Monday, November 30, 2009

Our 7th Anniversary

Today is my husband's and my 7th anniversary. In honor of that, here are a few anniversary cards I made with the Bigz Heart Locket die from Sizzix:





I think the first one is my favorite of the two.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A twist on Becca's medallions

Sorry I've been so quiet the last few days! Things have been pretty hectic around here, and I've had some migraines to add to the chaos.

Anyway, I made this card (and shared it) awhile back. I promised to get back to it, so today is the day ...



I had just purchased this corner punch at Big Lots for a great price ($2, I think), and I wanted to see if I could make one of Becca's neat medallions with it. Well, it didn't quite turn out the way I had hoped. Because of the way the punch is oriented, it didn't create a shaped edge. BUT I looked at it and realized that I could trim around the edges and make it just as pretty.

Then I decided to try it on a square, and this is what I came up with (after trimming the edges again).



So I guess it never hurts to try something, right? :) I always enjoy finding new uses for "old" products!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A kids' Thanksgiving craft

Yep, you guessed it - another house! Sorry about the quality of these pictures. I took them after the sun had gone down, so I had to lighten them a bit for you to see better.

My kids wanted to make their own houses like I've been making. I plan to let them make gingerbread houses, but I wanted to save that for December. So instead, they made Pilgrim houses and Pilgrim "dolls" to go with them.



Before they started coloring, I mentioned that Pilgrims wore plain-colored clothes, mostly black and white or brown. Well, my daughter took me quite literally and colored that one on the far right completely black - until I noticed and explained that their faces and arms were a regular color. :) So the hat and boots look right, but the rest of him? Well, let's just say that the kids say he's blind (since you can't even see his eyes). Seriously, they came up with that themselves.



Here you can see the house a little better. My son is a great colorer! (Not that my daughter isn't ... ) I don't know if you can see it or not, but I glued the cut-out Pilgrims onto mini dollpins so they'd hold up better.



And here you see that the box is actually functional. The Pilgrims fit inside so they don't get lost. We'll be making another Thanksgiving craft that goes with this, and it should fit inside, too.

In case you're wondering, I assembled the actual houses and let the kids glue on the doors and windows.

In case you'd like to make some of these, the Pilgrims are free kids' coloring pages I found here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A barn gift box

These boxes are addictive! My mind just wouldn't quit with all the possibilities for these cute boxes, so you're likely to see a few more in the next few days. I'm thinking of using them as Christmas gift boxes (especially to hold some homemade candy), but I may end up with an entire town by the time I'm done! :)

Since my sister and her husband live on a farm, I just had to make a barn. It was so easy! I originally made the barn and then let it sit for a day. Something was missing. Then I remembered these Studio G farm animal stamps from my kids' stash, and they were the perfect finishing touch!

Either side could be the front, but here's what I think of as the front, with a piggie blocking the door:



And then here's the other side (what I think of as the back), with little chicks pecking in the yard:



Don't you just love those horses and cows peeking out of the windows? I love the idea because those animal stamps have the most spindly legs ever, and they're almost impossible to cut out, let alone glue down. This way, I just lined up the basic part of the stamp (minus the legs) in my square punch and then cut around the easiest part of the animals.

These boxes are so much fun to make!

Tee Pee Tent free pattern

Do you remember the tee pee tents I made for my kids last year? Well, I just ran across a free downloadable pattern for them, in case you're interested in making any. You can find it here.

It's amazing the things you can find when you're searching for a Thanksgiving craft for six-year-olds! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A fun gingerbread house

Do you make gingerbread houses for Christmas? My family didn't usually, but I distinctly remember making one out of a cardboard box, royal icing, and candies in third grade. It was so much fun!

Well, here's a project that took me back to that third-grade classroom. I had to make myself stop adding to this gingerbread house. I won't tell you how late (or early) I ended up staying up when I was working on this. Let's just say that I totally lost track of time because I was having so much fun.

This is actually a box, so it can be a cute gift box as well as a functional Christmas decoration later. For the decorations, I used a Martha Stewart gingerbread clear stamp set I got last year after Christmas. They were perfect!

(And in case you're wondering, I was totally inspired by Lauren's new Home Made template!)

Here's the front:



The round peppermint candies were the first things I did to the house, and I was hooked. With a circle punch, it doesn't get any easier than this!

The stamp I used for the door was actually supposed to be a stand-alone gingerbread house image. I just thought it looked enough like a fancy door to use it. And besides, I wanted it to look like gingerbread.



Here's one side. Do you like the gumdrop bushes and the decorated tree?



Here's the other side, which is pretty much identical.



And here's the back. I was going to put another Christmas tree in one of the windows, but I thought it might look tacky if I didn't put an image in each of the windows. So it just looks like the gingerbread people have no worries about their electric bill. :)

I used my new Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page eyelet lace punch as the trimming on the roof. I thought it looked a little bit like icing. (I only used the border punch, not the corner punch.)

It's going to be really hard to part with this!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two more dry erase tiles

I made two more dry erase tiles last night. These are for my Secret Sisters - one from our local congregation and one from our conference (a fellow pastor's wife).

Sorry the horse tile came out a bit blurry. My camera just didn't want to focus on the horses, no matter what I did!

I didn't add any color to the horses since I thought they looked pretty cool just as they were. And since this is an off-white tile, it wasn't like the background was glaring white.

(I should mention that the horse stamps are a clear set from Inkadinkado.)



For the second one, I used a cutout from prepasted wallpaper border. I pick up pretty wallpaper border at thrift stores and garage sales for $0.10-$0.25 a roll, so I don't feel bad cutting it up like this. :)



I decided not to add any words to these (like "Menu" or "Notes") so that they can use the tiles for whatever works best for them.

I have a few projects that I'm totally excited about, but I'm forcing myself to share one each day so I don't get overwhelmed with all the typing. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some "new" skirts for my little girl

We were recently given six HUGE garbage bags full of clothing. A lot of it was women's shorts and pants, which we don't wear. I was going to donate them to a local thrift shop, but my husband suggested trying to make something we could wear out of them. And since my little girl is growing taller (but not wider, it seems) every day, I need some denim skirts for her. So here's what I made out of two pant legs:



(She's wearing it a little funny. It really is sewn straight!) And here's the second one:



They turned out very well, and my daughter is thrilled to pieces with them! They were really easy, too! The hardest part was threading the elastic through the waistband, since it kept slipping off my bodkin. I made them nice and long so they'd last for awhile. If she keeps up this "tall and thin" build, I'll be able to use them for quite awhile! :)

I'll be sharing more projects from those pants in the days to come, since I have several projects going that involve them.

This is the kind of recycling that I enjoy! :)

Good shopping deals today

We went to Goodwill tonight, and I found a few good deals I thought I'd share with you:



The huge scrapbook kit in the back is from JoAnn's and was regularly $19.99. It's still new in the package, but I got it for $5.

The baby doll is still new in the package as well. The original tape is even undisturbed. I got it for $3, and I know a little niece who is going to be thrilled to pieces with it.

The 9 packs of brads came from Target's $1 Spot, but I got them for $0.25 each. The inkpad was $0.50. I like to stock up on these things when I find them for this price because they make great additions to craft kits for little girls (and some not-so-little girls!).

The book is a nice kids' drawing book that we paid just $0.50 for.



I stopped by Michaels to check out their clearance since someone mentioned finding paper packs really cheap. They didn't have paper packs, but their kids' Halloween clearance was down to 80% off. I picked up the Halloween masks for my kids since they love to play dress-up and pretend they're animals. They were only $0.20 each, and I got them each one of every variety. (I'm saving them for another occasion.)

The two owl "masks" are going to be a craft for school time. They were also just $0.20 each.

I was quite pleased with the finds!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving ...

Let me share a few of our great "finds" this last week. Of course, we can't take credit for any of our "finds" - God definitely orchestrates these things!

First of all, my husband loves foosball. I never understood the attraction until I played against him and then a family friend - and WON BOTH TIMES! It's not something I'd play all the time, but it is fun every now and then.

We had seen a pretty beat-up one at our favorite local thrift store for $10, but it was very beat-up, and so we waited. While he was out visiting last week, my husband stopped in at a thrift store we don't get to as often. Look what he got for $2:



Yes, you read that right: $2. I was expecting it to be broken or missing something vital that they didn't know about (it had "missing ball" marked on the box), but everything - including the ball - was there and in good shape. It's not necessarily the deluxe version, but we really like it and it works great for us!

Last Monday we ventured south for our friends' daughter's birthday party (she's almost exactly a year older than our son). On the way, my husband noticed a sign outside of a consignment shop we had been to once. That day was their last day in business, and they were having a sale.

Of course, things are cheap the last day someone is in business, so we stopped. (The prices hadn't been too great before, but this was worth looking at!) Everything in the store was 75% off, and a lot of it she was just asking $0.25 for. We also got two shopping bags full of clothes for $0.25 each.

And then my husband asked if the beautiful bookcases out front were 75% off, too. As it turns out, they were. They were originally asking $100 for both, but that day they would be $25 for both. My husband was thrilled, since he has been looking for a few bookshelves for his smaller study at the church!

So he went out to see if he could load them into our van. He got one inside, but the other would not fit inside. We have a roof rack, but he wasn't sure he wanted to try it, so he went back inside the store and told her it just wasn't going to work.

"That's too bad," she said, "because if you can take it, they're both free."

Needless to say, my husband quickly changed his mind about getting the second one up on the roof rack! It took a little effort, but it was so worth it! Check it out:



It's beautiful dark wood, made in the USA. The other one looks exactly like it, but the camera batteries died after I took this picture.

Isn't God good?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Starbucks Chocolates Gift

My Secret Sister loves coffee, so I was thrilled to find four boxes of Starbucks chocolates reduced to $0.50 each simply because the packaging was mangled!

I decorated a tin bucket and filled it with the candy. It was a perfect fit!



I got this bucket at Target's $1 Spot last year sometime. I've been using it to store the caps to the glass bottles I'm saving to recycle into gift packaging. It was a perfect fit for the chocolates, though, so I gave it up. :)

The image is from Nina May, who has done an entire series of gorgeous fall-themed digi stamps and offered them for free on her blog over the last few weeks. (Each image is free for one week.) You can subscribe to her blog to see when she opens her store so you can buy them!

I colored it with oil pastels and baby oil. I used my scallop circle Nesties to frame it and a bunch of miscellaneous ribbon tied around the handle.

I was able to rescue the front flap of one of the boxes, so I made it into a tag so she would know what flavor the chocolates are.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Customized Dry Erase Tile

Someone on Splitcoaststampers first gave me this idea, but I don't remember who to give credit to. Did you know that you can use a glazed ceramic tile as a dry erase board? I certainly didn't!

Since I found this out, I picked up all the dry erase board markers I could when they were cheap (or free) during the back-to-school sales. And now I've finally gotten around to making a decorated one.

I decided to make the first one for myself, just to see how it would turn out. You always learn from the first one, and I didn't want to make a mistake on a gift. So here is what I made:



This is an 8x10" ceramic tile from Home Depot. It cost a few pennies more than $1, so it's quite inexpensive. Add the easel from Dollar Tree, and you have a cute gift for $2.

It's very easy to make. All you need are:

  • a tile
  • rub-ons, stamps (use StaZon ink and permanent markers), stickers, or other decorations
  • Paper Glaze (or other similar product like Crystal Effects, Jewelry Glaze, Glossy Accents, etc.)


I used a Pfaltzgraff Tea Rose Wallie I bought years ago. My kitchen is decorated to match my Pfaltzgraff Tea Rose dishes, so this matches perfectly! Then I used a set of clear stamps to spell out "MENU" and an Inkadinkado decorative swirlie to accent it, stamped it with black StazOn ink, and then sealed everything with Paper Glaze.

Actually, I used a combination of Paper Glaze and Jewelry Glaze (I've had it for over 10 years, so I'm not sure if they still make it). I had the best success with the Jewelry Glaze, but I think that's because you apply it with a brush so it doesn't end up so thick.

You probably noticed there's a spot that looks frosted. Every now and then I get that when I use Paper Glaze. I'm assuming I put it on too heavily, but I'm not sure. Does anyone know what causes that?

I'm thrilled with how this turned out, and I'm planning to make one for each of my Secret Sisters as part of their Christmas gift. I'll share them when I make them.

Just a final note: Whatever you do, don't write on the Paper Glaze, even with dry erase markers. If you do accidentally, wipe it off immediately. If you don't, it won't come off after about five minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

'Tis the season ...

... for good candy clearance deals! I got to go out by myself for a few hours tonight, and I ended up at Dollar Tree. They had their Halloween candy 75% off ($0.25/5-oz bag), and I got all they had of the round "eyeball" chocolate candies. While I wouldn't serve these candies with the eyeball wrappers still on them, I've discovered they make wonderful Christmas candies -- once they're properly handled. ;)

I spread a cookie sheet with waffle pretzels (or just minis if you can't find the waffle variety), add one of these chocolates to each, then put them in a 200-degree oven for about 3-5 minutes. The chocolates have to be soft when you pull them out, so you may need to adjust that time a little bit. Once you pull them out, you smoosh the rounded chocolates into the pretzels with an M&M. Put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes and they harden right up. These are so yummy I don't dare make more than I'm willing to eat in one day!

Last year, I found some caramel-filled round chocolates, and I used those. If you smoosh them down with a pecan half, they are awesome!! They taste something like turtle candies, but they're loads cheaper. (Of course, someone gave us several pounds of pecan halves last year for Harvest Home. I put them in the freezer and still have plenty for this year.)

I got almost 5 pounds of those chocolate candies tonight. Now I'm in the process of unwrapping them and placing them in Ziploc baggies until I make the candy. It's a lot easier to unwrap them beforehand, especially when you're doing activities that don't require your hands.

Oh, and in case you're wondering if they taste like "cheap chocolate," they don't when you make the candy. That's the beauty of it! You'll notice a taste difference if you eat them outright, but not when you make the candies. Of course, if you're like me, you'll occasionally get a craving for cheap chocolate.

I had to stop by Wal-Mart for diapers (we use their brand), so I checked out their Halloween clearance. I was hoping for candy, but it was very picked over since they had just put the Halloween merchandise to 90% off today.

BUT I did think to peek at the costumes for dress-up play outfits, and I found one for my son (a military costume since he loves to play Army), one for a nephew (a firefighter costume), and several for photo "props" when I photograph little ones (a bee, little pumpkin and fairy wings). The most expensive costume I bought was $1.40. My son will be thrilled!

Of course, there are lots of disgusting costumes, but I was excited to find some "normal" ones in the bunch!

Do you have any favorite things to do with clearanced Halloween candy?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Make-your-own marker storage

I've been dealing with little aggravation spots in my craft room this week. One of my biggest aggravations is marker storage. I love my BIC markers and use them on almost every project, but they were shoved into cans lying on my craft table and very hard to get at.

So I checked Splitcoaststampers to see how everyone else was organizing their markers, and I found a lot of ladies were using clear acrylic x-shaped containers. I loved them! But after I put it on my shopping list, I got to thinking ... Couldn't I make something myself and spend that money on craft supplies instead? So here's what I made:



I've had this box for awhile now. I think it originally came from Michaels' $1 spot, but I picked it up at a thrift store for $0.25. I cut cardboard dividers to fit inside and form the "x" that nicely separates the markers.

So there you have it - a "use what I have" alternative that looks very pretty sitting on my craft desk! :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blossom Nestabilities Flowers

My friend brought her Blossom Nestabilities along the other day, and I cut a few shapes to play around with. I thought I'd share some of the flower combinations I came up with. There are lots more possible combinations, and I have several more ideas running through my head. When I get the chance to try them, I'll post them.



First of all, I cut the largest Blossom Nestie and embossed it with my Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder. I cut the shape so the petals are separated. Then I punched two daisies (Marvy Uchida daisy punch) from brown patterned paper. Then I cut the circle using my Scallop Nestie and embossed it with Swiss Dots. I ran an orange inkpad over the embossing to highlight it.



Then I thought of my homemade glue gun pearls* and thought to add a few to the center. [*I used this idea and simply painted the resulting glue gun drippings with pearlized nail polish I had purchased just for this purpose, since I don't paint my nails.]



And lastly, here is one I made by layering three different Blossom Nesties (each 2 steps apart) that had been embossed and cut apart. If you bend the petals around, it can look more realistic.

These flowers would make a lovely alternative to a gift bow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page!

Our good friends came today to help celebrate my son's 6th birthday. We carved out a few minutes to run to Michaels, since I had been hearing so much about the new Martha Stewart items and hadn't seen any yet.

Have you seen them? There's a scoring board, Punch Around the Page punch sets, deeper-designed border punches (about 2x a deep as a regular one), punch and stamp sets ... Not all of it was there at my Michaels yet, but I saw plenty of hang tags. They will finally be getting that darling heart lace punch that came out last Valentine's Day!

Anyway, I had a 50% off coupon from AC Moore that was good for today, and of course they take competitor's coupons. So I got this Punch Around the Page set:



It retails for $24.99 and includes a coordinating corner punch and border punch. It's pure genius, if you want my opinion! The instructions tell you what sizes will create a perfect all-around border (3.25", 5", 6.75", 8.5", 10.25" and 12"), and it's so easy my kids could probably do it. Not only that, but I was very impressed with how well they punched. So for $12.50 (with my coupon), I can make unlimited lace-edged paper!

Are you curious how it works? Let me show you ...



First of all, you punch the corners. I'm using a 3.25" square here. As you can see, the corner punch can stand alone. It's so pretty! But wait until you see it combined with the border punch ...



Tada! Isn't that gorgeous? It only looks like it took a long time. I might have spent an entire minute punching these edges.

So how will these preset sizes fit onto standard cards and scrapbook pages?



Here is the 3.25" square on an A2 card (4.25x5.5") ...



... a 3.25x5" rectangle on an A2 card (4.25x5.5") ...



... a 5x6.75" rectangle on a 5x7" card ...



... a 4x6" photo on top of a 5x6.75" rectangle ...



... a lacy 6.75" frame ...



... and a 6.75" square layered onto an 8" square scrapbook page.

I haven't done a 12x12" page yet, but it should look just like the 8x8" page, only bigger. I'm looking forward to playing with these some more. It's quite addicting!