Frida K-Owl-O Pumpkins

I was so excited when Better Homes and Gardens asked me to ship my Sharpie Pumpkins to them a few months ago for a photo shoot. But then a lot of time went by and I completely forgot about it…until last Sunday when I was at the grocery store getting ready to check out there was my little “sugar skull” owl pumpkin right on the front cover:


Of course I bought it. The girl at the checkout line must have thought I was crazy…or that I LIVE for pumpkin decorating. I’ll never get used to seeing things I’ve made featured somewhere…it’s like a Christmas morning feeling when someone likes something you made and wants to share it with the world.

P.S. The owl might look familiar to some of you…it was inspired by a screen print I drew for a limited edition dress a few years ago (back when I had the clothing line.) I called her Frida K-owl-o:

Beautiful photography by Linda Pelk.

I made a handful of the pumpkins, a whole parliament of owls (full tutorial here):


The owl pumpkin on the cover:

Decorating a chalkboard paint pumpkin with sharpie

The word for a gathering of owls is “parliament”…where did that come from? You can also say a “wisdom of owls”…did that come before or after the saying “wise as an owl”?

creative pumpkin decorating ideas - owl pumpkin

I’m finishing up this year’s pumpkins that I do each year in collaboration with Michaels Stores. Soon to be revealed. I love the challenge of having to come up with something unique each year.

Here is some awesome owl footage for you:


How to Make a Father Child Journal

Father's Day Father Child Journal DIY

My challenge this month as a Michaels Maker was to create a Father’s Day Gift. I decided to make a Father-Child journal that could be used to exchange messages  back and forth. The starting point was just a blank sketchbook like these:


I created a template (which you can download at the bottom of this page):


I used transfer paper to trace my image onto the blank book:


Here are the faint outlines of letters waiting to be filled in:


I used regular acrylic craft paint to fill in the letters:


Once the first letters were dry I printed out another template to add the “Dear Daughter” in a contrasting color. This template (as well as “Dear Son” are at the bottom of this post):


The finished journal:


I created this letter (template also down below) to make it clear what the journal was for…and to give Dad some ideas on things he can write or draw in the journal:


And of course the gift comes with supplies like stickers, stamps and crayons:


Package it all together and father and child will make a memorable book! [Read more…]

Simple Sharpie Journals and Matching Gift Wrap


Holiday gift idea: Sharpie Journals with matching gift wrap #gift #diy #michaelsmakers

Oh, this is one of my favorite little projects ever. I was trying to come up with something that would appeal to almost anyone for a holiday gift idea…and who can’t use a journal or notebook? These little journals are very inexpensive from Michaels…with a coupon I think I ended up paying under $3.00 each:

Blank Journals from Michaels Stores to customize

You can sketch a design or trace one using white chalk transfer paper (in the aisle at Michaels with all the other transfer papers):

Using Transfer paper to add a design to a journal

I used a metallic Sharpie marker to draw the sketch that I transferred:

Sharpie Project Idea: customized journal or sketchbook

Another transferred design:

Drawing Antlers on a Journal

I used the transfer paper to draw these lines to write my text upon:

Adding a quote to a journal

A damp paper towel will wipe the white transfer chalk right off once the design is finished:

DIY journals using sharpie markers

A few of the designs I created for holiday gifts:

Christmas Gift Idea DIY


How to make a customized journal gift


Written in the Stars DIY Journal - Sharpie project idea

A great quote:

Dead Poet's Society Quote on Journal

I used a roll of black kraft wrapping paper for the wrapping:

Using Black Wrapping Paper - Chalkboard Wrapping Paper

And the same Sharpie to create the designs:

Creating your own DIY Wrapping paper

Some natural colored twine is almost gold itself and matches very nicely:

DIY Sharpie Doodle Gift Wrap

[Read more…]

The Scandinavian Christmas Tree Ornaments

Today I’m revealing the behind-the-scenes of the Scandinavia Christmas Tree:

Scandinavian Christmas Ornaments DIY #tagatree

Here are all the ornaments we made:

Handmade Rustic Christmas Ornaments DIY Tutorial
Clothespin ornaments rustic DIY

This year I went with a Scandinavian theme based on a little dala horse block print carving I made:

Christmas Ornament Ideas Handmade



Ribbon ornaments were made using different sizes of embroidery hoops and ribbon. I stitched the ribbon together in rows, put it into an embroidery hoop, trimmed off the excess and used glue to keep the edges from fraying:

Handmade Ribbon Ornaments Christmas Tree - Embroidery Hoop

I took raw ornaments from Michaels and applied a light coat of wood stain. Using a plain wood heart as a stencil I spray a light coat of white spray paint overtop: [Read more…]

A Scandinavian Christmas Tree

Today is the reveal day for this year’s Michaels’ Dream Trees.  And it’s snowing at my house…for real.

This year I went with a Scandinavian theme:



Dala horses, DIY ribbon ornaments, rustic Santa and reindeer ornaments and much more:



I love how it turned out.  The whole family helped with this year’s theme: cutting, staining, stamping, etc.


On November 14th I’ll have tutorials for each of the ornaments and the supplies I used to make them! But for now you can get a head start by following this tutorial below and using the free template download for the Dala horse image!

(click here to view the tutorial if image doesn’t work)



Click here to view the past two years of Christmas Trees!

[Read more…]

The World Is Run By People Who Show Up

It’s our first Halloween in Bryson City. I’m not really a Halloween person…I don’t think I’ve dressed up since like 8th grade?  I don’t care for Freddie Kruger, ever since he chased me home one night at dusk (I swear he was behind me, but I couldn’t confirm it because I was in crazy-panic-run). Growing up my mom would never let us wear scary costumes. My dad was always dressed up as Moses with the Ten Commandments to greet the neighborhood kids.  Our church banned witches, zombies and skeletons.

Since moving to Bryson City we’ve been going to the Grove Church. Our pastor, Jeff, asked if we’d help out with the Halloween event that they hold each year for the community.  My first thought was: ugh, Halloween, no way.  But instead my fingers texted back: Would love to help! That’s right up my alley.

I had no idea what I was in for.  I was thinking a few pumpkins, hotdogs, churchy people….instead I found myself in the middle of an event on the scale of Broadway. And this year’s theme? Wizard of Oz.



Nothing wrong with Wizard of Oz right?  Except that it’s on the bottom of my list of movies I would choose to watch. I had nightmares for years when I was little about the Wicked Witch. Once she stole my baby sister out of her crib as I watched…one night she stabbed my dad with a sword while he tried to fix the TV.  That Wicked Witch was sealed in my mind. I’m not exaggerating…here’s a page from my journal years ago. Obviously she still haunts me:

And then yesterday, when I asked what I could do to help, the first thing I was assigned:

Could you set up the melted witch with the caution tape?


Really? This event was planned to torture me right?

And as people started to show up I felt myself getting increasingly anxious:

Who would let their kid wear that scary costume? How is dressing up as Freddy Kruger fun? Wait, is it legal to carry a toy gun?

These were many of the reasons I’d been given growing up as to why I shouldn’t be a fan of Halloween. But as I looked around I realized that I should be a fan of Halloween. Why? Because Halloween is community.  It’s the one holiday where people actually come out of their homes. The one holiday where people open their doors to people they don’t know in large numbers and hand them gifts.  I saw my daughter and her new friends walking down the street thanking shop owners for candy. I saw business owners, politicians, and law enforcement mingling among the community and at one point Boo was yelling hello to a deputy she knew across the street. I told a man dressed up as a Cherokee Indian that he would win the costume contest and he told me he had just come from work: the Cherokee Indian Reservation. But he was really nice and thanked me for noticing how well dressed he was.

And Jeff posted this article this morning by one of my favorite authors Shauna Niequist and it summed up exactly how I was feeling after last night:

Sometimes love asks you to change.

It’s so easy to love people who like all the same things you do—who never listen to music that makes you cringe, or who believe all the same things you believe. But love sometimes asks you to lay down your preferences, and dive into someone else’s world for a little while.

Sometimes that world is full of fake spiders.

Sometimes it’s the ballet or country music or Russian novels. Sometimes it’s staying quiet when you want to talk, sometimes it’s giving space when you want to rush in. Love asks what’s best for the person you love, not what’s best or most convenient to you.

Yes, sometimes the world is full of fake spiders. And fake pooling witches.  And big green gates with green glitter as a welcome mat. Here was our church opening up (green) doors to anyone who wished to come in…no strings attached. No rules. No judgement. Just community:


We jumped right in wearing our LoveBryson shirts.  Boo even decided to dress up as a “church volunteer” instead of her butterfly costume. LoveBryson was started by The Grove Church as a way to give back to Bryson City and the surrounding community. It’s a community service-based group that works with established organizations in the area when specific needs come up.  LoveBryson also pioneers its own efforts to make a difference in the community, everything from supplying firewood in the winter, school backpack drives and even installing much needed wheelchair ramps.


And yesterday The Grove Church served close to 1,800 hotdogs to the community:


Sometimes all you have to do is show up.


And make room for others to show up too.  They threw us newbies right in:


I think more people showed up downtown than actually live in all of Bryson City:


Barry from The Filling Station handing out candy:


Debbie (green vest) from Fern Studios and Gallery handing out candy:


Donno from Higher Ground Tattoo:


A few kiddos from The Grove:


The real deal:


I was asked to be one of the judges in the costume contest and this little bag lady won in the 2-11 years old category. She was awesome:


And at Riverfront Park where “Oz” was located people had a chance to play games and recharge.


The director of Boo’s school sent out a newsletter today and it ended with: The world is run by people who SHOW UP! 

I’m not quite ready to show up as the Good Witch of the North yet, and I don’t have to…because there are people like Beth:


And Mary (as Dorothy):


And Rachel:


And Erin and Jeff (lion). Jeff drew and painted the huge “Oz” backdrop for the stage:


I love when leaders think big, like this guy, pastor, Jeff:

A sneak peak behind the scenes of all the prep work that went into the event:


And the result…community:










When I heard Brene Brown speak 2 years ago at The Summit I wrote this down word for word:

The #1 barrier to belonging? Fitting in. 

Make a space for people to show up and be seen, not for who they should be….but for who they are. 

We can’t set it up so that there are check boxes for showing up. 



Holiday Prep

This past week I’ve been working on the annual Christmas Tree I do for Michaels each year.  Most everything was handmade in some form.  I love how it turned out. Will share all the photos in just a few days. Here’s what I’ve been working on:


Rustic Scandinavian Christmas Decor - Dala Horse Print

Rustic Handmade Christmas Decor

It’s way too early to put up a Christmas tree though. I put the tree up last night, photographed it, and then took it back down.  It will be donated to a good cause.  We don’t really have room for a full sized tree anyways so we’ll have a miniature tree this year.  The Hemlock Inn puts up their own huge tree after Thanksgiving. Boo is so excited to help decorate that. She’s told every guest that asks about Christmas that “Mr. Mort (the innkeeper) has to take down the dining room’s ceiling fan for the big Christmas tree!”

How to Make Butterfly Wings from T-Shirts

How to make butterfly wings for kids costume using 2 large t-shirts #halloween #butterfly

This month as a Michaels Maker I was challenged to come up with a DIY Halloween costume. I asked Boo what she wanted to be and she gave me an answer that we summed up to be something like a phantom butterfly:

Phantom Butterfly Costume with DIY Butterfly Wings

I wanted to come up with something that was easy to recreate so I used 2 Gildan t-shirts from Michaels (size XXL):

DIY Butterfly Wings Costume

We made the wings and the antennae and bought the masquerade mask from Michaels: move 2

Spray painted costume wings for Halloween

Basically to make the wings I took 2 of the largest size adult t-shirts I could find at Michaels and cut each one as shown (basically using each sideways shirt as a wing):


How to cut t-shirt for butterfly wings


The two shirts cut into two wings: (click continue reading) [Read more…]

How to Make Sharpie Owl Pumpkins



I am a big fan of Mexican art…especially sugar skulls.  I used black and silver Sharpie markers to turn these faux styrofoam pumpkins into owl sugar skulls for my Halloween decor this year.  Michaels is challenging customers to “trick a pumpkin” this year and post the creations to Instagram. Make sure to read more at the bottom of this post on how to enter your own!

If you do a google search for “sugar skull” you will come across a variety of images you can pull ideas from. I make up the doodles as I go along, but starting with the round eyes first:

Pumpkin Decorating Ideas without Carving - Sharpie Doodle Owl

Tip: If you mess up, use a damp Magic Eraser to lightly wipe the area until the mistake lightens or disappears completely!

I used 4 different size pumpkins and made them all their own unique version:

How to decorate a pumpkin without carving it ideas #diy #pumpkin


I used a silver sharpie on the black/chalkboard pumpkin:Decorating a chalkboard paint pumpkin with sharpie


The large pumpkin took around 30 minutes to complete: [Read more…]

Fall Table Decor: Mason Jar Firefly Lanterns

Easy Fall Table Decor: Mason Jar Lantern Lights using LEDs #wedding #fall #entertaining #masonjar


This month’s theme for Michaels Makers is fall decor.  Fall is always hard for me because I rarely buy anything orange, yellow or red…all classic fall colors. But…I love acorns and barn wood and moss….so I made these cute little “firefly” inspired lanterns using mason jars and Michaels’ LED string lights (found in the floral section of the store):

diy firefly mason jar lanterns

I also made the barn wood tray and the small rustic twig balls but I’ll follow up with a tutorial on those. The acorns were collected on the Hemlock Inn driveway tonight:

fall table decor ideas and wedding table decor #wedding #falltabledecor #entertaining

To make the lanterns I used a mason jar and a battery operated set of LED string lights from Michaels.  Each set of lights takes 3 batteries and the pack can be tucked nicely into the back of the jar.  I used dried moss to give the inside of the jar an earthy rustic look. The great thing about the lights is that you can leave them on “timer” and they will come on at the same time each night.

diy mason jar lanterns using LED string lights #diy #masonjar #wedding


An easy way to decorate a table for fall entertaining:

fall entertaining decor ideas using mason jars #masonjar #fall


[Read more…]