Product Review – Paper Smooches

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I received a “universal gift certificate” (cash) from my parents for Christmas and decided to purchase some new stamps as I knew Santa wouldn’t be bringing me any craft-related goodies this year.

I knew exactly what my purchase would be – I’ve been eyeing the Paper Smooches line of stamps by Kim Hughes for some time now.  I thought her stamps were so cute when she designed for Cornish Heritage Farms but I never managed to place an order from CHF before they closed shop.

Anyway, some spare cash to spend and a wish list just big enough to make placing an order worthwhile (a free stamp set with $50 purchase if you buy in the month of December) means I am now the owner of several sets of PS stamps.

The shipping to Canada is really cheap (I think it was $3.00 for 4 stamp sets plus some small paper bags and a couple of packages of baker’s twine) and the stamps shipped quickly.  I was very impressed.

On receipt of the stamps, I was really pleased to see that they aren’t too small.  It was one of my concerns when I ordered them but they are a decent size (as you’ll see in a moment) and they are very cute and stamp beautifully.

Here are a couple of 4.25″x4.25″ cards that I made today (I’ll show you some A2 cards tomorrow):

Obviously, these cards use the same layout – I just switched out the paper and the embellishments.  I didn’t have a lot of time for playing and really wanted to put ink to these stamps.

I adore Kim’s font on all her sentiments.   I didn’t buy any sentiment stamps in this order but will definitely be adding some to my wishlist for next time.

Incidentally, the stamps and the paper sacks were bundled together in the package with some baker’s twine that was tied in a bow so it could be untied and reused (which I did!)  It’s a nice touch.

If you’ve been on the fence about ordering from Kim or you weren’t aware of Paper Smooches, you should definitely check them out.  I’ll be adding the blog to my blogroll on my sidebar (Kim doesn’t update her paper hugs blog so much now so I’ll be replacing it with the Paper Smooches URL)

Happy New Year’s Eve!  Check back tomorrow for more Paper Smooches!

Chillin’

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Well, the season is just about over.  We hosted our last “formal” dinner last night for my older brother and his wife who are visiting from Ontario.  We also hosted a Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner plus had some family over for finger foods on Boxing Day evening so it’s been a busy time for cleaning and cooking. (I don’t mind the cooking – it’s the dish washing that gets to me!)

Today is a day with ZERO plans (though I might have to brave the supermarket for some milk, bread and flour – wonder if I can convince DH to go with me?) so I thought it would be a good time to start boxing up my Christmas supplies so I can tidy the room before I switch over to Valentine’s Day gear.  I also needed to make a gift tag for a bottle of wine I’m taking to my cousin’s house tomorrow and was pleased to find enough supplies in the leftover scraps to produce an oversized tag that I think is perfect to hang on a bottle of red:

 

 The tag is 3 inches wide which is bigger than your standard tag but it dresses up the bottle nicely.  I just have to find the right size gift bag for the coasters, napkins and wine charms that accompany the gift.  I love a theme gift – it’s like using double-sided paper.  If you stick with the theme it’s so easy to come up with additional items for gift giving.  I use this process in my home decorating as well.  Whatever works, right?

Speaking of chilling, here is a shot of Jack chillaxin’ on the sofa in our t.v. room.  He’s lying on the blanket that Santa brought him this year (don’t worry, he got lots of treats too!)

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you had a chance to do some chillin’ too!

Leftovers…

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…not the turkey kind!

If you’re anything like me, you had a fair pile of Christmas patterned paper leftover from your holiday card and papercrafting.  Sadly, some of the scraps in the pile I had were leftovers from last year too! 

I decided I didn’t want to go for 2 years of leftovers when I take out my Christmas goodies next year so I only put away full sheets or larger pieces that were “uniform” in size (i.e. didn’t have a shape punched out of them) and took all the remaining partial sheets of paper as well as cardstock scraps and trimmed them down to make a batch of tags.

Here’s what I came up with (in this picture, only a couple of the tags are completed…I hadn’t finished colouring and die cutting all the images at this point):

As you can see, there is quite the variety of papers in this batch and you will probably recognize some of them from cards and notepads I made this Christmas.

The two “holly jolly” tags are a good representation of how all the tags looked once completed.  I used a variety of images from PTI tiny treats Christmas and some Martha Stewart baker’s twine for the tag ties.  I made a total of 28 tags from my Christmas scrap leftovers and any small pieces of cardstock/paper that weren’t large enough to turn into a tag were tossed in the trash so I can start fresh when I begin Christmas crafting next year.

Incidentally, these tags will be gifted to someone else.  I just use the peel and stick tags when I wrap gifts unless it’s something handmade and then I’ll make a coordinating tag for that specific gift.

Mass Production or “Not Another Gingerbread Card?”

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This might look like a repeat post but this really is a card that I just made yesterday to go with a notepad/pen set that I made last month.  I’m using this card as an example of how to keep things simple but still expend some effort so your friends/family don’t think you’re just slapping any old card together for them.

First the card, then the tips:

Okay, as you can see, the card is pretty much like the notepad except I reversed the patterned paper and I didn’t do any sewing on the card.  The notebook/pen set was made a while ago while I didn’t have the stressful claw of Christmas pressing on my throat (I’m deliberately over dramatic here to illustrate a point).

Move forward a few weeks and it’s just a few days before Christmas.  Baking and cleaning need to be done.  The turkey needs to be defrosted which means making space in a fridge filled with holiday goodies.  Last minute gifts need to be wrapped and some annoying household maintenance can suddenly not wait another day.  I’m sure you can related to most of this plus add in a few extra chores if you have children.

Here’s a great way to crank out as many cards as you need and still have them look like you spent ages on them:

1. Pick a classic layout and stick with it.  You can change the papers, colours, and images but you won’t have to waste brain power fussing over what to make.

2. Use bold papers and do away with stamping a sentiment on the front.  You certainly don’t have to do this but one less thing to ink up and clean will cut your crafting time plus it’s one less chance to ruin the card by stamping on an angle or smudging the card with ink.

3. Don’t sew.  My notepad has a strip of cardstock with a zigzag stitch over the patterned paper join.  On my cards, I cut out several strips of cardstock the required size (4.25) and put them all in an embossing folder at the same time to create my embellished strip.  Easy and quick!

4.  Use glittered paper or embossed paper on part of the card.  It will add sparkle and dress the card up a little bit.

5.  Don’t emboss your nestability die cuts.  Just run them through the machine at once.  Trust me, nobody is going to notice that there isn’t an embossed impression around the border.  EVER.  We do that for ourselves.  This is a great time to skip that step.

6.  If you are really pressed for time, use a snowman image for your card.  You will have a lot less colouring to do.  This is not the time for paper piecing and uber shading with copics.  I know my card has a fussy cut gingerbread man but I coloured a few and cut them out while watching television and they’ve been sitting on my desk just waiting to be used.

7.  This is the best tip, in my opinion.  Chose 2 or 3 Christmas sentiments that you like and print them on separate cheap cardstock rather than printing directly on the card or stamping a sentiment.  I like to use Word to print out 4 sets at a time.  I then cut them to 4″ X 5.25″ and place them in an envelope until I need them.  I do this with birthday cards too.  That way, I don’t have to waste time messing around with Word, my printer or my paper cutter when time is an issue.

That was the last tip.  If you’re still reading, I’ll leave you with a little bonus – here are two of the sentiments I’ve been using on my Christmas cards this year:

1. Wishing you all the simple pleasures and little joys that make a holiday happy.

2. Wishing you happiness, joy and good cheer, at this wonderful, magical time of the year!

Not sure if I’ll be back before the big day so, if not, have a wonderful Christmas!

Kelly

 

Rustic Snowflake

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This is the super-simple card I mentioned a few days ago.  I saw a similar card on Anna Wight’s blog (Sweet Miss Daisy) and thought it would be perfect as I only had a few crafty minutes to spare the day I needed a few more cards to mail out.

The patterned paper is a piece I had left from my vintage snowman card and I used the same piece to punch out the snowflake (the kraft cardstock hides the punch out – you’d never know it wasn’t a solid piece of paper).

I used my rotary tracer instead of sewing and quickly sponged the edges of the cardstock to antique it.  Some twine and an off-white button are the perfect embellishment for a folksy card like this.  I chose brown ink instead of black for the sentiment to keep with that rustic look.

Drop back tomorrow for another card and some tips on mass production/preparation for last minute cards.

Old Saint Nick

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ETA: The wreath is hung on the mirror using a suction cup with a hook on it.  It’s not perfect but it’s better than having string or cord hanging down from the mirror.

A quick card to show you today plus a couple of fuzzy pictures of some decorating.

This is the last in the group of PTI button bits cards I’ve been making for Christmas.  After this card, it’s on to some basic mass-produced cards. (I only have 1  card left to make which is exciting!)

Today’s card is a sweet little santa claus with a big button for a belly.  I CASEd the layout from SCS including the little jingle bell/twine embellishment.  If you are stressing about all you have left to do for Christmas at this point, don’t even try to come up with an original layout.  Give yourself a maximum of 10 minutes to pick something you like from SCS and use that card as your starting point.  If it’s a clean and simple card, try to make multiples to save yourself some stress.

This was not a “multiple” card.  With the fussy cutting for the head, the glitter on the beard/hat etc. and the machine stitching around the paper, it’s not the best card for mass production.  If you want to see a good card for mass production, come back in a day or so and I’ll show you the simplified card I made based on a card from Anna Wight’s blog (or visit her blog and see the sweet snowflake card she CASEd…see!  Even the famous card-makers know when to take a trick or two from a fellow crafter!)

Moving on from the card, I have a couple of pictures to show you of some of the decorations we put up in our living room.  We keep things fairly simple for Christmas – we don’t have children so we put up what time and energy allows (bearing in mind that everything you put up must come down in the new year!)

I apologize for the fuzziness of the pictures – I just got an IPod Touch for my birthday last week and I was playing with the camera rather than actually deliberately capturing the decorations.  One of the pictures features our beagle, Jack and it was too cute to delete.

The above photo is the corner fireplace in the living room.  The green on the walls is not minty IRL (it’s Asparagus by Behr)  I have white lights in the garland but they were not lit up in the picture.  The santa, sleigh and reindeer on the left are from Wicker Emporium and the lamp is always in that spot.

This is Jack.  In this photo he is an illegal beagle as he is not really allowed to sit on the leather furniture in our living room.  He was upset about the decorations (he does not do well with change) so I took pity on him and let him cuddle with me for a little bit.  He also doesn’t like cameras so getting a half decent picture of him is like trying to meet Mr. Snuffleupagus if you’re not Big Bird. (was that a vague reference?)

Back soon with a simple card and that will wrap up my 2011 craft projects.  I won’t be blogging much over Christmas as I’ll be spending time with family rather than puttering in my craft room.

More Gingerbread

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It’s a good thing that stamps don’t have any calories because I would have gained a lot of weight this Christmas card-making season if I ate as many gingerbread as I’ve used on cards and holiday projects.

I was working on some cards using my PTI button bits stamps and saw a piece of patterned paper left from THIS project that was big enough to make a card with.  There was also a scrap of candy-themed paper on my desk that went with it despite being from a different product line.  How perfect!

I only have 4 more holiday cards to make (plus decorate my tree and do some Christmas baking) and I can start packing away all my Christmas supplies.  It makes me sad to put them away as Christmas cards are my favourite to make.

Oh well, that just leaves more space in my craft room to try to do a better job with making birthday cards in a timely manner in 2012!

I still have one more button bit card to show you (my favourite so far) so check back in a day or two!

Deck The Halls…

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…with Black & Decker (old Christmas ad from years ago…I’m dating myself!)

Today’s card is CASE’d as I’ve run low on Christmas originality and I still have a few cards to make.

Rather than spend hours trying to figure out a cute but simple layout, I browsed SCS for the stamp set I planned to use and came up with this cutie:

I used a different punch, sentiment, patterned paper and my ribbon is simplified but other than that, this is a copy.  I think it turned out quite cute and the colours are very vibrant and jewel-like IRL.  I was happy to find two matching heart buttons in my stash – it just makes the card a little more special.

Have you finished making your holiday cards or are you like me with a few left to mail and the “family” cards still to go? (well, I only have one mail-out card left and it’s a local address and I’ve done 2 of my family cards but still have plenty to do before Christmas Day…plus I have to make my Mom’s birthday card as her BD is on the 25th!)

Back tomorrow with another “button bit” card.

Snow Family

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Working on the last handful of Christmas cards on my list.

Today’s card uses a cute Rachelle Anne Miller image from PTI PWCO (oops! Thanks, Sheena!) I got it last year when I was on their design team.  I decided to pair it with some richly patterned paper by Basic Grey and to use a poinsettia from my stash.

I tried to get more of a watercolour effect using my Copic markers – it needs a little more practice but I liked the end result.

I used lots of distress ink on the white cardstock to add to the vintage look of the patterned paper – it also helps the white snowmen stand out a little more which is a bonus.

Back to the salt mines if I want to get all my cards done in time for mailing out!

Tea Party Birthday

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I am super busy these days with house organization and Christmas gift shopping etc. so there hasn’t been as much craft time as I’d like.

Normally, it would bother me that my blog isn’t updated as much as it should be but I’m trying to learn to not worry about schedules for things that are supposed to be fun.  If my blog doesn’t get updated for a week or two, that’s okay. (well, I’m hoping it will be okay – I can’t change my habits overnight!)

In the meantime, I do have a card to share – and a couple on the sidelines waiting to be photographed and blogged. (I’d better do it soon because these cards need to go in the mail pretty soon!)

Today’s card is a birthday card for one of my very best friends – her birthday is just before Christmas.  D likes teapots and I like to make her card as non-Christmas like as possible as I have a December birthday too and I know how nice it is to keep the Christmas out of your special day.

The green is a little off in the picture.  The paper is a little more on the blue-green side than the photograph is showing. (though if I had my time back I’d choose something more blatantly teal for the patterned paper)  I used another little circle of the green paper in the middle of the button on the card.  It looks a little better put together in real life.

The ribbon was hand-dyed by me and matches the pink teapot exactly.

Off to make some Christmas ornaments for orders (and have to work on some cards too!)

Enjoy your Saturday!



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