Archive for April, 2007

Tag, I’m it!

I got tagged the other day by Paula. I’m supposed to tell you 7 things about myself, then tag 7 people. I was out of town when this happened (all those posts last week were pre-scheduled…sneaky, huh? 😀 ). So, now that I’m back, here are my 7 things:

  1. I’ve been married to my husband, Dan, for almost 8 years. We met in 1998 during an intensive summer language institute at UC Berkeley. We married a year later and had an incredible Scottish ceremony, bagpipes, celtic harp, and all.
  2. I used to compete in Scottish Heavy Athletics with Dan and his brother.
  3. I lived in Australia for a year during 1988 and went to the World Fair in Brisbane almost every day.
  4. I’ve never lived in the same house for more than 4 years. Ever. In my entire life.
  5. I became a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator on March 30, 2003.
  6. I became a Stampin’ Up! supervisor in 2005. (Currently I have 3 awesome downline, and 1 “adoptee.”)
  7. I collect MyCokeRewards points. (Trying to save enough to earn a video camera before we head to Ethiopia to pick up our kids.)

I’m tagging these people:

  1. Bobbi, Ink Impressions
  2. Karen, Watercolor Dreams
  3. Michelle, My Inky Fingers
  4. Kim and Sandy, We Luv Cardstock
  5. Karen, I Love Stamping & My Pets
  6. Lorien, StampsNMore
  7. Debbie, Thinking Inking
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all-in-one

magnet-tin-outside-web.jpgYou may remember that Target carried these little magnetic checkerboard tins around the Easter holidays. I jumped on the bandwagon and bought one then. Just one. This is what I created (gift #5 for my generous friend). The outside is simple enough: your basic altered tin decorated with cardstock, designer paper, stamps, ribbon, and other embellishments.

The inside of the container is another story. I had these groovy thin 4″ cork coasters with rounded edges that fit perfectly inside the container. I layered four of them — no glue (that’s how great they fit) — to create the corkboard. (Unfortunately, you’d be hard-pressed to find these cork coasters today…they’re about 3 years old from IKEA. But, you could cut thin cork sheets to size and layer for the same effect.) magnet-tin-inside-web.jpgThe thickness of the cork perfectly accommodates the glass marble tacks (thumbtacks, 1/2″ stamped circles of cardstock, flat-backed glass marbles, and Crystal Effects).

On the left inside of the container, I layered a piece of cardstock over the tin, then used my Xyron 900 with a magnet cardtridge to create some little magnetic inspirational sayings (shown in storage mode) that could easily be moved around to the front, back, or inside lid of the tin — or used anywhere a magnet could go.

wish for simplicity

Trifold Wish CardIn keeping with my simple theme, I made this trifold tab card for mystery project #4. It’s a versatile card and there’s plenty of room for inside sentiments. If you’re not accustomed to using a Hobby Blade (X-acto knife), I recommend practicing on scrap paper first.

To make the tri-fold, simply cut cardstock to 5-1/2 x 11. Score the longer side at 3″ and 7-1/4″.

To make the tab, lay card flat so that the larger outside flap is toward you.wish-card-open-web.jpg Approximately 1/2″ from the first fold, use a hobby knife to make three cuts: make a 1-1/2″ cut approximately 1-7/8″ in from the left side. The cut should be perpendicular to the fold. Repeat approximately 1-7/8″ from the right side. Then cut between the end points — the ends furthest from the fold. (See image to right for example of approximate tab location.) Use small corner rounder on tab edges (you may need to remove the guard).

For the front flap, cut your designer series paper to 3″ x 5-1/2″ and adhere to smaller flap. Lightly sand edges if desired. Stamp “wish” (or desired phrase) onto cardstock and use 1-1/4″ circle punch. Adhere to tab. Cut coordinating cardstock to 5/8″ x 5-1/2″ and adhere above tab. Embellish as desired.

notebook necklace

notebook necklaceThis handy dandy notebook (mystery project #3) is convenient to use and super easy to make too!

This is a teeny tiny notebcook (about 2×3) and mine luckily came with the chain, but you could replicate it by using a small notebook (get one with a nice spiral bind) and adding a long chain.

The design is fairly self-explanatory: alter as you would any notebook or 3-D project. I used Dots & Dashes designer series paper, Taken with Teal cardstock, and some pink polka dot ribbon from Michaels. The silver dots on the cover are actually the second page showing through holes. (This notebook cover already had the holes, but yours can still be perfectly spaced and aligned by using the paper piercing template from the Crafter’s Tool Kit!) As usual, I gently sanded the edges for a slightly distressed look.

After the photo was taken, I embellished just a tad bit more. Embellishments to consider: flowers, words, tabs, etc.

Variations: keychain, “purse” notebook, etc.

Redux: Snoopy in the round

snoopy-wreath-take-2-web.jpgI made this wreath to go with the Snoopy diaper cake for my preggers friend. It was super easy!

I used a flat wood 12″ wreath ring (instead of the oft-suggested styrofoam) and 13 size 1 diapers. Simply wrap each diaper over the edge of the ring and secure with rubber band. (I then tied alternating celery grosgrain and light blue gingham ribbons to cover the rubber bands. To create the criss-cross base (I used green satin ribbon), simply wind a soft ribbon continously between each diaper (once), then repeat in the opposite direction. Decorate as desired and voila!

I kept it simple with one little Snoopy beanbag and some ribbon (I may still tweak the ribbon to balance it out), but you may like to decorate with lots of baby goodies, such as pacifiers, rattles, booties, etc. If you want to make a “floral” wreath, consider embellishing with baby sock roses!)

clippies

ClippiesI know, I know. I’m a little behind the curve since everyone has already made these jumbo paper clips. I actually bought the clips a couple of months ago when they were all the rage, but I never got around to making them. These are the second of five projects I’m sending to my friend for her mystery order).

Each clip is a little different (on purpose). For the “d” I used two of the same making memories Jigsaw chipboard letters, traced the shape onto Dots & Dashes paper and cut that out, then DTPed both sides of each letter with Taken with Teal craft ink. I dried the ink with a heat tool, then glued on the Dots & Dashes “d” on the front of one of the letters and sanded for smooth (and slightly distressed) edges. Then I covered the entire front of that “d” in Versamark and clear embossing powder and set with a heat tool. Next, I applied E-6000 adhesive to one end of the clip and sandwiched it between the two letters. Once that was dry, I embellished with primas.

I did notice a color change as a result of the embossing. So, for the flower clip, I followed the same process as the “d” clip, but skipped the embossing. I embellished with a simple cardstock circle and button. I expect that the flower won’t be as sturdy (the chipboard was a little thinner than the mm variety), but it is fresher-looking.

The middle clip with the butterflies was an absolute whim. I wound heavy-gauge wire around the center of a clip, twisted the ends around a round skewer to create a “spring,” then stuck the butterflies (back to back, I used two of each) over the ends of the wire. Easy as pie.

So glad I finally had the chance to jump on this bandwagon. I love clippies!

My first…

snoopy-cake-web.jpg

OK, this has nothing to do with stamping, but it’s still crafty, and I just had to share.

When I stumbled across this awesome site for diaper cakes, I just had to get one for my preggers girlfriend. But I’m on a pretty strict budget with the adoption, and while I think these cakes are worth the cost, I had to find a way to make it more affordable while sticking to her theme.

This was my first effort and I’m pretty darned pleased with the results (although the photo doesn’t do justice to the colors). Even Dan walked by it and yelled at “that’s too cute…so cute it shouldn’t be allowed.” Yep, I blushed. I love getting crafty compliments from my DH!

I learned several valuable lessons along the way, so I thought I’d share:

  1. If you can afford it, buy one. (If you’re not a perfectionist, don’t have five hands, or don’t have time/patience, the extra cost might be worth saving yourself from some frustration.)
  2. If you make your own, use the “rolled” method. It’s easier, plain and simple.
  3. Use rubber bands (not tape or floral tape) to hold the rolled diapers. White or clear rubber bands would be ideal, but I wasn’t able to find these easily. Hint: buy a pack of teeny tiny rubber bands in the hair accessories section (the kind you use for braids/cornrows).
  4. Don’t use “sheer” ribbon for “rolled” diaper cakes. Those rubber bands will show. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how much they’d show until I had already assembled my cake and realized that, at table level, the angle is different. So even though the solid ribbon covers the rubber bands when the tier is at eye-level, when set on a table, you can see them. They don’t show in the photo, but curious guests will more than likely want a closer look. I hate shoddy work and loose ends, so chances are that I’ll take it apart and find some white ribbon to cover the rubber bands or replace the blue sheer ribbon altogether. Sigh.
  5. Don’t tie the individual diapers with ribbon like I did. This looks cute, but takes an enormous amount of ribbon (which is pricey) and makes it harder for the mom-to-be to unwrap the diapers when she needs them. Again, this didn’t dawn on me until I had tied all the diapers (duh). But given the work I already put into it, I’m leaving them as-is!
  6. Use a generic brand of diapers to save money or to create a different look. Target’s generic brand are blue with clouds and would work well for boy themes. Parent’s Choice (Walmart, shown) has a colored band that shows up in the center when you roll the diapers. You could use paper shreds (basket stuffing) in between each tier to “hide” the little bit of color that shows. But I like the color showing, so I’m leaving it. (You could also roll the diapers in the opposite direction to ensure that the colored band is on the outside and visible. It’s another nice decorative effect that doesn’t cost an extra penny!)
  7. Use a perfectlly cylindrical center/core if possible. It will require a lot less adjustment and padding. I used a cylindrical “jar” of Dreft for the first tier and a generic bottle for the second/third. I haven’t tried it, but I wonder if a styrofoam cylinder (wrapped in something to avoid shedding) would work???
  8. Use larger rubber bands as your “extra hands” while assembling each row of diapers. They work great to hold the whole tier together too. I just tied ribbon over them. (But, again, don’t use a sheer ribbon!)
  9. Avoid expensive “fillers” (if you’re looking to cut costs). Where I needed more padding, I used extra diapers instead of blankets. This worked well.
  10. Look for bulk ribbon. The wide mossy/celery-colored wire-edged satin ribbon I found at Costco was 50 yards for $7. (Yes, I did say 50 yards. You won’t find that at Michael’s or Joann’s even with those coupons.) For thinner ribbons, I still think Stampin’ Up! has the best deal, even if you’re not a demonstrator (15-25 yard spools). You could also avoid the high-cost satin ribbons by using acetate/floral ribbon. But I’m admittedly a ribbon snob and I think those other types of ribbon look too cheap. Stick with the satin or grosgrain for a high-end look.
  11. Keep it simple for a more professional (and cost-effective) end result. I let the ribbons be my decoration, then just topped it off with one stuffed animal. This cake is primarily intended to be a (useful) centerpiece, not a gift. Of course, if the cake is a gift and you want to include lots of accessories, then go for it! Hint: go to high-end discount stores for best buys on stuffed animals and baby accessories (TJMaxx, Baby Depot, Tuesday Morning, etc.).

So, want to make your own? Try this website for good basic instructions. Or, if you’d rather buy one, Lil Baby Cakes (mentioned above) has great designs. I’m also thinking about going into the diaper cake business as (yet another) way to help raise adoption funds. Drop me a line if you’re interested!

And stay tuned…a diaper wreath is next!

chipboard clipboards

A dear online friend trying to help me raise funds for our adoption sent me a check with instructions to make her “5 things.” Any five things, no instructions, no guidelines. I had big plans at first, but I had to rethink that approach when I realized just how overwhelmed I have been: juggling the enormous task of prepping the house (which still isn’t totally complete), finalizing the initial stages of the adoption paper chase, working my day job (which I had nearly abandoned entirely), and trying to negotiate the day-to-day stuff, including somewhat regular house showings.

I tried to keep these projects fairly simple, both because I think this modern/retro style is, as she puts it, “out of her dot box” and because I felt inspired to work with bright, bold colors. For most projects, I used this fun Dots & Dashes paper. I’ll present one project a day for the next five days. (Hey, I need some fodder to keep folks entertained!)

Chipboard Clipboard Photo Fridge Magnets

Here’s the first: chipboard clipboards that work perfectly as photo fridge magnets (inspired by cover images of the Summer 07 Winter mini catalog). I used medium weight 4″ square coasters, covered the front in patterned paper, and sanded the edges for a gently distressed look. Then I tied on a decorative ribbon (no glue, so that the knots could be easily moved around) and added a magnetic clip (removable…it’s just clamped on). The photo shows minimal embellishments, but I did add a circle and button to the “boy” version and tabs on the opposite sides from the bows. Sorry I didn’t have time to update the photo before these were shipped off — but she neede some surprise, don’t you think?

Update: My Sale! page was last updated today. Please visit and see if there’s anything you want. A special thanks to those who have made purchases so far!

In a pinch

Well, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. That’s mainly because I haven’t been stamping much lately. Life has been absolutely nuts here! My husband and I are in the midst of the adoption paper chase and trying to raise/save money on that front.** I’m still recovering from my broken foot (although it’s much better and I’m walking with two shoes and both feet and no crutches! I just have to be very careful). To top it all off, we’re putting our house on the market — again — and needed to do some major (and I mean major) staging and spring cleaning before tomorrow’s photo shoot. Snoopy Baby Shower Invite

Needless to say, I haven’t had one spare second to stamp. I’m only posting this because it’s 1am, I’m exhausted from cleaning house for the past 6 hours, and the nearest place I could collapse was my computer chair. Not one to ever completely “rest,” I thought I’d post something while taking a break. 😀

I did make time a couple of days ago to finally design baby shower invitations for a friend. She suggested that I buy invitations since I was so busy <gasp!>, but I figured that I could come up with something cute in a pinch that wasn’t too time-intensive. And here it is!

One of the reasons I call myself a paper crafter is because I often come up with projects that require very little effort. The only stamp I used was “You’re Invited” from Tiny Talk. The rest was patterned paper, some punches and scallop scissors, and a great “Dings” font. (My friend’s nursery theme is the Lambs & Ivy Peek-a-Boo Snoopy, so I thought I’d stick with the basic theme for the shower too.) I hope she likes these super simple trifold cards.

So, speaking of baby showers, does anyone have fun game suggestions? I promised her I wouldn’t do anything too dorky and I haven’t ever planned a shower before. But she did give me the go-ahead to plan a couple of games. Also, would it be too weird to have a craft project? I was thinking of bringing stamps and craft pads and letting everyone design/decorate onesies. (I did this for one of my downline at our meeting and it was pretty quick.) But, I’m not sure everyone there is the “crafty” type. Thoughts anyone?

** One of the ways that we’re trying to raise money to help fund our adoption is by selling off some of my stamp and craft supplies. Please check out my Sale page (and tell your friends). As items from the first “batch” sell, I’ll add new goodies, so check back often!