Thursday, October 31, 2013

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater!!

This time of year, as the chill begins to fill the air, the leaves are turning color...(Only in my mind, of course, because I'm in Phoenix, and my cactus and palm trees don't change with the seasons)...I am lured into a warm, cozy state of mind.

Autumn brings along with its early sunsets, the promise of hearty foods and holiday treats, with every passing week. And this week I purchased two big pumpkins, thumped for hollowness in hopes of a great harvest of raw seeds to roast!

For as long as I can remember, my mother made these incredibly delicious and addictive roasted pumpkin seeds. Long before I knew how healthy they were, I was chewing down on handfuls of these scrumptious bits of magic!

The recipe was given to her by our dear family friend, Pat Lyons, who I love for many wonderful reasons, and these pumpkin seeds are way up there on my list! They are easy to make, other then the gooey mess you find yourself in, while you fish them out of the soggy fibrous guts of the pumpkin. 

But I promise you, you better make a big batch, because you aren't going to believe how delicious they are! They aren't even a distant relative to the nasty packaged ones available for purchase.

Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Makes: Approx. 1½ cups of seeds per large pumpkin

Several Organic Pumpkins to harvest for seeds (use pumpkin meat for soup or bread!)
Organic unsalted butter (2-3 T. for an entire skillet full of seeds, just enough to moisten, not drown)
Garlic powder.  
Onion salt
*Other variations of spices can be used for a completely different flavor, such as spicy seeds by adding cayenne pepper, or Cajun seeds using alternate seasoning. 

Clean pumpkin seeds from gooey pumpkin meat and fibers.  Rinse and soak seeds for 1 hour in cold water.  Drain seeds and dry with paper towels.  Spread onto a cookie sheet (or several if you’ve decided to make a large batch). Sprinkle seeds with salt and spread on cookie sheet to dry overnight. *This is very important. Do not skip this step!! Seeds must dry out before proceeding to next step. 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry seeds in butter (but do not drown…only a small amount of butter is necessary). Add seasonings to taste; continuing to cook for 4-5 minutes. 

Spread seeds onto a baking sheet and Bake in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes or until brown, dry and crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks….but they won’t last that long in my house!

*If necessary, crisp in broiler, watching carefully for 1-2 minutes…but I’ve never had to do it, as they have been crispy and delicious without needing time in the broiler.

Happy Halloween with Sugarplum Hugs!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bead " Perfume Bottle" Mania!!

Okay, I've got so many crafty irons in the fire right now I have to spill my guts or I'll explode. And we certainly don't need that, now do we?? No, of course we don't!

Here we have another  obsession that's hit my craft studio...
"Perfume Bottles" made from stacking various crystals, beads, baubles and trim. They can be made with jewelry crafting head pins, then finished with a wrapped loop at the top for hanging as 
charms or pendants, or they can simply be assembled and glued together using (my favorite) E6000 glue. (That stuff is amazing for gluing jewelry parts, rhinestones, dominoes, and all kinds of crafting goodies!)

They look great as focal beads on a vintage style necklace, or even better, standing on a small mirror base (sold at craft stores), just as would be done with real sized perfume bottles.

These bronze metallic Heart Crystal beads made lovely faux perfume bottles. I glued small metal medallions to the center of the heart and added a black crystal rhinestone to embellish it. I used a bead cap for the base of the "bottle" so it stands properly.

These little gems turned out looking like Genie Bottles to me, which made me fall in love with them all the more! I purchased all the beads at my local PHENOMENAL bead store, Beads Galore in Tempe, AZ where I have shopped for 30 years!! It is a family owned business and the most helpful, friendly people work there. 

You can find Beads Galore, International  HERE  online!

So, you are probably wondering, "Why on earth did she make so many of them?!!" And the answer would be...I felt I wasn't INSANE enough already. with holiday gifts to finish, and Hannukah & Christmas only weeks away! So I joined a swap in a wonderful Art Charms group that I recently joined. 

As a matter of fact, I'm not sure how it happened, except for a bunny trail of crumbs that led to a neat Altered Charm swap I participated in via one of the blogs I follow...but I can't remember which one now :/ 

Anywhoo, suddenly, magically, I was invited into a new Art Charms group on Facebook (with a branch in Yahoo Groups), and now I'm being sucked down the rabbit hole!! (But don't rescue me, it's okay...I'm having so much fun!) it's a fabulous group of ladies that I'm enjoying getting to know in a marvelously crafty way.

So these little bottles will be finding their way to my new friends in the next few weeks! Below you can see how I have packaged them on custom printed cards, tied through punched holes with some ribbon or string. I just LOVE the modern capabilities I have with my printer...I was definitely born in an incredibly opportune slice of life (as are you), no doubt!! 

I put my "right-click" feature to good use on the computer! As long as you aren't selling it, it's not illegal to use a photo or artwork that is freely published on the internet, for your own personal use (at least that's what I've been told...). It's easy to print up images on 
cardstock, or design your own, to use for display and gifting.

I just love how they turned out, and I'm looking forward to see what my swap partners do with them! I will post photos of the treasures that I receive, as soon as they arrive in late November.

Until then, I hope you enjoy seeing these other lovely examples of Artisan crafted Bead "Perfume Bottles"...

(I will put the links to these as I locate them!)

With Sugarplum Hugs,


Up, Up & Away...Halloween Style!

It's the season for Spooktacular Adventures...

Can you imagine anything more terrifying then flying around it a Creep-tastic Hot Air Balloon?!! I can't!! You will never...ever...EVERRRR....get me up into a hot air balloon how, so don't even bother to try...I'll kick and scratch you until your eyes bleed, I'm warning you!!

But somehow, the terrifying notion is much more palatable in  Altered Art Mixed Media form. Check out this incredibly detailed Halloween Hot Air Balloon by Laura Carson (

She provides a FREE VIDEO TUTORIAL plus free printable templates to assist your craftiness. Alpha Stamps sponsors her blog, and makes available to purchase, custom craft image sheets that 
Laura has designed to accompany her projects.

If you have been following my blog for any time, you must be thinking, "Deanne must have a vested interest because she's ALWAYS showing projects from Laura Carson at Artfully Musing" but I assure you, I get nothing but creative inspiration from Laura! It's a mad crazy obsession, bordering on stalking! Lol. I am just SO INCREDIBLY INSPIRED by her artwork...and her tutorials are FREE which makes me love her even more!!

As a matter of fact, she is so inspiring, that she has taken my "least favorite" celebration (Halloween), and turned it into one of my favorites now...almost!

Have you seen her Halloween Carnival yet?!!!

Have Fun Exploring!!

With SPOOKY Sugarplum Hugs!


Alice's Adventures...

Alice in Wonderland touches a very impressionable spot in my imagination...I'm not sure if it's the crazy mayhem or the wild characters that suck me in, but either way, the creative genius of that tale absolutely enraptures me.

How I somehow managed to miss Laura Carson's post in April of this astounding creation, "We Are All Mad Hare", I cannot imagine?!! (

Laura's Scrapbook "Shrine" Mad Tea Party is Spectacular!!

This is the kind of stuff that almost makes me think I'm a "Scrapbooker"...but I know better! It's the "ScrapCrafting" that floats my ever-lovin boat!!

I found the Wonderland Rabbit charm (used above and painted with accents) at Hobby Lobby last year, so I have a head start!!

Enjoy the inspiration!!

With Sugarplum Hugs and Fairytale Dreams!!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Acorn, Acorn...Who's Got the Acorn?!!

I just LOVE these Polymer Clay covered glass jars that have been turned into Acorn lights!! 
(Made by Beth Petricoin)

A small battery operated tea light provides the warm glow...
I could see these sitting on my dining room table for the holidays!!

Just thought I'd share this with you as inspiration!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Magnificent Miniature Teddy Bears!

Collection of Miniature Bears by Deanne Crim
(Ranging in size from 1/2" to 4" tall)

For those of you who have just climbed onto my "Crazy Train", you would have no way of knowing that Miniature Teddybear-making has consumed much of my creative endeavors for 30 years.

"Miss Purdee Pleez" a Splendid 4" fully-jointed bear with Skunk Stole, 
Teddy Bear Purse, & seven 1" micro-mini bears on her Straw Bonnet.
Copyright 2000 Deanne Crim

My love of tiny things has already been discussed briefly, (however not for the last time, I can assure you of that!) Teddybears are loved by children everywhere, no doubt, but you may be unaware of the adults worldwide that collect, adore, even obsess over. Yes, I mean full-on obsession, including walking stroller-fulls of stuffed bears parading through a Bear & Doll show as if they were toting their toddlers on a family event. But don't have me committed quite yet, I am NOT one of those kind of Teddybear obsessed people...I am of the Art-Obsessed division...Miniature Bears, to be exact!

There is something absolutely magical about holding a perfectly tiny miniature teddy bear that captures my heart. I saw my first tiny teddy at a miniature show in 1983, and I was blown away. In those days I couldn't afford a $35 toy, so I set out on an educational quest (I can feel that same creative electricity flowing through me just telling you about it!). 

I went to my local library (before the convenience of the internet), and checked out a book on big 
Teddybear making, since no miniature source existed in those days. I miniaturized the procedures and the patterns and set to hand sewing the tiny pattern pieces. In a matter of days, my first bear was sitting in the palm of my hand.

"If good things come in small packages, then surely, a tiny Teddybear is the best of all!"
~Deanne Crim

"Pipsqueak" 1" fully-jointed miniature Teddybear by Deanne Crim
copyright 1997 D.Crim

In 1990, after meeting a new Teddybear artist friend while standing in line to enter a Teddybear Exhibition Show & Convention in Chicago, Judy Wahl, we got to talking about making miniature bears. We lamented on the elusive materials, the lack of educational information, and we schemed at blowing the lid off of Miniature Teddybear crafting "Secrecy"!

By the following Tuesday afternoon, I had my notes and outline in place. S.M.A.L.L. (The Society of Miniature Arctophiles Loving & Learning) was born! For approx 8 years I published a newsletter with patterns, tips, resources, club activities, contests, swaps, and our infamous SMALL Teddybear Tea Party Workshop Retreats. Our SMALL family thrived!

When the internet was born, everything changed. Some for the better, some not so much. Our SMALL Society became too pricey to continue in it's latter form, so I took a wild shot, and started a SMALL Yahoo Group in 2000 (I think?!!)

 It wasn't long before many of our SMALL members found their way back, as well as many others. Though our activities have never reached the peak of participation, as in the old days, we are able to keep out tiny Teddybear lifeline available. There have been many copycat clubs, but none that have had the extraordinary impact that S.M.A.L.L. had on the Teddybear world.

"Cozy Walnut Cradle" 1" jointed bear cuddling in a Walnut Shell
By Deanne Crim 

Several years ago I completed the draft for a Miniature Teddybear making book. It is the culmination of many years of designing miniature patterns and characters. Unfortunately I did the entire layout on my PC computer, which subsequently died on me...NO, I didn't have adequate backup...don't scold me! So I redid the entire book...PHEW! But THEN....OH NO!! I got a Mac and all my PC files were scrambled...UGH! So I am currently reformatting all the pattern layouts so I can finally make them available for sale ( my Etsy shop that has sat empty since it's creation three years ago!). I think I will be separating them for individual sale, though, instead of in book format.
I'll keep you posted on my progress...

So here is a little preview of some patterns that I will be making available for sale
(hopefully in the not-too-distant future!!

Wishing you Tiny Teddybear Treasures...
And Big Sugarplum Hugs!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Its Time For Mason Jar MANIA!

I'm a bit obsessed with Mason Jar Crafts....(okay now, be nice!) 
Actually, my list of obsessions is lengthy, so we'll skip the psychoanalysis for now...

I LA-LA-LA-LOVE Mason Jars. For canning, for collecting, for crafting...they get me giddy! 
(Okay, please stop making fun of me, or I'll go home!)

So imagine my excitement this morning when I received my latest blog update...
Go check it out! There are some inspiring bloggers hosting it, 
and it looks to be a fun time to be had, for sure!!

As for my own jar crafts, it extends well beyond Mason jars....(think obsession!)
You probably won't be shocked to know that in my craft closet there is a big box of
old bottles and jars that I've recycled from my kitchen, instead of throwing them in the trash to eventually end up adding to the overburdened garbage dump! And YES, I might as well come clean right husband thinks I've lost my ever-crafting mind!! Please don't remind him about the stacks and stacks of Mason Jar cases that top my kitchen cabinets up to the ceiling...I had hoped when I unearthed them from the storage unit, and stacked them on top of the cabinets,
that he wouldn't notice...but I was wrong...(Yes, I know...I've fallen off into the deep end!!)

But back to the important stuff...Mason Jars!!

So let me tell you....

Last Spring (2012), I hosted a "Happily Ever After" Luncheon for my Special Baseball Girls...
"What?!!" You say, "Baseball Girls?!! What's that?!!"
Well, it's this....

You see, I am very fortunate, although I have no daughters of my own, (My two amazing sons will have to do!). I live an extraordinary life that has brought many wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, generous, enlightened, inspiring young women into my life.

My husband is a pitching coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and has been with them for 7 years, first as a scout, then as a minor league coach, and now, he has just completed his first season back in the Major Leagues as the bullpen coach. He pitched in MLB for many years, with the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, and California Angels
(NOT the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim...which is in Orange County, NOT Los Angeles SHEESH! Marketing "geniuses", right?!!)


The special bonds that we create in our unusual vagabond lifestyle, is not only important for emotional support and encouragement to survive the mayhem that professional sports can muster, but the "Baseball Family" that we become is invaluable in so many ways. And for that, I am grateful!

As a coaches wife, things are a bit different. It's more of a "side-line" view than a "participatory" one, but there is a great sense of mentorship, as I try to help the young wives, fianc├ęs, and girlfriends, navigate their way through the minefield of stress, emotions,
and responsibilities that come with the
lifestyle commitment.

What I've found has been a personal treasure!
Though minor league relationships and girlfriends come and go,
they seem to live on forever in my heart!!
I've gathered them like precious charms on a bracelet that I will cherish for a lifetime!!
My Incredible "Daughters" are all adopted into my heart, instead of born through my womb!

And so....

To celebrate the half dozen weddings that had taken place that previous off- season, during Spring Training while our men were off playing on the grass, getting stinky like boys will do....
We had a lovely luncheon, and I made "Happily Ever After" Jars for each of the girls.

It was a great surprise for the girls, and a small token of my love for them to take with them.
To make them, I shaped a heart "stand" out of 16 gauge wire, forming a loop at the top center to hang a photo), then using 26gauge cream colored wire (from I crocheted a Lacey edging around the heart. I glued a circle of craft moss to the inside bottom, then simply placed the heart with double-sided cut-out photo hanging inside. I trimmed the jar lid with silk flowers, Crystal bead accents, and encircled the jar lid edge with 1/2" trim to decorate. I used my metal stamping alphabet, on tin circles (purchased at Joann Crafts) with each person's last name, to take the personalization over the top!

And now....

My current Jar Art Project for the holiday season, is a field of fabulous SNOWMEN!!!
(I'm posting some examples from other artists & hobbyists, to hold you over until mine are finished and ready to photograph, okay?!!)

So...what'd 'ya say??

With Big Sugarplum Hugs!