Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Back to the Future

Hi, everyone!  I hope that those of you who are celebrating holidays right now are having a good time.  I'm enjoying the Christmas season and spending lots of time with family, but I cannot let the month of December come to an end without sharing my last de-stashing tip of the year!

This month the tip is to use sticker negatives to make your own stencils.  I bet you have some half-used sticker sheets sitting around in your stash right now, don't you?  Well, why not put the used bits to work as stencils?  If you fill in these stencil shapes with Stickles (glitter glue), you will end up with shimmery shapes that add a little bit of wow-factor to any project.  I used the negatives from star-shaped stickers to create the glittery stars that you see in the detail shots above and below.

Those detail shots come a scrapbook page called "Back to the Future Day."

Supplies: typewriter phrase paper from American Crafts; all other paper from October Afternoon; alphanumeric stickers, puffy sticker, enamel shapes, & spray ink also from October Afternoon; star sticker negatives from Basic Grey; Stickles & pearlescent paint from Ranger; acrylic paint from DecoArt; washi tape from MT; metallic tape from 3M/Scotch; stamp from My Mind's Eye; stamping ink from Tsukineko; ribbon from Scrapbook Fantasies; chipboard phrases from Scrapmatts; pens from Zig; mini frames from Hirschberg Schutz & Co.

You may ask, what is Back to the Future Day?  Well, it took place on October 21, 2015.  That's the date when the film Back to the Future Part II is supposed to have taken place.  Back in the 1980's, when the Back to the Future movies came out, the year 2015 seemed unimaginable far in the future.  But's here!  This is what I had to say in my journalling on this scrapbook page: "In proud Gen-Xer style, Scott & I celebrated 'Back to the Future Day' by watching the original movie.  Maybe the second movie in the series would have been more appropriate to watch, since it's set in 2015.  But we were in the mood for the original, and we sure enjoyed watching it."  Back to the Future Day ended up being a fun movie night/date night for my husband and me.

I think you'll believe me when I say that creating this title block out of all sorts of little bits and pieces was lots of fun.  The TV sticker with a heart on the screen is my favorite part.  :)

I printed out a couple of Internet memes to use as page embellishments.   This is a good way to add interest to a scrapbook page on the cheap.  Oh, and by the way, if you click to enlarge the photo above, you can learn how to write the phrase "Thirty years ago, lightning struck that clock tower," in Russian.  :)

Anyway, back to the whole point of this blog post--stencilling with sticker negatives and Stickles.  To do this, start by trimming around the sticker negative to separate it from the rest of the sticker sheet.  Next, stick the negative shape to your clothes a few times to make it less sticky.  Then gently press the shape onto your project and squirt Stickles into the shape.  You may need to use a paintbrush or a small paper scrap to spread the Stickles around and fill the shape completely.  Once the shapes is filled in, quickly and carefully remove the sticker negative.  Then, all you have to do is wait for the Stickles to dry, which is probably the hardest part of the whole process.  :)  

Before I sign off, I also want to mention that this layout was inspired by the Berry71Bleu November mood board.  Although I did not manage to finish my layout in time to participate in B71B's November challenge, I still wanted to share the gorgeous mood board (pictured above).  Maybe it will inspire you as much as it inspired me.  In any case, take care and enjoy the last few days of 2015!  Happy crafting.  :)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Seasonal Pocket Letters

In my last post I wrote about holiday mail.  Today I have just a bit more of my outgoing mail to share: two pocket letters.  First up is this autumn-themed letter.

Supplies: patterned paper from Doodlebug Design, alphabet stickers from October Afternoon, cat stickers from Mrs. Grossman's, pumpkin sticker from Mello Smello.

Click here for a closer look at that cross stitched acorn ornament.

Supplies: patterned paper from October Afternoon, to/from tag from Crate Paper, washi tape from 3M/Scotch, snowman stickers from my stash, all other stickers from Mrs. Grossman's.

And here is a Christmas-themed pocket letter that I recently mailed.  As you see, I use baseball card holders for my pocket letters.  My process is simple: I decorate the front of the card holder and hide the handwritten letter behind the decorations.  Long live snail mail!  :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cute Mail

They say that letter writing is a lost art, but I disagree.  I love mail.  This time of year is great because I get to send and receive so much extra mail, in the form of holiday greeting cards.  

Product sources: aqua striped tape from MT, all other tape from 3M/Scotch.

This year I'm having fun adding a strip of decorative tape to the bottom of each envelope that I send.  There are so many cute patterns and styles of tape available right now.

I also love choosing the postage stamp for each envelope.  Preparing all these Christmas cards can be a long process, but it's worth it to me because I so enjoy sending mail. 

Receiving mail is fun, too.  I've already received a number of cards, but today I want to show you one of my favorites so far from this year.  It's Santa Kitty!  This card did not come through the mail; my friend gave it to me in person.  The card accompanied this gift of a reindeer mug and a box of tea.  The name of the tea--"sweet cinnamon spice"--describes its flavor perfectly.  It's a roobois herbal tea, and I can definitely recommend it to all you tea lovers out there.

linking up here

Whether you're busy with holiday tasks or just enjoying a little free time, I hope things are going well for you.  Take care!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Music, Coffee, Pumpkin Pie, and a High-Tech Ornament

Lately I've been hearing the song "Sleigh Ride" on the radio a lot.  It's a good song.  I especially like the lines that say, "There's a special feeling nothing in the world can buy, when they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie."  That is exactly how I felt last weekend, when I celebrated Thanksgiving.

Now Thanksgiving has passed, and Advent has begun.  Our family put out our Christmas decorations, including the tree, on Sunday.  I have a new ornament on the tree this year, and it's very different from the cross stitched ornaments that I've been sharing recently.
Supplies: green paint from DecoArt, red paint & glitter from Ranger, star ribbon from Scrapbook Fantasies.

I made this ornament in a free class at the library.  The class was on how to use a 3D printer, and each class participant could design one small item and print it.  

The ornament was white (as pictured above) when it came off the printer.  After I brought it home, I painted it and glued on the ribbon hanger.  As the ornament indicates, all this happened in 2014.  However, our family didn't put up a Christmas tree in 2014, so I'm hanging the ornament for the first time in 2015.

I hope that the first day of December is off to a good start for you.  Take care and have a happy "T-Day"!  :) 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Making Greeting Cards with 3x4" Cards (November Destashing Post)

Hi, everyone!  For those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving last week, I hope that you had a nice holiday.  Mine was great--over the course of the long weekend we saw both sides of the family, plus we found time to celebrate with friends, too.

Supplies: 3x4" cards from Jillibean Soup, teal chevron paper from Bella Blved, thin white cardstock from Pulp, woodgrain paper from Fancy Pants Design, corner punch from Creative Memories.

But before I run out of days in November, I had better share my November de-stashing idea.  It's a simple one this month, because we all need a little more "simple" in our lives at this busy time of year.  My idea is to turn leftover 3x4" cards, be they journaling cards or pocket page "filler cards," into greeting cards.  In the photo above I have a his-and-hers pair of greeting cards for your viewing pleasure.  I've mentioned in other posts that I have some relatives who are really into camping, and these cards were a big hit with them.

Additional supplies: striped paper from Fancy Pants Design, journaling cards from Jillibean Soup, clear photo corners from Scotch/3M.

Besides decorating the fronts of the cards with pocket-page leftovers, you can also use journaling cards on the inside, as a writing surface.

I like to use clear photo corners to hold the journaling cards in place.  That way, you can remove the journaling cards in order to write your message more easily, and then replace them in exactly the right spot when it's time to mail the greeting card.

Hope you like this idea!  Take care and enjoy this last day of November.  :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Autumn Acorn Embroidery

Looking for my T-Day post?  Click here.

Lately I have been showing a lot of Christmas embroidery on my blogToday I want to change gears slightly and show some autumn embroidery.  Here is a cheerful autumn acorn ornament.

Supplies: perforated paper from Mill Hill, embroidery floss from DMC, ribbon from Offray, cross stitch pattern adapted from Flowers2Flowers.

Thanksgiving, a major autumn holiday in the United States, is coming up on Thursday, so I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  This post is pre-scheduled, but I look forward to visiting everyone's blogs again after the holiday.  :) 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pleasant Surprises

Sometimes, life brings us pleasant little surprises.  Like when you just happen to go shopping on the day when the store is giving out free samples of peppermint mocha.  :)

Or when the day you visit the Science Museum just happens to be "Star Wars Day."  :)

Supplies: cardstock from Neenah Paper; all decorative paper from Echo Park; stickers, enamel shapes, and flair badge from October Afternoon; thread from Singer; ink from Hero Arts; pen from Foray.

As I mentioned on this scrapbook page, Darth Vader seemed interested in the museum exhibit on Minnesota natural history.  :)

Boba Fett, on the other hand, seemed to like a puppet show about the life cycle of a butterfly.

"Star Wars Day" was actually in February, but I hadn't gotten a chance to share this scrapbook page on my blog until now.  With all the hype surrounding the new Star Wars movie that's coming out soon, this seems like a good time to share this page.

Whether you are doing ordinary things like shopping or special things like visiting a museum, I hope that life will bring you some pleasant little surprises, too.  Linking up with T Stands for Tuesday.

Monday, November 16, 2015

More Library Love

Hmmm, so far this month I have not written much about the library...until now.  :)  The library scrapbook page that I'm sharing in this post is just my style: it uses bright colors and lots of scraps.
Supplies: red & yellow cardstock from Neenah Paper, blue cardstock from Bazzill, dotted paper from American Crafts, plaid paper from Bo Bunny, striped & floral papers from Pebbles, alphabet stickers from October Afternoon, punch from EK Success, journaling line template from Creative Memories, pens from Zig.

I've already scrapbooked and blogged about how much my son loved his summer library project.  But I also wanted to make a page that tells how much *I* love the library.  On my scrapbook page I wrote: "I think I enjoyed the library project just as much as A. did.  I explored parts of the county that were unfamiliar to me, checked out lots of library materials...& took lots of photos!  Clockwise from top: Brookdale (photo by A.), Pierre Bottineau (selfie), and Southeast (selfie).  A. & I had so much fun!"

Brookdale, Pierre Bottineau, and Southeast are all branches of the Hennepin County Library (HCL) system.  Librarians gave out HCL stickers to patrons this past summer, and I used my sticker as part of my title: "I Really Do Love My HCL."

There is nothing better, in my opinion, than sipping a cup of hot tea or coffee and reading a book.  The last book I read was a library book, which you can see in this photo.  It's hard to wait for the new Star Wars movie to come out, so I've been getting my fix by reading some of the old novels.  This one, called The Crystal Star, was very good.  As for tea, lately I've gotten into cinnamon vanilla herbal tea, from the same company that makes the pumpkin spice tea that I wrote about a couple weeks ago.  The cinnamon vanilla tea has a rooibos base, and the tea is so aromatic and scrumptious!

If you are a tea aficionado, why not check out the T Stands for Tuesday blog hop?  I'm going to link up now.  See you soon!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Blue Snowflake, Blueberry Crumble Cake

Hello again, everyone!  Today I'd like to show you another cross-stitched Christmas ornament that I made last year.  It's a flat ornament, which made it easy to slip inside a Christmas card.  Here is the front of the ornament...

Supplies: embroidery floss from DMC, perforated paper from Mill Hill, ribbon from my stash.

And here is the back...

Additional supplies: striped paper from American Crafts, mitten tag from Bo Bunny, pen from Zig.

It was fun to be able to use some scrapbooking supplies in an embroidery project.  The pattern for the snowflake came from a back issue of PieceWork magazine.  (Side note: I'm sure that no one will be surprised when I mention that I checked out this back issue from the library.)  The snowflake motif was actually part of a larger, more complex pattern, but I chose to use just the snowflake shape on my ornament.  In fact, I hardly ever stitch patterns just exactly as they are printed.  I change the colors, or I stitch just part of a pattern, or I combine different patterns.  I guess you could say that I view cross-stitch patterns as suggestions, not as hard and fast instructions.

Now that I've shared a blue ornament with you, I thought I'd share a blue (well, blueberry) recipe with you.  This blueberry crumble cake recipe comes from the British YouTube channel of "Cupcake Jemma."  If you cook using British measurments, you can simply follow the instructions in the video.

And here is my "translation" of the recipe, using American measurments: 
Streusel topping: 3-1/2 Tbsp MELTED BUTTER + 1/2 c. BROWN SUGAR + 1/2 c. FLOUR + 1tsp CINNAMON.
 Wet ingredients: 3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp SUGAR + 4 Tbsp CANOLA OIL + 1 EGG + 1/2 c. MILK. 
Dry ingredients: 2 c. FLOUR + 2 tsp. BAKING POWDER + 1/2 tsp. SALT + 1 tsp. CINNAMON (my addition). 
Blueberries: 8-oz. package FROZEN BLUEBERRIES.  No need to thaw first--just fold the frozen berries gently into the cake batter.  If you have access to fresh berries, by all means use them in place of the frozen berries. 
Drizzle ingredients (I used this in place of the cream that Jemma used): 3/4 c. POWDERED SUGAR + 1 Tbsp MILK + 1/4 tsp VANILLA. 
See video (linked above) for assembly instructions.  Bake cake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50-55 min., or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
My husband is gluten-intolerant, so I used gluten-free flour, and the cake turned out delicious. 

I can say from personal experience that this cake tastes great accompanied by coffee, tea, milk, or juice.  (In this photo I had coffee in my cup.)  Since I'll be linking this post up with the T Stands for Tuesday blog hop, I want to wish you all a Happy T Day!  :)

Monday, November 2, 2015


Hello, everyone!  Today I'm joining in with the T Stands for Tuesday blog hop, as I often do on Tuesdays.  Today I actually am drinking tea, too.  It's pumpkin spice decaf black tea.

Last time I mentioned treating myself to a pumpkin spice latte from a coffee shop.  That kind of "designer coffee" is too expensive for everyday consumption, though.  This tea is a nice alternative for getting that autumn flavor at home and not blowing the budget.  :)

The little hang tag on each tea bag says "Cup of Joy," which I hope you can see in the above picture.  It's appropriate, because drinking the spicy, warm tea really does give me feeling of autumn joy.

The path from autumn joy to Christmas joy is short, and I have already started working on some handmade Christmas gifts.  I can't show any of the gifts that I'm making now (just in case the gift recipients read my blog, which would ruin the surprise), but I thought it might be fun to show you some gifts that I made for last Christmas.  Today, I'm showing you a Christmas ornament that I cross-stitched.  I adapted the design from the book Cross Stitched Cards for the Holidays.  The two robins and the word "joy" were actually three separate patterns in the book, but I thought that they would look good all together.

What kinds of projects have you been working on lately?  I look forward to catching up with you when I visit your blog!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

I Couldn't Decide...

Looking for my City Crafter guest designer post?  Click here.

I couldn't decide whether to embroider something or make a card.  So I did both. 

Supplies: cardstock from Neenah Paper; patterned paper from Doodlebug; playing card & tab from October Afternoon; corner rounder from Creative Memories; embroidery floss from DMC; ink from Clearsnap.

Happy Halloween!  Hope you get lots of treats and no tricks.  :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Guest Designing for City Crafter Challenge Blog

Hi, everyone!  If you're new to my blog, then welcome.  This week I am honored to be the guest designer at City Crafter Challenge blog.  The theme this week is a fun one: "Creatures of the Night."  There are so many directions that you could go with this challenge.  You could make something creepy, with a vampire image, or you could make something cute, with a nocturnal animal image.  I chose to go for the cute option and made a card with a goggle-eyed stamped bat.
Supplies: orange paper & orange/cream striped paper from Authentique; gingham paper from Bella Blvd; purple dotted paper from Pebbles; dark blue dotted paper from American Crafts; light blue dotted paper, green swirl paper, & star stamp from My Mind's Eye; bokeh vellum from Webster's Pages; chipboard frame & enamel dots from October Afternoon; black gesso from Ranger; metallic green paint from DecoArt; ink from Hero Arts; bat stamp from Unity; laser-cut sentiment from ScrapMatt's; upcycled bubble wrap.

On my blog I have a tradition of sharing a stash-busting idea each month.  This month, I'll be talking about the technique of layering.  It's fun to do, it's a popular trend at the moment, and it helps you use up your stash of scrap papers.  I used layering on this card in order to draw attention to my bat image, which is rather small.  The layers behind it help it stand out and look important and interesting.  I built up this layered mat using just scraps.  This was a great way to use up lots of leftover bits of paper.

I added a heavy coat of black ink to the edges of each of my paper layers.  Not only does this play up the nighttime/darkness aspect of the challenge, but it also make the rich colors of the papers really pop.

To add darkness to my card base, I randomly swiped on black gesso to make an interesting background.  I also painted a scalloped chipboard frame with the same black gesso.

My paper layers had a lot of green in them, so I felt like the chipboard frame and the background needed a touch of green, for the sake of unity.  I added this green by stamping with bubble wrap and green metallic paint.  After the paint was dry, I put my card together, first placing the layered papers on the card base, then adhering the chipboard frame, which I had dressed up with bokeh vellum and enamel dots.  I topped it all off with the cute stamped bat, and I added a sentiment and a couple of stamped stars as well.

I'll leave you with one last look at the card.  If you feel inspired, then go ahead and play along with the "Creatures of the Night" challenge at City Crafter Challenge Blog.  The challenge runs for a week.  Happy crafting!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Project: Library--COMPLETE!

Hello, T-Day friends and others!  You have been waiting a long time to hear the end of my son's summer library saga.  Although he finished visiting all the libraries in August, I've only now had a chance to document the adventure in my scrapbook.  Below you'll see the scrapbook page that I made.  A map of the libraries takes up a large part of the page.  The libraries highlighted in blue on the map are those that my son visited in the summer of 2015, and those highlighted in yellow are the ones that he visited in the summer of 2014.  Twenty libraries visited in 2014 plus twenty-one more visited in 2015 makes a total of forty-one libraries.  "41 and done!"

Supplies: yellow cardstock from Echo Park; red & gold cardstock from Neenah Paper; navy dotted paper from American Crafts; orange dotted paper from Pebbles; green swirl paper from My Mind's Eye; die cuts, alphabet stickers, & all other paper from October Afternoon; decorative tape from Scotch/3M; ink from Autumn Leaves/Stampology; pens from Zig; household stapler.

I've only included one photo on this page, but it's a favorite of mine.  There will certainly be more library-related scrapbook pages forthcoming, because I have more library photos to put into my album.

If you would like to see photos of the libraries that my son and I visited earlier in the summer, please refer to my posts for June and July.  Below, you will find photos of all but one of the libraries that my son and I visited in August.  The only library I don't have a photo of is Webber Park library, since it is in a temporary location in a strip mall at the moment.  Construction of the new (permanent) Webber Park library will begin soon.
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Augsburg Park library, shown above, takes its name from the park in which it is located.  It is very pleasant to sit down near a window in this library and be able to look out at a lovely green space.
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East Lake library is located on Lake Street, a busy thoroughfare in south Minneapolis.  One thing I liked about this library was its display of cat and dog books.  I checked out James Herriot's Cat Stories.  I have read it before, but it was a delight to read it again.
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Hosmer library will celebrate its one hundredth birthday later this year.  It's a grand library, inside and out.  Please ignore the snow in the photo; obviously there was no snow when we visited Hosmer in August.  :)
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Northeast library is located in the "hipster" neighborhood of "Nordeast" Minneapolis, but this library is not only for hipsters.  It's a very family-friendly place, with lots of play areas for kids.  My son had fun spelling out messages with magnetic alphabet letters there.
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Again, please ignore the snow in this photo.  Don't ignore the interesting architecture, though.  Pierre Bottineau library is housed in a historic building that is over one hundred years old.
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Southeast library is located near the University of Minnesota campus.  My son got a taste of college life when we visited here.
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Finally, Walker library is a beautiful, long, low building in Uptown, another "hipster" neighborhood of Minneapolis.  Like Northeast library, Walker caters both to hipsters and to families.  We planned our visit for "Lego Mania" day, and my son had fun playing with Legos there.

At the end of August, after my son and I visited the last library on our list, I celebrated with a cup of coffee...a pumpkin spice latte from Dunn Brothers Coffee, to be precise.  Now I'm ready for autumn.  :)