Saturday, November 5, 2011

Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift? Easy Canvas Prints Has What You Need

I had the chance to try East Canvas Prints for myself to see how easy it really is to take your favorite photo and put it on a high quality canvas.

I choose two of my favorite photos of the kids when they were little. I scanned the photos, uploaded to easy canvas prints, cropped and edited just how I wanted the photo to look, got to choose embellishments like wrap around photo that folds over the edge of the canvas or a colored "frame" .

The process was super user friendly- very easy to upload and design.

And the results- WOW.

I'm giving these canvas photos to my husband for Christmas, he's going to love them.

They'll be the perfect gifts.

Try it for yourself, take a favorite photo and put it on canvas, you won't be disappointed.

Check them out

You won't be disappointed

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Top Ten Wedding Bloopers Guest Post with Shadonna Richards


Hi, everyone!

I’m Shadonna, author of An Unexpected Bride, a romantic comedy about Emma Wiggins who is about to marry her heart-stopping, gorgeous boss, CEO Evan Fletcher in seven days. Only he doesn’t know about it yet! Since An Unexpected Bride centers around the theme of weddings, I thought I’d make a fun list, based on research and funny wedding videos I’ve seen.

Here’s an unofficial list of the Top 10 Wedding Bloopers. Of course, Emma has the number one spot. Check this list out:

10. The minister forgot to show up
9. The groom forgot the bride’s name
8. The bride forgot the groom’s name
7. The ring bearer disappeared with the ring
6. The bride fainted
5. The groom fainted
4. The minister fainted
3. The bride fell into the pool (the wedding was by the poolside)
2. The dog stole the show
And the number one spot goes to Emma Wiggins from An Unexpected Bride
1. The bride forgot to tell the groom they were getting married

Hope you enjoyed the list.I thought I’d leave you with a synopsis of An Unexpected Bride. Enjoy.

By Shadonna Richards

Emma Wiggins is about to marry her heart-stopping, gorgeous boss, CEO Evan Fletcher, in seven days—too bad he doesn’t know it yet!

Desperate to fulfill her ailing grandfather’s last wish to see her settle down and get married, Emma Wiggins, a 30-year-old, career-focused executive tells him a little white lie on his deathbed that she is in fact engaged--to her boss, deliciously handsome and emotionally unavailable, Evan Fletcher.

The situation takes an unexpected turn when her grandfather's condition improves slightly and to her shock, he goes ahead and arranges a wedding ceremony at his hospital bedside before he passes on. Now, all Emma has to do is convince unsuspecting, commitment-phobic Evan to tie the knot with her in seven days.

Can love blossom in the most unlikely situation?

Only .99 for the Kindle


"I can feel her heart beating out of her chest. Great pacing...good descriptives…I look forward to buying this story one day soon." - Judge, TARA contest 2010

"Very sweet...great foreshadowing!" - Judge, TARA contest 2010


Shadonna Richards enjoys reading and writing about the magic of romance and the power of love. She is the author of the non-fiction books, A Gift of Hope and Think and Be Happy: 365 Empowering Thoughts to Lift Your Spirit (an Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller in Meditation). Winner of Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write 2010 Day Two Challenge, she is a member of the Romance Writers of America. An Unexpected Bride is her first novel. She’s a proud mommy and wife and lives in Canada with her husband and son.

You can visit her at or join her on twitter at or send her an e-mail at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Have a Poem in the Anthology Candle in the Attic Window

I am honored that my work appears in a colelction with the likes of Leanna Renee Hieber and amny other amazing authors of horror and gothic fiction.

Book Description:

Gothic fiction is neither dead nor musty. Twenty-seven poems and stories bring fresh blood to the genre, while drawing from old tropes.

Welcome to our little house of horrors, where a movie crew searches for a legendary missing film, a woman seeks to reunite with her dead lover, a lodger discovers something peculiar about the landlady, a tarot deck brings death, and ghosts may be cruel or benevolent.

The power has gone out and all that remains is the glow of a flickering candle. Come up into the attic and uncover some secrets.

Stories and poems by: Don D’Ammassa, Jesse Bullington, James S. Dorr, Leanna Renee Hieber, Paul Jessup, Ann K. Schwader, E. Catherine Tobler, Colleen Anderson, and many more.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Rise of the Rustic Wedding

Attend nearly any wedding these days and you're bound to see some rustic, country touches. A full 44-percent of brides plan at least some rustic elements in their weddings, according to The Wedding Report. And some go full-bore.

Here are several ways to incorporate the rustic look into your wedding while making it personal and within budget.

1. Barns

Rustic barns are the quintessential location for a rustic wedding. Dress it up with sweeping curtains (sew together fabric drop clothes from a home improvement store) and hanging lights (borrowed white Christmas lights work, too). A farm, open field, country church or plantation home can also provide the perfect backdrop to your themed wedding.

2. Painted Wood Signs

Add some personality to the big day with whimsical or romantic painted signs that signal to your guests what's happening where. Look locally for free reclaimed or salvaged wood to add rustic charm and eco-friendliness. For inspiration, check out this Etsy artisan's sign work.

3. Burlap

Nothing says rustic like burlap and this versatile fabric can be used in a number of ways. Use it as table coverings, then top with smaller borrowed vintage tablecloths. Use it as a background to frame table numbers for your reception. Use it as an aisle runner or atop haystacks for extra casual seating.

4. Mason Jars

Mason jars are perhaps the most-seen wedding accessory these days -- and for good cause. They ooze charm, they're economical, they come in a variety of sizes and they go with just about anything. Throw a handful of wildflowers into a mason jar and you've got an instant centerpiece. You can also use them to hold utensils or candy at the reception. Fill them with something sweet and top with burlap and ribbon for wedding favors.

5. Chalkboards

Like painted signs, chalkboards add a fun element to wedding day signage. They make perfect menus, Mr. & Mrs. signs on the back of the couple's chairs, seating charts and directional signs. Paint a vintage frame the color of your wedding, then paint over the glass with chalkboard paint for an instant showpiece.

6. Homemade

A rustic wedding is not complete without something homemade. And there's no better place to feature homemade than the reception. Pies are a big trend in weddings this year, and local vendors are making it easier to find baked goods and more with that down-home taste. Decorate the dessert table with bowls of eggs, flour and honey for that extra home-made feeling. Handwrite favorite family recipes on index cards to use as wedding favors.

7. Registry

Guests can contribute to the rustic theme through gift-giving. Register for gift cards at for retailers who specialize in rustic products, like J.Crew, Timberland, Restoration Hardware and Bass Pro Shops.

8. Music

More than decorations, music tells the story of the rustic wedding and instantly sets the mood. Whether it's country, bluegrass, folk or a combination, your choice or musicians, deejay or soundtrack will complete your theme and leave your guests tapping their feet for days to come.

~Weddings expert Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot and blogs from her home in Orlando, FL, about cheap ways to spend and save at

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tin Pail Transformations: Two Tutorials

pink pail redoTin pails can show up anywhere. They used to be quite popular. Now you can find them in thrift stores, at yard sales, at Goodwill and maybe even in your garage or attic.

Tin pails can be decorated in so many ways. It’s all up to your imagination and style. I decorated these two with wedding in mind but I am trying to find a couple more to redo with Christmas colors and accents.

I think little pails make clever and cute reusable gift containers. Forget about bags and boxes, hand painted pails will make any gift seem extra special.

Supplies Needed:

  • An old tin/metal pail with a handle
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Spray paint in your color of choice
  • Clear coat spray to protect your design
  • Paper
  • Decoupage glue
  • Ribbon
  • Lace
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Sponge
  • Sponge paint brush
  • Flat container of water
  • Clothespins (optional) for holding lace or ribbon in place while the glue is drying

Green Options:

  • You are breathing new life into an old pail, that’s super green.
  • Consider using low VOC spray paint like Krylon’s H2O line
  • Natural or biodegradable ribbon
  • Vintage or organic lace
  • Recycled or tree free paper

Directions for Decoupage Pail:

  • Start by selecting a pail that is in decent shape. You don’t want to deal with rust or dents unless you absolutely have to
  • If your pail has any labels or stickers remove them
  • Gently sand the pail so paint will stick to it
  • Spray paint it in your color choice
  • Let the paint dry
  • Select the papers you want to use, test a corner by getting it wet to make sure the ink doesn’t run. For this pail I used vintage wedding images that were printed on photo paper with an ink jet printer. It’s best not to use real photographs or actual vintage ephemera. Make copies of everything and print on new paper. This way you don’t damage the originals and if you make a mistake you can make more.
  • Cut out your design and start placing it on your pail. Play with around with the placement.
  • If you have pieces of lace or ribbon to add, play with the placement of those as well.
  • For the pail pictured, I used a metallic gold spray paint, a piece of vintage lace, and copies of vintage postcards. I glued the lace on with decoupage glue and water and held it in place with clothespins while it dried. I placed the images around the bucket after gluing on the lace.
  • To decoupage paper, dip the paper in a flat container of water, pull it out and shake off excess water, use a sponge paint brush to cover the back of the paper with decoupage glue
  • Place the paper where you want it and smooth out excess glue and water with a slightly damp sponge. Hold on tight to the paper to keep it in place while gently yet firmly smoothing the sponge over it.
  • Repeat this for every piece of paper you want to add to it.
  • Let it dry over night and see how it turns out. If everything is good, let it settle for a few days before clear coating it.
  • If something is wrinkled or just messed up, you can peel and sand everything off and start over then try a different type of paper that doesn’t wrinkle or tear as easily.

pink pail after the redo

Directions for Pink Bucket:

  • Select paint and ribbon in your choice of colors
  • Sand pail gently
  • Spray paint in a well ventilated area. It may need two or three coats to get good coverage
  • Let paint dry overnight
  • Cut out your ribbon at least an inch or two longer than you’ll actually need that way you have some play to work with when attaching it
  • Grab your glue gun and glue sticks and start attaching your ribbon just a little bit at a time or the glue will dry before you get there
  • Start by one handle and work all the way around to the other handle. This way you never end up with a seam right in the front of your pail
  • When you get to the end, match up your seams and cut off the excess before gluing the final strip down

Saturday, August 27, 2011

DIY Paper Making

Have you ever thought about making your own paper but you weren’t sure where to start or what to do? Well here’s a tutorial for you that can help you out.
Handmade paper can be made from many differnt materials or a combination of several materials, including bits of old scrap paper you have lying around the house or even scrap fibers such as cotton. Even dryer lint can be added to paper slurry for a colorful touch.
Many types of plant fibers can be turned into usable paper too, though some raw plant materials need special preparations which can be a lengthy process. But if you just want to toss a few flower petals, leaves or seeds in with scrap paper fibers it’s very easy.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your homemade paper:
  • Lots of scrap paper
  • Anything you’d like to add to the paper- fibers, string, flower petals, small leaves, herbs, glitter, confetti, etc
  • A couple of wooden frames that should be a little larger than the size you wish the finished piece of paper to be
  • A window screen a little larger than the largest frame; it has to go over the frame and attach to it
  • Staples and hand stapler or staple gun (if you are making your own screen frames, if you have premade frames you won’t need the stapler)
  • An old blender, preferably not one you’ll want to use again for food processing
  • A large rubber or plastic tub, big enough to immerse the frames in
  • Pieces of felt or wool larger than your frames, at least two per sheet of paper, or old towels (this id for absorbing water and to help dry out the papers)
  • Sponge
  • Rolling pin
  • Cornstarch to mix into the slurry and make the paper easier to write on
  • Flat, edgeless cookie sheets
  • Optional items, including large cookie-cutter shapes, an apron, and extra towels and rags
You may have many of these supplies around the house. If you don’t you can find papermaking supplies at craft and hobby stores.
The frames and screen are called a mold and deckle, and the tubs are vats.
To make your paper you need to:
1. Collect a lot of scrap paper, fibers and any extras you would like to add to the paper. Not all paper is a good choice for making your own recycled product. Newspaper will turn everything gray, and magazines are too glossy and will make everything gunky. The best paper choices are junk mail, office, computer, and copy paper.
2. Once you have all your papers, rip them up into small squares or shred into small pieces.
3. Once the paper is all ripped up or shredded, soak it in a tub of warm water for at least two hours- even better soak overnight.
4. (Optional- not needed if you already have frames or a mold and deckle)
To make your mold, cut your window screen an inch or two larger than the frame, then stretch it over the frame and staple it to the back side. If you want your paper to have straight edges you’ll want to use a second frame with no screen; this is called the deckle. The deckle sits on the mold and defines the shape of the paper.
5. After the paper has finished soaking, mix it up in your blender at a ratio of one cup of paper to 2–3 cups of water. Start with 2 cups; if the mixture is too thick and lumpy add another cup. You want to have a thick slurry, smoothie or thick milkshake consistency. If you want to be able to write on the handmade paper, add a tablespoon of cornstarch. The cornstarch will make the paper less likely to absorb ink.
6. Blend your mixture on a medium high blender setting until it has the consistency of thin oatmeal.
7. You can experiment with colors by adding food coloring. Pour it in and mix very briefly. At this point you can also add your flowers, herbs or other materials. Or if you don’t want your materials all blended up you can wait until you pour the paper mix into the mold then add your materials by hand. Do not blend seeds in the blender. If you want to make plantable paper, wait until your pulp is ready in the molds.
8. Once your paper is blended into a nice slurry of pulp, fill your tub with about two inches of water for every blender-full of pulp.
9. Pour the paper pulp into a mold, then lower the mold into the tub of water at an angle and shake to distribute the pulp evenly over the screen. If you are using a deckle, place it over the mold now, gently shake it back and forth, and pull both the mold and deckle up out of the water tub gently. Let the water drain. Allow all of the excess water to flow back into the tub of water.
10. If you don’t want to dip the pulp into the water you can now add your materials such as seeds, flowers, and herbs. By not dipping the pulp into the water your paper can be thicker but not as even.
11. Use a sponge, cloth, or towels to dry the excess water off the back of the screen. You want as much excess water removed as possible so your paper can dry.
12. Now it’s time to lay a piece of felt, wool, or thick towel on top of the paper pulp on the screen and turn the whole thing over — mold and all — onto a hard surface such as a flat edgeless cookie sheet. If the paper doesn’t come off easily, dry the back of the screen some more, tap it, or carefully peel the paper off.
13. If you have not already done so, you can now add flowers, herbs, or seeds to the paper mixture. If you choose, make imprints in the paper by pressing plants, leaves, or even textured objects such as lace into the paper. Leave the objects there until the paper has dried.
14. Cover the paper with another piece of felt and roll over it with a rolling pin to bind the fibers together and to help imprint any designs. This will also help your paper dry faster, flatter, and more even.
15. You can keep adding new sheets of paper to your pile as you make them; just separate each one with a piece of felt so they don’t stick together.
16. Sandwich all the paper sheets together and keep them lying flat by piling books or boards on top of them. If you really get into the homemade paper process, you could make a simple paper press from boards and C clamps. Kitchen cutting boards are also very effective for pressing the paper to keep it flat.
17. Leave the sheets alone until they are dry. Drying time can vary, but start by leaving the sheets overnight. Store the sheets so they remain flat until you are ready to use them.
Making handmade paper is a fun though somewhat time consuming process but after you get used to it all it becomes less complicated. The first time is the hardest.
This tutorial was excerpted and edited from The Everything Green Wedding Book by Wenona Napolitano.