Friday, March 27, 2015

Crockpot Beef Stew by Kelly Corso

I don't know about you guys but when I think of Crock-Pot I think of this old guy! It brings fond memories of my childhood and the smells in the house of the Crock-Pot simmering all day. My mom calling when we got home from school and telling us to add another ingredient and give it a stir. Now I love cooking in the Crock-Pot. It gives me more time for my creative endeavors. I have a quick and easy recipe for beef stew that you will love, even my girls love it!

You can change it around any way you like, adding, taking away or replacing with fresh ingredients.

Beef Stew
1lb stew meat, chuck
1 can red beans, rinsed
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can diced or sliced potatoes
1 can water chesnuts
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
1 package Lipton onion soup mix

First I chop up the meat in the size chunks I like and throw it in the skillet with olive oil and garlic to give it a good sear.
Next, put all the ingredients in the Crock-Pot with about 1 cup of water, enough to give it a good inch or so of coverage.
Turn it on high for the long cycle. (usually 6-8 hours)
You an always add more water if you prefer it to be soupier.
We usually like to eat it with a nice loaf of sourdough bread.

Yum, Yum! Enjoy!

Places you can find me:


(our facebook group)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Food Link Love by Susan M. Walls

Okay...lets talk about food! It is one of the most important things you do everyday.

Whats your favorite? Do you have breakfast? Lunch? 

My family spends a lot of time around thinking, making, and eating food. About three years ago we embarked on a journey to be the best we can about what we fuel our bodies with. With that came much research and i want to share some of my favorite food  sites.

You might find something yummy to make for your family.

This gal is a registered dietitian and has great tips, advice, and recipes.

Don't get in here unless you have time to kill. Tons of recipes, tips, shopping, and community. Search this site when you're looking for menu suggestions or new things to make.

Yummly the app

Want an entire Internets worth of recipes in one place? Here you go! Search anything...I mean anything!

Lots of good stuff here. My favorite is the banana is soooo good!

And for a bit of British inspiration...

Jamie is definitely a go to for delish meals that take no time at all and nourishing ingredients that kick processed to the curb.

And because I couldn't do a list without one of my vegan faves...

Lots of recipes and if you don't cook vegan you'll find tons of "regular" food items to maybe try out. Who knows? You might decide to cook vegan more often!

And that is just a few of the food ideas and sites online. What are your favorites?

Why not share them with us on our FB group: 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ice Resin 101 by Susan M. Walls

Hello everyone! Today I am doing a follow up from Ursula's post about her art belt buckle. Very cool by the way...I love the stamping and the color!

I thought I would go back to basics and show you how Ice Resin is the easiest. Also I'll throw in some tips to make Ursula's next resin project a breeze ;)

Let's begin with my desk and what it looks like when I'm in resin mode.

You can see all the things I have all over...but they all come in necessary. Well, almost all. This shot is actually at the end of a pour but this is the reality at the beginning too.

Tip #1: You will notice that all, most, of my things are on a tray. I always work on a tray or inside a cardboard box or something that I can move without disturbing the resin. Line your tray with a silicone mat or a garbage bag, resin won't stick to a garbage bag, then place youe pieces, and pour. Then if you need the table space you just pick up the whole thing and move it.

Tip #2: You can see the two bowls at either side of the tray? Those are filled with rice. They make the perfect beds for any bezel...or belt buckle...any piece that might have an uneven bottom. You just nestle them into the rice until they lay flat and your resin will also be even!

Tip #3: Cover everything!! Once poured resin attracts dust like nobodys business!

We will start with those lovely Ice Resin bottles on the right pouring equal amounts from each bottle, resin and hardener, into a little medicine cup.

You can see on the side there are two marks for the levels of the resin. I find that the measurements that are embossed on the cup completely disappear when you pour in liquid so I use the closest Sharpie marker and remedy the situation.

Using a wooden craft stick you will stir this for 2 minutes. At the end of that time your Ice will be perfectly clear and all mixed together.

Set it down and let it rest for 5 minutes. During this time all the bubbles, if there are any, will rise to the top. They either dissipate on their own or you can do this...

The easiest way to remove bubbles is to blow gently through a will be amazed that all the bubbles will just disappear.

You can see the bubbles in this pic alongside my prepared bezels.

Here are a few more prepared bezels. You can use a myriad of materials in your bezels. the top has an acrylic painted background with an actual gear, glued in place, plus some typed words on paper. The center pieces are also a mix of paint and paper. The bottom was painted several times then the paper was added as I poured the resin.

Here's another way to keep things level. I recycled this box and by cutting some strip out of it I made the perfect spots to tuck in my ring shanks and keep the bezel part level. 

Get resin on the box? Toss it out!

Tip #4: If you've overpoured or dumped your project over and then let it cure before getting the resin off places you don't really want it to be. DON'T PANIC! There are several things you can do. Use scissors and cut off the pieces hanging off. Pick at the resin that's stuck with your fingernails until it lifts (this only works while it's still least for me). In times of desperation I reach for the rubbing alcohol. Dip a Qtip in it and saturate the unwanted resin areas being careful not to rub it all over the top of your piece. Now you may have to do this more than once but I find it makes the resin brittle and then it will come off. 
If none of those options work then PANIC!

Pour your resin into your bezels and wait for the magic to happen! In 24 hours you have a soft cure. That means the resin fells a bit soft but you can touch it and cut or peel off any resin that pours over your bezel. Three days and you have a hard cure meaning you can now place a piece in a box or bag, wear it without worry of damaging the surface or sell your gorgeous piece!

Here's a few finished pieces so you can see how beautiful Ice Resin is...

Hearts! Hearts with 1955 dictionary words embedded into the resin. What word sums up your personality?

There's that gear again! I literally used a little ModPodge to secure the gear where I wanted it and poured resin over it. There's a bit of mica inclusion laying behind it...but that's another post!

Last but not least we will visit some science fiction. My favorite! The bezels here are all prepped with the paper clip art, sealed with ModPodge, and then resin. 

Way too much fun!

Are you tempted to try it? I like that rubber shape that Ursula used and then pulled off from around the resin. I'm going to steal that idea!

Until next time,

You can find us all at our FB page: 

You can find me at Susan's Art Circus
and also at the Cre8ive Circus where you can also purchase all the supplies to do some resin projects
or at my jewelry shop Charming Trinkets for finished pieces in wacky themes!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Being Susan M. Walls-Beverly

Out of my comfort zone

In this series, Susan, Lori and I decided it would be fun to trade places, and try our hand doing projects that the others usually specialize in. For this attempt I am trying out a resin project using a product that Susan works with all the time- Ice Resin. Specifically, I was trying to make belt buckles, but I also have some additional ideas for what to do with left over resin and those can be found at the end of the video.

Well friends, Susan is a much better Susan M. Walls-Beverly than I am ;). 

For my project, I would have to say this post will be more about what NOT to do when making a project using resin. Fortunately we have Susan who is very GOOD at resin, and she can show you the right way to do things!

So here is my check list on what not to do with resin:
  • First and foremost, if you are filming your resin project for a project- make sure you hit record rather than pause during the appropriate filming parts ;)
  • Be prepared as to where you are going to dry your resin piece. It must be a level surface, and you should not, I repeat should not, place it near the area that you are working. Resin takes a good 24 hours to dry without spillage, and if you decide to sneak in a few minutes of project time, you do not want to knock over your project and/or step in it.
  • If you want to use resin on paper or paint, use one of the non-stick craft sheets. Make sure the sheets are clean. Resin will pull up any paint or ink left behind on the craft sheet.
  • Make sure you use less resin than you think. Thin coats that layer are less susceptible to over spilling. Resin will harden and potentially cause your project to stick to the item it is drying on, if the resin spills over.
  • Trim your projects first. Cleaning up a little bit of left over resin is easier to trim than trying to trim the paper along with the resin.
  • Don't use a project that is curved for your first project with resin. Filling something flat is infinitely easier than filling a curved surface!!
  • Give it a go and Enjoy!
I followed up with some more experimenting on my blog. You can find the post here-

Thanks for visiting the Cre8ive Klatch. If you wish to see more of my ideas, tips, techniques and experiments, you can find me here:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Link Sharing by Susan Walls

Hello everyone!

I've been a bit lax on the schedule here because of busy times in my studio but wanted to jump in and do some link sharing today. Maybe give you some new things to read and learn about for the weekend.

So...I do a lot of cruising around the internet when I have a chance. There are many artists, writers, cooks, and general life enthusiasts and, in my opinion, too little time in the day. The following links are the tiniest portion of my list but in the top 20 of the sites I go back to over and over again.

Food. Is there anyone who doesn't like food? Food has been a huge focus in my life for a very long time now. Over the last 2 to 3 years our family has rid itself of all processed food stuffs and I have taken on eating vegan whenever I can swing it. but it wasn't until I found Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her vegan cookbooks that I really figured out how good vegan cooking could be. You might be a vegan skeptic but all you have to do is try one recipe. I've bought almost all her books and every single one is great!

Her site is: Post Punk Kitchen and she is the bomb!

This week one of my favorite business women has been holding her fifth free entrepreneur video summit. She is the writer of "The Right Brain Business Plan" and Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way ". If you are creative and want to start or build on your business...this is the gal!

Her name is Jennifer Lee and her site is: Right Brain Business Plan and the video summit, which I highly recommend, is on through the 20th of March.

March is National Craft Month and the craftiest, amongst other things, gal I know is Jennifer Priest. She has some fabulous projects and tips on her site plus her family also crafts with her.

Check out her work at: Hydrangea Hippo and for those of us in creative business wanting to learn more about social media she is also an expert. 

Check out her other site, Rainmaker Media Works plus her groups on FB.

Last but certainly not least is the wonderful artist and person Tracy Verdugo. One of the reasons I'm kind of in a creative fog, a good one, is that I just came home from 5 days with her immersing myself in "Paint Mojo." I had never taken a retreat like this for this length of time and it was hugely inspiring! Tracy is warm and intuitive truly a guiding spirit through all the artistic techniques shared through the class.

If you aren't familiar with Tracy I suggest you hop on over to her site: Tracy Verdugo or her blog and start learning!! 

Those links should get you started! Tune in next week when my friend Ursula tries out Ice Resin and I do a follow up Resin 101 post...should be good fun!

Until then you can find me: 
or my website Susan's Art Circus

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Two Book Reviews by Shells in the Bush

Hi everyone!! 

I'm Michelle Reynolds from and the Cre8ive Klatch Team.

I recently purchased two books about drawing and painting mixed media faces which is something I am focussing on creating this year. One of my first mixed media faces I created was based on one of Pam Carriker's so I was thrilled to be able to learn more about faces from her.

1. Mixed Media Portraits with Pam Carriker - Techniques for Drawing and Painting Faces

This is Pam's third book but her first on faces and it covers the following areas: Purpose, Proportion, Personality, Palette and Projects. This is an excellent book for learning how to draw faces and then add your own style and personality to them to make them your own.

Pam gives instructions on how to make different face colour palettes with different mediums such as watercolour, watersoluble crayons and pan pastels.

There are fifteen step-by-step projects on differing substrates using differing mediums and techniques for you to try to see what works for you.

Pam's book includes comments from contributing artists such as Andrea Matus Demeng and Mindy Lacefield so you can learn if they use a sketchbook or art journal, their style and techniques. These contributions are like special extras and do not dominate the book.

2. Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces - The Mixed Media Portrait Workshop with Jane Davenport

This is not Jane's first book, she has published books about ladybirds!!  As she created the projects for the book she filmed it for her online workshops (which I am doing and will review when it's finished!!). The book covers the following areas: Supplies Me, Drawing the Basics, Drawing the Details and Paint & Create.

Jane shows you how to draw your own whimsical girl and has some great info on hair - eyebrows, fringes, curls, twisted and braided!

Jane's book also has fifteen step-by-step projects to help you create beautiful girls.

Both books are great reference books as they have loads of information and inspiration to help you create some awesome artwork.  The step-by-step instruction to draw and paint faces are easy to follow too and the photos are great.

Which book should you buy??? I hear you when you say you can only buy one book and don't know which one to buy.

Ask yourself:
- whose style of art and face do you prefer/like best?
- what style of face do you want to create? More realistic?? or More whimsical? 

I love both books even though my style is more similiar to Pam Carriker's I found loads of useful information and inspiration in Jane's book.

For more about Michelle please explore her links:

Instagram: ShellsintheBush

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inspiration Decks

You've probably heard of ATCs (Artist Trading Cards.) But have you heard of "Inspiration Decks?" They are like ATCs on steroids!

Like ATCs, Inspiration Deck Cards are yummy little works of art, but instead of being individual cards, they are grouped into decks of 52 Inspirational cards (one for each week of the year) which makes playing cards the perfect substrate on which to create them.

They can be made using any medium that can be attached to a playing card, but normally they are either painted or "paper-pieced."

Generally they are done within a group and traded so you end up with 52 different styles. I've participated in three of these group swaps, once as a hostess, and they are a lot of fun.

But, they are a lot of work to put together, and there isn't always time or enough people to participate to do them in a group setting. I found out (kind of by accident) you can do your own and like them just as much! In fact, maybe more so, because you can do them in a single style that is more your taste, and say all the things you want to say.

How did I find out by accident? Well, playing cards are not ALL the same size, and I didn't know that! I completed a full deck for a group swap before I realized that the cards I used were smaller than the called for 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" size. So, I started over and just saved the original deck for myself!

I won't say it is a quick little project, but there are ways of speeding up the process if you're thinking you might like to put together a deck or a few decks for Christmas gifts. With over a week left before Christmas, it is conceivable you could get three decks done with time left over!

When you're doing a group swap, the back side of the card will usually have your promotional info on it, so that the people getting your card will be able to get in touch with you if they want to. If you're making your own deck, you won't need to add that info 52 times, so you can pick cards with pretty backs and leave them as is, OR, you can use just 26 cards and do your sayings on both sides, then use a joker as a "cover card" and put your info on the opposite side.

I start by coating both sides of the cards with a very light coat of gesso. It doesn't need to be really expensive gesso - the Folk Art stuff is fine.

Using a production method, doing each stage 52 times rather than making each card individually, will speed up the process a lot.

Once it is dry, the fun begins! You can make the cards as simple or as fancy as you want. I tend to be an over-achiever on this front, so I do lots of layers - paint, chalk, stamping, pen work... But, the important part is the inspirational sayings you'll choose. You may have 52 right on the tip of your tongue, but if not, just Google "inspirational sayings" and you'll be able to come up with tons to choose from!

I type them up in a bunch of different fonts so that even though the design and color scheme is the same, they look a little different.

Another thing you'll want to decide is how you want to present the cards. I usually see them punched in the upper left hand corner and secured with a large ring. If you do that, you want to make sure your words don't get put in that corner. If you're going to either make a little box for them, or tie them together with a lovely ribbon, you won't need to worry about that!

So. What do you think? Do you know anyone who could use a little weekly inspiration?

You can find Janet's wandering cre8ive pursuits and other cre8ive musings on her blog: 

Come join us at our Fecebook group and share your cre8ive self!

Cre8ive Klatch

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cre8ive Kids Corner: Truffula Tree Tutorial

Happy Birthday Dr Suess!!!

I just love Dr. Seuss, who doesn’t? 

Theodor Seuss Geisel was an outside the box thinker with his writings and his artwork. Many people don’t know that he also drew over 400 political cartoons in a 2 year period for The New York City daily newspaper.

When I asked the girls what kind of project they wanted to make in honor of his birthday, they both said Truffula Trees. The Lorax has always been one of my favorites because of the artwork and the powerful message of taking care of our environment. I like this project because it incorporates recycled materials, keeping with the core message of the story. The rest can be found at the dollar store!

Here are the materials you need:
-Toilet paper tubes or paper towel
-Square of cardboard
- Paint
-Different color tissue papers
-Pom Poms (optional, I got mine at the dollar store)

Here is the video of the girls making theirs and below I will post a short step by step!

1- Paint your cardboard base green (or any color- it is Dr.
 Seuss and we can think outside the box!!!)
2- Set aside base to dry and paint your paper towel tubes any 
3- Take approximately 6 6x6 colored sheets of tissue paper
and fold them accordian style, like you are making a fan.
Staple near the bottom.
4- Once everything is dry, glue your tree trunk onto your
5- Glue pom poms around the base of your trunk. (This is
optional! The girls really wanted to because they look like
little bushes!)
6. Open up your tissue paper, fan it out and crinkle it a little
until it is how you want it to look.
7. Pop it in the trunk and bada bing- you got yourself a
truffula tree and happy kids!

Places you can find me:


(our facebook group)

We can't wait to see all the cre8ive things you come up with!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Gr8Full Cre8ives Project gets Back to Basics

Gratitude is a simple practice.  

Each day, invite yourself to grow a kind of grace that balances out the bumps.  

Cre8ive Klatch and gratitude partner Creativity Tribe want you to join in the gentle revolution to turn the heart around.  Simply watch for one moment in each day that you can share with us using an image or comment that helps you shift into being Gr8Full.  

We are starting a thread in the Cre8ive Klatch Facebook group (look for the image above.)

We are also sharing our Gr8Full images for the day on Instagram using the hashtag #gr8full.  

Won't you join us? Just add the hashtag to your image, and we will keep an eye out for you!

We can't wait to see all the cre8ive things you come up with!