Monday, July 21, 2014

Mini Gift Wrap Kits

Hi, all!  There's a few fun things in the works and I'm popping in today with a sneak peak at one of them...

I'll be able to tell you what this is all about in a few days, I hope.

In the meantime, just enjoy a few pretty things...

Have a happy Monday, folks!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Happy Times

Hi guys!  I've missed this place!  I'll fill you in on where I've been and what I've been doing at the end of the post.  Right now, though, let's get right to the business at hand...the crafty stuff!  My first card today is very simple, but thanks to some chipboard pieces from Crate Paper's Oh, Darling collection, it's colorful and flowery, and really cheerful--something that I've been desperately needing lately.

I made both of these cards weeks ago, I think back when I was making my little sets of confetti cards.  My most favorite thing about Oh, Darling is how vibrant and saturated the colors are.  The pinks, yellows, and blues are deep and bright which makes the work so nice for photographing.

After taking a look through my stash of cards, I realized I had kind of stopped making birthday cards in favor of friendly greetings ("Hello!") and cards for any occasion.  I figured I'd better get a few more made so this is one of them.

This card, too, is pretty simple--these days, that's about all I have time for.  That's why larger, colorful pieces of chipboard are so great to work with--they provide a lot of details without tons of effort or work.  And when you add some bits of texture, like the lace swatch and the doily, it offers depth and interest with ease, again.

Things at home have changed a whole lot in the past month and a half...I mentioned in one of my last posts that my mother-in-law had a heart attack, followed by quadruple bypass surgery.  It has been a long road to recovery for her and since my in-laws live with us, it has meant a lifestyle change for the entire family as well.  The first couple of weeks after she came home from the hospital were the craziest and most difficult--there were so many people in and out of the house every day--relatives, healthcare workers, was non-stop some days.  My f-i-l does what he can but he's 85 so tires out fairly quickly and he's not used to doing things like laundry or cleaning.

We've also had to change our eating habits--which is not a bad thing at all, but for someone like me who doesn't know how to cook that well, it's a bit overwhelming.  Lola--as the kids call her--now has some strict dietary restrictions:  She can eat no more than 1500mg of sodium per day, must watch her sugar intake as she is now diabetic, and can only consume 48 ounces of liquid per day--this includes yogurt, ice cream, milk she adds to her coffee, water added to oatmeal, etc.  On top of all of that, she is quite a picky eater!  She rarely eats fruits or vegetables--with the claim that she can't digest most of them--and loves white starchy foods--crackers, breads, and white rice.  They are Filipino so it's been somewhat of a struggle to convert Lola and Lolo from their normal eating habits--substituting brown rice for white rice, whole grain bread instead of white dinner rolls, and absolutely NO Costco bagels!!  Those things are terrible!  Oh, and Chinese food--they LOVE Chinese food but are unfortunately oblivious to the insane amounts of sodium in most (takeout) Chinese dishes.  Neither one of them read labels on food packages, or even think about those things if they are ordering out.  If something doesn't taste salty, they don't think it has much sodium.  If something doesn't taste sugary, then it must not have much sugar in it.  I am constantly looking at food labels now and googling anything that isn't labeled, so I feel like a dictator when I tell them that beef and broccoli is a no-no.  But it has broccoli in it--it must be healthy!  Yes, but it's made with soy sauce which is scandalously high in sodium!  Oh, ok.  But we're not going to eat brown rice because it has gluten in it. ???  But Lola doesn't have an issue with gluten.  Ay-yay-yay!

I think we are, for the most part, on the downhill part of our adjustment period.  She's getting stronger and I'm learning to rearrange my days to fit in all of the household stuff and meal-planning that needs to get done.  Lola was an incredible help to me with Gus and Nemy before this so I'm happy to help her out now.  I don't have too much time for crafting at the moment, but that will change as I learn to make the most of my "personal" time.  Getting up earlier (long before the kids) and watching less TV helps!    

We are doing much better than we were 4 weeks ago, that's for sure.  Today, Mr. Bagubian said:  "Lola is a little bit sick, but still smiles everyday."  Honestly, those were his words.  Hoss and I were so proud of our 3 1/2 year old's spot on observation.  If Mr. B and Lola can stay positive during this time, then I can, too, I guess!  Thanks for stopping by today--and if you have any recipes for low-sodium, low-sugar, easy-to-prepare entrees, PLEASE SHARE!

Monday, June 16, 2014

coral flora gift wrap kit

hi all!  i have FINALLY gotten the chance to put a new gift wrap kit together for my Etsy shop.  i love coming up with these but when a lot of the items in it are handmade, they can be pretty time-consuming.  not everything here is handmade, of course, but a good chunk of it is.  this kit focuses heavily on florals and butterflies, with a coral, gold, and red color scheme.

i was greatly inspired by an old Daisy D's patterned paper; maybe you recognize it--i made this envelope out of it, and part of the butterfly garland.  i still think it's beautiful and wish i had hoarded a few more sheets of it way back when!

there are several gold accents here, which i think goes beautifully with the coral and red.  for this kit, i made a few different note cards and envelopes to make it versatile.  you can wrap up your gift and then choose one of the correspondence sets to pair with it.

i used gold rub ons from Pebbles to create simple flat cards and while i have them paired up with matching envelopes, they can be mixed up or used separately.  

here's a little sample if you want to dress up the outside...

this kit is full of fun stuff!  transparencies and crocheted flowers (i did NOT make those, though i really wish i knew how), fun tags, glassine bags, doilies, cabochons, gold glitter clothespins...

and it wouldn't be complete if it didn't come all packed up tidily in a muslin bag with a few more matching tags.

this is what i created with some of these lovely items...

i only have a few of these so if you like it, you'd better get yours now!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

ffc33 {rustic tags}

back today with another Festive Friday project.  i went a little rustic this week, inspired by the pine branches, snow-covered house, and kraft-wrapped packages from the inspiration photo.

there were so many Christmas-y, wintry subjects to choose from in this beautiful composition and i'll admit that i found it difficult to pick only one!  so i picked several and made a set of tags to highlight them.  wood shapes are the common feature here--you know the drill; i love them to pieces.  and there aren't too many things more rustic than wood, which is why i included at least one shape on each tag.

i chose elements in red, white, and bits of green to break up all the brown of the kraft tags.  the white doilies and tags are reminiscent of snow and brighten up the project.  there are stickers from Crate Paper's Christmas lines and the "Happy Holidays" wood veneer is Cosmo Cricket.

one of my favorite things to make around the holidays are "cozy" tags; that is, yarn-wrapped tags.  i just take soft, fuzzy yarn and wind it around a tag several times, then tie it off in the back.  the same technique works with most trims; baker's twine is another of my favorites to use.  it's very easy to do and when i use yarn, it reminds me of a warm, cozy sweater--hence the term, "cozy tags."

in the background of the inspiration photo there is a house and i liked the idea of making a winter scene on my tag.  i used a wood house from CP's Close Knit line and various snowflakes to make it look like it's snowing around the house.  the red banner sticker is a welcome pop of color.

it's a bit difficult to see in my photos, but there's a strip of white glitter below the house, mimicking a bed of sparkly white snow.

i do hope you all get a chance to play along with this challenge--there are some very pretty cards by the design team this week--so please stop by and check them out.  have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

ffc32 {red & white Merry Christmas}

i've had this card completed for weeks; i guess it's time i finally post it here!  it's the midway point in the year over at Festive Friday...have you managed to get a head start on your Christmas cards?  check out this week's gorgeous inspiration photo...i can dream for a corner in my house to look like this, can't i?

there were a whole lot of lovely things to choose from, but i was drawn to the different monochromatic creams, whites, and beiges.  you can see them in the chair, the pillows, the floral wreath, and even the landscape outside the window.  i used pops of red, just like in the photo, to add some interest and contrast.  i'm not really a scrapbooker by any means, but i've recently discovered that the Project Life cards are just the right size for card-making, too.  am i late to the party on that one?  probably, but i'm happy to be better late than never!  the "Merry Christmas" and red and white polka dot cards are from the PL Holiday Edition kit.

my background paper is My Mind's Eye (All Is Bright), and my little beige chevron tag is from the Crate Paper Sleigh Ride line a couple years back.  lastly, i added one of my favorite wooden stars from Studio Calico to a bitty white strung tag.

it's been another week of ups and downs here...thank you for your kind thoughts regarding this fill you in, we learned a few months ago that my father had a large mass pressing against one of his kidneys.  he went through a barrage of tests and months of waiting because every test was inconclusive.  in mid-May he had a laparoscopy (a minor surgery) that would hopefully, finally, reveal an answer.

my sister went to the hospital with him for that and before the surgery began, his doctor mentioned that he suspected it was late-stage cancer so whatever the results were, the course of action would be to do what he could to "prolong his life."  in essence--it was likely terminal.  after the surgery was over, the doctor told her that preliminary results showed the mass was lymphoma.  he didn't say anything more than that.

keep in mind that we lost my mother quite suddenly and unexpectedly in November.  in January, we found out about my dad's mass and kidney problems and i don't know about you, but when i hear about a "mass" anywhere in the body, my first thought is cancer.  so it's been weighing heavy on our minds for 4-5 months.

Dad's doctor went to a medical conference right after the surgery so it was another difficult week and a half of waiting until we had anymore information--what stage was it?  how much had it spread?  what could be done?  and then...oops, no, it's not lymphoma--it's not cancer at all.  it's some strange, rare kind of fibroid that has attached itself to many of the organs in his abdomen, including the ureter and bladder.  it can't be removed but will hopefully shrink enough through a course of steroid treatments that eventually something can be done about it.

so while he is still having issues and still requires some invasive medical procedures, the good news is that he is cancer-free.   

 we had a week or so to be thankful for that news and then my mother-in-law had a heart attack over the weekend.  she is ok--she underwent a quadruple bypass on Tuesday morning and seems to be recovering well, though it is still early.  we are incredibly grateful that she was given the chance to have the surgery instead of being taken from us.  my in-laws live with us so it's been very strange not to have her around this week.

so i've said it before and i'll say it again:  don't take anyone for granted; you never know when they won't be there anymore.

Monday, May 26, 2014

garden gifts

Longfellow said, "The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout, and hands full of flowers."  it certainly feels like Spring is having a good laugh at our expense--the month of May has had some strange weather in different parts of the country.  even if this usually-gentle season is having a bit of an identity crisis, we can hopefully still enjoy that handful of flowers.

{this was my most recent post for Crate Paper.  i'm a teensy bit proud of it so i'm sharing it here, in it's entirety, as well.}

a delightful box of Open Road products arrived on my doorstep last month.  i carefully looked through each piece, visions of future projects and plans running through my head.  my brain nearly cartwheeled when i came upon the delicate floral pattern of the "Peach Springs" paper.  there was an infinite number of things i wanted to do with it...make beautiful cards, create feminine gift tags, frame a piece of it as the backdrop for a bulletin board...the ideas went on.

when the May assignments came out and "Pretty Things: Spring" was on the list, i happily began to plan a project around that theme.  the paper is certainly a pretty spring thing and inspired a beautiful garden gift set (okay, 5 of them).  this paper has awakened the hoarder in me and i hated to use it because i just want to keep it forever.  instead, i sacrificed an entire sheet of it for this project.

i was also very much inspired my grandmother, who spent many hours during the spring and summer months tending to her beloved garden.  i wanted each piece of the gift(s) to evoke the feeling of a garden party, or at the very least, a lovely present for an avid gardener.  if she were still alive, i’d happily send one of these sets off to her.

the floral nature of the paper further inspired me to use these little seeding pots i found recently.  when i bought them, i thought they'd be handy to use in a future craft project.

i filled each pot with different succulents that i took from our garden.  you may have noticed how trendy these hearty plants are becoming, especially the hens-and-chickens (the beautiful rosette-looking ones).  i remember those growing out of a big terra cotta pot in my grandmother's garden.  they have an almost minty hue and fit right in with my colors--peach, mint, and gold.

to decorate the pots, i hot-glued crochet trim to the outside, then wound some shimmery gold twine around that a few times.  i tied on a tag made from various Crate papers, a swatch of lace, and a resin flower from the first Maggie Holmes line.  a tiny paper flag threaded in the twine announces these pretty plants.

i ended up making several "things-on-sticks" for my collection.  i painted toothpicks and bamboo skewers gold, and then adhered several different elements to them to make decorative picks.  a few well-known garden verses printed from the computer served as tiny messages.  "Bloom where you are planted", "How does your garden grow?” and "The earth laughs in flowers".  they are small and sweet, just like my little pots.  the main paper focal point is the larger flag, made to coordinate with the tag on the outside of the cup.  "Peach Springs" was the highlight of the entire collaboration so i wanted to include it wherever possible, but without overwhelming things.  each of the large flags follows the same design, but has slight differences.

the succulents in the seeding pot should be removed and planted in a more permanent home like terra cotta earthenware or the garden.  i included some flower seeds in this gift that can be started in the little pots after the succulents have been moved.  now is the time when all sorts of flower and herb seeds can be found at local stores.  sometimes, the packets they come in are pretty enough to be given as-is, however, when it comes to the color scheme for my projects, i’m a bit of a stickler!  i also wanted the excuse to use more pretty Crate papers and decorate the package in accordance with the rest of the gift set.

using a template, i made coin envelopes from coordinating papers.  {from Open Road:  "Peach Springs" (of course!), "Road Map" (aqua stripe side), "Big Sky" (white brick side); from Flea Market:  gold doily specialty vellum paper}

if you don't have a template or die for the envelope, try browsing Pinterest for templates.   it is also easy enough to take apart an existing envelope (soaking it in water helps), trace onto paper, trim, and fold.

i then emptied a packet of seeds into a smaller glassine envelope, sealed it with colorful tape, and tucked it into my handmade coin envelope.  it may feel redundant to use 2 envelopes for the seed packaging, but my thought was that my recipient could reuse the decorative envelope that way.

i folded a white paper doily around the package, tied on some more gold shimmer twine, and added a tag and a butterfly pick.   the butterfly punches have tiny gardening terms pasted onto them, like “blossom”, “thrive”, and “grow”.  again, it was important to me to keep each element of the gift similar, but not replicate it exactly.

the gift sets exhibit a pretty, vintage-style, shabby chic quality to them, all anchored with the "Peach Springs" paper.  it’s incredibly feminine and dainty--am i gushing about it too much?!  i apologize if that's the case, but i love that, aside from the frames, pots, and plants, this entire project was made with just paper and a handful of trims.  i also like that this project, completed with mostly Open Road supplies, has a totally different feel to it than the majority of the Open Road line.  At a glance, OR is travel-oriented with a definite retro pop culture style.  that is nothing like what i’ve done here!

as a designer/crafter, it's often my intention to create "pretty things."  with a venture such as this, which has many different parts to it and a theme, it's difficult not to get carried away.  i just wanted to make more and more and more...and when it was finished, i had 5 sets, including a couple of items that didn't even make it to the photo session.  i had to remind myself that sometimes "less is more."

as I mentioned earlier, i had many thoughts of my grandmother while working on this.  the dainty flower pattern of "Peach Springs" reminds me of the wallpaper that was in the bedroom where i slept at her house.  she loved flowers and i have so many memories of playing outside while she worked in her garden.  The New Garden Encyclopedia featured in the photos belonged to her, and she and her mother made some of the crochet trims used.  i was clearly feeling nostalgic last week when i made this.

i found the colorful resin frames at Michael's for just $2 each.  i’ve had them for a couple of months, waiting for the just the right idea to come along.  i’m glad i held onto them, as the colors and vintage style could not have been more fitting than this!

each flower packet has a different kind of seed in it.  using letters from the Highway chipboard alphas, i made tags to identify each type of seed.  while i don't have a photo of it, i also included pertinent information about cultivating the flowers, which i copied from the back of the original seed packets.

whether it feels like it or not, spring has officially been upon us for 6 weeks...if you haven't gotten a chance to appreciate time in your garden yet, i do hope you will get there soon.  until then, i assure you that placing a piece of “Peach Springs” paper close by will make you feel happy!