Monday, April 7, 2014

Upcycled Birchboxes into Gift Boxes

Birchbox sends my monthly subscription of beauty & life style samples in sturdy little kraft colored lidded boxes.  They are so nice that I always keep them.  I find they are handy for all sorts of things.  For instance, I keep all my information cards in the empty one from December.  That one was special because it has Merry & Bright embossed on it.  The others all have Birchbox across the middle, but it's easy to cover that up and repurpose the boxes.

We are meeting friends for an Easter get together next weekend and I packaged up a little gift for each of the girls using a few supplies I already had on hand and an empty Birchbox.  It was easy to do.  I started with a bit of leftover of scrapbook paper, which was notched and then layered some metallic washi tape over it.  Next, I spritzed on pink and green mist to give it a little texture and interest.

The pretty twine was added by cutting three equal lengths and then stapling the ends on the sides of the box lid, tucking the loose ends underneath for a neat finish.  I then did a double bow out of more twine for another pretty touch.  A mini glue dot underneath the knots is a nice discrete way to ensure everything stays in place.

The paper flower was made by punching tissue paper, this sheet was salvaged from a gift previously received and is another way to add a little green crafting to this project.  I used a two inch scallop punch, scrunching them up a bit to give it a layered look, and then secured it together with a green brad.  I used more glue dots to attach it to the lid, along a sweet little wood veneer butterfly for a finishing touch.  I think this lovely box is a delightful way to give a gift.  Plus it is pretty enough to be kept for storage by the recipient.


Birchbox: Lidded Kraft Box
Marvy Uchida: Scallop Circle Punch
Making Memories: Patterned Paper & Green Brad
Target Dollar Spot: Washi Tape
American Crafts: Twine
Recollections: Simple Pastel Spray Ink in Pink Shimmer & Green Shimmer, Wood Veneer Butterflies
Glue Dots: Mini & Kraft Adhesive Dots
Tissue Paper: Unknown Source

If you are unfamiliar with Birchbox, it is a monthly subscription service.  You can see my previous reviews, here.  If you choose to try it out, it would be great if you used my referral link.  I earn points and you get to try cool stuff, it's a win - win!

Sharing this at Life on Lakeshore Drive.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Julep Review: April 2014 Maven Box, Classic with a Twist

This post contains referral links.  Translation: If you click through and join, I earn points and those = free stuff.  Thank you!

My very first box from Julep as a Maven subscriber arrived on Monday!  I was so very excited because it was awesome how quickly it came, April's box actually arrived on the very last day of March.  New nail color is a fantastic way to start off the month.  This month the colors are all a part of The Vivid Collection and I opted to stay with my default style, Classic with a Twist.

My goodies came all nestled in teal shredded paper that contrasted nicely with the yellow tissue and purple box.  It was not only a vivid collection of colors but a colorful presentation.  Inside were the two polishes, a blush, two candies, and the polish I added on for an extra charge, about $5.  Since a nail polish and a subscription service especially is a bit of a luxury purchase, I am glad they take the time to make it a nice experience with their presentation.

This month's colors were all gorgeous but I had to go with my favorite color, pink and pink.  Yeah, I guess no one is surprised by that!  I wasn't too sure about the orange.  I'm still not as it is indeed, quite vivid, and I think orange is something I'm more comfortable sticking with as a pastel.  I don't think it will look super fabulous against my skin but my sidekick and I will totally be rockin' it when we go cheer on our beloved Detroit Tigers!

Caitlin is THE reason I didn't jump ship from the Classic with a Twist box.  It's described as a "Shocking hibiscus with gold shimmer" and it's hot pink.  I'm very excited to wear more it, besides the little swatch I did on my toe.  It's super pretty, went on smoothly, and completely opaque in two coats. The shimmer is subtle in the bottle and on the nail.  It's bright but still classic.

So like I said before, Mariska is very vivid and full of bold color, with a lovely hint of shimmer.  I may not love it on my fingers but I am all about it for a pedicure.  It really is the perfect bright hot orange.  While this one has a shimmer finish like Caitlin, I thought it dried with a more matte finish.  You will need a top coat to get a really shiny look.

I actually think it was a smart move on Julep to make it that way.  This finish makes the orange a little less of a shocking bold color and better for those, like me, who might want to try out a true orange as opposed to a safer peach tone, without being over the top. It will look fabulous with sandals this summer and I think I will get a lot of wear out of it on my tootsies.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like this Mariska, especially since I thought it was going to be a dud for me.

Described as an electric bubblegum sheer with blue sheen, Maren was so pretty in the preview of the month that I thought it would be my favorite from the whole collection so I just HAD to add it on.    Yes, I ended up with yet more pinks but they are actually quite different.

This is a much more subdued bright pink because of the sheerness.  Three thin coats and it was not quite opaque, but I didn't really want it to be.  Sometimes I like the less done but still a lot of color look, if that makes any sense at all.  It's quite pretty with just two light coats, you get quite a bit of sheer pink color and shimmer but it's just more subtle.  I would feel comfortable wearing this to Easter mass, as a bright versus a pastel and not feel it was perhaps a bit too loud for the situation.

Since I had just done my nails the day before my box arrived, I did the swatches on my toes.  This way I could see how the formula applied and looked.  I will spare you all from having to see my feet, they are not camera ready! If anyone is just dying to see the polish on the nails, let me know and I will Instragram each one, as I wear them :)

I believe this is the debut of their new line of Glow Pore Minimizing Blushes and Bronzers.  I was a lot more interested in a bronzer as I almost never wear blush but I've also never had one in such a pretty peach shade either.  Unfortunately for me, a bronzer was not an option in my box.  I had hoped it would be a choice between blush or bronzer and then shades.  Okay, that's just my two cents...I am actually quite happy with my blush but that's how I felt going in.

I could not capture the color of this Peach Bellini shade very well at all.  It's much prettier in person and less pinky.  It has a subtle shimmer that the camera didn't pick up, which must be the white diamond powder it contains and that give cheeks a luminous glow.  It's also supposed to diffuse the appearance of pores, I think that is code for minimizes, and has age-defying Power Cell Complex that will over time promote softer, smoother skin.  That seems like a lot for a blush to do!

Whether or not it lives up to all the things it's supposed to do, it is so so pretty, that I kinda want to rub it all over, it's that gorgeous.  I did manage to restrain myself, but I'm really excited about the subtle flush of color it gives my cheeks.  I felt it was very wearable and such a good color that it would be hard to mess up the application and come off looking like a peach colored clown.  Yes, I kinda sorta worried that might happen!  I've always gone for pink blushes before and never liked them, now that I have this one and like it so much I'm wondering if previously having the wrong color was the reason I never "got" the whole idea of blush in the first place.

Final Verdict: Very happy with my first official Julep Maven box!  Click here if you'd like to check it out for yourself!


PS: I am wearing the nail color Monica, also by Julep, in all of the photos in this post.  I bought it during the end of season sale, but I do not recommend it.  It was unbelievably hard to work with, very very thick :(  The color and glitter is amazing so worth the hassle it took for me to get it on, since I already have it but not worth the frustration if you don't.  This one application took a shocking amount of polish to achieve and there is a noticeable dip in the amount in my bottle.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Project Life 2014: Title Page & January

Hi Project Lifers!  It's been awhile since I shared any of my pages and today I'm joining in with Jessica's monthly link up over at The Mom Creative.  While I am 95% done with 2013, I just haven't been feelin' actually posting the pages since it takes me so long to photograph and edit them for privacy, that it just seemed overwhelming to do all the months left in 2013.  Maybe I'll go back and post the rest but then again, if I never do...that's what's great about Project Life, the weeks just keep a comin' and there is always something new to share!  I'm much more excited about how 2014 is coming along so I decided to pick up from the New Year and begin with my album's title page & the weekly spreads through January.

The cover page uses the beautiful Maggie Holmes mini kit I got as my last auto ship from HSN.  It also came with a mini but I love the cards so much I decided to use them in the big annual albums instead.  I think this kit is now available as Micheal's exclusive full sized kit and it's so pretty & definitely worth it!

This first page is pretty straight forward.  I included a family photo, one of me and Brad, and one of each child with a thicker monogram placed a top a label that I wrote their age on.

On the antique type writer card I've been writing each month as I finish it in the book.  This way it will eventually have all the months contained within this volume written on it, sort of as a table of contents.  I used black thickers that match the kid's monogram to spell out our last name on this card as well.  I just photographed it I added them, for privacy.

This volume, I usually have at least 2 and sometimes 3 volumes per year, begins with January 1st and the spread covers New Years Day through the end of that week. The left side is all about New Year's Day itself and includes my daughter with the big television countdown in the back.  It's the first year she's made it all the way to midnight.  The cards on this side are all the reverse side of the cards you see on the title page.

I took entirely too many pictures of our little guy shoveling with Daddy on New Year's Day and although some are very similar I could not narrow down which ones to include.  I put the best one of the two of them on the main spread and then threw the rest into an insert and called it done :)  I the digital Winter kit to make the cards for the insert.

January 2-4 is on the second half of the spread, although most of the pictures are from the day I took photos of the kids with gifts their Great Aunt made them.

January 5-11 was eventful because we were supposed to go back to school but ended up having three snow days.  I mixed Simple Stories Homemade Holiday's with the Winter kit on this spread.  And yes, I did forget to finish the journaling!  Oops.  But it won't be an issue because this year I got a great planner from Target and each day I write a sentence or two so I always have an idea of what went on that day.

On Friday the kids were back for their second day of school, but we also had a joint Brownie meeting and went sledding with another troop.  They also set up a nice hot chocolate bar and it was a very fun time.  Not so fun was, was getting the news Archiver's was going out of business.  Even though the initial sale wasn't fabulous, it was on everything and as you can see from my haul photo I managed to find some stuff to buy.

After the insert is the rest of the week with more on how we spent our snow days, one day was so cold that even Brad stayed home!  By Saturday E and I were so excited to just leave the house...for any reason at all!  I was going stir crazy!

The week of January 12-18 was pretty straight forward.  The left side is about my parents coming over so my Dad could help Brad put up supports for the ceiling in the basement.  They also took the family pictures that on this page and the closer up one that made it's way onto the title page. The right side is mainly about B and life at home with him.  This layout uses the Slate core kit that was only available at Archiver's.

We ended up having our Valentine themed play date with friends in January because we both had the same Friday off of school and that made it super convenient.  They live about 45 minutes away so our school district calendars don't always match up.  

I made this cute little pocket to hold some extras and used the same heart XOXO paper as I did on the right side to tie both sides of the spread together.

Here is a closer look at the page about the play date.  You can read more about the simple ways we themed up the day, in this post, which also contains a link to the cute bumblebee printable I used for the treat pails.  I think this is my favorite page of 2014 so far.  I just love getting to use my scrappy goodies from one of my favorite companies of all time, Doodlebug Design Inc.!

January ended with yet more cold weather and more days off of school.  E was home both Monday & Tuesday.  This layout features mainly Sn@p supplies from Simple Stories, which is a great all purpose line of pocket scrapbooking supplies.  I think overall, Simple Stories is my favorite for pocket pages, although the original core kits from Becky Higgins do give you the most for your money...I do believe, in terms of numbers and variety of card designs.

If you have any questions about supplies or whatnot, please leave them in the comments.

This will be my third year doing a full 12X12 Project Life album.  I am also going back into my daughter's unfinished albums from pre-little brother days and filling in the gaps with pocket pages.  I'm still liking it a lot because it does help me stay on top of our memories and photos, but I am beginning to feel like I want to do more full pages for special memories and am working on how I want to include them.  I really miss the creativity I felt from doing traditional layouts and playing more with my photos.  Are any of you mixing your PL pages with more traditional layouts?

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