His Best Gift

Easter greetingsWe repurpose and transform products and pieces of products.  We recycle, rip apart, and rebuild to make something better, more beautiful and useful.

Sometimes a gift is not to our liking and it sits there unused, or you donate, toss away, or regift.

Today you get His Best Gift!
May the promise of Easter fill your heart
with peace and joy!


Easter Greetings From the Peeps and Me

rabbit ears, colorful peeps, and Easter greeting

Hope Your Easter is Happity, Hoppity, Warm, and Chocolatey.
God Bless Each and Every One of You.

Happy Easter from Gloria.  

Easter Treat Turn Fabric Scraps Into Pretty Egg Cozies and Make a Burlap Egg Cup With a Paper Tube

decorate for Easter and keep your eggs warm and cozy
Ways to Dress Up Your Eggs or Keep Them Warm
I have for you today a quick and easy Easter inspired craft using bits 'n pieces of ribbons and trims from my, "all mixed up scrap fabric drawer." No matter how many times I have organized it, the drawer always produces a Treasure Hunt.  I think I like that sense of discovery! Can we not say, "Hoarder!"

This quick and easy diy also requires an empty toilet paper/tissue roll or other paper/cardboard roll, such as Waxed Paper, Foil, etc.  

If you were with me a few months ago, I wrote about my adventure in sewing a Rosary Case. Well, it was time to climb that mountain again, the sewing machine mountain.  I successfully scaled it!  Of course, the thread came out of the needle a few times and I didn't have to change the bobbin on this project, so I may have just escaped the usual mountaineering accidents.  On to the project...

upcycle tp roll use ribbon trims sew felt

The image is pretty self explanatory, don't you love that expression, it's kind of irritating, but anyway-

For the Cup:

Cut an empty toilet paper roll in half or thirds. Eyeball the burlap by wrapping it around the paper roll and cut to fit. Use glue or gluestick to attach burlap to roll.  Cut out your trims and glue them on; allow to dry and then you have a nifty Easter Egg Cup.

For the Cozy:

The felt egg cozy uses two pieces of felt, cut the same size, approximately a three inch wide semi-circle.  Three inches wide at the straight edge. This will fit a large or xl egg.  Go to two inches wide for a small or medium egg.  I prefer not too snug, so made them larger.

I sewed along the outside, so there are no turned seams. Hand sewing is also a good option. Then for personalization or frippery, glue or sew on ribbons and your trims.

Now I'm inspired to find my egg cups and buy some new ones, maybe a thrift store discovery, too.  Soft boiled eggs in a cup, how nice on a cold morning.

If you eat eggs, what's your favorite way to cook and eat them?  If you don't eat eggs what's your favorite breakfast?  

EDIT:  Wanted to share this in case any one is wondering how to get the frayed edge on the burlap without all the edge coming undone:  Snip one single strand of the burlap weave and then pull it up/or down and off the piece you are working with. That's it.  Enjoy and Happy Easter!

She Sells Seashells at the Seashore, Painting Over a Memory

To heck with the natural look, I put a couple of coats of metallic paint on these seashells. Use a stiff brush to get into the grain and swirls.  Look at the textures of your seashells, if you have any.  They are fascinating up close.  Forget that seashells are the houses lived in by the creatures, you may have eaten them!  LOL

gold and silver seashells and incomplete mixed media canvasMy usual practice is leaving things looking natural, but these are very old shells from my childhood days on the Jersey Shore.  They aren't in perfect condition and there was some discoloration.  I decided I may use them as props in photos or display with my collection of Sand Castles and other seashells.  Two coats of paint just about made them look like something in a fancy schmancy store jewelry case.

The paint didn't make my wistfulness for walking on the beach and running in the waves disappear.  One day I hope to leave footprints on a beach, okay, maybe not footprints in these polluted times, but sandal prints.  I could live dangerously and roll the slacks up to my knees and kick about in the water in the cold autumn winds.  If it's warmer, picture me in a sundress, that's my style, too.

There's also a canvas in progress on the desk.  At this point there are 3 or 4 layers and I hope it will have the finished look I am imagining when it is all done.  All you can see in the image is the wet glue and a star peeking through.  There are more layers, glazes, and embellishments to apply before it is ready to be mailed.  

What's your attachment to childhood collections?  Rocks, shells, toys, books, ...?

Your Blank Canvas One Dish Meal for Lent or Anytime

Deep in the heart of winter I made this one dish meal a few times using slightly different ingredients.  It's so easy to make and you just season it according to what your tastebuds prefer.  Just because it's almost Spring and Lent is almost over, doesn't mean this is too heavy to eat, not yet anyway. 

It's a little more browned than I like, but still tasted very good.

Half a bag of Frozen Shredded Potatoes (from a bag about 22 ounces or a bit larger bag)
Thawed Peas and Carrots, about a cup or however many you like  
1 or 2 tins of your preferred Tuna or Salmon, Drained
Shredded Cheese, your favorite, about 4-6 ounces, or a full 8 ounce bag if you like more.

Seasonings I Used                                                   

Minced Garlic
Onion Powder

Your Choice of Liquid  Enough to Mix all Ingredients together, but NOT make it soupy.

Cream or Half and Half or Milk    (I used Lactose Free Milk)
You'll need about 8 ounces, depending on if you use all the ingredients listed.
Add more milk if mixture is too stiff.  


Bread Crumbs

healthy cheese potato tuna hearty meal
All mixed and ready for the oven.
Preheat Oven to 400F

Take out your Casserole Dish and set it aside.
Either mix all the ingredients in the Casserole Dish or in a bowl and pour into the Casserole.
Top with breadcrumbs and Paprika.

Bake for about an hour until you see it bubbling throughout.  Check the center of the meal with a knife, if it's hot, then you're good to go, otherwise cook longer.  I found making it with all these ingredients, it took close to an hour and a half.

Some people might like to leave out the Tuna and Veg, this will make it cook quicker.  You could add diced ham or cooked and crumbled sausage, whatever strikes your fancy.  This is like a blank canvas, you have the basics, just add your own touches. 

Are you hungry yet?   What's your favorite comfort food?

If the Calendar Says Spring

If the calendar says it is Spring, it must be springlike weather somewhere.  As I write this, it's 18F and it has snowed through blustery winds, both big flakes and little ones off and on for the past few days.  The flakes drifted down, covered car windows, and then disappeared in a mysterious way.  It's too cold to  melt, so where does snow go when  you aren't watching?

warm spring scene art card new end studioThere is hope for Spring returning as there are signs of it in the neighborhood.  Birds have come back and are serenading me from about 4:30am until mid-day and then they take a break, where they fly to, I don't know.  Maybe they are having a snooze or collecting food and building up the old nests.

Sitting down with tea and something to read, I settle in to hear the birds start gossiping once again.  Their music is beautiful.

Except for one bird who faithfully scratches his bony toes over a chalkboard and screeches, that's what he sounds like.  He does this every day at 2pm.  Every day.  He continues for an hour or so, you can't tune him out.  So annoying.  Wish I could get him to a bird relocator and place him in a different neighborhood this year.

The Aceo Challenge Blog requested theme this month is Think Spring, so here is my card.   Everyone is welcome to participate, you have until March 31 to submit your aceo.    

Mixed Media Wall Cabinet for Altered Oz 2013

Now that it is finished, here is the reveal of the wall cupboard, or is it cabinet? This is my mixed media and anything that was lying around was fair game that could be glued or painted and affixed to the interior "cabinet."  

closeup of shelves New End Studio Celebrate Oz 2013First is a closeup of two of the three shelves I made over for Celebrate Oz, the Altered Oz blog hop.

I pinky promise that all the photos were resized, tidied up, exposures fixed, etc., etc., and yet the photos are not as good as they can be.  It's one of those unexplainables.  If you see holes, that's the open holes for the screws to hang this cabinet on the wall.  I didn't have time to hang it up before taking the photos.  You can enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Linda Oma's of Olde Baggs 'n Stuft Shirts  is the Ringleader for this fun event.  Last year I participated and if you want to see the art and jewelry I made for that, just read this post.    This year the theme for Celebrate Oz is, "Altered Oz."  You can interpret that any way you like, so I went just a teensy bit to the dark side, not too much, no scary parts, at least I don't think it's scary- odd, maybe, scary, nyet.  This altered art is making me Russian, what????

close up bottom shelf 2013 altered oz New End Studio
Anyway, here is a closeup of the bottom shelf:

I decided I will put some of Lucy's paraphernalia in the cabinet, so there are just a few doggie type bits, although you could consider these a nod to Toto.

Magazine and newspaper clippings, ribbons, scrapbook embellishments, beads, curtain rings, rubber rings, fuzzy balls, and more are all inside the cupboard.  

For the door I used several layers of paint, glitter glue, ribbons, paint pen, and laundry marker. I took last year's clip art  and painting and made a color copy and then just accented those.

Celebrate Oz 2013 mixed media wall cabinet New End Studio
Wall cupboard in Mixed Media for the Altered Oz event,
March 2013.
Altered Oz 2013 New End Studio mixed media cupboard

I was going to embellish the shelf edges and the back of the door, but I soon discovered that the door wouldn't close if there was anything with any thickness on it/them.  It will stay like this until I figure out what to fill in the open spaces on the door.

The cabinet was originally a stock oak type cabinet which I painted three times and sanded in between each coat of paint.  The door has a mirror on the outside which I left intact.  When it's hung on the wall, no one will no what evil/weirdness/altered universe lurks inside.  

There are about 30 plus bloggers participating in the Altered Oz  event.  I'm going to enjoy clicking through that list and visiting the others.

I've tried to end this post with a question for you as I usually do, but this is stumping me tonight as I write this on the eve of Celebrate Oz.  I'll say instead, "Take care and watch out for yourselves as you walk forward on life's YELLOW BRICK ROAD!"

Four Words From My Friendly Furry Sponsor

inspiration rule live first blog later

Do you get this message sometimes?  "Live first, Blog later."   Maybe it is all the busyness catching up with you or appointments to keep.   Household chores, errands, cleaning, cooking, ...    All the normal things usually taking up your time, before you ever get to put brush in hand, or needle in thread, or beads on a wire... and then to blog about it. 

I manage to have a nearly tech-free Sunday each week.  Well, I try to anyway.  For me, it is necessary to give my eyes a rest and my brain a chance to focus on other things than whatever is on the computer screen.

I try refreshing my soul and nourishing my  heart towards the bigger picture.  I am not always successful.  If I turn the tv on and see chaos, corruption, and brutality- well, there goes any refreshment I was seeking.  

Putting on music, or just listening to the birds sing,  to get that quiet feeling, for me the house needs to be almost silent, that is nearly impossible to secure.  Why did it used to be so easy to tune-out the static and buzz, even just a few years ago.  The older I get, the quicker time passes, the more fragile life's balance has become front and center.  There is no escaping, it was always like that, but becoming aware is a blessing, I suppose.

What about you?  Do you tune out the chatter and buzz on any given day?  Does it help you to focus or feel renewed and energized?    


When You Get a Bouquet, Say Yes

Take a look at the left sidebar.  Not the top, keep going?    (ETA:  Skip this part, the image was removed, but you can still see it down in the post.)   Do you see it?  Say, "Yes, I see it."  Got it?  I know you do.  Flowers,  gorgeous inventions.  We wouldn't have so many perfumes without flowers.

midwest snow New End Studio
Every so often I buy myself a bouquet of flowers.  Sometimes they are big and bright, other times they are soft and muted.  When I'm in the store, even if I don't buy, I always take a glance at the assortment.  Sometimes I walk right up to the flower display and smile.  I just can't help it.  Bouquets of flowers are awesome, especially in the long midwest winter.

The last bouquet was all miniature carnations.  I'd never seen those before, they just made me take them home.  They were so perky and petite and practically jumped into the cart.  These minis conjured up images of tea parties and teddy bears with dolls and my grass, leaf, and twig salads.  Even as a young girl I knew one day I'd be eating the green stuff!

They are darn hardy flowers, too.  I had them for almost three weeks, I really enjoyed them.  They brightened each day for me.  As the life for the bunch was ending I wanted to do something other than drying them out to remind me of their gift to me.  Not a gift as in, I bought them, but a gift of their scent, colors, liveliness, and company.  Divinity and Nature from the Original Creator.

There you have it.   Take the petals off the flower head and save all the best parts of the stem and buds.  Once you start pulling or cutting off the petals you'll see other parts of the flower that weren't visible before.  Such as little green softnesses, yes I made that word up, and thin stringy moist shapes- all those things that go into making a flower so special and amazing and it didn't even need any help from us to be so beautiful.

I put the petals in a large bowl and the stems in a separate container as it made it easier to sort and select.  Put some background down, I used colored cardstock.  Arrange your letters using the petals and the other flower parts as you like.  Keep wagging tails out of the area or your petals will go flying off the paper!  (Lucy likes to be in on the action.)

March 10 is the three year anniversary for the blog.  I said yes to this endeavor, and hope to continue as long as I am able and the technology exists.  It (technology) changes so fast, doesn't it?

I want to say that you are my Vitamin G: girlfriends, blogfriends, readers, commenters, a bouquet of varied and colorful souls; and I appreciate each and every one!
Thank you for your energy, jokes, gifts, and sharing this space with me.
You make this blog smell better!

When you have the choice, if at all possible,
New End Studio flower message


Question:  What's your favorite once in a while treat you give yourself?

Sneak Peek for Celebrate Oz, Who IS Behind the Mirror?

Take an ordinary wall cupboard, paint it, sand it, repeat two more times.  At the last moment before you stencil and paint some more, have a brainstorm while laying in bed late at night, so that you can't get up and make noise while working on said brainstorm.

This cupboard has been travelling with me since at least two house moves before where I now live.  I think it used to be in a powder room, but I can not say for sure, it may have been elsewhere. I decided to do something with it.

Altered Oz is the theme of Celebrate Oz, the blog hop where we will be revealing our projects on March 15.  See the button on the right side bar? It's not too late to join us.

Last year for Celebrate Oz I had nine projects including earrings, necklace with pendant, an aceo (pocket art), two paintings, and three painted clip arts on paper. Check out that post HERE.

By the way, that brainstorm?  I didn't use it, I'm on a totally different tangent.  Must follow the Yellow Brick Road wherever it leads me.  At least until the scary apple trees start throwing their fruit.  That part of the original Wizard of Oz used to scare me (along with the flying monkeys), but I could see that the trees were rooted and they couldn't follow Dorothy and friends plus Toto, so they were not SO scary after all.

Did anything scare you in the Wizard of Oz?

Cookies! Easy Candy and Cake Rolo Cookies

Over the Christmas holiday I tried  making the Rolo Cookie recipe that apparently, most people knew about, but I only discovered back in December.  I kept stumbling across blog post after blog post, from college age people, to young moms, and so on and they were all making the Rolo cookies and had been making them for  years.  Well, okay, I am definitely not a member of the Cookie Clique.  If you are, skip this post and come back on the 10th, next Sunday at 10 am EST. Or before, too.

4 ingredient cookie recipe
A few ingredients for this
chocolately good cookie.

For the rest of us newbies, here is the recipe, but my disclaimer is I didn't follow it- No Surprise.



1 Box of Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 Eggs
1/3 cup of oil, usually Canola Oil
Rolos unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet or use a non-stick sheet.

Put cake mix, eggs, and oil in a bowl and mix until well blended. It will be a dough consistency, not batter.

Take a piece of dough, flatten it then put a Rolo in the
center and close up the dough around the Rolo.

Place about 2 inches apart and Bake 8-10 minutes.

This is supposed to make 4 dozen.  It made 14, that's almost 3 dozen less than promised.  The dough was way too thick.  I even added water to try and thin it out.  Afterwards,  I checked various sites and they all had the same list of ingredients without water or other thinning liquids.  You can see the result on a cooling rack in this post about the Cranberry Sugar Cookies.

In the image you see the two toned candies.  I used mint chocolate candies in some and Rolos in others.  You must chop up the harder chocolates as they will not melt!  Delicious, but you need beaver teeth to gnaw away at a hunk of chocolate like that.  Funny and true!

Analysis:  I wouldn't make these again unless there was a way to make more than 15.  Maybe I'll try again and add more water to the mix.  I would definitely try a different candy, maybe some kind of softer mint, as I like the chocolate mint cookie rather than the chocolate caramel cookie.

Did you ever make these?   What was your result?  Do you see a liquid ingredient missing or not?