Monday, April 16, 2007

Make Your Ratty Shoes Rad Again

now for new laces... stay tuned for a pic of these babies on!
Oh, my blog-reading friends, how I have missed you! I'm back with another craft and several more posts just waiting to be shared. Have you met Robin yet? Those are his shoes after one afternoon of boredom bustin'. He is my oldest son and a rather crafty guy. Follow along and you too can make your ratty shoes rad once again...

1. Gather Supplies

ratty shoes you still love
  • spray varnish (we used the heavy duty kind for sealing street markings but clear spray paint works, too)
  • acrylic craft paint
  • paint brushes, one will do the trick but more gives you more options

2. Craft!

  1. wash rubber part you plan to paint and dry completely

  2. paint a base color, let dry

  3. paint another coat if the sole is showing through (once worked fine here)

  4. make a medium size oblong dot, let dry
  5. add a small accent dot in a different color or outline the dot in black as shown
  6. 6. again, let dry

7. spray with clear, acrylic spray

8. rock and roll

Or...paint polka dots, skulls, one solid color, your initial, hello kitty, the lyrics to 99 Red Balloons, whatever comes to mind!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Common Confusions About Massage Therapy

Did you get a massage gift certificate but haven't made your appointment yet? Maybe you've heard how great massage is but are not sure what's expected. As a massage therapist myself, I'm familiar with some of the issues and questions that come up. My friend and fellow crafter, Maggie Ragatz, Rolfer and massage therapist, has over 750 hours of training. I recently heard her share a few of these tips and asked her to share them so we can all rest assured.
Common Confusions about Massage Therapy and Snippets from The World According to Maggie, CMT, in Rebuttal
Myth 1: All Massage Therapists are trained in all forms of bodywork.
WAM: There are hundreds of bodywork schools out there and as many forms of bodywork. Because we’re all so different, it is helpful to communicate what you like and don’t like. Also, “bodyworker” is a blanket term commonly used to categorize most touch-based, movement-based and energy-based healers and Body Therapists. Here is a brief (and loose) example--keep in mind there are many other subcategories:
Structural Integration
Rolfing Structural Integration*
Guild Structural Integration
Massage Therapy
Skillful Touch Massage Therapy*
Deep TissueSwedishShiatsu
Energy Work
Reiki Energy Balancing
*These are the two that Maggie does! Yay!
Myth 2: Your CMT knows your body better than you do--after all, s/he’s the one with the training, right?
WAM: You are the expert on your body! If you feel hot, cold, bored, sad, or fidgety; pain, numbness, tingling, discomfort, or anything else, it is okay to say something. Your comfort is what is important! If you want more or less pressure at any point during your massage it is okay to communicate that. You won’t hurt our feelings!
Myth 3: Massage Therapists care about body odor, yellow toenails, lunch breath, cellulite, stubble or hairy legs, etc.
WAM: It’s normal to feel shy or uncomfortable when a stranger is looking at you. However, I got into this work because I think human beings are pretty interesting, and I’m aware that “pretty interesting” comes with its set of smells and rough spots. It’s no big deal. I promise.
Myth 4 A: You need to be quiet during your massage.WAM: If you want to talk for the whole sixty minutes, feel free. It’s common to want to get stuff off your chest as someone is helping to relieve physical stress.
Myth 4 B: You need to talk and/or entertain your massage therapist during your massage. WAM: If you want to be totally silent during your massage, it’s fine. There is no need to keep up a conversation with the person working on you. Your session is about you and helping you relax.
Myth 5: You have to get totally naked to have a massage.
WAM: Before a massage it is suggested that you disrobe to your comfort level. If you would like to be completely clothed, it’s fine (your massage therapist won’t use oils on your clothes!). If you would like to take off everything, it’s fine. If you want to leave on your underwear, it’s fine. The massage is about you feeling at ease, so do what makes you feel comfortable!
Myth 6: You need to help the CMT move your arms and legs during the session.
WAM: I move your arms and legs from beneath the sheet to be able to work on them, and you are not obligated to help. It’s useful for me to feel the flexibility of your limbs to know how much work I need to do in that area.
Myth 7: If it hurts it’s good for you.
WAM: During a massage, many people enjoy what they call “a good kind of pain.” This is okay. However, it is important to remember that just because you’re feeling intensity, this does not automatically mean it is doing good things to you! Pain is a way for your body to give you information, and sometimes that information is that your body is being damaged! If you feel nauseous or have to grit your teeth, if you think, “Well, it’s not as bad as labor or the time I broke my leg,” then it’s probably too much! Again (and again), communication is key!!
Myth 8: Everyone who gets a massage knows all of this stuff already.
WAM: If you have questions about massage (about male Massage Therapists, essential oil in your hair, hypoallergenic oils, etc.,), it’s great to ask. office (805) 543-8688. I love questions about massage, Rolfing, and bodywork in general. I communicate with several bodyworkers in town and I refer clients to them regularly. If I can’t meet your needs or answer your questions, I will try to find someone who can!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lollipop Flower Valentine

In a burst of enthusiasm for the upcoming paper crafting extravaganza known as Valentines Day, I volunteered to make Valentines for the staff at Liam's elementary school (yes, the entire staff) on behalf of PTA. Loving paper, crafts and Valentines Day, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But handmaking that many without getting burned out? Lollipop Flower Valentines to the rescue. Here is an easy and quick craft that is perfectly cheery & not too smooshy sweet. They were fun to make down to the very last one.
I clipped an image of a similiar Valentine from an old Martha Stewart Kids magazine, a stash I received thanks to Freecycle. Martha probably did it differently, but this is how I made mine:
Gather Supplies:
patterned or colored paper
glue stick
small lollipops
Xacto knife
cutting mat
1. Fold strips of paper lengthwise (about 1.5" wide when folded)
2. Draw four heart halves or just eyeball it like I do. Cut out.
You'll need four hearts per Valentine.
3. Dab heart corner with glue and layer four hearts to form flat flower.
4. Wait till dry. Cut tiny X in center with Xacto knife and push lollipop through center.
You can write your Valentines name on one petal. Or write things you love about them on each petal and attach a lable to the 'stem'.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Weiner Dog Valentines

The season of Valentine Makin' is officially upon us! Here is the first of many little Valentine projects I hope to make and share in the next two weeks. I chose weiner* dogs for reasons I can't quite explain. You could use any shape, ofcourse. These craft up quick, once you decide on shapes and quotes. First off...
Gather Your Supplies:
see Resources at bottom of post
cardstock in colors and white for quote bubble
blank cards or postcards
googly eyes
sharp scissors
Yes! paste or glue stick
weiner dog shape from cookie cutter, childrens coloring book or freehand
Shrinky Dink charms would be sweet hanging from his collar. Shown is the Clear Sugar stamp set from Paper Candy. They shrink to perfect paper doggie collar charms!
1. Choose shapes, colors, and quote. Sometimes I have it all in my head and just make it. Other days I cover the entire kitchen table with paper bits, vintage childrens books, cookie cutters, fabric and everything else to come up with a plan of attack. Take time to plan it out before gluing!
2. Use a cookie cutter to trace the shape of your chosen little beast. Cut out. Cut out a strip of paper for the collar in a different color. Glue on googly eye. Assemble this all together with glue but don't glue to card just yet.
3. Hand draw a comic style speech bubble on white paper or draw lightly with pencil first, then cut out. Write something witty or sweet. Find quotes online or, even better, from a favorite book or take a saying your Valentine is fond of.
4. Hand print your quote in speech bubble.
5. Play with your pieces until you are happy with the layout. Finally- glue!
6. Inside, write "Three Things I Love About You:" Obviously followed by three things you really do love about your Valentine.
Now that you have a design you like, crank out dozens more with ease, changing the quote to suit the Valentine. Or...stay tuned for more Valentine ideas in the coming days.
Yes! Paste at the Paper Source
Paper Candy rubber stamps
*while we all remember the "i before e except after c" song, Weiner (Germanic root) and Wiener are both still correct.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Mi Corazon: My Heart Art Show for Heidi Harmon

‘Mi Coraz√≥n’
(My Heart)

When: Feb 3rd 5:00pm-8:00pm (PST) 2007
Taste awarding winning wines and hors d’oeuvres

Where: Per Bacco Cellars
1850 Calle Joaquin San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Showing: February 3rd – March 26th

Artist: Heidi Harmon
Mixed Media Painting & Sculptures

Heidi Harmon, local artist, of San Luis Obispo, creates a show inspired by love for the month of February. Heidi’s three dimensional pieces mirror her desire to capture the essence of love in all of its forms.
Her oil paintings utilize the color that most inspires her appreciation of the passionate life, red. With several successful shows behind her, San Luis Obispo County looks forward to seeing more shows with this rising new artist. Her work will inspire those who embrace all that love encompasses: pain, joy, sorrow, passion and truth.
Grab your Valentine and come enjoy the show! I'll be there with bells on! -Miss Amy O

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Paint Chip Samples Bedazzle Me

As a part of O'Kane Construction, I spend a fair amount of time at the hardware store. The neat rows and rows of paint chip samples (those colorful little cards in the paint section) always catch my eye. Postcard size, long strips, short strips, tiny squares- some are even actual stickers! And with names like Sugar Plum, Bridesmaid, Appletini, and Snow Whites Song, who can resist? I can't! Here are a couple of quick and easy projects I've been working on. There are endless projects already out there. What will you do with your stash?
1. Let the title get you thinking. How many stories can you think while holding a gaudy pink card titled, 'Bridesmaid'? Or Appletini...or Shy Little Piglet...
Write it down, preferably on the back of the paint chip sample, and send it to a friend who would appreciate it.
2. Use the huge selection of colors for punches. Some come on a sticker paper and make perfect, well, stickers!
3. Hangtag or bookmark? It can be both! Write your gift-getters name down the front with your favorite Sharpie and tie to your wrapped present. Choose colors they like with titles that befit them or the occasion. Muttering to 'befit' a word? Punch a hole in top center, gather scraps of ribbon, poke loop through hole in card, pull ribbon ends through loop and tug tight.

3. Enlarge a favorite at the copy shop to make a poster. $1.98 on cardstock. I chose this particular sample because the color square on the bottom is titled, Sweet William. A little name I called my William when he was tiny. Sometimes I still do. Now I'm hunting for a "Robins Egg Blue".
4. Stitch on Shrinky Dink charms! Next week I will be posting Shrinky Dink tips and tricks with another project tutorial. Rubber stamps of a tiny bird, mod girl walkin', and Mary were used. The tiny girl is from a Dover Publication $1 book of Family Stencils.
5. I have one more project using paint chip samples I want to share with you. Come back February 1st to see the first of Seven Days of Valentines!
Papercandy for mod and retro style rubber stamps
Stamp Luis Obispo 1036 1/2 Chorro St, San Luis Obispo CA 93401 805/541.5198
for local artist stamps, papers, ribbons, scrabble tiles, and every supply you could think of
More Paint Chip Sample Projects:
Make Your Own Card Holder
Paint Chip Wallet
Embroider Them! (scroll down)
Send me your paint chip sample projects at missamyo [at]

Friday, January 19, 2007

Little Birds and Chinese Fortune Plaque

Little birds and Chinese fortune cookie slips* go quite well together, don't you think? I found a few of these dandy little wood plaques at the hobby shop and knew they had wonderful things in store for them. Liam and I made an XTC altar-like plaque for our Jeremy and I just couldn't stop making more. They can be quick and easy or decadent and elaborate. What would you do with a little wood plaque? Here is one way to get started. Send pictures of your lovely (and not so lovely) creations my way when you're done craftin'.
Gather Your Supplies:
  1. tiny, sharp scissors
  2. pencil
  3. Xacto knife
  4. ruler
  5. cutting mat
  6. paint brush
  7. acrylic craft paint
  8. Yes! paste or Elmers glue stick
  9. wood plaque
  10. papers: printed and plain
  11. fortune cookie slip

1. Sand plaque smooth or just try to pick a smooth one at the hobby shop. Paint entire plaque, front and back.

2. On backside of paper, trace the raised front of plaque. See how my pencil is angled in? This helps create a more accurate pattern. Cut out, staying just inside of your drawn line.

3. Lay out all of your pieces and see what you think. Now is the time to add a painted gold border or glue on that sweet plastic squirrel you've been saving. I decided to go sweet and simple, cutting a red cardstock background for my little fortune.

4. Glue. Wait- not yet. Your paper background may be a little too big. Lay it in place without glue first, just to check. Press the paper edges over the lip to creat a tiny crease. Now snip along the crease to remove excess and it should be a perfect fit! Now glue, remembering to begin pressing in the middle, fanning out to the edges to avoid ripples.
5. Attach a small picture hanger to the back, the triangle or toothy type. Whichever is floating around your kitchen drawer. I prefer to glue with E600, rather than messing with the tiny nails that come with the hanger.
6. Gather the neighbors, hold it high and shout, "TA-DAAA!".

A little birdie told me, "You will sleep well at night.". This plaque will be mailed out to a swap partner as yet unnamed through Swap-Bot. I hope it is loved. Write with questions, suggestions, and favorite recipes to missamyo [at]

PS: While there are centuries old traditions of hiding fortunes in sweet cakes all over the world, the fortune cookie as we know it is an American invention.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Spend Less, Give More

A vintage book of people, places, and things from 1949- the year my mother was born. Thrift score at .50!
I absolutely love the long run between September and January. With all of my immediate family's birthdays (including my own) sprinkled amongst the Holidays, it is one non-stop party. But it can hit hard if I'm not prepared. Here are a smattering of lovelies to help you be ready next year. As always, click on the blue words to see what adventure they may take you to...
1. Save all of your change throughout the year. You can roll it yourself or use a Coinstar kiosk to get gift certificates for places like, Starbucks, and more. Roll your own if just want the cash- Coinstar charges up to 9% to roll for you, unless you choose the gift certificate option.
2. Pay an extra $5-10 every month on each utility. When November/December rolls around, you should have enough built up extra payments to cover utility expenses in your budget and use the cash to go shopping!
3. Open a Santa Saver account at your bank with a twist. Have $5-20 transferred every month from your checking to savings. Since you’ll be spending less on gifts this year, use the winter cash to see the Nutcracker or buy the bike on the Angel Tree at the Salvation Army.
4. Make your own gifts. Have a gift makin’ party with a few crafty friends and make a batch of the same gift: ribbon bookmarks, photo calendars, decorated cigar boxes…You’ll have gifts on hand for birthdays, housewarmings, and the Holidays.
5. Pick up small gift certificates throughout the year. You are much less likely to spend them than rolls of 5-ers in the cookie jar. Renting a movie tonight? Get a $10 gift certificate to tuck away for a nephew. Meeting a friend for coffee? Pick up a gift certificate to give her for her birthday or Christmas.
6. Give magazine subscriptions (cheaply). Best Deal Magazines has hundreds of magazine subscriptions available for under $10, and tons for less than 5 bucks! I’ve ordered Vogue, Rolling Stone, Family Fun, Budget Living, and more for $4.97 for an entire year long subscription. Make a coupon or gift certificate to let the recipient know what’s coming their way along with the current months issue of their new magazine.
7. Does your great Aunt Ethel really need more stuff? Let her know how much she means and what she has shared with you. Did she send a book every birthday? Donate to her local library in her name. Maybe she was a nature lover. Donate in her name to support a local trail or, better yet, spend an afternoon with the fam helping maintain it. Give a ‘certificate’ stating your donation and a letter explaining the significance.
8. Not crafty but love handmade? You can find the perfect handmade gift for any budget at
9. Spend the afternoon at your local used bookstore. You’ll find beautiful books, some you would never guess are ‘used’. Give your baking friend a vintage cookbook or your handy hubby a project book to inspire him. Classic children’s books are a winner no matter what age the recipient is.
10. Make your own photo calendar for about $5, not $19.99. Download free calendar templates here. Have prints made of your favorite photos and mount. Save some months to decorate by hand with drawings, a favorite poem or recipe. You can add special dates throughout the calendar. Staples or Kinkos will bind for around $2 per calendar.
Send me your own lovely Holiday ideas to missamyo [at]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Be Nice While Hardly Even Trying

Here are ten little ideas to spark your imagination. Click freely on all blue words to see where they may lead you...
1. Pick up an extra bag of doggie chow or kittie kibbles the next time your at the grocery store and drop it off at your local Humane Society or shelter.
2. Put change in a low or out of time parking meter *apparently, they give tickets in my town for doing just this so act at your own risk*
3. Pay for the drive-thru order behind you. You say its a mini-van full of Cub Scouts? Put $5 towards it- they can add ice cream cones.
4. Grossly over tip your waitress(ter) the next time you get good service. Trust me, they deserve it.
5. Leave a tiny present in your mailbox for your letter carrier: Chapstick, pocket size sunblock, or just a simple note that says ‘Thanks’.
6. Donate your old cell phone to someone who would greatly benefit. Call to Protect program provides matching air time to domestic violence agencies. Cell Phones for Soldiers provides phones for soldiers to be able to call home when they have the chance. Your local phone store and police department probably have a donation box already.
7. Drop a five-er in the tip jar at your regular coffee shop.
8. Introduce yourself to that new co-worker, quiet neighbor, mail carrier, office UPS guy you always see but haven’t met yet.
9. Send a hand written note or postcard to some-one, just because.
10. When asked to be a guest or join an event, in place of 'Can I bring anything?' Try, 'What can I bring?'. A friend stated it just that way to me years ago and I have never forgotten the difference it made. And, yes, I did borrow extra folding chairs from them for the event without batting an eye!
Send me your niceness in tip or photo form: missamyo (at)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

How To Organize Your Stuff in a Handy Dandy Way

The linen & toiletry storage side of the hall closet has been competing too aggressively lately with the craft side. I decided something needed to be done: all non-craft storage was non-essentail and therefore must go. Then I remembered my canvas shoe organizer I've had for about 3 years. My usual style would be to sew on or hand embroider to give it some oomph. But this project is all about makin' do the easy way. So, out comes the felt, kitschy pom pom trim, glue gun and my lovely Sharpie.
Ready? Go.
Gather your Supplies:
1. Shoe organizer in canvas or clear plastic *these are great as you can instantly see what's in them but add to the 'eye clutter'*
2. Gather chosen trim and decor of Rik-rack, ribbon, band patches, fabric bits cut into pirate flags, 99 red balloons, letter or fruit shapes, felt shapes, strips of fabric scraps- use what you have.
3. Glue gun or sewing machine
4. Sharpie for drawing or labeling pockets
1. Hold trim up to edge you want it placed on. Eyeball it and cut to length needed.
2. Glue in place, going just a couple of inches at a time and picking off obnoxious glue threads as you go. Or sew.
3. Cut out shapes from felt (I made my strawberries from felt with Sharpie drawn seeds) and glue on.
4. Tuck in items that need a home.

30 minutes tops, and you are far more organized than you were before!
Other Ideas:
This was made for storage and hangs well hidden in the closet. You could make it cuter and hang on the back of you bathroom or bedroom door and fill with daily use items.
Craft supplies would be very happy in a handy dandy hanging organizer!
Use strips of leftover fabric in place of trim, or sew them along the edges. You can make your own classy organizer using this pattern.
Disclaimer: Though I came up with this on my own in my world, I wasn't the first to think of this ever- see more ideas here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

You Go Girl: Networking Effectively

It is never easy walking into a room full of strangers. Walking up to them and introducing yourself can be even tougher. Yet effective networking is one of the best ways to build your business or gain momentum and support for a fundraiser or cause you believe in. Perhaps one or two of the following ideas will make your next networking event a little easier and maybe even fun!
The Bare Bones Basics:
Eye Contact
Solid Handshake
Slow and Clear Introduction
Have an elevator speech ready. Be able to clearly state who you are and what you offer (not do) in 60 seconds- or before they are walking away for more Swedish meatballs. Practice out loud in the car on the way over. Ignore other drivers staring at you.
Before you enter the room, or even the building, take a breath and still yourself from the rush to get there on time. Music therapist, Victoria Lowrie, once suggested exhaling with sound to find your tone. Particularly as women, our voices tend to get higher when we are nervous. Finding a solid tone to speak will help you remember to breathe, stay relaxed, and sound more confident.
Effective networking is not about being fake. It's you out there- just after a deep breath and a self proclaimed 'I can do this'. For more tips on networking, see the links (blue words) throughout this post and the following:
10 Powerful Tips on Networking
SBA Tips on Networking
SCORE Catch More Clients Through Networking
Business Networking International A powerful networking group I belong to at a local level. Feel free to email with any questions or to come check it out as my guest!