Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Forcing PaperWhites

A few weeks ago I attended a Christmas brunch with my sister in the home of one of her coworkers. She gave each guest a gift of paperwhites, so that they could be forced indoors during the winter months. I think that giving your guests a small gift is such a thoughtful and wonderful idea, it helps them to remember your special occasion. Recognize the gift tag? :)
I have had my eye on some pale blue and stone pottery pieces at Michaels for the past couple of months. When we moved into our current house, we debated on whether we should paint the living room blue or yellow. In my absence, Max went with yellow, and we have many times since then wished we had gone with the blue. Due to the height of the room, it's open to both floors, we're not repainting it anytime soon...though I would love to! We've desperately been in need of an area rug to cover the wood floors in that room but Max and I never agree on rug types. He likes shag...I like anything but shag! So in the days before Christmas, I found a rug that I liked which would work well with the existing colors yet pull in some of the blues we were longing for. Thank you Santa (Max's dad) for standing in my corner of the boxing ring to be sure that this rug made its way into our house! With my 50% coupon in hand, I knew I had to run back and see if any of the pale blue pottery was left because it would be perfect for my new paperwhites. They had a piece that would work perfectly so I also snagged some smooth river rocks, in two different tones, that would help to pull the look together.

I mixed the rocks then filled the container about 2/3 of the way full. Next, I added enough water so that it would barely reach the top of the rocks. If the bulbs sit in too much water, they'll rot. The paperwhites were then nestled in the rocks, roots down, so that they would grow upright. That's it! I placed the planter atop an old chest I bought for Max for our very first Christmas. Knowing what to get a guy I had only dated for a few months was difficult but I somehow knew this would be the perfect thing. We've both loved it ever since and it has served several purposes in all three houses that we've been in. I cant wait until they bloom! The flowers will be a cheery reminder that spring always follows the cold wintery months.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Isabella's Frames

You may recall from a year ago when I had a crazy order of 15 custom frames. A new member was added to my friend's family so more frames were needed. This time, only four, which was less stressful! As with her birth announcements and baptism invitations, the frames carried out the black and pink theme.

The first small frame has a shabby, pink striped background with the child's name spelled out in black rhinestones. The look is tied together with a black silk ribbon and rhinestone button. The second small frame is covered with Anna Griffin patterned paper in soft pink and ivory. Again, a black silk ribbon ties it together with an ivory flower and black rhinestone button as the focal point. Her name was added beneath a name plate in the same font used for the announcements and invitations.
I made a large frame identical to the small one, changing only the ribbon and button to balance out the size difference.

I decided to go all black with the second large frame. With a black on black felt damask background and diamond accents, this frame hints at a diva in training!

These were a lot of fun to make and allowed me to brush up on my framing skills a bit. I have a few other ideas rolling around in my head that I cant wait to try out. Hopefully I'll have time while I'm still on vacation for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cherry Stationery Set

Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, I finished my last Christmas order. It really isn't Christmas unless I procrastinate just about everything...! One of my good friends asked me to make her a cherry stationery set for her grandmother. Her maiden name was Cherry so she loves anything with cherries.

I found a simple cherry image and made this stationery set:
I accompanied 16 cards with coordinating stationery paper as well as, red and natural colored envelopes. Then I added a beaded letter opener, compliments of my sister-in-law, to complete the set. I hope she likes it!

I now have to go finish my last minute Christmas shopping before we head out of town. If I'm not able to check back in with you before we leave, have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fresh Cut Ornaments

I've finally found an opportunity to share with you my "best seller" at the craft show from a few weeks ago, Fresh Cut Ornaments. On the cover of a magazine (Cottage Living maybe?) I saw where they had decorated a simple Christmas tree with log slices hung by ribbon. It looked easy enough so I decided to give it a try. Max just happen to have cut a few logs that were perfect for this idea so I loaded them up and headed out to the farm. Using my dad's band saw, I went to work cutting the log into slices. Once we got the correct blade on, it worked like a charm and before I knew it, I had over 50 slices from a log and a half!

Once I got them home and the slices dried out, I began adding to the simple version I remembered from the magazine. I seldom leave well enough alone so I picked up some very inexpensive holiday picks from the craft store thinking that they would add to the rustic charm of the ornaments. First, I threaded my ribbon through the small hole that I drilled into the log slice. After knotting the two open ends together, I pulled the tails down and around so that they would be lying against the wood. Next, I stuck the holiday pick through the hole as well, pulling from the back side to ensure a very snug and tight fit. Originally, I pulled the excess wire around and tucked it into the pick where it wasnt visible but later decided to cut it off using wire cutters so that it was flush with the wood. After snipping the tails with pinking shears and adjusting the holdiay pick so it was "just right", I was all done! Except, it really isnt quite finished. This was regular wood, and I wanted PINE wood so that it would smell good. Hmmm, to make it smell like pine...great idea! I searched the stores for some kind of oil to scent the wood with but didnt have any luck finding a Chrismasy smell. It occurred to me that I had some home fragerance oils from The Body Shop, the kind you use with a tealight burner, that just might work. I added several drops of this piney Christmas scent to the bark around the log slice and it instantly gave it a wonderful Christmas scent! Problem was, several drops of scented oil times a dozen ornaments equals a scented overload headache!

I was please with how the simple ornaments turned out but I wanted to try one more idea...snow! So I picked up a small tub of Snow-Tex and gave it a whirl. Using a regular butter knife, I added dollops of Snow Tex to the top of the ornament, dabbing here and there to make it as realistic as possible. While the snow was still wet, I added some clear glitter to give the snow a glistening sparkle. After the snow had successfully "fallen" on the ornaments, I set them into a cupcake tray for them to dry before I put on the decorations. Drying time depends on how thick you lay it on, but I let mine sit over night just to be sure it was good and dry. But its dry to the touch in just a few hours, although a bit soft.

So here are a few of the ornaments on my tree:

I hope you found this not-so-brief tutorial on Fresh Cut Ornaments enjoyable. These ornaments really are very easy and quick to put together, give it a try!

Christmas Tags

A few weeks ago I received an order to make up 50 Christmas tags. Using my Nesabilities and various scrapbook papers, I pulled together these easy to make tags. Each was threaded with thin hemp rope for a natural look and adorned with a bell for a festive touch. The tags were printed with a Merry Christmas greeting as well as a standard To: and From:. A quick and easy way to use up your left over Christmas scrapbook paper!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Truth About Santa Claus

This isnt my story but one I wanted to share at this very special time of year.

The Truth About Santa Claus

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma.
I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the
day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus,"
she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to
her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.

I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth
always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of
her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous,
because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites,
I told her everything. She was ready for me.

"No Santa Claus?" She snorted... "Ridiculous! Don't believe it.
That rumor Has been going around for years, and it makes me mad,
plain mad! Now, put On your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my
second world-famous cinnamon bun.

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store
in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we
walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That
was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and
buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in
the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my
mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.
The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to
finish their Christmas shopping. For a Few moments I just
stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill,
wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my Friends, my
neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby
Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he
sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never
went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote
a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we
kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have
a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing
excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it.
It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the
counter asked Kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really
needed a Good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put
the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag
fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in
Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa
Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on
secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house,
explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially,
one of Santa's Helpers. Grandma parked down the street from
Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the
bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All
right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the
present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to
the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited
breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.
Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent
shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That
night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus
were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous.

Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.
I still have The Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside:

Monday, December 15, 2008

LucKey Wristlets

Hello! It is definitely Christmas season, can you feel it? I have been very busy completing Christmas orders, its been snowing, and today it was fra-fra-freezing! As I sit here, Christmas music is playing and the tree is all aglow. I love this time of year, its too bad the season doesn't last a little bit longer. If it did, Im sure I'd just be twice as busy!

I haven't had a chance to fill you in on the craft show I went to two weekends ago. In a nutshell, it was good! Its always good to get back to your hometown once in a while and see some old faces. Of course, people saw my face and thought I was my sister. Hence...Twin Sisters. But that's another story for another time.

Today I wanted to show you my LucKey Wristlets, which I sold a few of at the show. I wasn't really expecting to sell any because the previous show they were taken to, people thought they were...dog collars! Can you believe it? They're actually a nifty and stylish way to carry your keys. The band fits comfortably around most wrist sizes, keeping your keys at hand whenever you need them. I forgot to take pictures of them before they left for shows. Luckily, I remembered that I had this shot from my cell phone: I'm not selling these on Etsy, simply because there are already several people there who sell them. But I was offered the opportunity to have a small boutique in Covington sell some for me (more on that later!) or I can be contacted directly if anyone is interested. Each LucKey is $7.00. Here's what I have left: Im elbows deep in a custom Christmas card order but I hope to be back soon with my top seller from the craft show! I hope you're enjoying the season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shabby Hookers

Shabby what?! Sorry folks, the name has stuck, they're officially called Shabby Hookers. Here are a few more I made a while back but forgot to post for you all to see. They'll be up for sale in my Etsy shop very soon...I hope.

I'll check back with you soon to fill you in on last weekend's craft show, how I did, who I met, and some fun projects for you to try. Until then...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Christmas Cards

Are you tired of seeing Christmas cards yet? Okay, only a few more and I promise I'll get on to something new. I have two simple Christmas projects to show you soon so stay tuned for those.

I have four more Christmas card packs made up for the craft show Im going to this weekend. The first two feature focal points that included in a digi pack I purchased from Sweet Shoppe Designs called Christmas Mix. I like to stamp but digital images are a bit easier for me to use since I can size them to my own specifications and they're already colored. An important factor when Im pressed for time!

This card features a simple holly image centered on Anna Griffin paper with a bow adhered to the corner. The distressed backgrounds and hemp bow give it a natural look. Here I used the stocking image and simulated them hanging by a chimney. I love tiny images that resemble postage stamps! The white background is matted on distressed kraft paper, again, giving it a natural look. My next card features one of my favorite stamps, the one I used to make my mom's Christmas cards last year. It is added to a simple candy cane striped background with a dark green ribbon folded around the corner's edge. Quick and easy! It's funny to me that during each card making process I think to myself, 'Oh I love this, I think this is going to be my favorite!' That is, until the next card comes along! Here's my current favorite but maybe that's because it's the last set that Ive made... I stamped a basic snowman image onto white cardstock using a denim blue ink topped with a touch of black, kind of using the "rock n roll" technique. I then inked up the piece with brown to give it a nice worn look to coincide with the pattered paper's tattered edges. I finished it off with some pearls for buttons and an inked up snowflake that I just happen to have enough leftovers of. Oh, and if you'd bring your nose a little closer to your monitor...come on, get close...now take a big sniff...mmmm, smells like Icicles!

I must run, other projects await my attention and time is running out. See you next time!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowman Cards

We had our first significant snowfall this morning so I thought it was only fitting to bring you two snowman cards. Both use the same image and layout, they just have different color schemes.
The inside reads: Wishing you a warm holiday season!

Gotta run, I have lots of work to do yet before this weekend's craft show!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Cards

In preparation of the upcoming craft show I'll be attending, I’ve been busy making holiday card sets. Tonight I have three to show you, so let’s get to it!

The first one is just a basic layout with a nice Christmas saying cut out my Nestabilities dies. A few rhinestones jazz up the corners and that's about it.
Next is a Christmas card with nontraditional colors of pinks and greens (my favorite combo!). I found the little tree die cut at the checkout counter and grabbed it as a last minute Gotta Have It! Those marketing people really know what they're doing... To add some interest to the little trees I stamped them with a music sheet background stamp, ink distressed the edges, and topped with either a rhinestone or button. The trees sit atop a sparkly white square, which is difficult to see in the photo.
The third card took me back to my Copic markers, let me explain. Years ago, like 5-10, I bought these clipart CDs from Provo Craft HugWare. I don’t know if they even make these things anymore but Im glad I decided to dig them back out. I had some snowman paper I was trying to make a card from but needed a focal point. A quick Google image search turned up nothing but then the thought of these CDs popped into my head. Again, I haven’t used them for ages so imagine my surprise when I found a snowman that would work. The cool thing about these graphics is that they come either colored or black and white. Since the colored version didn’t match my paper, I chose the black and white and colored them with my Copic markers so they’d coordinate with my patterned paper. I haven’t colored for quite some time and I forgot how painstakingly long it takes to do multiple cards. But I’m pleased with the results and will be turning back to my ancient CDs to see what else I can make with them. Unfortunatly, when I printed the images I didnt leave quite enough room to allow for the Nestabilities die, but I was able to salvage them by rotating the oval. Both ways turned out cute and I didn't have to waste my coloring efforts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Back in the Christmas Saddle

Where does the time go? I'm sorry to have left you hanging for the past couple of weeks but it seems that since I started my new job, Ive had less interest for crafting. But, I'm back in the saddle, so they say, ready to giddy-up for the holidays.

We have a craft show the weekend after Thanksgiving so I have several projects to finalize before then. Never mind a recent order I received for 100 custom Christmas cards...ack! Or 50 handmade tags...gasp! Or the Christmas cards Ive promised family members...oh no! *Insert McCulley Culkin face here*

Today I bring you two Christmas card sets that I recently completed. The first is a Christmas tree patterned paper set on kraft paper. I love the natural look of kraft paper, especially during the holidays. The Happy Holidays in the bottom corner is actually a Doodlebat, DB 'Tis The Season Words, which is a fun distressed take on common holiday words and sayings. To go with the distressed look, I scuffed up and inked the edges and set with tiny pearls. If there was a scratch 'n sniff feature on this blog, you'd be able to enjoy the scent of this card too, Christmas Lane. Ive discovered Card Scents and have enjoyed adding them to my holiday cards. The inside of the card reads "May the magic of Christmas fill each corner of your home and heart."

My second card is a simple piece of holly patterned paper, distressed with green and brown inks to soften the look. Set with tiny pearls, the pattern paper pops off of the contrasting cardstock, while the scalloped oval completes the theme. Inside reads, "A heartfelt Christmas wish of peace and happiness, this holiday season."

Hopefully I'll be back soon with more to share!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Drawer Pull Wall Mounts

I need your help. I have created something that I don't have a name for and I need to come up with something catchy. Something clever. Something better than...drawer pull wall mounts. That's what they are, a cute drawer pull mounted on a 5 inch block of wood that you hang on the wall. Sort of like a decorative coat hook. Only shabbier. Cuter. And unique. So, what would you call this thingamajig? They'll be up for sale in my Etsy shop if I can think of what to call them.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Holiday Banner

As I was preparing for this year's Pumpkin Pick, I was trying to think of an easy and clean craft project for the kids to do. The kids range in age from teenagers to little tots so finding a project that they can all enjoy is sometimes difficult. I'd seen a few renditions of paper pennant banners and that sort of thing so I tried to come up with my own version. In doing so, I realized how easy it was and thought it would be the perfect craft for the kids. I precut all of their materials and packaged them up with labels as to what each particular banner said. For example, Boo!, Spooky, Eek!, Halloween, Autumn, Pumpkins, and Give Thanks.

These banners are so easy and cute, you're sure to find several uses for them all through out the year. Let's get started!

I began by cutting the materials using my Cuttlebug and Nestabilities dies. LOVE these things, Ive used them for so many different projects! With the exception of the ribbon and a couple of tools, these are all of the supplies I used.
Notice the little bottle in the top right hand corner. Its called Card Scents and its a new product Ive just discovered that scents your cards for you. This particular scent is called Pumpkin Pie Spice. I'm looking forward to using my Icicles and Christmas Lane scents on my holiday cards this year! Its a light oil substance that you brush onto the edges of your card stock, just like nail polish.

I spelled out Give Thanks in a Word document and customized the font to the look I wanted to achieve. Each letter was then cut by hand (I didn't want them to be perfect in size) and inked around the edges. I then scented my patterned paper. The oil bled through just a little bit so I also inked the edges of the polka dot patterned paper to hide it, which worked out just fine (I'm still experimenting with Card Scents). Next, I attached the patterned paper to the scalloped card stock in an alternating pattern. Adhering the letters came next. Again, I wasn't too worried about perfect placement or size, I like the randomness. I then took my Fiskers ribbon hole punch and punched each corner of the scalloped card stock base, ensuring not to catch the corner of the patterned paper. I began with the last letter of the saying, threading the ribbon into the right hand side, behind the card stock, and back out the left hand side. I repeated the process until all of the letters were on threaded by the ribbon. I added a simple slip knot to both ends for hanging. Using some gems and flowers, I added a few embellishments. To finish it off, I added a few ties of extra ribbon to the center point as well as the ends. Viola, a holiday banner!