Friday, December 28, 2007

Recycle! Write those 'Thank You' Notes!

Dec. 28, 2007
Recycle! Write those thank you notes!

Do you still have all your Christmas wrapping supplies, rubber stamps, etc. all over the house? Before you put them away, why not make gift tags for next year? I was so happy that I took the time to make tags for this year at the end of last year. Wrapping up my gifts this year was a snap and I was proud to give gifts with handmade tags even if the gift was store-bought. I saved the prettiest wrappers and ribbons from my gifts to recycle into new tags. Now is the time to use up your leftover Christmas rub-ons and stickers. Usually I use tag shaped paper punches, but just cutting with decorative scissors will make your tags look special. Sometimes gluing snippets of ribbons and glittery paper scraps are all you need to do to make one-of-a-kind tags or cards. This year I ended up with lots of ribbons that were just too short to wrap another gift, so I think I’ll turn them into book mark tags and give them with books next year.
I hope that you’re getting started on sending written thank you notes….. e-mail thank yous are not good enough for someone who spent time and money to find you the perfect gift. I love the new Christmas line of 12 x12 papers and cardstock by My Mind’s Eye. They have a vintage distressed look and should make beautiful thank you note cards. I think it is fine to use Christmas rubber stamps and embellishments on Christmas thank you notes. Even though you’re probably all Christmased out, I suggest taking advantage of all the after Christmas sales and make a few things for next year. Don’t forget to buy craft supplies to make scrapbook pages of this year’s holiday season. In years to come, you’ll wish you had done more to preserve your memories.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Beginning to Feel Like Christmas!

Now that the rain is here, it finally feels like we can wear sweaters and jackets and pretend that the precipitation is liquid snow. Today, I did a five-minute job of spray painting three Martha Stewart acorn ornament boxes. Design Master copper spray blended well with the chipboard color of the acorns, so I didn’t feel I needed to cover every inch of the acorn. I sprayed an overcoat of gold glitter Design Master paint and it added just the right touch of sparkle. As usual I did my spray painting in an extra large Ben Franklin Crafts plastic bag to minimize the mess and spread of fumes. To keep paint off the acorn hanging cord, I wrapped a piece of paper towel around the cord before spraying. Later I might add a plaid ribbon and red pips or jingle bells to further dress up the acorns. I think they are now the perfect place to hide some Christmas cash from Santa and I wish that I had purchased the pinecone boxes, too.

Ah, next year….

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There is only one "C" in Christmas!

I think the ‘C’ in Christmas stands for crafting, not cooking or cleaning. (Cookie baking is a form of crafting so that’s allowed too.) I’m almost finished crafting everything I planned to make this year, except for two bracelets and an album. My Christmas cards will have to be Season’s Greetings again so I can include a family newsletter (not yet written) along with a New Year's wish. Happily, I was able to wrap up everything and get the packages mailed out before the post office’s recommended deadline. One of the gifts I am giving is fragile so I found a great wooden box (Sierra Pacific) at Ben Franklin Crafts. They have lots of shapes and sizes of good quality wooden boxes at very reasonable prices. Anyway, I liked the look of the unfinished wood surface and wanted to simply wrap it to let the wood grain show. Martha Stewart’s wood grain wrapping papers and ribbons gave me the idea to just paper the top of the box and tie the wide wood grain ribbon around it. (See photo. Click to enlarge.) By adding a few golden sprigs and a tag made from a Sizzix ornament die cutter, I think the wrapping is not only simple but elegant. Use double stick tape or sheet adhesive to adhere the paper to the top of the box. Spray adhesive also works, but don’t use a liquid glue as it will wrinkle the paper.
Now that I can emboss paper with stencils and the Big Shot, making cards is really easy. The
cards photographed use two stencils from Dreamweaver, the poinsettia and one with four Hawaiian quilt squares. I found that by stamping a collage design (Hero Arts, Season’s Greetings collage) on white card stock first and then taping the poinsettia stencil over it (use removable tape), I could run it through the Big Shot to emboss. I chalked the poinsettia with red and gold powder before spraying it with a fixative. Then this embossed paper was taped to a dark green card and gold ink was lightly stamped around the edges. Both of these cards were quick to make because of the time saved not having to emboss by hand. If it’s too late for Christmas cards, you can use these techniques for New Year’s cards and thank you notes….
just like me,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hawaiian Snowflakes

I just sent off some Hawaiian snowflakes (a.k.a. gingerbread snowflake cookies) to my sister. Originally, I had planned to just wrap her gifts in wrapping paper with a snowflake design, but then I found a beautiful wide turquoise satin ribbon (Martha Stewart) printed with white snowflakes. I especially like the quality of the Martha Stewart satin ribbons because they are so luscious that I only need to tie one big bow and the gift looks spectacular. Anyway, I wrapped the gifts in Martha Stewart snowflake paper and white embossed paper I already had. Next I simply tied everything together with the extra wide satin snowflake ribbon. For a tag I folded a thin white cardstock and put the fold along the top edge of the Sizzix snowflake ornament die cutter and rolled it into the Big Shot. By doing this, I made a large snowflake folded tag. I glittered the front of the tag with silver glitter and tied it onto my snowflake package with fluffy white yarn. (see photo) There are several ornament die cutters by Sizzix, which fit into the Big Shot and make gorgeous paper ornaments. At 40% off I couldn’t resist buying several. You’d better hurry before they run out or go off sale. Oh, the giant Martha Stewart snowflake cookie cutters were on sale at Macy’s, but they may not have any left by now. I love Christmas sales! Bargains galore!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December already?

Wow, where did November go? Time to put away the autumn leaves and take out the snowflakes. On Sunday I had 10 minutes to pop into the Mapunapuna BFC and was inspired by a Dreamweaver snowflake stencil. This silver metal stencil is the perfect size for a standard size card and has randomly spaced assorted snowflakes. By applying white embossing paste, (also by Dreamweaver), I was able to achieve a look similar to a fondant-covered cake with royal icing. Adding Martha Stewart white glitter to the paste snowflakes before they dried gave them just the right sugar like sparkle. I think the embossing paste doesn’t discolor the new, silver-colored stencils, so you can do multiple cards without washing the stencil in between cards. The card with the Happy Holidays ribbon (American Crafts) is a really simple card, which would make it ideal for multiple mailings. The tag and the other card were made because I smudged the paste snowflakes by not pulling the stencil straight up off the card. I didn’t want to discard the perfect snowflakes so I tore off the good parts. The Celebrate the Wonder rubber stamp is from Stampendous as is the clear stamp, winter wishes. Both were stamped on with Martha Stewart silver ink and embossed with Stampendous stardust transparent powder. The plastic snowflake and vellum with sparkles were from my craft stash but should be easy to find at Ben Franklin. Oh, the light and fluffy snow-like yarn on the tag is Polarspun (Lion brand). I hope that you are having as much fun as I am, playing with my Christmas craft supplies. I know the season will speed by and I will soon have to put all the pine trees, snowmen, Santas, and snowflakes away for another year…so enjoy this time of crafting and giving.