Dexter’s Backyard Jungle Adventure


Compensation was provided for this post by Purina

Did you know Purina Pro Plan has proclaimed June 15 is National “Take Your Cat on an Adventure” Day? If there’s one thing my tabby cat, Dexter, loves more than food, it’s having his own adventure in our backyard. As soon as I open the door, Dexter is always there to make amad dash outside. Our backyard is filled with everything he loves: a variety of trees, lots of grass, and tons of gardening supplies and fun DIY projects. Dexter definitely is the king of this backyard jungle.
Dexter’s favorite thing to do in the backyard is roll around in the grass.  It’s like he’s swimming in a bathtub filled with very potent catnip. Talk about an ultimate sensory overload!
Dexter doesn’t limit his passion for grass just to rolling in it…he sometimes goes in for the taste test.  Weeding is definitely an outdoor chore I need help with and I’m happy to put this guy to work and pay him in food. Haha!dexter-eating-proplan
Speaking of food,  I decided to treat Dexter to a little picnic outside with his favorite meal – Purina Pro Plan.  The yummy morsels definitely give him the fuel he needed for several more hours of play. Lately, he’s needed more energy to keep up with a feisty new backyard visitor.
A couple months back we got a new puppy named Lazer and he’s definitely kept Dexter on his toes (or should I say paws?). While the two  aren’t BFF’s, Dexter is intrigued by his playful personality and is always up for a little pouncing action.dexter-pounce-new
It’s actually quite hilarious to watch Dexter get into pounce mode.  He lays flat like a snake on the ground and literally becomes “Lazer-focused”.  His eyes and ears are at high alert and his backside starts to twitch.  Meanwhile, Lazer usually is hopping around and taunting Dexter to come and get him.  It’s insanely cute to watch.dexter-and-lazer-playing
It was very hard to capture these two in action. They moved SO fast! The general vibe can be conveyed in the two photos above.  It’s pretty obvious they are the definition of a love/hate relationship.
After all that heart-pumping action, Dexter hopped up into Dad’s chair for some relaxation. Luckily, Lazer still can’t jump high enough to reach the seat.  I know Dexter is in his element outdoors and William and I like to give him supervised playtime whenever we can.  Seeing him happy makes us happy and we love that he has safe space to roam and make his own.

Remember to mark June 15 on your calendars and celebrate your cat with a special adventure.Visit to see other great cat adventures and learn more. Whether it’s taking him on a walk, hosting a kitty play date, or buying a new toy, it’s a reminder to keep our cats healthy and active!

Until next time Swellions!
Alexa (and Dexter)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Purina Pro Plan. The opinions and text are all mine.


DIY Stained Glass Crayon Candles


I love a good crayon craft, YES I DO!  I thought it would be fun to see if I could make a cool stained-glass effect using a pack of crayons and a hair dryer.  I think the end result turned out pretty darn cool.  Let me show you just how easy it is to make these colorful candles for yourself!
What you need:
– Crayons
– Glass Votives
– Tea lights
– Hairdryer
Unwrap your crayons.  If you need to, you can let them set in a bowl of water for a few minutes to make them easier to remove.
Break of several chunks of crayons.  You don’t need to use the entire thing!  A little goes a long way.

Drop the crayons in the bottom of your votive
Turn on your hair dryer and start swirling the colors around. It won’t take long for them to start melting.
Keep going!  Remember to not go so far that your colors start blending all into the same color…only unless you do want them that way!  Who knows, you might! 
Drop your candle in and you are ready to make your candles come to life!  You may wonder if the crayons will continue to met.  For mine, I know they got a little tacky from the heat of the candle, but the actual swirly design stayed the same.

What kind of colors would you love to play around for this technique?

Swell likes to make stuff

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I realized that even though I make a bunch of stuff, I have neglected to share the wealth on all my social media channels.  These days, my go-to places to post have been Snapchat, Vine, and Instagram and I know not everyone is in those places, so I thought I’d share with you a few of the things I’ve stashed away in these spaces.


A couple weeks ago, I made these pretty dipped planters from $1 planters from the 99¢ store.  I used the nail polish marbling technique where you fil a small bin with water, then add a few drops of nail polish in your favorite colors.  I dipped the planter in at an angle to give it a modern touch, and filled it with some succulents I picked up from Lowe’s!  I gave two of them as gifts and my friends adored them.

emoji unicorn tote DIY swelldesigner
I occasionally do projects on the fly at work for our social media sites. A few months back when there was a new emoji release, I painted this unicorn.  It was probably my favorite new emoji out of all the new ones!  I hand-painted this in about an hour.  Sometimes when I work on these little on-the-fly paintings, I realize how my painting skills have become a lot better has I’ve gotten older. I understand shading and highlighting so much more than I used to!

I was in a saucy mood when I made these little canvases at my friend Laura’s holiday party in December.  I like how all three look totally different, but all make a neat little set.  I love drawing hearts and cute lady portraits.  I don’t do the portrait illustrations very often…I think I enjoy it, cause I loved drawing fashion sketches as a little girl and giving them personalit

rhinestone toaster

I blinged this toaster out for a work video/project. Though, the project didn’t really turn out, I still really like how this piece came toegether. I call it the “Beyonce of Toasters” and I think it’s pretty epic.  I’m not sure a toaster with glued-on rhinestones is exactly usable, but I think it will make a great display piece.

make cool stuff watercolor journal

Last year, I went to a seminar by Brit+Co and during it they had watercolor at all of the tables for participants to get creative with during the speakers.  I made this along with permanent marker for the type!  They had so many cute backgrounds to photograph stuff on and I decided using these paper fans.  Makes me want my own paper fan display just for photography!

In addition to these projects, I’ve been making projects weekly in my “DIY time with Swelldesigner” series on Snapchat!  I’ve been trying to inject some humor in with those! I also share more craft ideas on my Vine channel here. I’d love it if you followed me in the fun DIYs!

Dexter’s DinnerTime Routine

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Alexa 1
Compensation was provided for this post by Purina via studioD.

After a long work day, it’s always a welcome surprise to find my tabby cat, Dexter, meowing at me as soon as I walk in the door. I would like to think he’s saying, “Hey Mom! I missed you and my day was boring without you,” but I always know he has a hidden agenda, and I’m guessing you’ve already figured it out: F-O-O-D! Yep, this cat has a one-track mind.

William and I don’t immediately give into these hungry cries. See, Dexter is the most playful and cuddly right before he’s fed, so we like to take full advantage of these sweet moments. It’s the only time he purrs and actually lets us hold him.

Before feeding time, we like to break out the cat toys, and of course, the beloved laser pointer. Dexter LOVES chasing the big red dot. He scales the walls, runs in circles, and knocks the covers off the bed playing with that thing; he’s obsessed.

Alexa 2Just look at that intensity! MUST. CATCH. RED. DOT.

Alexa 3Next up is some cuddles with Dad. There’s even a neck and ear massage. Wow, this is the life.

Alexa 4(10 seconds later) This ear rub is wearing out its welcome. I think this little guy has waited long enough for his evening meal.

Alexa 5
William starts rustling the  Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend bag and Dexter, immediately intrigued, comes to investigate.

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It was in this moment that he started purring REALLY loudly.  Dexter’s doesn’t purr very often, so this is kind of a big deal.

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Dexter ate a little handful out of William’s hand and Dexter devoured the crunchy pieces. It was such a sweet moment and so loving. They’ve always had such a strong bond. I know that William is Dexter’s person. I love watching them together.
Alexa 8
After William’s handful was done, Dexter decided he needed more. He even pushed over the bag with his paw. This cat knows what he likes!
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Of course, I poured my little guy some more of the Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend.  He immediately smelled the aroma and rushed over to munch down the meaty and tender pieces.  This food is loaded with protein, with chicken being the main ingredient. It also has Vitamin A and omega fatty acids to help his skin and coat and to promote healthy vision. Last year, Dexter had some kidney issues, so I was very relieved there are probiotics in this formula that are beneficial for his digestive tract. It’s important to us that he’s getting the best quality food!

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After Dexter chowed down, he took time to enjoy a sunset in the windowsill. What’s better than checking out all the activity going on outdoors? This guy sure knows how to unwind after a meal.

If you’re looking for a new nutritious and tasty meal for your cat, do me a favor and click here to learn more about Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend.  Now that I’ve seen Dexter’s response to it, I know I’ll be making it my new cat food choice and part of both his morning and evening routines.

Until next time, Swellions,
Alexa (and Dexter)

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Purina using complimentary products. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cats, Crafts, Social Media, and other Random stuff

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I recently started blogging again after a long hiatus and I really have begun thinking about my brand and what I’m about and what I wanted  to say that was truly ME.  For those creatives out there, you might totally feel me. I personally don’t like being defined in my interests and I’m constantly moving onto the next thing.  There are; however, some pretty constant running themes that I’m noticing, especially sharing more lately on Snapchat. They are as follows.

swell cat

I’m a self-professed crazy cat lady.  There’s not a cat video I do not like.  I talk about cats a lot, especially my kitty Dexter as seen above.  I own another cat, Pixie, but she’s old and skiddish and truthfully has pretty much been banished to the den cause she can’t control her bowels.  I know, TMI, right?  It’s gross, but the poor girl just can’t help it.  At least I get to cuddle and pet her during feedings.  Anyway, I love cats…getting cat merchandise, seeing other peoples’ cats, and taking pics of them.  It is a constant.  We will see if this changes if I ever have a “kitten” of my own (meaning real baby), but I’m pretty sure this will be an ongoing PASSION of mine.

swell craft

You may or may not know, but I pretty much eat, sleep, and breathe crafts. Not only do I work at a craft company by day (iLoveToCreate, the makers of puffy paints, tacky glue, and tie dye), but I often come home from work and do crafts in my off time.  Like I said above, my tastes are random.  Sometimes I like to dive into jewelrymaking, and other times you’ll find me decorating pumpkins and ornaments.  I would say my style is definitely bright, colorful, typographic, and bold.  Even though I haven’t been crafting on this blog as of late, I haven’t stopped crafting in other spaces in social meia land.  I hustled hard a couple years ago on my Vine account and have over 500 videos on there, many of which are focused on DIY. I have grown that account to over 165,000 followers, an achievement I’m both humbled and totally surprised about.  My fans there are awesome and a lot of them younger (11-15).  I think I’ve done so well on there in part because I love making simple and cool projects that are attainable and my audience gravitates there too. I also think it helps that I’m a 13 year-old in a 37 year-old body. LOL.

swell business card

I have a passion for social media and how to use it to get results.  I’m always hacking, tweaking, creating, and trying out new ways to use it.  I currently have an affinity for Snapchat (follow me: Swelldesigner), but I love Vine, Instagram, and Facebook too all for different reasons.  I think social media appeals to me because it combines a lot of my personal skill sets…graphic design, photography, videography,humor with connecting with people.  I am always looking to find the right message to meet people where they are.  It’s a FUN challenge for me to figure out and since the social media landscape is always evolving, it’s always something new and exciting.

So, I share with you my three passions.  There’s a lot more things I love too.  In a nutshell?  I LOVE photography, Starbucks, pop culture, kitsch, desserts, and can’t forget PUNS and silly humor. If you hang around me enough, you will learn that I have puns of steel and I love to dance and not take myself seriously.  Just ask my husband William, he calls this “showboating”.  Haha!

Why am I telling you all this stuff?  I think I just had to get this out there.  For the longest time I really used this blog as a calculated space, meaning, I used it to craft DIYs that I thought viral magic -or- share things I though people wanted to see (roundups, for example).  Now I feel a new freedom with this space to just be me and share an occasional craft, social media tips, creative insight and more. And while I do love cats, I promise to pepper that in sparingly. I don’t want this to turn into the crazy cat lady show.

Stay tuned Swellions, more wild and crazy fun ahead!


Updates from the Swell Life

My blog has turned into a total pumpkin fest! I am turning the tables some and wanted to share a few things pumpkin-related and a few things not-so pumpkin-related.

1. I’ve been working on new pumpkin designs for next year already!  Yep, you heard that right.  Why would I be working in advance?  Well, I plan on writing my very first e-book loaded to the gills with cool pumpkin ideas you will want to buy and download. I’m planning out lots of great projects and unique pumpkins now. That blue one you see above is the start of one of many.  Stay tuned!

2. I got the cart above yesterday at Pottery Barn. I was looking for a little shelf for the corner of my dining room and I fell in love with this one the moment I saw it.  My intent wasn’t to go in there for a shelf at all. It was to look for Halloween discounts for my wedding next year.  I’m really excited about it!  As you can see, I already decorated it for fall!

3. I’ve been catching up on my shows. In case you were wondering, my shows are:  Walking Dead, Dexter, and American Horror Story.  I try to slip in the new show Nashville and X Factor (I love me some Britney) when I get a chance.

4. This little guy has been cracking me up a lot lately.

5. And have I ever told you how talented my mom is? She sent me this for my birthday this month.  I never did get around to officially decorating for Halloween, but I did leave it hanging here.  Yes, I said it, the Halloween pumpkin queen doesn’t actually decorate. Blasphemous, huh?

What’s been new in your world?

Until next time Swellions!


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Wonderful weekend with the fam

This past weekend, I took a break from my Halloween crafting to visit with William’s family in Modesto. I hung out with William, his mom Karran, and his sister Heather along with her two daughters Sofie and baby Ayla. Here’s some of the pictures I captured.

I’m betting you can see the family resemblance!

Until next time Swellions!


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Swell Life Adventures

I’ve been pretty busy lately in the house of SWELL as of late! Thought I’d catch you up on what’s been going on my world…

1. I had my personal iPhone stolen (yep, the Instagram one) while buying a Slurpee. Yep, true story, and this is how it breaks down: I went to the 7-11…saw an icky guy (should have trusted my gut and been on high alert)…proceeded to set my phone down 3 feet away from me so I could properly fill my Slurpee cup…paid for my Slurpee…got in my car, drove away, and realized I didn’t have my phone when I wanted to take a pic of that said Slurpee…immediately rushed back…had owner of 7-11 call phone…and someone picked it up and hung up.  So, there it is, I got my phone stolen. Dummy me didn’t have my photos on the cloud or the Find my iPhone feature set up, so I lost a lot of stuff 🙁  Life lesson learned!

2. I went to the Michigan International Woman’s Show in Novi, Michigan (right outside Detroit) for a week last week for my work, iLoveToCreate.  It was tiring, but a lot of fun! I met so many cool bloggy friends, crafters, and tie dyers in action.  And I got to hang with the most amazing group of talented ladies…Pattiewack, Terri O, Julianna Hudgins, Tiffany Windsor, Lauren Klein-Baltazar, and Savannah Starr. Don’t you love my total dorkiliciousness above? LOL!

I busted out some 8×10 prints and stickers for Twee Boutique this past week! I’ve been taking a lot of Fresno signage photos as of late too! I love me some vintage signage!

4. Been picking up lots of fun stuff for my house. Thinking about paint colors, window treatments, photoshopping interiors to get an idea of what I want.  Also adding to my growing collection of colored aluminum while on my thrift shop runs!

5. Tonight I electrocuted myself on the dryer outlet!  OMG! It was so scary.  I guess that outlet isn’t grounded and I zapped myself when I touched the metal outlet with the prong connector.  It shot a charge up my arm and made it tingly, but I’m fine now. Scared me more than anything. I know not to go fishing around for an outlet next time. Another lesson learned!

Well, just thought I’d catch you up on my whereabouts and what I’ve been doing outside of blogland! I’ve been keeping busy!


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More crafty goodies up for grabs


A few weeks back, I posted this post on giving away some of my old craft goodies.

An update, I sent out about 9 packages last weekend to those of you who contacted me with your address.  I still have 9 packages to give away!

Aww, come on, you know you want more craft supplies to add to your stash! I promise, there’s some really SWELL stuff in there! I think I’m pretty generous.

Leave your name and email below, and I’ll be contacting you soon!

Until next time Swellions!


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