Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - It's in the Book!

A few days ago I posted my holiday card album which you can revisit here if you'd like.  Today I pulled all my 2013 cards and photos together and put them into the album, and I wanted to share the finished product with you. 

So here is the cover once the album is full.  I added a tie on the binding, as the album was a little bulky.  I was going to try to go "tie-less" but I decided that it really does perform a function of condensing the album and keeping the loose cards in the pockets from falling out (although mine were a pretty tight fit).
I noticed this year that many of the photo cards are double-sided.  I wanted to mount my photo cards without losing the back side which had additional photos or messages.  So I created some hinges using cardstock that were super easy.  I just cut 3/4" strips that were scored at 3/8".  I glued one side of the fold to the card and the other to the page.  I also attached a small piece of ribbon to the cards with the hinges that will remind me of the hinge.  I absolutely LOVE that I didn't lose the backs of these photo cards.

Below are some of pages showcasing some gorgeous homemade cards and photo cards from friends and family.  

Love that vellum poinsettia . . . and a hinged photo showcasing a friends brand new house!

Another hinged photo card and a handmade card which I trimmed the edges from so it would fit vertically . . . I thought those sledding children silhouetted in black were perfect under Santa's sleigh silhouetted above in white on the page. 

You can clearly see the hinge on this one.  I thought about putting additional cards under the hinge, but decided against it.  another gorgeous handmade card on the right. 

This photo card was adhered straight down, and another handmade card on the right.  Handmade A2 cards fit perfect on the pages, while the larger cards are better in the pockets. 

Photo card on the left, adhered straight down, and a handmade card that my mom made on the right (she went to a Stampin' Up workshop!)

And here is a shot of one of those pockets.  The larger cards fit in nicely, and you can "tag" them with a ribbon pull. 

Christmas of 2013 is literally "in the book."  These albums make great gifts.  I made a few for gifts this year.  They're always fun to make, but the true effect shows once they are filled up with your holiday greeting cards. 

Happy New Year! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Gifting Ball

I belong to this really awesome stamp group called StampNation.  I've been a part of different online communities before, but this one is super special. They recently started a new fun thing called The Gifting Ball, where a ball makes its way around to different members filled with goodies.  I was lucky enough to get the ball, which included some awesome little trinkets . . . sequins in varying shapes, colors and sizes and some adorable metal charms.  LOVE! 

So I made a few creations today using sequins.  This first one uses sequins in place of balloons in this cute little stamp.  This one will be a great winter birthday card. 

And check out that adorable little key.  I used a fray from my abundance of burlap to create the tie on the key. 

The card below is Christmas Card #4 for 2014 (getting that early start).  I had paper and embellishments from October Afternoon's Make It Merry collection. 

I used one of the snowflake sequins that was gifted to me in the lower left corner of the card.  


The collection also came with little post cards, which are really cute, but something I normally would not use.  So I decided to come up with a design where I would really use the postcard.  I created a pocket inside the card for the post card, and my plan is to write my message on the post card.  

Some fun cards to create, and more will likely be on the way using my sequins and charms.  But the job at hand was for me to fill the ball with some gifts for another member and send it along.  Mission accomplished.

Now back to creating!

Supplies Used - Card 1
Cardstock:  Neenah
Paper:  Stampin' Up
Stamps: Stampin' Up
Ink: Stampin' Up and Ranger Archival
Other:  Sequins, charm and burlap string

Supplies Used - Card 2
Cardstock:  Neenah
Paper:  October Afternoon
Embellishments:  October Afternoon
Other:  Snowflake sequin and ribbon from May Arts

Freshly Made Sketches - Big Holiday Wishes

I played along with this week's Freshly Made Sketch . . .

I used paper from Simon Says Stamps Monthly Card kit to create this design, and added some elements that I had hanging around. 

I used the Big Holiday Wishes and the Merry Trees sets.  The sentiment is white embossed, and for the snow dots, I used a white pigment ink.  The inside border is Decorunner from Hampton Art.

Card #3 for 2014 is complete. 

Supplies Used
Neena Cardstock
Doodlebug Paper (from Simon Says Card Kit)
Simon Says Stamps
Color Box Ink
Stampin' Up Embossing Powder
Offray Ribbon
Decorunner (Hampton Art)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Paper Smooches - Designer Draft - Nice List

This week's challenge at Paper Smooches was a Designer Draft challenge, and I loved the sketch.  Here is my design . . .

I paper-pieced Santa's coat with one of the background papers, and I used Flower Soft for the fur.

Here is the sketch . . .
Card #2 for Christmas 2014 is done. 
Supplies Used
Bazzill Cardstock
Doodlebug Pattern Paper
Paper Smooches Stamps
Ranger Archival Ink
Copic Marker (Santa's face)
Flower Soft

Thursday, December 26, 2013

First Holiday Card - 2014 - for Mojo Monday

I decided to play along with this weeks' Mojo Monday Sketch Challenge

Armed with some leftovers from my stash that I worked with over the holidays, I created a little something . . .

The pattern paper is from Doodlebug, and the stamps are from Simon Says Stamp, which was a recent discovery of mine.  I am loving their stamps, as they are super adorable. 

So this would be Card #1 for Christmas 2014. I'm off to any early start! 

Supply List
Bazzill Cardstock
Doodlebug Paper
Simon Says Stamps (Merry Trees)
Fiskars Circle Punch

Holiday Cards Will Sparkle & Shine

Sparkle and Shine was the goal of the third Heart 2 Heart Challenge in December.  The challenge was to use the Sparkle and Shine paper or color palette, and to add some sparkle as well.  So I set out to create an album to house our holiday Christmas cards.  I had made this type of album before, but I didn't have instructions so it took some "deciphering" on my part. 

These little albums are FABULOUS for housing holiday cards and the photos that are either sent with the cards or that are taken throughout the holiday season. 

So the album is made from five 9 x 12" envelopes that are folded in half, and then bound together with ribbon.  I used the color ready seam binding for this particular version.  For added sparkle, I used some of the glitter paper and some rhinestones. 

The pages throughout are embellished with embellishments from Sparkle & Shine, so it all came together very nicely. 

One of the nice things about these albums is you can adhere photo cards to the pages as well as adhere some of your favorite cards.  But then there are also pockets in five of the pages where you can store the rest of your holiday cards. 

I altered the color combinations between all the awesome patterns in the Sparkle & Shine paper pack . . . ruby, juniper and slate!

And there are a few stamped images throughout, as well as the opportunity to add more once I have my holiday cards sorted out and am ready to fill the book. 

Amazing that five 9 x 12" envelopes can festively organize photos (with a little help from some awesome paper and embellishments). 

I'll be sure to post some photos once the book is filled, so stay tuned. 

All product used is Close To My Heart. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Heart 2 Heart - Moving On

Several weeks back I had gotten the Santa Claus set, and specifically catching my eye was the little Santa who looked like he was in the formation of doing a cartwheel or making a snow angel.  I just thought he was adorable.  I just new I wanted to do something cute with that little guy.

I just love challenges, because they push you to do what you set out to do (versus tucking the stamp set away until you have time).  So Heart 2 Heart's The Moving On challenge was the perfect kick in the pants I needed.  I set to work to get my little Santa moving.

Santa doing a cartwheel!

I do seriously have a problem photographing red.  Note to self . . . work on that!

All product is Close To My Heart with the exception of the Flower Soft on Santa's suit. 

Heart 2 Heart - All Framed Up

I've been absent from my blog the last week or two, as I've been working hard on filling the gaps in my tree (if you read my last post, you know what I mean).  In reality, I've been creating some items that I can't share on my blog, because it would spoil the secret of gift giving.

I did find some time to play with the All Framed Up Challenge at Heart 2 Heart.  I've had one of those awesome wired frames hanging out in my stash, intending to make a countdown calendar.  Now let's be honest . . . had the challenge not come up, my countdown calendar would have been done next year.

BEFORE WE MOVE ON . . . my walls are not as red as what's in the picture.  These photos make the wall look "glaring red".  This is actually an accent wall in my stairway, and it's a dark red, but not glaring.  I promise.

So here is my countdown calendar, and in this view it's showing all the tags hanging at the bottom.  I hung them there for the photo, but don't intend to keep them there all the time (I have a little box for them).  I decorated both sides of most of the tags . . . except for the tags that say "Christmas".

Here are the tags.


 And once you've done your countdown, you can reverse the top row of tags to just say Merry Christmas for the remainder of the season. 

This was a lot of fun to make, and I love that I can now remove the tags and design something else perhaps with family photos or another seasonal item.

Loving the frame . . . my one wish would be another wire closer to the top . . . yes?!?!

Happy Holidays! 

All product is Close To My Heart except the embossing powder used on #25, which is American Crafts. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013 Tree - Mistakes and Memories Made

I was on vacation when I had the idea to decorate my tree completely different from the last several years.  I was at Disney, where the holiday decorations are stunning.  I decided to give up my colored lights for white and to move from metallic garland to burlap ribbon and berries.   
Assignments were doled out!  My husband was to take the tree and the lights.  I was to work on finding the perfect burlap and berry garland. 

The tree assignment had two options . . . 1) a real tree, complete with a box of tissues and some cold and sinus medication to get us through the season (allergies) or 2) a new artificial tree without lights (we’ll put those on ourselves) that looks as real as possible. 

The light assignment . . . we’ve been married for 32 years.  He should know what I like at this point.  Plentiful lights . . . and not those new weird ones.   

The burlap assignment . . . wide unfinished burlap ribbon (with all the fray) that can wind and twist around the tree.

The berries . . . strings of berries that look fairly real, and that will get us through a few years.  Nothing that looks cheap or fake, and something that will "wear" well. 

Mistakes were made.  Where do I begin.  Apparently the choices for artificial trees without lights are very slim.  Let me tell you, it’s not just the choices that are slim.  Once this tree was set up and the branches fanned out, I asked my husband how much he paid.  I realized I should have given him a minimum price to pay.  He paid $80.00.  Another $40.00 could have filled some of these gaps!  But you know, that’s o.k. because lights, burlap and ornaments will fill these gaps.  Right? 

Wrong.  We've been married for 32 years (32 years, 5 months, 11 days, 21 hours as of this writing).  Efficiency of lights means nothing to me.  I do not like LED lights on my tree.  He remembers that I like a lot of lights, but he forgets that I do not like LED.  When he turns the lights on I hear Manfred Mann's Earth Band . . . Blinded by the Light.   

"Look away! Don't look directly at the tree." I can picture it now, Christmas eve we'll be sitting round the living room with our sun glasses.  And, what's worse, the lights are so bright they are illuminating the inside of the tree so you can clearly see this is an artificial tree (and not a good one either). 
The berries were the one clear win (3 out of 4 is not too bad).  I placed an order for a wood strand.  They were a little more than I wanted to pay, but they would withstand a few years if I liked this theme.  Plastic ones looked a little . . . what’s the word I’m looking for . . . plastic!  So I went with wood.  I got four strands (could have used five or six, but I made do).   

So let’s talk about that burlap, shall we.  I searched on Amazon trying to find the cheapest roll of burlap in a wide unfinished ribbon-like roll.  I wanted rustic looking with fray.  I compared and compared . . . did math and more math . . . and then I placed an order for what seemed to be the best deal. It is 4 inch wide burlap at $10 a roll not including shipping, which I usually get free, but because it seemed like a great deal, I paid the shipping.  (Remember . . . I did the math.)  And to be sure I would not run short, I ordered two rolls, which barely increased the shipping.   

I was clearly confused. I thought I did the math.  I must have mixed up some comparisons and missed some details.  This past week a large very long box arrives. I'm trying to figure out what I ordered that could be in this box, and the return address label didn’t help (because remember, it wasn’t an Amazon Prime item, so it shipped from someone else).  This is what greets me when I open the box . . . 

Please note the pencil and ruler for comparison.

Folks . . . I have two of those! TWO. What was I thinking?  I know I was comparing yardage and price, so what went wrong.  I went back and read the description on the order. They are 100 yards each. YARDS. I have 200 YARDS of 4 inch wide burlap. I thought about returning one, but the cost to return would be higher than just keeping my second $10.00 roll. 
My motto on Christmas trees . . . What you set up each year is a memory.  Anyone who knows the Bonczek family and the story of "the wonky" tree, knows that we stick with what we have for that year.  Push forward and pray your burlap covers some of that bright light.  

Well, no . . . the light comes right through the burlap (how convenient).

I took this last night . . . pre-ornament. I would have loved to have taken a full picture, but because of the bright lights, I could not get anything that didn't have glare in about a dozen places. Those lights are so bright, they illuminate the inside of the tree so you can clearly see it is artificial. 
I will say, I’m not a fan of metallic garland in daylight on trees.  I love it at night when the lights are on, but I’ve never liked the look in daylight.  The burlap and the berries look awesome in daylight.  I am loving the look, and I surely got a bargain on burlap for years to come.

It's one year . . . one tree.  There's always next year.  
Hoping your tree trimming memories are good ones.