Archive for August, 2009

YoYo Elephant

GRASONVILLE, MD – Friday morningJenny Krauss from Gifts that Give Back was a recent guest on Inspired at Home Radio. During the show, Jenny talked about the first product line that she developed was her yoyo dolls. You can find these cuties at To make these dolls, Jenny has taken the classic quilter’s doll and tweaked it for maximum cuteness and safety. They still delight children with their bright colors and patterns and ability to withstand twisting of every sort. These are made in Bolivia and have passed safety tests for infants.  What we love about Jenny’s items is that they are eco-friendly and promote fair trade.

BabyMaxHere’s a photo that was sent in by Amy Perea, one of our Inspired at Home Radio listeners!  We hear that baby Max is quite enjoying his yoyo elephant!

August 14, 2009 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Parsley – culinary and much more!

parsleyGRASONVILLE, MD - Thursday morning – Many people think of parsley only as a garnish on their plate when they go out to dinner but parsley is much more! Parsley is great to add to cooking recipes as it adds lots of flavor. Did you know that you need to add fresh parsley to your recipe at the end of cooking as heat destroys its vitamins and minerals? All culinary herbs are digestive herbs and parsley is no exception. So along with great taste, parsley is good for you because it is chock full of vitamins, minerals, iron, potassium and Vitamin C. Dried parley is not as good for you as fresh as it loses much in its dry state. Freeze parsley for winter use so you can enjoy all its culinary and medicinal attributes. Medicinally, parsley is good for digestion, gas, for the stomach and live, it’s diuretic, and as mentioned full of vitamins and minerals. There are a few cautions to be aware of: do not to use if pregnant as it causes uterine contractions, don’t use if you have kidney or heart disease. One quarter cup of parsley supplies 1/3 of your daily vitamin C requirement. Next time you see a bunch of fresh parsley at the store (or if you grow it in your garden), get a bunch and enjoy the wonderful medicinal qualities and yummy flavor that parsley adds to your life! >>Candace

Parsley Tea – to sip for its diuretic properties

1 -2 teaspoons of dried parsley or 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
1 cup boiling water

Put the parsley leaves into a tea infuser; add boiling water and steep 5 – 10 minutes. Remove tea infuser and sip to help relieve bloating and water retention.

Read more of Candace’s Herban Living tips at the Inspired at Home website! >>GO

August 13, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Amazing What Treasures You Will Find When You Clean Up!!!

8-10-09-GourdsLOS OSOS, CA – Wednesday morning – So I recently cleaned out ‘The Shed’ and I promised you I would share what actual treasures I found besides the list of ‘stuff’ that had accumulated in our storage area.

So, here’s the first one! Over two years ago we bought an acre of land, and have been enjoying the space.  Lots of wonderful fruit trees and our garden. Last year I tried my non-green thumb at growing gourds. My sister Tiffany and I took a class many years ago on decorating gourds and we were hooked. So into the garden went gourd seeds. After I harvested the ‘handful’ of gourds from my garden, I hung them to dry out in ‘The Shed’….then kind of forgot them….until we just recently re-organized the space.

8-10-09-Gourd-finishedSo the top photo is the bounty (yep that’s all of it – one year’s worth) and this is the original art piece I made in my first gourd decorating class.

I am going to keep my bounty close by to remind me I need to create something from them too!!! Although they are kind of cool just like they are… the natural look…. Nah!!    I am going to decorate them… someday.

Creative Juices are a Flowing -

Love, Heidi

(Yes there are a lot more treasures found to write about but I need to get done with projects that are currently taking up space on my studio table.)

August 12, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

‘The Shed’ or Clutter with a capital ‘C’

8-10-09-Outside-ShedLOS OSOS, CA – Tuesday morning - This past week I’ve had two of my grandsons visiting….. Joshua, 16 and Mason, 11. Joshua is always such a great help and we are always grateful when he comes to help us. (It’s the extra pair of strong arms to help carry and move stuff!!) Mason, with his amazing energy, helps in small moments then explores our property. In other words it’s hard to keep him focused very long. This week we decided to tackle ‘The Shed’ ! It’s one of those places that seems to collect everything we think we want to keep… after all, we will use that ‘everything’ sometime…won’t we?

8-10-09-Grey-Totes-Aleene-AWell ‘The Shed’ was becoming the ‘black hole’ of stuff including the Aleene’s archives (at least 15 large plastic grey totes), my Christmas stuff (six large plastic totes…but they are red and green so I know which ones they are), other holiday decor (including two big outdoor wood decoration pieces…one  is a rabbit the other is Mr & Mrs Santa and reindeer plus some cutout wood Christmas trees), my kiln (it’s pretty big), lots of bisque (from my store that closed 3 years ago), extra paints (both spray and house), my band saw, my scroll saw), my drill press, my husband’s table saw, the generator (we are all set if the power goes off), and about 300 pounds of sanded grout (20to 30 colors– a 10# bag of each)….. Yes I probably missed a few things!!

8-10-09-Hazel-ArchivesSince I’ve recently collected the Hazel Pearson archives (I haven’t really counted box by box but I’m thinking over 50 boxes), I was thinking it could go into ‘The Shed’…. if I just arranged it right…..Right?  Well that meant emptying everything….. building usable shelving and then putting everything back in its special space.  Five days later… yes we have an organized area where I can find everything…. you can actually walk into ‘The Shed’ . Whoo Hoo!!!

I did find lots of treasures but we’ll talk about that next time. So, for now I’m just a little bit more organized. Lovin’ it! >>Heidi

Now what I didn’t tell you…. is that was only one part of ‘The Shed’.  There is a whole other section with my husband’s ‘everythings’ from his electrical business!!!  That’s a whole different story!!!

August 11, 2009 at 9:00 am 2 comments

Great Radio show last night!

Pamela-Hawkins-2009GRASONVILLE, MD – Monday night -  We had a great visit on last night’s Inspired at Home Radio show with Pamela Hawkins, founding editor of Bead Unique Magazine. Pam has been devoted to art and education for most of her life. In the late 1980′s in between semi-truck runs from coast-to-coast (yep! she was a truck driver!), she began teaching painting classes for all ages in subject areas such as basic tole painting, strokework, murals, airbrushign and stencing. Pam also worked with creative industry trade shows as a Professional Demonstrator and she taught make ‘n’ takes for many companies. Beading evolved as her main hobby after a basic earring class over 20 years ago.  Pamela’s philosophy is “anything is possible” and she has quite a story of the history of the launch of Bead Unique Magazine.   Listen to podcast interview with Pamela Hawkins – GO>>

August 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm Leave a comment

Craft Concierge – What are Style Stones?

stylestonesGRASONVILLE, MD – Monday night – In last night’s episode of Inspired at Home Radio, Heidi, Candace and I stepped in to cover for Maria Nerius, our Inspired at Home Craft Concierge, who was feeling a bit under the weather!

Our pick this week is Style Stones by ClearSnap. These cultured stone embellihsments are available in many shapes such as rectangles, cameos and tags and can be used in cardmaking, scrapbook pages, magnets, ornaments, embellishments and our favorite, jewelry! We love Style Stones and use them in a variety of way! >>Tiffany  Listen to last night’s podcast report – GO>>

August 10, 2009 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Releasing Creative Clutter


GRASONVILLE, MD – Monday night – Releasing Creative Clutter is the focus of Katheryn Tidwell Bieber’s Embracing Your Creative Spirit report this week. On the August 9, 2009 episode of Inspired at Home Radio, Katheryn discussed how clutter is “stuck energy that keeps you stuck in undesirable life patterns”, and how important is is for us to release the “stuff” that is taking up valuable energy in our home and heart.

Listen to Katheryn’s podcast report – GO>>

August 10, 2009 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

Challenge Heidi – Ribbon Spools

IAH-106-Ribbon-SpoolsGRASONVILLE, MD – Monday afternoon – As many of you know, Challenge Heidi was THE most popular segment on the Aleene’s Creative Living television show during its 15 years on-air.  Heidi doesn’t remember exactly how she came up with the original idea but we’re sure it had something to do with the fact that she was the eco-queen before eco was cool. She was always trimming trash, decorating with discards and glittering her garbage. We’re guessing that someone must have had a bunch of “somethings” and they said “Hey! Let’s Challenge Heidi with this!” And thus it began.

Challenge-Heidi-Logo150A few weeks ago, we decided to relaunch Challenge Heidi and we put out the first call for challenges. (We’re doing it right this time! No more asking for people to send us their trash. Yeah, that’s right, people used to send Heidi their trash! Click here to listen to last night’s Inspired at Home Radio show where we talked about this! )  Heidi is now busy working on creating her first NEW Challenge Heidi’s, but this week, she actually picked her own challenge.

For those of you who are keeping up with our blog, you know that Heidi recently added ribbon curtains to her studio. Well, what do you get when you hang yards and yards of ribbon in your window? You get lots ‘o empty ribbon spools (and a cool looking window treatment!)

So, we are pleased to present……drum roll please…..this week’s Challenge Heidi…. Ribbon Spools Flower Art.  Enjoy! >>Tiffany

P.S. Send us your Challenge Heidi challenge.  Just send an email to with a description and a photo. We’ll let you know if we have picked your Challenge Heidi!


Ribbon Spools Flower Art
by Heidi Borchers


Aleene’s® Super Thick Tacky Glue™
Base 12” x 24” (My local tile store gave me lots of their discontinued sample boards, The boards have tile samples on them. I removed the samples (Used the tiles in my mosaics) and had a great surface to work on, or …you can use canvas, masonite or plywood)
Texture paste (I like Texture Magic by Delta)
Texture comb (or you can make one from heavy cardboard, just cut one edge with pinking shears)
Cardboard ribbon spools – 7 various sizes for the flowers, 7 or 8 sizes for the leaves and stems
Acrylic paints – black for background, dark green, light green, dark blue, light blue, purple, lavender, orange, yellow, white, red, burgundy, pink
Brush – ½” flat
Buttons – 2 to 3 for each flower – various colors


To prepare the background, use a texture comb and spread the texture medium over the entire background.  It’s ok to have some space without the texture. Let the texture dry.

To prepare the spools to be cut into flower shapes, very carefully take apart the cardboard spools for the flowers. Keep each spool parts together, as you will be cutting the front and the back and then you will be gluing back together, so be careful pulling apart.

Cut the flower shapes from each spool. (Lavender flower has 6 petals, orange flower has 16 petals – red flower has 12 petals, white flower has 16 petals, pink flower trim edge with pinking shears and cut petals at each ‘pink’, turquoise flower has 6 petals, yellow flower has 16 petals. When front and back of each flower has been cut, glue back together with the circle ring part of the spool in between the cut flower petals. (The only one that does not have its petals to the front and the back is the purple one.)  Let glue dry.

Glue the flowers to the background. Cut the leaves from remaining cardboard spools. Use the inner cardboard circle ring for the stems. Cut the ring open and flatten out. Cut to fit under each flower for the stem. The texture paste helps to hold these but also glue to help hold in place. Continue for each stem. Glue leaves to each stem. Use photo as a guide for leaf shape and leafIAH-106-Ribbon-Spools1 placement. Let glue dry.

Work in progress!

Paint the entire piece with black paint. Let paint dry.

To paint each section (background, flowers, leaves stems) on this piece, you will simply be layering the paint colors. Paint the darkest shade first and then as you work to the last coat of paint, it will be the lightest. (To make lighter shades of any of the colors simply add a little white.)  Begin to layer the paint on the background first with the greens and blues. It’s not a precise painting technique, its simply putting the paint on very quickly. Slather it on! Have fun! This does not have to be perfect! If the paints begin to blend too much, simply let the paint dry, and begin layering again. The secret of this look is the layering of the paints. To highlight the center of each flower, dip edge of brush into paint and simply stroke brush from center toward outside of each flower. Repeat for desired effect.  Let paint dry.

Glue the buttons over the holes in the flowers.  Repeat by layering each button on top of first. Let glue dry.

August 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm 2 comments

Calendula Flowers – Edible and Medicinal

calendulaCalendula, also known as pot marigold, is a beautiful annual plant that has edible and medicinal flowers that brings wonderful color to any garden. The flowers smell like honey and their flavor is a mild peppery taste. The petals are chewy when dried so they are usually chopped up to use in recipes.

The parts of the plant used are the flower heads or flower petals. If using calendula as a garnish you can use the whole flower but if using for recipes in the kitchen it is best to remove the petals from the flower base as it is bitter in taste.

Try adding calendula petals to summer dishes such as salads and soups, herb butters, cheese and rice dishes.  You can also use calendula to replace the more costly saffron in some dishes. You can extract the color from the petals by cooking them in milk and adding the milk to your recipe.

Calendula flowers are yellow and orange and bring a cheerful quality to your garden and your cooking but even better they are a very strong antiseptic for the skin. Calendula is good for your skin internally or externally and can be made into a tea and used for skin compresses, aids digestion and as a gargle.

Usually you will find calendula in a salve or ointment form to rub right onto the skin. Calendula ointment is easy to make in a small crock pot with olive oil or almond oil and a bit of beeswax to harden it into a salve. One pot full will make enough salve for the whole year. Calendula is great on wounds as it improves blood circulation so it helps heal skin ulcers, helps bruising and reduces scarring. Calendula is an herb that you should get acquainted with and grow in your garden for both cooking and skin care. >>Candace

Calendula and Comfrey Salve

Place 1 ounce of dried calendula petals and 1 ounce dried comfrey root into a small crock pot; add enough olive oil (or almond oil)  to cover 2-3 inches over the herbs.  Set on lowest temperature and cook 2-6 hours. Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and place strained oil back into crock pot and add approximately 1/4 cup beeswax to one cup of oil. Stir in the beeswax until it is melted. Test by placing a dab in a spoon and placing in the refrigerator for a few minutes to see if salve is hard enough. Add 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (or honey) or a few drops of tincture of benzoin to this oil mixture as a preservative.   If oil mixture is hard enough, pour into salve jars that have been sterilized and if not, add a tiny bit more beeswax. This recipe makes quite a few jars of salve so have quite a few jars available to fill or some bigger jars if you want bigger sizes.

August 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm Leave a comment

CHA Craft SuperShow – WOWIE!


We volunteered to help get the crowds through registration and up to the exhibit hall! (L-R: Tiffany, Elizabeth, Maria, Nancee

GRASONVILLE, MD – Saturday night – I had such fun at the CHA Trade Show and Craft SuperShow consumer show over the past few days.  I arrived back home in Maryland very late last night and have spent most of the day sorting through the catalogs and info I picked up at the show.  Just wanted to share a few photos with you from yesterday’s SuperShow. I volunteered Maria Nerius (the Inspired at Home Craft Concierge), her mother-in-law Elizabeth and her friend Nancee to help in the  morning at this event and here we are all ready for our assignment of crowd control at the registration area! (Volunteers had to wear the green bandannas.)

It was SO GREAT to see the overflow crowds at this event. If anyone tells you crafts are out – I beg to DIFFER with them. CRAFTS are hot and thousands and thousands of wonderful creative people were SO excited to see what the crafting world has to offer.

There were over 80 vendors sharing what’s hot in crafting right now and the attendees got to sit down for hands-on make ‘n takes that were FAB!



You couldn’t even get close to many of the make ‘n take tables including those in the I Love to Create booth. There was glitter, glitter, glitter with Crafty Chica, Aleene’s Collage bracelets with Pattie Donham Wilkinson and Tie Die with Maya (Crafty Chica’s adorable teen daughter!) Here’s the tie dye table that was filled with buckets and I think they were making tie dye t-shirts but I couldn’t even get close enough to see :)

Kids, moms, dads, grandmothers and grandfathers all got into the creative action.  I caught Crafty Chica, Kathy-Cano Murillo at her make ‘n take table at the SuperShow in a rare moment actually almost looking up!  Her creative students kept her on her toes and she kept them sparkling with glitter!



And crowds, did I mention crowds?  They packed the aisles and tables everywhere at this exciting creative event! There were several “theatre” type areas. At Terri O’s Crafty Boot Camp, camp attendees were learning how to collage. Jo Pearson from Michaels was interviewing today’s top designers at her theatre stage. Mark Montano was signing thousands of copies of his Big-Ass Book of Crafts (yep, that’s what it’s called!)

JoAnn’s, Michaels and A.C. Moore all had large make ‘n take areas that were always filled to the brim and three deep with people waiting to make their creative treasures.

A large crafting area awaited the kids (along with a bouncie house) that was well staffed with creative teachers and projects.

I missed many photo ops because I just couldn’t even get close enough for a photo — including the ManCrafting area but visited with one happy youngster at lunchtime who had made a leather dog collar at the ManCrafting booth. He was so proud of his handiwork.

So, if you hear of the Craft SuperShow coming to your area, you will definitely want to go. It’s a must see, must do! >>Tiffany


August 2, 2009 at 12:35 am 1 comment

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