Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'm Sorry Crafters, I've Been Cheating on You

I am very, very sorry.  I didn't mean for it to happen.  One day I was inking, trimming and gluing and the next minute, I was obsessed with another.  Yes, I've fallen in love with Legos.

Our cable and internet was out for a few days and to pass the time, I started sorting my son's tens of thousands of Legos; something I have daydreamed about doing for years.  It was so cathartic that for days after our technology was up and running, I continued to separate each and every piece into a system of organization. 
I found these little drawers at the Dollar Tree!
Picked this cart up at Michael's for 60% + another 20%= $30!
Then Santa brought me my very own Lego set.  I had never built a set of my own so it was new and exciting.

Well, lets just say Legos had me at hello.  I started assembling and my heart skipped a beat.  Tinkering with color and texture and design was a familiar kind of wonderful but the unexpected surprises that came about by following the building instructions was such a rush.  Within a few days I had sore fingers, an amazing mini city with all kinds of cool features and lots of new skills for creating Lego details.

Since that first set, I have taken apart and rebuilt several of my son's sets with a wonderful sense of satisfaction.  It has been a guilty pleasure, but I realize I cannot neglect my craft life any longer.  Without paper, glitter, Cricut and bling, I am not my true, authentic self.  So I am here, hat in hand, ready to create the very best crafts I can.  I will make it up to you, I promise.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf has a Sense of Humor

We have a lot of fun holiday traditions at our house. Here are just a few:
  • Every Thanksgiving Day, we put up our Christmas tree (or at least we start talking about it). 
  • Once the tree goes up, the kids put on three ornaments a day so we get to decorate all month long.
  • The kids cut out snow flakes and tape them to the walls throughout the month of December.
  • We spend at least one Saturday (usually two) listening to Christmas music while doing Christmas crafts.
  • We set up a ceramic Christmas town on the coffee table and take turns rearranging it.
  • We invent new lyrics to Christmas carols and have a sing off.
We have a two new traditions this year that have really added a lot of fun to the season.  The first is the 12 days of Christmas wall I created for the kids.

The upper row has gifts for Eva and the bottom has treats for Aidan.  Each stocking, bag and pouch has an initial and a number. Some of the stockings and bags are store bought from past Christmases and some are hand sewn and hand made from Cricut cuts. I filled them with little goodies from the Dollar Tree and hand made ornaments I make while they are at school.

The second new tradition is the Elf on the Shelf.  We have had the set for several years but we never got around to playing with it. Eva used the Elf as one of her dolls for a whole year but otherwise the box never made it out of the garage.

This year we decided to see if the Elf on the Shelf thing was real.  I told the kids I was really skeptical and suspected that their friend's parents might be moving the elf each night, but they convinced me to give it a try.

You can imagine my amazement when the elf moved after that first night.  I thoroughly interrogated the children to make sure they did not get up in the middle of the night to move the Elf and they denied it 100%.  I have to say, I believe them. The elf has moved every night since we first put him out and boy does he have a sense of humor.  Check out our Elf and his daily rest stops:

I cannot wait to see where he ends up next!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ribbon and Paper Christmas Tree Tutorial

I was so flattered when Principal Renken asked me to lead a workshop for the teacher's during their "In-Service" day.  My kids have attended St. Timothy's for the past 6 years and I am so grateful for their contribution in molding my little people into the wonderful humans they are today.  It was such a pleasure to get crafty with them.

This is the project I taught to the teachers.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I just *LOVED* how each person added their own flare to their project.
I purchased the cones from Michael's.  I found them in the wood/ paper mache' section (meaning the unfinished craft paper shapes and boxes).  They had several sizes but the largest was on clearance for $1.29, so I bought them all.

I had both ribbon and paper for the teachers to use to decorate their trees.  I bought some of the ribbon at the Dollar Tree and some at Michael's when it was on sale for 60% off.  Most of the paper was Martha Stewart's double sided holiday collection, but I also offered Recollections Christmas paper (single sided) for those who did not mind having white on the interior of the "paper loop."

To make these trees you need the following:
  • styrofoam or paper mache' cone
  • strips of ribbon or paper cut into .75 or 1 x 6 inch strips
  • glue gun
  • green pain and sponge paint brush
The process is quite simple but a little time consuming if you cover all of the cone.
  1. Start by dry brushing your cone.  Make sure you spread the paint all over the cone so that it is more like a stain versus a coat of paint.  Use a paper towel to rub over the tree after your 1st coat to remove any extra paint.  This will help your tree dry rapidly so you can apply a 2nd coat in a little while.
  2. While you wait for the paint to dry, cut your ribbon and paper into the .75 or 1" x 6" strips.  I prefer the thinner strips but it is just a matter of preference.
  3. Go back over your cone again with another thin coat of paint (optional).  Try using a different shade of green to spice things up.
  4. Fold your strips of paper or ribbon in half so that the 2 ends meet but DO NOT CREASE AT THE BEND!  Let the fold retain its curl at in the middle.
  5. Use your glue gun (or glue dots) to adhere the 2 pieces together NOTE: you can use wet glue, glue dots, double sided tape or a tape runner to adhere the edges together, but we found the absolute best way to ensure the hold was to use the glue gun.  All other forms of glue had at least one or two problems (some a great deal more) adhering together.
  6. Once your tree is dry, adhere (again, glue gun is best) the loops to the cone starting at THE BOTTOM. The spacing between loops both horizontally and vertically is entirely up to you.
  7. Add extra touches like ribbon wrapped around the cone horizontally and a bow or a star at the top.
  8. To make the star, I used m Sizzix to cut out 2 stars which I glued together at 3 points, leaving a hole for the tree top to slip in to.  I hot glued it onto the top of the cone so it would stay in place.
And there you have it.  More fun stuff to come. Jingle, jingle

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cricut Christmas Card challenges

This weeks challenge on the Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog
is to create a Christmas card.  Last week we had a similar project sans green or red (see below), so I was very familiar with all of the Christmas images on my cartridges.  I have quite a few to work with but I just wasn't feeling inspired, so I decided to do an outdoor scene of Christmas.  I selected the city scape from Formal Occasion,
and I mounted it on dark blue glitter paper.  I put tiny gems along the outside of the buildings to look like strung Christmas lights.  It took forever to get the right arrangement for the Christmas lights and when it was all done, the proportions of the gems to the buildings were too far off. I scratched that card and started working on a different approach.

I loved the idea of a big building strung up with Christmas lights but I didn't have a Cricut cartridge with a skyscraper.  I used my Gypsy to manipulate the cityscape from Formal Occasion but it didn't work like I wanted it to so I decided to cut out a high rise building by hand.

I was really pleased with how the building turned out once it was mounted and had lights draped across it but it was missing a critical element...A Cricut cut!  Then I got an idea. I pulled out a reindeer punch and created a night sky with Santa approaching the building...Rudolph "with his nose so bright" leading the tow.

I used the Imagine Buccaneer cartridge and cut out Yo Ho Ho to make Santa's Ho, Ho, Ho... The cut pulled everything together and lead into the interior text perfectly.  I love it when a series of random ideas formulate into a complete concept. 

So that is how I put together my holiday card and it is a good example of how you can use cartridges beyond their suggested uses.

Now last weeks challenge for FCCB was "Beyond Red and Green" meaning create a Christmas project without the use of red or green.  This is not as easy as you might think, especially when you are integrating a Cricut cut and trying to make an original design.  Thank goodness I had the Winter Wonderland cartridge because there were lots of designs that worked beautifully with silver and gold.
I chose the phrase "Believe" and added a bell.  I used a few different shades of silver, gold and cream to accomplish the look.  I love this cartridge because there are quite a few layers to work with for each image.  This allows you to tinker with the look and feel to best suit your project.  I assembled my layers with adhesive and foam dots so that their was nice dimension.  I mounted the assembled artwork on an Anna Griffin card and voila, Christmas sans rad and green.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Create and Innovate Goes Public

I designed the Create and Innovate program in 2010 after my fellowship with the Institute of Innovation.  We have been teaching this enrichment program at St. Timothy's Lutheran School ever since. It is such a popular program that sometimes the parents stay to do projects along side their kids instead of using the 2 hour break to hit the gym or run errands. I even had the pleasure of teaching a Create and Innovate class to the school faculty last week!  What a hoot!

Today, my partner, Maggie and I learned that Booksin Elementary, a San Jose Unified public school has accepted our program into their enrichment curriculum beginning in Jan 2014.  Breaking into the public school system is no easy task and it is a real acknowledgement of the success of our classes.

I spent the afternoon redesigning our website (above) and creating a online registration form.  It is very exciting!  Pop over to see how it turned out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Do you want Craft Gossip?

Do you subscribe to Craft Gossip? If you don't, your should!  It is the only daily email that I never delete and always, always read!  I can't tell you how many amazing ideas and websites I have been turned on to (and actually tried!) from this dynamite resource.  Below you will find just a few of the fabulous ideas that I collected from only 2 days worth of newsletters.  I have even had a few of my own blog posts included in their newsletter which has directed a lot of traffic my way!  Be sure to submit your own great posts here.  Now I'm off to try my hand at those adorable angels...

DIY Wire Angel Ornaments

By Vikram Goyal on Dec 05, 2013 10:55 am

DIY Wire Angel Ornaments
Charming and so easy to make, learn to create these wire angel ornaments via this tutorial of AdventuresOfADIYMom. The idea came to Rachel via Pinterest, but she had definitely made it her own! As with most ideas on Pinterest, the links didn’t go anywhere.
Luckily, this link below should give you all the instructions you need to make your own …

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Easy Christmas Lights

By Carolyn Bickford on Dec 05, 2013 10:00 am

M&M Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights are so pretty and yet can be annoying when one goes out. Here is a fun set of Christmas lights that you never have to worry about the lights going out. Although you might have to worry about the lights disappearing. This is also a fun craft that you can do with the kids. Beth shows you all …

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Tutorial: Bows from Scrapbooking Paper

By Heather Holbrook on Dec 05, 2013 09:09 am

Tutorial: Bows from Scrapbooking Paper
Turn those extra strips of pattern paper into the perfect bow for holiday packages! The Glue Dot blog has a quick and easy tutorial for making them.

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Freebie | Holiday Cursive Word Art from Pink Trike Design

By Francine Clouden on Dec 05, 2013 08:00 am

Freebie - Holiday Word Art from Pink Trike Design
I love this set of Cursive Holiday Word Art and plan to use them in my December Daily this year. They come compliments of  Robyn Meierotto of Pink Trike Designs and are great for both digital and paper projects. Go grab them here.…

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How To Write And Publish A Craft Book

By Shellie Wilson on Dec 05, 2013 05:46 am


CraftChica shares this article/review on Mark Montana’s new book How to write and publish a craft book. Very insightful and what doesn’t scare you off will surely inspire you. The closest I have ever come to writing a craft book was for crafts with dyer lint. It came to me at the wrong time (Not sure I could …

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Chocolate Sugar Scrub

By Shellie Wilson on Dec 05, 2013 12:14 am

The temptation to eat this will be great but the desire to soak in it will win you over. The presentation of this chocolate scrub is amazing. It looks delightful I am sure it smells delightful. Full instructions and tutorial here.
I love giving sugar scrubs as gifts as they are so easy to make and always get used. Last …

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The Right Tools for the Job

By Connie Barwick on Dec 04, 2013 10:42 pm

What are your favorite tools as a needleworker? Since cross-stitch is my main deal, I have a few things I can’t do without, including petite cross stitch needles, sharp embroidery scissors, tweezers, and a bin for my thread ends aka orts. Recently over at Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog there was a great post about all the tools necessary for certain …

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Tutorial | Christmas Countdown Calendar for Small Spaces & Traveling

By Francine Clouden on Dec 04, 2013 08:00 am

Tutorial - Christmas Countdown Calendar by Einat Kessler
Einat Kessler shows how you can make a Christmas Countdown Calendar that sits on a table top. This is great if you don’t have a lot of space for a bigger Advent Calendar. it’s also portable, so if you’re traveling this holiday season it’s perfect! Click here to see the tutorial.…

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A Cozy Christmas: Gift Wrap

By Linda Lanese on Dec 03, 2013 12:46 pm

sweather wrappingsweather wrapping1
Sisters, Emily & Sarah are constantly working to have more efficient, beautiful lives and homes. I am sure you will find their postings fun and inspiring.  Their “Cozy Christmas: Gift Wraps” are such a stunning idea and I am so happy I found them on “Boxwood Clippings” and I am thankful for bloggers that do share their ideas.  Thanks Ladies!…

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