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Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012!

Happy New Year's Eve!  I hope that you have enjoyed my posts in 2012 and are looking forward to some new and fun projects in 2013.  If there is something that you're interested in seeing on the blog, please leave a comment and I'll see what I can do!

I don't have a new post for today, but thought it might be fun to reflect on some of MY favorite posts from the past year.  Leave a comment and tell me what some of YOUR favorite projects were!

Imagine Card

Wall Art Using Imagine

Butterfly Wall Hanging

These aren't all of my favorites, but a few!  I hope you take a minute to look over the posts from the past 12 months and leave a comment to let me know which is (are) your favorite!

See you next year!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Note Card Set

This year I decided to make a personalized note card set for my niece.  I decided to use my Cricut Imagine for this project.  I did a print and cut to get several "K's" for her first name, Katie.  This "K" comes from the Teresa Collins Baby Boutique cartridge.  I then used the Imagine to print the pink paper to use as a background paper.

I used a plain black card stock that I had on hand and then cut the printed pink background paper slightly smaller than the black piece.  I then added some twine.  I used adhesive dots to offset the initial.  Once I had made 6 cards I added envelopes and made a box to present the gift in.  I used Kraft card stock for the box and glued an acetate square to the front so that you can see into the box.

The box was made from a cut in Tags, Bags, Boxes and More that I had resized using my Gypsy until I had it just right for a note card box.  If you'd like the exact measurements just leave a comment telling me what you need!

I liked how it looked but still felt like it needed a little something extra to finish it all off, so I tied the box with black hemp that I had in my supplies.

I really liked how this project turned out.  I think it makes a nice gift for someone and can see myself making more of these in the future.

Again, if you have questions or want specific measurements please just let me know in the comments section and I'll get that information for you.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dollar Store Crafting ~ Dry Erase List

I've seen a lot of posts on Pinterest lately of simple, quick crafts that looked great. The projects were made with ordinary objects, which got me thinking about starting a segment on this blog of "Dollar Store Crafting". I'm sure I'm not the first person to try this idea, but I thought it would be fun. So, without further ado, my first Dollar Store Crafting project!

If you've been a follower of my blog you may remember the weekly family planner that I made. This uses an 8 opening frame to represent a title and the 7 days of the week. You can write on glass with a dry erase marker and then wipe off.

I saw THIS post on Pinterest and thought it was a fun, quick, economical idea that would be a great gift. I hit a local Dollar Tree and picked up several black frames that were $1 each. I cut regular notebook paper to fit the frame and then added a piece of white cardstock behind the notebook paper.

I tied a dry erase marker (3 pack for $1) to the back of the frame with twine. I added some ribbon to the front (from my stash) and called it a finished project!

This is a fun, easy, quick, and very economical project that is sure to be a hit. I hope you enjoyed my first "Dollar Store Crafting" episode. Check back soon for another great project!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Christmas Day is here!  My house is currently occupied with two children who are enjoying the time playing with their new treasures.  My hubby is taking a nap and the dog and I are curled up on the couch, enjoying the Christmas lights and sounds of laughter floating through the house.

Thank you so much for being a reader of my blog!  My gift to my blog followers is that I pledge to provide you lots of crafty inspiration in 2013!  I do, however, ask a small favor in return!  Please become a follower of this blog if you're not already.  And, every now and then, when you see a project that you like, leave a comment!  I love to see comments, even if it's a simple "nice project".

Have a wonderful holiday season.  I hope that you find yourself surrounded by friends, family, and lot of laughter in 2013.  I am thankful for everyone in my life that makes each day fun and crazy!


Monday, December 24, 2012

More Gift Bags!

Happy Christmas Eve!  I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones.  I've been really busy with holiday crafts and hope that you've enjoyed the posts this month.  I love getting crafty inspiration from blogs, which is why I do this blog...hoping to "pay it forward" and inspire someone else out there.  The best gift to a blogger is to leave a comment, so if you've been reading and like what you've seen, please take a moment to comment!

I'm on a roll with these gift bags!  I love how easy it is to take a plain white gift bag and give it a personal touch.  This time I used Close To My Heart's Artiste cartridge and a coordinating stamp.  I cut a lot of the ornaments and then stamped them while still on the mat.
The stamp colors I used are also from CTMH (Cranberry and New England Ivy).
Then I chose some holdiay cardstock from my stash.  I inked around the edges of the cardstok with New England Ivy.  I cut 3 pieces of twine and inserted them through an eyelet I had put into the top of the bag.  Each ornament was tied to the twine and then adhered to the bag.

I found it better to go ahead and adhere the ornaments down instead of letting them hang.

Fill it with some holiday goodies, add a tag, and you're good to go!

The tag is from My Creative Time, a die called "Stitched Oval Die" which you can find HERE.

Hope you enjoyed this project.  I am really enjoying Artiste and the coordinting stamps.

If you have any questions or more specific instructions, feel free to leave a comment and I'll explain further!

Go be crafty!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Pencil Jars

I always struggle with what to give the male teachers at my childrens' school.  This year I decided that a personalized pencil jar would be good.  I had picked up these glass jars at the Dollar Store.  I think they're intended to be used as a vase.

To the plain jar I added a ribon at the top.  Since it was for a man I did a plain knot instead of a bow.

To personalize the pencil jar I used my Cricut Imagine and printable vinyl.  This was the first time I had used printable vinyl and I was really happy with how it turned out.

I used the stock images and filled it with the graph paper from "Notebook Doodles".  Then I used "Country Carnival" to get the last name initial of the two teachers.  I decided to change the colors a bit as well.

I did the print and cut.  The package of the printable vinyl suggests putting your blade at 2.  I didn't follow this, but used 3.  Next time I will follow instructions!  Two will be fine.  Setting it at 3 cut through the vinyl and the backing, which wasn't a huge deal.

I applied the graph paper image and then the initial.  Below you see a close up of the decal and initial.  It's a bit difficult to see, but the shape is flood filled with "graph paper" from Notebook Doodles.  (I know I already said that!)

I think these will be a nice gift for the male teachers.  Hopefully they will think so as well!

Go be crafty!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift Card Holder

Hello!  I have a quick project for you today for all of those holiday gift cards.  I know people dislike giving them, as they seem so impersonal, but sometimes it's just the best gift for someone!

My Creative Time has a gift card holder die that I used for this project.  This blog has great crafty inspiration as well as amazing products!  You run the die with paper through the Cuttlebug and you have a gift card holder that you can now embellish, stamp, etc.
This is the die, which you can purchase HERE
I decided to make 2 versions of my gift card holder.  I recently purchased a Crop A Dile, so I thought that would be a good thing to test out on this project as well as using some twine.  The beauty of this die is that you can embellish it any way you'd like, with whatever items you have in your stash and it will be awesome!
The die makes 2 slits in the bottom of the panel, and your gift card fits right in there.  Genius, right?
I added tags (also using a die from My Creative Time) to identify the recipient.  I used a Close To My Heart stamp for the "to" and "from".
I hope you enjoyed this project.  Hopefully my gift card holder will make the gift a bit more personal!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Embellished Clothing

I have seen lots of blog posts about people using their Cricut to cut fabric, but I have never done it..until today!  I did it and I am very happy with the results!

I decided to make some embellished outfits for my daughter and neice, who are only 6 months apart.  I picked up some plain pants and shirts at Old Navy.  They were pretty inexpensive and I had a coupon, which made then even moreso!

I chose my images for the shirts.  The flower comes from Art Philosophy and the initial comes from Sesame Street Font.  I did a few test cuts on plain white cardstock to get the best size determined.  A 4" cut seemed to be a perfect size for both the "A" and the flower.

I ironed on Wonder Under to the fabric.  Then I put this fabric on a Cricut mat.  I thought it cut best at higher speed.  I cut more than I needed in case of error.  Overall I think cutting the fabric with the Cricut was good.  I may research a bit and find some tips from people that do it often.

The next step was to iron the appliques to the shirt.  Then it's time to hit the sewing machine.  I appliqued the letter first as it was a bit easier, considering I hadn't used my sewing machine in years.  After I did the letter I sewed coordinating ribbon around the left leg of the pants to give them a little flair!

I did the grey shirt with pink flower second, as the applique sewing was a bit more difficult with the curves.  Then I embellished the leg of the pants.  I thought the shirt needed a little more so I made a bow and attached it with a button.

I am super happy with how these outfits came out!  I'm going to let my daughter have the blue outfit in the morning.  If she wants to wear it then the project is deemed a success!  I think she may be a bit shocked to learn that Mom can sew...she may have more "work" for me! she is wearing her "A" outfit!  She liked it a lot!  I see more sewing in my future!

I had forgotten how enjoyable sewing is for me...think back to a hobby or activity that you enjoyed years ago and give it a go again.  You may find yourself pleasantly surprised!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Shadow Box

One day I received a call from my neighbor, Lori.  "Hey, are you still doing crafts with shadow boxes?" she asked.  Yes, I was, so she told me that she had found several at Goodwill for a buck each.  She said they had a design in them but thought that it would be easy to pop the back out and replace it.  I asked her to go ahead and pick some up for me and I'd see what I could do with them.

I put them aside for a while but recently when I started my Christmas crafting I remembered the boxes.  I unpacked them and found that they had a seashell design on the back panel.  Not very Christmasy, so that was going to have to go!

(I wish I had taken a photo of the "before", but I didn't so just imagine a peachy, seashell thing in the back of the shadow box!!!)

I popped out the back panel and then traced that shape on some chipboard-type stuff I had laying around.  I don't buy chipboard.  I keep the insert in packages to use later.  I cut that shape out and then covered it with scrapbook paper.

Next I added some small jingle bells to the inside space of the shadow box.  I then closed it up.  I thought it could still use a little something extra so I cut some "frosted glass" vinyl and added the word "jingle" to the front of each box.

Now, you don't really notice "jingle" unless you're really looking for it, but I like it.  It casts a shadow on the back of the shadow box, which is kinda cool.

You can really see "jingle" in this one!

Difficult to see in this photo, but "jingle" is on the front glass.
This project was inexpensive, simple, and fairly quick to make.  Most of the time involved was figuring out what I was going to do and how!  Once I had that figured out the actual project itself went really quickly.

Hope you enjoyed todays quick project!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jazzed Up Gift Bag

I find that I buy a lot of stuff and then don't use it.  I think some may call that hoarding, but not me!  I found a stash of Kraft and white gift bags.  Whenever I want to use one I just hate how "plain" they are, so they sit.

Time to jazz up a gift bag!!!

I cut a piece of decorative red paper to fit nicely on the bag.  I inked around the edges with black ink.  Then using the Cricut Teresa Collins December 25th cartridge, I cut the tree image out at 4".  I added gold Stickles to the star to jazz it up even more!

Then I used the Stitched Oval Die from My Creative Time to cut the sentiment oval out from the leftover paper that I cut the tree from.  I used a Peachy Keen sentiment stamp to stamp "Merry Christmas" on the oval.

Assemble it all together and you have a jazzed up gift bag!  Add some holiday note cards, a fun pen, or even some holiday treats and it's a gift waiting for a new home!

Quick, simple, and using stuff from my stash!  I love it!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Wreath - Pinterest Inspired!

I love trolling through Pinterest to find new ideas for crafts, recipes, holiday fun, etc.  When I saw this post I couldn't believe my eyes!  Finally...something to do with all of those extra ornaments, and something BEAUTIFUL at that!

Tip glue the caps on the ornaments.  This is seriously a step you don't want to skip.  It doesn't take long and it will save you so much time later, when (if you don't glue them) the caps pop off and you start losing ornaments.

Tip #2...Really shape the hanger into a circle and make sure it's a flat circle.  Mine was not shaped the best and it's seriously not easy to reshape it once you have all those ornaments on there!

You can follow the instructions from the inspiration post so there's no sense in me typing that all out. You're a smart cookie and can follow those instructions just as easily as I did.  It is pretty cool how after you get more and more strung on the hanger the ornaments will start to bunch up and create that beautiful full look that you're wanting.  It happens on it's own and it's like magic!

Add a bow and you have a totally cool, completely beautiful wreath that you made all on your own!  You can use extra ornaments you have in your holiday decorations or hit a dollar store and buy some to use.  I had extras because I used to put up several trees.  I fished out all of the red and gold ones and went for it!

Don't forget my two tips...they'll help you have a beautiful end product!

Apparently our Elf of the Shelf - "Randolph" really liked the wreath also, because this is where we found him this morning!

He looks so happy in there!  I think he has a good view of the living room, dining room, AND kitchen from that spot, so he is able to get lots of material to take back to Santa!  Ha ha!!!

Take some time today to get your craft on!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quick Christmas Tags!

I hate to admit this, but I ordered the Close To My Heart Cricut cartridge "Artiste" many months ago and have not taken the time to "play" until tonight.

You know that phrase "good things come to those who wait"???  Wowza!  It's a good thing I didn't open this cartridge earlier, 'cause the holiday decorating may not have gotten done with me hiding in the craft room!

I wanted to make some quick Christmas tags to use for a "You've Been Elfed" basket.  I saw this as a great opportunity to break out the Artiste and coordinating CTMH stamps.

CTMH makes using the stamps with the Cricut cut really "idiot proof" easy.  Seriously.  The size and page number for the cut are printed next to the stamp.  Doesn't get much easier than that!  I chose the tag and the correct size.  Then I pushed the "Auto Fill" button on my Expression to get as many of the tags as would fit on a piece of good old Staples cardstock.

 If you're really paying attention, you'll see that I forgot to hit "Set Paper Size" or whatever that button is, so I cut a few "half" tags...oopsie!
 Here's a little closer of me stamping right on the Cricut mat.

I did not remove the tags from the mat before I stamped them.  Keeping them on the mat keeps the cut nice and stable while you're stamping the coordinating image.

I stamped the "To" and "From" on the back to make a
functional and beautiful tag!


DONE!  Wow!  How easy is that?  I cut baker's twine and there you have a tag!
~Close-Up of green tag~

Here's another one I did...same instructions.  Artiste, fill the page and then stamp away.  I used CTMH stamp pads that I bought a while back and they are beautiful!  Great colors for Christmas projects (New England Ivy and Cranberry).
~Close-Up of red tag~

Now, if a quick and easy project isn't your style, you could always "dress" this project up a bit by inking the edges of the tags.  I thought they looked really nice when I was done and I didn't think they needed to be messed with, so I left them as is.

Hope you enjoyed this quick project.  I really enjoy Art Philosophy (another Cricut cartridge by CTMH) and how it works so well with their coordinating stamps, which is why I ordered Artiste.  I knew it would work well together and I wanted to get mine as soon as possible!  Now that I've used it I'm sure there will be more Art Philosophy projects in my future!

This project has been shared on the Link Up Party, Craft-O-Maniac Monday!  Check out the site for tons of inspiration!

I also linked up on Tuesday to "Link Up Tuesday" at Pink Cricut.  This is another good spot to look for holiday craft inspiration!

Go forth and craft....


Monday, November 12, 2012

Crafty Inspiration!

Are you looking for some crafty inspiration today?  Well, if so, head on over to Craft-O-Maniac's blog, where she is hosting her Monday Link Up Party.  Jen's blog has lots of great ideas and inspiration all on its own, but today she's invited other bloggers to add a link to a crafty project of their own.

My oh my...if you can't find inspiration here, you might as well hang it up for the day and try again tomorrow!  There's loads of good stuff on there, no matter what your crafty pleasure is!

I linked up to my teacher appreciation gift post from a few posts ago.  Have a look through and if you find some great inspiration, leave me a comment and tell me which post inspired you!

Go get your craft on!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Halloween craftiness

I know this is a tad late, but there's always inspiration for next year, right?!?

Here are a few crafts that I whipped up for a quick Halloween party.  Nothing fancy here...these were all quick easy projects.

First of all, our bar!  I had a neighbor save some cool looking bottles for me.  I found the fun labels online, printed them off, added water and food coloring, and stuck the label to the bottle.  Easy, inexpensive, and fun.  The one on the far left is "Pixie Pee"...yellow colored water with glitter.  The kids thought that one was really funny!

Next up is good old cake pops.  My son decided he'd like cake pops for his class so the weekend before Halloween I made up a double batch of cake pop balls.  I have found that if you freeze the cake pop they're much easier to decorate, so I tend to make a bunch of them (like 6-8 dozen) and freeze for later.  I have the Baby Cakes cake pop maker and quite frankly, I think it's the best!  Easy to use and so much fun.

Spooky ghost cookies...which may quite possibly be the EASIEST treat ever and so freaking adorable! I found this inspiration on Pinterest.  So simple...take a Nutter Butter cookie, dip in vanilla candy coating (some call it almond bark), let it dry.  I added the eyes and nose of my little ghosts with some black gel frosting.  It seriously took longer for these to cool than it did to make the entire tray full.

Pinterest idea...take a clean latex glove, fill with water, freeze, use as ice for your Halloween punch.  OMG...I'm in love with this trick!  How adorable!  The kids thought it was so funny when the fingers would melt and fall off!  They kept checking to see how many fingers "he" had lost!  Next to the punch you can see mummy hotdogs.  You can find the instructions for these HERE.  I wasn't sure if the kids would really like these, but they did!  Plus it's a fun, on-the-go thing to eat.

Again, Pinterest to the rescue for last minute Halloween fun...jack-o-lantern mandarin orange cups.  Oh yeah, baby...quick and oh so easy!  The pin that inspired me is HERE, but I'm pretty sure you get the idea.  I drew the faces on with a sharpie and then handed over the job of coloring the faces in to my 11 year old.  He was a huge help.  Time investment on this one...MINIMAL.  Cute factor = 10+

And finally, a safe way to have a few candles as table decoration...MUMMY jars!  I picked up a few rolls of gauze at the pharmacy when I was grocery shopping.  I was short on time the night before Halloween so I grabbed 2 jars from my cupboard (I usually keep a couple spaghetti sauce jars for various things), smeared Elmer's glue on them and wrapped the gauze around.  Glue on a couple of googly eyes and it's done!  The post that inspired my Mummy Jars is HERE.  These are big jars, so I wasn't worried about the candle in them.  Fun, cute, and so quick to put together.

I hope you enjoyed these Halloween ideas.  I know we've all moved on now to the next holiday, but PIN this for future reference for next year!  If you stop by any of the blogs I've linked for these projects, please leave a comment!  Us bloggers like feedback, so even if you just take a minute to type "cute idea", it's nice to know someone out there is actually reading and enjoying what we post!  Feel free to leave a comment for me also....I love to hear from readers!

Until next time....go be crafty!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Teacher Thank You Gift

Here's a little thank you card and gift that I put together for a teacher at our school who really handled a rough situation expertly.  I wanted to show her my appreciation, so I came up with these small, inexpensive things to express my thanks.

First, the card:
This is a custom note card that I made for myself (yes, I am Lori Martin).  I didn't decorate the front of them, because I wanted to be able to customize them depending on the occasion.  For this one I stamped the border and sentiment from My Creative Time's "Small Talk" stamp set.  I then cut that Kraft square out and tied the twine around.  If you haven't visited Annie's Paper Boutique, the home of Trendy Twine then you should check it out.  I have to admit, I am in love with twine!  It's popping up on all my projects lately.  I think if I won the lottery, one of my first purchases would be EVERY color they have!  And, if you haven't checked out the amazing products that Miss Emma has over at My Creative Time, hustle on over there.  Don't blame me if you become addicted!  I love her products (and I'm not paid to say that!)!!!  I added the apple from the Cricut Preserves cartridge.  I had cut a bunch of these for another project and figured it was a good image for a card for a teacher!  Voila...done!

Then, on to the "gift"...
This is an empty Steel Cut Oats can.  I covered it with the gingham check paper, hot glued the ribbon to the top rim, and added the twine.  I thought it needed a little something more so I found the "ribbon" stamp in a Peachy Keen stamp kit of the month that I had, stamped it, colored it in, and then added the #1 Teacher stamp from another My Creative Time set that I had.  (I think those two stamps are from "My Teacher Rocks" but I'm not 100% sure).  I filled the can with pencils and some red ink pens and called it done.

I hope you enjoyed these projects.  The main message here is that you don't have to spend a ton of money to show appreciation to someone.  I took these to the school this evening and put them in the teacher's mailbox.  I hope she realized that people do appreciate her and what she does for the kids that she teaches.

Go forth and craft!

Want more inspiration?  Check out Craft-O-Maniac!  Great Stuff!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

I have decided to add an occasional recipe posting to my normal crafty updates.  I'm working to lose weight, so right now one thing that is key for me is finding ways to cook the foods I really enjoy but in a healthier way.

Once again...Pinterest to the rescue!  I have found many great recipes while browsing so today I'd like to share one.  It's fall time and I LOVE pumpkin recipes...pumpkin soup, pumpkin bars, pumpkin coffees, pumpkin name it, if there's pumpkin in there I'm bound to love it.  Great, except for someone who is watching her caloric intake, things like pumpkin cookies can get me into trouble quickly!  So, seeing as how I'm newly back on the diet train I thought I should just avoid all things pumpkin to keep myself safe.

Untillllll I saw THIS post!  This my friends is a low fat pumpkin muffin.  The recipe seems so easy I had to give it a try.  Here's all you need:

1 spice cake mix (you can also use yellow or vanilla, but I used spice)
3/4 can canned pure pumpkin (15 oz. can size)
1 large egg white
1 cup water
nutmeg and cinnamon (I just shook a little in...probably about 1/2 tsp each)

Mix all of the ingredients together.  You can add more water if the batter is too thick, but I thought it was fine using 1 cup.  Spray your muffin tin with Baker's Joy (if you don't know what that is, GET SOME!  It's awesome!)  Add the batter to the muffin tin and bake at 375 for approximately 15 minutes.  Ovens vary, so test one before you shut the oven off!
After I took mine out of the oven I sprayed the tops with a little "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray (you know you just said that with a Fabio accent....) and then sprinkled the tops with a cinnamon sugar mix.  There's probably less than 1/2 tsp. on each one, but it adds a little something!

Now, I know someone's wondering (that is, if anyone reads this blog) what the nutrition is like on these babies.  Well, I plugged all of the ingredients into my BodyBugg program and here's what it told me!

1 muffin
182 calories
2.9 grams protein
36.3 grams carbohydrates
3 grams fat

The original post indicated it was a fat free recipe, but there's a little fat in the pumpkin, and I figure 3 grams of fat in a muffin is pretty good, compared to a standard blueberry muffin, which packs in (on average) 27 grams of fat and over 500 calories.

As any decent cook would, I tested one to make sure the recipe was blog-worthy and it totally passed the test!  I thought these were great, and am really looking forward to enjoying one tomorrow morning with my coffee!