My Green Velvet Life

Where everything sticks.


arts, crafts & creativity

Sticky Sweets for Your Lovies

Look what love can do!

Here’s a little story about a match made in heaven (okay, made in my basement art room, which feels like heaven to me . . . )

Last year I made these little Valentines for my family.  Determined to play my slobbery-granny-heart cool, I grabbed some textured cardstock and loaded up some sass:

  1. Duct Tape.  My grandkids adore it. I love saving the bits of duct tape scraps by sticking them onto very thin cardboard or thick paper.  (See my Stuck on Happy post.)
  2. Foil Candy Wrappers.  Perfect companion with the duct tape bits. Of course I couldn’t resist doing some super girlie cards too.  I just swapped the duct tape hearts with scrapbook paper.
  3. The Stapler.  She pierces fast and forever!


Sticking it to You

I stuff the pieces of our past

inside my sticky soul.

Wrinkled ducts foil my obsession.

In eternal pain I staple them, sweetly smoothing

the shiny bits of our love.

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Stuck on Happy with Duct Dynasty

Hey!  Uncle Si and Phil’s grandkids would love the duct tape creativity at our house!  Clean and simple fun for the whole family . . .

Check out the cool binder my daughter and granddaughter made by simply recovering an old ugly one.  Wouldn’t this be a fun project for school/scout/church groups to do for back-to-school?  You could ask businesses to donate old binders, folders, etc.  Then simply set up tables in a large room loaded with donated duct tape, stickers, and Sharpie markers (along with skilled helpers, of course), and invite kids to come and make their own amazing looks.

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We have also found a fun way to use duct tape scraps. Simply stick them onto a piece of lightweight cardboard.  You can then cut into fun shapes.  Be sure to save the leftover silhouette for some other creative moment.


You can also keep adding scraps until you end up with an interesting collage.  Just have fun with it and don’t worry about the wrinkles.   This is the collage I used to make some birthday cards for my grandsons.


I couldn’t resist adding a little star-spangled glitz.


Pretty cool,  huh?  Perfectly messy and funky.



As an excuse for my laziness, I carried the theme through on the inside of the cards.  Cuz any granny could give cards with boring old typed-up messages.

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Here are a couple of sites you might like for more inspiration:

Would love to hear about your own duct tape creations!  In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on a little relaxing TV time with the Robertson’s.  And I’ll be wondering:

Will my creations inspire Jase to duct tape Willie’s office?

Will Korie and Missy use duct tape to brighten up Martin’s bachelor pad?

Will Uncle Si finally make a duct tape shoulder bag for his beloved Tupperware cup?

Hey!  If it quacks like duct tape you can bet your whistle it will make everybody happy happy happy.

Seriously though, wouldn’t all those beards get stuck in the tape?  Ouch.  Could The Robertson Men meet the challenge?

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

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Staple Up These Blisters for Oozy Fun!

Here’s a shocker. I’ve actually made few cards lately. I had been saving some odds and ends of used packaging blister packs for a quite a while and finally found time to use them creatively.  Unfortunately, the photos don’t quite show off the shiny blister packs stapled to the cards, but I hope you get the idea.  I did cheat on the last one. There is no blister pack.  I simply wrapped yarn around the flower stems.  I am incredibly lazy.  You can be too.

Trashy Greetings

Not feeling too creative or clever lately.  Typically, this time of year is a bit blah in Wisconsin. Although this year we have been treated with greenery and blooms busting forth well before Easter, my mood is stubbornly sitting on the blah side.  I guess my internal clock really loves how gray afternoons and icy mud puddles seem to nod approval to laziness, quiet reflection, and even a bit of indulgent self-pity.

Okay I’m really not here to trash our beautiful spring.  But I am here to talk about trash. I love saving strange bits of garbage in hopes of discovering and sharing their fantastic artistic potential. Here are a few greeting cards I’ve made the last few weeks. Each one is just a bit trashy and a great big easy. (Notice some of the elements are simply stapled together. Because sometimes I’m too lazy to glue.)

This “black vase” is wrinkled-up paper from a bag of coffee. (Hint: Berres Brothers makes the yummiest coffee and the coolest waxy black packaging.)

This “silver vase” is a piece of cream cheese wrapping. A bit messy to wash but so worth it. And you guessed it. My beloved painted cardboard too.

This “silver vase” is a bit of shiny cardboard from a package of face lotion. I wrinkled it for a fun effect.

This blue background is from one of my favorite art trash resources: a Mentos candy wrapper.  This gorgeous material is always a hit with the kids. (The candy is a hit with the kids too.)

And this “brown vase”is from a Starbucks coffee cup wrapper.  It’s so nubby I’m gonna die!

Now go forth and have your own trashy fun!

Part 2: Creativity Favors the Clueless

I’m sorry to leave you hanging for so long on Part 1 of our last art adventure. A few weeks ago I got completely obsessed with Twitter (see sidebar on right).  It feels like a toy made just for me!  Twitter posts must be 140 characters or less which I find highly fun and challenging.  Reading on Twitter is a fantastic experience with quick and easy access to unlimited info/news via links attached to the tweets.  But, Twitter or not, I have been a terrible blogger.  I am sorry.

Now back to our art adventure . . . You probably figured out my little stunt. The photos from Part 1 are simply weird-angle-close-ups of my very clueless paintings.  I had started with simple acrylic paints and yummy textured paper.

At the hands of someone skilled and talented, this would have made a lovely painting.  I am neither.  But I am resourceful and I love a challenge.  So next step: Colored pencils.

These are watercolor pencils–so much fun!  After drawing, take a wet paint brush over your lines and watch the magic as they turn into gorgeous strokes of smeary color.  First I used a white pencil, then some dark pencils with just a slight wet brush smudging:

The colored pencils gave it a nice depth but still needed something . . . Hmmm.  Time to break out the glitter glue and dimensional paints.  You can’t go wrong with this stuff.  The messier the better.

How’s that for a bit of primitive shabby glam?

I am leaving you with a close-up shot of this painting in its very first stage.  Don’t you love how a magnified perspective turns a yawny visual into something quite fresh and interesting?

If only this approach worked with my face . . .

Did Monet Have This Many Clues?

I’m going to do this post in 2 (maybe more) parts.  Thought I’d start by inspiring you with some shots of a couple of small projects I did the other day.  Can I paint?  I really don’t have a clue how to paint anything.  But wait.  Yes I can!  Why let a few clues stop me?

Please stop in again soon for more about my clueless art.  If you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, I am in good company.  Let’s have a little fun muddling through.

Stuffing: A Neat Way to Mess Around

I’ve found a new use for my camera.  It’s a fun way to document stuff I’m thinking about working on, or just simply thinking about, a seriously goofing off process I like to call stuffing.  These are some papers I’ve been playing with for card making ideas.  I love to spend quiet time studying colors and patterns.  To the uninitiated, I appear to be basking in laziness, but really, I am hard at work tidying up the creative corners in my brain (after I’ve made a big mess of course, which is the critical first step).

I’ve been in love with gray lately.  It has such a quiet beauty.  And orange because it’s fun!

Something magical happens when I print my vintage images on textured Bazzill paper.  Aren’t these just the sweetest friends ever?

Try to find a little time this week to do some stuffing of your own.  You don’t need anything special.  Just small collections of stuff: buttons, fabric, photos, pens & pencils, yarn, kids’ artwork, books, food (try your spice cabinet!), nails and screws and junk—anything visual.  It’s so good for you!  This is something kids instinctively know.  Just watch a couple of five year-olds sort your bottles of nail polish with delight.  You don’t even need to make anything.  Just pile together whatever makes your eyes happy.

So-Cool-It-Squeaks Art

Art doesn’t transform.  It just plain forms.  — Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), American pop artist

In a small fit of creativity, I challenged myself to pick up three pieces of litter from the parking lot and use them for a little art project.  It took me about 30 seconds to discover my items: a piece of worn wood, a red plastic chip from somebody’s car light and a round plastic piece.

And here is my masterpiece!  I simply glued the pieces onto a painted piece of recycled cardboard.  For embellishment, I used recycled foil candy wrappers and two non-recycled items:  blue glitter and an orange plastic jewel.

This would be an awesome and ultra cheap party project.  Of course, you’d need to designate a safe place to scavenge for garbage items.  For kids, you’d also need to be watchful to ensure nobody scores something disgusting such as a dirty hamburger wrapper.  But don’t let that scare you.  This is squeaky clean fun!

Does the book of life have you feeling squished?

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.  — C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), British scholar & writer

Life is so full stories and characters. Each one of us is infinitely amazing and complicated, yet still we crave more adventure than just ourselves. We need each others’ stories. What a miracle that by sharing our vast complexities we find stunningly simple peace and beauty. Aren’t we all bookmarkers? Unforgettable characters sticking between the pages of this gigantic book of life, just waiting for others to find us and smile? It’s no wonder we feel we carry the weight of the world . . . We do!

You guessed it. Bookmarks have been on my mind. I made some to donate as bingo prizes for a local elderly care center, and since then, I’ve gotten a bit obsessed.

I love that a bookmark can tell more story than the book itself:

Before you go, you might like to check out this fun site: Mirage Book Mark

Steven Spielberg said “Why pay a dollar for a bookmark? Why not use the dollar for a bookmark?” I say, “Why not use something priceless, such as yourself?”

Heaven Can Wait . . .

Stretching his hand out to catch the stars, he forgets the flowers at his feet.  — Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), English jurist, philosopher & legal reformer

The Memory of Dandelions
If tomorrow we lost
little suns at our feet.
Yellow till
white fairies danced.
White till
they quietly flew
skipping away
on the dew.
There’d be today
I’d wish you knew.

A Hole in the Box: One Shot Wednesday Poem

Thought I’d crawl out from my cold-gray-days induced hibernation and share my One Shot Wednesday poem.  Cuz when you’re feelin’ blue, no other color will do . . .

A Hole in the Box
 You let me wax.
Carnation Pink.  Blue Violet.
Gold and Sepia too.
You on the other page.
Outlined firmly.
Colored softly.
And Sipped Coffee (a color in my book).
Somehow growing up.
I colored my life.
Spring Green.  Magenta.
Midnight Blue.
Somehow growing old.
Still scribbling.
Granny Apple Green.
Now outlining.
Silver and Bittersweet.
Always looking.
Forever missing.
That perfect hue.
That Mary Evelyn Blue.


Cheap Easter Fun

Don’t throw away those pretty foil candy wrappers! Use them to make these colorful crosses with the kids on Easter afternoon:

  • White school glue (and a plastic lid or disposable container for your glue)
  • Foil candy wrappers – a mix of colors is the most fun
  • Wooden Popsicle sticks
  • Fat paint brushes  or just use your fingers (we did and it worked better than the brushes)
  • Large plastic bag or packaging to work on (plastic is nice because it won’t stick to your project)
  • Wet paper towels or baby wipes.
  • Optional: magnets to put on back.
  • Eat candy.
  • Save your wrappers, smoothing them flat (this is a little tough for preschoolers).
  • Tear wrappers into little strips or whatever shapes you like.
  • Stick your brush or fingers into the glue, then, one at a time, smear over strips and press onto 2 wooden sticks .  It doesn’t matter if you get glue on both sides of the wrappers.  It’s messy, but the glue dries clear.
  • Once the sticks are decorated, glue them together to form a cross.
I made these with my five-year old grandson.  He loved it, but it was difficult for him to press the wrappers all the way.  I helped him a bit, and then quickly decided his looked great even if not perfectly pressed down.
Your fingers will be full of glue!  But clean-up is easy.

Have a blessed Easter!


A (Salty Wisconsin) Spring in My Step

While much of the country is enjoying green grass and budding trees, us northerners are thrilled just to glimpse the geese flying bravely in the whipping March winds while we make mad dashes through our salt covered parking lots to our still frozen cars.  Salt is our friend all winter.  It keeps our roads and sidewalks safe.  It is the secret to outsmarting Cold Mother Nature.  But aside from all that important stuff, it drives us crazy with its ability to stick to e.v.e.r.y.thing.  In March, we’re so ready to wash away the salt and season our eyes with color once again.

The other day I did stop in the parking lot long enough to catch a few pictures of the lovely stuff.  Perfect material for a little Photoshop fun.  See the faded cracks?

So what’s under your feet this time of year?  Bet it would make great art . . .

I have a big life. I need a big purse. –poetgranny

I love a good purse.  Over the years, I’ve learned that shopping for a purse is really not as stressful as we sometimes make it.  The trick is knowing the features you absolutely insist upon.  My list:

  • Big & roomy.
  • Sturdy–no floppy walls!
  • Classy.
  • Strong straps-not too long or short.  Even better if adjustable.
  • Good sturdy lining in a dark color.
  • No cutsie features that add weight and/or take up valuable real estate(although the cute doll does come in handy for blog pics).
  • A top zipper to keep everything completely secure.
  • Of course, these demands can go out the window for a special ccasion.

I don’t have the time or patience to change my purse often so my strategy has always been to buy one good purse–not really pricey but reasonable quality.  I use it faithfully for a few months, sometimes for only weeks if the quality ends up being a disappointment, but always without emotional attachment.  This is a helpful attitude when it promptly goes bye-bye to Goodwill while I go shop for another one.

That said . . . big red purse, I love you!

I’m sure you have your own list.  Go forth and find your purse!  You might just find it at Artsy-Crafty Babe.  She makes beautiful purses, often using vintage fabrics.  Very chic and reasonably priced too.   I do get a bit envious every time she scores yet another stack of vintage sheets . . .  You’ll enjoy visiting with her even if you’re not after a purse at the moment.

Oh, did you like my big purse quote?  It’s my piggyback quote from Aretha Franklin: “I am a big woman.  I need big hair.”  (I can relate Aretha!  Although I’m a total loser at the big hair thing.  My hair just does what it wants.)  Do you have any piggyback quotes you’d like to share?  No?  I bet you could make one up.  Would love to hear from you!

Another Little Girl

Can you take yet another Photoshop girl?  I made her tonight, in honor of my daughter’s birthday.  So much fun I could stay up all night playing!

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