Friday, December 30, 2016

Carnation Card for the Guys

Hi and happy Friday, all. First off, if you were having trouble with my last post and those pesky printable calendars, I apologize. I believe I've fixed the problem so please do try again if it didn't work for you before. If they still don't work, just e-mail me and I'll take care of ya.

Today, I'm featured over on the Elizabeth Craft Designs blog with my final post on the Susan's Garden Design Team. It's been a wonderful year and I was asked to stay, however I chose to decline in order to focus on my goals for 2017. Namely putting more focus on travel teaching and events, making more YouTube videos, plus offering more kits in my Etsy shop as well as quarterly classes here at home. It should be a busy, jam-packed year of creative fun!

Working with all the beautiful Susan's Garden flower dies throughout the year, I realized I had never created a masculine project. So, I thought this would be the perfect way to close my term. The flower that came to mind for a masculine card? Carnation, of course. But be careful friends, because carnation colors have certain meanings. For instance, I learned that a yellow carnation symbolizes disdain, rejection or disappointment. Oh dear! Red, on the other hand, symbolizes love, pride and admiration. Perfect. This will be Paul's Valentine's Day card this year. (Shhh...)

I've got a quick and easy tutorial on the Elizabeth Craft Designs blog today showing how to make this carnation and card with Graphic 45's "Off To The Races" collection. I hope you have a chance to join me for this final post.

I'm a BIG fan of Susan's Garden dies as well as many of the other ECD dies, so this won't be the last of me using them, I assure you. I can't wait to see what new dies are coming at the upcoming Creativation show in Phoenix (CHA).

Thanks for stopping in today and for all the support for my Susan's Garden creations throughout the year. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mini Calendar print-outs for 2017

Hello everyone. I hope your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Boxing Day was/is happy!

Every year I offer free PDF files of miniature calendars for the new year. I've got my 2017 ones ready and available now. These are great for planners, scrapbooking, and of course, for those smaller calendar projects like this one I did several years ago and I still use every single day. (I've got a YouTube tutorial on how to make this desktop calendar project. Be sure to read the correction in my notes section before you begin, since I made a cutting error in my verbal instructions.)

The calendar print-outs come on two sheets. The first is January through August. You can find the free printable here. (Don't try to print the jpg in this blog. This just shows you what's on the printable.)

The second one is September through December. You can find the free printable here.

Remember to write the month on the back of each one as you cut them out. I like to use this stamp set by Graphic 45 which is a little older now, but you can find month stamps just about anywhere these days. Mine is the "Time To Flourish Cling Set 3" by Hampton Art which you might find on Ebay or Etsy now.

Thanks everyone. I'll be back in a few days with a pretty card I made for my final post for Susan's Garden Design Team. Have a great day!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Quick Holiday Treat Holders with the Canning Jar & Lid dies

Hi and Happy Monday, all. It's six days 'til Christmas and busy busy. In all the holiday rush, there's probably someone you forgot about or need a quick little gifty thing for. Like the mailman or UPS driver, in my case. LOL! So why not whip up a cute little crafty treat holder like these? I used dies from Elizabeth Craft Designs like Susan's Garden Canning Jar and Lid, plus her Holiday Holly & Berries die. I've got a tutorial on these over on the ECD blog today that I hope you have time to take a quick peek at. They were easy and fun to make!

Thanks for stopping in. I hope you're enjoying your holiday season so far!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Creative Mountain Retreat!

Hello all. Such exciting news to share today! If you follow me on my social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you already know about the big event planned for next Fall.

If not, let me fill you in. Your Creative Mountain Retreat is a unique crafting get-away in the mountains of North Carolina, scheduled for Thursday, October 26 though Sunday, October 29, 2017. This exclusive creative retreat is hosted by three top Graphic 45 designers, Maggi Harding, myself and Ginger Ropp. This glorious get-away is all-inclusive! One price covers lodging, meals, six fabulous classes (two by each designer), make-n-takes, goodies, games, prizes and more at the beautiful Echo Mountain Inn in Hendersonville. 

Since this is a Bed & Breakfast-style inn, space is limited. Registration begins at noon (EST) January 1, 2017. Maximum capacity is 28 guests and reservations will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. This is our inaugural Creative Retreat and we're starting small for good reason. We want to make sure this is a wonderful experience for you AND for us, that may hopefully become an annual event. 

Today we launched the Your Creative Retreat blog and posted the cost details of this amazing get-away. I hope you take a moment to check it out. Click here for all details.

I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Victorian Christmas House

After a wee bit of a blogging break, I'm back today with another Village Dwelling creation based on the theme of "Song Lyrics" over at Creative Carte Blanche this month, where we're challenged to create a project using the lyrics of a song as inspiration.

My song choice is There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays and it couldn't be more true, don't you agree? No matter how far away you are, when you come home for the holidays it's such a warm, familiar feeling. And with Jamie home from her first semester away at college, I find that I'm filled with EXTRA amounts of joy having us all together during this happy time of year. While I love the Perry Como version of this song, I have fond memories of this version by The Carpenters.

I adore the Victorian style, especially homes during the holidays, so I created a miniature Victorian Christmas house mixing several Sizzix dwelling dies and the accessory dies. As I created it over the course of a few days, I enjoyed Christmas music in the background, a hot cup of coffee, and thoroughly got lost in the process. A great feeling! Now, I'm happy to share how I created it with you.

I started with the Village Brownstone in a sea glass colored exterior. To create the appearance of siding, I cut 1/4" strips of the same cardstock, inked the lower long edge and adhered each on the dwelling structure, working around the windows and adding them later.

While researching the Victorian style, I discovered many homes had rounded turrets as part of their architecture. Here's a great website if you'd like to check out some really wonderful Victorian style homes. But how to build my own turret? I wasn't sure if it would work, but I tried the Bell Tower accessory die. I die-cut two of the tower pieces and two roofs, put each together overlapping the first and last portions of each to create a 7-sided tower. It worked!

I created dark gray shingles and some accent trim pieces using the Rooftops die, and randomly pounced ink to create a variation in color.

My turret needed height, so I created a simple 7-sided tower and adhered the top piece and roof as shown here, then added shingles and siding pieces. (Yes, a tedious process, but one I strangely enjoy.)

Next, I finished up the Brownstone structure (above right) by adding the shingles. The main portion of my Victorian house is made from the base Village Dwelling die and the Village Manor accessory die. (I knew when I first assembled the manor for Halloween it would make a wonderful Victorian style home as well, and it's been in the back of my mind ever since.)

After finishing the assembly of the three house parts, I added the front door, the remaining windows and porches (the long porch comes from the Village Surf Shack accessory die). Later, I added windows and a porch floor for the turret as well. 

After adhering the two house pieces together with hot glue, I added the railing which is from the Village Cottage accessory die. I snipped off the tips of the fence pieces and layered a border trim across the top. 

I used this same border trim under windows and other areas of my Victorian house.

My turret needed a base to to match the rest of the house, so I created this piece from cardstock, above. Basically, it's a 7-sided polygon with a 1/4" score all the way around, slits cut at the joints, and assembled in the same fashion as the rectangular porch pieces. After the glue was dry, I cut away the left edge and adhered the base to my existing structure.

More railings around this area. And as you can see, I've added the turret, its windows and trim.

For the snow, I applied Texture Paste and immediately sprinkled Distress Glitter. I set this aside for about 30 minutes to dry. Meanwhile, I created some small accents to adorn my Victorian house.

From the Tidings paper stash, I cut small squares and rectangles of this wood pattern and rolled them up tight and sealed them with glue.

I bundled them together to create a little log pile tied with red twine. 

I die cut several pieces of greenery from the Mini Holiday Greens die, and three small poinsettias from the Sled die (Elizabeth Craft Designs). I added more to the greenery as you'll see. I also used two Jingle Brads on my front door.

I began adding greenery and poinsettias to my house. The log bundle sits on the front porch behind the railing and more greenery adorns the railing. For this, I used the Holly Bead & Snowflake Garland die (an oldie but a goodie) plus some red twine.

My wreath is made from various greenery pieces layered on a circle frame, and is adorned with red Prills. 

I pried the prongs off the two Jingle Brads and hot glued them in place with some greenery.

The turret is adorned in the same way, with another few logs, greenery, and poinsettias.

I took a step back and decided I was done.  

It sure looks sweet with battery-operated tea lights inside. I'd love to live in a house like this. 

What fun it was to create this Victorian House using the parts and pieces from several of the Sizzix dwelling dies. It's one of my favorite things to do! I hope you enjoyed it and hope you join us at Creative Carte Blanche with your creation based on Song Lyrics. Just go to the December challenge page HERE and join the fun!


Friday, December 2, 2016

Bring on the Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

I knew when I ordered it, the Winter Sweater die (by Elizabeth Craft Designs) was going to inspire all kinds of fun ideas. And it didn't disappoint. This cute die by Elizabeth Craft Designs is... well...addictive, to be honest. Once you make one, another idea pops in your head and you make another, and another and another! Don't believe me? Well, just try to make only one. I challenge you!

The great thing is you can use stuff in your stash to adorn your sweaters. Grab those embossing folders, scraps of cardstock, felt, burlap, glitter, and go to town! And if you're making Ugly Christmas Sweaters, anything goes. The tackier the better.

I started with tacky. Bright, gaudy, and glittery. The trims on this one are from the Holiday Garlands 1 die set. I added glitter and some Glossy Accents to doll it up.

This one reminds me of something Beverly Goldberg would wear. An ivory felt sweater with glittery pink chains and snowflakes with pearl accents. These trims are from Holiday Garlands 2.

I remembered I had the Holiday Knit die set, so I created this ivory accent on a pink sweater trimmed with Metallic Trimmings.

Then I grabbed the Stitched Plaid texture fade and created this textured sweater by embossing ivory cardstock and blending two different reds over the surface. (Note: when creating an embossed texture to your sweater, die-cut the sweater first then run the sweater through the embossing folder). The neck, waist band, and sleeves are part of the Winter Sweater set, as is this very cute reindeer. I added a red gem for his nose.

As you can see, not all of my sweaters are "ugly" and actually look like a nice sweater you might find in a store. This one is a good example. I would wear this, wouldn't you? I made this one by die-cutting an ivory cardstock square using several of the Holiday Knit dies placed close together on the platform. (Make sure your square is large enough to fit the length of the dies, otherwise the pieces will fall apart.) Then adhere the ivory piece to a red cardstock square, and die-cut this unit with the Winter Sweater die with two passes in your die-cutting machine to make sure it cuts through all the layers. I added the neck, waist and sleeve bands last.

When you're playing around with different cardstock colors, keep the extra bits from the Holiday Knits die and use them as accents on another sweater. This one was first embossed with an old Stampin' Up embossing folder I had in my stash, then I added the trims, sleeves, waist and neck bands. Easy!

You can really get carried away with this sweater die! I was supposed to be making dinner by this time, but was having too much fun. Again, I layered two cardstock colors and used the Holiday Knits die.

So, now that you've created a bunch of sweaters, what will you do with them? I'll continue to play with mine and work them into designs and share them with you in the coming weeks. 

Today I thought I'd share a very simple and cute Christmas tree ornament I made with this last sweater (my personal favorite).

Die cut two chipboard ovals (4" tall) and two pattern paper ovals. I used the Tidings paper stash by Tim Holtz and black chipboard.

After adhering the pattern papers to each chipboard oval, add decorative ribbon in a loop between them, ink edges and glue the ovals together. You can clip clothespins around the edges for a strong hold while the glue dries.

Adhere rick-rack trim around the outside edge and a twine bow at the top. I like to use Beacon's Fabri-Tac for adhering ribbons. I set my ornament on a sanding block to dry completely. This way the rick-rack doesn't shift position.

Place plenty of foam tape on the back of your Christmas Sweater and adhere it to your ornament.

This would be a fun craft to do with the kids or grandkids. Just pre-cut all the pieces and let them mix and match to make their own fun sweater ornaments. This is a great way to use up random trims, buttons, glitter, sequins (whatever!) while having fun with the kiddos.

YOU can win a shopping spree at Elizabeth Craft Designs if you make a Winter Sweater creation and upload it to their Facebook Winter Sweater Contest going on now through December 16th. See all the details here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I just thought of another sweater idea...