Monday, November 16, 2015

moments inked :: random acts of kindness

November always gives us a gentle nudge to be kinder, more grateful, and more thoughtful of what someone else might be experiencing...Friday the 13th was World Kindness Day; the 26th is Thanksgiving.  I've been recording 3 things I'm grateful for each day in my Papertrey Ink Moments Inked planner and now I'm motivated to take it a step further by paying it forward.  I have a lot to share today; a few RAKs, a little bit of packaging, what the diligent practice of mindfully being thankful every day has done for me, and even a fun way to upcycle those inspiring quote pages at the beginning of each month in the MI planner.  Read on!

I've tried to spend a little time each night preparing for the next day.  I like the way the pages in the MI planner are laid out and I've tried to use them as a guide for my daily tasks as much as I can.  Admittedly, I am not habitual about this, and sometimes, life throws curves at me, and my moments of reflection and preparation must be nixed in favor of a hectic workload, time with family, or much-needed sleep.  But the one part of the page that I am habitual about (and will even go back several days later to fill in) is the gratitude section.  I've heard from several sources that taking the time to write down 3 things you are grateful for each day makes a significantly positive impact on your life.  

So I've been trying it out.  When I received my planner in February, I noted that I would be using these pages every day and tracking my progress.  I will be honest and tell you that I was big-time slacking through July.  And it showed in my mood, motivation, and health.  How do I know?  Because I've been really good about keeping up with this portion (especially the Be Grateful part) since August and there's been a huge improvement.  I won't go into all the specifics, but I'm feeling better, more positive, and it has put a lot of things in perspective.  There were things I wasn't seeing--or didn't want to see--and things I wasn't doing, and I was spending a lot of time focusing on subjects that just weren't important.  When I started to use the page as a lifestyle guide, positive changes began to occur.  Thinking ahead about meal planning instead of ordering takeout because I was working until 6 and then had no clue what to have for dinner meant more of a variety and better nutrition for my family (and a lot less guilt for me).  It also meant dropping 15 pounds!  Looking ahead to the major tasks of the next day meant less time running around unhinged because I was no longer dropping the ball and forgetting important due dates and appointments.

(I won't make this sound like all you have to do is write a few things down in your journal and major life changes will fall into your lap, because that's not what happens.  This system doesn't work unless you do.  It does take mindful effort and thought, but the results are worth it.)

Another thing I've been thinking and making mental notes about is being kinder.  There is always someone worse off than you.  When you're having a bad day and nothing is going right and everyone is demanding your time, it's difficult to remember (or even care) that someone is battling a terminal disease, has just lost a loved one, or is living in a war-torn country far, far away from your own little world, and these issues you're facing today are minute in comparison to that.  This isn't a lecture--I, too, am guilty of forgetting the plights of others--it's simply a reminder.  When I started paying attention to the many reasons I had to be thankful instead of the few reasons I had to be angry and spiteful, my mindset changed and, soon after, so did my outlook on life.

That being said, the second part of this post is about paying it forward.  There are beautiful quotes at the beginning of each month in the MI planner and they are great reminders of these same feelings I've been having lately.  Let's show kindness instead of anger, love instead of hate, encouragement instead of spite.  You can show kindness in small ways--just being polite and saying thank you when someone holds the door for you is kindness in a small way.  Then when it's your turn, hold the door for someone else.  Doesn't it make you feel good when a complete stranger pays you a compliment or says hello with a smile?  Try doing the same for another person.  Small gestures, yet they mean so much and don't cost a thing.

Then again, sometimes it's nice to spend a few dollars on a friend who's going through a rough time.  A random act of kindness is a nice way to show you care.  With just a few supplies and framed MI quotes, I made meaningful gifts to pass on to friends.

The first gift is a 'just because you're my friend' present and is truly random.  I trimmed and framed July's quote about rising each morning and responding with love and kindness.  Next, I decorated a small muslin bag with some tassels and an Aqua Mist felt bow (made from the dies in the Beaded Holiday kit as seen in this post).  I made a small tag with the Divided die and stamped RAK on it.  You can find the RAK stamp in the Planner Banners stamp set.  I packed up some winter face balm (that I bought solely because of the gorgeous tin!) and together, they make a thoughtful, inexpensive gift for a dear friend.

The second set of gifties I put together was inspired by April's quote, and is random in the fact that the recipient will not be expecting it.  A friend of my mother-in-law is going through a difficult time and she is one of the kindest souls on earth.  The outlook embodied in this quote is so fitting for her, because I know that despite her current hardship, she is not feeling sorry for herself.  In her situation, I'm not sure I would be able to exhibit the same strength.  She is incredibly thoughtful and I'm hoping my small gesture will let her know that she, in turn, is thought of often.

I used the tiniest of tiny heart stamps to decorate a plain white bag, big enough to hold a gift card.  I stamped the heart repeatedly on the bag with Melon Berry ink and then added a few embellishments--tassels again, some gold trims, Melon Berry twill ribbon, and 2 banner die cuts.

I used the RAK stamp again here; the bitty heart is from the same set, Planner Banners.

You don't have to spend a lot of money or time to be a good friend or to work toward a positive lifestyle change.  Baby steps and small efforts are enough to get the ball rolling, but it does take commitment and a willingness to try.  Is it hard?  Sometimes, yes.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

Papertrey Ink Supplies used:
Moments Inked 2015 Memory Planner (planner and quotes)
Ink:   Melon Berry
Felt:  Aqua Mist

Thursday, November 5, 2015

gossamer blue :: november :: zebra wrap

Hello again!  I'm back today with another wrapped present using the Gossamer Blue November kits.  Gus went to a birthday party for a schoolmate recently and I needed to come up with some kid-friendly packaging.  Zebras anyone?

I happened to have just found the blue striped fabric remnant at the store last month and as I sorted through the Amy Tangerine die cuts from the Main Add-on kit, I came across the blue zebra.  It could not have been a more perfect find!  Because the patterns are bold, I went with a lot of white space and small pops of other colors.  The aqua is subtle and analogous to the darker blue, while the orange is warm and bright and compliments them both.

Since this gift is for a 5 year old, I didn't want it to be complicated to unwrap so I used plain white wrapping paper and just a small strip of the fabric with a length of silvery twine.  The card/tag is adhered to the front of the box with a couple glue dots.

Just because I was wrapping for a boy doesn't mean it has to be boring, though, right?  Simple embellishments like the H for his name, a cork tag, and those color pops will appeal to him, and to Gus, from whom I took a couple of my cues.  I had the orange tassel on my desk and he kept stopping by to admire and touch it so I thought, why not?  It happened to match the 'start here' Life Pages card and was the prompt I needed after the initial zebra theme was in my head.

His October birthday puts Gus in Transitional Kindergarten instead of regular Kindergarten in the state of California so all of his classmates have birthdays between September and December.  That makes for lots of birthday parties in a short amount of time, and lots of wrapping for this Mama!  (Luckily, that's my specialty :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

gossamer blue :: november :: sticker bags

Happy November!  It's a new month which means new kits from Gossamer Blue!  You can see the new kits in their shop and the gallery is open, too, so you can peruse the Design Team's gorgeous work with them.  This month, I've gone gift wrap crazy!  You'll notice this if you take a peek at the gallery; the only projects you'll see from me are pretty packaging techniques.  Gift wrapping plays a pretty big role at this time of year so I used that as an excuse to prepare various presents for friends, teachers, and family (and the occasional empty box!) with all sorts of different wrappings.

This has got to be the simplest wrap I've ever done, but I have to tell you that I love the way it turned out.  In the Main Add-on kit was a sheet of clear stickers from Amy Tangerine.  I will admit that while I always love the designs of clear stickers such as these, they are not my favorite things to work with.  They work great as photo overlays, but since I rarely use photos in my work, that use generally doesn't apply to me.  Using them on paper or card stock is great, but they're super-sticky (and clear) so if you have to re-position, you risk paper transfer which is quite visible.  So clear stickers aren't a product I've ever used too much.  Until now.

Now that I've discovered this technique, I will use them all the time!  I decided to try them out as a decoration for a muslin bag.  And it worked!  Because they're super-sticky and incredibly thin, they appear to be almost one with the bag.  If you have to re-position, the bags don't rip.  Yes, tiny fibers may still stick to the back of your stickers, but they aren't noticeable like a swatch of paper would be.  They're more malleable than their thicker paper counterparts so they bend with the bags and they do not fall off.

I love this so much!  It's such a quick option for hectic schedules and last minute gifts.  Run a bone folder over them a few times for a stronger hold and to iron out any wrinkles.

For the crafty bag below, I added a couple extra elements like the scissor die cut and the pink puffy clothespin sticker adhered to a white tag.  A bright yellow tassel completes the look.  Quite possibly, I've used tassels on all of my wraps so far this month!  I made the tassel from embroidery floss but the other embellishments are also from Amy Tangerine.

The muslin bags I used are 5" x 7" but this adornment will work with any size since the stickers also come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Another handmade tassel mixed with pieces from the GB kits to accent this pretty floral bag.  The minty alpha can be found in the Main kit while the polka dot washi is in the Main Add-on.  If you haven't ordered your November kits yet, do it soon!  Better yet, become a subscriber; they get first dibs on all the add-ons!

Again, be sure to check out the DT Gallery for loads of inspiration.  I noticed that a lot of the gals made pretty packaging samples so if you're a gift wrap fiend like me, you're in for a real treat!  I have a LOT of wrapping coming your way this month, so stay tuned...Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 2, 2015

gossamer blue october reveal :: pretty packages

We've made it to autumn!  That's officially become my favorite season, in part due to the change in the weather (well, not where I live, but I think cooler weather might on the horizon) and because there are a lot of fun things to be packed into this season--Gus's birthday, Halloween, pumpkins, Thanksgiving, and the overall sense of togetherness.  Since it's my favorite season, I couldn't be more excited to approach my latest Gossamer Blue projects with fall in mind.

The GB October kits are filled to the brim with autumn-themed elements and I had the best time working with them.  It seems like these kits just keep getting better and better!  I did an awful lot in the colors you see here--deep purple, turquoise, dark wood, and gold.  There were other colors represented in the kit, as well, but the purple in particular stood out.  I'm actually not usually a big fan of purple, though I've always loved this shade.

The first thing I think of when it comes to fall is giving.  I'm sure it's due to all the obvious reasons--Thanksgiving, gift giving, a general feeling of wanting to extend yourself to make someone else happy.  My projects this month centered around that concept.  I made a lot of tags, some cards, and then wrapped up some cute little packages, too.

Purple and gold are so pretty together; while my favorite color to pair with gold is blush pink because it's soft and sweet, I think this purple hue with gold is elegant and sophisticated (I am neither of those things, mind you!).

You'll probably notice me using a lot of mini cupcake liners on projects this month; they're simply the best things since doilies and I'm hooked.  Plus, I happened to find them in this deep purple so how could I NOT use them?  It's such a quick and perfect little package topper to layer one with a handful of die cuts (acorns and a glittered circle, in this case).  With a washi covered mini clothespin, and a few elements from my stash, my wrap was complete.

The second gift features a pale pink cupcake liner nested with another die cut, this fantastic wood and paper arrow, and a brad.  I used a few of my own products here, too.  Lace and seam binding are always within reach and you can't go wrong with leaves during the autumn months.

The October kits featured products from Pink Paislee, Simple Stories, My Mind's Eye, and Dear Lizzy.  You can check out the GB shop where you can purchase any of the kits (hurry--they sell out fast!), or check out the DT Gallery--I'm always blown away looking around there--my teammates are truly creative wonders!

Later this month, I'll be sharing a look into my tag-making process on the GB blog.  In the meantime, you can see some extra tags in the gallery, and I'll be posting more about those right here in a couple of days.  Happy fall, friends!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

gossamer blue inspiration blog hop :: september :: wild hearts tags

Calling all dreamers!  It's the 15th of the month and that means there's a Gossamer Blue Inspiration Blog Hop happening.  We're here to present you with all sorts of ideas for creating with your September kits.

I've gotten so that I already know I'm going to make a set of tags each month with the kits.  This month, given all of the 'adventure / dream / wild spirit' sentiments featured in the September kits, I took that theme and ran with it.  And I want to inspire YOU to not only put your GB kits to good use, but to also compel you to pursue your next adventure.

There's something romantic about being wild at heart and dreamy--not romantic in the sense of being in love, but perhaps starry-eyed or enchanted.  There's nothing quite like the feeling of thinking that you can conquer the world or fly or move mountains.  I felt like the September kits captured that feeling perfectly so I wanted to capture it, too.

   Quaint hearts and florals from the Main Add-on, Main Add-on #2, and LP Add-on #3 kits are layered with romantic lace, doilies, and peach tulle from my own stash.  Soft and pretty shades of pink and coral, moody grays, and elegant gold...the colors are about taking a wild leap and following your heart, knowing there is a chance you may fail, but throwing caution to the wind and believing in yourself for a positive outcome.

I poured over my kits when I received them last month, my mind brimming with ideas and possibilities for not only my projects, but of hopes and dreams, as well.  I mean, there was even a notebook in the Bits & Pieces kit for recording said hopes and dreams (or something entirely different, of course).  But it was hard not to feel motivated to accomplish something, whether it be a large something or a small something, when you're presented with such encouraging words in each kit.

Now I'm passing that motivation onto you, my friends...they may only be tags, but it's my hope that you find something in them that encourages you to take a leap or a risk.  Do that thing you've been putting off; have an adventure; dream out loud.

Whatever your passion is, I hope you're inspired to pursue it...Adventure awaits!

Thanks for making this post a stop on the path to your dream...Speaking of dreamy, Sandra Dietrich is your next venture.  And there are still a (very) few kits left so check out the GB store soon, before they sell out!  Better yet, start a subscription if you haven't already.

Monday, September 7, 2015

pti :: moments inked :: color coordinating with paint swatches and tassels

Are you like me?  Do you have more paint swatches and skeins of embroidery floss than you know what to do with?  There's something about their deeply saturated colors that makes me covet and hoard them both.  And when I started using them in my Moments Inked Memory Planner, coordinating them with Papertrey Ink's own spectrum of brilliant hues, I became more hooked than ever!  If you share these tendencies, you'll want to read on and see how I've put my overgrown collection to good use.

One of my most favorite things about the MI planner is the color within the pages.  The daily pages, in particular, are so pretty to look at that I almost hate to ruin them by adding my handwriting!  But I've come up with a way to quickly enhance my pages, while making more room to add notes and using up my stack of paint swatches and floss.


Fellow creatives have been using paint chips for years and they come up with the best uses for them.  It's really no surprise that list-makers and planners have also adopted these practices.  What I've done today is nothing new and I'm not trying to claim it as my own, but I will show you a couple of ideas for using them with your MI system.

I started by utilizing the ombre cards.  The reason I like them is because they're divided and I'm a person who needs to think and plan ahead a little bit when I'm looking at my day-to-day or week-to-week plans.  I stamped TODAY, TOMORROW, and WISH LIST from the Listed stamp set in the different color boxes and it's enough room for me to jot down a couple of notes.  On my wish list are the things I hope to accomplish if today and tomorrow's tasks are somehow miraculously completed--I'm sure you know how that goes! 

I can then either just tuck the list into my planner and call it good or I can use the Basic Pages dies to cut tabbed holes in them so they can be inserted in the book.  I like having the option to do both; by inserting it into the book, it doesn't become just another random flyaway piece of paper.

I also created similar lists for the month and week-at-a-glance pages.  Paint swatches come in multiple layouts, shapes, and sizes so you can choose your preference.  For the at-a-glance pages, I chose to use these Glidden chips from Home Depot.  I used a landscape layout and cut the holes in the larger square.  (Tip: In order to avoid trimming the card down to a small size when die cutting, I used the largest page die. For the other lists, which are Olympic brand from Lowe's, I used the third largest and it was nearly a perfect match!  You can also use the Edged Die which will work just as well, if not better!)

For these, I used the TO DO LIST stamp, also from the Listed stamp set.  The paint chips have a smooth surface so I used Stazon Jet Black ink for a solid finish that wouldn't smudge.  And for writing, I used a ballpoint pen.  I've tried gel pens, Sharpies, and other markers, but they don't adhere well to the surface.

After I was finished with my paint card inserts, I turned to tassel-making with my embroidery floss.  Tassels, I'm sure you have noticed, are everywhere in the planning community.  Because I recently spent a solid week stitching up PTI felt for my last Quick Stitch Kit projects, my floss has been sitting out on my desk in it's array of gorgeous PTI colors.  I had to use it in my planner, too!

I mean, those colors...The skeins of floss were pretty enough sitting out on my desk, but this little basket of tassels is not going anywhere anytime soon.  It's inspiring and so cheerful to look at...I made tassels to coordinate with 3 different months in the planner--August, September, and October--and the colors are heavenly.

I'll provide a list of the shades I used at the end of this post, but it's really easy to take your card stock or felt to the craft store and match them that way (that's what I did for the paint samples, too).  These are just small tassels and I hooked them to small pink paperclips and attached them to my pages.  The clips are from the Target One Spot and just happen to be a perfect color match to Hibiscus Burst!  Bonus!

You don't have to worry too much about choosing colors that go well together because PTI has done that for you each month.  All you need to do is find a few accessories that match--or come close to it--and with paint cards and embroidery floss, you are certain to find a wide array of saturated hues to compliment your planner.

Happy planning!

Papertrey Ink Supplies:

Embroidery Numbers (for tassels shown in photos):  (All floss DMC)
Simply Chartreuse - 734
Canyon Clay - 922
Berry Sorbet - 3705
Hibiscus Burst -3806
Hawaiian Shores - 959
Aqua Mist - 964
Summer Sunrise - 742

Paint Swatches from the following stores:
Home Depot

Also used:
Stazon Jet Black Ink