Monday, December 3, 2012

Operation Write Home

Things have been really busy around here lately! Over the past month and a half, I have sold cards in two craft fairs, bought a house, and packed up all of our earthly possessions in preparation for moving day (T-5 days and counting). I am just taking a few minutes out of my busy schedule to post about an awesome cause that I just discovered.

Operation Write Home is a non-profit organization that sends thousands of handmade cards and letters of encouragement to deployed troops all over the world. The cards are left blank so that soldiers can write letters home. I am so excited to donate some of my cards to this wonderful cause!

To learn more about how it works, visit http://operationwritehome.org/

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mojo Monday 264

Here is another Christmas card for Mojo Monday! Even though I love using traditional Christmas colors, sometimes it is fun to mix it up and use different variations.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Cards

I know this is a bit of a spoiler for some of my friends and family who will be getting Halloween cards later this month, but I have been saving the pictures and just decided to post them now - especially because I am going to be very busy making Christmas cards for the next couple of months.




Mojo Monday 263

So, I am planning on entering some craft shows this winter and selling some of the cards that I have been making. I am very excited about it, but a little nervous because I have so much work to do. With Christmas cards on my mind, I couldn't help but stay with the festive theme when I started on the Mojo Monday card for this week:



Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mojo Monday 261

This week for the Mojo Monday sketch, I had two major firsts. I used my first stamp and I made a card in the "shabby chic" style for the first time. Because it was my mom's birthday card, I wanted to wait to put it up until after I gave it to her this evening. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the challenge ended an hour ago. Even though I can't win the contest this time, I am still posting this card.




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Card Challenges

One of the coolest things I have discovered since starting my blog is that there are TONS of different card making challenges out there. It is a way that stampers and crafters find to connect with other people throughout the world who enjoy the same hobby that they do. So, this morning I compiled a huge list of different card challenges.

There are actually challenges and competitions for every day of the week! They are generally sketch, color, or theme based. Sometimes they offer prizes and sometimes they are just for fun. I posted links to all of the challenges I have found so far for your convenience (and mine!).

Monday: Mojo Monday
Tuesday: CASology
Wednesday: Freshly Made Sketches, Frilly & Funkie (every other week)
Thursday: Play Date Cafe, Case Study
Friday: Clean&Simple (every other week), Cas-ual Fridays, Fab Friday, Viva la Verve
Saturday: Dynamic Duos, Retro Sketches, I{heart}2Stamp (once a month)
Sunday: Paper Players, Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge

If you are looking for a little inspiration, check out a few of these blogs. You will surely find a lot of great ideas!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Modern Thank You

After I finished the car seat canopy, I was just so excited about how cute it turned out that I decided to make a card to match. I used the Mojo Monday sketch again. I really like how the geometric shapes and colors that I used made this card look very modern. I also made a Thank You card that has the exact same colors and pattern. Here they are:







Car Seat Canopy

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours making a car seat canopy for a friend who is going to have a boy. This is the second one I have made and it definitely went faster the second time. I am so happy about the cute fabric that I found at Hobby Lobby.

Supply List:

  • 1 yard + 4 inches of two coordinating fabrics (2 yards 8 inches total)
  • thread
  • 4 buttons (for decoration)
  • about 6 inches of velcro

Of course, I washed the fabric before beginning to avoid potential shrinking in the future. I cut 4 inches off of the longest edge of the fabric and ensured that each piece measured 35"x42". Then I ironed it out and rounded the corners with the fabric front to front so that the shape of each piece of fabric would be identical.


I pinned around the whole thing so that the fabric wouldn't slide as I sewed it.

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Then I sewed around the entire thing, leaving a few inches open so I could turn it inside out. After turning it inside out, I ironed it again and sewed around the outer edges - a little less than 1/4" seam.


I made the handles by sewing two 4"x9" pieces of fabric together. They should be positioned about 12 inches from the back of the pattern and about 19 inches from the sides. It is best if they are about 5 1/2 inches apart (leaving space for the handle). I sewed the velcro on so the handles would close around the handle of the car seat and added the buttons as a decoration.


I sewed the front corners up so they wouldn't drag on the ground and added buttons there as well.



Here is the finished car seat canopy. I really like how it turned out.







Mojo Monday 259

I bought my very first ink pad ever for this card! It is a Tim Holtz distressing ink pad. I felt like it was a really significant moment for me because I have been intentionally resisting buying them for a long time. And, of course, I had my usual moment of "frantic yearning" as soon as I got home. Does anyone else get that? Sometimes after I buy something, I get home and I feel like I need to drive right back to the store and buy it in every color, or buy all of the matching accessories, or something equally {crazy} - especially when you live on the kind of budget that I live on. But I resisted. At first I told myself that I would just wait until the next day so I could use my 50% off coupon again. By the next morning I was able to quell the urge to buy another one until I have a specific project that justifies the purchase.

Anyway, I actually used this week's Mojo Monday sketch to do a few different cards. The first card that I made was a Halloween/Autum one and I love the combination of colors.



I cut out a little owl from my paper to use on the inside of the card. Lately I have noticed that a lot of people in the crafty blogging world decorate the inside of their cards to coordinate with the outside. I decided I would try it out too.


A few weeks ago, I asked my mom to show me how to do distressing with ink. I think I could still use a little practice, and maybe some sort of sponge or something, but I still feel really good about how this turned out.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sweetest Thing

I found a new challenge. It is called the Sweet Sunday sketch challenge. I just finished a few scrapbook pages and had some leftover paper that I really liked so I set it aside to make a new card. The layout of this challenge just went perfectly with the paper that I had.



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Similar Cards

After I finished that first sketch for Mojo Monday this week, I decided to use up the rest of the paper scraps that I had left. I created a few more versions of the same sketch and I really like how they turned out.





Mojo Monday 257

This week is contest week for Mojo Monday. Even though it has been a busy one for me, I have been thinking a lot about how I would use the sketch. I finally decided to use some leftover paper from Ashlyn's baby book. Because it was from her book, I wanted to use it in a card that would, in some way, honor her memory.Whenever I think about Ashlyn, I think of purity, gratitude, kindness and love. I felt like the sentiment that I found was perfect: "May every day be a celebration of the heart."




Supply list:
  • paper: scraps (American Craft brand)
  • flowers: Recollections
  • sentiment: Cloud 9 Design, Celebrate expoxy stickers



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Use the Computer

Crafting on a Budget: Tip #4

Even though stamps are a pretty big deal in the card making and scrapbooking world, you can actually make a lot of really cute cards without using them. See, the biggest problem with stamps is that you have to buy a new set for every single occasion... and buy several different colors and types of ink to match all of your different projects... and maybe buy embossing ink and a special little heat embossing tool... and sometimes even buy special punches so that you can cut out the shapes that you just stamped without having to use scissors... and then find a place to store everything.

So, if you are like me and don't have any stamps, you can create some of the cutest cards by simply using Microsoft Word, the internet, and maybe even Photoshop (if you decide to get really fancy). Because Word has so many different fonts, colors, clipart, and other options, you can create a lot of your own sentiments and size them perfectly. Just print them out on white or cream-colored cardstock and you are good to go. Every single sentiment that I have ever used is either a sticker (bought at 40% off, of course), or straight from the computer.

For Father's Day this year, I got my husband a motorcycle (that's how much I saved on scrapbooking supplies...jk) and I wanted to make him a matching motorcycle card. I found a card that I liked on the internet. She used a motorcycle stamp. All I did was google "motorcycle clip art" and look through the images until I found one that I liked. Maybe it took a few minutes more than a stamp would have, but it was free and I had complete control over the color and size of the image.



One Week Old

I have been spending a lot of time working on Connor's baby book lately. I am doing one page for each week that he was in the NICU, so here is week one:



Maybe I should add in some journalling.... I just like the way it looks right now. But I guess the story wouldn't be complete without telling how I went to about 6 different stores looking for a preemie sized St. Patrick's Day outfit so he would have some green to wear that day. When I couldn't find anything at another store, I went to Walmart as a last resort. Who would have guessed that I would find it at Walmart - even when I couldn't find one at any of the baby-specific stores I had visited.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Save (and Use!) your Scraps

Crafting on a Budget Tip #4

One thing that many of the most dedicated crafters do is that they save their scraps. When I started my first scrapbook, I decided that I would save all of my scraps. I used three different sized plastic bags and separated my extra paper according to size. But, guess what: a year later I still had all of the same scraps. I hadn't saved any money yet!

So, just a few weeks ago I went through all of my scrap paper again. I threw away a lot of it and only kept scraps that were actually big enough to use. Then, I used some of the scraps! I need to do the same with the scrap fabric that I have around here.

Maybe it seems ridiculous that I would go so long without using a single scrap, but I get so excited to use my new paper that it doesn't even occur to me to check the scrap bag. Really, it is only worth saving your scraps if you make a point to pull them back out and use them in projects. Maybe make up a filing system so you don't have to go through every single scrap to see if you have one in a certain color. Whatever you do, make sure that you use those pieces of paper, ribbons, fabric, and other supplies!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Focal Point

Card Making Basics Tip #3

A card is more visually pleasing if there is a specific focal point.

The concept of having a focal point can relate to color, placement, size, and shape of the elements that you use in a card. For example, for Independence Day I made a card (I admit that it isn't my best card, but it is a good illustration of this point) using muted colors. I wanted it to be simple so I chose to place a big blue star in the center of the card; after I assembled everything, the card was totally boring. It just didn't look good.

I put the card aside for a day and when I came back to it, I realized that it lacked a focal point. The size of the star wasn't enough to make the card look "finished." When I added white lettering and brads, the card looked a lot better:


Monday, August 27, 2012

Tiny Angel Page

Last night, I decided to work on Connor's baby book. I have a lot of really cute baby boy paper that I am so excited to use. Here is the finished result:



Supply list:
  • Cloud9Design baby boy paper, coordinating green and blue cardstock
  • blue brads from Paper Studio
  • "tiny angel" word stickers by Momenta



Monday, August 20, 2012

Anni-verve-sary Challenge #5

I just finished the fifth and final challenge for the Anni-VERVE-sary. It took me a while to come up with a good idea for this one because it had to be something other than a card.


After thinking about it for a long time and going to several different websites for ideas, I decided that I wanted to make a pinwheel and I wanted to make a gift for my husband. Eventually, I came up with the idea of making a jar full of some of my favorite memories that we have together. 


I decorated the jar and typed up the first 20 memories that came to mind. It was fun to think about all of those good times that we have had together. I hope he has as much fun reading them as I had while I was writing them!


Supply List:
  • empty marshmallow cream jar
  • Paper: Scrapbook Walls "guest diamonds" paper with coordinating blue and green cardstock
  • Paper Studio Bubble-A-Bilities letters (C&J) and words (Memories)
  • metallic brads from Paper Studio


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Anni-verve-sary Challenge #4

So, here is challenge #4:


Seems like a *simple* challenge, right? So, it probably looks like I threw this card together in about 5 minutes, but it actually took me over an hour to compare different colors, select the perfect piece of paper, choose my font, and decide on the right design. The only easy part was choosing my dry embossing folder. Of course I used the one that I just bought with a birthday gift card from my mom! Incidentally, she also gave me my Sizzix dry embossing machine when she got her new Big Shot. Now those are the kind of hand-me-downs that I like!



So, without further ado, here is the card that I made for this challenge:


Supply List:



Friday, August 17, 2012

Anni-verve-sary Challenge #3

Luckily, my baby boy is taking pretty long naps today so I have had time to do the third challenge for Anni-verve-sary. This time, they gave us a layout to work with:


As I am doing these challenges, I realize that I really prefer to use a pre-designed layout than have to come up with one on my own. Maybe that is a testament to my lack of creativity, but I am okay with that. I really like how this card turned out. 


Supply List
  • Paper: Paper studio tiny stripe navy/cream, Paper Studio quatrefoil navy/cream, Echo Park yello flourish, navy and gray cardstock
  • Accessories: navy ribbon, Mosaic stickers by Mark Richards
  • "Thinking of" Century Gothic font (Microsoft Word) "You" French script




Anni-verve-sary Challenge #2

Here is my big confession: I don't own a single stamp... or an ink pad, distressing tool and probably half of the other cool and useful tools that other card makers have. I would love to try them out, but right now my husband and I are saving up for our first house, so buying lots of scrapbooking supplies just isn't in the budget. I would love to try the Verve stamp collection that I keep reading about on all of these card making blogs that I follow, which is one reason that I am doing the Anni-VERVE-sary 2012 challenges. Of course the other reason is that I think it is fun.

This is the challenge:

I was excited to do something with silver brads and paper. Here is what I came up with:


Supply List

Paper: DCWV silver script paper, black, white, silver cardstock
Accessories: thin white ribbon and silver brads

I printed "Happy Anniversary" from Word with the Vladimir Script font.

You can look at the gallery with all of the Anni-VERVE-sary Challenge 2 entries here.


A New Challenge

I am starting to realize that there are lots of different online challenges that people host. Sometimes they are just for fun and sometimes they are competitions. I found one that is a celebration of the 5th anniversary of Verve. I haven't used any of their products, but I have seen some of the things that are coming out in their new collection (I just finished their blog hop) and it looks like they have some great stuff. The first challenge in a series of five is to use pink, green, and brown to create a card.



I had some cute cupcake paper in my file that I have been wanting to use. I am so glad that it fit well with the challenge color scheme. Here is the card that I came up with:


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Buy Used Supplies

Crafting on a Budget Tip #3

One thing that I discovered, after I had already purchased a lot of my basic card making supplies, is that there are tons of people who buy a bunch of craft supplies only to realize that they don't really have time to use them. There are other people who decide that their stash of supplies is taking up too much space.There are even people who are so dedicated to crafting that they are constantly upgrading to the newest machines and tools; they sell the old to make room for the new. 

Regardless of the reason, you might be surprised at how much money you can save when you buy from other people rather than shopping at a store. Websites like craigslist, KSL, and ebay make it easy to get great deals on practically new tools and machines. All the time, I see people selling their entire collection of scrapbooking supplies including paper, stickers, embellishments, stamps, idea books, storage, and other things.

Whether you are just starting out, or are looking to add to your growing stash of crafting supplies, you can save a lot of money this way.

P.S. You almost never have to pay asking price when you shop like this. Most people are willing to negotiate a little bit if you have cash on hand.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Matting

Card Making Basics Tip #2

When I started working on my very first scrapbook, my mom worked with me on a couple of pages. She showed me that you can give your page a "finished" look by matting photos, boxes for journaling, and other features of the page. The matting usually contrasts with colors in the background - a dark matting over a light background or a light matting over a dark background. This week's Mojo Monday card is a great example of how matting can make a card look really nice:


The borders, or matting, make the different elements of the card "pop" and creates a nice, clean look. Over time, I have noticed that there is another popular scrapbooking style in which people don't use matting quite as much. Often, cards that don't have matting around every single element look a little bit more sporadic but they are fun and can take a little bit less time to make. This is a Father's Day card that I made for my father-in-law who loves road trips and does a lot of driving for his job:


Whenever I make a card, one of the first things I think about is whether or not I will do matting. Sometimes, I do more than one layer of matting (white and blue, in this case):


Consciously choosing when and when not to do matting will help you design a card that is the perfect style for the occasion, for the paper you are using, and for the recipient.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mojo Monday 254

I really like the card that I made this time for Mojo Monday. The layout is super cute and was really easy to work with. I decided on a navy blue and lime green color combination, which seems to be pretty popular right now (isn't it weird how colors go in and out of style?)



Supplies:
  • paper by the Paper Studio
  • green ribbon and brads 
  • printed message using Harrington font in Microsoft Word (I know everyone else uses stamps, but my computer is so much cheaper to use and doesn't take up extra storage space....)