Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ghosts, Goblins, Goodies and a Gel Press®

Hello.  Today I am sharing with you a sweet Halloween shadow box I designed for this month's Designer Crafts Connection Blog Hop, in collaboration with Gel Press®.

Here is my project:

To make this project I used:

                                              Gel Press® reusable printing plate (available here)
                                              Re-purposed tissue paper
                                              Re-purposed cardboard sticker box (Dollarama)
                                              Masking tape
                                              DecoArt™ Gesso (black), Acrylic Craft paints, and DecouPage
                                              Ad tech™ Hot Glue Gun, and Glue sticks
                                              K&Company (EKSuccess) Halloween Embellishments
                                              Stickers (Dollar Tree)
                                              Cotton swabs (Dollarama)

I used the Gel Press® reusable gel printing plate to create the print I used in the background of the box.

To see how I made the project you can view the video by following this link:


Visit the Gel Press® blog here: to see other great projects made by the Design Team, including Me!

Thank you for stopping by, and please check out all the other wonderful projects made by the other participating Designers this month.

Ann Strecko Koeman **You are here

For even more ideas and links, check out the Gel Press Facebook page!  Enjoy!

**I am an Amazon Associate, and will receive monetary compensation for purchases made through the links on  this page.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back to School and the Basics with a Gel Press® Blog Hop

**Sponsored Post**Today's How To is all about using packing tape, a Gel Press® reusable printing plate, and paint.  With these three things, I will show you how you can have fun making some cute embellishments and bookmarks.

                                                        Planner/Dashboard for Planner

                                            Recycle a piece of clear plastic from packaging.

                                  Pull a tape print, glue to plastic, punch holes, and decorate.

View this quick video to see the technique:

With all the kiddos heading back to school, Gel Press ® thought we should take you back to the basics!  Please visit each blog for an idea or technique that you may not have seen before!  Happy Hopping!

Gel Press 
Ann   (Here)

Mixed Media Art Quilt with Fabric Elements

Today I have an Art Quilt I made using a product called: Fabric Elements.My  project is part of a collaboration with other Designers belonging to the group: Designer Crafts Connection.

There will be a giveaway. Readers may enter to win by posting a comment on  this blog (below) and the DCC blog (here) then entering via the Rafflecopter widget. on the DCC blog.

Fabric Elements™ "Inspiring the art of mixed media".  Is a product Designed by Rebekah Meier for Fabric Editions, Inc.  The mini Paper Quilt Kit stitch-N-Tear® Technique received the 2015 CHA Award.  The kit includes Osnaburg (fabric), Batting, Textured Foam Sheet, Stitch-N-Tear® sheet, Printed tissue paper, EZ-Steam™ II sheet, a Stencil, Lace, Beads, Sponge, and Easy -to-follow instructions.  Each Designer was given this product and asked to create whatever we wanted.  How fun is that?

In addition to the above-mentioned kit I used some Metallic and Acrylic craft paints from Testors.

I used some tiny drops of 3-IN-1 Glue from Beacon.
I also used black thread, my sewing machine, and some beads from my stash.

Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DIY Pretty Paper Lunch Bags with Gel Press®

**Sponsored Post**
Go Back to School in STYLE!  Decorate your lunch bags in a fun and creative way.

 Hi, and welcome to a quick and easy how to.  Today I am sharing with my viewers and the viewers over at the Gel Press® blog, how I make colourful and wild prints on regular plain paper bags.  You may remember my experiment with coffee filters (see here), now I am still in the kitchen but with a different product.

Paper Lunch Bags
Gel Press® 5" x 7" reusable Gel Printing Plate
DecoArt Andy Skinner Tornado Stencil 8" x 8" (20.3 x 20.3 cm) ANDY106
DecoArt Americana® Neons Acrylic Paints (Torrid Orange, Electric Blue, Thermal Green, Scorching Yellow)
1.5" inch chipboard circle (Mask)

The full instructions are all ready for you over on the Gel Press® blog (click here).

I would love to see what other kitchen products you can come up with to use with your own Gel Press®!

Thank you for stopping by, and Remember:  You can't use up Creativity.  The more you use it the more you have.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dollar Store Deals, Videos, and DIY"S

Back to School requires a lot of preparations, including shopping.
DIY's on the deals I find during my shopping trips to Dollar stores, including Dollar Tree and Dollarama, are gaining popularity it seems.  The haul videos are being viewed more than the how to's?  I find that interesting.  I hope that my video posts not only entertain but inform my viewers.

I am glad that I am gaining more subscribers, and possible followers.  Must I be doing something right? LOL.

Please go check out my channel on YouTube: Annmakes.  You can view my crazy hauls in addition to some how to's and DIYs.  If you subscribe to my channel, you will be notified when I post a new video.  If you have any comments, and suggestions, please let me know.

"Creativity is Contagious.  Pass it on."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Knitting Loom Review

*The Leisure Arts® Oval Knitting Loom was given to me to try by the Leisure Arts® company.  Given that I am a lover of handmade, all things crafty, and just plain creative I was game.  Now, mind you I would not proclaim myself to be the world's greatest knitter or crocheter.  However, I do know the fundamental basics of both, and I have done many projects.  I also own other looms which I have either learned to like or not like so much!  I can honestly report that I do like the Oval Looms by Leisure Arts.  It is easier to knit on this model of a loom.  The oval shape for some reason is just simpler to hold and manipulate.  I cannot explain the ergonomics behind this, but I just know  I like it, I like it!
The Ultimate Oval Loom Kit(sku# 47833) comes with two looms, a stitching tool (pick), and a book.  It's a 48-page book, not a booklet by the way!  It is full of well written and explained instructions with many clear photographs, and includes links to videos on the company's sites.

I have to admit that my first attempt at creating a project on the larger oval loom was a fail.  In pictures, it looks beautiful.  In real life, though. Well, let's just say I have yet to find the giant with the enormous head that would wear my hat!  LOL.  Full disclosure:  I either knit too tightly or too loose,  95% of the projects I attempt usually require a start over and many gauge samples.

The oval loom is a breeze and a joy to use, once I mastered proper tension.  If you are like me and have weakness in your hands or wrists, this is the tool for you.  My hands tend to cramp up during long knitting sessions with regular needles.  Using the oval loom has helped me to enjoy my hobby for a longer time.
A work in progress.

                                                               Knitting is complete.

                                                   Gathering up the stitches to close the hat.
                                                             All the stitches are secure.

                                                            Time to pull that opening close.

Thank you for visiting.  Please leave me a comment, and any questions below.  Remember: "Creativity is contagious.  Pass it on." (Albert Einstein  said that)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer Studio

**Not a sponsored post

Hello.  How does one enjoy our short summers when one has to work in a one windowed basement studio?  The answer:  move outside.  Short of actually setting up a tent in my backyard to be able to enjoy some beautiful weather still while working, I did the next best thing.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have been cleaning up and Redoing my "Florida Room" (that's what the real estate broker called it)  screened porch into my temporary Summer studio.  See the video here (

                                           A before view, commencement of hosing down.

It is still a work in progress as life is keeping me occupied with, well, life!  The room consists of one expansive wall of tall screens about 12 feet high and 30 feet long.  There is a door to go outside to the backyard as well.  The east and west end of the room are accessible through two of the house's bedrooms via French doors.  The center of the north wall is available from the main part of the house via sliding glass doors in our primary living area.  So this room is visible from the entire dwelling and allows us a great view of the woods at the edge of our property.  The light that comes into the house all year long is incredible and helps make our gloomy winters less gray.

The room has a ceiling that is the roof overhang, so it is already partially insulated.  Three of the walls are the outside of the house.  There is electricity, and running water too.  The floor is carpet over a poured concrete base. So it's a great room for three seasons.

 Mind you here in this northern hemisphere of a freezer our winters officially begin December 20th or so and go until March.  However, in reality, Winter sometimes starts as early as October and may linger into May.  Ugghhh!  It gets cold here ok.  Like freezing.  When we get to minus 30, it doesn't matter if its metric or imperial!!!  There is no way I can have my studio set up permanently in there, as everything would freeze up.  We have to turn off the water by October just in case the water in the pipes would freeze outside.  But I love this room and want to enjoy it as much as possible.  So every spring I clean it up and set up my temporary studio and office space in it.  It is a lot of work because of all the dust, and pollen that accumulates on all of the surfaces and that need to be cleaned up.  As luck would have it, this year was an exceptional year for the sticky yellow pollen that sticks to everything.  The season began early and lasted up into the last few days of June!  I had to clean this room more than three times from top to bottom before I could do any painting.

Some before pictures of the yucky dirt:

                      Another BeforePicture. So much dust, pollen, and tired looking furniture.

The Make Over Begins:
                                         Having the "Right" tools for the job makes it easier.

                                          Homeright FinishMax Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer

                                                   Set up of HomeRight Spray Shelter.

Bye Bye ugly table!

The before and after.

                                                                The inspector inspects.

                                                     Hmmm, next time, remember to  wear closed shoes.

Thank you to HomeRight for their generous gift of the FinishMax Fine Finish HVLP Paint Sprayer, and Spray Shelter.  To view and purchase these products you may go here.  NOTE:  I will not be compensated financially for this.