Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Gift Cards

I wanted to make some shaker gift/money holders that didn't involve cutting foam pieces with the Sizzix. I discovered that I could make simple holders using cardstock and cutting the window out with a Coluzzle template. On the back of the holder I taped on vellum paper with Merikan tape to make a pocket for the money or card. Inside the window I glued acetate and put a rubber-stamped card over the loose snowflakes. I will write up the project and include a template on our website ( sometime this week. The second photo shows the back of the two holders plus the inside of a previously shown card holder. Notice the MS snowflake punched border that was used to hold the card. If you are like me and clueless as to what to give nieces and nephews, make some of these holders and include money or gift cards. You'll save yourself some major headaches.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Gobble Gobble Day!

I hope you all had a good Turkey Day! I sure gobbled up more than my share of Thanksgiving calories. We're taking a break before going on to the pie......sigh! Black Friday is usually the start of my shopping panic. This is the day I realize that I need to get the gifts in the mail by next week, and that includes baking some cookies. As you see in the photo above I've begun cheating and buying cookie boxes. There are only so many things I can craft before the mailing deadline so I feel that if I at least decorate the boxes with a few embellishments that will show some effort. Besides the super cute and inexpensive treat boxes, I found some other mailing/wrapping helpers at Ben Franklin Crafts. I love the round ornament boxes which are perfect for wrapping handmade jewelry to hang on the tree. For some of the young guys on my gift list (who wouldn't appreciate handmade gift/money holders), I think I will use the well- made Gerson felt holders...what a bargain! I bought the Little Pot Pals for my boys so that they can feel the joy of being creative this holiday weekend. I think no one is too old or too cool to craft. The kits come complete (a super buy) and are adorable. I found a bunch of miniature ornaments from Darice (resin angels) and Gerson (jointed snowmen and santas) which are lightweight and highly detailed. Their low price makes it possible to incorporate them onto a card or tag. The strands of frosted snowflakes and little heart, star or flower beads were not purchased for decorating the tree. I plan to cut apart the snowflakes and use them for gift tags by writing the names with slick writers. The other strands are not going to be used this Christmas but will adorn Valentine cards or cut apart to fill Fourth of July/Easter shaker cards. I hope I've given you some good shopping ideas. Don't forget tomorrow there are TWO 40% off coupons for Ben Franklin Crafts, one at 7-9 in the morning and the other for 7-9 in the evening. See you there. Have a bargain-filled Black Friday shopping day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I just had to tell you about the three terrific new books I've discovered. They are all jewelry books; any of them would make excellent gifts for your crafty jewelry friends. The top book in the photo is written by Jane Dickerson and has so many great projects that I put Post-It tabs on almost every page. Dickerson's simple and elegant style incorporates lots of chains and earthy colors. There are a few projects that have ocean colored glass or ceramic beads that would make them ideal for Hawaii.

Sharilyn Miller's book, Contemporary Copper Jewelry, is a super book for jewelry artists who are thrilled by the recent popularity of copper in jewelry making. Copper's malleability and warm color make it a beautiful wire working medium alone or with gemstones and other metals. I especially liked the projects Miller designed with brass, silver and copper and I thought she did an exceptional job of showing how to wire wrap gemstones so that the wire is also part of the design.

Enchanted Adornments by Cynthia Thornton is truly an enchanted book that is filled with lovely drawings, captivating stories, and multi-media projects that seem to have been made by an artistic fairy. I love this book so much. This is definitely the book that I wish I had written and I fantasize writing a book similar to this one sometime in the future. If you want to learn new techniques and be enchanted by a creative mind you must obtain and read this book.

I am often asked where my inspiration for my jewelry projects come from and I honestly can say my best ideas are initiated by looking at the work of others. I scrutinize books and magazines to determine what designs appeal to me and which ones won't be too tedious. I am also drawn to certain shapes and colors. Many times a new purchase or rummaging through my bead stash will give rise to a unique idea. Even TV shows have provided me with current jewelry style ideas. (Ugly Betty and Bones are two series in which the actresses wear eye-catching jewelry.) Anyway, even though you may not find these three books on the BFC book shelf, I think that you will be wise to buy them if you do see them for sale.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cool Jewels for the Ice Princess

When I saw these Beyond Beautiful beads at Ben Franklin Crafts I knew I had to make some winter wonder jewelry. The large beads on the necklace are foil lined faceted plastic so they sparkle like glass but are not heavy. The other beads used for this party glam-girl necklace are silver glass pearls, faceted clear glass rondelles, and faceted silver fire polished beads. The complete instructions and supply list for the necklace will appear on our craft club website ( I decided that the necklace needed a coordinating bracelet so I selected a strand of Beyond Beautiful beads. This strand happened to be made up of beads wired together (unlike most of the other strands which are strung on monofilament) so making the bracelet was a snap. I just added a clasp and it was done! I think this set will be perfect to wear to holiday gatherings. To me it has a vintage 60's feel to it.....where are my gloves and lucite purse?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Introspective vs.Abundance

I had to laugh when I saw these two cards side by side. They really represent the way I feel about the two upcoming holidays. To me, Thanksgiving has always been about appreciating your blessings in a quiet, introspective way. Christmas, on the other hand, is a time for kids (big ones,too) to get their wishes fulfilled in an over-the-top, sugary, abundance.

The autumn card was made simply by folding an 8-1/2x11 neutral cardstock into four parts and cutting off the upper right quadrant. Then I cut a window in the two layers of the card front. A Mountain Idea skeleton leaf was lightly glued between a slightly translucent vellum paper (back) and a translucent vellum paper (front). The vellum sandwich was then taped into the card window. The word autumn was then stamped on the front of the card.

The super embellished card is gaudy but cheerful. My favorite part is the gingerbread man that was made by stamping the image onto a piece of cork sheet and decorated with glitter (use white drying glue) and Stickles. I also think the glittered punched loops really give the card a feel of icing on a gingerbread house. I found that punching one loop corner first and then doing the edges and then another corner is easier than doing the corners first and trying to line up the in-between loops. The scalloped felt ribbon (Martha Stewart) was embellished with Stickles and a mini ornament with the hanger snipped off. Right now in Ben Franklin Crafts there are lots of mini candy ornaments that can work well on a card like this. The American Crafts company has designed a glorious array of 'sweet ' papers (available at BFC) with foil and glitter accents which should inspire you to craft, craft, craft! Click on the photo if you want to see the details on the cards. Thank you for visiting and I hope you'll come back soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shopping Again

Shopping at Ben Franklin Crafts is always fun because you never know what'll find. On Monday I happened to pop into the Mapunapuna store and found a great McGill cupcake punch. The punch is much larger than the Martha Stewart one and punches out additional pieces ( a little star, heart and candle) to decorate the punched out cupcake. This punch will make a great gift for a cupcake loving crafter. I also purchased two Martha Stewart felt ribbon packages. The white snowflake one is so delicate and will add beautiful texture to cards, tags or scrapbook pages. I think the red, white, and green scalloped felt ribbons match well with the vintage-looking Christmas decorative paper that are in the stores now. The other items in the photo are what I term stocking stuffers, but actually I bought them to put in gift baskets of home baked goodies and other small items. The magnetic shopping list pads are invaluable at this time of the year and the small Hello Kitty items are mini calendars that I picked up by the Hilo BFC cash register. The small size of the calendars makes them perfect to put in a purse or set up near your computer. I'm trying to think of a way to incorporate the calendars into Xmas cards as a small appreciation gift. I hope you'll visit the Ben Franklin Crafts stores often this season to find unexpected decorating and crafting goodies.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lucky Me!

My husband returned from Japan and he brought back a bunch of Copic pens with a storage case. I'm so-o-o-o lucky! Maybe you'll see an improvement in my coloring. In any case, you know I'll be having fun playing with my new pens.

The photo below shows a shaker ornament attached to a card. Slipping the hanging cord through the center of the bow allows the recipient to remove the ornament from the card and hang it on a tree or wreath. I used wire that I sometimes remove from wired ribbon and used it to tie the bow. Another skinnier ribbon is tied over the center of the bow and the entire bow is taped to the card. The little cookies and cookie cutters in the shaker box are from Dress It Up. The Santa's Cookies sticker is from American Crafts as are the gingerbread men and cookie decorative paper. I plan to make lots of cards similar to this one for those friends with whom I don't exchange gifts, but to whom I still want to send something special to let them know their friendship is apprcciated.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmas Shaker Gift Card Holders and Ornaments

The top two gift card holders are Xmas versions of the one I made for Halloween. I used the Sizzix border frame on a thin foam sheet to make the well for the snowflakes and fake snow. Then I glued another frame made from cardstock onto a piece of acetate. Once the glue was dry, I cut around the acetate, put the snowflakes in the shaker and glued the acetate down onto the foam. The bottom two shakers were made into ornaments because I used a fatter foam sheet to allow for thicker shaker fillers. The thicker foam is a bit hard to cut but if you press as you cut it will go through the Big Shot machine. Perhaps later I'll make a card and embellish it with a shaker ornament that the recipient can remove from the card and hang on a tree. The cute polar bear was made from an Imaginesce rubber stamp image that was flocked. The girl with the cap is a Hero Arts stamp image with the fur trim flocked.The felt flowers are also from Hero Arts. Be sure to stamp the words BEFORE assembling the shaker box frame. The polar bears are on a background of Imaginesce paper and the girls with the caps are on K and Co. paper. I plan to make lots of the gift card holders because all of my crafty friends are getting Ben Franklin Crafts gift cards this year and craft magazine subscriptions. I've decided that I have unusual taste in gifts so I won't give anything this year that requires choosing a color or style. Oh, one last thing about Christmas shaker cards.....check out Ben Franklin Crafts mini-tree trimming section for miniature items to put in your shaker box many cute, tiny Christmas items!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Napkin Ring

I'm sorry if I sounded like a grumpasaurus on my last post. Thanks Kris for your humor and sympathy. Thanks for volunteering to bring the COOKED turkey, 18 pumpkin pies, and a decorated Xmas tree! LOL ! I guess I was in a pity-me-mood because I had just injured my foot. I was carrying a box of Christmas rubber stamps and looking at the stamps . I should have been looking at where I was walking because I tripped over my floor fan. I didn't think I was hurt but later my foot started getting red and now it is bruised. Today the little toe is swollen so it doesn't bend but amazingly there is no pain. Anyway, all you crafters out there please don't be so engrossed in looking at your stuff that you forget to watch where you're going. Slow down and avoid injuries

The photo shows a quickie napkin ring made with a disassembled autumn pick glued onto a ribbon that is tied around the napkin. The utensils don't look like the normal ones because they are from my collection of antique oddities. The three pronged fork is a lemon fork (I originally thought it was an olive fork). The knife is an engraved fish knife and the spoon is probably for nuts (or possibly a spoon for something that needs to be drained because the spoon has holes). I do believe all of these utensils are from the Victorian era (1890-1920) because it was a time when there were separate utensils for serving or eating every single food item. I find it interesting and challenging to discover strange silverware and learn their usage. With the BIG feast coming up I need to start polishing and find recipes that allow me to use all the wacky utensils I've collected.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas Trees

Just about this time every year I start to get depressed about all the work I still need to do to prepare for the holiday season. Sometimes I think I'll just run away. Maybe it's because many of the members my immediate family have passed away or have moved away. It's hard to get excited about cooking or shopping or even crafting when there is so much to do and you have to do it all by yourself. At times like this it helps me to go to Ben Franklin Crafts and see all the beautiful displays. This year the Hilo store crew really outdid themselves with the decorating. I love just going there and staring at the Christmas trees. Since we don't have a tree festival here, I think children especially would love visiting the store to see the magic that has been created by our elves. After a visual pick me up (and some shopping, LOL) I feel refreshed so I will now get lost in my craft room until someone shouts, "What's for dinner mom?"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mini Autumn Album

This is not a very good photo of the mini album but it really is quite attractive .....if I do say so myself...LOL! The directions for this project are on our website ( Because we don't have a fall season in Hawaii, I always envy those who see the beauty of autumn leaves in their yard, except when I think of the raking. I guess I should be happy to be able to purchase beautiful artificial fall folliage from Ben Franklin Crafts. In this photo you can see two examples of leaf picks and wired leaves available at the store. Click on the photo to enlarge it. I had the coil of wired leaves on my craft table and it inspired me to make the cover of the mini album. These days I am too lazy to make a whole large sized album but I do want to freeze some memories in time. This year for the first time in ages (since he went off to college) my older son will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner. Now that is definitely a reason to take millions pictures, so I made an expandable (yet mini) album. If I decide I need to do some journaling, I'll put some pockets on a few pages to hold my words. Don't let the holiday season pass without at least a mini collection of memories.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hope for Peace Necklace

Here is the first of my projects made using the Symbolize jewelry line and the multi-colored pearls from Ben Franklin Crafts Bead Shoppe. This necklace was whipped up in about an hour so it would be a great one to make for Christmas gifts and to sell at craft fairs. I think the pearl strands are going to be on sale soon but even at the regular price they are a bargain. I am happy with the way that this necklace turned out because it conveys a message and has a hippie, free spirit feel to it. The instructions for this project will appear on our website ( by next week. Click on the photo to see a close-up view. Thanks for visiting and come back again to see my autumn mini album.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Punchy Shopping Day

I finally bought the loopy Martha Stewart punches (a set of two). (I think the real name of the punch is 'rings'.) Although I went to Ben Franklin Crafts to buy just that set, of course my crafty eyes spied the snowflake set that punches a border of snowflakes all the way around a that set came home with me too. I have plans to use the snowflake set with my snowman rubber stamps and the loopy set should look good with my gingerbread house/men embellishments because the loops look like icing.
The items that made my heart beat faster during this shopping trip were the new 'Symbolize' line of jewelry parts from Cousins (see top photo). I absolutely love the components and I see so many possibilities for making beautiful gifts for the women and girls on my Xmas list. Also new to the store were millifiore glass bead strands and mixed pearl strands. Both of these types of bead strands were very inexpensive and seemed to match well with the Symbolize line. BFC Bead Shoppes have brought in new Beyond Beautiful bead strands. The variety and colors of these beads makes me so excited to get started with my Christmas creations. Thanks for visiting this blog site. Please come again to see what I've produced from these supplies.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Suggested Reading

This is another craft book you might be interested in purchasing. Elegant Scarves and Wraps by Jill Denton is a very creative instructional book that shows you how to make the most beautiful, luscious scarves and delicate, unique cozy wraps for evening or day wear. The techniques of felting these nature inspired art pieces are fully explained and illustrated in this book. Most of the projects in this book are suitable for Hawaii's climate because many designs are extremely lightweight. Also in this photo is another book mark I made to celebrate the fall season. I used a sheer ribbon (with the wire removed) and glued (with Fabri Tac) an artificial autumn leaf (wish I had the real thing) to the top. On the back I glued a paper oval with a rubber stamped gratitude saying. Take time to rest and read before the craziness of Christmas crafting begins.