paint is dry, gather your other supplies and start gluing!   Aleene's tacky glue #alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath for home decor handmade DIY Aleene's tacky glue #alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath for home decor handmade DIY Aleene's tacky glue #alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath for home decor handmade DIY Aleene's tacky glue #alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath for home decor handmade DIY
  3.  Once everything is securely adhered and dry, add in your tulle and ribbon.    Aleene's tacky glue #alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath for home decor handmade DIY
  4.  Hang it anywhere you want to add a little extra Halloween flair!

Aleene's tacky glue #alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath for home decor handmade DIY

Now, I used the Fast Grab Tacky Glue because some of the little skull beads were heavy and the fast grab adheres them into place quickly and has an extra bit of adhesion in it so they weren’t slipping and sliding on the varied texture of the grapevine wreath.

Aleene's tacky glue #alwaysreadytacky Halloween wreath for home decor handmade DIY

Overall, I have to say this was a fun project to make and I can’t wait to try out the other glue varieties in my goodie bin!

Thanks for stopping by!

(Glue provided to blogger for use.)

weekend warrior – upcycled rolling cart

Lately I have a new hobby.  On top of creating art, going to art shows, teaching classes, and everything else – I am obsessed with upcycling furniture pieces using chalk paint.

Like seriously obsessed.  It is a problem that might require some intervention at some point.

For now, however, my art booth and my home are benefiting from this addiction.

DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture

This is a very basic project – one that I would recommend to any first timers.  I wanted to share this one so that you could learn the basics of how to use chalk paint to create something “new” for your home.

I am going to share another project this week that is a bit more advanced – still easy, just a bit more time consuming – that’s all.

For this project, you need:

Now, here are the steps – I am breaking it down to the most basic form for the beginners who might need help for their first project.

  1. Clean your furniture piece.   DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  2. Take a course sanding block and sand down any areas that are high shine and/or covered in lacquer. The paint will stick better and last longer if you sand it down.           DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  3. Wipe off all of the dust with a damp paper towel.     DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  4. Paint your first color onto the area that you have chosen.     DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  5. This is where I panicked the first time – the first coat… it looks streaky and uneven and you are worried you made a mistake.  You didn’t.  Just keep going – you’ll be happy you did!                                                                DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  6. Add a second coat once the first coat is dry.     DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  7. Go in now and add your second color to the remaining areas.   DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  8. Allow that coat to dry and add a second coat.     DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  9. Once the entire piece is dry, take a fine grit sanding block and distress the edges where you want it to look worn.  A little or a lot – it is your choice.    DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture
  10. Apply dark brown creme wax (or any of the other colors of your choice – I like the brown) with a brush.  Let it sit for a second or two and then wipe it off.  Let it sit for a day or two before really putting it through it’s paces, but otherwise you’re good to go!   DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture

I am so happy with how this cart turned out!  It will be a great rolling bar, candy cart, and so much more!!!

And, it was only $10.00 at the local thrift store.  A little paint I already had, and it is brand new and ready to roll!  How great is that?!?!?!

I hope you have as much fun with your project as I had with mine.  And, more projects to come!

Happy Crafting!

DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture

DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture DecoArt Chalky Finish paint upcycled thiftshop furniture

thursday diy

I am so excited to be taking part in the #thursdiy group beginning this week!  It is a group of amazing crafters that have been sharing their work every Thursday online.  Each week the members of the group share a project that they created and then they are all put together in one post to share out with the world!

This is my first week participating and I am very excited to share this week’s roundup!

#thursdiy  thursday diy mark montano, crafty chica, margot potter, heather mann,cathie fillian, cathie attix,

There are some amazing projects featured this week and I am sure you will find something to be inspired by as you get ready to create this weekend!
Happy Crafting!!


I know it is cliche, but…

I love to decorate pumpkins for Halloween.  I always have.  It is one of the great pleasures of fall.  Nothing beats sticky, ooey, gooey hands after scooping out the insides of a pumpkin.  Threads and pulp, along with seeds stuck to your hands, under your nails.

Oh, wait, I was wrong.

There is something better.

Getting the same result using a foam pumpkin that requires no gut scooping or rotting on your front porch, then going to seed, so that you can accidentally grow pumpkins in your front yard the next year (long story…  well maybe not.  That’s pretty much the gist of it.)

Anyway, for the last few years I have done all sorts of versions of the pumpkin, so I decided to step it up and try a few more ideas.

Welcome to Pumpkins 2014!

foam pumpkins and jack o lantern projects for Halloween

I had a ton of fun creating these and hope that you like them too!

Check out the video to get the full instructions on how to create both of these pumpkins – or to at least get some additional inspiration for what you are working on.

Happy Halloween and Happy Crafting!

foam pumpkin hack o lantern using drill Hazel and Ruby stencils and paint for Halloween

foam pumkin handmade diy for Halloween using paint and washi tape and sharpie

the michaels birthday party experience

Last weekend we celebrated Jacob turning 9 with his friends with an art party – his favorite kind of party. Michaels birthday party

Instead of hosting it at our house this time, however, we decided to give the Michaels experience a try.

Here is the rundown:

  • It is $50.00 to rent the room – this includes a staff person to attend and help facilitate the craft project(s) and the space itself for 2 hours as well as invites.
  • All supplies for the crafts need to be purchased from the store – but you can use coupons (yay!)
  • You can bring in all your own food – no restrictions really here.
  • You need to have one adult for every 5 children.  We had 10 kids total, so Matt and I were it.  If we had invited 12, then another parent would have needed to stay.
  • You can decorate the room if you want, depending on their schedule for the room, timing might be an issue.


michaels arts and crafts store birthday parties for kids review and story

Our experience:

  • I worked with the store manager and came up with a plan for the projects. I went back and bought everything and they kept it in the store in a box until the day of the party.
  • The day of, there was a kids craft event until noon, so getting in early to decorate didn’t really work for us.  We brought balloons and goodie bags, along with a few other things and it worked out fine.
  • Our facilitator was not the best, but that could just be me as a crafter and teacher talking – I am not totally unbiased in how to run events like this, so take that with a grain of salt.  Having someone else there was definitely helpful.
  • The tables were covered and ready to get to work when we arrived and all of our supplies were in the room.
  • 2 hours was a bit long for two crafts, gifts, and cupcakes.  If we had ordered pizza or done more food, it probably would have been ok, but by the end they were getting a bit squirrely.
  • Since Jacob is 9, we went with painting their own canvases to start and then creating their own t-shirts.  A bit more on the messy end, but they seemed too old for some of the other project ideas.  Really think about your child and their friends and come up with something that you know they would like and then just let them go with it.  (Again, it was hard to just stand back for me, but they had a blast, so…)
  • I would advise telling parents to send smocks or to send them in old clothes – we did not and there were not smocks or anything.  One child got paint all over himself, so I was feeling bad about that.

Overall, Jacob had a wonderful time and the mess was contained somewhere else.  We were able to do the art party for minimal cost and they all had a blast.

If your child is into art, it is definitely an option that I would recommend researching for their next party!

The smile on his face at the end of the day was all that mattered to me… michaels arts and crafts store birthday parties for kids review and story Michaels birthday party 4

Michaels birthday party 3 michaels arts and crafts store birthday parties for kids review and story

Michaels birthday party 5

starting over…

So here I sit, typing away on my laptop at the local coffee shop, starting my second full week of my “new adventure.”

For those of you who have asked and wondered, it was not totally my idea to leave – I did not leave to take a new job or with a new plan in mind…  that is what makes this a true adventure – I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, where I am going, or what is going to happen next.

Here is what I do know, however:

  • The art and craft community is where my heart is and where I belong.
  • Making art, teaching, and inspiring others is where my passion lies and during those times do I feel the most alive and the most like myself…  it isn’t work.  It is sheer bliss.
  • God will not let me fall – I have faith that this is all happening for a reason and that I am meant to do something more, something better, something bigger.
  • I am terrified.
  • I am supported by a fabulous and wonderful husband, my sweet children, and all of the rest of my family and friends.  I don’t know how I will ever thank any of them or you for your support.
  • I need to get into a routine.  I need a routine – wake up at a specific time, with a task list, a schedule, and things to do.  Without that, I am floundering.  I haven’t meditated in days.  Laundry is piled up even though I am home.  I am unsure of what I am doing each day.  So, today I start with a schedule or at least defining one.
  • I will come out on the other side of this stronger, smarter, and happier.

Now, all of that said, I have ideas and plans – lots of them.  It is time to start to sort them out, figure out a plan of attack and a strategy so that I can move forward.

Today is day one – today I start over.


true scrap 6 – and a giveaway!!!

As some of you know, last year I had the privilege of teaching a mini-session for Lain and the True Scrap team…  Now I get the chance to help one of you win your own seat at this amazing online event!

true scrap 6, lain ehmann, true scrap, giveaway

How would you like to hang out with eight of the most inspiring and talented scrapbooking instructors on the planet… without leaving home?

With True Scrap 6, we bring the best in online education to you, but we add a twist – everything is LIVE so you don’t lose that feeling of community and excitementthat comes with an in-person event!

On October 18, True Scrap 6 takes to the internet with a full day of scrapbooking and papercrafting inspiration, hosted by producer Lain Ehmann and with classes from:
• Noell Hyman
• Nichol Magouirk
• Tracy Banks
• Donna Salazar
• Jen Gallacher
• Layle Koncar
• Kelli Crowe
• Katrina Kennedy

Yes, it’s all streamed live… AND it’s all recorded so you can revisit your favorite classes again and again!

I’m giving away one spot in this one-of-a-kind event. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Visit www.truescrap.com and watch the short video at the top of the page.
2. Return here and leave a comment below by midnight, October 9, about which class you’re most excited about.
3. Check back on 10/10 to see if you won!

And here’s something for EVERYONE… Not sure you’ll be lucky enough to win a spot? No worries…
you can use coupon code “HERO” at checkout to save 20% off the regular registration rate.

Just head over to www.truescrap.com and get yourself signed up! (Coupon expires 10/10).

About True Scrap: True Scrap blends the best of on-demand, web-based learning with the excitement and energy of a live, in-person event. True Scrap events have delighted thousands of ecstatic students over the past three years. Produced by Lain Ehmann with previous instructors ranging from Heidi Swapp to Shimelle Laine, True Scrap events are sure to inspire, entertain, and educate.

Find out more at www.truescrap.com.

Rules and guidelines:
One entry per person, please. Contest closes to entries on Thursday, 10/9 at midnight Pacific. Winners will be chosen by random drawing on Friday, 10/10 and will be posted on Truescrap.com, and spots must be claimed by Sunday, October 12. If you have already purchased a spot and subsequently win a spot, you may transfer your prize to another person. No refunds will be given.

bca awareness month, gilda’s club, and you…

As many of you already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  During this month, we are reminded to all take some time to make sure we are taking care of ourselves, but also reminded to reach out and support those that are currently dealing with this rampant disease.

This illness has touched my life through various different people.  Friends, family, and beyond.  Guaranteed you can’t name one person in your life that doesn’t know someone who has had a scare or has gone down this long road.

One amazing friend of mine lost his wife almost 2 years ago after this horrible disease ravaged her body on round two of her diagnosis.  She made it through her first battle, but lost the second time when it came back strong and determined.  Through all of this, his family was supported and loved through our local Madison Gilda’s Club chapter.  Organizations such as Gilda’s Club make a huge impact on the lives of the people that they help and serve.  They provide patient support, spousal support, support for the children and so much more.  The work that they do is amazing and I wanted to do something to help support this wonderful place.

So, for each of these unmatted 8″x10″ prints that I sell over the course of this month, $5.00 will be donated to Gilda’s Club to help support other families.

bca month, breast cancer awareness month, gilda's club, art by stephenie hamen

Please help me help Gilda’s Club make a difference in more lives this month!

the end of an era…

This is one of the hardest posts I have ever had to write.


Yesterday a major chapter in my life came to a close.

For more than 8 years I have been an active part of the Fiskars family. It has been more than a job – it was an adventure.

I was blessed to travel the US and Canada, making friends from every different walk of life.  I planted gardens in cities.  I crafted with thousands of people.

I was given an opportunity to try something completely new and different from the world I had been in.  I learned so much about business, marketing, research, social media, and product that I am forever grateful.  I truly had the chance to learn an entirely new line of work while on the job itself.  Not often does that happen, so I cannot thank the team at Fiskars enough for giving me such a chance, guiding my path along the way, and nurturing my growth.

I am most grateful, however, for the friendships that were forged along the way.  I have made lifelong friends and partners around the country and across the globe doing what I love.  I cannot thank those of you whom I have worked with from different groups and companies for your generous support and your amazing partnership.  Working with you has been a pleasure.  For those of you that are also my friends, know that your friendship is cherished and you are and will always be a part of my life.  Thank you for blessing me with your love in my life.

Thank you for embracing this little girl from the back of the crop room in the suburbs of Chicago, teaching her the ropes, and allowing her to crash the crafty party.

Now it is time for me to grab my pen, turn the page, and begin writing a new chapter, embracing this new adventure…

Thank you for coming along on the ride!

cave city cha1 cha2 cha3 cha4 cha5 cha6 cha7 cha8 cha9 cha10 cha11 cha12 cha13 cha14 pot1 pot2 pot3 scrapfest scrapfest2 spark work work1 spark2 utah


Today I have this sense of being blessed in so many aspects of my life.


So, tonight I send out this message as a list of thanks:

  • Jacob is 9 today.  He’s handsome, smart, funny, artistic, caring, and all mine.     jacob cubs game
  • I have been blessed with an amazing family.
  • I am grateful for the fabulous group of friends that I have.  They never cease to surprise me.
  • Cake.  I am thankful for cake.
  • Sweaters that are as big as blankets – warm and stylish too…
  • I am blessed to be able to branch out and try something new – and have the support of my wonderful hubby.

Life is moving so fast – kids are growing by leaps and bounds, days are getting colder and shorter, and I want to stop and remember it, savor it, and enjoy it.

Tonight I take time to breathe, snuggle, and just enjoy it all.