Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gratitude: November Stamp of the Month blog hop

Welcome to November's Stamp of the Month blog hop!  This month we have over 60 consultants partricipating, so there are lots of ideas for you.  If you're here from Doreen Guilfoyle's blog, you're in the right place.  If you're just starting out, you can continue on from here and circle around until you wind up back here again.  When you're done here, you can hop on over to Jody Gustafson's blog to see what she has created.

Our stamp set this month is A Little Thanks, 16 stamps with just the right words for cards and scrapbook layouts for all occasions.  I chose a Fall color palette for my card of Gratitude, using the Olivia paper packet.

I chose to make an assortment of fan-fold rosettes for my card since they are so popular currently.  I even used my corner rounder punch with the guide removed to scalloped the edge of the largest rosette.  For my centers, I used a large brad from my Pear Mini-Medley, a corduroy brad from my Sunset Mini-Medley, and a stamped image in Smoothie ink.  I ran my shaped Smoothie CS panel through an embossing folder, and inked the raised edges with my Smoothie stamp pad.  Finally, I stamped my "Gratitude" image on Colonial White CS using Barn Red ink, cut it out, and popped it up using 3-D Foam Tape.

If you'd like to see the rest of this fabulous stamp set, including how you can get your set at a great discount or even free, just click here!  When you're ready, hop on over to Jody Gustafson's blog and continue checking out the artwork.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cricut Circle - Weekly Challenge #4

I'm really having fun with these challenges on the Cricut Circle blog, and I'm actually using my cartridges more lately!  This week is the BOO! Challenge - we are to create a Halloween project using a clear element and at least two Cricut cuts.

I absolutely adore the Clear Cards from Close To My Heart, so I chose to start with one of those.  My current thought is to add this entire card to a scrapbook page, adding a photo behind the clear front and then journaling on the purple paper behind the photo.  We'll see if it turns out the way I imagine, lol.  But for now, I have this really cute card:

My cuts are all from the Mini Monsters cartridge.  The alien is on page 51, the large monster is on page 28, and "trick or treat" is on page 77.  All of my papers and the little felt monster are from Close To My Heart.  The googly eyes were purchased at Michael's.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Private Sale

Hello, scrappy friends!  Would you like to get a great deal on some great paper crafting supplies?  I have a special private sale going on now through October 31st.  Per Close To My Heart policy, I am unable to publicly advertise this sale.  However, if you'd like to get in on this, just drop me an email.  I'll be happy to forward the details to you.  Offer ends October 31st!

Friday, October 22, 2010

CREATE: Monthly Cricut Circle Challenge

This month's Circle Challenge is Celebrating Creativity, and any Circle Member who plays along is eligible to win - get this - a Workbox from The Original Scrapbox!  I hope the prize for every monthly challenge is this awesome, LOL.  So, here are the rules we had to follow this month:

"The theme for this month’s challenge is all about celebrating the reasons why you love to create! Please create a scrapbook page or home decor project CELEBRATING CREATIVITY. Project must be newly created for this challenge and should include at least 2 cuts to qualify. You must also:
  • Use the Shadow Feature
  • Use Patterned Paper (purchased, printed, or created with stamps, etc.)
  • Use Embellishments to Enhance One of the Cuts (pearls, buttons, gems, glitter, etc.)
This challenge is open to Cricut Circle Members only. Your entry must meet the requirements above in order for your name to be entered into a random drawing for the Original Scrapbox WorkBox. You must submit a project to be entered into the drawing."

I chose to make a home decor piece for my studio, if I can find a blank piece of wall to put it on.  My walls are still builder-neutral, but most items in my room are black, pink, and aqua, ao those are the colors I stick with.  I had a 16x20 canvas leftover from my Canvas Cricut Clock project a while back, so I started with that.  Here is my final result:

Using some blue craft paint (and a drop of green) and some Create-A-Shade Pearl  Paint from Close To My Heart, I painted the entire canvas with a foam brush.  Then I painted around the sides with black craft paint.  Now, I just love the contrast between distress and bling, so I chose papers with a distressed/messy feel, then I added to it by swiping the edges of my cuts with a Desert Sand ink pad.  It doesn't show in the picture, but I also sprayed my "whitish" cuts with some Pearl Glimmer Mist.  I adhered all of my cuts (except the blossoms) to my canvas using my Xyron and a little Tacky Glue in a couple of spots.  The blossoms were manipulated to mimic real tree blossoms and added  using Glue Dots.  After the paper was all adhered, I added my embellishements: rhinestone swirls, single self-adhesive rhinestones and pearls, and a couple of metal flowers. 

I LOVE how this turned out, and I can't wait to find the perfect place for it where it will sparkle and shine in the light, and hopefully help spark my creativity!

Supplies used for this project:
  • 16"x20" canvas 
  • Create-A-Shade Pearl Paint
  • Blue and Green acrylic craft paint
  • Paper from my stash (discontinued Close To My Heart)
  • Cricut Expression
  • Cricut Gypsy
  • French Manor cartridge - bird, p.39 (flipped); half-shield, p. 54 (Layer feature, outer cut line only, slid halfway off the virtual mat on the gypsy)
  • Gypsy Wanderings (on Gypsy) - branch & blossoms, p. 59
  • George and Basic Shapes cartridge - M and Y
  • Home Decor cartridge -  "create" (phrase and Shadow)
  • Stand and Salute cartridge- "pursuit of happiness", p.71 (regular cut and Shadow feature)
  • Rhinestone Flourishes (these are from Michael's Recollections brand, and are currently on clearance with the Halloween items!)
  • Glimmer Mist from Tattered Angels in Pearl
  • Xyron 1200 adhesive machine
  • Clear Sparkles from Close to My Heart
  • Opaques Pearl Adhesive Gems from Close To My Heart
  • Foundry Flourishes Assortment from Close To My Heart
  • Glue Dots
  • Alene's Tacky Glue

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Imagine More

I have another little Cricut Imagine project for you today.  My 14th wedding anniversary was Tuesday, so I made my hubby a cute card from the Imagine More cartridge that comes with the machine.  One of the Bonus items that comes on the cartridge is a multi-colored envelope.  I thought it would make a great card instead of using it as an envelope.  I used the fit to page feature to make a standard A4 size card (approximately).  I scored the folds on my Scor Pal.  Then I used the image with a bird on a branch and separated it into layers, with relative size set at 3.5".  I adhered the layers together onto the center panel of the envelope card (the white side), popping up the little bird using foam squares.  Finally, I used my Calligraphy Collection cartridge to spell out hubby's name, and filled it with one of the patterns from Imagine More.  I used my Quickie Glue pen to adhere the letters to the outer flap.  Here's what my card looks like:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just Imagine...

OK, so I've got this Cricut Imagine (thanks ProvoCraft!), and I've been playing around with it but haven't really finished anything.  I REALLY wanted to do Shrinky Dinks with it, and I finally got to one of my regular Michael's stores the other day and got some.  If you want to make these with your Imagine, you MUST have the package that says Shrinky Dinks For Computer InkJet Printers.  In my store, it was near the rubber stamping supplies.

I've got the Best Friends cartridge, and I just knew it was perfect for this project.  I grabbed a couple of images and parts of images and printed/cut them out.  Warning!  I forgot and turned my shrink plastic the wrong way, like you would on the E and lost most of my first attempt.  The plastic must go across the front edge of the mat, as it feeds into the printer or you will just be printing and cutting your mat.  Luckily, extra ink just wipes right off the mat!  Once I had success, I grabbed my hole punch and punched holes at the top, then baked them in my toaster oven following the package instructions.

Here's what I wound up with:
Don't they look cute?  My daughter has recently received her own house key (at the ripe old age of 9), and she has chosen the little laptop chat girl to go on her key chain.  Now I just need to find one that actually has a chain on it!  Next on my list is charm bracelets for my girls for Christmas presents; since they don't visit my blog, I'll be sure to post here when I'm done!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Arrr Matey, It's a Pirate Halloween

Check out my post today over on the Cutters Creek blog!  It gives lot of details on this cute layout:

Additional items used not listed on the CC blog entry:
  • Martha Stewart Drippy Goo punch
  • Stampin' Up! Notebook Edge punch
  • My Mind's Eye pattern papers from The Spider's Web line (thanks to Kelly Deal @ Flowers to Flourishes for this great paper pack!)
  • Daisy D's red polka dot paper from Baby Boy pack
  • pirate stamps are from Close To My Heart, discontinued
  • I-rock and gold nailheads, Imaginisce

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween Vinyl Decor

I'm back with a fun vinyl project for Halloween.  I love my Cricut, and making vinyl projects with it is SO easy - they always turn out nicely!  For Halloween, I decided that we needed some new window decor this year and that vinyl was the way to go.  I finally had time today to finish - I think I received my Expressions Vinyl order last week, lol.  I pulled out my Happy Hauntings cartridge, and my vinyl and got to work.

All of my cuts were made at 13.75" high, rotated 90 degrees for the full cuts.  Also, since I wanted to stick these on the inside of the windows but have them face outside, I assembled them "backwards".  That is, I turned the sticky side of the vinyl UP as I assembled the layers.

We have three windows at the front of the house, so I chose a vampire, a mummy, and Frankenstein's monster for our windows.  Here they all are:

They may be a little hard to see in the pictures due to glare, but they turned out really well!  Even the hubs is impressed.  Here's the vampire up close:
I wish I had been able to do his face in a different color, but I didn't care for the green in the handbook and couldn't find a light enough gray for my taste, so I just went with white.

Here's the mummy:
One tip I have here, is to cut the eyes only from the red, instead of the entire base layer in red - vinyl is too expensive for that!  I used my Gypsy to hide the body from that layer and just cut the eyes.

Here is Frank:
He has a lot of layers, but is totally worth it as he looks really cool.  And only the white and black are the full size - everything else is just parts.

Here's the view from the sidewalk:
This is one of the few times I've wished I could have a mat larger than 12x24.  But the vampire and mummy have parts that stick out so far I couldn't make them any bigger.  I think next time, I might venture into multi-mat cuts and assemble them.  Frank could have easily been made larger, as at 13.75" tall, he was only 7" wide, but the others barely fit on the 12" width.

Summer Flashback

Summer may be over, but most of us still have plenty of pictures to scrap. (Mine are from 2006!)  So here's a little Summer flashback to help you out!

I used a few tricks to get as many pictures as possible all in one place, but if you have fewer, this main layout is easy to replicate.  Some of my papers are discontinued, but you'll want to substitute what matches your photos.

My Cricut cuts are made with Everyday Paper Dolls, Paper Doll Dress Up and Life Is A Beach, and I inked the edges of all the cardstock pieces with matching ink to add depth.  I created the title using the alphabet on Life Is A Beach and my Gypsy to weld it all together.  The elephant is from p. 75 of EPD, and his water spray is multiple cuts of the raindrops on p. 42.  The sun is from p.40 of EPD, and the water and grass are both from p. 77.

But wait, there's more!  Here's a simple way to get a few more pictures on your page:
An accordion fold mini album is a great way to add a few more pictures.  I simply cut a strip of CS the width of my photos, and scored it the same size.  There are several ways to keep your album closed on your page, the easiest of which is just using a photo turn or large brad to slide an edge under.  I chose to use a D-ring type closure, like we all had on our belts in the 70's.  Be sure to cut away the sheet protector around the mini-album so it can be opened.

But wait, there's even more!  I had a LOT of pictures, so I added some Flip Flaps sheet protectors to my layout:

 Note: I haven't added my journaling yet (it sometimes takes a while for me!), so that's what the blank places are for.  The palm trees are cut from p. 42 of PDDU.  As an alternative, there are a couple more on LIAB, I just liked this one best for this LO.  The octopus border is from p.54 of LIAB.

Supplies from Cutters Creek:
Supplies from Close To My Heart:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Little Shoebox Sketch Challenge

My Little Shoebox is having a fun sketch challenge with a great prize, and you have plenty of time to enter!  The challenge is open until November 15th, so grab your pictures and your favorite My Little Shoebox papers and get scrappin'.  Head on over to the MLS blog for all the details.

The sketch they provided this month is great, but it's for a single page layout, and if you know me you know I scrap almost entirely in two page spreads.  So I created my own right hand page to go with their sketch.  Here's the sketch:

And here's the layout I created:

I used the Flying High paper line for my layout.  Its fun & playful style was perfect for my daughter's 5th birthday.  We have a little tradition in our house that no matter what day of the week your birthday falls on, you get a birthday dinner and your gift.  Hence the photos of everyone eating soft tacos - that was Holly's choice. 

Little tips:
  • I used the tone on tone lines of my scalloped circle paper as built-in lines for journaling.  No need to add anything extra.
  • I cut out elements from one of the papers for the clouds and bird & birdhouse to create my little scene.  I also used two elements from the punch-out sheet for the sun.
  • I added some felt ribbon and glitter cardstock (both items from American Crafts) for some extra texture.
Now it's your turn.  Go take a crack at that sketch and the cool prize the winner will receive!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chex Snack Mix Review & Sweepstakes

I recently had the chance to sample three varieties of Chex Snack mix with some friends, through the MyGetTogether Program.  We received samples of Traditional, Sweet & Salty Honey Nut, and Chocolate Turtle Chex Mix.  Everyone loves the traditional of course (but at our house we wish it still had peanuts), but the big surprise was the Turtle variety.  It was the perfect mix of chocolate & caramel, and there was even some yummy popcorm in there!

In fact, the Turtle was such a hit, here's the hubs hoarding it & telling me to buy some more:

Definitely some choices we will buy again!  By the way, for those of you local to me, I do have some coupons left for 75 cents off 2 packages.  Let me know if you want one!

Disclaimer: For the purposes of this review, General Mills sent me 3 bags of Chex Mix snacks.  The opinions are my own.

To make things exciting, Chex Mix is having a $10,000 sweepstakes over on their FaceBook page.  All you have to do is "like" Chex Mix, then enter to win.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh, Croppy Day!

On Saturday, Mandie & I spent the day at a 12-hour fundraiser crop.  With kids home from school today, I'm kind of wishing I was back there again and find myself singing "oh, croppy day" (to the tune of Oh Happy Day - yes, the gospel song) over and over in my head!  I know, I'm odd.  That's OK.

At any rate, it was nice to just spend a lazy day cropping.  I only completed three 2-page layouts, and finished another I had started previously.  The only downside was that I forgot the cord that connects my Gypsy to the Cricut - good thing Mandie had all of her cartridges with her!

I can't share all of my layouts today; a couple of them are for the Cutters Creek blog later this month.  You can look for my Summer flashback this Friday, the 15th, and my pirate Halloween layout next Tuesday, the 19th.  However, I can share the other two.

The first layout is for this week's Cricut Circle blog Think Pink challenge.  This challenge asks us to use at least 3 of the following: Pink, Ruffles, Scallops, Flourishes, Glitter and Jewels.  We also have to use at least two Cricut cuts.  I had some cute pictures of our girls from a few years ago, where they had fallen asleep together in our bed, and I decided to use those.

I met the criteria using pink, a flourish cut, lots of scallops on my chipboard elements, and pink gems.  I used a sketch pattern from the new Magic book from Close To My Heart, and modified it by using chipboard flowers instead of additional pictures.  Patterned papers, chipboard elements, and the large brad in the upper right are all from Basic Grey's Sugared line; cardstock and pink brads are from Close To My Heart; Cricut cuts are both from French Manor; and pink gems are I-rock gems from Imaginisce.

The other layout I completed also uses some older pictures I really needed to get scrapped!  I do have a little journaling to complete - it will go to the left of the main photo under my subtitle.
I used another sketch for this layout, but I can't remember which book it is from.  I used some of my favorite papers on this layout - Beyond the Sea from Heidi Grace - along with some Cardstock from Close To My Heart.  I will warn you that these papers are super hard to find, but I'm working on finding a source for anyone who is interested in them.

My title is cut with the 3 Birds Cricut cartridge (thanks Mandie!) and my scallops and circle are cut with Plantin Schoolbook.  Adhesive gems and pearls are all from CTMH, and the rub-ons used on my subtitle and directly on my main photo are also from the Beyond the Sea line.  (Click on the photo to enlarge and see them better.)

Thanks for stopping by today!  Don't forget to stop back here or over on the Cutters Creek blog this Friday and next Tuesday for more scrappy goodness.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Upsy Daisy!

Today I wanted to share with you a fabulous little paper company.  I had never heard of them prior to attending CHA this Sumer, and they have some of the most beautiful papers!  I recently tried out for their design team and, sorry to say, did not get asked to join.  But based on their current DT, I know the new gals are uber-talented - I can't wait to see what they come up with!

At any rate, now that the announcement has been made, I can share one of my entries with you.  I made this 2-page layout using the new Avalanche line from Upsy Daisy Designs.  I based my LO on a sketch from the Scrapbook Generations sketch books.

All of their gorgeous papers are double-sided, so you will definitely want to head over to Upsy Daisy Designs and see all of the patterns, plus the extras they have that match each paper line.  For my layout, I added cardstock from Bazzil for the bases and the dark brown.  I also added white CS, and Textured Twilight CS from Close To My Heart, plus Glitter Cardstock from American Crafts.

For my title, I chose to stamp "work" in Versamark on the dark brown CS using the Rustic alphabet stamps from CMTH, then I cut out each letter.  The "or" is also stamped, using white embossing powder and the CTMH Precious alphabet stamps (discontinued).  "play" is cut with my Cricut, using Gypsy Font.  I then cut snowflakes from several different Cricut cartridges - I just used the search feature on my Gypsy to find carts with snowflakes and chose those I wanted - in different sizes.  I cut some from cardstock, some from glitter cardstock, and some from plastic packaging (like the Cricut carts come in).  To make the clear plastic ones more visible, I swiped on some white pigment ink around all of the edges.  This also gives a nice "snowy" look.  Fianlly, I attached everything.  I used Liquid Glass (like Glossy Accents) for the glitter cardstock, and brads for anything clear.  The top and bottom brads are from CTMH, and the middle one is a Recollections from Michael's.

Alright, your mission is to head over to Upsy Daisy and check out all of their cool stuff.  And be sure to tell them I sent you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Organizer Folding Tutorial

Yes!  It's finally here; the folding tutorial for that cute Christmas organizer I showed the other day.

As a reminder, I made this using a True Fit Folio from Close To My Heart.  The benefit to using this, as opposed to one of those file folders used for storing paper, is that they are a true 12x12 size.  Which means...
that it fits perfectly in my Scor-Pal!  And that makes it easier to score and fold.

Step 1: Make sure the folder's tab is in the upper right corner.  Then score down the 4" line.  You'll want to go over the score line a few times to make sure it goes through both layers.
Step 2: Open up the file folder completely, with the tab at the upper left, and fold up along the line you just scored.  You'll want to run the bone folder along the folded edge to make sure your fold is sharp.
Step 3: With the folder open and horizontal, and the center fold on the right, score the left side at the 4" and 8" marks.  Slide the folder across so the center fold is on the left, and score again at the 4" and 8" marks.
This is what the folder should look like when you have scored all the way across the folder:
Step 4: Accordian fold the folder, beginning with the tabbed end.  This is the front cover.  Again, run the bone folder along all of your scores so they are as flat and smooth as possible.
Step 5:  Finally, you will want to make it as easy as possible to get things in and out of your pockets.  I generally cover my organizer with paper first so you only have to do this once.  I use a large 3" circle punch, turn it upside down, and punch a curved area out of the top of the 4" section we folded up along the bottom of the folder.

After punching, I usually run a strip of adhesive along each fold on this short section before I fold it back into place.  This keeps the pockets separated when you're opening it up during your planning, shopping, whatever. 

If you make a similar project, I'd love to see your ideas!  Make sure you leave a URL in the comments if you make something.

Cricut Circle Weekly Challenge

(Yes, the post for folding that cute organizer will be up later today, lol!)

The Cricut Circle certainly knows how to keep me busy!  They have a new blog up & running and have their first weekly challenge up.  The challenge this week is to use at least 2 cuts from our French Manor cartridge (Circle Exclusive), along with gems or pearls.  As luck would have it, I had another home decor project that I been needing to get done.

My mom gave me this awesome HUGE sconce from the old Home Interiors - she used to be a demonstrator and this was one of the pieces she didn't want to keep for herself.  I've had it for QUITE a while and just couldn't decide where to put it.  I finally decided the other day that it would look perfect right next to our front door, but it really wouldn't look right all by itself because the design is so simple.  I didn't want to clutter up the smallish space with other stuff, and this contest gave me just the inspiration I needed. 

I pulled out some decor vinyl (woo-hoo that I had some great colors on hand to match the room), and decided on my designs.  Here's what I came up with:

I resized the shield shape background with my Gypsy to stretch it a little longer so it is more in proportion with the sconce base.  I was a little upset at first that I only had one sheet of the deep red vinyl; I had thought I'd place this behind the entire sconce.  But I think it turned out rather nicer just adding the accent behind the base.  I added the layered peacock on top in black and silver vinyl.  It took me the LONGEST time to decide on that silver, lol.  The room is mainly golden yellow, deep red, and black.  I could have used white, but I thought the contrast would be too stark.  The silver matches a light fixture at the other end of the room, so it works for me.  What Ireally love, though, is that if I get tired of this, the whole thing just peels right off!  (Who'd have thought that vinyl would become my favorite home decor item, lol?)

Want to see a little close-up of my golden-yellow gems?  Here it is:
It's a little hard to tell in the picture, but I used two size of gems.  The larger size went at the points of what would be a larger diamond, then the small ones filled in for all of the smaller diamonds.  Then I added a little adhesive pearl to my peacock's eye.  Voila!  French Manor home decor accents!  I'm really loving this cartridge more every time I use it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

There will be a slight delay...

in posting the tutorial planned for today.  I was not feeling well yesterday, then the hubs decided he was going to the Blackhawks game last night.  Since I'm working all day today & tomorrow, the tutorial will not be up until Monday.

I promise it's worth the wait, so be sure to stop back on Monday!
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