February 28, 2013

Handpainted Armoire

I have always had a thing for handpainted furniture (click HERE for over 100 examples).  It only then made sense to paint an armoire for my daughter to house her Barbie clothes and accessories.  Even though these days she is more interested in writing algorithms than playing with dolls, she and I still love her little house and the memories tucked inside. 

I bought the unfinished armoire at a big craft store and used inexpensive acrylic paint (the bottles that go on sale for three for a dollar).

Happy painting!


February 12, 2013

Vegan Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Soup

I made the yummiest soup for dinner, and could not wait another day to share the recipe with you.  My beloved described it as "KILLER!"  I know that eggplant soup sounds weird, but it truly was delicious.  

This morning I visited the Cluster to plan the menu for the next Community Meal.  If you are new to the blog, I cook for the homeless.  While there, I trash-picked an eggplant that I used to make this killer soup.  Okay, it was in a box headed to the dumpster so it wasn't technically in the trash - yet.  

Watching the documentary "Dive!" (Netflix) made us think about food waste.  The filmmaker and his friends dumpster dive in the back alleys and dumpsters of supermarkets in Los Angeles.  In the process, they salvage thousands of dollars worth of edible food.  Great guerrilla journalism.  You should watch it.

You can find more meatless recipes HERE.

Without further ado, Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Soup.


  • 1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 medium onion, diced medium 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I used the minced garlic in a jar from Costco) 
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper 
  • 1 can (15-ish ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I use the stuff in a carton)
  • Oregano (I didn't measure - sorry - but I would guess that I used 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 lime (or lemon), juiced (I had a lime, but a lemon would be just as tasty)
  • Dairy-free sour cream (Tofutti is FABULOUS!)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together eggplant, onion, garlic and 3 tablespoons of olive oilSeason with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet, leaving a wide strip of empty space at one end. In the same bowl, toss chickpeas with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Transfer to empty space on cookie sheet. Roast until eggplant is golden and cooked through and chickpeas are slightly crunchy, about 40 minutes. 

Set chickpeas aside. Add eggplant, onion, broth and oregano to a medium pot. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high. With a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon, mash about 3/4 of the eggplant until soup is thick and chunky. Stir in chickpeas - TASTE - then season with salt and pepper. Add juice from one lime (or lemon).  To serve, top with a healthy dollop of dairy-free sour cream.  YUM! 

Serving suggestion:  Serve with crusty bread.  We like the green olive bread topped with fresh rosemary and salt from Costco.  



February 8, 2013

Eco-Friendly Heart Crayon Necklaces

I will look for almost any excuse to use a power tool!  This morning I've been busy making eco-friendly heart crayon necklaces for a Valentine's Day classroom party.  Heart-shaped crayon necklaces are available in my Ivy Lane Designs Etsy shop.

Each heart crayon necklace is handcrafted from 100% recycled materials.  I travel around to elementary schools collecting their broken bits and pieces of crayons.    

Everything is repurposed, even the strings which are made from t-shirts.

Heart crayons are the perfect size (appx. 1.25" x 1.5" - or 3.175cm x 3.81cm) for little hands.  Each necklace comes individually packaged, six to a set, available in my Ivy Lane Designs Etsy shop HERE.

Lola (she was a showgirl) owns seven crayon heart necklaces, one for each day of the week.

Check out all of the super cool recycled crayons available at my Ivy Lane Designs shop HERE.

And, Happy Valentine's Day!


February 6, 2013

Crayon Cars :: Vroom Vroom Vroom!

Start your engines!  I am having the best time making these awesome crayon cars for my Ivy Lane Designs shop on Etsy.  The bright colors and cool car shape encourage children's creativity, and they're just downright FUN!  Vroom vroom vroom!  I wish I had these when I was a kid.

Available in gift boxed sets of six HERE:

 Or party packs of twenty HERE:

Happy coloring, and vroom vroom vroom!


February 2, 2013

My Favorite Glue

Once in a awhile I fall so in love with a craft product that I can't keep it to myelf.  My current love affair is with the ZIG 2-way glue pen.  My favorite glue for paper crafting, hands down.  It's wet adhesive that goes down blue and is permanent.  If allowed to dry, it becomes temporary (like a Post-It).  It's not runny and it doesn't make your fingers sticky.  Perfect for card making and scrapbooking. It's available at craft stores.  I bought mine at a Joann store using a coupon, natch.  You can also find it on amazon.com{I'm not a paid spokesperson ... just really like this stuff}

They come in different sizes.  For my barnyard crayon boxes, that I fill with paper hay and farm crayons, I use the jumbo tip and the fine tip.  I was able to finish 25 boxes, that will be heading to Mississippi, with one bottle of each and I still have glue left over.

Here's a finished crayon farm box, available at my Etsy shop, Ivy Lane Designs.  It's sure to spark any child's imagination!  Super cute barn, tractor, pig, horse, cow and rooster crayons are tucked inside a hand-decorated farm slider box. Each farm box includes paper hay, and measures appx. 4.75" x 2.6" x 1.25". Each box is a labor of love; a collage created from 16 little pieces of individually cut colored paper. Just the barn alone is comprised of seven separate bits. Read about them HERE

Here's a video that tells a little more about my favorite glue. 

Happy crafting!