Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Making Stickers Go Farther...Part Two

Supplies: kraft snowman patterned cardstock (Jillibean Soup), dotted paper (Kaiser Craft), zigzag border sticker (Doodlebug Design), alphabet stickers (Reminisce), all other stickers (Bo Bunny), journaling spot & red tag (Kaiser Craft), pen (Zig).

Hello, everyone!  It's hard to believe that December starts tomorrow, because we don't have any snow on the ground here.  We had one snowfall in November, but the snow melted away after a couple of days.  

Still, I'm going to celebrate snowflakes in my post today.  Do you remember the post from a couple months ago, when I talked about making stickers go farther?  I posted this photo (below) and wrote about how I cut apart a single Bo Bunny snowflake sticker to create three different snowflakes.  Two of the snowflakes went on the "Smolny Cathedral" layout that you see below, and the third went on a different layout, which I promised to post another day.  Well, today is that day.

My family has a tradition of putting up our Christmas decorations--including the tree--the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday.  The layout "Our Tree," which you saw at the top of this post, and which you also see again below, is about our decorating tradition.  Can you see how I put together the pieces of the leftover blue Bo Bunny snowflake sticker to create the snowflake in the upper left-hand corner of the layout? 


Of course, there was a seam where I pieced together the two halves of the snowflake, but I covered the seam with a big tag, so that it doesn't show.  The tag serves double duty, since it also houses my title.

The photos on the layout above are from last year, but we've got our tree up again already this year.  It's always fun to get out the old ornaments every year.  Each one bears a special memory.  Some of the ornaments were wedding presents, some were handmade by family members and friends, some are souvenirs from vacations...  I think that decorating the tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions, because it's a great trip down memory lane.

What are some of your favorite traditions--for Christmas, or for any other holiday?  How do your capture your memories of these traditions on your scrapbook pages?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these subjects.  Happy crafting!  

ETA: I woke up the morning of December 1 to find that it had snowed during the night.  It's not exactly a winter wonderland yet, since we only got a light coating of snow.  But at least it actually looks like winter now.  :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Today, November 26, is a day to support small businesses.  But really, shouldn't we support small businesses all the time, not just on one special day of the year?  Small businesses are great because they foster creativity, provide employment opportunities, and create a sense of community.  In honor of the day, I'm highlighting three of my favorite, local small businesses in this blog post.

First up is Scrapbooks Too, an independently-owned papercrafting supply shop in the Minneapolis area.  Now, Minneapolis is home to several Archivers stores (as well as Archivers corporate headquarters), but Scrapbooks Too still manages to thrive in this market.  I think there are two reasons for this.  First, Scrapbooks Too provides that personal touch--you feel welcome there from the moment you walk in the door.  Second, Scrapbooks Too has an amazing assortment of products, both new and old.  Check out the layout below, which I made mostly with products purchased at Scrapbooks Too.  On the layout you'll see some items from "Sidewalks," one of the newest OA collections, but you will also see lots of items from "Weathervane," and other older OA lines.  I love shopping at Scrapbooks Too, looking for treasures both new and old.

Supplies: cardstock (Wausau Paper); patterned papers, chipboard, die cuts, stickers, buttons, and journaling card (October Afternoon); border punch (EK Success); pens (Zig); thread (DMC).

More about small businesses after the detail shots...

The next business I'd like to highlight is Dee's Place, one of my favorite sources for beading supplies.  Besides having all the basics, Dee also carries unusual items.  In other words, Dee's Place is another great spot for crafty treasure-hunting.  The owl below is a Christmas ornament I created from a pattern (Sew Simple magazine volume 11), but I "made it my own" by adding the felt flowers under the eyes and the vintage Czech sequins for the spots on the body.  Both the flowers and the sequins are treasures I purchased from Dee; without Dee, my owl would not have quite so much personality!

The final business I'd like to highlight, Glass Garden, is also a beading supply merchant.    The Glass Garden recycled bottle cap charm on my "Urban Beauty" layout below adds a vintage vibe to the page.  I love that so many of the products at Glass Garden are made with recycled materials.

Supplies: Grain Belt charm (Glass Garden Beads), cardstock (American Crafts), cityscape patterned paper (Basic Grey), all other patterned papers (Authentique), border stickers (Bo Bunny), black bottle caps (Bottle Cap Inc.), alphabet stickers (Authentique), rub-ons (October Afternoon--used on bottle cap), pens (Zig), thread (DMC).

I hope that I've encouraged you to check out and support some local businesses.  Even if you don't have any scrapbooking shops in your area, I'll bet you can still find a way to use items from local small businesses in your scrapbooking and other crafts...after all, we crafters are nothing if not creative.  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas Ornaments from Recycled Juice Lids

In yesterday's post, one of the projects I displayed was a Christmas ornament made from the lid of a can of juice concentrate.  I had so much fun making this ornament, I could not stop at just one.  There is something so appealing about decorating such a cute little round surface.  There are so many different techniques you can try...and you can try a lot of them in one sitting, since small ornaments are quick to create.  This year lots of people on my Christmas list will be getting personalized ornaments from me.  I'd like to share a few with you in this post.

First up is the one you see above.  This ornament is also my take on the November Scrap for Help challenge.  This month the challenge is to make a project on the theme "Christmas wishes."  As always, any project created for Scrap for Help must include at least one recycled item.  My ornament base is, of course, a recycled juice lid, and my other supplies are vintage twine; two Graphic 45 patterned papers; Echo Park mini alphas; a jingle bell; a ribbon scrap; and a cluster of faux holly berries.  The closeup photo below shows that the rectangle of paper says "Best Wishes for Christmas."

Next up is a romantic ornament (below).  I'm entering this one in The Color Room's current challenge.  The "whitewashed" palette in the Color Room this week is a collection of three shades of golden brown, plus white.

To create the snowy texture on this ornament, I temporarily adhered a hand-cut heart mask over a circle of Graphic 45 paper, then applied Deco Art "Snow-Tex" texture medium with a craft stick (see photo below).  I put on a pretty light coat of texture medium, because I wanted a hint of the background paper to be visible beneath the "snow."

Then, I carefully removed the mask (see below) and allowed the "Snow-Tex" to dry overnight.  Please excuse the yellowish tones in my two "in-progress" photos--that's what I get for taking photos at night.

To decorate the heart ornament, I used Reminisce white alpha stickers, more vintage twine, a pearl bead, and an Offray ribbon rose.

The last ornament I have to show you today is the cutesy one in the photo above.  It's not for any contest or challenge; it's just for fun.  I decorated it with a plastic bead, DMC embroidery floss, Echo Park mini alphas, an October Afternoon heart sticker, a fussy-cut snowman (popped up with dimensional adhesive), and some pink snowflake paper.  The snowman and snowflake papers are from an October Afternoon Christmas line that's a couple years old, but I still love these adorable papers.  The pink text on the snowflake paper is the words to "Twas the Night Before Christmas," as you can see in the detail shot below.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and checking out my collection of fun Christmas ornaments.  I hope that you will try making some of your own, if the spirit moves you.  These ornaments are so versatile, they work for any style.  This is clear in the photo below, where you see the ornaments all together: the romantic, snowy heart; the vintage Christmas wishes; the cutesy snowman; and the CAS "lovebirds" ornament from yesterday's post.  Please see yesterday's post for complete, step-by-step instructions for turning juice can lids into ornaments like these.  Happy crafting!

ETA:  To my surprise and delight, my ornaments are being featured on the Scrap for Help blog for the month of December.  If you've never visited Scrap for Help, I encourage you to check it out.  It's an international papercrafts challenge blog with a focus on using recycled materials.  I feel very honored to have my ornaments featured there.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Echo Park Christmas Projects

It's no secret that I love the "Country Drive" collection from Echo Park.  I've used it for nature-related projects, I've used it on a wedding layout, and I've even used in on a layout about autumn foliage.  It's such a versatile collection.  And now, believe it or not, I've even used it for Christmas projects.  Check out the Christmas ornament, card, and layout in the photo below.

In yesterday's post I wrote about how the "Birds on a Wire" papers from "Country Drive" call to mind the idea of lovebirds.  That is how I got the idea for the wedding anniversary ornament that you see in the photo above.  Let's take a closer look at the ornament (photo below), and then I'll tell you how you can make one of your own.

To make this ornament, you'll need the following Echo Park supplies:
  • CD16013 "Birds on a Wire" patterned paper
  • CD16015 "Alpha Stickers" sheet
You will also need the following:
  • lid from juice concentrate can
  • hammer 
  • nail
  • piece of scrap lumber
  • circle-cutter, circle template, or die-cutting machine
  • sharp needle
  • dry adhesive
  • thread or other fiber in your choice of colors 
 Here are the easy steps to make this ornament:
  1. Wash and dry the metal lid from a can of juice concentrate.  Be sure that your lid has no sharp edges.  Determine which side of the lid has a deeper rim around it.  Place the lid rim-side-down on the scrap lumber.  Use the hammer and nail to pierce a hole in the lid.  This is the hole through which you will later thread the ornament hanger.  Flip the lid over, and gently pound on the nail hole to flatten any sharp edges.  You will later be covering this surface with patterned paper, so it's all right if you can't get the edges of the nail hole perfectly flat.
  2. Using the method of your choice, cut a circle from the patterned paper to fit inside your lid.  I used the die-cutting machine at my local LSS.  Be sure to cut the circle so that a pair of "lovebirds" will be in the center of the ornament.
  3. Secure the paper circle inside the ornament, using dry adhesive.  Make sure that the nail hole is where you want it.  Use a needle to pierce the hole in the patterned paper.
  4. Use the number stickers from the sticker sheet to put the year of your wedding on the ornament.
  5. Cut out the word "Love" from the sticker sheet and adhere it near the bottom of your ornament.
  6. Thread a loop of fibers through the hole and tie it to form the ornament hanger.  I braided together red, green, and white embroidery floss for my hanger, but you can use any fibers you like.  Your ornament is now ready to hang on the tree
The lovebirds were not the only birds in the Country Drive collection that I found inspirational.  The yellow bird on the "Elements" sticker sheet made me think of "a partridge in a pear tree."  This led to the creation of the card that you see in the photo below. 

To make this card, you will need the following Echo Park materials:
  • CD16019 "Clover/Big Sky" patterned paper
  • CD16014 "Element Stickers" sheet
  • CD16015 "Alpha Stickers" sheet
  • CD16011 "Little Ladies" patterned paper
You will also need the following supplies:
  • card base (optional)
  • dry and dimensional adhesive
  • scrap of white cardstock
  • small heart punch (mine is from All Night Media)
This card is a snap to put together.  Here is how you do it:
  1. If you are using a premade card base (mine is from the brand Yours Truly), cover the front panel with the "Big Sky" (blue) paper.  Otherwise, cut your "Big Sky" paper to the size you want, and fold it in half to make a card.
  2. Cut a tree shape from the "Clover" (green) paper.  I didn't use any special template for this--I just eyeballed it for a homespun look.  When you're happy with your tree, adhere it to your card front, as shown in the photo.
  3. Along the top of the card, use the mini alphabet stickers to spell out "a partridge in a pear tree."  Refer to the above photo for letter placement.  For a playful look, use some green letters and some blue letters.
  4. Cut thirteen small leaf shapes from the remaining "Clover" paper.  Again, no need to use any special template--just eyeball it.  Adhere these leaves in clusters on your tree, using the above photo as a guide.
  5. Adhere the bird sticker from the "Elements" sheet to the scrap of white cardstock.  Cut around the sticker, then use dimensional adhesive to stick it to the tree on your card.
  6. Using your heart punch, cut five small hearts from the pink and red dots on the "Little Ladies" paper.  Turn the hearts upside down, so that they resemble pears.  Adhere the pears to the card, referring to the photo above to determine placement.  Your card is now ready to send!
This brings us to the final project, the layout (pictured below).  Do you have a box full of old Christmas photos that are gathering dust?  Get those photos out of the box and onto a fun heritage layout!  This layout brings together five photos from five different years.  Even if your photos are not of the best quality (like the 1970s and 1980s photos on my layout), this fun design will bring interest and continuity to your layout, drawing attention away from any flaws in your old photos. 

You will need the following Echo Park supplies to complete this layout:
  • CD16019 "Clover/Big Sky" patterned paper
  • CD16013 "Birds on a Wire" patterned paper
  • CD16011 "Little Ladies" patterned paper
  • CD16015 "Alpha Stickers" sheet
You will also need the following items:
  • plain white cardstock
  • dinner plate
  • pencil
  • needle
  • white embroidery floss
  • red embroidery floss
  • black pen
  • die-cutting machine (optional)
Here are the easy steps for completing this layout:
  1. Mat your photos on the white cardstock.
  2. Cut two semicircles from the red gingham-patterned side of the "Little Ladies" paper.  If you wish, you may create these circles by tracing around the edge of a dinner plate.  Adhere one circle on the left edge of the "Clover" (green) patterned paper.  Adhere the other circle on the bottom edge of the paper.  Adhere your five photos in an L-shaped arrangement atop the semicircles.
  3. Using a pencil, lightly draw two arcs across the open section of the "Clover" paper.  Punch evenly-spaced holes along these lines, using a needle.  
  4. Cut thirteen triangles from the red gingham paper.  These triangles are 1.5 inches high and 1.5 inches wide at the base.  Adhere these triangles along your penciled lines, allowing them to overlap slightly.  (Refer to the picture above for placement.)  Turn your layout over and re-pierce the holes that the triangles are now covering.
  5. Backstitch by hand through your punched holes with the white floss.  Don't knot your floss on the back of the layout; instead, adhere any loose ends with dry adhesive.
  6. Use the alphabet stickers to spell "Christmas" on the upper banner and "Past" on the lower banner. Carefully trace around each letter with a black pen.  This will help the letters stand out against the gingham pattern.
  7. Die cut nine snowflakes from the blue gingham side of the "Little Ladies" paper.  If you do not have access to a die cutting machine, you can instead fold and cut paper snowflakes in the old school manner--this would give your layout added vintage charm.  Adhere the snowflakes to the layout, referring to the layout photo for placement.  Adhere only the tips of the snowflakes--do not put adhesive in the centers of the snowflakes.  Trim the snowflakes so that they are even with the edges of the layout. 
  8. Using the needle, punch six holes in the center of each snowflake.  Using red floss, hand-stitch an asterisk-shape (also known as a Smyrna cross stitch) through each set of punched holes.  If you are having any difficulty with this step or the previous step, refer to the two closeup photos below as a guide.  Your layout is now complete!

Thanks for joining me on these three projects.  I hope you've had fun!  I am really in the Christmas spirit these days, so I'll be back tomorrow with another Christmas-related post.  See you then!  For now, I'll leave you with one more photo of the three completed projects.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wedding Layout: Love Birds

ETA:  This layout was published in the June 2012 issue of Scrap n' Art e-zine!

I've written before about my love for the "Country Drive" line from Echo Park.  One of the things I love most about the line is its abundance of cute little bird images.  They make me think of "love birds."  So, these papers seem like a great fit for a wedding layout.

Supplies: Echo Park patterned paper; Echo Park alphabet stickers; October Afternoon decorative stickers; Ellison scalloped die cut; My Mind's Eye bird/branch die cut; October Afternoon butterfly & heart die cuts; DMC thread; Zig pens; Petaloo rhinestones.

The title of my layout is "Vows."  I wrote the text of my husband's and my wedding vows on the 6x6" "Birds on a Wire" paper.  The "wires" provided lines, so it seemed like the perfect place to journal.  Below is a closeup.

The text reads: "To you I offer my life.  I offer you my body.  I offer my strength.  I offer my support.  I offer my loyalty.  I offer my hope.  I offer my love in all the changing circumstances of life, as long as we both shall live."  After all these years, I still love those words.  My mother-in-law found them somewhere, and she suggested that Scott and I use them as our wedding vows.  They're a bit more modern-sounding than the traditional vows ("to have and to hold," etc., etc.), but they're not too weird or unusual.  To keep the long block of text from looking monotonous, I wrote some of the important words in different colors of ink.  I think the cute little birdies also help add interest to the long block of text.

This page contains a lot of die-cuts.  The only die cut I made by hand is the scalloped circle (above), which I made on the Ellison machine at my LSS.  I cut the circle from a piece of 12x12" "Birds on a Wire" paper, making sure to cut it so that two birds facing each other would be at the top of the circle.  I tucked the rest of the circle beneath the block of blue paper, in order to leave the emphasis on the two "lovebirds."

The rest of the die cuts on the layout were purchased as-is.  The butterfly and the hearts come from the "flower sack" bag of die cuts in the October Afternoon "Sidewalks" line.  I arranged the hearts into a banner on a piece of thread.

The banners that house my title letters (seen in the photo above) are also from the October Afternoon "Sidewalks" line.  They come from the "Little Flyers" kit.  The alphabet stickers are from the old Echo Park "Everybody Loves Christmas" line.  I'm a firm believer that Christmas products need not be used on Christmas pages.  I also believe the reverse is true.  That is, Christmas layouts need not be made with Christmas-specific products.  In fact, my next post will be about Christmas projects created with non-Christmas supplies.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...I'll talk more about Christmas in my next post.  For now, I want to thank you, as always, for your visit to my blog.  See you again soon!     

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Supplies: woodgrain paper (Authentique), quilt patterned paper (Lily Bee), striped and dotted papers (My Mind's Eye), tan patterned paper (Graphic 45), corrugated cardboard (upcycled), foam flower sticker used as stamp (Darice), ink (Versa Mark), journaling cards (October Afternoon), brown alphabet & star stickers (Jillibean Soup), mini alphabet stickers (Lily Bee), flower stickers (My Mind's Eye), buttons (October Afternoon), twine (vintage), thread (DMC), die cuts (October Afternoon), pen (Zig).

With the layout above, I'm playing along with this month's Scrap-it-Lah challenge.  There are three guidelines to follow for this challenge:
  1. include journaling cards/tags--though they need not be used for journaling
  2. include stamping and/or embossing  
  3. include at least six layers

To fulfill the first requirement, I used two journaling cards (see photo above).  The one on the right houses my title: "October on the Farm."  (Yes, it's another layout about the Gibbs farm.  Pretty soon my blog readers are going to feel like they have actually been to this farm, since they've seen so many photos of it!)  On the left-hand card is my journaling, which reads "Fire-colored flowers...a cute scarecrow...golden sunlight...all these things make my heart smile.  The Gibbs farm is the best place to spend an autumn afternoon."

To fulfill the second requirement, I stamped flower images all over my base paper (see above photo).  I adhered a foam flower sticker to a wooden stamp base and stamped with the sticker.  For variety, I made some images darker (more ink) and other images lighter (less ink).  As you can see, the flower sticker I used was green...but by the time I was done stamping all over my paper, it had turned brown from all the ink!

To fulfill the third requirement, I piled on the following layers:
  1. weathered-looking woodgrain base paper with stamping
  2. tan patterned paper
  3. quilt patterned paper
  4. striped patterned paper
  5. corrugated cardboard ripped from an old box
  6. more quilt paper...I glued this to the cardboard, then I ripped some of it back off to reveal the cardboard underneath
  7. polka-dotted paper
  8. photos
  9. flower stickers embellished with button
With all these layers, I was going for a homespun, weathered look--the type of look you would associate with a farmhouse or a barn.

Here are a few more closeup shots (below).

 Peek-a-boo, button!

 a shot of some of the layers--I love that the b-side 
of the quilt paper is visible in some of the torn places

 flower stickers

 I twisted together brown twine and red embroidery 
floss for a DIY version of baker's twine.

 a little charm made of die cuts, 
a star sticker, and more DIY baker's twine

another view of some of the flower stamping

I just discovered Scrap-it-Lah recently, and this is the first time I've played along.  It won't be the last time, though!  I love their creative, artsy challenges.  In fact, I plan to go back and try some of their older challenges, just for fun.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Autumn with My Mind's Eye

Hello!  Today I want to show you the page that I created for the current My Mind's Eye sketch challenge.  Besides the requirement to use the monthly sketch, this challenge had an additional requirement to use the color brown.  Sounds to me like the perfect recipe for another autumn page!  I created a layout called "Bag Art," and you can see it in the photo below.

Supplies: patterned paper (all from My Mind's Eye), die cuts (My Mind's Eye), stickers (My Mind's Eye), brown ink (Versa Color), pens (Zig by EK Success), thread (DMC).

To fulfill the contest requirements, I used three different brown patterned papers.  The background paper is from the "Lost and Found 2" collection, the scalloped circular paper is from the "Stella and Rose" collection, and the fussy-cut stems are from the "Fine and Dandy" collection.  Hmmm, apparently I like collections whose names have the format "______ and _______"!  I also inked the edges of all my page elements with brown ink.  Here are a few detail shots (below).

The journaling reads: "We made these paper pumpkins at the Gibbs Family Halloween party."

The pumpkins themselves are interesting.  They're made from ordinary paper lunch bags stuffed with shredded office paper--a great way to recycle old papers!  The faces are drawn in Sharpie, and the tops are wrapped with green florist tape and tied off with straw from the Gibbs farm.

I love the Gibbs Farm, a historic site in the Saint Paul area.  It's a restored farm from pioneer times (think Little House on the Prairie), and it also gives equal weight to the lives of American Indians in Minnesota (an area where the Little House series falls short).  As the journaling on my layout implies, my family recently attended a Halloween party at the Gibbs farm.  It's the same farm that hosted the apple party in September, which I wrote about in my "Apple Days" post.  You can see how much the autumn landscape has changed in Minnesota over the course of just one month.  Here (below) is a photo of the Gibbs schoolhouse on the day of the apple party.

And here (below) is a photo of the same schoolhouse on the day of the Halloween party.  Pretty drab, huh?  Still, it could be worse.  Twenty years ago Minnesota experienced a blizzard of epic proportions on Halloween.  It was so bad, we actually ended up celebrating Halloween a week late.  That means that twenty years ago today--November 7, 1991--I was at a Halloween party.

That Halloween party will always be memorable to me, and not just because of the weather.  I was in high school at the time, and my family was hosting an exchange student from Siberia.  (The blizzard did not faze her!)  I had the pleasure of introducing her to the American custom of Halloween parties.  Here we are (photos below), all dressed up in our costumes.  I'm the hippie, and my exchange partner is the princess.  (Please excuse the poor quality of the photos...what can I say, cameras were different in 1991.)  Even twenty years later, I still feel so lucky and blessed to have had the wonderful experience of participating in this exchange program and meeting so many Russian people, with whom I am still friends to this day.  The autumn of 1991 was the year when the Scorpions song "Winds of Change" was so popular on the radio, and I got to experience those "winds of change" first-hand.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today, viewing my "Bag Art" layout, and reading about my Halloween memories.  Have a great week!