Baby Love

Cards 1 Comment »

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I had a bit of a challenging card-making day yesterday.  I had two custom orders for larger cards (5X6.5″) which are standard when you buy a card in a store but are not so standard for most card-makers. (Who generally make A2 size cards in order to get the most efficient use of a sheet of cardstock)

The cards also had specific themes which is not usually an issue but scaling the cardstock base up is easier than scaling your stamps, patterned paper, embellishments, etc.

For me, the biggest challenge is finding a focal image large enough to fill out the white space on the card.  Even if my cards were “clean and simple” (CAS), my images would be too small to properly design a card.  The second challenge is that most of the patterned paper I have is 6″X6″ which isn’t quite long enough for a 6.5″ tall card. (ruling out most landscape orientations)

Card 1 was to be a giraffe theme.  I have THREE giraffe stamps (plus a stamp that has a giraffe and a few other animals on it – frankly, this is my go-to stamp for a large card but I couldn’t use it this time).  The giraffes are all roughly the same size. Not big enough for a baby card.  That meant I had to create a focal point with layers. (not something I do very often)

Not a huge deal.  I basically made a smaller card front and attached it to a larger card base.  Here’s the end result:

baby giraffe

I used a piece of vellum to soften the grey and blue patterned papers so my poor giraffe wouldn’t get lost on the card.  I love vellum but don’t usually use it because it’s hard to stamp on (IMO – so slippery!) plus I have to use Stazon or heat embossing.

Card number two was a bit more difficult.  It was for twins and had to be an owl them.  I probably have a dozen owl stamps but they’re all pretty small.  Luckily, I have a Silhouette Cameo so it was possible to create a cut file to make some owls of the right size.

In addition to being lucky enough to have the Silhouette, I have a husband that is really good at vector graphics so he graciously volunteered to make me a cut file if I gave him a sketch/image of what I wanted.

The original cut file was two owls on a branch with some cute patterned paper leaves but it required a landscape orientation and I got stalled on the patterned paper background.  I had no suitable 12X12″ paper to use and making a watercolour or distress ink background would have overpowered my little owls so I jettisoned the branch and changed my layout.  I had no suitable sentiment stamp and don’t like using computer-generated sentiments if at all possible so some Kelly Purkey alphabet stickers and a cute Paper Smooches word die saved the day:

twice the love

NOTE: The light tent I got for my birthday is a bit too small for taking card pictures – especially these larger cards – so I’ll be ordering a larger one…unfortunately, I have limited space for it so I can’t get a particularly versatile size but scaling up to the next size should allow me to stand my cards upright and eliminate the visible Velcro tabs/tent seams in my pictures.

I made my own envelopes for each card (but forgot to take pictures).  One used a sheet of patterned paper and one was made from some lighter weight cardstock.  It’s a great way to use up some of your unloved consumables!

 

Mini Mail Box

other crafts, paper crafts 1 Comment »

mini mail banner

After hearing the sad news that Target is closing its doors in Canada, I went on a Target shopping trip Friday at lunchtime to browse the store before it all gets picked over and abandoned like the Zellers stores did when they started liquidating.  I am definitely going to miss Target as I’m not a huge fan of Wal-Mart and liked the variety of home decor and other odds and ends I could find there for making little gifts.

The dollar spot was pretty much wiped out (as usual) but I did manage to score two little plastic mailboxes that I thought were darn cute.

Initially, they were going to be for a Valentine’s Day project but I’m currently experiencing a Mojo block concerning that “holiday” so I thought I’d make some simple 3″x 3″ cards just to get myself back into crafting.

I challenged myself to use the scraps that were left from my owl boxes as there was quite a bit of patterned paper waste on that project.  I managed to cut enough card fronts for 10 3×3″ cards (though I only used 4 cards per mailbox).

I chose sentiments that are generic but could also be used for Valentine’s Day if desired (I think!) and made 2 each of the following 4 cards:

mini mailbox cards 1

mini mailbox cards 2

Once all the cards were made I used some super thin cardstock (Recollections) to create mini envelopes and bundled the cards and envelopes up with some hemp twine:

mini mail bundle

The top of the mail box opens so you can fill it with “whatever”…

mini mailbox filled

Oh, and the box comes in red or a nice charcoal grey:

mini mail choices

Enjoy the last day of the weekend…I have laundry to do!

Felt Owl Tutorial

other crafts 1 Comment »

WARNING – LONG POST!

I was hoping to get this done last weekend but, other than getting a few more owls made (had some orders last Friday) I didn’t have time for any other crafting – including updating my blog. (blogs take a lot of time!)

The owls I am writing a tutorial for today are these little guys:

parliament

As mentioned in my previous post, I created these owls by looking through the dies that I own to see if I could combine some of them to cut out viable components to make an owl.  I am not good at precision cutting, hate when felt has marker or pen lines left on it when crafting, and, frankly, am too lazy to draw on waxed paper, bring the supplies to my ironing board, iron the paper on to the felt, and cut the pieces out by hand.  This may seem silly but when I have to schlep my projects between multiple rooms of the house the appeal of said project reduces by 100%.

I used the Spellbinders Apple dies (I think I got them for $10 CAD at Winners).  Should you feel compelled to own them, they are available (in Canada) on Amazon – and you can probably still buy them from some scrapbooking stores as well.  I also used 2 circle dies and a heart die to complete my owl.  The main components all use the large apple as I will illustrate…just bear with me…pictures will be provided as I go along.

MATERIALS:

You will need a small piece of white felt for the eyes, a small piece of orange or yellow felt for the beak, plus three colours of felt for the body, belly, and wings of the owl.  I tend to cut one of each of the body/belly/wing pieces from all three colours and then mix and match them to get the components for three separate owls.

You’ll also need embroidery floss/thread in matching colours, a needle, something to use for the eyes – I used beads on some and larger black scrapbook brads for others.  The brads make for faster assembly of the owl – less sewing!  A small amount of fiberfill/stuffing is required and you’ll need something to poke a hole through the felt if you’re using brads for eyes.  I chose to add hangers to my owls and used baker’s twine but you could use string, thread, yarn…whatever you would prefer.

CUTTING THE SHAPES:

Here are the shapes you’ll cut.  I’m showing them first so you can visualize the next lot of text.

owl pieces

NOTE:  When cutting felt, it is important to put a sheet of paper between the felt and the cutting plate (not the die!) so the felt cuts cleanly and does not stick to the plate.  Printer paper is ideal.

The first step is to cut two large apples out of the same colour of felt.  You don’t need to include the stem – you can if you wish, but it will be trimmed off in a later step.

Now cut a half circle of felt using a different colour with the circle die.  I used Spellbinders for this as well.  The die is 3″ in diameter.  This piece is for the belly.  Once you’ve cut the half circle, place it under the stem end of the apple die like this (size does not need to be exact and the stem part will be trimmed later…):

owl belly

Run it through the die cutter to get the apple shape at the bottom of the half circle. (you can see I’ve used my printer paper for 3 cuts.  I have to change it out after two or three cuts if I want to get a clean cut/release of the felt.)

Cut out two small white circles for the eyes.  I used the same Spellbinders circle set that I used for the belly.  It’s approximately 3/4″ in diameter – you can use any small circle die as long as it’s not too small/large to fit on the owl body.

Next is the beak.  I used a heart-shaped die cut from orange felt but you could simply hand-cut a triangle.  Doesn’t have to be fancy – I just wanted all my owls to be consistent.

The last felt pieces are the wings.

Cut two pieces of felt approximately 2″ X 4″.  Now place them at the bottom of the apple die and cut out a shape that looks like the two pieces in the next picture. (forgot to take a picture of a single wing and my dual pink-wing picture did not turn out well for a tutorial so I’m subbing brown wings)  Once you’ve cut both pieces, place them on either side of the apple die like this:

owl wings

Run them through the die cutter again to cut your wings.

Here are all those felt pieces again:

owl pieces

TRIMMING THE SHAPES:

Now you need to do a little bit of trimming on the belly and the body shapes.  I place the two body shapes together and turn them upside down so they mimic my owl shape. (i.e. turn it so it looks like an upside down apple)  I then make a V-cut in the apple bottom (which is now up top) to create the ear shape for the owl. (see picture)  The last step to complete the body is to trim the stem area along the natural curve.

Once the body pieces are trimmed, I match the belly piece alongside the trimmed area of one body piece and trim it to match.

owl pieces prepped

ASSEMBLY:

Now you just need to adhere the belly, wings, beak, and eyes to the front body shape and stitch the two bodies together.  I used a simple running stitch to add the components and a whip-stitch to join my pieces.  (I do not have sewing skills so if I can do this, you can do this)  You can use a blanket stitch if you want but these owls are only about 3.5″ tall and blanket stitch might be a bit overpowering (plus it takes longer).

Step 1:

owl step 1

Step 2:

owl step 2

Step 3:

owl step 3

Step 4 (I used a paper piecer to poke holes through the white felt then pushed a brad through the hole):

owl step 4

Step 5:

You can add a hanger if you like – I used an 11″ piece of bakers twine, threaded it through my needle and ran it through the body felt behind the beak area on the back of the shape.  I then simply tied the two ends of the twine together.  When sewing the two body pieces together, I made sure the knotted end of the twine was INSIDE the body.  I then used embroidery floss the same colour as the body to whip-stitch the owl together – leave about 2 inches at the bottom so you can stuff the owl before continuing to join the rest of the body together. (I did not have a solo picture of the owl above so the next pic is the same stand-in model that posed for the wings):

owl step 5

That’s it!  The tutorial makes it seem like a long process but once you’ve cut the felt pieces, you can easily assemble these little guys while watching a bit of tv in the evenings.

Parliament Is In Session!

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apple owl banner

I cut a few cute Lori Whitlock boxes on my Silhouette on Monday and decorated them for Valentine’s Day.

The original plan was to make 3X3″ cards and envelopes and package them in the boxes but (and I can’t tell you why) I decided I wanted to make some felt owls (so random!) to put in the boxes.

I looked at a few owls on Pinterest (which were all lovely) but really didn’t want to copy someone else (plus my cutting/sewing skills are a big fat ZERO) so I started sketching out a pattern when I realized it would be so much better if I could use steel dies to cut the felt pieces.

Long story short (sure…I’ll keep rambling for ages) I dug through my dies and found an apple shaped die (Spellbinders) that I got at Winners last year that “kind of” looked like an owl if you turned it upside down.  I cut out an apple and used the negative cut on some scrap paper to sketch out a design.  It worked!

Here is the end result (and my next post will be a tutorial but it might have to wait for the weekend as it will be a long one):

parliament

Pretty cute, hey? (NOTE: If you don’t know this -and kudos if you do – a “group” of owls is called a Parliament.)

They do take me about an hour each to make (including the felt-cutting time) but they’re fun to construct.  You can’t see it in the picture above but I’ve made them into ornaments by incorporating some baker’s twine hangers.

Oh, and remember the box I initially started off with?  Here’s what they look like all ready to receive an owl:

apple owl box

…bird’s nests…

owl nests

Check back soon for my tutorial!

New Marker Storage!

organization 1 Comment »

marker banner

While I am working on the cutest Valentine project, the marker storage system I ordered (compliments of my younger brother who gave me a “universal gift certificate” for Christmas!) arrived this morning.  I think I had it 10 whole minutes before heading to my craft room to “install” it.

The system I ordered is the Spectrum Noir Marker storage trays.  You get a set of 6 trays in a box and each tray holds 12 markers (yes, 72 markers per set).  The trays are stackable and can be staggered at a slight angle or aligned vertically.  There are channels on the side of the trays so if you wanted them side by side (think 2×3 trays instead of 1×6) you could do that as well.  The channel system keeps the unit sturdy and stable.  While I do have a handful of Spectrum Noir markers (picked up during a trip to the States a couple of years ago – they were on super sale at Archivers and I wanted to try them out) I use Copic markers – which do fit in these trays.

I actually ordered 2 sets of trays as I have just under 144 Copic Markers.  I’m not really planning on expanding my collection – I’m currently focused on refills – I probably only have refills for 15% of my collection – so the 2 sets of trays should be fine for my needs for quite some time.

Previously, I kept all my markers in a $3.00 USD metal tub that I bought at Target (during the same shopping spree while in the US).  The tub worked until my markers outgrew the space.  Once there were too many markers in there, they tended to pop out of the tub and sometimes fell down into the tub which made finding the right marker a bit difficult.

Here’s the old “system” (apologies for the quality of the picture…My Ott lamp was on):

marker storage before

As you can see, a handful of markers are popping out of the tub and they’d fall out on to the work top as I was digging around for the right marker.

…and here’s the new system.  I chose to connect them on an angle and I stacked all 12 trays in one tower as my horizontal space is sacrosanct to me.

marker storage after

If you look at the bottom tray, you’ll see a few Spectrum Noir markers (the purple array) and a Copic “Ciao” blender directly to the right of them.  In the trays directly above, the 3rd and 4th marker are regular Copics (I use Sketch but got the regular Copics and the Ciao as part of my package during my certification course).  So, whether you use Spectrum Noir, or Sketch, Ciao or regular Copics, this system would work for you (Wide Copics won’t fit in the trays).

…and here’s a sneak peek at my current project:

sneak peek valentine

Love Shack

paper crafts 1 Comment »

val notebook banner

I’ve officially started creating Valentine-themed items so my craft room will be the Love Shack for the next month or so. (hopefully!)

While reorganizing (or partially reorganizing as I got bored with it before I could do the whole room) I found a package of 5 notepads in my altered items stash.  These are a bit smaller than the notepads I usually make and I don’t think I could source them again so I decided to either make something with them or throw them in the “out with the old” pile.

Of course, I couldn’t resist altering the darn things.  Altered notepads are probably my favourite gift item to make.

Over to the inspiration station I went to find some stamps and papers that I wanted to use.  As there were only 5 notepads, I decided to make them all different.  I also decided to make them whimsical instead of elegant (not a shock) so that had an impact on the papers and stamps I chose.

While making my choices, I thought it would be nice to incorporate a pen or pencil on the notepads as well but I wanted to make the pads fold over the top instead of to the side like I usually do so I had to come up with a way to attach the pen/pencil a bit differently (for me, not for the paper-crafting world).

Ribbon was the easiest choice so I pulled out some red and some pink grosgrain and went to work. (it’s hard to see the pencil on the right-hand notebooks as I had to hold them open a bit for them to stand up for the pictures)

valentine notebooks

…and (these 2 are my favourites)

valentine notebooks 2

…and

valentine notebooks 3

I packaged them all up when I was done – the lightbox did something weird with the red cellophane heart on the bags…they don’t look so radioactive in real life!

valentine notebooks packaged

So there you have it!  My first Valentine project for 2015.

Valentine “Inspiration Station”

House, paper crafts 1 Comment »

valentine ins banner

No card or paper craft to show you today but I did get my Valentine Inspiration Station set up so I thought I’d share that today.  My new cork/white board is installed as well though the only things on it right now are two sticky notes that were stuck to my monitor (and I have to remember to bring a dry erase marker down from the kitchen as well as get an eraser…)

Here’s the board – I’m sure this is the last time it will be so empty:

bbs

Very exciting, no?  😉

Let’s move on to something less heart palpitating, shall we?

I keep my out of season craft supplies in photo boxes in my little closet.  It reduces clutter and also helps me inventory what I have or need for each “holiday”.  I have lots of Christmas items but try to keep Halloween/Easter/Valentine’s down to as few boxes as possible as I don’t really need a lot of stuff for those occasions.

Yesterday, I took out the two photo boxes of Valentine’s stuff – which is mostly packaging such as printed bags, little plastic heart-shaped containers and excelsior (crinkled paper used to line a gift basket).  I went through and removed items I thought I might want to use and placed them in my tiered tray.

I then “shopped my stash” to find other everyday items that have a Valentine’s theme (think hearts, pinks, reds…)

Once I’d gathered everything, I arranged it on my tray so I could easily see all the embellishments without having to dig through the contents.  Here’s one side of the tray:

valentine inspiration station

…and here is the opposite side:

valentine ins side two

Of course, I also need patterned paper and image stamps so I went through my 6×6″ paper pads and pulled all the Valentine/Love themed pads and then I flipped through my clear stamp sets and pulled all the ones I thought could be used for a Valentine’s Day card. (In reality, I will probably only use a few of the sets but it’s nice to have choices!)

valentine shop

Once I had those selections made, I put them all in a box and placed them next to the tiered tray.

valentine shop 2

I like to put all the seasonal papers/stamps in a box as it’s easy to move it out of the way if I need more space when working on a project.  It’s likely this (kind of ugly) box will live on the floor next to my 6″x 6″ paper collection once I get going on card making.  When I’m working on Christmas crafts, I actually use a plastic dishpan from the dollar store to hold all my papers and stamps.  That always stays on the floor rather than the work top as it takes up too much space.  I could have used that same pan for the Valentine’s themed items but it’s too large and I find that if there is a lot of extra space in the box, things fall over which makes it harder to see what I have.

Hopefully, I’ll actually get to use some of this stuff before I go back to work!

Out With The Old

House, Personal stuff 1 Comment »

owto banner

(Warning – Long Post!)

Whew!  Spent a couple of hours weeding out old patterned paper and other bits and bobs I haven’t used in a long time.  In some cases, I found lots of things I have never used at all!

I still have more weeding/purging to do but I’ve had enough for now and I need to think about rearranging some things which might require purchasing a few new bins/baskets for them.  I actually did buy a few fridge binz before Christmas for my dies, glitter, and baker’s twine – and I have some marker storage on the way as well.  Once I’ve decided where each ‘work station’ will be I’ll have a better idea as to what I need.

One big change for me was moving my “light box” when I purchased a Silhouette Cameo back in September.  I had no other option but to set the Silhouette up where my light box used to be.  As a result, my photo-taking suffered as the new location is poorly lit and is a much tighter space.

Luckily, I received a small light box for my birthday and some lamps for Christmas so I’ve swapped out my foam board set up for these new items and they just fit in the new spot.

tour 2015 5

Observe the awesome cardboard box used to prop the light box up high enough for ease of picture-taking. (the unit above the light box needs to be weeded out…maybe tomorrow!)

After I purchased the Silhouette, I sold my Cameo and the cartridges/accessories that came with it and realized I haven’t been using my sewing machine much either so I tucked it into the shelf I gained from removing the cartridges and turned the bookshelf up to its rightful orientation which makes the room seem a little more spacious.  I did lose a bit of real estate as the top of the shelf is not as long now but I prefer the smaller footprint.

tour 2015 2

I keep my vinyl, crocheting supplies, computer manuals/accessories, Selphy printer, sewing machine and (very recently) the majority of my Prima flowers in this unit.  I used to keep my wood-mounted stamps in a box on one of the shelves but they were difficult to sort through so they were not getting any use.  I also keep “Thickers” and other stickers in the organizer on top of the shelves.

As mentioned earlier, the Silhouette has moved to my old light box location.  Since I use it in conjunction with my computer, it makes sense to have it right next to it.  The teal cover clashes terribly with my room but it was on sale for 50% less than the other colours (which didn’t match the room either) so I’m living with my choice.  The printer is over to the right of the monitor.  It’s an ancient DeskJet 932C but it works well with cardstock so I’ll keep it for as long as it continues to function.

tour 2015 3

I found a dry erase/cork board on sale at Target a few days ago and, hopefully, my husband will be installing on the wall for me in the near future.  I’m going to ask him to hang on the wall perpendicular to the computer so I can actually reach it without having to lean over my work top.  Currently, when working on custom orders, I stick post it notes to the wall to keep track of what has been done/needs doing and the huge number of ornaments I made this past Christmas has taught me that I really need a better system.

Since I seem to be giving you a tour, I’ll just quickly go through the rest of the room.

This is technically my main work area.  I do my colouring here as well as any precision cutting with a craft knife.  Most of my supplies are in this area. (my 12×12″ patterned paper is in the drawers in the desk well…I rarely use these papers).

tour 2015 4

To the left of this area is the light box – which I’ve already shown you – and my coloured cardstock is kept in the filing cabinet below the light box.  My unmounted SU! stamps, as well as PTI and a few other brands are kept in CD cases in a CD holder that tucks perfectly in the space between the filing cabinet and the wall (you can scroll back up to the light box picture if you really want to see them)

My 6×6″ patterned paper, which is the paper I used the most, is stored in a small unit on the floor.  You can see that the unit is quite full so I need to be more selective about what I buy or do a purge of this paper as well. (there’s more in a drawer under my other work top…it’s an addiction!)

tour 2015 6

Continuing around the room, you’ll see the area where I do my cardstock and paper cutting as well as the assembly of my paper crafts.  If I’m doing heat embossing etc, I will tend to work over here as well because I’m a messy crafter and there is usually more room to spread out on this side of my work area.  The paper trays are where I keep my scraps.  Every few weeks I’ll pick out all the cardstock scraps that aren’t white and re-file them in the cabinet.  White goes in the second tray – which is the first place I’ll go to find a suitable scrap before cutting a new sheet – and the bottom tray is where I keep pre-printed sentiments and a few other odds and ends.  My bakers twine, glitter, and white cardstock are all kept in the units here.  The small closet in the background holds “off season” supplies as well as non-papercrafting items.

tour 2015 7

What’s next?  Um, here’s the rest of the island – I do my die-cutting over to the left and that’s also where I keep my score board.  Dies are in bins in the units below and I also keep my punch boards, 12×12″ cardstock and specialty paper such as vellum and watercolour paper over here.  There is a somewhat under-utilized bookcase behind the open door.  The bookcase you see in the picture is actually out in our tv room.  The closet to the right is for off-season clothing, luggage and general storage.

tour 2015

One last picture…an overview of my work area for better perspective.  The two-tiered tray wasn’t featured in the last picture…it’s the start of my Valentine’s “Inspiration Station”.  I’ll try to remember to share a picture once I’ve shopped my stash.

tour 2015 8

Enjoy your weekend!

Box Punch Board

paper crafts 1 Comment »

ornament box banner

Happy 2015!

Out with the old, in with the new.

I’m still in the process of reorganizing and culling some unused craft supplies so I haven’t made anything new but I do have a picture of the second hand made box I made a little while ago:

ornament box

I used my Box Punch Board for this and finished it off with some baker’s twine and a tag made from scraps on my work top.  I used a lot of peppermint sticks on my handmade gifts this year.  I wish the packaging didn’t have blue text but they do add a little something to the wrapping and they are not very expensive (you can buy them at Bulk Barn).

I’m really not looking forward to going through my 12X12″ paper over the next day or so to weed out the stuff I’ll never use.  I’ve got 3 boxes of assorted supplies plus a white “kitchen catcher” full of garbage but I feel like I haven’t even made a dent in my stash.  This is partially because I had to make room for my silhouette vinyl and mats etc. so I did clean out a few things but more stuff took over…the circle of life.  😉



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