Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday traditions

Been busy as usual with the usuals, but wanted to share a few photos.

The Elephant and I decided to make some goodie bags to give to the people who adopt kitties from the shelter where we volunteer. Another volunteer had been doing this, but switched locations. I thought I'd start pretty small and see how they go:)

These are the finished eight. It was a pretty quick craft. I pulled some brown paper bags outta a drawer, grabbed some coordinating papers, washi tape, yarn, brads, eyelets and a cute stamp.

I stamped the little tag with a gift package design, and adhered one side to the bag via eyelets and brads. I also added a strategically placed strip of washi tape. One thing to note -- I left the tops of the paper longer, so they folded over the top of the bags, acting as a seal.

My sister's kitty was veeeerrrrry interested, probably because of the contents:)

I added a toy, a can of food and a little felt-wrapped catnip-filled square that I sewed. No need for perfection here -- the kitties will have these chewed up in no time!

We've been spending time doing our traditional Christmas activities. There's a wonderful display at a lake near our house that we always go to.

It's never, ever crowded, and always beautiful.

Here's Elephant.

And here's Butterfly; can you find her?

Found an awesome Sugar Cookie Workshop kit from Trader Joe's. What a lot of fun for 4 bucks! It has everything you need, save butter and an egg. It even came with three cookie cutters:)

Ahhh, cooperation!!

And the reward? Cookie dough. (Please don't leave comments about letting my kids eat raw egg. It's like a bazillionth of a percentage ... Plus I obviously survived a childhood of eating cookie dough, lol.)

And to the victors go the spoils! Yum!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A banner day, part 2

Remember this? Um, yeah ... you're suppose to click that link to refresh your memory 'cause it's been so freaking long since part one that I know you forgot.

I almost did, after all:)

So anyway, I left off with all of the triangles cut out and the dread thought that there would be a lot of sewing ahead. Guess what? I cheated. There's this nifty invention out there called fabric glue. Why not use it?

I did, after all:)

I glued all but a small opening on each side of the top of the triangle. I then lined up all of the right-sided-out triangles to ensure I liked how the colors played off of each other, etc.

I strung the banners on a huge old length of nice ribbon, threading the ribbon through the left-open tops. See how they all slide into each other, though? Not to worry! That's where the buttons came in handy.

Not only did the buttons hold the individual flags in place,

they also looked pretty cute while hiding the unglued part. And yes, I admit I sewed the buttons on -- 50 of them, to be exact. Whew!

The banana buttons were specifically FOR my little monkey -- er, I mean Butterfly. She did pick them out, after all.

A bit of artful arranging on the previously mentioned blank slate curtain canvas ...

See the open spaces in the curtains, just outside? Yup, that was SNOW. Blech.

This is Harry, one half of my dad's cats. Isn't he gorgeous, especially in the sunshine? His brother, Houdini (Dad is obsessed with a certain magician), is equally beautiful, with orange points instead of black/grey.

Now if we could only keep him from unwrapping Christmas presents!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tag, this is it

Another quick Christmas craft: A holiday tag banner.

I cut out a bunch of white tags using my Cricut, then border punched the bottoms of a couple of them.

I also used washi tape to attach each tag to a long strand of red and white baker's twine.

I pulled apart an old "Frosty" book, using a bit of the text in this one, above.

Made paper medallions and used felt flowers on another.

This is just some cute vintage Christmas-themed paper.

Here, I used part of a picture from the "Frosty" book.

The Elephant and the Butterfly sent off their letters to Santa a week ago or so. Much better than their mama, who has yet to do more than assemble the bits to make Christmas cards. This year, I'm only sending cards to people who send them to me. It's much more rewarding.

More to come (or t/k, for those of you in the know.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Advent of an idea

Every year I go looking for an Advent calendar, and every year I seem to just miss buying the last one. So I end up coming up with my own idea, which, of course, now gives me something to blog about.

Because the Elephant and the Butterfly -- actually let's be honest it's Butterfly -- aren't so great with the sharing, I made separate "calendars" this year. Pretty simple idea, too: I cut out 48 circle tags using my Cricut. Half were green (Elephant's) and the other half red (for Butterfly).

I also used the Cricut to cut out a bunch of numbers. Used a medallion punch to give a contrasting background to mount the numbers, added some red twine and white yarn, and voila!

I hit a party store for half of the little doodads -- tops, bubbles, figures and such -- and Winco's bulk foods for a variety of Christmas chocolates.

I simply taped the items to the backs, making sure the popular items would match on a given day. For example, I knew if I put the gummy bears on Elephant's but not on Butterfly's for the same day, she'd never leave the poor guy alone;)

I hung them up all over the tree and so far the kids are seriously happy with the idea. Elephant helps Butterfly find her number as he's looking for his.

We also finished our gingerbread house this evening. One hint: Don't forget that it takes a couple of hours for the basic structure to set. That's why this evening was actually a part two.

Look at Elephant concentrating SO hard!

This is what he made: A little snowman in the front yard;)

Here's a view of the finished project ...

... and here's how Butterfly helped out. Hmm. Wonder why she had such a hard time getting to sleep tonight?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Too dang busy

Argh. Work takes too much time! I've been trying to slip some creativity into the free spaces, so I'm hopeful I'll soon have something original to share. In the meantime, here are my adorable kids, tee hee. Think I might be biased? Butterfly plunked in next to Elephant to watch a movie then picked up his hand to hold ... much to his (obvious) surprise:)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Papier mache turkey in a few easy steps

Yup, that's right. I made a papier mache turkey.

It all started when I foolishly popped up and said I'd participate in the cat shelter's adoptathon weekend by decorating one of the cages. What did that mean? It meant I got home from work around 1 a.m. three nights in a row and stayed up till 3-4 a.m. working on the dang thing. I swear, its waddle was still drying when I carted it into the store!

So here's a blow-by pictorial essay on the process. Many apologies for the photos, which were taken by cell phone.

1. Build your frame. Newspaper and masking tape make excellent bases. Plus the supplies are cheap (and/or free, if you happen to work for a newspaper. Which I do.) Some folks use dowels and wire for support, but my projects have always stood on their own via application of loads of masking tape.

2. We have the basic structure in place, including a head. I was going to buy a Styrofoam ball at Michael's for the head, but OMG! Have you seen how much those suckas cost? A liberal bunching of newspaper did the trick.

3. I covered the wings and tail feathers with more newspaper, then decided to cover the papier mache parts with kraft paper (I used a little more than one roll, and they were $1 a roll. Cheap.) You can always cover your structure to a smooth finish (sanding if needed) and paint, but I didn't have the time. The kraft paper ended up being a great compromise. I also added some colorful paper to the wings.

The kitties also like the tops of their cages covered, so I bought an inexpensive piece of soft brown cloth (currently being repurposed into a pillowcase for The Elephant) to serve as the "roof." It also nicely hides where the body parts attach.

4. This is the pre-head photo. I added some T-Day fixings and a cute little flower arrangement to the top. The turkey is the guest of honor 'cause I don't eat turkey! The sign says "Trot on Over." Hah hah. I'm so funny.

5. The rear view. The sign here says, "Please don't say this is THE END of our relationship." Get it? See. Told ya I was funny.

6. My sister's Evil Kitty (you know ... the kind who's going to eat you when you die) claimed the space as A Room of Her Own. I admit that I considered just packing her along and saying she was one of the kitties up for adoption ... but I do love my sister and everything.

7. And here's the finished project, in the store. Unfortunately, this is the only surviving photo of the head. The wonderful folks who packed everything up after the adoptathon recycled everything except a wing. Too bad, as I intended to keep the head as a talisman of some sort. Oh well.

The cage decorating also was a contest -- the public voted on their favorite. Guess who won? Yup:)

Monday, November 15, 2010

You can't win 'em all

How about a quickish photo recap kind of deal of this weekend's scrapbook convention, CKC in Seattle?

I only took three classes -- no volunteering or crops this year. I tried to leave plenty of time for shopping at the vendor fair, but I STILL did not see everything. There were, however, a ton of great deals this year. There always are -- Seattle is the last stop of the year for CKC. But this year it seemed like more purposeful targeting of the inexpensive stuff. There was more than one dollar booth, for example.

My cool find were these paper kits for $2.50 each. There's at least 20 sheets of nice paper plus all these embellies. Definitely worth much more than $2.50. My only complaint? Why did I buy only two??

I noticed one trend: Flowers and butterflies shaped by wire with sheer fabric and bling details. I found one booth where they also came on a long wire, but this booth's display definitely caught my attention. Pretty, isn't it?

Classes were hit and miss, as usual. The first, by SEI, was cool because we got a ton of stuff. Getting a ton of stuff usually sends the class to the top of the list since even if I don't like what's being taught, I can use the ton of stuff to my own liking:) Second class was about masking/misting, and I liked this class. The supplies weren't too plentiful, but they were gorgeous. I also won some in the door prize drawing -- Jenni Bowlin and October Afternoon. Good stuff:) During the class, I made this layout:

The final class was by Creating Keepsakes. I'm glad it was my freebie for signing up for the Creating Keepsakes Club. It was a simple summer album class ... and there was so very little about it that was original! We got a ton of 8x8 paper and an album ... and about 10 flowers/brads. The lo's were pretty ugly, too. So -- I'll repurpose the goodies and make my own originality, lol. CK has been very disappointing, though. I have a feeling the company is struggling. I wish it would listen to suggestions and not keep itself stuck in a mode that obviously is disintegrating ... But I'm going off topic here.

Finally, I had entered the layout contest, but once again this year did not win. I've only won once ... which I suppose I need to be grateful for, and I am! I just want to win again, lol. This is my layout, with a couple of detail shots:

Anyway, I have a couple of random things left to clear out of the publish-to-the-blog file, then I'm hopeful I'll have the final banner post up:) I also need to get a giveaway in the works ... I've been the lucky recipient of RAKs and want to return that generosity! So spread the word and once I have enough followers, I'll get one going.

Thanks for stopping by!