Pasta E Fagioli Soup

My husband and I both enjoy soup especially as the weather starts to get cooler.   When I had originally found this recipe it was to have been as good as Olive Gardens Pasta E Fagioli soup.  I love Olive Gardens pasta fagioli soup so I had to try this one. I have made a lot of tweeks to the recipe and it still does not taste like Olive Gardens, but I think it is a good hearty soup and easy to make.  I hope you enjoy it.

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A Day at Hoot 2017

This is the first time in probably 10 years that I have not worked in a booth at Heart of Ohio Tole Painting convention (HOOT).  For most of those years my husband and I helped Della and Company, AKA Della and Bill Wetterman and last year I shared a booth with my creative friends Amy Mogish and Wendy Young.

I was not going to come, but at the last minute decided to come and spent the day on the trade show floor.  I thought you might enjoy seeing pictures of what was happening there:

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How to Make Shrinky Dink Earrings

I want to share with you today how to make those sweet earrings that my one student Sara made out of Shrinky Dinks.   Many of the techniques are the same that we used in making other Shrinky Dink projects (See previous post here)…..but the secret to making these earring is using a Shrinket cone tool to make the dimensional floret beads.  The tool is available from Julie Haymaker Thompson.

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Art, Inspire

Living with Art – Painting on Fabric

This week for our living with art class we painted on fabric (find out more here about living with art).  As we have been doing the projects I tried to find things that my students can use.  For the fabric painting I found this messenger bag from Darice.  I thought it would be great for them to carry their art journal and painting supplies in along with the paper mache pencil case.

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Art, Designing, Inspire

Living with Art – Painting Paper Mache

For our third week of living with art we painted paper mache.  Our first project was a pencil box for them to keep their pencils and other small supplies in.  I let them paint whatever they would like using DecoArt Americana acrylics.

Our class is 2 hours and they had a half an hour left so I gave them a second project – a small paper Mache jewelry box.

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Art, Inspire

“Living with Art” Classes

This summer I offered to have some art classes with some young ladies 8-9 years old.  They all love art and love to create.  Since they are younger, I did not want to weigh them down with drawing or painting classes.  I wanted for them to just enjoy “art”, but I also wanted them to see how art is a part of everyday life.

So each week we will be doing art on a different surface and using different products.

The different surfaces we will be painting/creating on are:

  • paper
  • glass
  • canvas
  • wood
  • fabric
  • shrink dinks (plastic)
  • paper Mache
  • food

And in the process we will be using these mediums:

  • watercolors
  • colored pencils
  • craft acrylics
  • tube acrylics
  • glass paints
  • fabric paints
  • food dyes

And we will be making things that we live with, use and give as gifts.

Each week we will be doing a different project and I will be sharing with you what we are doing.  I would love for you to be following along and creating with us and/or teaching someone else the joy of creating.

When I teach kids I have three rules:

  • There are no rules – you can paint anything you want
  • It is OK to copy –  and learn from others
  • Everyone’s work is good

I love teaching kids. They are always so happy with what they do, so each week they will be painting their own designs.  I might give some suggestions but find that they have great ideas themselves.

I know not all of us feel that confident so I will also be creating some step by step projects throughout the summer that relate to the projects we are doing and I will do them as separate posts.

I do have another class of older student that I taught drawing and painting to last year.  They will be doing the same projects, but I might be giving them a few extra things.

In this class I want my students to just enjoy creating.  I hope that they will be able to see art in the things around them. But most of all I hope to give them a foundation and confidence to enjoy art for the rest of their lives.

I hope you will join us for this artful journey this summer.

Happy Creating,







Web Presence – Getting Started

Do you want a web site and/or be able to sell your products without investing a lot of money in a website…but don’t know where to start?

At one time we could take our art to a craft show to sell, or our designs/patterns to a convention. Times are changing and we have to change also if we want to continue to reach our audience. I think that most of us would like to spend our time painting and creating and not thinking about marketing our art. It is hard to know where to start especially with so many options to choose from.

Over the last few years I have been researching and trying to figure out what would work best for me. On my blog I would like to share with you some of the things that I have learned.

There are so many things that we can do to market ourselves. We can have a blog, do a newsletter, have an Etsy store, use social media, have a website, etc. I think a website is a good place to start; it can be your control center with links to these other areas.

Before you begin you have to decide if you are going to hire someone to build your site, or if you are going to build it yourself. If someone else builds it for you are you going to be able to make updates to the site or are you going to have to pay for every change made to it by someone else. When you are just starting out it can be a big expense to get started, when you are not sure how much you will make from your site. For that reason and many others I encourage you to build your own site. It might seem a little overwhelming, but just do it in baby steps.

Before touching your computer you need to decide what you want on your site (the content) and how you want it to look (the layout). Take some time and look at other sites and note what you like about them, such as:

  • What color combinations do you like? What type of fonts do you like?
  • What type of layout would work for you? How do you want your navigation to work?
  • What type of information do you want on your site?

I encourage you to keep it simple. You want to have a clean, easy to navigate site, where people can come and find what they are looking for quickly.

Another thing you will want to do is to have your branding consistent across platforms.  If you are going to have a web site called JaneAllenCreates it would also be good to have the same name for your etsy store, facebook business page, Pinterest, and email account, if possible.   I wanted to have as my business name, but that was already taken, believe it or not, by another artist so I came up with JaneAllenCreates.  I like JaneAllenCreates because it is all encompassing where JaneAllenPaints would limit me to just my art.

Each platform will be a little different to find out if the name you want is available.  For a domain name you can go to, type in the domain you would like and see if it is available or what other options might be available.  For most of the others you can either go to the application and do a search on the name or set up an account to see if the name is available.   I would wait and buy my domain name from the platform I am going to build my website on.  Sometimes the platform will offer a free domain name.


If your business name does not contain your name in the title, you will be required to file your Fictitious Name with your state, or at least that is how it works in Pennsylvania.  You will want to check with the guidelines in your state.  I believe if just part of your name is in the title you are ok, such as Jane Creates or Allen’s Creation.  Also in Pennsylvania it is by county, so the same business name could be in each county.  Definitely something to think about when establishing a business name because it involves time and legal fees.

Before building a web site I think understanding the following basic terms will be helpful:

  • Web Hosting – When you build your website you will need to have it on a web server (computer) that can be accessed by the internet. A company can provide this (hosting) service for you. The service can be free or there can be a monthly fee.
  • Domain Name – Is a unique name that identifies a web site. It replaces a longer, not as easy-to-remember address that is the technical name and location of your web site.
  • Responsive Design – At one time web sites were built as one size, usually a standard computer screen. Now web sites are built with responsive design so that they can automatically adjust their size to be viewed on our smartphone, tablet, and desktop.

In an upcoming post I will be talking about building your web site in a free product and some good training sources for that product.  I will also share with you some other products that are available.

Happy Painting and Creating,


PS. I would love to hear about the tools and tips that are working for you. Feel free to add comments below this article.

Art, Designing

Play Date & Stencils

It is always fun to have a creative playdate with friends.  Not too long ago I got together with my girlfriends Glenda and Deb.  We had no plan…which I always love.  We started playing with flowers which led us to talking about ideas for backgrounds.  Soon we had the stencils out.  Just using a few stencils in our projects brought them from pretty to gorgeous in a very short time.

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Art, DIY, Inspire

Froggy Pins Fun-raiser

“Isn’t it funny how you can start something and it just keeps growing.  That is what happened for me with these frog pins.


One year my chapter was having a pin exchange and I came up with the idea to make these frog pins.  I called them my Jump 4 Joy frogs, because my frogs were so happy that they wanted to jump for joy. As I thought about them I thought it would be fun to give them names.  Fun names like “Cute Carol”, “Awesome Al”, “Sweet Sarah”, etc.  Every one loved them and selected them because of their names. Continue reading “Froggy Pins Fun-raiser”

Art, Decorating, DIY

Hello Spring “Nest” Canvas

Spring is my favorite season of the year. I love how the days get warmer and longer.  There is something magical about seeing everything starting to bud and bloom.  You can tell by my painting palette that these are also some of my favorite colors….the soft pastels, and vibrant clear colors of spring. I also love the smells of the season from the smell of the earth thawing and coming to life, to the sweet smell of the blossoms. And then there are the birds….I love seeing them make their nest, lay their eggs, and then their little families learning to fly.


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French Rolls

Many years ago I was in Key West sitting by a pool reading a magazine when I came across a recipe for French Rolls.  When I got home I tried them a few times and then made them for our family Thanksgiving dinner.  From that moment forward, by popular demand, I make them for every family event as well as many other occasions.  They are a hit with family and friends.

These are a crusty roll with a soft center.


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Valentine Wine Glasses

Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make an occasion special….and we all appreciate when someone makes the effort for us.  This design is super quick and can be put on wine glasses like I am showing you. Think about all the other valentine gifts you could make using this design… it could also be put on coffee mugs, an ornament, votive candle holder, a glass jar holding cookies or even on a card.



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