Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little Something Different

Before we return to card posts, I'm going to share a writing exercise I did yesterday. I took 5 minutes and wrote whatever came to mind on the topic "5 Years Ago". This is something GypsyMama organizes weekly, and I enjoyed it enough I just might do it again. Here's what I wrote:

"Five years ago was a time of waiting. I was restless, yet each morning I went as if almost drawn by a magnetic force to my chair in the small living room. I sought the Lord daily, rehearsing His truth-filled promises and waiting expectantly for His answer. He was faithful to my request to know His will, and we pulled up 15-year stakes from the Mayberry-esque Midwest town we loved and moved South to Georgia."

Follow the link and see what others have shared!

Be back soon with many card posts. I've been craftin'; I just haven't had time to post!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cards for a Blogger Friend

Two and a half years ago, I met Robin of All Things Heart & Home. We both were followers of a woman's blog and that woman had organized a get-together of all those who followed her so that we could get acquainted with each other. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. Robin and I met again for only the second time face to face, and shared lunch. I love it when friends I make online become IRL (In Real Life) friends too!

I wanted to share a little something with her from my world of paper crafting, since I knew she'd appreciate something handmade. (The woman is crazy talented in home decorating, and I'd love to have her opinion on how to repaint our interior spaces!)

Robin's blog logo (which isn't on her blog right now for some reason) features a birdcage and bird and I thought I could use Aviary and take my lead from her color scheme to craft some cards. I used Baja Breeze, Wild Wasabi, Pretty in Pink, and So Saffron.

The Scallop Trim Border Punch created a nice complementary border to the scallop circle that contains the focal image. It was super fun to put a little grouping of buttons together, each tied with linen thread. The corduroy Baja Breeze button originally was a brad, but I cut off the brad prongs and adhered it to the card front with a glue dot. The rest of the buttons are from the Soft Subtles collection.

The little saying is from You're a Gem, a stamp set in the current Occasions Mini catalog, and it features 8 tiny sized greetings. I used 2 of these and made 4 cards total. She loved them so much she said she'd have to be really moved to actually send them out. I told her I could always make her more.

I hope you're finding ways to incite friendship with those God has placed in your life. Robin and I have slowly nurtured a relationship through exchanged blog comments and emails over the past few years, so feel free to think outside the normal constraints. You may find yourself in possession of a true friend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Keeping Track of Who's Going Where & When

Decor Elements is a line of vinyl clings for home decorating that SU! debuted a few years ago. In the current Occasions Mini, there is a set called Days of the Week that sells for $29.95. They have a chalkboard surface for making note of things on the schedule for that day, and I think it is the perfect solution for keeping straight who's going where when--especially if you have multiple children!

The clings are self-adhesive and they can be applied to any surface, especially walls, and removed later without leaving behind residue or damaging the paint job. They come sandwiched between two layers of paper that peel away, one to reveal the adhesive, and the other that comes off after you've rubbed the image to stick it to the surface of your choice.

Each of the Days of the Week Decor Elements is 9" square. I chose to mount mine on foamboard, which you can procure at any big box hobby store. It does NOT come with the vinyl clings.

Here's what I did. I trimmed the paper layers so that I had a good reference point for where the cling starts. Then I rubbed it while it was still between the layers to remove any air pockets. There's a tool that SU! sells to help with this process and to use while applying the clings. (It looks a lot like the scraper a certain in-home cookwares company sells.)

Then I peeled off the backing and applied it to the foamboard, using said tool to make sure it was smoothed down and well stuck.

I used a straight edge and an Exacto knife with a self-healing mat underneath to cut the squares. If you aren't familiar with a self-healing mat, it is a piece of heavy duty plastic that's sold at fabric stores and used by quilters to cut squares. Somehow it doesn't scar when you cut on it, and it doesn't allow the blade you're using to go through it and mar the dining room tabletop. (That would make my husband VERY mad.)

I am so tickled with the result. Note that while they look like they are attached to each other in this picture, each day of the week is its own cling. Now I just have to figure out where I'm going to hang it in my house, and get some chalk markers so that we can all know who has to be where when. The picture in the catalog shows each day mounted on a board and leaned against a wire basket filled with whatever items need to go with each child to his/her activity. I think this is genius!

If you don't have that many people to keep track of, I still think this set has lots of possibilities. I'm going to use mine to post a daily list of things I'm thankful for, and I will invite the other members of my family to do so as well. You could post a favorite Bible verse or use it as a rotating giant scrapbook, marking vacations, birthdays, and other special events with pictures and journalling. I know it's going to be a great conversation piece in our house.

If you'd like to order this, you may do so via my online store or by leaving me a comment and I'll contact you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Simply Adorned--Miniature Wearable Art

SU! has offered a line of high quality, stainless steel locket charms in various sizes for awhile now. I'm not much of a jewelry person; I wear my wedding rings and I have a favorite necklace, but that's about it. When one of my club members asked if we could make some jewelry with stamps for this month's craft night, I suggested we consider these.

The charm we're going to uses inserts that measures " x 1.25". (There is 1 larger size and several smaller sizes, and a round charm too. View all HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.)

It has been amazing to me to see what you can fit in that small space! As you can see from the photo, the front of the charm has beveled glass. The back side doesn't, but I really like that I can create two images, alike or different, so that when the locket flips--and we all know from wearing jewelry that this happens--there's another place to display art!

So far I've created 5 double-sided inserts for the class I'm offering my club, and I'm sure more ideas will come to me. For now, let me show you what I made last night. One of the best features of this project is that, while there are stamp sets that have been specially designed for the SA line, LOTS of stamp sets have images that will work!

I used the beautiful flower from Cute by the Inch , Level 1 Hostess set, for the first insert. The second features the Small Heart Punch, Real Red Glimmer Paper, Love Impressions Specialty DSP, and a stamp from Love You Much on the front. The back uses the 2-Step Owl Punch and Tiny Tags.

The third one is from Silhouette Sentiments, another Level 1 Hostess set, with sentiments from SS and Tiny Tags. There are more floral images in SS that I want to experiment with, but since I already had 1 flower in the set of inserts, I chose to wait.

Since many of my club members like coffee, I thought I'd see if I could use the stack of cups from Morning Cup to create a mini mini watercolor painting! I was so pleased that I chose to use my Stamp-A-Ma-Jig and place my favorite sentiment from that set on a second piece for the back!

Monograms are always nice for lockets, and this makes this project customizable for gifting. Lovely Letters is perfect for this, and I inked mine up in Baja Breeze and Old Olive. I used another image from Cute by the Inch for the back.

About the inserts that are shown in the pictures that feature the charm/locket: I stamped a crown from Extreme Elements in Basic Gray on Very Vanilla card stock and used a Versamarker, Clear Embossing Powder mixed with Dazzling Diamonds, and added some bling. The sentiment is from You're A Gem set from the current Occasions Mini. Tiny Tags has a tiny crown too, so I could've used that, but I like the larger image. The back is a stylized fleur de lis from Extreme Elements that is accented with a tiny pearl. If you wanted a 3D crown, you could clip on one of the Trinket Crowns, which comes with a jump ring and a lobster clasp.

Which leads me to the chains these charms attach to! There is a large link 8" bracelet that is designed like the popular Tiffany bracelet. The cost for that is $7.95 in addition to the $18.95 for the charm. The necklace chains are also links, but not as large, and they come in 24" and 34" lengths for $10.95 and $12.95 respectively. The charm could also be threaded onto a wide ribbon, which makes the jewelry all that much more able to be coordinated to one's outfit.

If you'd like to assemble a group of girlfriends to have a jewelry making craft night, just let me know! I'd be happy to partner with you to bring this unique opportunity to your house. A comment will get the ball rolling. Be sure to include an email address so that I can contact you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sympathy with Watercolor Trio

I'm tellin' you, I'm not thrilled that I've had to make two sympathy cards this month. Then I found out on Sunday that the mother of a friend of ours passed away suddenly. I already had one of the Medallion sympathy cards on hand that I created for this month's Stamp-A-Stack, but I had no idea I'd be using it so soon. I'm not superstitious, but I hope this ends the pattern.

My friend Deb lost her mom to cancer about 10 days ago, and since we are now separated by many miles, I wanted to get a card in the mail to her as soon as I heard the news.

I do not own any of the sympathy specific stamp sets SU! has manufactured, so I reached for Watercolor Trio (retired). Using Elegant Eggplant and Old Olive, I stamped a few stems and incorporated a non-SU! sentiment.

I continue to find uses for my Square Lattice Textured Impressions Folder for the Big Shot. It's just so nice to be able to quickly add some dimension to a card with this tool.

I also decided to decorate the interior, so I pulled out one of the leftover frames created by the Big Shot when you cut out a Top Note Bigz Die. This one is in Very Vanilla, and there was just enough margin on each side to stamp the flowers again. Don't throw away those scraps--you never know when they might come in handy!

Take the time to get a card in the mail to someone you know who has lost a loved one. It doesn't matter how recently they experienced the loss; the grief is fresh for a long time, and knowing that someone hasn't forgotten about their pain can be very meaningful.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Candy Baskets and a Love Triangle

I don't know about you, but I work well under the pressure of a deadline. A week from tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so I'm beginning to get excited about creating something handmade for those I love. In fact, today's project is quick and easy, and on top of that, it's C.U.T.E!

This basket is made using a 6" x 6" square of Love Impressions DSP. (I used plain card stock for the photos so you could see the score lines better.) It's scored at 2" and 4" on both sides of the square, creating 9 squares.

The next step is cutting the triangle off the 4 outside corners, leaving you with an octagon.

Then you cut to the center score lines ONLY on 2 sides facing each other. If you cut all 4 sides, you won't have any triangles in the corners! There should be 2 flaps in the middle of the 2 triangle edges.

Cut those flaps down to .75". Cross the two triangle edges over this flap and the box is complete!

You can embellish this any way you'd like. I added a handle using a .5" x 8" strip of Real Red card stock. Then I added 1/8" Whisper White taffeta ribbon and the Hugs and Kisses scalloped circle from Love You Much.

Now, about that love triangle. I have no juicy gossip, but I had you goin', didn't I! Remember the triangle boxes I made at Christmas? I just remade them using Love Impressions DSP! These hold 3 Dove Promises or 3 Hershey's Kisses.