New Video

Hey everyone. I’m happy to report that I finally got to making my second video. I was waiting for a data cable to arrive in the mail so I could switch to using my regular video camera instead of the video feature on my still camera. I was hoping the quality would be better. It is a little better but I am still having some trouble with the auto-focus. I’m going to have to play with it some more.

So here is my fun video presenting how I made these sweet cupcakes from a previous post.

Valentine’s Day goodies

My kids’ homeschool group will be having a Valentine’s Day party next week so I thought we should get to work on their “cards.” Most years we (I!) really do just make cards. But this year I wanted to do something that would be a little less time consuming. I was inspired by three things this time around.

  1. Paper Crafts Magazine did an article about making photo Valentine’s and I though that would be a great time saver to just print multiple copies, trim and go. And I’d save even more time since I wouldn’t have to sit down with three kids and get them to write their names on each of 30-40 cards. It is obvious who the card is from by the photo! Whew. Big time saver!
  2. Creating Keepsakes Magazine did an article a while back on using the white space in photos to journal on. I had my kids purposefully create me some white space to write our Valentines day message. I just cut the largest heart I could with the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge on my Cricut and had them hold it while I took their pictures.
  3. Finally, The Paper Variety gave us this little photo to draw inspiration from.

So using all those inspiration pieces I came up with the above goody bags. I photographed each child holding up the heart and cropped the photo to 4×3 so I could fit two up on a 4×6 print. I then overlayed the heart with our message in a font called Plastique. I then cut some brackets on my Cricut (Blackletter cart) and ahered to the photo. Then the photo is placed on a topper card that is cut to 4.25 x 5.5 and folded in half. The photo extends above the topper card but I like it that way.

Enjoy!

Make something yummy challenge

As I’ve said before I have a plan for prettying up my scrap space. For a long time I have had a sketch on my cork board of my “Creative Cafe” complete with awning, welcome sign and menu plaque. In keeping with the food theme I created a pink cake box and placed it on an actual bakers rack that holds my printers & some supplies. I didn’t post a picture of the box because it didn’t turn out well. But what I do have a photo for you of are these yummy cupcakes…

I created these both to fit with my new room theme and to enter the Make Something Yummy challenge over at My Pink Stamper. To create the cupcake wrapper I used a pattern that was in the Jan/Feb ’11 issue of Paper Crafts Magazine (and available for download here). I then ran the wrapper through my paper crimper, starting from the middle and doing each side separately. This helps the crimping to stay as straight as it can be. I used my Cricut to cut a 4″ circle and fringed the entire edge of the circle in about 1″. Adding a line of adhesive from my ATG gun all around the fringe, and across the entire surface, I then maneuvered the circle to fit inside the top of the wrapper. This gave me a solid base to adhere my ribbon to. I  twisted and folded my ribbon as I wound it around the cupcake to create fluffy icing. I topped it off with a rich pink button threaded with green twine for that sweet cherry on top.

So go whip up some of your own crafty cupcakes. Enjoy!

Crafting with my son

My son was part of a Lego Robotics team under the parent organization First Lego League. His team won 3rd place in the local qualifying tournament with the opportunity to advance to the state tournament. We went to state this past Saturday. At the tournament, FLL was celbrating its 20th year and the state organization, ORTOP was celebrating its 10th anniversary. They asked the kids to make some kind of celebratory hat for the occasion. After starting one type of hat, my son changes his mind and wanted to make a birthday cake hat. So we pulled out the Gypsy and Cricut and he designed this festive hat. Hope you enjoy.

Recipe

cardstock: DCWV sticky back 12×24 pad, Stampin’ Up, stash
die cuts: Cricut (Plantin Schoolbook and A Child’s Year)
ink: Stampin’ Up

Craft Room Decorating & My Pink Stamper Challenge

Hey everyone. I wanted to share this project with you today. I made these sweet photo flowers for two reasons. The first is that I am on a mission to decorate my craft space. Since I work in the unfinished basement I don’t have the prettiest of spaces. As you can see here, my craft table faces the furnace and water heater. I LOVE my space but I am getting tired of looking at the utilities. So, I’m starting to do something about it! Then today Robyn, over at My Pink Stamper, posted a message saying she is looking for 2 members for the next term of her design team. In order to apply for the position I have to create an item following her challenge: use the cricut and the colors of pink, green and brown. So I decided to create a room decor item to spice up my space. Keep reading and I’ll show you how I made these flowers and give you some ideas of what else you can do with them!

Recipe

  • cardstock: Bazzill and Stampin’ Up
  • pattern paper: Stampin’ Up and Hot Off The Press
  • spray inks: Tattered Angels & Clear Snap
  • die products: Circut using Plantin Schoolbook
  • foam adhesive: Therm O Web

Steps

1.  Use the cricut to cut your photos into 2″ circles. There are other ways to do this, but this is my favorite method. Choose photos that have the focal image that is about 2.25″ square. Next, create a template that you will use to line up and cut your photos. To make the template, place a scrap piece of cardstock carefully along the guide edges on the upper right of your mat. This part is important because it is going to help you line up your photos correctly. Load your mat, paying attention to where your mat sits flush when you load it (mine sits more to the left of the little guide bump). Insert your mat, choose the circle from the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge and cut once at 2″ (I used the real size feature to be sure my circle is really 2″). Unload the mat. Carefully lift up the top right corner and slip your photo underneath. Move the photo around until it fits how you like within the circle template. Be sure to trim off any of the photo that overhangs the mat! Lift away the template. Load your mat just like you did when you cut the template, then cut that 2″ circle again. Remove your photo, replace your template carefully on the guide lines and repeat this process for each photo you want to cut.

2.  Choose papers for your flowers. I decided to make the flowers have two layers with a center circle to hold the photo. I chose pink papers for the girls in the family and green papers for the boys with brown paper for the center. Each flower has a solid cardstock as the bottom layer and a pattern paper as the top layer. I cut the flowers at 5.25″ and the center brown circles at 2.5″ again using real dial to be sure they come out the size I expectt. Everything then got a good spray of shimmery inks. While the pieces were still wet I crumpled them up and then smoothed them back out to give them more texture. After they dried I assembled everything, using pop dots to lift up the center of the flower just a bit.

3.  I decided to mount these flowers on the edge of the furnace ducts. The sheet metal of the ducts will act as a nice backdrop for the flowers. I used one of my favorite products, 3M Command Hooks velcro-type strips, to attach the flowers to the ducts. That way if I get tired of the flowers or the placement I can remove the 3M strips from the items and move or replace them. The 3M strips have a removable adhesive that can be replaced with refill adhesive strips. Below you can see what the strips look like and how the look mounted to the ducting. And finally you can see how all the flowers look all lined up.

If you don’t have ugly ducts you need to hide, you could mount these straight to a wall, use them in a scrapbook page or how about this idea… Attach each flower to a colored craft stick and add a leaf (also from Plantin Schoolbook). Then stand all these in a shallow vase with foam in the bottom. Add a ribbon to the vase and display this never-wilt bouquet!

I hope I have inspired you to create some home decor item! And I’ll keep you posted with photos as I add on to my furnace camouflage project!

This weeks busy work

Every year I think I am going to get it together way ahead of time and every year I don’t. I either just delay or come up with inspiring ideas at the last minute. This year it was a little of both… I delayed on my Christmas cards and came up with inspiring ideas for small gifts for friends at the last minute. So here is what I made this week.

First off, I finished off my Little Book of Thanks album that I had showed you the beginnings of. Just wanted to let you see how I finished the inside. I put a photo of each family member opposite their personal word of thanks. Then I went online and found a quote that in some way fit that persons personality and added it to the opposite page.

Next…Christmas cards! I desgined these on the Gypsy and had a bunch of fun doing it. It was also nice that I could just attend the Cricut when it needed loaded/unloaded. All the other work (cutting all those elements!) was done for me while I worked on other things. Because I used just cardstock and a little stickles these cards cost me less than $2 to make 14 lovely, handmade cards. (Yeah, I know it doesn’t take the cost of the tools into account but that is another story!)

Then…9 votive candle holders out of vellum. I scored some really cheap electric votive candles at Big Lots before Halloween and then sat staring at them deciding what to make. Then inspiration struck! I used alcohol ink to blend a background, stamped my favorite trees (from Stampin’ Up) on there with StazOn, added a date stamp and a snowflake cut on the Cricut. Elegant yet simple.

And Finally, these little cocoa treat pouches. Again, designed on the gypsy and left to cut elements out while I was working on 0ther things!

More Advent

So I have been busy working on various craft projects for the holidays. I wanted to show you the finished results of the Advent projects I worked on. First off we have the rest of the earrings my daughter and I made. She managed to design and put together a couple of pairs all on her own.

The earrings, along with our other Advent goodies have taken their place on our Advent wall. You’ll notice a bunch of little boxes hanging on a card on the right side of the photo. Those are boxes I created several years ago. This year we filled them with the earrings.

The other elements of our advent wall: a Countdown to X-mas sign, advent note cards for my son, and down on the bottom right, large envelopes hanging on a binder ring. You can see an example of how the envelopes are simply decorated since a few are sitting up on the mantel. The envelopes are filled with resurrected Playmobil toys that we dug out of storage. They belonged to my older two children and now they are being passed on to the youngest in her Advent calendar.

A detail shot of  the countdown sign. This was one of the first projects I used playing with my new Gypsy. It was great to weld letters together to create a continuous phrase instead of gluing individual letters down!

I added a Merry Christmas tag to the bottom of the advent boxes since the original one was missing.

The note cards below I made for my oldest. He said this year he didn’t really need an advent calendar. He is at that age where toys are much less appealing (unfortunately he has moved onto expensive video games!) I was just happy that he didn’t get caught up in the greedy “they get something, so how come I don’t” mentality. He was very mature and understanding. But I still wanted to do something for him. So I made these note cards. Each day has a little message tucked into it. Some are just love notes and some are “treats” (like staying up late). I enjoyed making it and I think he is enjoying finding what his message will be each morning.

Happy holidays to everyone, in whatever way you might celebrate them!

Advent

Every year we do advent calendars with the kids to count down the days to Christmas. Our callendars have ranged from the purchased chocolate packs to Playmobile gifts to our make-your-own-advent-out-of-Lego-pieces creation. This year I remembered that when I was a kid my mom had found an earring advent calendar that was filled with holiday themed earrings. I thought that might be a fun calendar for my daughter who had her ears pierced just a couple of months ago. I mentioned the idea to her and we went out shopping to find 24 pairs of earrings on the cheap. We didn’t succeed. But we did come up with the crazy idea to make them ourselves!

With great sales at JoAnn we went shopping and came away with tons of beads and wire and enough findings to make all 24 pairs with plenty of supplies left over for other projects. All for $20! We decided to throw in materials that we already have on hand such as craft wire, polymer clay, buttons and some other goodies. So that increases the cost (sort of) but I think it is well worth it.

My daughter did most of the design work and I did the manual labor while adjusting her designs to the real world. In the first night we made 7 pairs of earrings in about 2 hours. That is awesome considering neither of us have ever really made earrings before! I have to admit that I was feeling overwhelmed when I first sat down to start working on these. I was wondering how many hours I would be sitting in the basement chasing beads that fell all over the floor. After a small learning curve using crimp beads to secure the beading wire, I felt pretty confident in my jewelry making skills! I think we did a great job. I’ll post more pictures as we complete more items.

Thanksgiving Wreath

I created this project to take to share with my kids’ homeschool group last week. I pre-cut all the elements on my Cricut (Storybook cartridge) and let the kids (and moms too!) assemble their wreaths as they wished. The wreaths were cut in two shapes: an outer ring shape and an inner solid circle shape. This was really just one cut on the Cricut. I set my Cricut to the center point function, cut a 6 3/4″ circle and then immediately cut another circle at 4 3/4″. This left me with the ring shape and the circle shape. I cut leaves at 2″ (I think) and used the fill page function. This gave me 25 leaves on one 12×12 sheet of pattern paper. Add in a couple of fall sentiment stamps, twine and glue sticks and the project is good to go! A more elegant version could be created using a bigger wreath layered thick with larger leaves of more varied shapes. I think this project would be great too if you add a favorite fall photo to the center. Try this one with your own kids or make a lovely version for yourself. If you make a wreath, post it on your favorite online gallery and share a link to your file in the comments!

Day 5 of back-in-action

Okay, day five of my planned week-long back-in-action eye candy. This treat bag was created for another magazine call. I really had fun with this one. I don’t tend to use a bunch of flashy embellishments but the Valentine’s day them of the call got my bling flowing. To creat the heart I simply hand drew a heart shape and covered the drawing over with gems. And I enjoyed the color scheme. One of my favorite color palettes is rich brown with pops of vibrant color. I reversed this one a bit and went with vibrant pink with a pop of brown. In the past I hated pink, but in the past few years I have come to really like it! It is funny how tastes and styles can change. So pretty, but one of the things I realized is that I don’t really like working projects out of season. I admire the magazine industry for preparing all the holiday goodies 6 months in advance! I used to want to work in magazines, but doing these winter season calls in the summer left me feeling a bit out of sorts.

RECIPE

envelope: Office Depot
cardstock: Stampin’ Up
alpha stickers: Cosmo Cricket
spray ink: Tattered Angels
gems: Want 2 Scrap
hemp twine: (can’t remember!)
punch: Ek Success
adhesive: Terrifically Tacky Tape (Provo Craft), Tombo liquid glue (for gems)

HOW TO…

To create the pouch, seal a regular A2 size envelope along one short side and the two long sides at about 1/2 inch. Trim off the remaining short side to create  the top of your bag. Use the score lines to fold the envelope into a bag shape. This will leave two little triangles at the bottom of the bag that must be adhered down. I used a very sticky adhesive to keep it in place.