Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm a Guest Artist - Whisker Graphics

I love stationery and packaging, so naturally I really love Whisker Graphics. I remember coming across their products when I was the Buyer & Shoppe Manager for Stampington and falling head over heels for their bakers twine.

I really like the simplicity of the designs and the versatility of the products. The paper bags can be used for all sorts of treats and favors or you can use them in a mixed-media scrapbook. The twine can be used to tie a parcel, hang a garland or add some whimsy to a handmade card.

However, my favorite product that they have been releasing annually is the Calendar flashcard set. If you're crafty then you need this calendar set in your life... Head over to the Whisker Graphics blog to see more pictures and info on this monthly calendar I created for 2015, featuring the Flashcard Calendar set. They are also offering the calendar at 33% off with free shipping this week, so be sure to get yours and get your calendar ready for 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Little Man Accessory Board

Back in late 2012 I was in nesting and mode preparing for the arrival of my son, due in early February 2013. At the time we were living in our old house in California and I went to town decorating his nursery. Stampington & Company actually featured my sons nursery in a blog post which you can read about here.

There were a number of thrift store finds and simple DIY projects in the nursery. When we moved to Utah I sold a lot of our furniture so I no longer have the dresser and rocking chair (tears because I badly wanted to restore those), and he now sleeps in a big boy bed so his bedroom has changed a lot. I have held onto a lot of the DIY projects though, and one of my favorites are these framed pieces of fabric.

One thing that you will usually find a lot of at thrift stores are frames. They are so easy to redo with a little paint and minimal supplies. I wanted to do a small gallery wall of frames in various sizes so I chose a bunch of totally random frames. Some still had glass and some didn't, I just tossed the glass in the trash. I spray painted all the frames a solid white with a matte finish.

I used recycled cardboard from old boxes (after my baby shower I had a lot of excess cardboard boxes) and cut the pieces to size to fit each frame. I picked up a bunch of fun fabric swatches to use and then cut the pieces all to size to match the frame they were going in. You could glue the fabric onto the cardboard but that gets a little messy so I just stretched it over each piece of cardboard then secured it at the back with a little glue, and then tape. Not the most professional method but hey - it worked and projects like this are usually only temporary for me. In a year I will probably re purpose the frames into a different project.

These frames hung on the wall in my sons bedroom as is for quite some time. Recently after unpacking from our move from California to Utah I pulled them out of a box and decided to give them more of a purpose.

I saw an idea on Pinterest a few years ago where someone had created a framed board with fabric in it and used it to display accessories for a little boy (bow ties and that sort of thing).  So I decided to used one of the larger frames in a similar fashion.

I suggest just using sewing pins to attach the accessories to the boards. That way it isn't permanent. Since the backing is cardboard, everything pinned on really easily. Its probably best to used pins without a pearl head like I did, that's all I had on hand. The pins without a head would be less visible. Whatever you use, just keep the frames out of reach from your little ones..

And here is the finished board, I have a couple more bow ties to add but didn't want it to look to cluttered for the purpose of the blog post...

Happy accessorizing for you little man. And I hope you are inspired to create your own little fabric board to display his little dapper accessories!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I'm a Guest Artist - Stampington

Im excited to be featured as a guest artist on the Stampington blog Somerset Place today... If you don't know me too well then you may not know that I actually worked full time for Stampington for 7 years as their Shoppe Manager and Artist in Residence. Im no longer living in sunny California where they are, but Im still submitting art and staying active in the creative community..

So I hope you will hop on over to Somerset Place to see the GreenCrafted Gift Wrapping inspired project I did for them. I love turning really special presents into little pieces of art...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'm a Guest Artist - Stencil Girl

I'm really excited to be featured as a guest blogger today over at StencilGirl Talk. I'm a big fan of StencilGirl and founder Mary Beth Shaw, and the many talented artists that design stencils for Stencil Girl. I've quickly become addicted to using stencils in crafts. I hope you will head over to their blog and take look, here's a peek....

This was a really fun project, perfect last minute gift idea also... Make sure you stop by StencilGirl Talk to check it out, and the many other amazing project ideas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Natural Christmas Wrap Inspriation

I'm a kraft paper nut. Just a paper lover in general. I love to give gifts and I love to wrap them. A poorly wrapped present just looks well poor... And won't get the gift recipient very excited. Except for little kids. They don't seem to care much up wrapping lol.

I was wrapping these presents for a good friend and had to add a little something special. So in addition to these "brown paper packages tied up with string" I added two more simple details to each package. I slipped a mini vintage music card under the twine on each package. I found a stack of these for 50c at the thrift store. Then I attacked our little Christmas tree and clipped off some of the larger stems. I rolled them into circles and tied them onto the packages to create these mini wreaths. All done.

Theres something warm and fuzzy about these presents, including whats inside. The presents that are really fun to buy, are for the people that love exactly the same things you do.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Collage Salt Dough Ornaments: Merry Mooses...

I think its safe to say that the holidays really brings out the crafty kid in me... I get excited to make everything (except gingerbread houses) and I really love to make ornaments or any kind. I've used salt dough in the past to make ornaments with my daughter. I came across a few "homemade clay" recipes online recently and thought I would try them out. They basically consisted of baking soda, cornstarch and water. I did two batches and honestly wasn't too happy with how it turned out. 

It just wasn't as strong as the usual salt dough and a number of our ornaments broke, so I ended up doing a third batch of ornaments but on the third (and final) batch, I instead used the salt dough. So my suggestion is just stick to your regular salt dough. Unless of course you have an amazing "no salt" foolproof, homemade clay recipe. Which by the way I would love to know about!

We did all the rolling on wax paper which helps the clean up... When we cut out all the shapes I put holes in them with a skewer so we could easily thread twine through to hang them. But since I ended up collaging the mooses with vintage sheet music paper (instead of painting them) I just put looped the twine around the antlers instead since I covered the holes.

I know a lot of people do the salt dough ornaments annually, which is a really cute way to create a small Christmas keepsake every year... You could try stamping on the year and name of the creator, or just write it on the back. Whatever you do, these are fun to do with the littles (or without lol).

In case you were wondering, the moose cutter is from the Drommar pastry cutter set from Ikea. I purchased it a few years ago and it looks like its still available. If you don't have an Ikea close by, they sell them online.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Card Hoopla

I really admire the people that manage to get picture perfect, catalog worthy family photographs every year for their holiday card. I find it practically impossible. I really would love an awesome Christmassy, festive photo to use for a holiday card and every year I have good intentions to try and do just that.

But with school coming to and end, organizing gifts, get togethers, making sure a tiny elf appears daily creatively in our house all the other holiday craziness (and of course this new blogging hobby) it's just really difficult to throw in a professional portrait session...

The past two years I've used a collage style card with various pictures from throughout the year. In 2013 I did a DIY one using fotor.com and printed them at Staples. It was a little time consuming so this year I took advantage of the crazy cheap prices at vistaprint.com.

On black Friday Vista Print had their 60% off sale (they do really good sales frequently) so I created our card fairly quickly and easily and ordered them at about 11:45pm before the sale ended (that was fun). I just received them on Saturday and sent most of them off yesterday, cross that off the to-do list! Anyhow if you're close friends and family then "surprise" this is what is coming to your mailbox soon:

Happy Holidays for 2014!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Washi Christmas Tree Wall

We decided this Christmas to try a live "potted" Christmas tree. For years we used the same fake Christmas tree and then last Christmas, two days before Christmas our fake tree all of a sudden just snapped in half and broke. I was emotional enough at the time with holiday craziness and stress in general and this topped it off. So I cried. It seemed like a Christmas tragedy...

Although I was pretty upset, looking back its pretty funny really... So two days before Christmas we are "tree-less" and decided to go to the local Christmas tree farm. The good thing about getting your real tree so close to Christmas is that you are for sure the only people at the tree farm. And so for the first time we tried a real tree. And it turned out to be pretty much perfect. Picking out the tree, the smell, all that good stuff. I feel like I don't ever want to go back to fake one.

As much as I wanted to do the "big" fake tree again this year we decided (for a few reasons - long story) to try a real but "potted" live Christmas tree. We found this little tree for $10 at Home Depot. It's a little quirky I know but everyone seems excited (this novelty may wear off soon).

While we were decorating it, even though we were excited for its uniqueness I felt like it was a bit lonely so I decided to add a bit of whimsy to the wall behind it and create some additional Christmas trees with washi tape on the wall.

I've seen a lot of ideas online for washi wall Christmas trees but until this year never really had the right wall space/spot for one. The great thing about this idea is that washi tape comes off so easily and won't mark the walls.

So I went to town on the trees and then used some circle and star punches with the We R Memory Makers washi paper to create the ornaments. So its looking a bit more festive and fun now. Please note - don't "surprise" your eight year old and do this while they're at school like I did. Because apparently they will just come home and be annoyed you did it without them. Lesson learned. And please excuse the not-so-great pictures. This spot is really hard to capture good lighting any time of the day...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Recycled Paper Flowers Craft

Theres a ton of great DIY paper flower tutorials on Pinterest and I've been wanting to try these for a while. GreenCraft magazine had an article (in one of the first issues) on creating similar flowers that also inspired me to give these a whirl. These are great for kids to make and look really cute as a center piece in some pretty bud vases.

All you need is a few simple supplies:
  • Recycled paper (magazines, old wrapping paper etc)
  • Shredding scissors
  • Twigs
  • Washi tape
  • Masking tape

 1. Fold a magazine page accordion style.

2. Using shredding scissors, snip all along the edges that are folded, leaving about 3/4" along the other edge.

3. Add a piece of masking tape along the entire edge (that isn't cut).

4. Gradually wind the paper around the top of a twig (if they're thin twigs just use two and tape them together). You need to start about 1 1/2 inches down the twig and gradually wind upwards towards the top. You can add some adhesive (double sided permanent tape) to the twig before you start winding the paper to help keep it in place.

Once its wrapped and the you have the flower shape, use washi tape to wrap around the base of the paper on the flower to secure it to the twig. Thats all there is to it. My daughter loved this project and we made a bunch of them together.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

December Daily Mini Scrapbbook

I've tried those daily instagram challenges in the past and I'm just not that good at them. So honestly, this Daily December project makes me nervous. But I'm going to give it a shot. I think it will be a great way to capture my family during the holiday season.

I'm going to allow myself to bend the rules if needed. I'm not really sure if there are "rules" but lets just say I'm going to keep things easy... Meaning, if I have to change up the daily theme once or twice then no big deal. Because I know I will have good intentions to do things like "Christmas cards" on December 9th, but the reality is sometimes our days are crazy and I may end up doing a different theme that day. So my list is purely for inspiration and ideas each day.

In my pre-made album that I put together this week I added 25 page inserts that are front and back so it will actually end up being 50 pages, and since I have two kids I figure that makes sense. I'll have more room for additional pictures and journaling. I have already added the dates but I won't journal or add the daily "theme" until I have added the pictures (in case my daily theme changes).

A 12" x 12" album would have been too overwhelming, so this 6" x 8" is a perfect fit. I really love the Project Life concept. I actually used mostly American Crafts Project Life cards (an assortment from different kits) and I used a Simple Stories blue chevron burlap "Snap" album. I don't always use traditional Christmas colors (I will one of these days for a project) so for this album I used primarily light blue, gold, white and small pops of red. I'm sure I will add additional embellishments when the pictures are in there. Here's a peek at some of the pages...

If you have any additional "December Daily" ideas please leave your ideas in the comments below. If this goes well I will be doing it again next year. I'll do a December Daily "follow up" post in January so you can see the finished book. Happy Holidays!

1. Neighborhood tree lighting.
2. Trimming the tree.
3. Elf on the shelf.
4. Favorite Ornament.
5. Christmas shopping list.
6. Visit with Santa.
7. Christmas Cookies. 
8. Letter to Santa.
9. Holiday cards.
10. December Daily.
11. Christmas stockings.
12. Handmade Christmas decorations.
13. Snow fun.
14. Reading our favorite Christmas story.
15. Hot Cocoa (or coffee).
16. Christmas cards from family and friends.
17. Christmas craziness.
18. Oh What Fun!
19. Christmas treats.
20. Christmas movies.
21. Naughty or nice.
22. Family selfie.
23. Local Christmas decorations.
24. The night before Christmas.
25. Christmas day.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vintage Milk Glass Craft Supplies Storage

Just a quick post today since it's a busy week and I'm spending the holiday at a friends house for Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for a lot of things, the number one thing I'm thankful for is my family (and my health), they tie for first place...

I've got a bit of a ridiculous collection of milk glass happening these days. Most of it I have purchased for crazy cheap prices at thrift stores, and there are a few pieces that I fell in love with that I picked up from my favorite local antique store (and paid only a little more for). Eventually I want to get some kind of cool shelf or cabinet to organize and display my collection, I just have to find the right piece of furniture. I've been thinking of opening a small online store to start selling a bunch of my extra milk glass, and other random things I've been hoarding. That is one of the goals for the new year!

Recently we moved into a rental house and we have a spare room in the basement that I have kind of half claimed as the "craft room." It's of course also packed with toys as my kids are usually in there with me, but its nice to have a space to spread out and finally start crafting again.

I was setting up a few tables in the room and as I was unpacking my craft supplies I felt a bit overwhelmed about how to organize my things. Then I had one of those "well DER" moments and remembered my random milk glass vases and dishes that I had sitting in a few boxes. So I started unpacking the milk glass and adding tapes and pens and other random supplies in them.

So you see, it all works out. I was hoarding for a reason. I just didn't really know it at the time. Happy Hoarding things you love, Happy Crafting and of course Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Embellish a Readers Digest Monogram Book

You have probably seen these monogram books popping up in stores. I know Anthropologie has sold them for some time and I've seen them in a number of shops. I recently received one as a gift from my good friend Sherry. Being the craft nut that I am, I decided mine needed to be embellished somehow...

I really love the simplicity of monogram books so I decided to just take it easy and not "over embellish" the book. I think they look great just nestled on a shelf or desk with a few decorative items. 

After looking through papers and a bunch of crafty things I decided to try covering the book with fabric. I had picked up a boatload of vintage fabrics at a garage sale a few years back for $2. It was seriously massive amounts of fabric in one of those enormous rubbermaid tubs. I gave a bunch of it away and have used a lot of it in various projects, like my fabric banners. I held onto some really pretty floral pieces and decided to use them for this project.

I started by tracing the book cover (front and back) onto fabric. When cutting the fabric I left approximately a 1/2 inch of fabric around the entire edge.

Using a foam brush I generously painted Mod Podge over the front cover then firmly pressed the fabric onto the cover, and then did the same with the spine and back cover. After the Mod Podge had dried, I opened the covers and snipped the fabric where there were corners. I added a little Mod Podge around the edges of the inside covers then folded the fabric over tightly.

I considered covering the inside of the covers with fabric also, but it seemed easier to just glue the first and last pages of text to the front and back covers. I figured no one is looking at the inside of the covers anyway, no big deal.

After the cover had dried, I decided to add a piece of twine around the top of the right side. The book seemed to open a little too much when it was standing upright, so it just needed something to keep it closed.

I think these book monogram letters are the perfect holiday gift idea for your bookworm friends and family. And if it needs a little something then it's really easy to embellish one yourself...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quick and Easy Couch Pillow Covers - from Anthro Napkins

Originally these Anthropologie napkins were $8 each. The four of them would of cost $32. It's doubtful I would ever spend that much on cloth napkins since we would very rarely used them in our house. I would however, spend that much on tea towels. Anyhow, with these napkins being on major clearance at $1.95 each combined with the Anthro 15% off birthday discount, I snatched the four of them up at a great price. Yeehaw!

I love the fabric designs and knew when I purchased them that I would use them in a project instead of using them as "actual napkins" and getting them too dirty. The fabric is just too pretty to dirty them up! It turns out these napkins were a perfect match for some Ikea throw pillows I had.

I honestly didn't put a lot of effort into this project. I didn't measure anything or even use pins. All you need to do is put two napkins together with both the right sides facing inwards and then sew three edges together. Turn the pillow covers out the right way and insert the pillow. Then just hand sew some "sew on snaps" onto the open side and then snap them shut. That's all there is to it. They add a fun pop of color to my couch. So next time you see cute, clearance napkins - you know it's OK to buy them!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DIY Ombré Chest of Drawers

I became obsessed with the idea of an "ombré chest of drawers" after seeing a DIY on Pinterest. At the time my daughter needed a new set of drawers in her bedroom, so I decided to give it a whirl and started hunting for a cheap set of drawers on craigslist. Sure enough I found this ugly old set that was just right for this project. I know I took a "before" picture but I have searched my computer and can't find it... The chest of of drawers was really in bad shape. It was an off white color and the previous owners children had taken permanent markers to it. Like all over it.

It's important to always check second hand furniture from craigslist, garage sales and second hand stores before you put the furniture in your car. You want to be sure there are no creepy crawlies underneath or in the drawers. I used to live in California and trust me, you don't want a black widow coming home with you! There was one time I was at a garage sale and saw a guy start putting a chair in the back of his car only to realize there was a gigantic black widow living underneath it. Once you get home just give the piece a good clean, wipe it down with a mild non-toxic cleaner and if there are drawers then give them a vacuum.

Now I know the pros would always recommend stripping old paint, sanding and so on... But honestly when you're refinishing a piece of second hand furniture that you bought for $10 and you know your own kids are going to bump and scratch it, it's okay to cheat a little. It just makes sense to keep things simple when it comes to refinishing kids furniture. If it's not an antique from grandma, and not going to get a lot of "traffic" in the home then I recommend keeping it easy (and cheap). The "furniture restoration police" will not come knocking at your door if you don't do it like the pros. It's really OK.

I do however recommend a quality primer. I gave this piece two quick coats of a plain white bonding primer. Then I used blue latex paint on the front of each drawer. I only needed to do two coats on each drawer. For a project like this all you need are the small paint sample sizes from the hardware store. If you just pull the swatches you want, pick as many colors as you need (depending on how many drawers you have) and then just have an assistant at the store mix you up the small sample sizes.

For some reason I ended up with two different brands of of paint samples. I think they were out of a certain color in one of the brands at the time, so we combined two brands (Olympic and Valspar). It all worked out. Mark the top of each sample container in the order of the drawers - with 1 being the top drawer and so on. Please note - my pictures are all taken with my iPhone, and it appears that the two middle drawers are almost identical. In person its a little more obvious that they are actually different. But the difference between those two drawers is still a little too subtle, so you may want to try a more dramatic difference in shades if doing a similar project.

Once the paint has dried it is a good idea to give it a quick seal/finish. Two coats of Polycrylic works great. Since this project we have moved twice (one of those moves was from California to Utah) so the chest of drawers has been knocked around a lot and there are a few small scratches on the drawers that I need to fix. Overall it's held up really well with moving and general wear and tear.

Finally adding new hardware is always a great idea. I chose some cheap (but fun) shiny silver knobs from the Home Depot. I thought the shiny ones added a little fun pop, perfect for a kids bedroom.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fabric Scrap Banners

I made these fabric banners over a year ago when I was creating handmade items to sell at a school craft fair with a good friend. I wanted to use up lots of random scraps of fabric. I created a lot of banners in a few different color palettes but the yellow and orange banners were by far my favorite. 

The leftover banners had been sitting in a box for quite some time and I finally decided to pull them out and use a few to decorate the window in my sons room. We are currently renting so my decorating options are limited and I don't want to spend a fortune on temporary window treatments in a rental property. So this seemed like a great solution to brighten up a kids bedroom. 

The banners were super easy to create. I created a cardboard template for the various pennant banner shapes and then used the templates to trace onto the fabric. With a good quality pair of scissors you can easily cut a few pieces of fabric at a time. I left the edges raw (I kind of like the frayed look anyway) and just sewed the top edges over a piece of hemp twine. 

The mistake I made (but didn't really realize until I hung the banners) was that I did each banner almost identical in the order of the fabric designs. When I was sewing the banners I had piles of the cut banner pieces and would pull them in the same order when sewing each banner. So now that the three banners are hanging up, you can see in the pictures that the pennants in each banner are mostly in the same order. Not a huge deal but if I was to redo the project I would mix the pieces up so it doesn't look too uniform.

These are a quick and easy project to create, not just for fun home decor but also for decorating parties. You can also embellish them with stamped letters, ribbons and more.