Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Nesties & Storage Idea

I bought myself two new sets of Nestabilities dies. I love these dies! I've also been fine-tuning some areas of my craft room and I decided to try out a new storage idea for these dies. I saw this idea on a message board post on the Splitcoaststampers web site. By using really inexpensive magnetic tape I was able to make instant storage for all of my nesting dies. I applied the tape to the inside door of a craft cabinet that stands near my desk. I bought the tape from Michael's using a coupon for only $2.50. Now the dies are stored out of the way, but still within my quick reach.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Inspire Me

Well, what I really wanted to do today is clear out the clutter by removing the tree and decorations, but I decided to wait. In years past I always waited until New Year's to remove the tree but, this year, I don't know if it will make it that long. To keep busy, I decided instead to concentrate on my "inspiration basket." I got this idea a few months back from a fellow blogger and it really worked great this holiday season. I collected everything I purchased, plus some things I had on hand that would work for my holiday decorations, tags, gift packages, etc., and kept them in this basket on my desk. As I needed supplies or inspiration I would pull from this basket instead of looking through everything I owned. It was a great time saver. Now I'm going to spend a few minutes putting away the Christmas theme and bringing out some Valentines goodies. I'll be ready for the next holiday which is right around the corner.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Awaiting Santa's Arrival

The tree is lit and the cookies are ready....all we need now is Santa! Goodnight girls, sleep tight! Merry Christmas everyone!

Quickie Cards

I looked at my growing list of thank you cards to send out and decided I'd better get a jump start. Last night I came up with an easy design using a new Martha Stewart punch I bought at Michael's. I also used papers and ribbon I already had on hand. These 10 cards came together really quickly.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Doggy Gifts

I have a few last-minute gifts for some doggy friends of mine. I made this quick gift package yesterday for my friend's new puppy. I found this really cute dog necklace [made of faux pearls] at a craft sale and thought I would package it in an ornament-type holder for the tree. I used a bone-shaped template, some scrapbook paper and my sewing machine to sew it up while attaching a ribbon for the tree. Next, I added the dog's name, "Sam" short for "Samantha" and also included some doggy gingerbread treats. It was a fun project.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Concert & More

Whew! What a busy week at school with Christmas concerts, crafts and parties. We are now settling in on our first day off for Christmas vacation and I've got lots of plans. I wanted to share a few pictures of some things I've been working on but first, I must show you how my daughter, Abby, looked in her snowman shirt. The girls wore the red-hatted snowmen and the boys wore the black-hatted snowmen. They all looked so cute and the concert was really good! Next, I've been bagging "Butterkrunch Popcorn" to give out to friends and neighbors. We always exchange treats with our neighbors at Christmas time. Some friends do the same yummy treats every year, but I always end up doing something new. [Thanks for the awesome recipe Katie!] Also this year I decided to make some felt gift tags. I love working with felt. It is so forgiving and adds a special charm to my packages. This gift is going to a special friend. Only 3 days left until the big day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Grade Christmas Treats

We went to Michael's yesterday and I saw these really cute ornaments already painted and ready to go. My original idea for Christmas treats for my daughter's first grade class didn't work because I couldn't find a particular gummy candy that I needed to use. So, when I saw these, I thought they would be perfect...the Santas and penguins were our favorites. I spent a little bit of time today personalizing each ornament as well as dating the back of each one too. Next, I slipped it into a cellophane bag with some peppermint candies and added a bag topper and Christmas sticker. I love these round stickers I found at Michael's also. All 17 bags came together in an hour. I can't wait for Abby to pass them out to her friends. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ornament Packaging

I bought some inexpensive (but pretty) silver snowflake ornaments to give to a few friends this year. I have admired these ornaments for a while now [and would like a collection of my very own]. They are so simple, but so pretty at the same time. I couldn't decide how to wrap them. I contemplated an organza drawstring bag, a cellophane wrapper of some kind, etc., but then this idea came to mind. It was easy to put together using my new Scor-Pal. Once I made the template I stamped three snowflakes on each and then coated each stamped image with glitter. Next, I hung the ornament using a new purple organza ribbon and then tied each package closed and attached a tag. I also thought about using vellum to cover the cut out window, but decided to keep it very simple. I hope they like it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tile Gift Bags

My Christmas craft project for 3rd grade is Santa handprint tiles. We did these on Saturday at the school festival, but most of the students in my daughter's class did not make one. The teachers loved the idea and there were extra supplies left, so there's no need to "design" something new. What I did design, however, is a gift bag, made of felt for the kids to use to take their tile home. It will also be a good, safe storage option for after Christmas. These were really simple to put together. They measure 15 1/2" by 6 3/4", leaving enough space for a flap to fold over which I used to attach a cut-out heart and Christmas button. They will stay closed with a velcro circle. I may use a few other color combinations for the next 25 I put together.

Take Home Pig

While I was at school yesterday my daughter's 3rd grade teacher asked me how to cover a pet box for their classroom pig. Each child in the class will get the chance to take home the pig for a weekend from now through the end of school. (The pig is the wind-up kind, not a live one.) She was very clever by going to Petco and getting one of their hamster/mouse boxes which made it a cinch to cover with decorative paper. (I offered to bring it home and cover it so she wouldn't have to worry about it.) After looking through my "stash" I didn't have anything pig-related, or even farm-related, so I settled on this really neat 12x12 paper that had a two-sided school bus on it. I first covered the box with black textured cardstock, then I applied a school bus to either side of the box. The pig's name is "Camo" so I put her name in the school bus windows. It was my daughter's idea to add "on the go" to the end of the box, which I thought was cute. Next I wanted to add some grommets and ribbon, but I reminded myself that I needed to keep it simple for the 15 sets of hands that will be touching the box throughout this school year. This was a simple, fast project....the best kind!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's Come & Gone

Well, the BIG day finally arrived and now it's gone...whew! Our school's holiday festival was this past Saturday. Now I can finally breathe a sigh of relief! It was a good day for the most part....we had a few minutes (literally about 3) of sprinkling rain, and that's it. Everyone who came had a good time and my girls both loved it....that was my main goal. I brought my new camera thinking I could leisurely walk around and snap pictures for my blog, but it didn't happen that way. However, I did manage to get this really cute shot of my daughter, Abby, with her face painted like a "blue fairy." She loved the event, especially the stuffed animal adoption booth.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Scenes of Late

Well, I don't know about you, but we have entered the holiday season full speed on! I guess because we had such a laid-back and relaxed Thanksgiving this year (just the 4 of us), we were well rested yesterday to begin our Christmas decorating, wrapping and the annual trip up to the roof (not me, thankfully) to hang the lights. (We also had the annual black-out that always accompanies us in the evenings when the outside lights go on.) I thought I would just share a few scenes from this morning along with a new school craft I am working on. (I am making Snowmen t-shirts for our first grade Christmas concert...more on that later.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ribbon Board

This morning, after I read the newspaper, I got started on one of many "projects" on my "Project TO DO list." I found the perfect sized bulletin board at a garage sale a few weeks ago, it measures 23 x 46 and it was a steal for $2.00! My youngest daughter wanted a new ribbon board for her room to go above her new full-sized headboard. Well, where are you going to find one that big? You've got to make it yourself! I can't believe I started it this morning, and with one break in the middle of the day, I actually finished it this afternoon. The first thing I did was cover it with two layers of batting. The first layer was stapled on, the second layer I hot-glued to the first. (My second layer was too short to wrap around the board.) Next, I covered it with the fabric she chose..."pink, please!" I used the staple gun again for that. Then it was time to apply the ribbon pattern to cover the board. I had 4 spools of ribbon and used only 2 (they were 15ft. each). Lastly, the trickiest part was deciding how to tack down the ribbon so that we could get that puckered look. We decided to use a longer staple and needle-nose pliers to curl the ends of the staple once we put it through the front of the board. To finish it, I used a needle and thread to give my pink buttons a "faux-sewn" look and hot glued them to the intersecting ribbons to hide the staples. I can't wait to hang it above her bed. I think the total cost for this project was approximately $10.00.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Turkey Pins

I saw these cute pins today on my kitchen counter and thought you guys might like to see them. I made them several years ago for my daughter's pre-school teachers. I think I got the idea from "Family Fun" magazine. I believe they used something similar to iron on a child's shirt. We never see Thanksgiving holiday shirts in the stores, so that would be a good idea. I decided to use the pattern and turned them into decorative pins. These are made using simple craft felt cut with pinking shears and pipe cleaners for legs. The eyes were made using some square beads I had in my bead stash. I stayed home with a sick child today so there was no time for crafting, but I'm glad I had these to show you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas School Fun

What new camera? What Thanksgiving crafts? Have you done anything new lately? Not me, I've been steadily working away at preparations for my school's Christmas festival. These are a few shots (taken really quickly) of some things that have touched my crafty hands lately. Not the real show-stopping stuff I like to talk about, but things that have occupied my time and it's all for a good cause....that's what I keep trying to remind myself. The big day is December 6th (right around the corner) and then I'll be free to pursue other things. These pictures are of various things: a giant "Surprise Wall" that my husband constructed. My neighbor drew the scenery and we have been painting it little-by-little. One of four reindeer vases to be used as centerpieces at our eating tables (we will fill them with starlight peppermint candies) and some simple bows to be attached to evergreen wreaths. I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Family Photography

As I spend my days getting ready for my school's holiday festival, I've been using my time on creative things without taking pictures. We are preparing simple and easy crafts for the children to make (100 of each) and although we are making samples, I didn't think about taking pictures. I've also be spending some time painting a wall mural that will be turned into a game - I'll print pictures when it is done. For right now, I thought I would share a few pictures that I've taken with my new camera. They are nothing fancy, but I'm still learning the camera's capabilities and sneaking in some shots here and there while the kids play. I'll be back later with projects to share.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Christmas Came Early

Well, I finally bit the bullet (and the wallet) and bought myself a Digital SLR camera.....I am so thrilled and can't wait to see the possibilities! A long time ago, before the digital revolution, I took really awesome pictures with a Minolta camera complete with all the fancy lenses and filters. When we decided to go digital I gave up on the lenses and just used the auto focus for everything. Today I went, after doing a lot of research (and budget reviewing), and bought a Canon XSi with two lenses! I didn't get too far with the owner's manual today, I think only to page 23, but these are two really pretty pictures we took from around the house.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It Always Happens this Way

I think it's funny sometimes how whenever I am working on a particular project it doesn't matter how much space I have to begin with, or how neat my desktop area is when I get started, I always end up working in a space that measures about 8x8.....I'm shoving things around, things are falling down, I lose my x-acto knife (every time) but in the end, I usually like what I can come up with.

This afternoon I put together two quick cards as a thank-you to the room moms that helped me with my 3rd grade class and our "unofficial" Halloween party. It was nice to have a couple of people helping instead of doing the usual solo thing.

These came together really quickly from an inspirational photo in the Stampin' Up (Spring) catalog. (The green card is my favorite.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spider Web Pouch Treats

I carved out a few minutes yesterday to put together these treat pouches for Halloween. I filled them with foil-wrapped chocolate pumpkins and kisses. I found the sheer spider web fabric at Hobby Lobby and tied them closed with orange pipe cleaners. (I saw the idea a few months back in a magazine.) I love the look and they were so simple to put together.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Goofiness

We got the girls dressed yesterday for our neighborhood's annual Halloween Party and Parade and as soon as I did the "official" shot the girls started mumbling about something....I said "What's the matter?" Their response was, "We want a silly shot." So, this was the official "silly" picture of our Olympic Gymnast and Garfield the Cat. Who knew that's all it would take? They were happy after that.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homemade Snow Globe

I'm working again on our school's Holiday Festival and today I put together the remaining jars which we will use to make snow globes. I decided because my sample jar was taller than the jars we are using for the Festival, I would use a pretty pink flamingo instead of the Christmas charms the children will use. It was pretty easy to put together. The first thing you do is remove the label from the outside of a baby food jar. Then, with hot glue, apply your snow globe "centerpiece" which, as you can see, I used a flamingo. Fill your jar with water, add some glitter and a squirt of clear hand soap. For safety, I used a white painter's tape to wrap the lid and keep the kids from unscrewing the top. Next I tied a pretty pink ribbon to cover the tape.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Frankie's Pail

I made two of these pails the other day to give to my girls for Halloween. I found them at Wal-Mart for $1.00/each. There's been so much done with Frankenstein this year, I couldn't pass up the green pails once I saw them. The hair was hand cut and the eyes were punched out using my 1 3/8" inch punch and my 1 1/4" punch. The lips were a design of my husband's. I didn't want to draw on a typical Frankenstein mouth so we went for the puckered up look instead. What do you think?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Did I say, "Paint it purple?"

A few weeks back I saw a post on Craig's List for a free shopping cart. We went to pick it up from its previous owner and found out they used it to haul their boat supplies back and forth from their house and dock...the house was big and beautiful and on the water. My first thought was to take it to school for our PFA's use in carting supplies from our supply closet to wherever we are setting up events during school. We are always wheeling stuff from place to place. Our PFA color is purple so we painted the cart the same color. Have you ever seen a purple shopping cart before? I think it's pretty cute!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mummy Candy Holder

I made these last year in my daughter's 2nd grade class. They are really easy and quick to put together. This year my 1st grader wants to share them with her class....I tried to encourage her to pick another craft, but this is the one she chose. To make one, you start with a toilet paper roll or you could use a paper towel roll. Cut the toilet paper roll in half and secure a square-shaped piece of paper to the bottom using white tape or transparent tape. This becomes the "bottom" of your mummy's head so the candy doesn't fall out. Next, using cheesecloth cut into thin strips, begin wrapping the roll until you are happy with the amount and overlapping design. The cheesecloth is great because is sticks to itself but you can also use a small piece of transparent tape to keep it more secure. The last step is to add wiggle eyes with clear glue before filling with candy treats. The bows are optional of course, and you could always tea-dye the cheesecloth to give it an "old" look.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Witch's Broom Treat

I saw these cute broom treats at the craft store in the Martha Stewart section. I thought they would be really fun to make in my daughter's 3rd grade class. The only thing was, "Martha's too expensive!" She wanted $11.49 to make 6 brooms using her kit. So, I did the next best thing, and came home and searched the internet. I found the instructions, along with a picture or two describing exactly how to make them. Here's my finished product. I already had the brown lunch bags, the candy (inside), the black twine, tag supplies and sticks in my, this craft was basically free!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Spooky Fun

I had a few minutes to put together a neat card this morning....I worked on a few other "creative" things today but this was the only product as far as papercrafts go. We are busy getting ready for the Halloween holiday. I found a similar card to this one on-line somewhere and I put together my own version. It's funny how things never turn out exactly like an example you are following, but I actually like that I used my own creative energy along with their idea to give me a jumpstart. I would love to make a few more of these....and tags of the same would be cute also. (I did notice my "k" and "y" need to be raised a teensy-tiny bit.)

Dinner with the Dolphins

We had a great time last night visiting Marineland in St. Augustine. My sister's company had their annual company picnic and we were treated to the first ever dolphin show in 4 1/2 years! Afterwards, the trainers came down and hosted a special Q&A session and we were allowed to visit with and photograph the dolphins right beside their training tanks. I had never been so close to so many dolphins. We were so close you could see them watching us and blinking their eyes at us as the swam slowly by.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Decorating with Skeleton Leaves

I saw this idea in a magazine, but I didn't buy the magazine, I only flipped through it at the grocery store.... sometimes you gotta look through those $6.00 magazines and really think about whether or not you "need" it or just "want" it. This was one of those "want" times and I decided I didn't really "need" it. Anyways, I did borrow this idea. I purchased an inexpensive grapevine wreath at Michael's when they were on sale for $1.49/each and we spray painted it black. Next, I attached some "skeleton leaves" - I'd never heard of them until I read the instructions in the magazine - and then I tied on a pretty bow. I'm not sure I'm lovin' the entire thing yet, but I thought it would be something different for my front door.

Quick Bubble Treats

I had a good time last night putting together these little "treat" bubbles for our neighborhood Halloween party. These are the small bubbles that you can find on the wedding aisle at the craft store. I used some leftover Halloween paper from my treat purses to decorate the outside and then I attached a small circle tag using my Martha Stewart colored twine (orange & white and black & white). I love that stuff! I thought these would make a simple alternative to all the candy the kiddies receive on the big day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kit Kat Treat Purses

I was hoping to post these pictures yesterday but the day ended up being a busy one. Anyways, I have now completed 18 of these to give away to my daughter's first grade class at their Halloween party. Inside these cute little "purses" are snack-size Kit Kat bars. My original template was too small, so I got out my trusty ruler and made one myself. This one measures 6.5 x 4" and is scored along the 6" inside at 2", 3.25" and 5.5". I also attached the purse handle by using a 7" piece of ribbon. The rubber stamped images are from the "Batty for You" Stampin' Up collection. I need to buy more googly eyes because I think the kids will enjoy watching the character's eyes move around. They always seem to be looking at you...a little bit creepy!