Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Gift of Memories!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and is ready for the start of the week!  I am sure there will be lots of last minute Christmas shopping (at least I still have some shopping to do!), and holiday parties!  I spent the day celebrating Christmas with my mom's side and we certainly had fun!  Lots of smiling and laughing and for some reason, my husband, the comedian, is usually the initiator!  One of the many reasons I love him so much!

As some of you may know, I lost my maternal grandfather a little over a year ago.  I was responsible for creating the photo boards for his funeral - they turned out beautiful - you can see them here.  So this year for Christmas, I decided to give everyone in my family CDs containing all of the photos I had gathered as well as all of the documents my grandmother had given me about our family's heritage.  I couldn't think of a better gift and my family was definitely appreciative.

I put the CDs in envelopes I created using the Summer Blockbuster SVG kit by SVG Cuts and decorated them using the snowflake from the Clara's Christmas Eve SVG kit by SVG Cuts.  I added the sentiment 'Merry Christmas' from the stamp set "More Merry Messages" by Stampin' Up! and pearls to the snowflakes to make them pop!  The papers I used for the envelopes are from the "Sweet Dreams Holiday Avenue" collection by My Mind's Eye.

Other Materials Used:
Sizzix Circle Nesting Dies
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Old Paper
Stampin' Up! Ink in Crumb Cake
Stampin' Up! Cardstock in Whisper White

Thanks for visiting today!  Hope you have a great week!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Country Christmas Village & Tutorial on Homemade Snow! Guest Designer at Lori Whitlock!

Hey there!  I have a wonderful project to share with you today!  I hope you love it, take some inspiration from it, and/or make one of your own!

I am the Guest Designer over at the Lori Whitlock blog today!

If you are not familiar with Lori Whitlock, she designs very professional SVG files, Echo Park paper, and digital scrapbooking kits available at Jessica Sprague.  She is extremely talented and I love that she designs so many fun 3D SVG files.  I had a very hard time picking what I was going to make from her store!

To forewarn you, I have lots of photos below.  I added lots of tiny details to this project and want to show you every inch of them!  I hope you can bare with me!  Also, at the bottom of this post, I have a tutorial on how to make your very own snow for your projects using materials you should have around the house!

Okay, enough with the is my project!  A Country Christmas Village!

I couldn't resist making the 3D Christmas Village by Lori Whitlock!  I know lots of people have been sharing villages they have made recently and they are all so adorable.  I wanted to present something different so I challenged myself to make each building look like it was not made of paper (and they are of course!).  I pictured the ceramic villages you can buy at the store that my mom has so many of!

Here are a couple pictures of the village all lit up!

It is really pretty at night as the light from our Christmas tree reflects off the glitter and trims on each building. 

To light up the village, I put flameless votives inside each building through the opened doors except for the cottage as the door is too small.  I will show you how I put the votive inside the cottage below.

Now for all of the tiny details I added to each building in the village!  First up, The School House:

There are only pine trees in my village, so I thought it was appropriate to give the town the name "Pine Hill!"  It sounds country too, which I like!  :)  The pine trees are SVG files by Lori Whitlock -  3D Christmas Tree #3 and 3D Christmas Tree #5.

I used the curved banner label from the 14 Labels SVG set to add the school name above the school's door.  It worked perfectly!  I sized it to 2.239" wide by 0.741" tall.  I printed the name out first, then cut the label out using the Print/Cut feature in SCAL.

To create the wreath on the school, I first created a base using two punches from Stampin' Up!  First, I punched out a 1/2" circle into my cardstock.  Then, I centered the largest flower from the Boho Blossoms punch around the punched circle to create the wreath's base.  Then, I glued holly leaves from Lori's Christmas Icons Set 2 to the base.  To finish the wreath, I added some red rhinestones.

To add more holiday decor to the school, I used garland trimmings I found at Michael's.  I applied the garland around the school door and created scallops around the school windows.  I added Lori's holly leaves and red rhinestones to dress-up the garland.

The tower on top of the school was made for a bell (so stinkin' cute, right!) - I found some small metal bells at Michael's in the holiday decor area.  I hung the bell in the tower using gold crafting wire which I adhered to the top of the tower using a hot glue gun.

And there is a little surprise inside of the school house.  The back wall of the school house has a black board with a message that reads:  "See you in the new year!"  My teachers always said that when school was out for the holidays!

Next up, The Church:

To give the windows of the church a stained glass look, I stamp embossed onto vellum using the Lattice Background stamp by Unity Stamps for Jillibean Soup and gold glitter embossing powder by Martha Stewart Crafts.  I love the way the windows turned out!!!!

To add texture and color to the cross in the window, I applied glitter glue in gold by Martha Stewart Crafts.

There is a bell in the steeple too!

For the final touch, I created a standing sign with a message board for the church.  I thought the message "Merry Christmas" was perfect for the sign.  I added some snow, glitter, holly and rhinestones to embellish the sign.

Last and not least, The Cottage:

This is where my husband and I live in the village!  We are the only residents in Pine Hill!  LOL! 

I included our last name and a house # on the cottage. I used another label from the 14 Labels SVG set for the house # and accented it with rhinestones.

I created a wreath for the door using the garland trim I used on the school (I wrapped it around my glue pen to give it the circle shape).  Then added some gold sequins to it.  I love the silver/gold combo!

I used the 3D Christmas Tree #5 SVG by Lori for the Christmas tree in the window. I decorated the tree using red and silver rhinestones and some gold sequins trim I found at Michael's.   I used my hot glue gun to glue the tree in place inside the cottage.

Since I couldn't add real lights to the outside of the cottage, I added this rhinestone trim by Simplicity.  I applied the "lights" to the roof of the cottage and the top of the fireplace using a hot glue gun.

To turn on the flameless votive inside of the cottage, I left the back of the roof open - meaning I didn't glue the back side of the roof down.  Sneaky, ay?  ;)

Did you notice the super adorable scalloped shingles and the snow on the roofs and trees?????  And, the doors - the beautiful wooden doors!!!  I used 'Boardroom' patterned paper from the 9 to 5 collection by October Afternoon!  These were my favorite, favorite adds!  Lori had made the villages so adorable already, I wanted to add something too!  To create the shingles, I used the scalloped border SVG from the Simple Borders set.  This was time consuming, I can't lie, and so worth it!  I cut out about 60 of these borders, then curled them up around a pen (so they stick up more), and then glued them down individually, one after the other, to the roofs.  Once the villages were complete, I added some homemade snow!

One more thing that I almost forgot to mention and it is an important tip!  To make each village very sturdy, I created them using lightweight chipboard in white.  This is why the inside of each building is white.  I glued the colored cardstock to one side of each of the chipboard pieces prior to assembling the buildings.

Thanks for looking at my village!  Below is a complete list of the materials I used for this project as well as a tutorial on how to make snow for your projects!

Materials Used:
SVGs by Lori Whitlock (see above for specific SVG files)
Lightweight Chipboard in White
Brown Cardstock by Core'dinations (Shingles)
White Cardstock by Bazzill Basics (Trims)
Artichoke Cardstock by Stampin Up (Trees)
Other Cardstock by Recollections (Michael's brand)
Vellum Paper (Church Windows)
Gold Glitter Embossing Powder by Martha Stewart Crafts (Church Windows)
Lattice Background Stamp by Unity Stamps for Jillibean Soup (Church Windows)
9 to 5 Boardroom Patterned Paper by October Afternoon (Wood Doors)
Boho Blossoms and 1/2" Circle Punch by Stampin' Up! (Base for School Wreath)
Silver Sequin and Gold Sequin Holiday Trims by Celebrate It (Michael's brand)
Miniature Gold Bells by Celebrate It
Rhinestone Trim on the Cottage by Simplicity
Rhinestones by Creative Charms
Crystal Glitter Large by Creatology
Mini Shimmer Alpha Stickers in Red by Making Memories (Church Sign)
Silver and Antique Gold brads by Making Memories (Doorknobs)
Styrofoam, White Felt, and Eco Flurries (Snowy Village Base)

Make Your Own Snow!

Materials Needed:
Baby Powder or Talcum Powder
Crystal Glitter (Larger Course Glitter)
White Glue - Elmer's or Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive
Spray Adhesive
White Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush or Wood Popsicle Stick
2 Plastic Containers for Mixing Ingredients
Newspaper (2 different placings - one for powder mixture and one for glitter)

1) Create a mixture of 1/2 cup baby powder and 1/2 cup course crystal glitter in a plastic container.  Set the powder mixture aside. 

2) Mix equal parts of white glue and white acrylic paint together in a plastic container using a paint brush or wood popsicle stick.  There is no set amount you need to make at one time as you can make as little or as much as you would like.  If you want to make a lot of the glue mixture at one time, I recommend putting it in a container with a lid so you avoid the glue drying before it is applied to your project.

3) Apply the glue mixture to your project liberally using a paint brush or wood popsicle stick. 

4) Put the project on top of some newspaper and apply the powder mixture liberally to the areas where the glue was applied.  Let the powder sit on the glue for a few minutes.  Then, shake off the excess powder onto the newspaper. 

5) To add more texture and shine, I recommend putting the project on top of some new newspaper, then apply a spray adhesive.  Immediately apply glitter to the sprayed areas.  Shake off the excess glitter onto the newspaper.

Here is what the finished snow should look like on your project:

To clean-up, use the crease in the newspaper to gather the extra powder and/or glitter and dump them into their respective plastic containers.

It will take about 24 hours for the snow paste to dry.  Avoid handling your project during this time.

Thanks so much for stopping by today and thank you Lori and Lisa for having me as a Guest Designer on the Lori Whitlock blog!  I had a lot of fun using your SVG files and feel very honored that you asked me!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Make Your Own Shaker Tags and Winner!

It is almost 4:30 pm and the sun is setting in Minnesota.  I miss you sun!  I guess this is the sign that winter is here.  Good thing we have the holidays to distract us! 

Today I used my new Sizzix Eclips and eCal software to make some fun shaker tags.  I have included a tutorial below in case you want to make some of these too!  Also, see the bottom of this post for the winner of my giveaway of the new Holly Jolly Christmas SVG collection by The Digi Bistro and the 12 Days of Christmas paper kit by My Mind's Eye!

To make the shaker part of the tags, you will need:
  • Lightweight chipboard
  • Window sheets or transparency paper
  • Cardstock
  • Glue (I prefer Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive)
  • Confetti/Punches/Glitter - Whatever you want to put inside the shaker.  I used Iridescent Glitter by Martha Stewart Crafts
Determine what shape you want to use for the shaker.  If you have SCAL or MTC, make a copy of the shape and make it a shadow of the original shape.  Then place the original shape within the shadow and group them together.  Once grouped, make 3 copies of the shape with the shadow and cut them out on the lightweight chipboard using your die-cutting machine like shown in the picture below.

Remove the shapes from the mat.  Then glue them together - one on top of the other until it looks like this.

Cut out this shape one more time with the cardstock you want to put on top of the assembled shaker.

Then, in your cutting software, remove the original shape (the inside shape) and cut out the remaining shape (the shadow) in cardstock for the back of the shaker and in the windowed sheet/transparency paper for the top of the shaker.  You should now have all of the shapes show below. 

Now glue the shadow shape to the back of the layered chipboard shape. 

Then, fill the shape generously with confetti/punches/glitter.  Once filled, glue the windowed shape to the top of the layered chipboard. 

The final step is to glue the cardstock shape to the very top (this covers the glue that shows through the windowed shape).  Your shaker is done!

And here are the final tags embellished with the assembled shakers:

The pine trees SVG is from the Peppermint Holiday Cut Its collection by Lettering Delights and the tag SVG is from the Little Ho-ho-ho-ligans Accents Cut Its collection by Lettering Delights.  Both of these SVG collections are only $2 until 11/29/12!  The paper, letter stickers, pink sprinkler (to color the doily die-cut), and pipe streamers are by October Afternoon.

Other materials used:
Doily die by Papertrey Ink
Star and circle nesting dies by Sizzix
Merry Christmas Script embossing folder by Sizzix
Scalloped border punch by Stampin Up
Glitter paper in white by DCWV

I am entering this project into the following challenges:
Paper Issues - Any Holiday Project
My Sheri Crafts - Tis The Season
Hiding in My Craft Room - Christmas

Now for the giveaway winner!  Congratulations #21 which is .........................................................

Amy E!  Congrats Amy E!  Please send your full name and address to
cheryl.evans @ thedigibistro dot com and mention you won The Paper Retreat giveaway.

That's it from me today - hope you stop by again soon!  Also, if you make a shaker using my tutorial, please remember to link your blog post to the tutorial on my blog.  Thanks so much!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Sales & More Sales! $150 for a Sizzix Eclips!

Happy Black Friday everyone!  I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  Now it is time to shop!  I certainly have made some purchases today - the deals are too good to pass up!

Below are some sales that I think you will like!!!!

I have been wanting a Sizzix Eclips for awhile now.  With a Sizzix Eclips, you have the opportunity to cut SVGs without being completely tied to cartridges which can be very, very expensive.  I have found that SVGs are just at cute as the cartridge designs (if not cuter), and they are way more affordable!  I purchased the Sizzix Eclips Starter Kit today for $150 at Archivers!!!!  The regular price is $299 and it is 50% off!  I haven't found a better deal online for this.  So get yours while you still can and hurry!  I am not sure when this sale ends.  The Archivers I went to in Apple Valley, Minnesota, still had a couple in stock.

Here is a picture of my first view at my brand new Sizzix Eclips!  I am SO EXCITED!!!!!
eCal Software:
In order to cut SVGs using the Sizzix Eclips, you will need to purchase the eCal software (SCAL software for the Eclips) separately.  This software is on sale on the CraftEdge site - regular price is $79.95, you can get it for $50.99 with the coupon code: 9298904!!!!!  I just ordered mine!  I will be downloading the software to my computer shortly.  I am hoping to play with it tonight!
Now, who wants to stock up on SVGs and Fonts for cheap?  The following SVG stores are having Black Friday sales!  These are AWESOME sales and some are offering freebies too!
Lettering Delights:  All Cut Its (aka SVGs) only $2!!!!  Plus 40% off a $20 Purchase - Coupon Code: HoDown.  Ends 11/29/12.
ScrapNFonts:  All Fonts $1!!!!!  Plus 40% off a $20 Purchase - Coupon Code: FeedMe
MyScrapChick:  70% off a $30 Purchase!  Plus you get the below freebies, if you take advantage of this sale!  Ends 11/26/12.
Lori Whitlock:  30% off a $15 Purchase - Coupon Code: HOLIDAY30.  Ends 11/27/12.  Lori has 3 free cutting files on her blog until 11/24/12 - Hurry and grab them while you can!
**If you know of other SVG sales that I haven't mentioned, please let me know.  I will update this post to reflect them!  Thanks!**
And one more sale that I couldn't pass up!
My Thoughts Exactly Stamps - Entire store is 40%!!!!  I just stocked up!  I had won two $10 gift cards to the MTE store, and what a perfect time to use them!
Happy shopping.......or resting if you were out late last night/early morning shopping!  :) 
Also, if you missed my post from earlier this week, I am giving away the newest SVG collection by The Digi Bistro, Holly Jolly Christmas, and a 12 Days of Christmas Paper Pack by My Mind's Eye.  Sponsored by The Digi Bistro and My Mind's Eye.  To enter the giveaway, click HERE!  Giveaway ends 11/24/12 at Midnight CST.

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Elf's Handbook and A Giveaway!!!!

I recently got to play with the new Holly Jolly Christmas SVG collection at The Digi Bistro and here is what I made with it - a handbook for an elf!  All elves must have a handbook to make all of those toys and cookies, right?  ;)  Check the bottom of this post to see how you can enter to win this SVG collection right here on my blog!

When I saw the elves in this SVG collection, I instantly knew I needed to make them - aren't they sooooooooo cute!!!  I used the tree and the wrapped gifts from this collection too.

To make the handbook, I first found a book in my pile of stuff for a future garage sale (new use for something old!).  Then I made a book cover using a brown grocery bag - this took me back to my school days when I covered all of my books this way!  :)

I created the title for the handbook using Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) and fonts from Lettering Delights.  The fonts I used are LD Woodland and Lollihop.  Also, I used SCAL to create the background of the front cover and to design the cover!  I have a tutorial on how to use SCAL to design a layout here.  Designing in SCAL helps me visualize a project before using my materials and it usually saves me from cutting SVGs in a size that is less than ideal for my project.

The paper and accessories I used are by October Afternoon.  I purchased these goodies at the October Afternoon Warehouse Sale a couple weeks ago!  I just love the vintage/retro feel to October Afternoon's products and they worked perfectly for this handbook!  The patterned papers, trims, and tin pins come from the Holiday Style and Cakewalk collections.  I also used "Playtime" Sticky Keys Stickers and a button from the Sasparilla collection.

Other materials used:
Cardstock and Rhinestones by Recollections (Michael's brand)
Stampin' Up Embossing Folder - Elegant Lines
Stampin' Up Punch and Stamp Set - Tiny Tags (to embellish the gifts)
Scalloped Frame Die by Spellbinders
Rustic Jute Twine by Papertrey Ink
Stampin' Up Scalloped Circle Punch and 1 3/8" Circle Punch
Ranger Distress Ink in Tye Dye
Ballerina Pink chalk ink by Inkadinkado (to give the elve's rosy cheeks)

Here are some close-ups of my handbook!  Hoping you fall in love with it and make one of your own!

I added a little something to the back cover of the book make it official.  :)

The Holly Jolly Christmas SVG collection is being released in The Digi Bistro store today and lucky for you, I am giving away one of these collections right here on my blog, courtesy of Cher at The Digi Bistro, along with a 12 Days of Christmas paper kit by My Mind's Eye, courtesy of My Mind's Eye!!!!!  Awesome right!!!!! 


All you have to do to enter this giveaway is:

Follow my blog and leave me a comment on this post.  Giveaway ends Saturday, November 24th at Midnight!

If you love the new set, make sure to let Cher know by visiting the new The Digi Bistro blog too (this is not required for the giveaway, just a nice gesture if you like the set).

I am linking up this project in the following challenges:
Paper Issues - Any Holiday Project
DL.ART Thankful Thursday Linky Party


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christmas Cards for The Kids!

I was so excited when Cher at The Digi Bistro asked me to make something using the Christmas SVG collections she released last year.  Cher's SVGs are so adorable and so fun to play with.  I decided to make simple cards using the cute Christmas characters from the "A Very Penguin Christmas" collection and the "Reindeer Games Christmas" collection.

I made these cards for my nieces and nephews so I decided to have the focus be on the character with the sentiments inside.  To make these cards, first I cut each character out and pieced/glued them together.  Then, I decided how I wanted to place them on the front of card and glued them down.  Last, I cut off the parts of the character that extended past the card using my paper trimmer.  I thought this added a unique touch and think it turned out really well.  Note:  When you do this, make sure you don't cut the card itself, especially on the crease of the card.

To add a little extra touch to a couple of the cards, I added some snow using white Flower Soft.  Also, I added pink chalk to all of the character's cheeks.  They are outside and cold, right!  And, it adds a touch of cuteness too!

I made a total of 7 cards - I would have made more if I didn't have other things I need to do!  :)  Below are close-ups of each card.

Would love to hear from you on which card is your favorite.  I think my favorite is the Santa card.  He took the longest to put together, and was well worth it.  He is so adorable!!!  I love them all though!

I am entering these cards into the following challenges:
Christmas Card Challenge #50 - Use a Snowman
DL.ART Thankful Thursday - Anything Goes Linky Party
Everyday is an Occasion - Linky Party

A little birdy told me there may be a new SVG collection coming out at The Digi Bistro......Can't wait to see it!!!!!  :)