Monday, December 28, 2009

Wow - what a vacation day! I did not scrap a single layout, and even though I hoped to scrap 2 or 3, I am at peace with how the day unfolded.

It began with a trip to the coffeehouse with Abby. We spent some quiet mom/daughter time there. After an hour or so we headed home, where I helped her set up an awesome track for Thomas and his train friends from the island of Sodor. I hopped on some message boards while she happily played with the trains. I managed to put away more Christmas wrappings, broke down some boxes, and worked a bit in the kitchen.

Carol called to let me know Hospice had just left and I could come over to help her with some projects. I took my laptop along to show them the slides I was working on for the funeral. Marv and Carol are eager to get a laptop and Skype with distant family members. I ended up shopping on line, and it came down to the exact same laptop I bought for myself from Costco. Later on I went in with Carol to find the laptop at Costco, as David, the nice Geek in phones, assisted us.

Home again I did a little more cleaning, took photos of a possible damaged item so the company could see the box to review it for damages, the item, etc. Before I knew it it was time to go to Marv and Carol's again, this time for bible study.

We had a great discussion, and feel I am at last ready to let go and let God. Instead of scrapping this evening as I had hoped, I created a Powerpoint presentation for Marv's funeral. I then felt the urge to blog about Mondays with Marv - to share the words he shared tonight. I am at peace with the pending loss of our friend. I am excited to start reading "Heaven", and offer it as a bible study to the Thursday evening ladies group.

My vacation day was not fruitful in the way that I had planned, but it was indeed very fruitful - spent quite a bit with a friend, whom in my heart, I know will not be here much longer.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas gifts, toot and a surprise!

DONE! With my nephew's 8x8 album featuring BoBunny Grease Monkey. I was thrilled to get the photos from my SIL Friday, which confirmed I chose the right papers for the project. I promised I would share a few finished pages - kept relatively simple.
The stamped, distressed paint images are a perfect accompaniment to Grease Monkey. The only item left undone is a journaling spot by my nephew and his pride and joy - his Jeep! I thought it would be good for him to write down all the specs, and special ad ons- such as his sound system. The next page in the book shows him receiving a trophy for the best sound system at a car show.
Tonight I opened a returned layout box from All American Crafts ...I admit, it's been sitting here for a month if you can believe it. I knew what was inside, and did not want Abby to see it and question Santa. It's the December issue of Scrapbooking and Beyond... I really need to just subscribe - it is such a great magazine! I love this issue as much as the last, and just love the full sized patterns and many techniques given. I am always looking for new ideas and techniques, and this magazine delivers. I had considered subscribing to CK again, but after receiving the last issue it seems it has gone very much in the direction of Simple Scrapbooks, of which it was to combine.

I thought I would get on FB and toot - because my layout is the first featured reader layout - and it is HUGE - goes across 2 pages! I was so surprised! I wanted to give a link to the issue so people know what to look for on their newstands. Hopping on the Scrapbooking and Beyond site... to see my layout come up as the first feature for the December issue. WOW - blow my socks off!!

It is definitely one of my all-time fave Christmas LO ever...and Kyle is pretty gosh darn proud when I showed him it got a two page spread as well as a feature. If you pick up the magazine - my one page layout, "Dear Santa" appears on pages 24-25. This is going to be one of those timeless layouts that make you laugh as you relive the memory, whether it be next week or 50 years from now. I already envision Kyle's own children looking at that layout someday, and getting a chuckle out of it. Kids say the cutest things when they are little, and in this case, it's his original written word from several years ago.
Christmas is days away! Tonight Jesse and I found the toys I had bought in July...whew!! As tempted as I was to embellish Kyle's tree frog ornament some more, I tried it out on the tree and decided to give it as is, without a santa hat, without a scarf...because right now he looks pretty darn real when propped on a tree branch. It will be up to Kyle if he wants his altered Magistical Memories frog ornament made into a whimsical ornament. I hope you are all finishing up so you can relax and enjoy the season well. I am wrapping things up Tuesday night, literally and in both senses of the word. Happy creating and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Time for Tea Tin with Paper Element

When it was time to start altering a holiday cookie tin for my father-in-law's Casablanca tea - I immediately went to the manufacturer's who create the textured patterned paper: Crate, Paper Trunk and The Paper Element. Although set aside for a "coffee shop" mini album - I had to snatch a sheet of The Paper Elements Hot Cocoa collection paper for the task at hand. For one - the page already had steaming cups of hot beverage, and two, the colors match my in-laws kitchen. I wanted to create a tin that my MIL would be happy to have readily accessible on the counter.

First, the tea. Casablanca tea is my father-in-laws favorite. When we have breakfast together at the Luckenbooth Cafe in their town, he always enjoys a cup if they happen to have it available. Apparently the tea is in high demand and not always available. I started a WWW search for the tea, and found it only at the English Tea Store - however, for 16 oz. of dried caffeine free, herbal tea - the shipping was $10.50. Despite all the rave reviews on this particular tea, the shipping could buy FIL a book store gift certificate - and he loves those. I happened to call Luckenbooth about 3 wks ago, and was told they'd order it for me. The cost was only $2 more than what I would pay for the 16 oz., and no shipping for me. YEAH!!! However, late last week I received a call from the cafe owner letting me know they had been notified that the tea might not arrive in time - again, because it is in high demand and apparently whomever is not making enough of it.

So we have a pretty tin, that may possibly have no tea inside, but a bookstore gift certificate instead. I let the cafe owner know that our Christmas Eve destination to the ILs takes us right past the cafe, and we would run down at anytime if it arrived in time for gift giving. I admit, I ordered 8 oz. for our family as well, as many of the reviews reported keeping the tea made up in a pitcher, refrigerated, and served as juice. All organic and caffeine and sugar free... sounds like a win win.

I did an internet search for poster art of the movie "Casablanca" to use as part of the tin design. My father-in-law will see the tin, and immediately know what is inside...or at least, what he expects to see inside. I printed the artwork out on orange-peel textured cardstock - which looks so good when distressed with Tim Holtz distress inks. I also used a nib and rubbed the distress ink around the outer rim of the tin lid, which fortunately, was already a mix of vanilla and light beige colors - rubbing walnut ink on the metal darkened it and made it appear more vintage. Super easy metal distressing in this case. Plaid Mod Podge was used to adhere the papers to the tin. There is something about the textured papers - they tend to bend so easily around the curves of a round tin, better than any other type of paper I have used. Using a scrap of the cardstock, I punched what I deemed to be a more manly border punch design, and used it along the top edge of the tin below the lid line. This not only adds to the finished look, but covers up the fact that I cut my Casablanca artwork about 1/8" too short. As we say, there are no mistakes in scrapbooking, as each tends to lead to something that surpasses the original idea. (LOL)

BTW - I love this particular can. Some tall, pretzel stick like wafer cookies were inside that we enjoyed two Christmases ago. I admit I bought the cookies because I liked the shape of the tin, and in fact bought two. This year I bought my hubby some tea that is also in a cylinder can that is only about 9" tall. It's a great size for something I am sure. Maybe we could even make a time capsule as a family, that we can bury as a family in the summer. I often find myself eyeing up store packaging, considering it for a future alteration. I am certain many of you can relate! Christmas is almost here. Even I cannot find the missing gifts purchased months ago...the kids are sure to be happy with their gifts. Although those gloves for Abby would certainly make her happy - she wants to have better control in making a snow ball. (LOL)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stamping With Acrylic Stamps AND Paint!

Above is a sample of a two page spread in an 8x8 album I am making for my 21 yr old nephew. I am still waiting on delivery of photos from his mother, and hope I will be given time to finish this project before Christmas eve.

If you have never stamped with acrylic paints I would like to encourage you to try it. Almost everyone has acrylic paints in their stash, and it can open up a whole new color pallette for your stamping projects. I prefer high viscosity artists paints for stamping, such as Liquitex or Grumbacher. However, you can purchase a stamping medium (DecoArt is one brand, shown) that can be added to acrylic paint and thicken it for the process. For typical craft paints such as American, Apple Barrel and FolkArt, you will will want to mix 50% paint with 50% stamping medium.

For a thicker paint, such as Memory Makers, less medium is required. Experiment until you achieve the desired stamped image. Stamping medium will not alter the color of your paint, so be certain to have the base color you desire pre-mixed before adding the stamping medium.

I utilze a paintbrush to mix the medium with the acrylic paint. However, I switch to a foam brush applicator when applying the paint to the acrylic stamp. The foam brush is lightly dabbed onto the lid containing my paint mixture, and applied to the stamp with a light, stippling type, stroke.

Below are examples showing stamped differences with variables indicated. I hope this will help you in trying this technique.

The best tips I can offer you are:
1. Use a thick paint or add stamping medium to it.
2. Apply paint lightly with a foam brush.
3. Stamp onto scrap paper first to double check your end result before applying to your project. If too much paint, apply less, and vice versa.
4. Stamp on a hard surface for the sharpest image result.

Utilizing several foam brushes it is relatively simple to stamp multi-colored images in one step. Gotta love that! Clean up with soap and water is easy, and a toothbrush will help remove paint from crevices. If you have stamped with acrylic paint and have tips to share, I would love to hear them. Or if you have never done this before and attempt the technique, please let me know of your results. As always, happy creating!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple Card Recipes - Take 2

I promised more examples of fast and easy 5x7 cards utilizing coordinating papers, border punch, sometimes a stamp, and an ink pad for distress. These samples are amongst those in my mother-in-laws gift pack. I admit, the first one, which utilizes odd scraps of leftover paper, is probably one of my favorites. My MIL is a quilter, and the odd shapes strips remind me of a crazy quilt. I bet she will especially love this one.

If you have a parent or in-law who has everything, but always seems short on time, consider making them a package of all occassion cards. By having these on hand in their home they will not need to run out to the store for a card, and can easily pop one in the mail as soon as it is needed. If you know your recipient, gauge whether they like to write their own message, and leave the cards blank inside. My mother-in-law has expressed how she is at a loss for words. Yet on my to do list is to type up messages for the inside. For the baby cards, the message will have inked edges and be adhered inside. For the "thinking of you" cards I plan to type little paragraphs, and give examples of what she could write in her very own hand-writing, for a person who is ill, for loss of a loved one, birthday wishes, etc. The writing prompts are sure to make message writing easier for her, yet allow her to add her own personalization.

I hope you are all taking time for peaceful moments this Christmas season. Happy creating!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Simple Card Recipes

Several times throughout this year I would get an e-mail from my mother-in-law letting me know that someone was ill, or had passed away. I would get a card together and ask for a mailing address, and she would say, "your further ahead than me, I haven't even had time to go to the store for a card yet."
So this Christmas, I am giving her what I call "the gift of time". A bundle of 40+ alol occassion cards. When she needs a card - she can go right into my variety pack, pick one out and pop it in the mail. No need to go to the store. I suspect it is a gift she will very much appreciate.

Today I want to share several of the birthday cards I made. Keep in mind, these are not fancy, magazine-publishable cards. I want to stress how easy it is to make a simple card that looks pretty nice, with very few supplies and on a budget. I bought a 50 pack of pre-cut and scored cards and envelopes at Michaels for half off - what a time saver! Scraps of patterned paper, a few border punches, ink primarily for distressing (I used brown only)- were all I used to create most of the cards. I spent one day just piecing all the cards together. Mind you, I used scraps - and time separating the scraps into coordinating color lots took some time. My initial sitting at working on these was done away from home, and my supply was therefore limited.

I spent another night in front of the television at home with a few greeting card stamps. I have a favorite sentiment set by Inkadinkadoo that includes many occassions, and a very useful "With Deepest Sympathy" wooden stamp by Rubber Stampede. My MIL volunteers much at her church during retirement, and it seems she has great need for get well wishes and sympathy cards.

One Saturday morning was spent putting the final details on those that needed it, such as the first card in this post. My MIL enjoys birds, so I used a number of my acrylic bird stamps on a variety of cards, and most often used Staz-On Timber Brown for my images.

Masculine Birthday

Little girls and teenage girls, I made several for a variety of ages, although there are only two grand daughters, even I would enjoy a bright, cheerful card made with the paper shown in this card.

There are quite a few grandsons, and therefore a number of birthday cards suitable for them were made.

Should I tell her the one with stamped ants is one our son would love? (LOL)

A very few - with cutouts. If I had big spaces that needed something, I either stamped an image directly onto the paper, or in a few cases stamped and cut out a bird or this large butterfly. I will show examples of other occassion simple card recipes in future posts.
Border punches have really made a difference in my card making. I seldom use ribbon any longer, and instead dress up a card with a punched border. When matting photographs on black or brown cardstock, I always have strips leftover that are perfect for punching borders.

Happy creating!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BoB Winter Serenade- Plum BEAUTIFUL!

Ah yes...just an ornament, but as it was coming together my thoughts were, "this has got to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever made." Not difficult at all - BoBunny's Winter Serenade, with glitter and shine already "built in", created a gorgeous holiday ornament.

I had found a package of Darice? clear plastic snowflakes a while back that have a prismatic effect - and used KI Gloo to add them where I had added buttons on an earlier ornament I had created. (Scroll down for a similar ornament in traditional colors in a previous post.)

This particular ornament is for a friend in an ornament exchange, but I admit - I would like to create one for myself, and Abby is already ga-ga over it. (Probably because of the purple.) Do you think they would go over well in a benefit auction? I try to make and donate items to several of those throughout the year, and wonder what people would think of homemade ornaments in a silent auction style benefit.

BTW - I found the ornament shape at Michael's in the Christmas decorating section. Of course they were on clearance recently, when I returned to buy out every one they had left. A friend is going to scout another Michael's near her. Thinking ahead to next Christmas. Crossing another hand-made gift off of my Christmas "to do" list. Happy creating!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stocking Gift Card Holder

Make a special stocking shaped envelope and hang it right on your Christmas tree for the gift card recipients on your list! Originally inspired by the fun "Where's the Party?" cardstock sticker in BoBunny's Tis the Season collection. I had so much fun making the Kitchen Spice oven mitt envelope earlier this fall, that I wanted to do something similar with a stocking shape.

BoBunny Supplies Used:
Tis the Season papers – Carol, Treasure, Tis the Season, Cut Outs, Buttons and Bling
Ribbon –Clover Double Dot
Tool – BoBunny flex ruler
Bell – Darice
Snowflake Stamps: Inkadinkadoo
Ink: Staz-On by Tsukineko in Teal and Cactus Green, Colorbox Chalk Ink (distressing in brown)
Floss – DMC
Thread: Coats and Clark
Rivet: Making Memories
Tools: Jumbo and Large Snowflake Punches, 2” Circle Punch
Misc: Green Craft Felt

How To:
1. Use flex ruler to create desired stocking shape, trace onto patterned paper and cut out. Use hole punch to place hole in toe tip of stocking for a small rivet to be added later.
I used this design in a JoAnn Fabrics flyer as my visual inspiration to create the shape...

...bending my ruler here and there to simulate the design.

2. Use paper shape as pattern to cut out same shape in coordinating felt. If you do not wish to sew project, cut coordinating shape from paper and use glue to adhere front to back. Felt will, however, allow for more give for hands to reach inside.
3. Cut out stocking cuff – note: fold piece of paper in half to obtain symmetrical points in your design.

4. If desired, cut out “reinforced heel” – it simply adds color to the stocking design. Note: A very small piece of scrap paper was used, stamped with additional snowflake images to balance the design.
5. Punch circle – distress edge.
6. At this point utlize your sewing machine to:
a. Stitch circle onto front of stocking (if unsure about sewing skills stitch circle on its own and adhere with glue)
b. Stitch heel design to front of stocking
c. Stitch along top edge of cuff, and set aside
d. Stitch front to felt backing – note: start at toe – backstitching before rivet hole and finish on other side of rivet hole, backstitching to hold. Catch small ribbon loop into top corner for hanging. Also stitch to hold small ribbon strip in place in the general area of an “ankle bracelet”.

7. Insert rivet into toe hole and secure. This provides strength to the hole to allow 3/8” ribbon to be fed through. Once ribbon is threaded, tie into a knot. (Option: use floss to tie on a bell instead)
8. Adhere cuff to stocking. Add buttons, or other embellishments, to cuff as shown.

9. Punch snowflakes, cover with sparkle mod podge, bending tips upward. Allow to dry and stack in center of circle with dimensional adhesive. Place gem in center.

10. Thread bell with red floss, feed under ankle ribbon and tie in place.

11. Do the same for “To and From” tag.
12. Tie a bow from Clover Dot ribbon and adhere with glue dot, covering floss knots if desired.

Slip a gift card inside. Mount onto BoBunny cardstock with a note if desired. Staple piece of ribbon to the top to make card easy to pull out of stocking. Happy holidays, and happy creating!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tis The Season for Homemade Ornaments

Some would say I stress out too much over the holidays by making so many homemade gifts. Admittedly, it does get a little pressing as December 24th - our first family gathering - draws near. I sleep little and craft late into the night, but it is all a part of the season for me. I love making homemade gifts, and I know the recipients are especially happy to receive them.

I found an easy to cover paper mache ornament at Michaels this year. In fact, I recently returned to buy every single one of this, and another similar shape, remaining in stock. Now that I have triangle templates it will be pretty easy to make more, and plan to give them as teacher appreciations. I also hope to offer some for a silent auction this coming year.

Below are instructions should you be able to locate some of these ornaments, or a similar shape.

How To:

1. Purchase paper mache’ ornament from Michaels, and create a triangle template by placing ornament onto scrap paper, and tracing around shape with a pencil. Cut inside the lines, trimming off excess until you obtain a triangle that fits both the top and bottom triangles of the ornament precisely. Once the template is made, use to trace shapes onto papers of choice.

2. Cut triangles from patterned paper, ink edges, and adhere with glue.

3. Coat papers with sparkle medium if desired.
If you prefer grunge or vintage ornaments you may wish to omit this step, and instead, keep the inked edges and grunge it up a bit more.

4. To bling the buttons press each face down onto a Versamark embossing ink pad, and then press into embossing powder lid filled with powder. Tap off excess and heat set. Use paper piercer to keep from burning fingers.

5. Thread sheer, sparkling ribbon through buttons and position onto ornament as shown.
6. Tie ribbon around top if desired.
7. Push hat pin into bottom, adding beads as desired.

BoBunny Supplies Used:
Tis the Season Treasure, Yuletide, Stripe patterned papers, Buttons and Bling
Wildberry Double Dot ribbon
Offray sheer ribbon
Making Memories hat pin
Unknown – pearl beads, foil snowflakes

Paper mache ornament from Michaels
Mod Podge Sparkle
Embossing Powder – Ranger poly sparkle
Versamark embossing ink pad
Ink: Colorbox Fluid chalk ink

This is a pretty simple project that even the kids can get in on. I know our daughter especially likes to help in making Christmas gifts. It's a special time of the year - and if you find your self very busy, look for ways to get your family involved so they are feeling a part as well. Happy creating!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

BoBunny St. Nick - "Santa Stops Here"

Receiving BoBunny's St Nick collection provided an instant spark of mojo for this project. I have been eager to create it since receiving my first BoBunny DT box back in October.

Every year after "santa visits" I jingle a set of bells slightly, hoping that in the depth of their sleep, our little ones will start dreaming of Christmas magic. No one has reported such dreams, but I have fun doing it anyhow. This year santa's coming and going may be tipped off as he opens our living room door, creating a jingle that gives him away. If I am feeling particularly energetic perhaps I will ring them a little louder this year and then "bolt" to my bedroom and into my bed.

BoBunny Supplies Used:
St. Nick Collection: Mistletoe paper, Combo Sticker (alpha), Cut Outs, Time of Wonder cardstock sticker, flowers, Buttons and Bling
Tis the Season patterned papers, Cut Outs, Combo Sticker (alpha)
Cardstock: Almond Double Dot
Santa Dear Acrylic Stamp
Ribbon: Wildberry Double Dot
Ink: Staz On timber brown by Tsukineko, Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink
Color Mediums: General chalk pencils, Sakura black glaze pen, Krylon gold paint pen, Memento red ink marker, Lumiere gold translucent paint by Jacquard (used to color the star gems gold)
Glitter Medium: Sparkle Mod Podge, Crayola red glitter glue
Dimensional Medium: Liquid Applique
Gold Jingle Bells: Darice
Gold floss: DMC
Gems: Hero Arts
Marker: Sharpie brown fine point
Other: Liquid Applique

How To:
1. Cut chipboard to size, using circle template to round top (note: if chipboard is too thick use template to trace circle shape arch across top and cut out with scissors)
2. Use circle cutter to create hole for door knob
3. Cover with St. Nick Mistletoe paper
4. Border punch Tis the Season paper and stitch both pieces onto chipboard as shown

5. From St. Nick cut out green scallop circle design from 6x6 cut outs sheet – use circle cutter to remove center (note: use same circle cutter size as used in step 2). Stitch if desired. Position onto door hanger with foam adhesive if dimension is desired.

Liquid applique adds a whole new dimension to this stamp design.

6. Stamp Santa stamp onto solid side of Almond Dot cardstock. Tear design to create approximate square as shown. Colorize – multiple mediums were used, including soft chalk pencils to blend and create smooth skin tones, deep red Memento ink for Santa’s suit, black glaze pen to create the black, patent leather belt, Krylon gold paint pen for shiny buttons and buckle, and Liquid Applique (heat set) to create puffy, white cuffs and hat. Position stamped design as show, with dimensional adhesive.

7. Cut tree and gifts design from Tis the Season cut outs – coat with sparkle mod podge and add small gems if desired. Position as shown.

8. Position letter stickers – outline with fine point brown marker if desired. Red letters were used to make “stops” stand out. “Here” is raised up, mounted on santa design and foam adhesive brings “re” to same level.
9. Add buttons to scallop circle– bling’d with red glitter glue and gold paint if desired. Position “naughty or nice” sticker as shown, add bow.
10. If desired paint two star gems with transluscent gold paint, add one to top of tree, second to flower positioned as shown. Our daughter's Crayola red glitter happened to be very handy - so I decided to use it on the flower. She has to be careful of where she sets down her art supplies! (LOL)

11. Tie jingle bells of various sizes with gold floss. Abby helped with this part of the project -the girl loves jingle bells! Varied lengths will create more movement to let signal that Santa has arrived!

Happy creating, and all the best to those of you creating home made gifts this holidays season. May time be with you!