Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Crafty Soiree #122

Banner Aubrey BIG mixed copy
Hi Friends!  We're digging out from the first big snow storm here in the Mitten State, a white Christmas it was indeed!  I hope you all had lovely holidays filled with much love, laughter, and happiness!  Although the big guy in red's already been by, I couldn't resist sharing more Christmas themed projects.  You all amaze me, when I see everything that you've made and baked, it makes me feel as if I've had a chance to visit all of my wonderful crafty friends for the holidays!  I'm so inspired by you!  Thank you for joining us!
Dollar Store Cookie Ornaments from Blissful Roots: Brooke shares so many pretty variations, and a heartwarming story of the generosity of a stranger to her sons.
Joy to the World Wood Slice Project from Raising Up Rubies: A seriously creative and unique decoration, I think Jamie can make anything look gorgeous!
Party Detials - Ugly Sweater Party from Our Daily Obsessions: A welcoming chocolate bar, complete with personalzied mugs is a sweet addition to any gathering!
Holiday Gift Wrapping Party from 'A Casarella: I couldn't resist sharing another party too, Elena put together an party for her friends where they could mingle and socialize, but still get some holiday preparations done.  I love all the beautiful tables full of wrapping goodies she assembled for them!
Donut Milkshake Recipe from The Gingerbread Blog: As this is the season of sweets I had to share this really fun sounding shake would be a great tasting treat for the morning back to school after a long vacation.
Party Guidelines
1.  Link up to four of your creative projects (No Etsy stores or other linky parties pretty please).  
2.  Add your link to the specific posts not the main URL.
3.  Add a "Crafty Soiree" button to your blog or posts.
4.  Please comment on the post linked up in front of you.  All partygoers love meeting new friends... don't just stop there...if you see something that catches your fancy-- stop by and say hi!
5.  Your hostesses would love it if you'd follow us. You can find Malia here.
Let's Party!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

5X7 Quick Mini Books Part 2: Vertical Version

Yesterday in Part 1, I showed you how you can cut 4 5X7 pages from one sheet of 12X12 double sided paper to make a quick mini book.  Then I shared the cover and pages from the horizontal 5X7 Quick Mini Books, made with half of the pages cut from the larger sheet. 

Today I've got the second book, made from the same sheets of paper to show you.  If you are looking for the cutting guide or more details on how to make your own set of 2 5X7 Quick Mini Books, perfect for using up your stash and last minute handmade gifts please see Part 1 of this series.

Here are my pages:

I'll end with the last page in the book and the back cover.  The tree paper is also embossed for a soft textured feel, like the front and back covers done in red.  I gave a book to each of my two neighbors when they were over for coffee & tea a couple weeks ago.  They both really loved them and if you have a large stash of scrapbook supplies, like I know many of you, then they are a quick and fun way to use them for gifts.  You non-crafty friends will have no idea you whipped them up in a night!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

5X7 Quick Mini Books: Making a Easy Brag Book

Think times run out to make a handmade gift?  Here are some of the quickest mini books you'll ever put together!  I made both of these in one night, in just a couple of hours.  Since a lot of the assembly is repetitive you can make them assembly style and make several at once. 

You'll need double sided papers, chipboard, binder rings, assorted embellishments, and ink if you like the look of inked edges.  It might sound like a lot, but I know most of my paper crafting divas have all this stuff on hand in their stash.  This is a good time to pull out a coordinating paper pad so you don't have to spend time trying to figure out what looks good together.
{Cutting Guide for Pages}

You can get four 5X7 pages out of one 12X12 sheet of double sided paper if you cut wisely.  Keep in mind that the designs on most pattern papers will mean you'll need to use two for a horizontal book and the other two to make a vertical book.  Cut as many of these as you need to make the book the length of you want.
Cut two pieces of chipboard and cover both sides with papers of your choice from the stack you just made for your pages.  I chose embossed papers for the covers to give it a fun texture and soft feel.

Arrange your papers, place your stack of pages inside of the covers, and punch holes for binding.  Decorate pages as desired.  I used punched ticket shapes to add spots for journaling, die cuts, and layered stickers.  The recipient can simply add their pictures to the pages that act as embellished photo mats.

I used a coordinating line of paper and embellishments from my holiday stash to make this quicker to make.  Things just go faster when I don't have keep searching my stash for matching embellishments.  You may remember these supplies from my Dec 2010 mini book, Part 1 & Part 2

Here is a look at the inside of my book.  I removed the decorative ribbon to make it easier to photograph to share with you.
I suggest you tell your recipient to disassemble that pages when adding their pictures.  The bulkier layered stickers can make things lumpy and it's easier to attach them with double sided tape if they aren't in a stack.  Then re stack, put the rings back in, and tie back on ribbons for a quick mini book.

Below are the rest of the pages from the Horizontal Quick Book, tomorrow I'll have the Vertical version to share.  These fit standard 4X6 pictures quite nicely, with some trimming to allow for the embellishments and binding holes.

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Gift Guide: Live Clean (Baby)

Okay my friends if you're still looking for gifts, it's officially last minute buying time!  Most shipping dates are past so you've got to rely on what's available locally.  If you've got a few to pick up, I wanted to let you know about some really nice baby products that have super cute packaging, a high end feel, and are available at your local Walgreens!  With more than 8,000 stores nationwide, there's a good chance one is located in your neck of the woods.  

Pick up a few items from the Live Clean (Baby) line, put in a bag with some pretty tissue paper or into a cute little container and you've got a fantastic gift for baby.  It's practical and helpful for the mom too.  I can't think of a much easier way to make up a quick great baby gift!
Live Clean (Baby) is an eco-friendly bath line developed with both a mother's concerns and baby's sensitivities in mind.  Using only natural, non-irritating, gentle plant based ingredients Live Clean (Baby) is free of many of the commonly used chemicals that are damaging to the environment and, as some believe, our well being.  I'm talking yucky stuff like phosphates, which can contribute to water pollution, harsh preservatives and parabens preservatives, often added to extend fragrances and shelf life. 

We received the following set for review, shown above from left to right:
I really liked how these baby products performed and their gender neutral packaging.  They are well designed and look like something I'd expect to find in a baby store, not at the drug store, so they are perfect for a gift basket or stocking stuffer.  Parents recieve so much for the little ones that baby's often barely use, wear, or play with.  My son is almost 17 month olds and I can say that I'd have loved to have received such a practical and useful gift for his first Christmas. 

Live Clean (Baby) products are available at Walgreens both online and at your local store.


Disclosure: Complimentary review products were provided.  The opinions and experiences related within are both personal and unbiased.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Crafty Soiree #121

Banner Aubrey BIG mixed copy

Hi Crafty Friends! 

Can you believe Christmas is NEXT week!  I hope you've got most of your holiday preparations, and are ready to show off you latest projects!  I'm excited to see what you've all been making, baking, and creating!  And if you haven't tied the last bow and baked the cookie, then I know we'll still have many wonderful ideas linked up here, to help you make your days merry and bright!  Here are some fabulous examples from last time:
We've got home decor ideas like this Striped Merry Days and Silent Nights Sign from Rae Gun Ramblings,
and also ways to give your decorations a more masculine but still festive twist like this DIY Man's Wreath from Ruby Jean.
We have lots of yummy looking treats like these peppermint meltaway cookies from Silver Boxes, it's just not the holidays until I've eaten something with peppermint!
There are always many of cool, unique, and just too darn cute handmade gift ideas, I couldn't stop oohing and aahing over this adorable buttons & lace baby outfit from Ninth Street Notions.
And we always have lots of clever tips and tricks to share, like this I spy travel game from Mae Armstrong Designs that is a fun way to keep the kids occupied while traveling that also has a cute holiday twist.

Merry Christmas!

All year long I am inspired and amazed by all of your creativity!  At this time of year, I feel especially blessed that you've taken the time to come join me and Malia each week and been generous enough to share your talents and become part of our rich and treasured online lives.  I wish all of you the happiest of holidays!
Party Guidelines
1.  Link up to four of your creative projects (No Etsy stores or other linky parties pretty please).  
2.  Add your link to the specific posts not the main URL.
3.  Add a "Crafty Soiree" button to your blog or posts.
4.  Please comment on the post linked up in front of you.  All partygoers love meeting new friends... don't just stop there...if you see something that catches your fancy-- stop by and say hi!
5.  Your hostesses would love it if you'd follow us. You can find Malia here.
Let's Party!


Credit: Reindeer clip art by Ellie Lash.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scrapbook Pages: Baby's 1st Christmas Part 1

I've mentioned a few times on Facebook, that I like to meet my friend Jill at Archiver's for a monthly scrap night.  We had our latest meet up the first weekend in December, it was last minute.  I didn't have much time to prepare and get organized to go.  So I decided to pack up most of my Christmas papers, embellishments, and a stack of pictures from Christmas pasts.  It was a great idea!  It turned out to be one of the crops I've spend the least amount at.  Since I had most of my themed supplies with me, I knew exactly what I had and didn't have to rush out into the store's floor to be tempted by all the goodies on display.  I also used up quite a bit from my stash. 
I've been trying to work on LB's first year scrapbook, ER's year takes up three binders so I want to make sure he has some that are devoted just to his story.  These are in addition to our family scrapbooks so I'm a little behind.  Here are the first two pages on the holidays I've got done.  It feels nice to make a dent on the these, even if I haven't actually made it to Christmas Eve or Day and these are both for events leading up to the 25th of last year.  I hope to have more to add really soon.


Monday, December 17, 2012

In Memory


Friday, December 14, 2012

Scrapbooking with a Martha Stewart Circle Edge Punch

Since scrapbooking is the craft nearest and dearest to my heart I had to incorporate the new Martha Stewart Circle Edge Punch I got for review into some pages!  But...before I get to them, have you entered this week's A Crafty Soiree giveaway
If you haven't hurry on over and enter to win an Essential Colors Glitter Set from Martha Stewart Crafts!  Plus, I've also got the details on their Bag Your Holiday Bills Contest at the bottom of this post.  Lots of crafty goodies to be won, it might as well be you, but you can't win if you don't enter :)
Okay now back to the scrapbook layouts I've just finished up.  One of the biggest benefits of the punch is being able to punch and cut out a full circle, and it might seem natural that, that would be the easiest way to use the punch to create scrapbook pages.  I am still finishing up a couple pages, on which I've done just that. 

However, I have to say I also found myself incorporating parts of the circle onto my pages.  It's a look I really like and stretches the versatility of the tool.  After making the menu wraps I shared in the review post, I had some bits and pieces of the brown polka dot paper.  It went great with a single sheet of Basic Grey paper I love but hadn't known what to do with. 
I did some layering and clustering to embellish, using a third of the punched circle as a base for my title and journaling.  A couple things from my stash like stickers, washi tape, and twine complete the page.  Did you notice I also fit a little bit of Laurel Leaf Martha Stewart Crafts Punch in there too?  Love that punch!  (Just excuse my handwriting, which I never really like but am trying to incorporate more into my layouts.)
On "Gifts Under the Tree" I used the Circle Edge Punch to make a custom tree embellishment.  The edges of the doily punched circles reminded me of way layers of a tree branches can look.  The two sided green & green stripe paper is from an older Martha Stewart Crafts paper pad, called School Days.  
I only needed one punched circle to create this cool looking tree. To give it some stability I layered piece on top of a chipboard triangle, curling the edges slightly.   I alternated the two sides of the paper as I attached it to my base to give it a funky look.
I also used adhesive foam to stagger the layers of "snow" for more dimension.  Little K&Co snowman & bird die cuts are slipped underneath to give it more the look of a scene.
To learn more about the new Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Edge Punch, see my full review from earlier in the week.  It will give you more of an idea of how to use it and has links for where to purchase it on HSN.  I also have details about a new Bag Your Holiday Bills contest that Martha Stewart Crafts has started.  See below.
Holiday shopping is expensive...but now, Martha Stewart Crafts has created a way to bag those holiday bills. It's the BAG YOUR HOLIDAY BILLS CONTEST! Craft something unique and festive with a shopping bag and you might win $2,500 from Martha Stewart Crafts! For details or to enter, go to (or for mobile users). Note: Martha Stewart Crafts is one of the fine family of crafting brands at EK Success Brands.


Disclsoure: The Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Edge Punch used to create the scrapbook pages above was a complimentary sample sent for review.  The experiences and opinions related within are both personal and unbiased.
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