Tag Archives: crafts

Saturday at St.Gabriel’s Holiday Boutique

7 Nov

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” 



Handmade items make the best gift because they are made with love.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

I always look forward to the annual holiday craft show at St.Gabriel’s in McKinney. Not only because I find wonderful handcrafted treasures for myself, friends and family, but also because I bump into many friends who are displaying their items, friends who are shopping, and other parishioners to visit with. I personally think handmade items make the best gifts. 

My friend Paula Mattei creates beautiful jewelry, especially with local, college and national team charms. ( My Team Jewelry)

My friend Krys Watson sees, paints, makes jewelry, you name it. I really scored some treasures here. Krys also is a frequent visitor at Towne Creek with our seniors and has taught us to make so many fun gifts.

Father Don was checking out the bake sale items. I ate lunch here. Frito pie. (Chili and Fritos with cheese, sour cream, jalepeños)

Bumped into Sherri Murphy and her mom. (Open arm welcome)

My friend Miss Bonita on the left and some other church ladies.  

 Great turnout and wonderful crafts and food. 

Afterwards, I walked across the parking lot and said a few prayers. I had the entire church to myself. (Captive audience) As always, I thanked God for my many blessings, my wonderful family and friends, and His continued strength and support. Amen!


 Some of my treasures. 


Tuesday: Taking Time To Help a Friend

14 Oct

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.Maya Angelou


One of the greatest compliments I receive is when a friend calls me and asks for an “emergency craft or art consult.” 

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Tana called me and said, “Toni, I have a big favor to ask you. I was trying to paint some flowers on a large chalkboard and it turned out terrible. I painted over it. Can you help me ?”

She texted me a picture of a framed board that she had printed all the names of guests and table seating for her daughter’s wedding. It was Thursdady afternoon and the wedding was Saturday. So, I asked what the wedding colors were, and I drove over to her house with paints and brushes in hand. Turns out their colors were white and gold. Perfect! I love painting roses in those colors. 

This was a huge, maybe 40x 50 in. frame. I love a challenge. I did a quick practice on paper and asked her if she liked it. She did. I was a little nervous, as she had spent hours writing all the names. 

Tana loved the roses. Her husband came home while I was in the middle of painting. They both watched me in awe, and couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I painted the roses. Lots of practice!

In less than half an hour, I saved the day. Well, not really, but they were very grateful for my kindness. I donned my Super Artist cape, rinsed my brushes, and was on my way. Another crafting crises avoided. 

I often get calls from friends asking for help on some project or other. I usually have a good solution. And when I don’t know, I do what most creative artists do…I make something up. Just kidding! Or am I? 


Sentimental Sunday

14 Jul

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Douglas MacArthur

I was looking for something in one of my dresser drawers this morning, sifting through old playbills and letters from Mom, when I stumbled upon an old stained box. You know, one of those white cardboard gift boxes with the cotton on the bottom. When I opened it up, a delightful flood of butterflies and sentimentality danced in my heart. Inside we’re several handmade necklaces and trinkets from my boys when they were little. (Now in their thirties.)

Having been an art teacher in my B.C. days, (Before Children) I always volunteered at the boys’ school. One year, maybe around when Matt was in third grade, I volunteered to teach his class how to make a Mother’s Day necklace to surprise their moms. I brought all the beads, little wooden mom cut-outs, and fishing line. The kids had fun decorating the mom made of wood with markers and stringing the colorful beads. Matt always loved when I volunteered to read or do a craft in his class, and his friends loved it too. I think it was because I always brought a snack or candy.

The front of my necklace reads, “Back off Dude, I’m a Mom!” But the part that made me giggle out loud was the message on the back. It said, “No fair, you’re not surprised!”



Friday Friends: Baubles, Bangles and Beads

29 Jun

The fabulous Young At Heart senior artists of Towne Creek were thrilled to have guest jewelry maker, Krys Watson, visit today. Krys gave us a quick and easy paper bead demonstration and brought supplies for us to make dozens of our own beads. Everyone had great fun! Thanks Krys.


While everyone was busy making lovely beads, I had yet another light bulb moment. What’s a good song to go along with a bead making video? Then, being the “show tune queen” of North Texas, I remembered the song “Baubles, Bangles, and Beads.” I found the song on You Tube and played it on my iPhone while recording on my iPad. I’m not techno savvy enough to figure out how to dice and splice sound and video like the young folks, so I cheated. (Tip: cheating is OK if you’re old and challenged.)

Here’s Miss Bonnie. She’s very proud of her handmade beads.

Sharing art, crafts, music or anything with a group of friends is always fantabulous.

Sunday: The Sun Also Rises

14 Apr

Saturday was just a blur. By mid afternoon, a blinding migraine headache ruined my exciting morning on the Square with friends. Thank goodness the sun also rises on Sunday.

Starting the day with a great breakfast at Snug on the Square was a given. Tommy the wandering troubadour was playing his soulful songs as my friend Karen and I wandered around the Arts in Bloom event Saturday morning.

Tommy’s back in McKinney
We bumped into Mayor Brian Loughmiller at Snug and strolling around the Square.

Dozens of our artist friends were displaying their works and talents.
Lynne Hubner, an amazing printmaker, made prints of a huge woodcut by inking and pressing with a huge landscape water filled roller and children sliding over the paper in their socks. Way cool!

Jeni Tomlinson was painting a very large canvas of a McKinney May Day event from years gone by.

Lynda Kingsley was at the state fair the day Old Tex caught on fire. She captured the event in watercolor for future generations.

There were so many artists and crafts people, I couldn’t capture them all. Musicians were playing on every corner. It was great bumping into friends and enjoying a marvelous McKinney day.

Tuesday Tips from Toni

3 Apr

My only tip for today is simple. If you insist on being neat and tidy, don’t let it rule your life. I like to find a happy medium. When I finally find the time and energy to clean or straighten up a room, (which is quite rare) I take a photo of the room after it is all neat and pristine. Then, I print it out, pin it up, and refer back to it for a couple years, to remind me how it once looked.

Exactness and neatness in moderation is a virtue, but carried to extremes narrows the mind.
François Fénelon ·

My craft room, which is lovingly called my “crap room” by one and all, is always my biggest challenge. I am a self-confessed craft-a-holic, refusing to attend meetings or join a support group. I don’t throw anything out and I collect things that would make the TV show “Hoarders” blush with envy. But, I just spent a couple weeks straightening up afore mentioned craft room and took before and after pictures. Hope this will hold me for a couple more years, because I need to get painting and crafting. Messy-mess, here we come.




And after… Won’t be seeing it like this for much longer…

“You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Nietzsche
I always carry chaos inside! It’s a good thing! Give it a try.



Friday:Fancy Cupcakes, Firemen and Flying Cranes

9 Mar

Every day is an adventure, and today was no exception. Friday is my volunteer day, and I always try to bring some snacks, baked goods, or a hearty meal. Today was a gloomy bake something fun kinda day. One of my favorite things to make are cupcakes. A single cake mix renders 24 yummy cupcakes that can be doctored-up very easily, not to mention goes a long way. I also had some white chocolate macadamia nut cookie dough in the fridge. They were in little, ready to bake dollops.

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes (not really a recipe- just what you need)

1 chocolate cake mix, follow directions, then add about 1/2 cup chocolate chips to batter
Place paper cupcake liner in 2 cupcake pans of 12 (makes 24)
Add 1 heaping tablespoon batter into each cup (should be about 1/2 full)
1 can of cherry pie filling- add one teaspoon of filling in center that has 1 cherry (not too much)
There should be some batter left so put a small dollop of batter with a teaspoon on top of cherry
Bake according to direction or when firm to touch
Cool then frost with favorite frosting. I made homemade cream cheese cran-cherry frosting. You can use canned frosting, (not my thing)
Add a cherry on top (take photo to share with friends)

After the cupcake baking ceremony, I baked some of the cookies. My plan was to take some warm cookies and a dozen cupcakes over to my local Fire Station 5, then bake the rest of the cookies at Towne Creek for my senior art group. There’s nothing better then a warm cookie and a cupcake to get the artistic juices flowing. While the cookies were cooling, my friend Della called. She was concerned because my last two blogs were so short. She thought maybe I was sick or something. Boy, she’ll be sorry she said that when she reads this long one!

So here’s the agenda. I took a dozen cupcakes and 10 warm cookies to the fire station. Firefighter Stephens answered the door and was more than pleased to receive the goodies. Then, I drove over to Papa Murphy’s to pick up my take-and-bake pizza for dinner later, and took 3 cupcakes for Justin and Kerri who work there. (I did leave some cookies and 1 cupcake for my dear husband who was home with a bad cold.) I went home, dropped off the pizza, and packed up the car around 2pm with my art supplies, cupcakes, and cookie sheets and dough.

My friend Krys joined us today to teach the group how to make origami cranes. Wow, a lot of folds and patience required, but everyone made a very cool crane. After origami, I popped the cookies in the oven. We feasted on cupcakes, warm cookies, and cheese puffs that Krys brought. Then, I did a quick variegated sky demo with acrylic paint on canvas.(Forgot to take photo-oops.) The time flew by as fast as flying cranes. (I remembered crane photos)

I got home around 6:30, put the pizza in the oven, and we ate at 7. Then, the only thing left to do, write this tremendously exciting summary of my day.(Not really exciting) Fancy cupcakes, firemen and flying cranes sums it up.