Friday, August 14, 2015

The Puffies Have Left the Building!

Submitted by Linda
Several years ago, I saw a card made by Kristina Werner at kwernerdesign.com and was obsessed with finding the supplies to make it. It included some "Puffies" stickers, which I found that summer (on a trip to Oregon) at a Michaels store. Then later on I hit the mother lode at my local Tuesday Morning.

At Tuesday Morning, they were so cheap, that of course I had to stock up. And by stock up, I mean I probably bought 15 packages of Puffies.

So, years later, this summer, when I did my annual 'craft room clean out', I came across them. In the spirit of Konmari (see this post HERE), I had really been getting rid of supplies that I probably wouldn't use. (How did I do this? My question to myself was: "If I were to work on a paper crafting project, would this item be in the top 10 supplies I would want to use?" If the answer was "no", then off they went!)

But these Puffies were so stinkin' cute! So at my our recent stamp club gathering, I pulled them out and used them up! This first one features Stampin' Up's new brick style embossing folder.
 The super-cute cursive font stamps are designed by Kristina Werner and can be found at Simon Says Stamp.
 The words on this strawberry card are from the SU Sweet Stuff set.
 On the fruits I was hoping to find some punny words, like "we make a great pear", but I didn't have anything on hand. So back to the cute font we go!
I think they are very fun and I will be happy to use them! Now, my next objective is to stay away from Tuesday Morning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Christmas in August: The Children Were Nestled....

Submitted by Linda
In January, my mom and I always go to the Road to California Quilt Show in Ontario, which is funny, because I am definitely not a quilter. But we always seem to find cute embroidery patterns, or fun buttons and trims. Last January, I bought a Crapapple Hill pattern for Christmas pillowcases. 

Whilst on the Clovis trip in March, I found the perfect red accompanying fabrics, so this summer, those pillowcases were on my to-do list. Now, I know many of you hate seeing the Christmas decorations out so early, but the truth is, if I'm going to do any holiday projects I must do them in the summer when I have time off.  

So here they are. And yes, I did pull out my Christmas Quilt for the photo!

I texted a pic to Michelle when they were done in all their rick-racked glory, and this was her reply: "If, God forbid, you die a sudden death, I have dibs on those pillowcases!"  I just can't wait to pull them out in December!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Birthday Card, and My Pinterest Rule of Thumb

Submitted by Linda
Because I often stamp with friends, I find that when a birthday comes along, I don't have a 'fresh' card that they haven't yet seen. Recently I needed a birthday card for a stamping pal and I pulled this fantastic idea off of my pinterest board. 
To see the original, made by "Julie", click HERE. Now, as for Pinterest, I will confess that I have quite a few things pinned. My 'rule of thumb' for pinning card ideas is that I choose pins for supplies and stamps that I mostly have on hand (or can borrow). There are a ton of cute ideas out there, and that's my way of limiting my number of pins on my paper crafting board. 

Stampin' Up is always retiring stamp sets (probably to keep the demand up for what's new?), but I have a few retired sets that I use all the time. A perfect example of an 'oldie but goodie' is "Circle of Friendship" from 2006, shown in the center of this card. That little circle fits in a circle punch perfectly, and the set has sentiments for all occasions. (It's pretty cheap on ebay, if you 'need' to get your own!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Crabapple Hill Mason Jar Dishtowel

Submitted by Linda
So, I wouldn't say I'm an advanced 'stitcher'. I basically do lots of backstitch, with a french knot here and there, and some lazy daisy stitches thrown in. In fact, I recently read that I'm not supposed to be making knots on the back, but am supposed to weave the threads in and out so that they don't come loose. This scares me, especially on a dish towel that is going to go through lots of trips through the washing machine. So I confess, I'm still a knotter.

Lately, as I've been doing lots of stitching at my mom's house, I have found that sometimes a stitching pattern doesn't take long enough. So I recently pulled out this Crabapple Hill Mason Jar pattern. It features several different bouquets, all in mason jars. It's designed for a quilt, but since I only sew on the machine when I absolutely must, I decided to put it on a dishtowel.  It took much longer than my usual projects, and I think it is just the prettiest thing (if I do say so myself). 
Please take a close up look at the dimensional flowers. This was a new stitch for me, and I love love love how they turned out! For beginners out there, every stitch you could ever want is online, diagrammed and on you tube. And you can find lots of simple and free patterns on Pinterest and on Bird Brain Designs.
I did end up adding some pink crochet trim along the bottom, just to top it off!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sweet Stuff and Some "Contraband"

Submitted by Linda
Off and on for many years (mostly on), I've been a part of a "Stampin' Up Stamp Club". Basically, this involves being a part of a group who gathers to stamp and purchase more supplies, while giving each member an opportunity to enjoy the hostess benefits. This is a great way to build up your selection of stamps, tools, papers, and so on, without spending a lot at one time. One of our club member's husband accuses us of being a 'cult', with all of our cutting and pasting and spending. I remind him that if this is our only vice, then we're doing pretty well. And don't get me started on all of the joy and sunshine a handstamped card brings to the recipient! Not to mention the fun I have creating it all! So there!

For the most part, I will stand by the Stampin' Up products - their color families are amazing, and really help coordinate the inks with the papers, which can be a challenge. There are a very few "contraband" (non SU) items that I will buy at Michael's on a coupon (tombow tape runner refills, for one), but other than that, I try to limit my paper crafting purchases to my monthly club.

However, I'm about to get to the disclaimer. I love love love the October Afternoon product lines, and I will reluctantly admit that SU doesn't seem to ever offer much with a vintage vibe.  I also get tempted now and again by the Lawn Fawn line of stamps. 

Recently, I needed 2 cards for 2 girls who were turning 2! So I pulled out the October Afternoon Cake Walk papers, and came up with these cuties. The stamp is from SU's Sweet Stuff set. I used the Decorative Label punch for the sentiment. I love these papers, contraband or not!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Stitching Update: Live Simply

Submitted by Linda
During my hiatus from blogging, I was still spending lots of evenings at my mom's house stitchin'. One of my projects was a birthday gift for Michelle. I love these Mill Hill kits because they're pretty easy, and they are stitched on paper (rather than fabric), so that you don't need an embroidery hoop. I think the dimension of the beads make it so cute!

I knew Michelle had one for fall, winter, and summer, so this was my choice for a spring design. She's also into simplifying her life, so this is apropos. 

Michelle's been on a big trip recently, so she hasn't seen the finished product yet, though she did see it 'in-process'. It turned out so cute, I may need to make one for me!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Loads of Love card with Watercolor Paper

Submitted by Linda
Earlier this spring I needed a boy birthday card, and I didn't have one in my stash of cards. Those of you who know me, know that I enjoy working ahead of schedule, but somehow, I ended up making this card the day before the party (I guess that's better than the day OF the party, right?)

Anyway, this card is for a dog-loving boy, so I decided to use the Loads of Love stamp set and copy a pinterest idea using watercolor paper. I love how the card is simple, yet looks artistic with the blending of the ink. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Golden Book Banner

Submitted by Linda
I mentioned the lack of 'treasures' found this spring during our annual trek to the Clovis Antique street fair, but I did find another nugget of inspiration in a booth selling little Golden Books. 

They had chopped up a book to create a cute banner, so I began shopping for books that had 'spring' images. I already have an Easter banner, so I decided to make one to hang on my sideboard for later in the spring.

I found two different books featuring baby animals, and I chopped away. My mom stitched them together with bias tape, and voila!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Vintage Bling Clipboard

Submitted by Linda
This past spring, my friend Liz and I made our semi-annual trip up to Clovis for their charming street fair and antique shops, only this time we brought my mom with us. We had lots of fun, and Mom was an easy traveler to add to our group. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures, and we didn't find any 'super-amazing' treasures, but I did find some inspiration. 

I noticed folks selling 'shabby-chic' type clipboards, often with a chalkboard finish. Since I use a little clipboard at school for all of my lists and schedules, I decided to shop for the findings to make my own. 

It's always fun at the antique booths to dig through boxes of broken jewelry and buttons, and I had lots of fun doing just that. 

When I got home, I started by using Mod Podge to attach pretty paper to the back of my clipboard. I chose this paper that had a bit of a distressed vibe, so that if it didn't come out perfectly, no one would know.
Next I covered the front with this shimmery taupe polka dotted paper. I attached the bling, one piece at a time, using Crystal Effects as my glue. After my items would dry, I would add more until it looked done to me.
The starting point for the bling was this pink flower pin with gold-tone background. I purchased other interesting buttons, and even the watch face. Near the bottom right you can barely see a little pink and blue floral button. This was on an outfit my mom sewed for me when I was little. Sweet, right?
It will be fun to take this to school in the fall. I hope the adhesive will hold up to lots of use!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Time flies... and the flannel scrap project!

Submitted by Linda
Oh, where to begin? The last time I blogged was on March 17th. I could start with my usual list of excuses (too busy, time flies, blah, blah, blah), but I think my absence can be attributed to a bunch of things. My dad passed in January, so my mom and my family and I are still figuring out life without dad. Then, I had a BIG birthday in March, and had a son graduate from college recently. In the midst of that, my hubs made a big job change, so it's been a weird time of ups and downs and transitions and celebrations.

After losing my dad, I really needed time to stop so I could catch up with life (which of course didn't happen). But during that first few months, coupons expired, events came and went, and we were sort of playing catch up all the time.  When school ended for the year, I was finally able to take some deep breaths and just BE.

If you've followed our blog for any length of time, you know that I have been a big fan of the Flylady, and tidying my house every summer. Well this summer was no exception, except that this time I did it the "Konmari" way, as per "The life Changing Art of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondu. To be completely honest, I haven't read the book, but when I heard about it from both a sister in law, and my BFF Michelle, I voraciously read books reviews and blog posts about her systems.  You can go on Pinterest and do you own searching, but suffice it to say, I've been in a purging frenzy, which concluded last weekend with a yard sale. It is very freeing to have less stuff, and for the stuff I have to be in its place.

Also, my church has been doing a sermon series on the spiritual disciplines, and so many of these support a life of simplicity, with times of quiet and rest. How can we allow God to work in us when we are running around like crazy people? One of my favorite nuggets is this: "You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." So, I've been slowing down. And being still. And resting.

As I did all this cleaning out, I even got rid of crafting supplies or sewing supplies that I know I will never use (or are for a project I don't really want to finish). And that is freeing as well. We don't need to keep stuff that makes us feel guilty.

However, I did work on finishing a couple of projects which were important to me. And one of them is the 'Flannel Scrap Blanket'.

Back when my boys were elementary aged (or maybe younger), I made my boys homemade flannel PJs for Christmas every year. This craziness continued until I realized that I can buy perfectly great flannel pajamas without stressing myself out. But over the years, I couldn't part with the leftover flannel, saving it to make a blanket "someday". Well, "someday" came this last month, because I wanted to make the blanket so I could finally throw away the big bag of scrap flannel.

Here are the boys in their PJs on Christmas Eve one year, with their cousin Sam.
 Usually I coordinated the fabrics, until this year when they picked out their own.
 So I cut the fabric into 8" squares, spread them out like I liked (random, basically), and stitched them together. I almost even had enough fabric for the backing, but I had to buy a bit of the bike fabric that you can barely see at the top of the picture. I put a very thin batting between the layers and stitched it together, and used white yarn to tie the corners.
It's comfy cozy, and I used it TODAY for a Sunday afternoon nap! I've already got dibs on it for the next time I'm under the weather. And best of all, the big bag of scraps is GONE!

Monday, May 25, 2015

1 Year 4 months and 5 Days

Submitted by Michelle

That's how long it's been since I've written a blog post.  This morning I woke up and decided it was time for the creative drought to end.  Several family members are graduating this spring and I began hunting for congratulatory inspiration on Pinterest.  I found some ideas, assembled my supplies and got to work.  
I also reminded my Type-A perfectionist self that I didn't need to create ALL the graduation cards I'll be needing.  One for the day would be enough.  Armed with toothpicks and newly purchased classical music from iTunes, I set to work making a tassel (or is it a pompom?) from baker's twine, stamping tiny banners, and punching out stars.  
It wasn't long before I'd created this. 
Here's to graduations and getting back to making art from paper, ink, ribbon, twine and toothpicks.    

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Birthday Party Favors

 Submitted by Linda
Recently, I celebrated a big milestone birthday, so Craig invited a small group over to celebrate with me. I decided I wanted to have some type of giveaway favor, because I really appreciate my nearest and dearest. 

For a long time, I've been reluctant to make any type of "Hershey's Nugget" favors, because they looked too time intensive. Boy, was I wrong. These came together quicker than many other projects I've taken on over the years. 

I found some tutorials on Pinterest, and I've tried to be clear about dimensions and details so that you can make some too!

Supplies needed:
Nuggets candy
Printed paper
Adhesives
Paper trimmer and scorer (Stampin Up has a beautiful cutter that does both, as do many options at your local craft store)
Pretzel Bags (found these at Michaels in the baking section)
Some type of tag
Some type of ribbon or twine

1. Choose your printed paper, and cut strips 1" X 3".
2. Put Sticky Strip (stronger than a snail/mono adhesive) on one end, and a strip of snail/mono adhesive on the other. The snail adhesive is just to hold your paper in place on the back of the nugget, until you wrap the paper around and secure it with the Sticky Strip.
 3. When you are done your nugget looks like this. I covered four nuggets per favor, in coordinating papers.
4. Next it's time to make the tray.  Cut your paper 1 7/8" X 4 1/4" and score it in 1/4" on each side, as shown below.
 5. When the trays are ready, it's time to load up the trays and slide them into the pretzel bags.
 Here's what we've got when we're done. I used the new stampset called "You Brighten My Day". The  tag design fits perfectly with the coordinating tag punch.
 I kind of went a little overboard and made a few too many. So I shared some with school friends. After all, 'There's always something to be thankful for".
 Here's a picture of my nearest and dearest at the party. It was a good night, and I'm happy to finally be twenty nine (plus a few more).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

An Old Bunny and A Birthday Outing

 Submitted by Linda
So it turns out that we ended up planning my Dad's memorial service on my mom's actual birthday. Not our first choice, but it seemed like the best day for all the folks we were hoping to include in the service. My mom was very flexible about it, and we agreed to spend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday together to celebrate her birthday (which was just two days prior).

In recent months, my dad had become more of a homebody, and didn't like to be away from home for long, or have Mom away from him for long, so we never planned full-day outings. Knowing that she know had a little more flexibility, I checked in with my friend Sandy, who has her wholesale license, about getting me and my mom into Shinoda, which is the Disneyland of decorating and floral supply.

She was eager to join in, so we trekked down to the OC, and here is what we found: rows and rows of ribbon.
Beautiful spring florals (like, an entire row of hydrangeas!)
 Inspiring displays!
What I've learned from coming here before, is that it is wise to have some sort of a plan in mind for shopping, or you can get completely overwhelmed and buy too much or buy nothing.  My plan was to  make an arrangement using this old wooden bunny. I love how rustic and worn he looks!
I had been storing him for years, because my Grandpa Roll had made him. I remember seeing bunnies like these at their Nebraska home, and I can't really even remember how I got one.  Here's my grandpa with his '63 Econoline Ford van. My grandpa passed in '77, so I feel even luckier to have something that he handcrafted.
So, I found a container, and some fake kale, an artichoke and ended up going to Michael's for some carrots and lavender.  I think it's done....
 Yep, done. And all ready for spring!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015 Part II

Submitted by Linda
As promised, here is the final installation of our valentine's projects for this year. For our kindergarten (and Michelle's first grade) friends, we used Stampin' Up's skinny bags, filled with Jelly Bellys (purchased in bulk from WinnCo.) The topper is from a set called "Hey Valentine" which is currently available from the Spring Occasions Mini catalog.
Here is a close up of the topper. We couldn't stop ourselves from adding the glossy 'Crystal Effects' to that tiny pink heart. We mass produced these, for our two classes, and even enlisted my mom, JoAnn, to help (which is OK, because she's definitely part of my front row, whether she likes it or not!)
From that same set, we used the stamp pictured below. The bags were on the Stampin' Up online Clearance Rack (you really need to check it out now and again - we have found some really good buys there). This bag topper was a quite a bit more labor intensive, so we only made these for our office ladies and grade level teammates. Again we pulled out the Crystal Effects for the fishy's eyeglasses and another tiny heart.
I made regular homemade peanut butter cookies to tuck into my bags (because my own valentine Craig was having a craving), but Michelle made theses beautiful linzer cookies for her bags.
Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay- love isn't love 'til you give it away! Song Lyrics byDon Roth and Timmy Tappan
 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day and My 'New Normal'

Submitted by Linda
Many of you know that my dad passed away in early January, thus the hiatus on blogging. I didn't have a ton of experience with loss prior to this, so I'm learning things every day. My biggest wish, in this process, is that life would slow down, and the calendar could be put on hold while we mourn, and while we go about the business of 'new normal' without Dad. 

I have found that I often feel depleted, like every day is a hard day's work, despite how much rest I get. I'm sure it doesn't help that my exercise routine became disrupted and I was eating amazing comfort food brought in by loving friends. Who knew there was a 'tater tot casserole?' 

Through this process, I also have learned so much about how to love others in times of need. So many dear folks reached out to us, with food, and help and Facebook messages and snail mail. I am very inspired to do better for others.

Over Christmas break, when we had hospice care at my folks' house, I was a veritable dishtowel factory.  Our hospice experience was full of lovely people, who were such a blessing to us at such a difficult time. And while much of our time was spent with Dad (and doctors and nurses and social workers and visitors), the rest of my time was spent stitching and stitching. I think I may have gone stir crazy had I not had something to keep my hands busy. Knowing that Valentine's Day was the next upcoming holiday, I found this image on pinterest and completed it in redwork. It was a happy coincidence that the Moda "Grandmother's crochet trim" was a perfect match.
This sweet bird pattern was purchased on Etsy for a dollar, to be downloaded and used. Don't we love technology? (Except when I can't download it and I have to email the whole deal to Michelle and ask her to figure it out for me). Nevertheless, it came out cute.
Usually, we are 'power' paper crafters, but it's been hard to get my mojo going in respect to stamping. But my  mom now has time on her hands, so we were able to make a few valentines last weekend. For this one, I copied Heather Klump at Downstairs Designs, using the Rain or Shine set and adding some Crystal Effects on the umbrella.
I'm not sure my boys yet appreciate a handmade valentine (they were probably more excited about the Groupon gift card inside), but I was eager to use my new Sweet Stuff set with the beehive embossing folder. I didn't have the perfect phrase, so I combined letters with my Rough Edges alphabet and Voila! I love that bee with the glitter on its wings.
And last, but not least, I needed a card for Craig. How do you create a card that says every single thing you love about someone, every reason you're thankful for them, every emotion from sharing 27 years? It's really an impossible task, so I just kept it light and pulled out a vintage Disney valentine that I had picked up in one of my antiquing adventures.
I added a big dot embossing folder, and a strip of chevron embossing in yellow, and a ribbon. I cut out the heart and popped it up with dimensionals, and added some glitter on Dopey's daisy. I think it does the job.  

I have other stitching to share, and the Valentine's treat that Michelle and I made for our little friends, so hopefully "I'm back" and will be able to keep posting. In the meantime, happy love and friendship day!