Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hope your Thanksgiving was great!

Well, the hustle and bustle of Christmas has arrived. Are you prepared? My calendar is filling up with parties, lunches, and more. I'm not sure if I'm really ready, but I'd like to think I'm getting there. I made this ornament after being inspired by Taylor's tutorial. WOW, it was so easy and I simply used scrap papers that were sitting there longing to be used. I'm sure I'll be making more of these simple ornaments.

I also thought I'd share with you one last VERY simple Christmas card that I made. I kept thinking it needed more. I'm sure it does need more, I'm just not sure what. So I think I'll just send it to someone who may not care it's homemade. LOL. Basically, I used my silver Encore ink pad to stamp the poinsettias, then used my square punch to create a rectangle window. I then stamped my sentiment inside the window. I placed an acetate sheet behind the window using mini glue dots. The only other thing I did was spray the silver ink with cheap non-aerosol hair spray, b/c it will never dry- it will smear if you don't spray it.

Lastly, I want to share with you that I have decided to open an Etsy store. Please browse my stuff and share the link with others. It's I'll try to add more as I can. Thanks for taking the time to look!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do you remember shrinky dinks?

Today I want to share a site that has an easy way to make beautiful homemade jewelry. It uses shrink plastic, the same stuff that we called shrinky dinks as kids. I've got some from prior projects, so maybe I'll give a project like this a try soon. Have a great night.

Shrink Plastic Jewelry Instructions.

P.S. 2 big things happened with the baby today, her first tooth has come through AND she is now suddenly rolling everywhere! Happy and sad, I am so excited but I want her to stay little!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Make a custom gift box!

Ok, it's really simple, anyone can do it! I have some personalized notecards for a gift for someone I know ;) for Christmas. I know this person loves and appreciates handcrafted things that I make. So I decided to make a simple, but very special, gift box!

Basically the note cards and envies were 5x6x1" so I made two pieces of cardstock 7x8x1" (the length and width add 1" to each side for creating the 1" depth). Clear as mud? Score at the 1" markings and trim 1 side of each of the small corner squares. Add some adhesive (I like Sticky Strip for boxes). Fold at the score lines and adhese the corner squares to the sides, and you have a box. Voila!
I used my poinsettia flower stamp from Stamps by Impression and made several images of it on watercolor paper using several shades of watercolor crayons and spritzes of water. I cut out 2 and a half of them and layered them. It is easy to curl the petals of flowers when your paper is moist. When it dries it hardens. I used a doodad from Collected Objects for Creative Minds for the center of the flower. I adhered it together with Pop-Up Glue Dots.
The velvet paper I did the iron stamping (iron the velvet to the rubber for about 10 seconds). It makes such an elegant image! I just love how this box turned out, and I'm certain that the recipient will, too!

This particular size box would work for handcrafted cards! Below are a couple of mini pics on how the box is made if you are a visual person. Have a great week! :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mini lunch bags for sketch challenges...

I need to work on wrapping some small gifts, I have a personalized notepad in one, and personalized post-its and pen in the other. I have these cute mini lunch bags by Martha Stewart that are perfect for quick wrapping a small gift.

The first one (top) is Beate's sketch (WSC66) and I didn't stay true to the sketch but tried my best. First, I was going off memory from early this morning, plus my bag was so small after deciding what I'd use for the main "rectangle" focal point. So I moved my little jewels, which are from Collected Objects for Creative Minds, which I purchased from Stampington & Co a few years ago. The rectangles are frames by Tim Holtz in the Salsa color package, the green fit right into the red. I just added ribbon, ric rac, and a scalloped tag.
This other bag I did for Taylor's sketch (TECC42) and pulled out of the unused archives some Stampin' Up Metal Edge Tags. I punched some scrap cardstocks, again used a Tim Holtz red frame, but this time I put a simple stamped candy cane from Stampin' Up's Merry Minis.

Yay! I'm so excited about Christmas this year. I'm excited that I can actually make stuff for people this year. Last year I was pregnant (very sick and always sleepy) and not functional. So this year I'm pumped up! Happy weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fabulous Flapjack Mix for gifts...

<---First, have you seen my poll? Take a moment to respond!

Ok, now that that part is over, let me tell you about the fabulous flapjacks, they have oatmeal, cinnamon, wheat, brown sugar... they're so hearty and yummy! I found the gift mix idea from a Gooseberry Patch Merry Mixes booklet many years ago, and I tried it (they call it Fantabulous Flapjack Mix). It was love at first bite. We added blueberries before cooking them up. I gave the mix as gifts that year, and had requests for it the next year! We even keep a big French canning jar full of this prepared mix in the pantry, for when the urge to make pancakes comes. I have already started preparing this mix for gifts this year, and wanted to share some ideas for presentation.

The picture up top is my favorite. I found the bucket/tote in the Target dollar spot. The snowflakes are already stitched on and are so cute! I put the bag of mix in it, a perfect fit, added some shiny red confetti-like filler, a wooden spoon with a bow, and created this tag (close up on the left). I used a snowflake eyelet that my aunt gave me a while back. I used the Snowflakes stamp set from Stampin' Up stamped in turquoise, and some Stickles to make it sparkle a bit. I stamped Merry Christmas and the bottom of my big Sizzix die cut tag I scalloped using the scallop punch. I hung it with a little silver cording. Voila! I *LOVE* red and turquoise for Christmas colors!

This little bag tote was also at Target and came with the mittens and snowflakes! For this one I added some tissue (and of course a wooden spoon) and a tag.

Lastly, (below) I sewed up a little bag with some plaid fabric I had in my stash. It's a Flapjack in a Sack! It only took about 1 minute to whip this thing together with my serger, and I trimmed the top with my pinking shears.

Twill tape and ric rac to tie the sack shut, and a tag I made hanging on the spoon with linen thread and a clip. This was such an easy project and look how cute it came out! One recipe makes enough for 4 gifts!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas is 6 weeks away! Get busy!

Ok, so today I was setting an appointment for 6 weeks out and realized that's the week of Christmas! Yikes! Are you ready? Need some ideas? Need some inexpensive gifts? I think I can help. Maybe... Above is a simple way for me to wrap up my calendar creations (here, here and here). For teachers, I've added in a simple teacher magnet with the calendar. The tag I created using my Sizzix die cut, scallop punch, scissors, ribbon, silver cord, and a sentiment from Stampin' Up!

A little tip for you: If you're using tissue as your wrapping paper, and it's not long enough to reach around the entire gift, tie your ribbon around the gift itself instead of above it! I did it here b/c the white wouldn't reach.

Here is a little something I did up for a simple yummy gift. I call it Lunch in a Crunch. I had a stamp custom made for the tag:

I thought the expression Lunch in a Crunch was catchy, and that people would appreciate a lunch on the go, in between meetings...
often times in this busy world we get caught up and forget to eat, well not me, but a lot of people I know do!

So, here are 2 of my original creations for Lunch in a Crunch:
I have 2 original soup in a mug mixes, potato soup and vegetable soup. I had business cards made with instructions. I am selling these (without the mugs) in my Etsy store. I have tested these and they are yummy!

Tip for do-it-yourselfers: You can find mix ideas online and in cookbooks, but PLEASE TEST THEM before you give them as gifts. I made that my rule a long time ago, and it has paid off. I have encountered a number of not so great results in the process, and am thankful for not giving them as gifts. My mixes above are very customized by me, original creations.

Another tip: People don't want to have to add much, if anything. My soup mixes above are "add water and microwave". The fewer the number of ingredients that the recipient has to add, the more likely they will use their gift! It's a FACT!

Ok, last idea for the night. You've probably seen it in the stores, it's so easy to do yourself. Hot cocoa mix. I made the tag with some stamps by Stampin' Up! and simple ribbon and cord to tie it up. Have a fantastic night!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Many ways to use a single image...

This afternoon I stopped by the Christmas show at the Convention Center, where the Christmas shopping frenzy began for lots of people. I was pleasantly surprised to find a stamp maker as a vendor! The man in business is just as sweet as he can be, and loves his stamps! His company is Stamps by Impression, and he has over 2000 stamps on his website. I bought a couple with the girls' names on them, and a ballet stamp (art coming soon). But my biggest excitement was something I wasn't even planning to get originally, but I'm so glad I did! It is this poinsettia!

The image above as well as the first one below were started the same, using watercolor crayons (coloring multiple shades directly on the rubber), a spritz of water onto the rubber, stamp on watercolor paper, and my spray tool spritzing some caramel and green ink. Oh, and also my Frosted Lace Stickles for sparkle. I decided to make the first card a torn window and age it with some sponging. The second I went much simpler, but thought this was still nice, just a little different personality.
This next one you may have to click on to get a better look. I ironed a piece of velveteen paper onto the rubber. It embosses the velvet. I chose to keep this simple to let the velvet stand out. It's kinda rustic and elegant together.
Lastly, I went for a sparkly, more monochromatic look with caramel, vanilla, and a bit of khaki green? I tied in the caramel color with copper brads, and I used Star Dust Stickles for some sparkle. The background stamp is the old holiday print background from Stampin' Up. My lighting has gotten bad in my craft room, so my pictures are seemingly getting worse and worse. I wish you could see these in person!
I'm going to be selling some things, if you're local and want to see, let me know. I have creations as well as stamps. If you're not local, let me know and I can send you a list and any pics by request.

More ideas hopefully to share this weekend!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mmmm...banana bread! (but not all for me)

Ok, so maybe I had to open one up to make sure it came out good. ;) Today I baked a double batch of my famous Banana Bread- but I baked it in 8 wide mouth pint sized canning jars. They baked for the same length of time as a regular loaf.
  • Make sure that you grease the insides of the jars well.
  • After filling the jar 1/2 full with batter, wipe the rims REALLY well.
  • Wipe the rims again immediately after removing the jar from the oven.
  • Immediately place the lid and screw on the ring after wiping the rim.
  • Downside: These do not keep like regular canned foods. I will be freezing them until it's time to hand them out. They're only good out for about a week in a jar.
I used leftover PAPER- that's right, PAPER! It looks deceptively like the old fabric way of covering the top. I cut an 8x8 square of paper and pressed it over the cooled jar. Hang a cute tag on the bow. I also cut out circles to label the tops with the name of the bread.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Birthday card and more 2009 calendars for Christmas!

My team lead at work asked me to make a girly birthday card for her mom. I liked being able to use Beate's weekend sketch challenge (WSC54) for this card. My favorite color this time of year is chocolate brown and I love the Houndstooth background stamp from Stampin' Up. It's so cozy this time of year, like a good sweater. I used a scrap of Tres Jolie paper by My Mind's Eye, which I sponged around the edges in light pink ink to better match my "Blush" paper by Basic Grey behind it. I used my new Stampin' Up scallop edge punch for the scallop border. The sentiment was from Warmest Regards by Stampin' Up. Accessories: ribbon, hardware, Prima flowers and pink rhinestone. I stamped a sentiment on the left inside corner (below) along with a pink flourish from Carte Postale, both stamps are from Stampin' Up.
I completed 4 more calendars today, so below are some pictures to see. Not much different in approach this time, though I used my Sizzix and a couple of circle punches for the April flowers.
Papers for these calendars are from Stampin' Up and Basic Grey. Stamp sets used were Serene Sunflower, Inspired by Nature, Best Blossom, and A Tree For All Seasons, all from Stampin' Up. I used Chocolate Chip, Certainly Celery, Marigold and Sahara Sand ink colors. The clips were from Making Memories which I found at Michaels. These calendars will make fantastic teacher gifts (since we now have 5 "school" teachers for our 2 girls, plus a ballet teacher...) as well as friend/coworker/neighbor gifts.

More gift ideas coming soon- watch for new posts soon!