Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beauty "Advent Calendars" (another year)

When you find something you enjoy creating and people seem to enjoy receiving, you just keep doing it - right?!  The beauty advent calendars I gifted to my sister and a dear friend were a huge hit last year (HERE).  I'm stepping up my game this year and adding my mother to the recipient list!  I actually had enough samples this year to make three complete advent calendars.  There was so much product that my crafting table was just too small for the group shot of all the items and I had to spread them out on my family room floor and get a photo from above.  I'm walking a fine line between being embarrassed and extremely proud of myself for the size of the pile.  I'll go with proud!

As I mentioned last year, the majority of these items are freebies.  You know, spend a bazillion dollars on candles, get a free travel size lotion (Bath and Body Works).  You may have noticed by the picture that some items in the pile aren't beauty related at all (Crown Royal - that would be for my sister) and I just added them for fun.  Can I keep this up each year?  Probably not.

I'm wrapping them pretty much the same way I did last year - a mixture of boxes made with my punch board, ones made from my gable box die, and wrapping some of the larger products in tissue paper.  The 25 Days stamp set from Stampin Up! (retired) is my go to for advents.  I also used this set on Jon's Beer Advent Calendar this year (HERE).  Home Goods to the rescue again for containers to hold everything.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Beer Advent Calendar

Last year I discovered how fun it was to make and give Advent calendars (HERE).  When it came to my husband, I went the store-bought route with the 2014 Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar.  He was amused with it and thought it was 'neat', but I knew this year I wanted to come up with something that would wow him. would really wow him!

I've been brainstorming for a while and thought long and hard about the packaging (I seem to hyper focus on packaging when it comes to these projects).  I found this  24 Bottle Pack carton sold at  The boxes are extremely sturdy and a perfect solution.  I did have to buy a bundle of 10 boxes, but I think I'll be reusing this idea in future years.

I wanted every day to be a different beer and each to be a surprise, so I came up with an idea to create little covers for the tops of each bottle.  Using the Gift Box Punch Board from We R Memory Keepers, I made (24) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1 3/4 inch boxes.  I snipped off the flaps that create the top of the box to give me an open container, so that each bottle could be covered with the calendar numbers.

For the numbers on the boxes I turned to my (retired) 25 Days stamp set from Stampin Up! - this has been my go to stamp set for Advent calendars.  Stamping and heat embossing the 24 numbers did take a bit of time for this project, but I'm happy with the results.  I ended up using three different gold embossing powders and realize one would have been just fine. Hey - I had them in my stash....might as well use them!  Actually, most of the items for this project I already had in my stash with the exception of the cardstock (cost was only $3), glitter wrapping paper (clearance), bow (clearance), the box....oh yeah, and the BEER!

Let's discuss beer - this is winded and boring, and maybe the last sentence is the only relevant one.  We live in Pennsylvania, a Commonwealth with very strange alcohol laws and regulations.  For the most part, beer can only be purchased from a restaurant, bar, licensed beer store, or distributor.  Beer distributors mainly sell kegs of beer and cases.  Six and twelve packs can be sold at bars and some retailers.  Only within the past few years did some supermarkets start to sell alcohol and there VERY specific rules that go along with that grant (one of them being I can only purchase 2 six packs of beer at a time).  I certainly didn't want to purchase 24 cases, two 1/2 cases or even 4 six packs.  My goal here was to have 24 different beers.

The Wegmans near my house allows a customer to create their own six pack.  The maximum number of six packs that can be purchased at one time is 2.  That's only 2 trips to $11.99 a six pack. Whoa!  The things I do for a good Advent calendar.

Now to the assembly - I cut the lid flaps from the box with a (wait for it) box cutter.  :D  I wasn't crazy about the edges of the compartments, so I used gold foil tape from my stash and covered the exposed edges.  I actually think this step was unnecessary as you can not see the edges well with the box caps in place.

I found some great glitter wrapping paper from Michael's and wrapped the box, folding pieces over the top to cover up the exposed edges.  I used score tape for this because regular scotch tape did not stick well to the paper.  From my stash I had a two inch wide black ribbon and wrapped it around the center of the box and attached a purchased gold bow to the ribbon.
I did purchase the 2015 Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar as back up, but something tells me he will love this! 

Supplies Used:
Paper:  Cream 65lb (Recollections), Metallic Papers (Anna Griffin), Gold Glitter Wrapping Paper (Recollections)
Stamps:  25 Days (SU!)
Ink:   Vintage Cream (PTI)
Other:  Beer Box (Uline), Enchanted Gold Embossing Powder (Ranger), Jeweled Gold Embossing Powder (Stampendous), Fine Clear Embossing Powder (Filigree), Black Embossing Powder,  Detail Gold Embossing Powder (Stampendous), Gold Bow (Hobby Lobby), Beer (Wegmans)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thanksgiving Gable Box Place Cards

Thanksgiving in the US is next week and I need to quickly switch gears from Christmas and get working on turkey day!  Another holiday dinner needs yet another creative way to display place cards.  The struggle to come up with a new twist on place cards several times a year is real for me.  I like the idea of freshening up the card designs for each dinner.

I've decided to use my new gable die from Papertrey Ink (PTI) to create little boxes, and tuck candies on the inside and display guest names on the outside.  A little tasty treat at each place setting!  All of my cardstock, patterned papers and ribbons were from PTI.  Since my handwriting isn't that wonderful, I printed the names using Word.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's All About That Base (coat): Embracing The Glitter

I have a love/hate relationship with glitter; I love the look....but the mess, not so much!  I believe the last time I actually used glitter was for ornaments (here). Lately though I've been really attracted to glitter and glitter paper (spoiler alert...2015 Christmas cards), and while I was at Michael's recently I found glitter spray paint!

 We will be hosting several gatherings over the next few months and wanted to come up with a display for our self-serve beverage area.  I'm using the Marquee Love collection to spell out the word DRINKS and spray painted them with red glitter paint.

It took me an entire can of paint to realize that I really needed to base coat them first.  I love the results and the battery operated lights are really bright!  I'm probably late to the marquee letter party, but I'm here now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mighty Oak Thanksgiving Cards

It's finally my favorite time of the year in Pennsylvania: Autumn!  The daytime temperature is in the mid 70s, the leaves are just starting to turn colors, and pumpkin spice everything is available everywhere!

I took a break this weekend from working on Christmas themed crafts and whipped up a few different Thanksgiving cards for our friends and family.

The Mighty Oak Die from Papertrey Ink made coming up with this design a breeze!

Supplies Used:
Paper:  Dark Chocolate (PTI), Terracotta Tile, (PTI), Orange Zest (PTI), Summer Sunrise (PTI), Classic Kraft (PTI), Vintage Cream (PTI), Autumn Abundance (PTI)
Stamps:  Fall Elegance (PTI), Gobble, Gobble (PTI)
Ink:  Cajun Craze (SU!)
Other: Mighty Oak Die (PTI)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Linen Closet Refresh (Non-Crafty)

The finished transformation!
I've mentioned before how much I dislike the wire shelving which came standard from our builder.  We are slowly updating the closets throughout the house, and are now onto the hall bath linen closet.  It's a small, basic, non-descript closet with five wire shelves.  We are fans of (see Our Kitchen Pantry OverhaulMom's Bedroom Closets) and started our search there.  The simplest design replacement would have cost just under $300.  Right now, that is out of my budget for a bathroom only used by occasional overnight guests.  I did some searching online and found this product called Renew  - they are shelf covers for wire shelving in kit form.  This is just down right GENIUS in my opinion!

There is a wide price range online for this product, so look around!  For example, Wayfair has them for $21.99 each,  Bed Bath Beyond has them for $26.99 and the Renew company site has them for $29.99.  However, I found HSN had 36 inch kits on a super duper clearance of only $6!  (The shipping was another story - the first kit shipping was $7.22 and each kit thereafter cost $3.60).
How ugly is this?!

The all-in price for the five shelves in the linen closet was $64.91!  Pretty remarkable.  After installing the first shelf, we got the hang of it and the rest moved along quickly.  I like this inexpensive, easy product!  This company sells a wide variety of lengths and finishes.  We chose the 36 inch wide kit in espresso.  I'm thinking this may also be the solution for our master bath linen closet and perhaps the guest bedroom as well!  Stay tuned!
Empty before
Nice and clean!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wedding Picnic Card

Jon has a cousin who lives in San Diego, California (lucky him!) who recently got married.  Since he still has extended family back here in Pennsylvania, the couple decided to gather folks together for a casual "Wedding Picnic" at his mother's home.  I always struggle with new card designs, so I used the invitation for guidance on this single layer card.  The colors reminded me of the Stampin Up 2013-2015 In Colors (which I guess are now actually "out colors" since they are discontinued).    Still feel like I am in a creativity rut, but happy how this turned out!

Supplies Used:
Paper: White (PTI)
Stamps:  Natural Beauties (PTI), Love & Marriage (PTI)
Ink:  2013-2015 In Colors (Stampin Up!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pissaco I am NOT

I seem to be in a creative slump lately.  Whenever this happens, I find myself reorganizing my craft room or blog surfing to find inspiration to recreate projects other crafty people have shared.  This time I wanted to try a different approach!  I'm not sure where I came up with this crazy idea, but it sure was a first:  I decided to give painting a try.   If there is one thing I know about myself, it is that I can not draw or paint for the life of me.  I just can't.  Never could.  Not sure if it's in the same part of the brain, but my handwriting is pretty awful too.

So, I went old school "paint by numbers".  I poked around my local craft stores for kits but they were just too boring to me.  I found a seller on Amazon who had 16 x 20 inch paint by number kits.  I liked the idea of the larger size and the price was pretty reasonable ($13) for a new, experimental craft.  

I received the kits within a few days, and then purchased a heavy-duty sketch board from Michael's.  I wanted to mount the canvas to a board of some kind to so I'd be able to prop it up while painting.  I realize now, after one painting finished, what I really need is an easel.  Go figure.

Just for size reference, here is a picture of my Yorkshire Terrier (loyal crafting partner) Piper.  This project apparently bored him to sleep.

The kit was packaged in a slim box containing approximately 25 acrylic paint pots, a folded 16 x 20 inch canvas, three paint brushes, a small photo of what the finished painting will look like, a paper diagram of the painting for reference and a page of instructions.   I prepped the canvas by lightly ironing the back side to remove the creases.  As I wanted to make sure the edges of the painting were straight, I used green tape to adhere the canvas to the sketch board.
Let's start with the instructions.  They were hysterical!  So much so, that the only good use for them was comic relief around the office.  My coworkers got a kick out of the poorly translated (to English) directions.  The very first direction read:  "Daub the color lump with pigment evenly and thickly.  Try to no daub the pigment out of the edge of the color lump.  Make the edge and the numbers are covered wholly by colors".

It gets better:  "Maybe some friend have good painting foundation, you can drawing a character painting following you favor."  OK, so it looks like I'm on my own to figure this out!

I found the paint was very thick and difficult to spread, so I dipped my brush in water to help thin it out.  I was also afraid of running out of paint, and wanted to use the water to stretch the amount.  While it did help, next time I will go easier on the water.   In some areas the color seemed a little too thin, and it turns out I didn't need to stretch out the paint so much.

It didn't take me long to finish the painting.  I found it very relaxing.  I worked on it for about 2 hours at a time and it probably took me 6 days...12 hours - ish.
I found a wooden frame (from the same person on Amazon who sold the painting) for about $11.  With my husband's assistance, we stretched the canvas over the frame and tacked it in place.  I thought the frame was a tad pricey and believe it should have came with the kit, but for a total of $24 I was entertained for a few weeks.

I did purchase a second painting and will probably start that in a few weeks.....if my crafting creativity juices don't flow soon.  If you want to see the next painting in process, I'll take pictures and post them on twitter - follow me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Congratulations" Circus Banner

A coworker/friend of mine asked me to create some decorations for her granddaughters upcoming high school graduation.  She wasn't really sure what she was looking for but knew she wanted to start with a banner that said "Congratulations Isabella" (which incidentally makes for a very long banner)!   The party is a circus/carnival theme.

I began by dusting off my Gypsy and then searching for Cricut banner shapes and fonts.  Here are the shapes and cartridges used for the different layers:

Banner (base) - Art Philosophy Collection
Banner trim (blue) - Art Philosophy Collection
Circle layers - Cricut Basics
Circus tent - Carousel
Letters - Carousel

All of the supplies were from the Recollections Collection by Michaels, including the rope that hangs the banner.

This project was very much an assembly line task and took a few hours to complete, but I think my friend will be pleased with the results.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Some Bunny Loves You!

This is the first year in many when Easter dinner will not be at our house.  We've decided to give going out to a restaurant for brunch a try.  I couldn't resist creating Easter baskets gable boxes for our mothers and my sister.  I'm slowly using up my huge supply of gable boxes and my endless stash of mini pom poms.  I think the mini poms are reproducing in their storage container.  

I decided to decorate the boxes using the same color combos,  just mixing where each was used.  Super simple to mass produce.

Other gable box projects:  hereherehere.  The size of the boxes are 8 x 4 7/8 x 5 1/4.

Supplies Used:
Paper:  Lavender Moon (PTI), Lavender Moon Bitty Dots (PTI), Summer Sunrise (PTI) Summer Sunrise Bitty Dots (PTI), Spring Moss (PTI), Spring Moss Bitty Dots (PTI) 
Stamps:  Polka Dot Parade #1 (PTI)
Ink:  Lavender Moon (PTI), Summer Sunrise (PTI) Spring Moss (PTI),
Other: Lavender Moon Ribbon (PTI), Summer Sunrise Ribbon (PTI), Spring Moss Ribbon (PTI), Polka Dot Parade Die (PTI), Shakers + Sprinkles Rectangle Dies (PTI), Gable Boxes (Uline)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Luck Of The Irish

With the recent discovery of our family ancestry (thanks to, I've decided to send my mother a "Happy Saint Patrick's Day" card.  We now know that she is 75.1% British and Irish.  I was always under the impression, based on her last name, that she was mostly German and a little Irish thrown in.  Nope, mostly Irish!  Happy Saint Patrick's Day to my Irish mum!

Paper: Spring Moss (PTI), Ripe Avocado (PTI), Spring Moss Polk Dot (PTI)
Stamps: Luck of the Irish Mini (PTI), Mat Stack 3 (PTI)
Ink: Old Olive  (Stampin' Up!)
Other:  Ripe Avocado Ribbon (PTI), Shamrock Gem (Oriental Trading), Mat Stack 3 Dies (PTI)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bedroom Closets Redo! (Non-Crafty)

Completed walk in closet
As mentioned in my Valentine's Day post, we embarked on updating two bedroom closets for my Mom.   I took some screen shots of the designs we came up with at  I can't tell you how much I love this website.  They make it so easy (I guess that's why they have the name they do) to custom design pretty much whatever you are looking for.  The site made it easy for us to adjust the depth of the large closet organizer due to the location of the door and trim.  This adjustment wasn't needed for the smaller closet, so we used the standard depth for that one.  The main goal for both spaces was to give my Mom more hanging space than before.  She not only has more hanging space now, but also additional space for her shoes inside the closet!

We designed and ordered the closets online on a Saturday.  During the ordering process we were able to select a preferred shipping date.  We knew Jon would be busy and needed his help to carry in the 11 boxes.  We choose Tuesday as a shipping date.  Guess what....they shipped it Tuesday and they arrived at my Mom's doorstep on Thursday!  Thank you UPS man for offering to bring them inside for her.
Walk in closet design

"Day 2:  Painting" didn't happen!!  At least for my husband and I it didn't.  My Mom painted both closets herself between Saturday and Thursday. I can't tell you how happy we were!  Painting - worst project on the planet.

So, now we move on to "Day 3:  Inventory".  This really didn't take a day.  I work until 5:00 p.m. so, I picked up Jon and we headed over to my Mom's house to inventory the boxes and sort through the materials.  This took about two and half hours (including a quick break for pizza dinner).

"Day 4: Track  Installation":  Friday night after work I picked Jon up and we headed back to Mom's house.  Again, this process did not take a day - I'd say 2 hours tops (also included a quick break for takeout dinner again).  The entire closet system hangs from a steel track that is secured to the studs in the wall.  We think this is the 'hardest' part of the install.  I say hardest only because it's the most time consuming and accuracy is important.  Don't get me wrong, it's not HARD...just important.  Jon was able to hang both of the tracks Friday night, so that meant Saturday we were ready to go full force in putting the closet together.

Small closet design
Completed small closet

"Day 5:  Closet completion Day":  With Dunkin' Donuts in hand we arrived mid morning to Mom's and got right to it.  While Jon started placing the end panels onto the tracks, I hammered all of the cams into the shelves.  This was quick.  Between the two closets I'd say this process took only an hour.  One hour!

Jon also hung a new fancy light fixture and rehung the curtains in the walk in closet.  Voila! - finished!!

It really is amazing what a fabulous transformation these closet systems produce.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Kindness You Show Has No End

Left:  Stampin' Up!     Right:  Simon Says Stamp
Jon and I are heading down to Ocean City, Maryland this weekend to visit our good friends.  We only get to see them a few times a year, so I'm very excited!  The last time we saw them was in August and the visit was very brief due to a mishap with our Yorkie and another dog...if you'd like to read about that drama - click here.

Our friends were so much help to us the last time we were there.  We will be staying at their home this visit, and wanted to get them a little 'thank you' gift card to a local restaurant they frequent - Fager's Island.  My Thank You card stash was low so I created a few using a new multi-step stamp set I received free with an order from Stampin' Up!  Since I was going to use the same color ink for each step in the process, I decided to test the set out using two different inks:  Stampin' Up! and Simon Says Stamp.  I have to say I prefer the result using Stampin' Up! ink for this technique.  In addition to the flower, I also like the way the greeting on the front of the card came out.  All preference, I guess.  It's nice to have choices.

Paper: White (PTI), Soft Navy (Simon Says Stamp), Lost Lagoon (Stampin' Up!)
Stamps: Lotus Blossom (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Soft Navy (Simon Says Stamp), Lost Lagoon (Stampin' Up!)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Valentine's Day Treats

It seems like forever since I've blogged (or crafted)....sorry about that!  I was able to get in my craft room this morning and pull something together quick for my mom.  Today Jon and I are stopping by her house to begin a huge bedroom custom closet(s) project for her.   It's going to take multiple days for us to complete the project.  We are calling today "Day 1:  Measuring and Designing".  Since we've done this project in our own bedroom (and kitchen pantry) a few years ago, we offered to help with her bedroom closets.  She's a lucky girl to have two closets in her bedroom; one walk in and the other a reach in with a folding door.  I hope to take pictures along the way and share the project.  

Since next week is Valentine's Day, I thought we'd bring her some sweets to enjoy.  I was able to snag a few crafting items from Michael's on HUGE clearance after-Christmas sales.  I make a point every year to hit the craft stores for their after holiday sales.... and focus on products that are red!  They serve double duty for Christmas and Valentine's Day!  I found these really cute cardboard berry baskets at a price of fifty cents for ten baskets.  Score!  The rest of supplies were in my stash from previous sales, and the stamped Love You is in a set from Papertrey Ink.  You can always find food packaging supplies for a bargain after the holidays as well.  I found Christmas themed gable boxes that will be a cute addition to my 2015 Beauty Advent Calendars (hint, hint for a post to come in a few months).

Well, we're off to begin "Day 1:  Measuring and Designing"...wish us luck.  Have I ever mentioned I can't stand painting - that's "Day 2".  *wink*

Happy Valentine's Day!