Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bringing in the new year with a Blog Hop

Hello and Happy New Year blogger friends! I wish you and yours a happy healthy year. I don't make resolutions but rather try to establish new & improved habits for an even happier healthier life. This year marks another year of fitness and eating well, with an enhanced focus on a leaner, trimmer me. I'll be including blog posts about my fitness inspiration and progress and welcome any helpful motivation YOU can provide too.

January marks a new year, a new month and therefore a new Stamp of the Month from Close To My Heart. The set is called "Little Reminder" and is pictured in the righthand column of my blog all month long. It features days of the week, numbers, phrases, and a circular month stamp that will be very versatile for many stamping projects. I like to use these types of date stamps on my scrapbook pages to mark events. Stamps of the Month are only $5 with your $50 CTMH purchase. A great deal if you're already stocking up on your scrapbooking/stamping supplies. You can shop here to get yours!

The Blog Hop features over 60 CTMH consultants and will surely provide plenty of inspiration and ideas using this date-style stamp. If you're already hopping, you've likely come here from Susan Brooks' blog. At the end of my post you'll see the link where to hop to next, so let's get to it and check out the card I made for my hubby for New Year's.

Using "Typeset" papers seemed perfect for a manly card and it's one of my favorites too. I utilized the "zip-strip" off the paper as a decorative element across the top of my card. (You & Me, Together, Best Friends). Perfect for my husband. I also took full advantage of the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge by cutting the scalloped card shape, the circles, and the banner pieces.

Here's a little sneak peak of a new product Close To My Heart will release in February: Baker's Twine! (although this one pictured isn't CTMH since I haven't been able to order it yet.) 

One of the things I like to do for added interest is stamp on patterned paper. Here I did it with the numbers stamp in Black over the Juniper leaf pattern in the circle under the banner. It just adds that little something extra rather than using plain colored card stock. 

Now if you'd rather not read about WHY my husband received a New Year's card from me this year, please continue on the Blog Hop by hopping over to Teresa Scrivens' blog and see what she's come up with this month.

I don't normally make my husband a New Year's card but this year was special. See, our teenage daughter went away with a friend and her family for a week right after Christmas, and Paul and I had the chance to spend a lot of time together since he's been off for the holidays.

Sure, we had our couple time, but what was even more special for us was just being together, enjoying the little things of everyday life with absolutely no stress or interruptions. Coffee and the newspaper, a few movies, lunch, naps, television, and time with friends. Even running errands together was enjoyable. We talk easily, we laugh, we truly enjoy each other's company. I call that true love.

We get so busy (all of us) and caught up in daily stresses, we don't realize that we might be neglecting one another, so when we get the opportunity to simply enjoy, it's an extremely pleasant surprise. It felt like we re-connected. And it's been one of the happiest weeks of my life. So that is why my husband received this card from me this year. Inside I wrote everything I just shared with you.

Our daughter comes home tonight and I am very much looking forward to seeing her again. She's my best friend and sometimes worst enemy at times, as most teenage daughters and mothers seem to be. But she's a pretty fantastic person and I have truly missed her.

Here's hoping you have a Happy New Year filled with life's simple joys, and opening your eyes and soul to them each and every day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cookies & Graphic 45 mini

By now, ambitious and creative bloggers are already moving on to Valentine's ideas. I wish I were that ahead of the game, but I'm still in the Christmas spirit and enjoying a few relaxed days with my family. As promised yesterday, I wanted to share our gingerbread cookies my daughter and I made this year. It's a tradition for us, and Jamie is at the age where she is really helpful and very good at her own artwork with icing.

Along with gingerbread, we made some shortbread cookies and Jamie decided to decorate a few of those herself. In the teenage spirit of things, of course. Let's see how good you are at identifying these images...

If you haven't a clue - quick! go grab a teenager and see if they know. I'll reveal who they are at the end of this post.

Here are all the cookies we did this year. Minus a few that were sampled, of course.

These are about 4-inches tall. Good size for giving away as gifts, wrapped up pretty in a cello bag tied with holiday ribbon.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I have quite the collection of cookie cutters and this house was one I found last year and was thrilled. It's so much fun to decorate.

My friend Lisa and I agreed to exchange a handmade gift this year, so I created a mini album from Graphic 45's Christmas Emporium paper line and chipboard. I added some Tim Holtz goodness and some other miscellaneous embellishments. So here are all the other views without explanation.

 Enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas wherever you are!

And now for the answer to the names of those faces on those cookies above...

From left to right: The Troll Face, Me Gusta Face, and The Awesome Face.

(These are all popular internet images called "memes.")

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Tags They'll Keep

After a nice little break, I'm feeling ready for Christmas finally. You? I'm wrapping the last bit of gifts today. I've met with several friends over the past two weeks, sharing coffee and gifts, and truly relishing in the fact of having so many wonderful friends to share the holidays with. Friendships mean so much to me, like yourselves, and I can only hope my friends know how much I love and appreciate them.

I've been also having some fun making decorative Christmas tags. Tim Holtz's rosette die is such a great one to use for many quick projects. Just check out his mini Christmas trees he made with three of the rosettes. I just love them. Here is a quick tag idea using leftover strips of holiday paper, Tim's rosette die, and some vintage style chipboard letters.

I added a bit of Pearl paint dabber to the outside edges and then dipped the outer edge into some Martha Stewart Crystal coarse glitter. These were so addictive to make! I liked trying different pattern papers to get different effects. I could have made a hundred of these, they were so fun and easy.

I've had these chipboard letters a few years now. There are so many in the package! They're by K&Company and are printed on both sides. They were perfect as monograms on my little tags.

I punched a hole in the top of each and added some fluffy white string then tied them around these festive holiday tissue packages I got from my local craft store dollar section. A simple and pretty little thank you gift for my club girls. Perhaps they'll keep the rosette tag and hang it on their Christmas tree.

I am constantly inspired by Tammy Tutterow's blog and recently saw this idea for fabric gift tags. (She gives you a link to a tutorial there.) They are super easy to make and talk about addictive! I made a dozen of these in an afternoon. Each one is cut from Tim Holtz's Tag & Bookplate die which is substantial in size. Each measures about 3 x 6 inches.

Again it was fun to try different fabric prints, ribbons and embellishments. I didn't have to go to the store for a single thing! I have tons of fabric scraps from my quilting days, and of course lots of trims and buttons on hand. Like Tammy, I used Archival ink to stamp the names on plain muslin as well as for inking all the edges. Each tag has a thin layer of batting between the fabrics. These could easily be adapted to hang on the Christmas tree. (Or used as a bookmark, says my friend Ellen who was happy to receive one of these tag this year.)

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be back tomorrow with our decorated gingerbread cookies my daughter and I made this year, plus a Graphic 45 Christmas mini album I gave to my friend Lisa. 

Until then, happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Tags of Christmas TAG 12

It was certainly fun while it lasted. Today is the end of the Tim Holtz 12 Tags of Christmas. And although I am sad that it's over, I'm also happy to get busy getting ready for Christmas. These tags take a lot out of ya! I'm not sure how long it takes everyone else, but I spent at least 4 - 5 hours each day on mine, from start to finish including blogging about it.

So let's get right to Tim's final tag...

Very vintage shabby, right? I love it. There were a LOT of steps to make this one, so be sure to go to Tim's blog post here to check it all out. 

Here is my ornament inspired by Tim...

Due to my smaller, shorter sized tag I had to leave out a few things like the greenery in the lower right corner and the sparkly Stickles around the border.

I didn't have any of Tim's new tissue wrap so I gave it a go with good old tissue tape instead, and it worked out fine. I couldn't do the wrinkling like Tim did, but I achieved a similar look and feel.

I didn't have a fractured doll and after three different craft stores, I finally gave up and used the Mini Sewing Room die of the dress form, cut it twice: once from thin white cardboard, then with glossy card stock and glued those together for a thicker look and the same glossy shine as the fractured doll. I used two foliage metal pieces for the chest, crimping each flowers petals up and inward slightly, then dusted them with Snow Cap White paint.

I love Tim's new Christmas charms. The snowflake is beautiful with a bit of Snow Cap White on it.

And here she is on the tree. I'm so happy I participated in the tags "real time" as best as I could this year. I loved looking forward to what Tim was going to come up with each morning. Now I have 12 beautiful new ornaments for our Christmas tree that we will cherish forever. 

Thank you Tim!

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Tags of Christmas TAG 11

Well, I'm officially a day late but that's okay. I'll do tag #12 tomorrow and then mope around because it's over. I have loved this year's 12 Tags of Christmas by Tim Holtz. It's become a tradition in our household. My family follows each tag each day (whether they want to or not). And they oooh and ahhh (whether they like it or not) but I think they do.

Anywho, here's Tim's tag #11...

It's got that fun retro look about it. And you've just got to check out the Shrink Plastic/Melting Pot technique he used to make those cool looking holly leaves and the branch. He's got an excellent video to share with us. Go here to see it.

I have been waiting for Santa to make an appearance! But my all-time favorite Santa stamp is this guy...

It's a Stamper's Anonymous stamp on a wood block and is labeled U2-1106. I knew that I wanted to use this stamp from the beginning and was just waiting for the opportunity. I used the same techniques Tim did, only with a more vintage feel.

I have to admit, this was the first time I'd seen this technique with the shrink plastic melting in UTEE in a melting pot. I'm sort of the last to know things usually. But when I saw it, I knew I had to have that melting pot and try all kinds of things with it. So to Michaels I ran with my 50% off coupon and got it for only $20! It was quite addictive making little shapes and coloring them. I wanted to do all kinds of things! If only I had more hours in the day...

One big thing I learned is when you pour out the hot UTEE onto your non-stick craft mat, don't do it on a self healing cutting mat like mine. The heat totally warped it. I should have known this because I warped my other one using the heat gun in one place too long. Oh well, it's time for a new one.

I'm looking forward to all the artists' takes on Tag 11. If you go to Tim's blog, just scroll to the bottom on his post and you'll see tons of links to bloggers all over the world participating in the 12 Tags along with Tim.

Now I'm finally off to bed. Thanks for taking a look. Here's how my ornament looks on the Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

12 Tags of Christmas TAG 10

Tim Holtz has done it again! It's Day 10 of the 12 Tags of Christmas. I've taken all day to make this one, not because it was so involved. It wasn't at all. Just because it's Saturday and lots of stuff going on, so I had to work on it piecemeal. As a matter of fact, I'm heading out to a holiday party in a few minutes, so I won't be doing any explaining on today's creation.  I guess if you have any questions, you'll let me know.

Here's Tim's tag #10...

Make sure you go to Tim's blog today and check out the steps to make this one. There's a great technique there on how to make the facets. So cool!

Now here's my ornament inspired by Tim...

And here are some close-ups and then how it looks on the Christmas tree. Thanks for stopping by! Now eat, drink and be merry!

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Tags of Christmas TAG 9

Wow, better late than never. It's almost 10:00 p.m. here on Day 9 of Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas and I finally got a chance to complete my tag. (Or in my case, my ornament.)

You see, I was having fun all morning with 13 friends in my All Things Tim group. Here is what we made, in case you missed it last month when I posted it.

It's a holiday wall hanging made from a dollar store serving tray. See my post last month for more pictures and info. See the lamppost back there in the background? That got me thinking... So quickly before my class started, I took a peek at Tim's blog to check out Tag #9 and besides his great creation, he showed us tags made my Ted and Michelle Cutts (AKA Mr. & Mrs. Stampers Anonymous) and I really liked Ted's rendition using the Holiday Lamppost die. I was so inspired, I knew I had to use the lamppost today.

So let's back up and take a look at Tim's tag today...

Be sure to check out Tim's blog post today to see all the details and techniques that went into making this great tag. (sure do like that candle.)

Now, here's Ted's tag...

I just love the look of the lamppost, all frosty and festive.

Now here's what I came up with...

Remember, my "tags" are actually ornaments for my Christmas tree. I love how this turned out with all the glitter and hints of glitz.

I've discovered that my photography could use a little work. Can't ever seem to get rid of the shine from my light. I followed Tim's technique of clear embossing Distress Inks. Works like magic! Here I used the holly branch from the Holiday Wishes stamp set (CMS095) for my stamping and used Peeled Paint Distress Ink. For the background color I used Fired Brick. It's really hard to appreciate the effect in this photo, but it really turned out pretty cool, I must say.

Just as we did in my class today, I made some yellowed glass for the lamppost by applying alcohol ink to a piece of packaging plastic, cut out a small piece and glued it to the back of the lamppost.

The effect is subtle but adds that little something extra.

Instead of the word "peace" I opted to use the leftover 25 from the grungeboard we cut from the snowman's belly on Day 4. I dabbed it with gold paint and added some Rock Candy Distress Stickles with my finger. Just a touch.

There's actually a lot of shimmer on this tag. For instance, I flooded Glossy Accents over the entire surface of the lamppost and while it was nice and wet, I sprinkled some Martha Stewart Crystal Coarse Glitter so the sparkles were embedded. Then I added Rock Candy Distress Stickles over the leaves and sprinkled a bit of snow at the bottom of the ornament with Martha Stewart's Tinsel Glitter. Be sure to click on the photo to get a better look at the details.

Well, now that I'm good and tired, it's off to bed to dream of sugarplums and Tag #10 dancing in my head. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12 Tags of Christmas TAG 8

Just when I think Tim can't possibly outdo his tag from the day before, he goes and does it! Today's tag is Tim Holtz all the way. Steampunk meets Christmas in this awesome creation by the master himself...

Holy cow, am I right? He's amazing. I love this! 
Be sure to go to Tim's blog post today and check out all the steps and techniques to make this tag.

Here's how Tim's tag inspired me...

I knew there would be times when the shape of my ornament tags would come back to haunt me. Sometimes it's a bit tricky to adapt Tim's creation to the shorter and wider shape I'm using. Case in point: (and this is a nit-picky artist thing, I know) I didn't have the room to shift the gear on the right up a little higher. (see Tim's). At least I wasn't paying attention when I glued them; let's say that. 

So when I took a final look, I realized that my ticket and my gears are straight across from each other. A graphic design no-no. But hey, those suckers were well-glued by the time I realized it, so I "kept calm and carried on" and did what I could. To try and offset things a little, I added a piece of green twine to the pointing finger on the left, as well as some punched green holly leaves (Thanks Lisa). This sort of tricks the eye a bit forcing it to see the green ribbon on the right and the greenery on the left as diagonally opposing items. It works a lot better when the photo is not taken on a dark green background. 
(You're just gonna have to trust me on this.)

I didn't have the Weathered Clock die, so I used this giant Sizzix snowflake die. As for the Snow Cap White background image, even after a very long drying time, the inks did not resist when rubbed over the white. Sort of muddied up. But hey, it's grungy, so I'm fine with it. Here I used Grunge Cirque and School Desk stamps by Stamper's Anonymous.

Don't you love these sprockets and the spinner all piled up on the two grungeboard gears? Very cool.

I have used these great alpha parts before but never tried Glossy Accents over them. Wow is this ever a cool transformation!

The steampunk guys from the Curious Possibility stamp set are great, but just a bit long for my tag, so I snipped them apart and raised up the middle guy and scooted the other two behind him a bit. I love how this looks. Now I just need to add some holly and berries.

I didn't have any tiny holly leaves so I fudged it with some Christmas Red and Peeled Paint Stickles. (You'll have to click on the photo to see that detail.) Even though this tag has a lot going on and looks really busy on my tree, I absolutely loved making it and am pleased with how it turned out.

Thanks for checking me out. Have a great day!