Fresh Floral Jewelry by Wendy Andrade

Love flowers?  Yes, me too.  So, when Schiffer Publishing asked if they could send me a free book, Fresh Floral Jewelry by Wendy Andrade, to review, I was delighted.

The first thing that struck me about the book was the quality of the book itself.  Yes, I love digital, but the quality construction of this book really stood out to me.   I noticed the high quality of the paper and printing immediately.   You will too.  The projects in this book are sophisticated, so the book construction really adds to the subject matter.   The layout and photography are wonderful as well.

We often talk about mixing mediums in art, but Wendy Andrade takes it to a whole new level by adding fresh flowers to her beautiful designs.  This book is great for those who love to make jewelry and those who love working with flowers.  It’s the best of both craft worlds.

Like most jewelry-making books, the book does a great job of explaining the different materials and techniques that are used in the projects of the book.  The book is broken out into the different seasons and flowers which you find throughout the year.  They even give you the names of the flowers that are used in each project.   

The step-by-step photographs and instructions in Fresh Floral Jewelry are easy to understand.  The project instructions are well written and some even include patterns to follow.   Many of the techniques will be easy to master and once you are familiar with the techniques, you will be able to use different color wires and flowers to really make the jewelry your own.

These 32 individual projects are statement jewelry pieces that will really add to a simple dress.  As you will see by these beautiful photographs that are in the book, these projects are perfect for proms, dinner parties and even weddings.   

With all the different colored jewelry wires in stores these days, you will be able to create a custom piece of jewelry that will work with any dress.  

Make sure to visit the Schiffer Publishing website at and check this book out for yourself.  You’ll be happy you did.

Summer Baking

It is always fun to make chocolate-chip cookies and Pillsbury just made it more fun for me.  They now have gluten-free chocolate-chip cookie dough.  So, I can make cookies in a snap.

While they are delicious, my goal was to make cookies for a photo shoot.  The cooking took very little time and I was ready to take my photographs as soon as the cookies cooled.  I wanted to share my top tips for photographing your baked goods so these cookies, while they lasted, were my photographic subject for the day.

Photographing food is an art and if not done right, it can look unappetizing.  Many stylist have tricks they use to make the food in magazines look wonderful.  You do not have to go to great lengths to share your home-baked goods with your friends on the internet.

Here are my five tips for photographing your baked-goods for the internet.

  • Get in close.  You want to make sure your baked items are front and center as I did with these cookies.  There is no mistaking that the cookies are the main subject of this photo.
  • Photograph your best baked item.  Pick out the baked goods that look the best and work with them.  If it means that it is only one cookie, then work with the one cookie.  After all, if the baked item doesn't look great before you take the photograph, it will not look great after you take the photograph.
  • Avoid cluttered backgrounds.  You want your friends to focus on the food and not what you have on your table or kitchen counter.   A simple background will help you keep your baked-goods the star of the show.
  • Photograph in natural light when possible.  Natural light brings out the beauty of the subject and you won’t have to worry about adjusting the light balance of too yellow a light from kitchen lights.
  • Keep shadows light by making sure your light source is filtered.  If you are photographing your work near an opened door and you are getting shadows that are too harsh, move your photo shoot father away from the door so the light isn't as strong.  The stronger the light, the harsher the shadows. 

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Craft Pompom Animals

Craft your own little zoo with this wonderful craft book.  It is sure to be one of your favorite craft books of all time.

When I was asked if I wanted to review this fun craft book, I jumped at the chance.  Who wouldn’t?   They had me as soon as I saw that adorable cover and the inside of this craft book delivers as well. 

There are 25 delightful animals that you can make with Myko’s easy-to-follow instructions.  The first part of the book has everything you need to know about the craft materials you need to the basic craft instructions that will be used on all 25 charming animals – 26 if you count the fact that the little horse can be made into a unicorn.  There is also a resource list in the back of the craft book that will help you find everything you need to make these little cuties. 

Unlike other craft books, there is even a Tips and Troubleshooting Guide that will aid you in crafting.

Some of the endearing pompom creatures you can craft are birds, bunnies and kittens as well as an elephant, ladybug, teddy bear, pony, turkey and more. 

Make sure to check out this delightful craft book today!  You will be glad that you did.

About the Author:
Myko Diann Bocek grew up on a small farm in Delaware where she raised a menagerie of animals, and this childhood experience influences her work as an artist. She creates animals out of pompoms and needle-felted details and sells them through her Etsy shop ( Her work has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens and Celebrate 365.

Adventures in Pompom Land:
25 Cute Projects Made From Handmade Pompoms
By Myko Diann Bocek
ISBN: 9781454703860
$17.95 US; Paper
All in color; 8 X 10

Spring Jar Craft

Spring into Spring! 

Spring crafting is a time of renewal and simplicity.  The fresh green of new leaves are found in faux pearls and ribbons.  Even the glass in this project has a tint of green. 

Get back to crafting by creating this fun project for your kitchen spices or bathroom cotton balls.  This easy spring craft is a welcomed jewel in any room of your house or on your office desk.  It makes a great gift as well.  And, it really is an inexpensive spring craft project.

You can use any of the spring trendy colors to alter the lid of the jar.  I loved the soft green spring colors, so that I why I decided to use them.  This would be a fun party or dinner favor.  Just add a battery-powered tea light and your guest will love their little gift.

There are so many great spring ribbons out this year.  It will be hard to choose which one you will want to use, but you need to make sure the width of the ribbon matches the width of the lid.

If you are going to make these for a dinner, you can use all one color ribbon or use different colored ribbons.  This would make an awesome table decoration for Cinco de Mayo.  

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Duct Tape Easter Purse

Easter Duct Tape Bunny Purse

This spring, you need a little duck to make a bunny!  Don’t you love that Duct Tape now comes in so many great colors and patterns?  I do too.  So, I made this little Duct Tape purse as an Easter gift.  Spring crafts are so much fun and this spring crafting idea is fast to make as well.

While you craft the bunny’s face from a fabric flower, the whiskers are thin strips of Duct Tape. 

The construction of the purse is from duct tape and then you use rubber-stamping inks to soften the plastic look of the duck tape. 

Make sure to get the free project instructions listed here on my blog: Free Instructions

March 2013 Article 
in Scrap and Stamp Arts Magazine

Make sure to pick up the March issue of my Art Smarts!™ article and learn how to create this background paper and how to stamp on metal!