Monday, December 31, 2012

Add texture & dimension to a gift box with paints & mediums

For this week's episode of Cool2Craft, I decorated a paper maché gift box using a variety of mixed media techniques.

I just love shades of gold, copper and bronze together. Plus it's so fun to blend and layer rough and smooth textures - paper, sand, metal, acrylic, and glass.

Click here for my project instructions and video tutorial...have fun!

Here's a shopping list to get you started:

Texture medium
Metallic inks
Paper maché box
Podgeables crown
Striping brush
Metallic tape
Alcohol inks
Tacky glue
Rusty tin stars

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy New Year cards

Just made a couple cards for friends to ring in the new year - I really like the black/white/kraft color combo. I made the embellishment to represent opening the door to whatever new and exciting opportunities might be ahead in 2013. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Transform manila hang tags into a gift bow for a bottle of wine

When my mother found a box of 1000 manila hang tags marked down to just a few dollars on the clearance rack at the local office supply store, she thought how handy they'd be for a garage sale.

But we crafters usually see things a little differently, right?

Red and white inks, glitter, glue, a ribbon and some bling turns a dozen of those tags into a pretty fan-shaped gift bow to tie around the neck of a bottle of wine.

So now I have several hundred more tags...I suppose that means I need to go shopping for more wine?  ;-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quick and easy thumbtack ornament

This was a fun one to make with a Smoothfoam ball and some silver thumb tacks....just paint and poke, lol. The ball has a seam line around the center that makes a perfect guide to keep the first row of tacks straight. I used a little Tacky Glue to add glitter on the bottom and a pretty ribbon in between, then I added a few decorative gold headpins just for ducks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quick & easy living tabletop tree for the holidays

Here's a super easy way to add a little something extra to a table during the holidays. I bought this rosemary plant at my local grocery store - it not only smells divine, it's a living herb that I can plant outside later and have delicious fresh rosemary to season my cooking. 

To decorate it, I just tied some jingle bells to a few stems with red embroidery floss. Then I punched some flowers from red paper and added a little red glitter with glue to the tips of each petal. I snipped a little slice between two of the petals toward the center of each flower to "wrap" them around the stems.

Lastly, I cut some long narrow petals (like poinsettias) from the red paper, creased them down the center and just poked them into the plant in various spots...done! And so cute!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Year's resolutions in a deck of handmade cards

Check out this Cool2Craft episode all about a fun project for the New Year. I used stamping and decoupage techniques to create a unique deck of cards that will keep me reminded of the good things I want to do in the new year.

These would also be really fun to make and swap, like artist trading cards!

(ps:  RAK stands for "random act of kindness")

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A doorhanger in a fabric gift bag

In case you missed my most recent segments on Cool2Craft...this week my angel doorhanger is featured, and last week my reversible fabric gift bag was featured. Full project instructions and the video tutorial are ready and waiting for you on the Cool2Craft site.

Hey now, what a great gift idea...make a cute doorhanger to put in a pretty handmade bag! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Paper flower cone ornament

I signed up for a challenge from the Bit of Pink Heaven blog to create something using the items inside a surprise package from the Sigrid Studios Etsy shop.

Inside the package was a lovely variety of vintage papers and ephemera, so I made this paper flower cone ornament.

The cone itself is a piece of sheet music, and all the flowers were punched out of book pages and then colored with Pan Pastels.

The leaves were colored and cut from Monopoly money. The circle embellishment is a tab from an old milk bottle that I glittered yellow, then I punched a smaller circle from a playing card and added clear glitter to it.

The orange ric-rac that the cone is hanging by was part of the package too. The only things I added that were not in the package are the rhinestone centers of the flowers.

I still have lots of pretty papers leftover - many thanks to Eleanor and Tanja for the treats and the challenge, it was fun!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Steampunk Holiday Blog Hop

Leslierahye is hosting another steampunk blog hop and it's very merry!

This collage is steampunk-light, but I really enjoyed making it...I especially enjoyed burning the paper all around the edges...mwah.

I bought the original pic of this little victorian boy from an antique store, I just love him.

It cracks me up how stately and mature he looks in this pose, when he was probably all of seven years old. But he's extra cute with his glittered santa hat and boots.

The trees, hat, swirls and stars are Tim Holtz Grungeboard, inked with Pan Pastels.

Enjoy the rest of the hop using the links below!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

My new "command central" notebook

Twice a year I go to CHA - the Craft & Hobby Association Conference & Trade Show.
This is a big note-taking, card-taking, deal-making, hand-shaking, inspiration-quaking show for me. Sure, I have an iPad and a laptop on my person, but I'm still a pen and paper gal when it comes to my travel agenda, the seminars I attend, the appointments and commitments I make, ideas and inspiration I want to remember.

Usually I take a steno pad or a small spiral notebook, but they don't look very professional. I've taken an art journal and colored pencils, thinking I might enjoy some quiet creative time at the show in between notes and agendas, but that's virtually impossible because every minute of every hour for four days is mapped out with people to see, places to go, things to do. I've never gotten into the complex planner systems notebooks either...too much muss and fuss and preprinted templates that I don't need, not to mention they're expensive.

Enter Martha Stewart Discbound Notebooks. The good people from Martha's home office team sent me one of these notebooks with a few accessories to review (they're available at Staples). At first I thought, meh...another binder-style notebook with lined paper, a nice heavy cover and a pen holder. But then I looked more closely and realized the whole "discbound" feature in the spine was pretty cool. All the pages and divider tabs pop in and out of the disc rings like Rolodex cards. 

So you can move pages or tabs around, take them out, put them back, way easier and faster than with a 3-ring binder. Plus this solves one of my huge pet peeves with tearing out pages from spiral bound notebooks...I hate all the messy little paper bits stuck on the other side of the spiral.

One of the accessories are these narrow little to-do list papers that come on a pad. You can stick one wherever you need it, and the top peeks out above the note sheets.

I started thinking about how I take notes at the seminars I attend. There's the stuff I write down just because the act of writing what I hear helps me retain the information I'm learning. Then there's the info I want to actually do something with later, like visit a website the speaker recommended, or sometimes the topic reminds me of something else I need to do or try after the show. So I think these little to-do slips are going to be very handy to insert next to my notes for safekeeping, then they'll be so much easier to find later, instead of reading through all my notes looking for where I put something in all caps or underlined it. Then there are the sheets in between seminar notes, where I'm doodling or designing or jotting down plans for that next big idea...which I can easily move to a separate section whenever I want.

So I gotta say, this little notebook will be my perfect "command central" for CHA in January, and it will come in handy for client meetings right now. It's a nice size for my big purse, and all the accessories and refills are less expensive that some of the other planner systems. The note sheets glide smoothly along the discs without coming off (for turning pages), and they could easily be used like a daily appointment calendar. It has a couple pockets to store business cards and such, plus a nice elastic band to hold it closed. Thanks Martha!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A blog hop for the Paint Chip Pals with a giveaway

Want to save the world from blah? Of course you do!

My creative crafty besties, Andrea and Cliff, have designed a collection of seven softies (aka plushies, stuffies, pillows) that look like paint chips. Each of the seven softies is a colorful character with his or her own personality, complete with a super cute name, individual style, and even a background story.

You have the opportunity to join the Paint Chip Pals fundraising campaign on Kickstarter...kick in a few bucks to help the Pals get from the prototype phase to the production stage, and you can get a Pal for keepsies.

The Pals are intended to inspire us to use color in our work, in our homes, in our lives. I am guilty of ignoring color. My wardrobe is mostly black. My home decor is mostly neutrals and darks. My creative work leans toward metallics and earth tones. So I stepped outside my comfort zone and made some brighter, more cheerful greeting cards inspired by these pals o' mine.

Click here to see how the other bloggers in the hop got psyched about color, and be sure to leave a comment here on my post and on the other posts in the hop for your chance to win a Paint Chip Pal of your very own!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

How to make a beaded SmoothFoam ornament

It's the first Monday of the month, and that means it's time for a blog hop with the Designer Crafts Connection!

When you're done here, click on either of the "hop" links in the DCC logo in my sidebar to go to the next blog. When you get there find the same logo on her blog and keep on hoppin' in the same direction.

This month our theme is "Handmade Holidays" so I decided to make a tree ornament with a 2.5" SmoothFoam ball.

First I painted it green and added some clear glitter. Then I grabbed a bunch of pretty green stone beads and short headpins and just started pokin' 'em in. After a while it was easier on the tip of my finger to use a metal thimble.

For the beaded pins at the top and bottom, I sank those in clear glue first for stability. I love the two glass millefiori beads at the bottom!

I made it red and green so it seemed like a Christmas ornament, but I added the hints of yellow so it didn't look too Christmasy. Now I can hang it anywhere all year long.