12/26/12

Happy Boxing Day

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas day with friends and family, lots of good food, lots of laughter and fun! Wikipedia has this (and more) to say about Boxing Day -

“Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their superiors or employers, known as a "Christmas box". Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on 26 December, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth nations.”

Without further ado, here are the final three Christmas cards of 2012.

Another CASE, I’m afraid. Different paper, different sentiment, but same basic layout. A CASE of a CASE, apparently – here is where I found it. It was just such a striking card, I couldn’t help myself. The embossing folder is by Darice, I found it at Hobby Lobby a while back. The faux brads are actually Candi Dots, attached with a little foam adhesive. Much easier than real brads! The patterned paper is BoBunny and the sentiment is Hero Arts, of course.

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My husband needed a card for Richard’s Coffee Shop and asked for an all-out over-the-top card this year. He is on the board of directors and spends a lot of his free time volunteering and hanging out with his friends there, so I had to honor his request and do my best to impress him. What do you think – mission accomplished?

The poinsettia is made with a Spellbinders die and I used red and green suede paper for the flower and leaves. The layers are popped up with foam adhesive so it is a very dimensional card, which is not a problem since it wasn’t being mailed.

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Here is the last of the bunch. I had to have this die from Taylored Expressions and I don’t regret this purchase at all! It cuts beautifully using the metal shim in the Big Shot. Attaching it is not really a problem either, because the holly leaves are big enough to add glue dots or liquid glue. I used 1/8” Scor Tape around the edges and adhered it to some red suede paper.

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Well, another Christmas season is behind us, we have survived the Mayan apocalypse and now it’s on to another year. What’s in store for you in 2013? Do you do New Year’s resolutions? I have been giving it some thought and there are several things I would like to accomplish in 2013. One of them is honing my photographic and photo editing skills. I have all of the tools I need to create really wonderful photos, I just need to learn how to use them effectively.

What’s on your list for next year?

12/24/12

Merry Christmas Eve

I hope everyone is doing well this fine Christmas Eve! All of the decorating is done, packages wrapped and under the tree, cards finished and mailed. It’s time to relax, kick back, pour a glass of your favorite holiday beverage and enjoy the evening.

This is one of those cards that I could have made a LOT of this year. It was tempting to just make this my one and only Christmas card this time, but then I felt guilty about all of the other stamps and dies. Every year I promise myself I won’t buy any new Christmas stamps and stuff, but every year I break that promise.

The stars are made with a Simon Says Stamp exclusive die called Falling Stars. I was a little disappointed with it at first because it left an impression of the edge of the die on my paper. It is a large die but instead of being a rectangle piece of metal, it is trimmed around the edges of the stars and that’s what left the impression. Kristina Werner was kind enough to offer a suggestion and it helped quite a bit – she said to run the die through with the side first instead of head first. Using thinner paper like this Stardreams helped, too. Most of the impression is at the bottom where there are fewer stars and that part is usually covered up anyway, so it’s all good.

I added some shiny, sparkly holographic paper behind the stars. It is hard to capture in a photo but it’s very striking in person. The landscape die is from Memory Box and the sentiment is by Hero Arts, stamped in Memento Nautical Blue. That is such a pretty navy blue ink and I love the way it works so well with clear stamps.

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Here’s a close-up – you can sort of see the sparkliness, yeah?

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Just to change it up a bit I made a vertical version. Same die, same sparkly paper, sentiment from a Technique Tuesday set. There was a tiny smudge of ink inside the O in Joy on one of the cards, so I added the snowflake gem to cover it. I liked the way it looked, so I added the gem to all of them. It was not a mistake, but an opportunity for embellishment.

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Merry Christmas!

12/23/12

A little more Christmas

Procrastination is my middle name and as I have mentioned before, it seems I work best under pressure. As usual, I waited until the last minute to get all of my Christmas cards finished. They are all in the mail and there are even a few left over for next year.

I tend to overwhelm myself by dragging out ALL of my Christmas stamps, paper, embossing folders, dies, ribbon….a whole heap of stuff, and then I just sit and look at it, wondering where to start. I did end up with a couple of sets unopened and unused but I am ok with that – I’ll use them next year and they will feel like brand new stamps! There were a couple of dies that I regret buying because they were just too much trouble to deal with, picking out all of the tiny pieces and sometimes not cutting all the way through, but that’s the chance you take buying intricate dies, I guess. Sometimes I wonder if the designers think of that when they design the things. It just shouldn’t take so much time and effort to cut out one little shape! Anyway, on to the cards…

I had to make a couple of kitty cards for my cat loving friends. I made 2 of these:

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The kitty is by Stampendous, colored with Copic markers, and the sentiment is Hero Arts. I remembered that I had the Tim Holtz edges die and was determined to use it at least once. So I did. I used it twice. Mission accomplished.

I saw this one on Krafting Kelly’s blog and had to CASE it. I used my Silhouette to cut out the trees, added some patterned paper and a little twine and boom! done! I made half a dozen of these using different patterned papers. They were just so easy and I love the way they turned out. Thanks, Kelly!

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That’s it for today. I hope everyone is staying warm and avoiding the last minute shopping craziness. Most of my shopping was done online and shipped directly to the recipients this year, no mall madness for me!

I will be back soon with a few more Christmas cards. Thanks for stopping by.

12/16/12

Snowflake wreath

I got a little punch happy with this one! I’ve seen so many wreath cards lately, I   decided to just use snowflakes instead of branches or holly. The snowflakes are punched from Stardreams paper using the Tonic Studios Medium Snowflake punch, with their Snowflake Pop-Up punch in the center. I used gems in the center of the snowflakes again and added a little blue and silver bow.

The sentiment is from a Technique Tuesday set and I made my own pop-up banner because I don’t have the die that everyone’s using these days.

I know it goes past the edges of the card but I can just use a slightly larger envelope. Problem solved!

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That’s all I have for today. I will be posting more Christmas cards as soon I stop procrastinating and get them finished.

12/14/12

And now for the blue period…

Apparently my camera (or the photographer) is no better with blue than with red. Maybe it’s because the paper is shiny. I used Stardreams for the background and it does cause the camera a little trouble. That’s what it is ;-).

I saw a similar design on Kath’s blog and I really like it, so I CASEd it! She does such beautiful work. All, or most, of her cards are square and I guess in the U.K. that’s normal, but over here it costs extra to mail, so I adapted it to the standard A2 size.

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I used the Tonic Christmas Tree again, along with the Snowfall border and the Star Multi Detail punch. The small snowflakes around the star were left when I punched the border – a twofer! There are gems in the center of the snowflakes, but they are hard to see in this photo. The sentiment is Hero Arts, from a small clear set that is several years old. I added the dashed lines with a navy blue Sharpie marker.

I probably should have changed the background paper to something a little more compatible with blue and while before I took the photo. Sigh.

12/12/12

More red and green

Not so much red on this one, thank goodness. I love this SU stamp, even though it’s at least a couple of years old. Some things never go out of style.

The edge is punched using the Tonic Border System and the larger Riblet punch. I really wanted to use the plaid ribbon but it wasn’t wide enough for the slots, so I backed it with some red satin and I like the way it turned out. The tree is, of course, colored with Copics and gems added for the ornaments. The edge on the sentiment is an SU border punch.

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Do those look like eyes to you?

12/10/12

Red again!

Here we go with another badly photographed red card. Sigh.

This one uses the Christmas Tree punch from Tonic Studios and a Stampin’ Up sentiment. The embossing folder is by Sizzix.

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I added Glitter Ritz-ed circles of Scor-Tape behind the Christmas Trees, but the glitteriness is barely visible in this photo. This is a better representation of the correct red, though. Why can’t it be correct on all of the photos?? Argh!

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Thanks for stopping by!

12/8/12

Ho Ho Ho!

One more Christmas card using my Tonic Studio punches. This time, it’s reindeer and a sleigh.

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I don’t know why my camera has such trouble with red! Anyway, I tried to punch the reindeer in a row like they were taking off and pulling the sleigh behind them. The other 4 reindeer are obviously already airborne but I don’t know what happened to Santa ;-). I couldn’t figure out a good way to connect them with a harness of sorts, so I didn’t. My drawing skills are severely lacking and I didn’t wish to screw up the whole card by trying to draw something. Maybe it’s an invisible harness. Yeah, that’s the ticket – it’s an invisible harness. Or is it called traces? Or harnesses and traces? I don’t know.

The sentiment stamp is one I found in the dollar bin at Michael’s a couple of years ago. I colored the letters and holly with Copic markers, and added a bit of bling for the berries.

Stay tuned for more Christmas cards soon!

12/6/12

Another Tonic Studios card

I decided to go with the traditional red and green for this one, along with a bit of bling here and there. I love a little extra bling this time of year, don’t you?

The sentiment is from a Hero Arts clear set – Miracle of the Holiday, new this year.

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The punches I used are 954 Holly Accent and 941 Edger Punch 2, along with the Border System. All of the boot punches can be used on its own or with the Border System, as I did here, to create a continuous border.

It is a little difficult to see in the photo, but I punched the white card stock first, using the Edger Punch 2 and the Holly Accent punches. I punched some smaller circles out of Scor-Tape, adhered them to the back of the holly and added some green Glitter Ritz glitter. The Holly Accent punch also punches 3 holes for the holly berries but I couldn’t find a way to get red glitter onto them because they are so close and so small, so I used sparkly red stickers instead. Then I adhered the white piece to a piece of red card stock, punched another piece of red card stock with the Edger Punch and used the negative piece above the holly, which created the appearance of a partial circle around the holly. Since it is an edge punch, there was only a fairly narrow strip, so I added another piece of the same red card stock above it and covered the place where they’re joined with a piece of ribbon. The holly next to the sentiment was also made using the same punch, I just punched the holly from a green piece of card stock, adhered them with the Quickie Glue Pen and used the same red stickers for the berries.

The Holly Accent punch looks like this:

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See how close the berries are? I suppose I might have been able to get red glitter in there if I had been very, very patient, but after 2 or 3 cups of coffee it just wasn’t happening.

I really do like these punches and the Border System makes it so easy to create a lovely border using the edge punches, accent punches the medium punches, or any combination of them. The punches are sharp and punch through Bazzill paper pretty easily, which is something most of my other punches do not do very well.

Again, thanks for stopping by and I will have more cards to show you soon.

12/5/12

Time to get started on Christmas cards

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas will be here before we know it. Last week the UPS truck showed up with a box full of new goodies from Tonic Studios for me and I got to work straight away creating Christmas cards with them.

I thought I’d have a go at a clean and simple design, and I think this one almost qualifies, even though it does have layers. I liked the first card so much I decided to create a set of 6, each one using a different punch and in a different color.

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Here are the individual cards and the punches I used for each one.

I tried and tried to get the gold to show up better on this one, but this is as good as it gets, I’m afraid. I used the Tsukineko Delicata Gold ink for the sentiment (from Papertrey) and it is so pretty in person, not so much here. The punch is the 911 Deer border punch – all of the punches are from Tonic Studios. The bit behind the punch is a Spellbinders die and the top squares are all popped up on foam tape to add a wee bit of dimension.

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915 Sleigh border punch

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992 Medium Snowflake

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993 Medium Snowman

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908 Stocking border punch

Stocking

906 Christmas Tree border punch

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Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more Christmas cards using more of my new toys from Tonic Studios coming up soon.

11/19/12

Win $1000 for the holidays from Purex!

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I am a member of Purex Insiders and every so often they send products for me to test and review. This time it was Purex plus Oxi detergent. Purex plus Oxi, like all liquid Purex products, has been specifically formulated to work in both high efficiency and traditional washing machines.

I have a traditional machine and I have to tell you that I was pretty impressed with this detergent. I have used Purex detergent for several years and I love it! Purex plus Oxi features a powerful combination of detergent and stain fighters and left our clothes bright, white, and clean. The best part is that it costs about half of other leading brands and works just as well, if not better! It can even be used a pretreater for stains. Just pour a little Purex plus Oxi onto the stain, rub the fabric together and let it sit for 5 minutes before putting it in the washer. Then add Purex plus Oxi to your wash load as you normally would.

Now for the sweepstakes!

Scare Away Stains with Purex plus Oxi
There will be one (1) Prize. The Prize winner will receive $1,000 in the form of a check or gift card and a (1) year supply of Purex plus Oxi detergent in the form of 10 “Free Coupons” valued at up to $6.00 per coupon.
Just click the link to enter -  http://insiders.purex.com/purexplusoxi?id=6011

I am giving away a coupon for a FREE bottle of Purex plus Oxi. Just leave a comment in the comment section below and I will choose a winner next week. Be sure to leave a way to contact you.

Good luck everyone and remember, for the $1000 drawing you need to click the link above. Leaving a comment here will not enter you into that drawing.

10/31/12

Happy Halloween!

These are the last of the bunch. My daughter received her card so I can post it here now.

Innocent enough on the outside, right? I do love the little googly eyes on the tag, though. I wish I had used them on the others, too.

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But when you open it up……

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Spiders!! She hates spiders, she really, really hates spiders. So, why would I send a card like this to someone that hates spiders? I’m just contrary that way, I guess. She didn’t have a heart attack and was mildly surprised, so it’s all good. I found a tutorial for this technique, probably on Pinterest, but it was a birthday card. Phooey. Spiders are better. At least this time of year. Click here for the tutorial.

Burgundy Stickles are perfect for adding little red spots on the spiders, which were cut from suede paper using my Silhouette machine. You can’t really see the acetate strips, but that’s what is making them pop up. That’s a LOT of spiders, too. 2 of them on each strip, back to back. The Boo! was cut with Papertrey Ink alphabet dies.

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Here is a closer view of the inside verse. It’s from a Darcie’s stamp set that I found at the Winston-Salem convention earlier this year. I added the spiders and cats using Memento London Fog ink.

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This is the same card as one from the previous post, with a different color background.

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I would have made more of these but that was the last piece of the green paper. I used suede paper for the scene, the bats and the witch. The spider brad is one I bought several years ago at a convention and have been hoarding. I still have quite a few, and will continue to use them sparingly, I think.

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And last but not least, my favorite card of all this year. Yes, I am a copycat and copied Dixie’s card. I used different colors for the sky, left off the moon, added the tree, and mounted it on foam tape for dimension, but it’s pretty similar to her card. I also made some without the spooky tree, but apparently I have deleted the photos of those and they have all been mailed. I used the same Distress Inks for the sky – Broken China, Dusty Concord, Spiced Marmalade, and Rusty Hinge. The tree was stamped using Colorbox Blackbird Chalk Ink and it turned out much better than the one using the Versafine Black ink.

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That’s it for my Halloween cards this year. I made envelopes for all of them using some 12 x 12 Halloween paper that I’ve had for way too long, and I will post those later. I used the new Scor-Envi thing with the new Scor-Pal and I have a few tips for using that, too. It is similar to the one that comes with the Martha Stewart scoring board, but the sizes with the Scor-Envi are accurate, unlike the other one.

I hope everyone came through the storm safe and sound, and I wish you all a very spooky and Happy Halloween.

10/29/12

A little more Halloween

These three are very similar, but not exactly the same. I started out with this one, using the MB window die, my precious patterned paper, and the Hero Arts chevron embossing folder. The striped paper is from Doodlebug Designs, I love their papers.

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I felt a little guilty for not stamping a whole lot on the card (just the greeting, which is from a JustRite set), so I switched it up to this, using a Great Impressions tree and doing a little sponging for the background. The tree looks a little funky because I used Versafine black ink and it didn’t completely cover the trunk, so I used a Memento marker to fill it in. Hey, it’s a spooky tree, it isn’t supposed to be perfect. Nevertheless, I switched to Colorbox Blackbird chalk ink after this and it worked perfectly.

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I gave it one more try and used that awesome Impression Obsession die along with the sponged background. This is my favorite one of the window cards. I used Distress Inks – Broken China, Dusty Concord, Spiced Marmalade, and Rusty Hinge for the background. I popped up both the die and the window on foam tape to add some dimension. (Pay no attention to the specks of dust and whatnot – I never notice those things until I see the photos of the cards.)

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I have just a few more to post this week and then it’s time to move on to Christmas cards. Or maybe Fall cards, since I don’t do Thanksgiving cards. I do love the Fall colors, and ours are being blown off the trees at this very moment by the winds from the hurricane. Phooey.

10/27/12

It’s almost Halloween!!

You know I love Halloween, and I’ve been busy making cards this week. They all went in the mail today (cutting it close, I know), so I thought it was time to post a couple of them here.

Remember when I said I had that same die that Dixie used on the Halloween card she sent to me? Well, here is the first of several cards I made with it. I should have just bought this die and nothing else, I love it!

I have no idea from whence the background paper came, I’ve had it for several years and use it sparingly because it is extinct now. I used black suede paper for the scene on this one, a Hero Arts sentiment, and a Spellbinders tag die. Add a couple of brads and some baker’s twine and there you go! Happy Haunting!

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Since I didn’t quit after I got the Impression Obsession die and also got these Memory Box dies, I thought I’d better put them to some use this year, too. I die cut the spiders out of some fuzzy black paper that is also a couple of years old, so I have no source for it, either.

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Here’s a close-up of the fuzzy little spider. Looks almost real enough to smash with a shoe, doesn’t he?

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Again, Memory Box ghosts die and Grand Madison Window die had to be used to assuage my guilt, so here they are in all their glory. The spider webs in the corners are from an older Martha Stewart set – this was the first time they were inked up and I know I’ve had that set for a few years now. The sentiment is from a Penny Black Halloween clear set I bought at Archiver’s last year (or maybe the year before).

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So, I didn’t spend a whole lot on new stuff this year and I still have more cards to show you, including a very special one I made for my daughter but I don’t want to post that one until I am sure she has received it. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I will be back soon, but until then I hope everyone is staying safe from the Frankenstorm of 2012. Now, if you will excuse me, I am enjoying an evening at home alone and I have a movie to watch and some letters that need answering.

10/20/12

OWH Sketch Challenge

Operation Write Home is hosting a sketch challenge today, based on this card by Missy from Tonic Studios.

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Since Halloween is almost here, I decided use it as my theme and came up with this:

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Similar, but different. I added the bat and the moon, and the sentiment is angled differently, but the main design is mostly the same. I used the Tonic Studios 766 Doily Strip Punch for the strips. The ghosts are cut from a strip of May Arts ribbon, the small bats were punched from suede paper using a Martha Stewart punch, and the large bat is also made from suede paper, but I used an older Cuttlebug die. I punched a circle of shimmery white paper for the moon, and the sentiment is from a Hero Arts clear set.

It’s so difficult for me not to put some sort of glittery-ness on holiday cards (you know how I love shiny things) but it’s strictly forbidden on OWH cards, so I restrained myself and settled for a nod to shiny things with the shimmery white paper. The ghosts are pretty shimmery, too. The deadline has passed for sending Halloween cards to OWH, but I still wanted to abide by the rules (that doesn’t happen often!). Now that I am in the mood, I am going to get crankin’ on some more Halloween cards!

10/17/12

Halloween!

Yesterday I received my first Halloween card of the season in the mail, from none other than Ms. Dixie. It is quite awesome and I wanted to share it with you here on my sadly neglected little blog. So, without further ado…

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She has some wicked sponging skills, I love how the sky blends from orange to dark blue – it’s hard to capture perfectly in a photo. She used the new die from Impression Obsession, Halloween Hill, and since I have that very same die you will be seeing lots of it here very soon. You’ve been warned.

Thank you, Dixie, and thank all of you for stopping by. Hop on over to Dixie’s blog and check it out, she has lots of inspiration there.

10/3/12

A Sunflower Thank You Card

Recently I won a drawing on a penpal site and the package arrived yesterday. It was full of goodies about the Pony Express and the Old West, including a really cool book, lots of postcards and even a pony express poster so I wanted to send a nice thank you card. I flipped through my stash and didn’t find anything suitable, so I set out to create a new one. Now, the sender of said package is a dude, so too much floweriness wouldn’t do. He also lives in California and I wanted to try to reflect that in my card. I thought I had the Stampendous stamp similar to this one but with grapes at the bottom, but I don’t. That’s the way my life goes. These stamps are probably modeled after Italian landscapes, but California is a big wine producer, so that would have worked. Anyway, I’m sure sunflowers grow in California and they aren’t too girly, so I went with it.

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As you well know, I am not a fan of fussy cutting, but I didn’t see a way out of it with this image. I got a little crazy and even cut out the sunflowers to pop up over the design! This is a one time deal, I won’t be making 20 of this card, that’s for sure.

I think it turned out pretty well, colored with Copics and layered up on some foam adhesive. No glitter, no ribbon, so I think it is a decent manly card – what do you think? It will be going out in the mail today and I hope he likes it.

10/1/12

What’s black and white and sparkly?

Cards, of course. A friend is getting married this month and I made some Thank You cards for her as a wedding gift. She couldn’t decide on a color theme, she likes them all, so she decided to go with white and sparkly. I’m all about the sparkly!

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The photo doesn’t show it very well but the ribbon is shimmery white and I added dots of Stardust Stickles to the centers of the embossed design. Glittery-ness is so hard to photograph! I only made 24 – that should get her started. My Silhouette was called into service to cut the fancy Spellbinder knock off labels and the center was punched with a Fiskars oval punch. One thing I love about the Silhouette is that I can resize a design to fit my project. I just need to remember to take advantage of that more often and not let it gather dust.

Anyway, then I had to make a box for these cards, which quickly turned into 2 boxes because I needed 5” sides to accommodate all of the cards and envelopes, and I can’t get that out of a 12 x 12 piece of patterned paper.

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I made the top from a very glittery piece of 12 x 12 paper and the bottom is plain black Bazzill paper. Boxes are so easy to make once you figure out the system. Figure out what size you need the bottom to be to accommodate the cards and envelopes and how deep it needs to be, add the depth x2 (for each side) to the bottom measurement and there you go.

For instance, say your envelopes (which are larger than your cards, right?) are 4-1/2 x 5-3/4, so you need the bottom of the box to be 4-5/8 x 5-7/8 and the box needs to be 2” deep. 4-5/8 + 4 (2” for each side) = 8-5/8, and 5-7/8 + 4 = 9-7/8, right? Cut the paper to that size and score at 2” on each side. Make your cuts at the ends and assemble. I always cut one out of scrap paper to be sure before I cut into the “good” paper, especially if I have just enough of it to make the box. That lesson was learned the hard way a while ago! The top is only 1/16” larger than the bottom so it fits snugly. I tried 1/8” and it was too loose.

I used the same theme on the congratulations card, using the same paper as the top of the box. Like I said, I’m all about the sparkly!

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The stamps are from Gina K Designs, one of the Lovely Labels sets, and I embellished it with a few pearls. I also colored in the black strips with a Spica black glitter pen, because no matter which ink I used they didn’t turn out dark enough for me. The strip behind it was punched using a Martha Stewart border punch.

I love this verse on the inside. It’s the Apache Wedding Prayer and the stamp is from Hampton Art Stamps.

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I had a lot of fun with this project and I hope she likes them. I still need some sparkly tissue paper to wrap up the cards in the boxes and a sparkly gift bag. You’d think that would be easy to find, but I haven’t had any luck so far. I will try Hobby Lobby later, they have a decent gift wrapping section. Maybe I will run into a stamp that’s calling my name, too – you just never know.

9/22/12

Ribbon organization

I have an embarrassing amount of ribbon, both on spools and by the yard, so storage is always a challenge. I have some of it stored in one of my Alex drawers (from Ikea) in the Spool & Store containers from Inky Antics, some ribbon still on spools in boxes in my craft closet, a couple on the rack on the front of the closet door (mostly PTI and SU ribbon) and the rest I now have organized like this:

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I used to hang the rings on two over-the-door racks and it was a jumbled mess. I was browsing Pinterest (don’t you love that place??) and found this idea there – ribbon organization. Since my ribbon was already on the binder rings, I decided to leave it that way and use S hooks to hang the rings from the hanger, separating them with the little binder clips to keep them from sliding all over the hanger. I tried using those plastic ribbon loop thingies like you see on the green ribbon ring, but it was way too much trouble to add a new piece of ribbon or even get a piece cut off, so I went to the binder ring method.

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I think I am really going to like this idea better than the way I stored it before. I can grab the binder ring with the appropriate color on it, take it to my craft table and get what I need without having to fight my way through a big ribbon-y mess. This hangs on the back of the door to my craft room, so it’s out of sight of any small kittehs that might think the ribbons are there for their amusement.

Do you have any organizational ideas you’d like to share? Not just for ribbon, but for anything crafty. I’d love to hear/see them.