Wednesday, October 30, 2013


This time of year, I sometimes wonder if Edgar Allen Poe would be pleased that, more than 150 years later, his poem's namesake would be such a wildly popular Halloween accessory. 
Since I tend to embrace the eerier more mysterious side of the holiday, eschewing obvious ghoul and gore motifs, the raven is the perfect accent to lend a slightly spooky and otherworldly air to my decor. 
Last year I created a raven wreath so I thought I'd continue that theme this season with easy DIY accents featuring October's favorite feathered friend.

5 minute Raven Feather Globes
Seems the aisles of the craft stores are already filled with Christmas cheer so when I noticed the classic empty globe ornaments on sale, I figured I'd snatch up some early and put them to use before December rolls around.

I made two versions but there are infinite possibilities.
 For one, I popped in a printable raven image and feather and topped with a black bow. For the other I simply added a feather or two and topped with a gold ribbon and a printable "Nevermore". 
I rearranged the "fillings" carefully using a long skewer and suspended with fishing line.

Glass Globes,printout images, black feathers and assorted ribbon make up the supply list but glitter, beads or faux cobwebs would be fun too!

 made with images from the graphics fairy

Raven Cupcake Topper

A simple cupcake topper adorns store bought treats. 
Super Easy Supplies

Of course if unlike me you have a talent for baking, by all means use homemade cupcakes. I found black candy melts at my craft store and they are usually on sale around halloween.
I melted chocolate according to instructions and poured it into a ziplock baggie. (be careful it gets hot) After snipping a small hole in corner of thebaggie, I then traced free handed small ravens on wax paper (adding a "stem" to insert into cakes) 
I roughly outlined shaped on white paper and slid under wax paper as a guide. As always I made plenty of extras as these are very fragile and break easily when handled. When chocolate is completely cool carefully peel from back of paper. 
Have fun experimenting with words and shapes
Bon Appetite

I'm so delighted to be featured on
Rooted in Thyme's
Simple and Sweet Fridays!

Since PennyWise was brand new last October I thought I'd include
a quick Halloween Flashback
for Pennywise Readers who missed last year's post. Halloween Fun features the easy instructions

An easy DIY using Dollar store wreath and boas

A raven perches on white faux pumpkin which got a speedy makeover with temporary dollar store tattoos. 

A dollar glass globe becomes a crystal ball when filled with faux cobwebs and a flameless votive. Add a topper and set on a painted terra cotta saucer to complete the look. 


Wishing Everyone A Magical Holiday!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pet Ghost in a Jar

While October conjures up all things ghoulish, having grown up in the era of Casper the friendly ghost, the idea of spooky specters bopping about can sometimes posess a certain undeniable charm.
Recently a late night pet food run brought me to Walmart and walking passed the Halloween display, I saw an adorable 
Pet Ghost in A Jar
An online search found more delightful versions but with a price of $9.97-$29.99, I figured I'd scare up my own easy DIY version, with supplies I already have on hand. 

  Ghosts by Night or Day

You will need
Large clear jar or container
Fiberfill or faux cobwebs
Glow in the dark spray paint
a wire coat hanger 
(I used a white one leftover from the dry cleaner)
Scrap paper, paint, craft supplies, 
beads for eyes
flameless votive
I painted the top and bottom areas of the jar with a brushed nickel paint which works on glass and covered the lid with paper.
 With a piece of coat hanger, form a spooky friend and attach to cardboard base so he stands upright without support. 
The creepy/cute label featuring a Victorian cemetery is from the The Graphics FairyI cut an opening in the center area large enough to easily see the ghost through the glass.

 Cover your pet ghost with fiberfill or cobweb, layering to camouflage the wire base. I added bead eyes and spritzed him with glow in the dark paint, using several light coats as not to flatten texture
I inserted silver tone scrap paper and propped it behind the ghost to help reflect light. I centered the opening of the label to highlight the ghost and glued it on.
 A cut section of paper plate serves as a support for a flame-less votive which when popped in upside down,  casts a fun light and is easy to turn on and off. I simply poked a hole for the "flame" to fit through and taped the paper on to the inside top of jar. Don't worry, it is camouflaged by the jar lid.

Display with eerie accessories
Old photographs and daguerreotypes are one of my favorite affordable thrift store finds and sometimes the "blooper" shots are the most interesting. Passing years have left this well dressed young lady with a ghostly countenance perfect for a Halloween vignette

Play with different vignettes: Though not spooky, per se, an owl adds a touch of mystery
*Just display out of reach of small kids or mischievous pets
My cats found this little ghost intriguing and were ready to pounce
Wishing everyone a Bewitching Holiday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blessing of the Animals

When Jeanette Chaney of Country Design Style suggested a group of pet-loving bloggers get together for an event benefiting shelter animals, I knew I'd want to be involved. 
Having lived with, and loved, many furry rescues over the years, this was a cause after my own heart. The tour involved shopping at a local thrift store which supports an animal shelter and creating a post about how you incorporated your item in your home. 
Sadly the nearest such store was a bit far away from me, but it just so happens there was a fundraiser at nearby Animals in Distress, (a local rescue sanctuary) where I was able shop the "flea-less" market, buy homemade treats and participate in the Blessing of the Animals in their wonderful facility, all proceeds benefiting their four legged friends.The delightful minister blessed the shelter residents as well as the visiting pets and the blessed furry friends received their own St Francis medal.
For more info on the tour and to see the schedule of bloggers click HERE

clockwise from top left: the shelter is nestled in a beautiful park-like setting; a pool for the animals' hydro therapy, Anton; now a happy rescue success; was brought to the shelter ill and unable to walk; in the lobby delightful pet themed goodies and handcrafts for sale all raise money for care of the cats and dogs.
A feline friendly kitty room with steps to a ceiling high glass enclosed kitty catwalk lets feline residents explore from above. Genius!


Boo Bear Blessing Keepsake

When our Boo Bear arrived one day in our yard, injured, aging and as we later discovered, deaf, we knew she was ours for keeps but she would need lots of extra TLC. Fortunately, she acclimated quickly to indoor life; she now rules the roost, demanding only certain flavors of food (salmon yes, flounder no), hogging the blankets and holding her own with four other very feisty felines. Though happy, advanced years and a rough start have brought on health problems, so I figured she'd be a good candidate for some divine intervention. Not keen on traveling, and to avoid any unnecessary trauma for all involved, I substituted her photo to be blessed in her absence.

Using the medal Boo Bear received, photos, scrapbook supplies and images from the Graphics Fairy, I decided to create a keepsake for my furry friend.
Shop windows, Venice Italy CPaul2013 background
Just returning from Italy, I used the beautiful and whimsical dolls, cards and puppet theaters I saw there as inspiration. I found a small shop in a side street featuring everything cats! Cats!

I spray adhered the images to sturdier paper board and cut an opening out of the large image, creating a frame for a diorama, leaving about two inches on either side to fold back.
 I added some color accents to the frame image with light watercolor washes and painted in Boo's pupils to avoid a zombie look! 
With the magic of hot glue, I added feather wings and some accents to the frame. Layering the image of Boo with rolled up cardboard as a spacer, created a dimensional effect. I then simply glued the front and back together.
A simple white bow and faux pearl accent the medal

image Graphics Fairy

Though most notably associated with the feast of St. Francis, the Blessing of Animals is a tradition celebrated by animal lovers from a variety of faiths and cultures around the globe and often coincides with 

Catnip tea anyone?
Cardboard Box turns Kitty Suite
  Crazy for Cats? Pop over and see more pet themed projects at   PennyWise's post from earlier this year  Creature Comforts 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oops la la!

So Sorry!

Seems like there's been some technical difficulties and some Pennywise email subscribers aren't getting their posts lately.
If you missed this recent post I'm attaching a link to PennyWise in Paris

Thanks to all our wonderful readers and subscribers!
We're working on getting this fixed ASAP

Pet Lovers: Please check back for our 
Blog Tour to benefit Shelter Animals 
beginning October 14th!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Make way for Shelter Animals!

I'm so excited to be part of this blog tour focusing on benefiting shelter animals!

Monday's Purrfect Line-Up! 
Something to Bark about!

Don't miss a post!

Click here for the rest of the weekly


A note to my subscribers: Something went awry with my blogger platform so posts aren't going out correctly (not at all or all at once!) Oh No! We're working hard to fix it ASAP!

Monday, October 7, 2013

PennyWise in Paris

After much budget crunching and complex navigation of the world of travel rewards systems, my husband and I were able to realize an end of summer jaunt overseas: 
first stop, the City of Lights! 
 While online searches and advice from experienced travel bloggers recommended thousands of helpful tips and must-visit locales for enjoying this most popular of destinations, with limited time, sadly we could only get a small glimpse of the delightful Vie Parisienne.
 With a promise not to bore anyone with endless "what I did on my vacation photos", I thought I'd share a few of the fun, fascinating and of course, pennywise highlights and projects inspired by our trip in a few of my upcoming posts.   

Artful Dining

Having recommendations from two reliable and Paris savvy blogger sources Botanic blue and Tina Boomerina, we had one of our most enjoyable (and surprisingly affordable) meals in the restaurant at the Musee D'Orsay. Open late on Thursdays, we popped in on a whim (admission covered by a must-buy museum pass) and with minimal crowds we were able to score a table sans reservation. France's version of a "museum cafeteria" features painted gilded ceilings, soaring windows, chandeliers and delightful and attentive service. For the price of an average cafe lunch we had wonderful dinner after admiring the collections.

A renovated train station the D'Orsay is an open and airy unique venue to admire some truly wonderful masterpieces. 

The Musee de la Chasse et la Nature

or, Pardon me, there's a bear in the parlor

 Paris' most famous draws are spectacular but can be crowded and sometimes overwhelming when scheduled back to back. Why not take a break from the maddening crowd and pay a visit to the quieter, smaller, and sometimes quirkier venues the city offers.
I had seen some information on the Musee de Chasse and Nature and popped in for a quick visit. As an avid animal lover it might seem an unusual choice to visit a hunting and nature museum but after reading about how it elegantly portrayed mans interaction with the natural world etc etc, my interest was piqued-  plus I wanted to see the giant polar bear.  
                         Lions survey the gallery                         A fox sleeping on a tapestry chair

The museum is housed in a beautiful limestone circa 1650 building and worth every bit of the modest 8€ entry fee. It features an unusual array of taxidermied animals set cheekily among beautiful art, antiques and contemporary animal themed works. Because there were only a handful of visitors that day, the accommodating staff were happy to personally and enthusiastically fill us in on some of the fascinating facts about the exhibit. The museums petite manageable size made it a perfect attraction for a quick visit when you find yourself with some extra time or a rainy afternoon keeps you inside.

lovely garden courtyard
The dog room celebrates all things canine

All photos CPaul2013
Of course Paris lives up to it's reputation as a shopper's paradise, but if budget (and luggage space) prevent a major spree, window shopping can be a delightful, inspiring and (for the strong willed) free activity. Boutiques brim with an amazing array of merchandise but it's the exquisite and artful arrangements that make Paris shops so special. Even the casual corner flower stands are thoughtfully displayed.

While taking photos inside shops is frowned upon, I freely snapped away outside for my digital "scrapbook" of inspiration to refer to later. From the use of bold colors to the creative juxtaposition of unique objects, the art of display in France is just that.


 Lock up Love

The Ponts des Arts

Want to embrace the romance of Paris for the price of a padlock? The famous bridge boasts thousands of locks emblazoned with initials and declarations of amour! With a lock and a sharpie you can help ensure your romance will last a lifetime (although no data actually supports this). Simply write names or a message on the padlock, attach to the bridge and toss the key into the Seine below. Snap a photo as a fun romantic keepsake. 
I happened to catch a bride and groom as we were walking by, a pretty common site.

PennyWise Paris Tips

Dining out every meal can get pricey. Many travel experts and friends wisely recommended substituting non-stop restaurant dining with improvised al fresco meals, much like natives of Paris do.
If you pack a small penknife with corkscrew in your (checked) luggage, you can buy some wine, gourmet cheese and fresh fruit at a local market and you'll be ready to enjoy your delicious picnic fare and people watching in one of the wonderful scenic parks.
You can even go all out and pack a blanket and non breakable cups if space allows.

All Photos property of CPaul 2013