Friday, December 18, 2009

Teacher gift boxes...

Hi Everyone! School is out, the parties are over and I can finally get back to my to do list- what a marathon! I just wanted to share a quick post on the gift boxes I made last night (along with treat containers for 25 kids!) for my children's teachers. I bought them very pretty ornaments but needed something a) pretty to pack it in and b) a something that would insure that they reached school safely!

I saw a tutorial for canning jar boxes earlier this summer on Tracy Harp's website Inky Doodles and figured this was just the right size for a large ornament. I scored and assembled th ebox per her excellent tutorial, then added patterned paper to all four sides and the top. I used Sticky Strip tape to adhere to the ribbon to the edge of the cover and the handle, with a bow to finish it off. The handles were attached to the box with large rhinestone brads or large eyelets so they could swivel out of the way to open the box.

I used this cute Christmas set that hadn't seen ink until this year for the focal image and the tag. I cut them out using nested dies on my Sizzix machine and colored them with alcohol markers (may be a few more of thise on Mr.s Claus' list this year!). These boxes went together pretty quickly, especially after the first one, and the teachers loved them more than the gift inside!

I'm off to finish addressing my Christmas cards and maybe even get them mailed by tomorrow- maybe... Hope you are enjoying a peaceful weekend before Christmas {if you are you either don't have children or are way too organized!).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cuppie Snowman gift tags...

I felt like I was marginally in control yesterday when I was getting ready for work, checking off my to do list in my head, then little son vomits on his breakfast plate-ugh! Total and utter derailment for the day! Poor little thing really was sick (you know it's real when they lay on the couch or in bed all day and don't even ask to play a video game or watch TV!) and he needed mommy, so home I stayed. I tried valiantly to get some work done, then gave up in the early afternoon and made some gift tags for holiday gift exchanges, etc coming up tomorrow.

I wanted to make a holiday neutral tag in case the exchange gift goes to someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas and remembered I had this cute cupcake set that hasn't seen any ink yet- amazing because he's so darned cute!

I started with a Bashful Blue tag cut out on my Sizzix machine with a nested label die. I added a smaller piece of Chocolate Chip to the top, stamped snowflakes over the remainder of the tag and sponged the edges. I used my Crop-a-dile to punch in a grommet for the ribbon at the top and added some rhinestones for glitz (this is my daughter's book exchange gist, so there must be glitz!). Cuppie was stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black on Whisper White and colored with alcohol markers- I really do love coloring- it's so therapeutic! He was also cut out using a nested label die and then the greeting was stamped below. After I made the first one, I realized a little punch of red would be good, so I added a strip of patterned paper to one and red ric rac to the other, which I think makes it pop a bit more.

These were so easy and fun to make that I am going to squeeze some time in this weekend to make a bunch for other packages we are giving, including my famous egg nog- more to come on that!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sparkly Christmas Joy...

Happy Tuesday everyone! I had all good intentions to post yesterday but somehow the day slipped away from me. By the time I got home, I was beset by homework help (DD has 3 tests this week- clearly someone needs to get a grip on reality!) and hearing the list of what "also" must be done for class parties, plays, etc this week. My inefficiency was also compounded by the incredibly dreary weather we've been having here in Houston- damo, misty, rainy, dark- tough to get motivated to do work- I just want to stay home and bake cookies and craft!

To beat the dreary weather blues, I made a simple sparkly Christmas card using a new stamp set and paper I treated myself to (Mrs. Claus deserves some extra treats for doing such a good job at the holidays!). The paper is all glittery and sparkly, so I kept the rest of the card very simple. I started with a white card base, added the red glittered snowflake paper, then layered a smaller rectangle of the glittered stripe over the top. I added a layer of Baja Blue cut out with a nested label die then tied some of this yummy Kiwi satin ribbon I hoarded last season around in a bow.

The image was stamped in a black pigment ink and colored with alcohol markers, with a little glitter pen for accent on the berries and holly (hard to photograph but pretty IRL). The image was cut out using a smaller nested die and mounted to the card with dimensionals to pop it up a bit. The best part of this card is the snowflake- so glittery! I used my Sizzix machine and a nested snowflake die to cut snowflake parts out of Regal Rose and White. I sponged the edges of all pieces with Regal Rose, then outlined the snowflakes with Crystal Effects glue and rolled the pieces in chunky glitter. When they were dry, I stacked them up and used a rhinestone brad to keep them together before mounting with a dimensional sticky dot.

Quick, easy and so sparkly- my daughter was totally into this card- she's a glamour girl in the making! Only 4 more work days for me until holiday time- yay! Have a great one~

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to you...

I am the queen of making cards and not mailing them. I have so many cards in boxes in my craft room it is absolutely sick. I make them, I intend to mail them, but somehow dates slip by. I have even tried making reminders on my calendar a week ahead so that I have time to get them in the mail and delivered by the desired date. Does it happen...NOOOO! My dear friend Cheryl's birthday is no exception. So, she has gotten a voicemail "Happy Birthday" message and now a cyber card!

Mr. Brown from UPS just delivered my sneak peek stamp sets from the upcoming Occasions Mini catalog which starts Jan 5th, so I decided to break out this great new set called Vintage Vogue for her card. The big news from the Occasions mini is that Stampin' Up will now offer clear mount stamps in addition to wood mount. The stamps are still the same red rubber, but have cling foam on the back side which can be used with acrylic blocks. The good part for those of us with a lot of stamps is two-fold: it's better for the environment not to use so much wood and, more importantly, much smaller storage space-YAY! They will still offer wood mount for traditionalists, but I strongly encourage people to try the clear mounts because you can see where you're stamping your image and storage is great!

This stamp set, Vintage Vogue, screams Pale Plum, Mellow Moss and Close to Cocoa to me, so I dug through my paper stash for some patterned paper with those colors from a few years back called Enchante´.

I started with a Kraft 5.75" card base (my favorite square) and stitched on a piece of DP from this set which I had crumpled and sponged with ink to give it a vintage feel. I used the same technique for the floral layer and sponged all the Kraft card stock with Vanilla Craft ink before assembling to lighten the edges. I wrapped a length of crocheted trim that I found in the Joann's sale bin around the card and added pearls to the corners to complete the vintage look.

The main image was made by stamping the vines on Confetti card stock, then stamping the "F-friend" colored in Pale Plum and Close to Cocoa in the center. I stamped the "F" again, cut it out and popped it up on dimensionals to set it apart, then cut the whole thing out on my Sizzix machine using a nested label die. The edges of the main image and the Mellow Moss layer were sponged with Close to Cocoa to age them a bit.

Because the crocheted ribbon frays a bit when cut, I decided to finish off the inside of the card as well. I added a layer of floral to cover the ribbon ends and a layer for the greeting as well. It's a bit heavier to mail, but it already requires hand metering, so who cares?! The greeting comes from this awesome set called "Well Scripted" which is destined to become a favorite.

So my dear friend, Cheryl, happy birthday and my card made it on-time, even if it needed some cyber help! Maybe I'll mail it tomorrow...maybe.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I need an elf...

Happy hump day everyone! I honestly can't believe it's Wednesday already and I am beginning to feel a bit breathless about how far behind I am, both at work and at home! My tree is up and lit, but not decorated, no lights outside, no other decorations yet; 2 swim meets and 3 parties to go to this weekend;  school parties and recitals over the next two weeks; and a book chapter that is so late it wakes me up at night with stress!

Somehow no matter how well I plan, this is where I end up every year! Knowing this would happen, made this card over the TG holiday and figured today was the day to share it. This image from MFT tickles me every time I see it- it was so me last night (only there was an empty wine glass next to me!). This card was fun to make, but was a bit labor intensive on the cutting side, as much of it is paper pieced- explanation to follow.

The image was first stamped on Whisper White card stock then stamped again on the colors/patterned papers that I wanted different parts to appear in- it gives a bit more texture to the image instead of simply coloring. I downloaded and printed some digital paper from SEI - this is a fun way to expand your paper repertoire without having to store it! Stampin' Up also has a whole line of digital papers, stamps, etc which are really convenient when you need a particular color patterned paper and you don't have it on hand. I stamped the image on the blue stripe for the wallpaper, pinkish-red for the chair and deep yellow for the carpet. I cut out the sections and adhered them over the white image- note to self: color the parts you are not paper piecing first so it is cleaner (mistake made on the first card led to much frustration and gnashing of teeth!).

After the image was colored and paper pieced, I covered the Christmas balls on the tree with Crystal Effects glue to give them a shiny appearance. I used this same technique on the martini glass to make the appletini look like liquid-yum! I added the greeting on the bottom and some satin ribbon and she's done- wish I was!

Hope you're having a great day- I'm off to make some lists and work on that chapter!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rudolph Christmas Tags...

I'm trying deperately to get myself in the Christmas spirit and get things done so I'm not so rushed this year (ha!). We had a snow storm last Friday which made it feel a bit Christmasy-that was so much more fun than all this fog and rain we've had the last few days!  My kids certainly made the most of the few patches of snow that stuck to the grass and ground, including snowball fights and a 10" snowman (a bit pathetic, actually!)

Despite the weather, about half of my stamp group made it and we had great fun. I posted most of the other things we made last week, but never got around to posting my reindeer tag- he was definitely the favorite! I have to admit that he was not my idea, but I embellished him a bit more that his original creator.

The tag starts out with by cutting out a scalloped circle in Whisper White and Merry Moments Designer Series paper on a Sizzix machine and cutting the green patterned piece in half before adhering to the white background. The greeting was stamped using a Stamp-a-ma-jig to insure perfect positioning, although I usually just wing it! I added the green ric rac using Sticky Strip which is really sticky- the good news is that it sticks and the bad news is that it sticks, so you have to be really sure you want something stuck exactly where you place it!

Next is the really creative part- Rudolph made with 3 different punches! I started with Close to Cocoa and punched out an oval using the Large Oval punch and a flower using the 5-Petal Flower punch- two petals were cut off to make the ears. From Chocolate Chip card stock, antlers were cut out using a flourish die on my Sizzix machine and the "hair" was punched from the Bojo Blossom punch and then the the oval punch to make it fit his hairline. After he was assembled, I drew eyes and mouth with black marker and accented with the Uniball white gel pen (the only white pen that actually works, BTW!). A little red rhinestone nose and he was stuck on using dimensionals.

For the ribbon, I used my Crop-a-dile to punch a hole and mount a jumbo pewter eyelet, and ran about 7 inches of Sleigh Bells ribbon through, tied with hemp twine and a jingle bell for fun! My kids loved the way he turned out and wanted to use these on their teachers' gifts, so clearly I will be making lots more of these!

Time for me to get motivated for work-hope your day is less dreary than ours here in Houston!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tree trimmings gift card holder...

Just a quick post as today is going to be jammed packed with work, my stamp class and a finals swim meet- and now SNOW in Houston- absolute craziness! It appears there are only two prime weekends for parties and holiday events each year and there are way too many competing events this year- having to pick and choose is terrible- I want to celebrate at them all!

What I want to share today is a really quick and easy template for gift card holders. Goodness knows we all need a lot of these at this time of year- teachers, secretaries, Mr. Brown from UPS who delivers goodies to us all year round...

This starts with a half sheet of 8.5 x 11" card stock cut the short way across to give a piece 5.5 x 8". Score and fold the sheet at 2" from one end and 2.5" from the other end. Glue the edges of the 2" fold up to make the pocket. Now comes the fun part- decorating it!

I like to cover the top and bottom flaps with patterned paper, but you can also dry emboss or stamp background images like snowflakes, etc on them if you prefer. I used coordinating papers from the Christmas Cocoa collection from Stampin' Up which go well with the Soft Suede card base I used. Once that is done, you need to make a vertical flap that will be used to close the gift card holder shut. Here I have stamped one of the ornaments from the Tree Trimmings set, topped with a ribbon bow, and layered it onto coordinating card stock. I glued only the top half of this image to the card and added a piece of velcro to the lower half to keep the card closed.

I stamped a greeting from the Snow Swirled set and punched it out with the wide oval punch. I layered the greeting onto a Soft Suede piece cut on my Sizzix machine with a nested die and added some rhinestones for sparkle. These are super quick to make and are much more personal that the ones you get with the gift card- my husband has already requested 20!

Hope you have a greet weekend and keep warm!

Stamps: Tree Trimmings, Snow Swirled
Paper: Soft Suede, Real Red, Whisper White, Christmas Cocoa
Ink: Real Red
Accessories: Clear EP, heat tool, brown dotted organdy ribbon, velcro, wide label punch, nested die, Sizzix machine, rhinestones

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday coffee can treat containers...

I have been saving (i.e. hoarding) my husband's Illy coffee cans for a very long time now and I keep intending to make great treat containers for whatever the next holiday is, but never seem to get around to it. I can't recycle them because they are too good to get rid of- they are solid, have great screw tops- you get the idea. I now have accumulated enough of a stash that it is impinging on my stamp storage space, so I decided they must be used for my next stamp class.

The coffee people didn't plan well for crafters like me. These cans are 11.5" in circumference, so you need to use 12x12 paper to get around the can- if they were just a bit smaller, you could use a vertical half sheet of 8.5X11 card stock, which would really be more convenient!

For this can, I started with a 4x12" strip of Chocolate Chip and randomly stamped snowflakes in the same ink all over it. Then I punched an eyelet border on both sides of a 4.25" strip of Garden Green and overlaid a strip of Merry Moments Designer paper. I adhered the patterned paper to the Chocolate Chip with strong adhesive from my ATG gun and adhered the whole thing to the can with Tacky Tape.
I stamped the snowflake ornament from the Delightful Decorations set in Garden Green craft ink and embossed with clear EP, then punched out the image with the ornament punch (I love not having to cut these out by hand!!). I hung the ornament from the Real Red grosgrain ribbon with a little hook I made from wire- really simple to make and darned cute!

For the top, I stamped and embossed a snowflake in Real Red and layered it onto nested circles made from Real Red, Garden Green and Chocolate Chip card stock. I added a circle layer on the bottom of the can to write the "To: and From:" since my Ornament was tacked down to the can with glue dots. You could also add a tag for that info onto the ribbon, but I didn't want it to detract from my cute ornament!

One important note: the inside edge of the can is a bit sharp since it had a pull top lid inside to keep the coffee fresh. I tried several ways to soften that edge and finally settled on a layer of Crystal Effects glue which covered the sharp edge perfectly.

These cans can be filled with cellophane bags full of cookies and other treats, or maybe some craft supplies for stamping friends!

Thanks for stopping by~


Stamps: Snowburst, Delightful Decorations
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Garden Green, Real Red, Very Vanilla, Merry Moments DP
Ink: Real Red, Garden Green Craft
Accessories: Wide Real Red grosgrain ribbon, Ornament punch, Eyelet edge punch, wire, Sizzix machine, nested dies