Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas......and free stuff.......Ooooo

   Okay now to everyone's favorite topic.....FREE STUFF! Yay! For those of you looking for some crafting and design inspiration, look no further than Heidi Swapp and Pink Paislee this week! Heidi has been posting free downloads the last couple weeks in anticipation for Christmas. These are really nice printable, cut-able (it's a word....), and customizable designs to use for your Christmas decor and crafting! You can find the links at her website:

   Here are a couple of my favorite downloads so far, but definitely get them all! It's worth it!
I love the vintage Santa! So awesome!
Perfect! Chevrons and stars? What more could you want?
   Next is Pink Paislee! Now I haven't gotten into the digital scrapbooking world, but Pink Paislee is giving away some Christmas digital files for you to use on digi pages or to print and use as regular papers and embellishments! I use them for the latter. I like to be able to cut them out and use these images however I please! Heidi calls it Hybrid crafting! I think it'll catch on! Here's the link you need to download the fun items from Pink Paislee:
   Well I think that's it for now, folks! I hope this has inspired you to get moving on your holiday projects and gifts! Only a few short days left (yikes!!!). Until next time:

Here's to life, love, and creativity!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Silhouette Giveaway

I am really hoping to own one of these someday! Here's a link to the contest for anyone who would like to also participate!

The holiday season is upon us! I hope this finds everyone enjoying the start to my favorite time of year! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Challenge Post #4: Vinyl

   As promised, I wanted to post a couple quick projects I have done recently using vinyl. Vinyl is WONDEFUL for home decor projects! I absolutely love it! Plus you can get it super cheap online and in many different colors! My go-to website for vinyl use to be Oh My Crafts, but lately they have had issues with their processing and shipping. So I might be looking else where next time I need it (which won't be for awhile...).

   These first few projects are all different photo and scrapbook albums that I decorated with vinyl to dress them up and personalize them!

This is an album I did using vinyl cut outs from my Cricut Expression. I used the "Accent Essentials" cartridge which has a nested circle design on it. I cut the circles in a 2-3 different sizes and two different colors. To get the border effect, I simply cut come of the circles and applied them about an inch to 1 1/2 in from the sides.
This album I made for an expecting friend. The giraffe and the borders matched a photo box I decorated to keep loose photos in of the baby. At the shower, we each decorated and signed a scrapbook page to start the scrapbook album for her! I used the "New Arrival" Cricut cartridge for the giraffe and the bow.

This album I made for my sister a few month back as part of her baby shower gift. I decorated the front and the spine of the album to match the invitations I sent out for the shower (also shown on the table). The same giraffe image was used as the previous one.
   I have a couple more albums I am working on for a couple other baby shower gifts. These ones I would like to try and use Mod Podge over the vinyl to keep the vinyl permanently adhered to the cover. I do not think it will show too much on the album, but it depends on the type of album used. All of the previous albums were leather finish, 3 ring albums.

   The next set of projects were ones I just completed for our wedding last month. These were little "treasure" boxes I made for the nieces and nephews that were in the wedding. They were filled with goodies and games for the kids to play with during the down times throughout the night. They were a huge hit!

These were the ring bearers "Pirate Chests" complete with the skull and cross bones! I used a simple black vinyl to cut out both the image and the names. I stuck the vinyl on there as best I could (the boxes are wood), then used Mod Podge Matte to seal the vinyl to the box.
A view of the top of the "Pirate Chests" with the boys' names sealed on top with Mod Podge!

The flower girls and junior bridesmaid received these cute little jewelry boxes. I decided to make them more personal by added pennant banners and each girl's initial on the top with vinyl. I sealed each of these with the Mod Podge Matte as well. It definitely helped with all the edges on the pennant flags.

A view of the top of one of the girl's jewelry box! These were so quick and easy, but really made it special for each kid! They loved them!
   My last project I am going to share is an etched mirror that I made for the families a couple Christmases ago. The funny thing is, I only got a couple done before we had to move a couple times. So I still owe a couple mirrors to a couple people (Sorry Zac and Nichole...I promise you will get it soon! haha)

   Etching mirrors is very tricky and it takes a little practice. I practiced on a couple small table mirrors I bought at the craft store first to make sure I was using enough etching cream and to get use to using the vinyl as a stencil. I will post a picture of my practice mirror once I find it in my mess of pictures!

   I definitely suggest using transfer tape on the vinyl before placing it on the mirror. It helps keep the vinyl straight and smooth. I also would suggest using some type of vinyl scrapper tool to smooth the vinyl down on the mirror and make sure all the edges are stuck down really well! I use Armour Etch etching cream for etching mirrors and glass. I will post a picture of the finished project tomorrow when I'm not so tired!

   I hope you are enjoying these little creative posts this week! Hopefully you are getting inspired to create your own projects! Like always, if you have any questions or need extra details on anything I posted, please leave me a comment below! Until next time:

Here's to life, love, and creativity!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Challenge Post #3

   I had all intentions of publishing this last night, but I was exhausted and decided it could wait until.....later! I have been endlessly working on 'thank you' notes from the wedding! Yesterday I was able to complete 25 of them, but I still have about 100 to go! Not to mention I need to finish making the rest of the wedding thank yous! My goal is to have most of them completed and sent before we leave next week for California. I think it's a reasonable goal, but hopefully my hand can take all the penmanship!

   Other than that things have been busy around here! The holidays are approaching faster than I can imagine, and I have yet to get my Halloween decorations out. Yikes! Ian has been really busy at work and has already put in 30 hours in the last two days. So we have not seen much of each other lately! I still have a lot of organizing and putting away to do around the house with post-wedding stuff, but I also need to winterize the outside, clean, get decorations out, finish applying to medical schools, and run some errands. Never a dull moment around here!

 Before I start in on my list of 'to-do', I will post lucky project number three! This has been one of my favorite projects this year! I love how it turned out, and I am planning on making a couple more for gifts around the holidays! The project is an accordion album/brag book for a baby! I made two of these a few months ago for a couple of my friends who were expecting this year. I will post pictures of both so you can compare the "boys" book to the "girls" one.

   First things first, I found these accordion album kits on clearance at Paper Source last Christmas. I had all intentions of using them for gifts last year, but I ran out of time to make anything else. This year was the year of babies, though, so I made sure I spent time making personalized gifts for each shower (7 in total!!!). The kit came with 2-5x7 chipboard covers and an accordion folded paper (about 9 panels on each side). I think they were on clearance because of the color. I don't mind it, though. It can be covered! 

This is the accordion paper laid out from the kit. Both albums started with this green color. First I used a brown distess ink to ink the edges and each crease (front and back). Then I cut my papers down to fit each panel and laid them out in the order I wanted them on each side (I utilized both sides of the album so the parents could fit more pictures overall). Surprise surprise...I used scraps and left over papers from other baby themed projects! Next I glued them all down using Rubber Cement! I like Rubber Cement when using thin papers like these.
This was what the boys album looked like after inking and gluing (you cannot see all the was very long).
The girls album after inking and gluing. Notice how you cannot see much of the green any more! I chose to glue separate papers to each panel rather than score a long piece of paper because I wanted it to fold nice and flat in the end.
Next, I inked the chipboard covers. One for each front and back. For the chipboard, I used Tim Holtz's Distress Stain because it was easier to get a deeper color. As you can also see, I also started going through some baby embellishments and phrases for the albums. What you see in the picture were left over from a bunch of die cuts off the Cricut that I ran through my Xyron to make into instant stickers!

On to embellishing while the covers dry. I used a variety of things, but I also wanted to leave room in case the parents wanted to add any personal touches. I used twine, homemade sticker embellishments (this one says "Handle with Care"), and popped embellishments for added dimension. I tried not to make too many pop-up embellishments because then the book would not close!

Diaper pin die cuts with some hand-drawn scribbles to connect the 3.

The girls album used a lot of the same type of embellishments, but with a different twist (this die cut says "gentle").

Dimension added behind the duck to make it pop off the border. Here you can also see the ribbon glue to the chipboard and underneath this last panel (more on this later...).
The front of the final projects! I did not take as many pictures putting the covers together, but I will try and explain what I did. After drying, I took the boys front cover and glued a paper I masked and misted using Mr. Huey's ink on the front using Zip Dry glue (works great on heavier paper). Then I glued the little tab at the top and stamped the phrase at the bottom using Memento jet black ink. For the girls front cover I misted the paper with Mr. Huey's then again using Mr. Huey's shine mist (to give it shimmer) then stamped the phrase on the bottom. While that dried, I attached a couple eyelets to a banner border using my Crop-a-Dile then glued it in place at the top (this way the eyelets did not have to go through the chipboard). When the ink was dry on the phrases, I used Glossy Accents to trace over the word miracle so it would stand out a little more and pop off the cover. The ribbon will be explained in the next photo. Cute, right?
The back of the final projects! For boys back cover, I popped the banner up after attaching the eyelets. I misted both papers on the back with Mr. Huey's mist and shine as well then added a rub-on to the boys and a sticker and tab to the girls. To attach the covers to the papers. I glued the backs on first. I needed to make sure the ribbon fastener was already glued, though, before I glued down the paper. I used glossy accents to glue the thin ribbon to the inside back covers. Then I used Zip Dry to glue the last page of the accordion book over top of the ribbon (this page I purposefully did not cover with a different piece of stayed the green was glued to chipboard). For the front covers, I simply attached the first panel of the accordion book (also left green) to the inside front cover of the chipboard. Once it was dry, I tied the ribbon around the front panel and was done!

   What do you think? I was very excited to give these as gifts! They turned out so cute! It would be easy to make this without the kit, too. Cut down some chipboard to the size album you want to make (this happened to be 5x7). Then cut 7 inch strips of paper from a  12x12 sheet. Score the strips at 5 inches and fold accordion style. The "leftover" tab after scoring could be used to attach strips of panels together to make the book as long as you wanted (attach the 2 inch tab to the back of the next strip of scored paper)! Decorate, embellish, and KAPOOOW.....a cute album!

   If you have any questions, though, or need more explanation on something I did or materials I used, please leave me a comment! I would love to help! I hope you enjoyed project number three this week! Stay tuned tomorrow (hopefully...) for a few projects using vinyl! Until next time:

Here's to life, love, and creativity!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Challenge Post #2

   So I'm a couple days late on this post...oops...mostly because I wasn't around a majority of the day on Sunday and also because I was traveling back home during the day yesterday. I was going to try and post this last night, but we had another commitment to attend. I'll just have to post an extra project or two this week to make up for it!

   Today's project post is one that I did last Christmas as well. It was a home decor gift for a friend. I originally saw a similar project on Etsy and decided to try my hand at an adaptation! This is the end product!

Shadow box fern decor

    I started with a 12x12 shadow box frame and used the frame backing as the mat for my collage of scrap papers. I then used Cricut Craft room to design the main image and matting. It takes a little practice and manipulation with craft room, but it will work (not sure how other die cutting machines would do...I only have the Cricut Expression). 

   In Craft Room, select a square frame image. I used one from the "Wild Card" cartridge. I then expanded the image to fill the mat. The newer update would not let me do a 12x12 image, but I used 11.30x11.30 and it filled the frame with little to no gaps. I then selected the main image to fill the center of the frame. I used a fern-like branch from the "Straight from the Nest" cartridge as my main focal point. I tilted the image to fit corner-to-corner and expanded it so it overlapped the square frame at multiple points. Craft Room then automatically "welds" the images together. When I cut the welded images on white cardstock, the fern appeared to be part of the square frame and stayed attached. I cut two of these total.

   For the blue background, I lined the fern framed die cut over the frame backing and used a pencil to mark the corners. I then connected the corners with light pencil lines using a ruler. This gave me the work surface area I needed to make my background. I then cut strips of blue patterned papers from my scrap paper pile. I did not measure these. I wanted it to look collage-like with random sizes and lengths. I even let the papers overlap my pencil lines so that no white edges showed up behind the fern. I glued the strips of paper down directly on the frame backing. Once my area was filled, I glued one of the 12x12 die cut frames over top of the blue collage. This was the base of the frame. you could leave it like this if you wanted, but I wanted a 3D type effect with my image.

Tilted camera angle shows the 3D effect of the shadow box

   To create the 3D effect, I used vellum adhesive to attach the second 12x12 die cut frame directly to the glass. I used Glue Dots vellum adhesive sheets and cut them into strips to attached all four sides of the die cut. I considered using Mod Podge matte finish to adhere the paper, but I needed something quick drying and less mess for this project. It might be worth playing with, though, for a repeat project. The key point with attaching anything to glass is to make sure the glass is completely clean and dry. If there is any residue or fibers left on the glass, the adhesive will show it when it's attached (especially using white cardstock). I also cut down a couple vellum adhesive strips to attched the edges of the fern that are "floating" on this die cut. 

   Next, put the shadow box together and KAPOW....a 3D home decor frame! This was a lot of fun to do, and really easy to arrange! It also is another great way to use up some of those paper scraps lying around the work space!

   If you have any questions about this project, feel free to ask in the comments below! Hopefully this will inspire you to start creating fun home decor pictures before the holidays! Until next time:

 Here's to life, love, and creativity!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Project Post Fail

   So my challenge to myself was an epic fail this last week! haha I really wanted to post projects that I have completed as of lately, but every time I thought of it I was in the middle of something else or traveling. Oh well...maybe I can start THIS week with the challenge! Plus, it was my birthday week, so I had some relaxing and celebrating to do! It was a good week overall, though, and it really feels and looks like fall everywhere I turn! I love Autumn! It definitely is my favorite time of year, and inspires me to start getting crafty for the upcoming holiday season!

    With all that said, tonight is going to start my "posting challenge" with a fun project I made last year at Christmas time for my mother-in-law. I got the original idea from Paper Source, and tweaked it to make it my own!

This is the front of the finished accordion style brag book! I used rub-on alphas from various companies, and a stamp set with coordinating die cuts from the Close to My Heart Art Philosophy Cartridge as embellishments (*I will have to look up the exact stamp set when I get home*). In order for the ribbon loop from the back to hook to the front, I used a pop dot to raise the button on the front.
An inside view of the book! I used 4x6 envelopes in various colors and adhered the envelope flap of one to the back of the previous one. I then added alphas in different fonts and colors and die cuts to dress up each inside "pocket".

This is the back view of the unfolded book. I cut down various mat papers to cover each panel. I then adhered a ribbon loop to the second-to-last "page" to make a fastener. The way I folded it was to fold the last flap in then accordion the rest of the flaps allowing the ribbon flap to stay as the back of the book!

    The purpose of this brag book was so grandma could carry pictures of each grandkid in her purse and pull them out individually without rummaging through a whole stack to find that one "great pose". The last envelope pocket I labeled "Family" for any group pictures she wants to carry around.

   I love this project and the fun papers I used! There are so many ways this can be customized! I even considered making one to keep in my purse so I would have pockets for coupons, receipts, shopping lists, etc. It would be much easier than trying to rummage through my wallet or the sections of my purse! Plus you could add as many or as few envelopes as you need! I happened to use 5 because of the number of kids!

   Hopefully this inspires you to create something simple and fun out of supplies you probably already have! Plus this was a great project to help use up some of those extra scraps of paper that tend to pile up through my craft room! Stay tuned tomorrow for another fun and simple home decor idea! Until next time: 

Here's to life, love, and creativity!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wedding Decor

   This week has been yet another crazy and busy one! After I got back from my Wisconsin trip I immediately dove into the wedding planning. I emailed vendors, set up appointments, and started some of the DIY projects that I wanted to incorporate in the wedding! Of course I still have a lot left, but at least things are started!

   This Friday I leave to go to Des Moines, IA for my second bridal shower and bachelorette party! I cannot believe it is already August! Where is the summer going? I am not ready for the wedding or for fall! Shouldn't it still be May? I am excited, though! I have so many great friends and family that are going to be supporting me yet again this coming weekend! I feel so blessed to have so many people that want to celebrate this next chapter of my life! However, my bridal shower is not the only thing going on this weekend. First, I have another baby shower to attend Saturday afternoon! I'm excited for yet another one of my friends/family to be having a baby! It has been the year for it, though. I believe this is the 6th baby shower I am attending this year. So tonight I was putting together my gifts and getting ready to finish some baby mini-albums and homemade cards. If I get a chance, I'll post some pictures on here later!

   Tonight, though, I wanted to share some of the projects I have been working on for the wedding. Nothing too crazy, but fun and cute! 

Supplies for wedding projects

   I started by collecting the supplies I needed:  bucket of soapy water, glass cleaner, paper towels, spray paint, frosted glass paint, steel wool (both fine and course grades), adhesive remover, cotton balls, consignment frames, and tea-light holders.

   This first project started after I found these awesome frames at the Bridal Consignment store in Burnsville, MN. It's an awesome place to find gently used wedding decor, dresses, ideas, etc. I have bought quite I few things here already!

Sanded frame on the left and untouched one on the right
   These awesome frames were a great deal, but I was not sure the spray paint would stick. The person before had painted them bright red and with a very shiny finish. First, I removed the cardboard backs off the frames. Those can easily be reattached with hot glue. Then I used course grade steel wood to take the top coat of shine off the frame. After I finished that, I used fine grade steel wool to go over the intricate details of the frame. I blew the excess steel wool pieces off as I went, but the real trick to getting all those pesky pieces of steel off your project is a heavy duty magnet. I simply ran one over the frame and it picked any excess steel pieces right up!

   Next, I cleaned the frames with soap and water to remove any dust or dirty that was lingering. Then I spray painted them this fun yellow color to match the wedding decor! I put 3-4 coats of paint on allowing 1-2 minutes of drying time between coats.

Fun new color!

    I let the frames dry for 24 hours before handling them. I ended up flipping them over and putting another coat on the underside because the grooves on the sides did not pick up the paint as easily from the angle I was originally spraying.

   While the frames were drying, I started my second big project. I bought these tea lights from JoAnne Fabrics. They came 12 per box and have a flare design to them. I did not want them to be clear, though, because we are using battery operated tea lights for an extra glow (and because the reception is in a historic building with lots of fire regulations!).

   I removed the adhesive stickers and cleaned all of the glass first. Then lined them up to paint them with a frosted glass paint.
Tealight holders fipped over and ready for frosted paint!

After two coats of frosted glass paint!

   I decided to put two coats of the frosted glass on these, but I don't know if it would have made much difference. I just wanted to make sure I had all the spots covered with paint.

   The last project I worked on was to paint some chipboard letters. I want to adhere these "M's" to the outside of the centerpieces that I am making for each table. I need about 30 of them, so I bought a couple packs of chipboard alphabets and used just the sheets of "M's" and "W's". Who is going to know the difference between the M and the W anyway? There are all different fonts and sizes of letters, so table will be slightly different.
Spray painted chipboard letters with the same yellow paint as the frames

   I found that leaving the letters in the sheet was easier to spray paint than if you punched them out first. The paint was more evenly coated with the entire sheet. I think I ended up doing 2-3 coats per sheet of chipboard.

   Well that's it! Just getting started on all the projects I have left to finish for the wedding, but I am happy with the results so far! The frames turned out perfectly! Way better than I originally thought! I will try and post more projects as I get to them, but my time is becoming more and more limited! Until next time:

Here's to life, love, and creativity!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Silhouette Giveaway with Heidi Swapp

Anyone interested in crafting with paper needs to check out this giveaway by clicking on the link above! The Silhouette machine is an amazing die cutting machine that allows you to cut a lot of different designs (many are downloadable online!). 

I just wanted to share this opportunity with you! Hope you're having a great day! Until next time:

Here's to life, love, and creativity!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Crunch Time

There are exactly 47 days until our wedding! That's less than 7 weeks! I have way too much stuff to do in less than 7 weeks! This last month, though, has been busy with everything else besides wedding planning. 

I finally am completely finished with taking my MCAT. The first time I took it was two years ago, but I definitely was not ready before I took it then. This time, though, I took a prep course and studied for almost 6 months before the test. I still didn't get as many quizzes or practice exams done that I wanted to, but, given everything else going on in my life this year, I think I gave it a valiant effort. I took the MCAT for the second time last Saturday, July 14th. I completed all the sections and felt pretty good about the content. Of course there were a couple passages that I had to guess more than I wanted, but overall I felt really good about it! I won't get my scores for the test until the middle of August, though, so it's a waiting game at this point.

I also have been busy preparing my medical school applications (darn you personal statement!!!) and applying for a position on Heidi Swapp's media team! I saw the post on her blog toward the end of June for the media team call, but I was not able to start organizing my application or projects until after my MCAT was completely over this past week. So I spent the week frantically answering the application questions and taking pictures of projects. I only made two new projects this week for the application, and they were a lot of fun to do. I was not completely satisfied with my memory file concept because I didn't have time to present a more finished version, but at least I can say I tried my best given the time frame! I will post pictures of the clipboard project and memory file concept for you to enjoy! I will find out who made the media team at the beginning of August on Heidi Swapp's blog!

Decorative Clipboard Project
Close up of Butterfly and Border
Front of Memory File Concept
Inside Cover of Memory File
Close up of pages and embellishments in Memory File Concept

I have been in WI since last week Tuesday for my bridal shower and bachelorette activities this past weekend! It was amazing! My family did an awesome job planning it all out and making it very special! I definitely was spoiled by everyone! I just can't believe it's already time to be attending my showers! Where has the summer gone? Shouldn't it still be May? Thank you again, Jenica and Kim! You ladies did a superb job! I still need to get the recipes for the desserts, though:  E.L. Fudge Cookie Torte and a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough dip for graham crackers! Amazing!

I wish I could stay and hang out with the family a few extra days, but reality calls me back to MN this week! Plus I have a lot to do and catch up on from the last few months of being on hold for my test! I also want to try and post some of the other projects I have been working on the last few months for everyone to peruse! I'll have to wait and see how much time I have this week to get some of those up, though! I hope everyone is having a great start to their week! Until next time:

Here's to life, love, and creativity!