Calligraphy Thanksgiving Leaf Banners

Canadian Thanksgiving is happening this weekend, and so today the kids and I sat down and did a little gratitude journalling.

We have so much to be thankful for!

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out leaf shapes about 4 inches wide, from three different colours of card stock, and then we wrote what we were thankful for on each of them. I used mostly this cut file.

My Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White ink was ruined, completely hardened and crystallized in the jar. Of course I’ve never used it. But I found a little jar of Speedball white ink, and while it may not be the industry benchmark, it did the job when paired with my dip pen. fall calligraphy banner2

I love a pen nib with a flexible tip – it widens when you apply pressure with the pen, and you can get beautiful varied lines with practice.

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I stitched my leaves together with my sewing machine and white thread, and hung it in the kitchen as a daily reminder of how blessed I am.

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I didn’t put coffee on the list – but I was tempted.

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But I did add pumpkin pie! It IS Thanksgiving, after all.

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My seven-year-old son wanted to join me, and I’d anticipated that the kids would get involved and printed extra leaves. Writing is a chore for him, but he couldn’t just stick to a one word answer – his leaf reads, “I am thankful. Thank you God that you created the earth.” I may have just melted into a little puddle of love!

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The girls kept to the one-word theme and wrote stuff like “family,” “friends” and “Jesus.”kids fall banner2

We found the barest wall in the house and hung their banner there to brighten things up.kids fall banner

I’m a long-time holiday procrastinator. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve whipped up some seasonal decor minutes before an event, or just ignored the season entirely (well, except for Christmas). So these pretty leaf banners are a win for me! They were quick and easy and meaningful – all the best traits of any seasonal project.fall calligraphy banner6

I would LOVE to try calligraphy on real autumn leaves, but in our region, the majority of the leaves are aspen or birch and much too small (and fragile) to handle a pen’s nib, especially in my amateur hands!

Five Frosty Christmas Projects

Seeing as we’ve clearly broken some kind of record for snow before Halloween, I have no guilt about posting with a few Christmas projects that I’ve enjoyed making recently. I created two Christmas cards for Paper Crafts’ World Card Making Day competition, and since I wasn’t chosen as a winner, I can share them today. One uses beautiful Close to My Heart stamps to create a pretty scene.

I used a gold leafing pen to add golden accents, and to change the pewter brad to gold.

This one I LOVE. Kind of want it back since it didn’t win! But all the cards in the competition go to Operation Write Home, so it was given for a good cause. And I can always make another; that’s the great thing about stamps, don’t you think? In case you can’t tell from the photo, the red dots are french knots. There are over sixty of them and I embroidered them all one morning in between overseeing my children’s schooling. I love french knots!

When you create a card with a special feature like this, you want to keep the focus on that detail. In this case, I put the card on a red background, softened with vellum and just a hint of lace peeping through via a Spellbinders Parisian Accents die. The vellum was pierced (another nod to the stitchery theme) using the die cut as a template and attached with black brads.

This Christmas project is a fun mini banner – it measures about 2 feet across! I used the Close to My Heart paper “Pear & Partridge” to create this mini banner using only three sheets of cardstock and one sheet of pattern paper. I used my Silhouette heavily to create the die cut words and embellishments. I’ll be doing this project for a ladies’ group Christmas craft and it will be a fun night! Once I have my Christmas decorations up, I’ll take a “pretty” photo of this banner in the place of honour.

Do you recognize the stamp set? I used it on the first card in this post as well! It’s my 2012 favourite Christmas stamp set! It’s called “Merry & Bright” and it’s only $13.95.

This card was created this summer and it’s inspired by a little red sled that I bought at an antique store last year. I love it, and until today, I didn’t know where to put it in my house. It’s been leaning against a wall in a disused corner and I just knew I could show it off better. I found the perfect place for it, and I’ll show you one day soon!

Wood grain paper is very popular now and I didn’t even need a digital die cut file to create this little toboggan. I just cut strips of paper and rounded the corners, and the top steering part is a Labels 1 die from Spellbinders, trimmed to the correct size and shape. And some frosty glitter glue adds the perfect touch!

And finally, a little mini banner that has no stamping at all! Yes, sometimes that happens, even to me! Maya Road tickets that I punched at each corner and fastened with baker’s twine. I love the mini bells and need to do a dollar store run for more before Christmas. Of course, silver bells can be tinted with alcohol inks, or even Copic markers.

I’m taking December off in terms of creative classes – after teaching two a week for nearly the last three months, I’m ready for a break and time to spend focusing on a meaningful Christmas with family. And we’ll be doing lots of creating, so I’ll have more to share over the coming weeks.

A Fresh Use for an Upcycled Berry Basket

The special issues from Paper Crafts magazine have always been my favourite and I’ve bought them faithfully for many years. So it was a treat to me, after having projects published in the monthly magazine, to be published in my first ever special issue, Holiday Cards & More, which released just last week.

I had saved a big stack of cute cup-size clear berry baskets cause I just knew I could create a treat package from them. Using a mix of Spellbinders dies, I made an embellished band that slips over the basket, and the whole package ties shut with a soft ribbon. Pretty, and a great way to share a few cookies with a friend.

The entire issue is full of great Christmas cards, tags, decor and gift ideas. Why not grab a copy from a local retailer or using the link above?

Pumpkin Party Invitation with the Silhouette

There is a new challenge up at the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog today. Hopefully you have more time than I did this week and can play along!Every Hallowe’en for the last ten years or so, we’ve made a tradition of spending an evening with friends, carving pumpkins, sharing delicious food and “pumpkin chunking” by which we mean, blowing pumpkins up! Last year we hosted this event, and we just might host it again. It’s going to be bittersweet; over the years our original pumpkin party hosts moved away, and this year we will be saying good-bye to another family who are moving shortly after Hallowe’en.

I made the invitation and tags above as a submission to a Fall/Hallowe’en magazine call, and when it wasn’t chosen for publication, hung onto the project so I didn’t share it online in midsummer! I used the “jack-o-lantern card” cutting file from Silhouette to cut my invitation and tag art. Learning how to use the Modify tools in my Silhouette Studio software has given me so many options when customizing a project! It wasn’t hard to detach one pumpkin to use on my tags.

While I love my Silhouette, I also love my Big Shot, and I see no conflict in owning two types of die cutting machines. Both serve different purposes in my studio, and both are used every week. I love my Silhouette for cutting multiples of images, which I do for my classes, and for cutting text, templates, masks and such for craft projects. I also love being able to instantly download specific artwork when inspiration strikes! My Big Shot I use for cutting & embossing with Spellbinders dies, for cutting thick material (like chipboard album pages) and I like the rounded cut edge that results from the pressure of a die cut in that machine. The longer I own my Silhouette, though, the more I use it! And I would really love a Cameo. Just imagine the projects I would be able to offer in my classes if I had one!

Cute & Cozy Coffee Cup Sleeve: PPC#85

I never thought I’d be a coffee drinker. I was happy with my homemade mochas, a combination of instant coffee, hot chocolate and flavoured creamer, but in January we were visiting family and I felt a little silly mixing my special concoction while everyone else was chugging back coffee, so I made the switch. And it’s good!This week at the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog the challenge theme is “Have a Cuppa” and I took this as a motivation to create a cut cup cozy from paper and felt. I found a pattern online (which turned out a little small, so I’d suggest you use an actual sleeve from your favourite coffee joint as your pattern) and after tracing the template onto white cardstock, stamped a pattern using soft and pretty colours and stamps from Pink Paislee. There are lots of stamps on sale at Scrapbooker’s Paradise this week!

As you can see, my cozy wasn’t quite big enough – would fit a small cup better than a medium. But I worked with the smaller size and made my cozy adjustable. I attached this thin piece of ribbon with a brad, and then it wraps around the button to hold in place. I can unwrap the ribbon and fit the cozy to a larger or smaller cup as needed.

I ran completely out of felt making this project, so I need to pick up a bit more and then I’ll be ready to make a host of these for friends – wouldn’t it be fun to stash a few in the glove compartment, and then when I head out to a friend’s and bring the coffee, I can include a little handmade gift! I think so!

Lots of great coffee and tea themed projects on the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog today, and you’ll want to brew up your own project and play along for the chance to win a great prize package. Have a great weekend!

Clementine Banner

Well! I’ve been having a wonderful month, even though the pool is closed. Too busy to miss swimming much. My class schedule is delightfully full; last night I hosted a scrapbooking class using Simple Stories kits and today I’m ordering materials for my Clementine class on Oct. 2nd. I also have an order out with supplies for three different classes that I can’t wait to show you, and so life is good.

I made this banner yesterday. It uses paper and embellishments from my Close to My Heart Clementine mini album workshop, plus a few “extras” (like the banner!) and it turned out so pretty! I was thinking of my girls when I made it, and couldn’t decide what word to spell. “Princess” is too fluffy, I was thinking of “Lovely” or “My Girl” but I started searching banners online and saw one that said “BE HAPPY” and I knew that was perfect. I believe happiness is a choice, and I want to teach my children to choose to be happy, whatever their circumstances. And it’s a sentiment they won’t outgrow!

This banner goes together quickly, making use of stamps for the background and die cut pieces made with my Silhouette machine.

I had to include a piece of this pretty floral paper from the Clementine pack. It’s so lovely! These rolled paper roses started out as off-white and I inked them before rolling to coordinate them to the banner. Easy to add a custom look that way.

I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to teach these classes. I love sharing my ideas – it’s so energizing – and I am thankful to have a large space to host classes, and a family who supports me when I’m busy teaching, and that I get to buy beautiful products and use them (the classes are just an excuse for me to make what I want!). I’m so excited about the weeks and months ahead as I plan and shop and create and share!

This banner is an option for my Clementine class on October 2nd. I’m ordering supplies today and students will choose whether they want to make the album, or the banner, or both!

PPC#82: Painting Planner Binder Cover

My desk is a litter of Post-It Notes these days. I started using them to keep track of who’s signed up for my different craft classes, and next thing I know it’s a pink blizzard of paper squares. It’s still working for me, barely, and it’s the next organizational thing I need to tackle. Keeping the paper trail to a minimum makes a difference when you’re running a house, home schooling, teaching art classes, bookkeeping for the husband’s business and trying to keep momentum on an art career.

With the last in mind, I started putting together a painting planner binder this summer. It doesn’t work for me any more to try to remember where and when each of my paintings has exhibited, plus I have two art shows coming up that overlap each other, and I’d like to know which painting should be earmarked for each exhibition. In this binder I have three main sections:

  1. Painting Inventory. Each painting has a page listing its title and description (with “poetic” titles a description is always helpful as the other day I sold a painting titled “Debutantes” and it took several brain-wracking minutes before I remembered that that was how I’d titled my apple blossom painting!), price and cost of framing. This page also includes a history of gallery shows so I don’t accidentally show it in the same gallery twice, since I exhibit with the Dawson Creek Art Gallery at least twice a year.
  2. Calendar. A month at a glance I can see when show deadlines and show dates are so I can plan paintings and make sure they are framed in time.
  3. Show Details. A page for each upcoming show, listing requirements, deadlines, location and any special instructions. I also print the submission guidelines and add them behind this page.
My binder was organized inside, but up until this week I hadn’t bothered to decorate it, even though it has a pocket in front for a cover to slip in. Allison’s Playing in Paradise sketch challenge was the perfect opportunity to rectify that situation!

Now this just goes to show you that a sketch can be fun to interpret! I used squares and rectangles instead of circles for my binder cover, and moved my title to the centre.

I don’t have a big collection of washi tape, and I was really reluctant to jump on that bandwagon, but I am getting into it. It is one of the easiest supplies to use since it’s already sticky and it layers so nicely.

Oh, it feels good to get organized! And you can follow my example and maybe win some crafty goodness in the process if you use Allison’s sketch and join the Playing in Paradise challenge for this week. You can use the sketch for whatever kind of project you want, just make sure you link up on the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog by Thursday noon. Take a look at the rest of the design team’s projects here and have a great long weekend!

Materials Used:
Paper: Prairie Hill, Pink Paislee; On the Bright Side, My Mind’s Eye
Washi Tape, October Afternoon
Chipboard Butterfly & Pencil: Farmhouse, October Afternoon
Small Letter Stickers: October Afternoon 

Muslin Ruffle Bag, a Publication First and a Giveaway!

I find it much easier to create for a publication call if I am creating within my “niche.” I’ve learned over the last couple of years that I love creating with natural materials and classic patterns, that I lean toward a vintage, layered style and that I love to incorporate stamping into my projects.

Paper Crafts Magazine’s September/October 2012 issue featured a section all about natural materials, and I had two projects selected for this issue, which was a first for me. They were both non-card items as well – another first!

Click on the image to buy this issue!

I used raw artists’ canvas to create a picture frame which you can see in the issue, and muslin to create layers of ruffles for this lovely gift bag:

I love the raw muslin and it was easy to make the ruffles; first I ran a strip of super sticky double sided tape around the bag about an inch from the bottom, then I adhered a muslin strip, gathering as I went. Then another strip of super sticky tape, and another ruffle, working from the bottom up. The raw edges at the top got covered with a strip of hockey tape (which is an off-white cloth tape) and then embellished to cover most of the hockey tape.

The sticker is from Simple Stories Generations line, and the stamps are from Papertrey Ink.

Another note; I love repurposing store bags into gift bags; Canada’s La Senza stores use white gift bags that make a great base for a decorated gift bag.

I hope you get a copy of this issue, it’s such a great one. My copy already has a lot of dog-eared pages, and I have an extra copy to give away to a lucky commenter on this post. Please comment by midnight, September 4 and I’ll choose someone to win! I’m going to throw in a copy of the July/August issue as well, just for fun.

Clementine Mini Album Photos & Class Details

The paper craft projects that get me most excited are always the same: mini albums.

There is just something about a mini album that is special. Focusing on a single person or event is a wonderful way to spend a few hours, and because I usually give my minis away, I get all excited about the reaction of the person who will be receiving the album.

When I saw the Clementine paper kit from Close to My Heart, I knew I’d be using it to make a mini album, and I paired the paper kit with CTMH’s kraft die cut cards to create the album. My album uses four cards and envelopes, but I think three would have been better – I’m not quite finished the back pages and the album is already pretty thick.My oldest daughter is growing up so fast! She’s nine and a half and the tallest nine year old I’ve met. She is a delightful girl and it was so fun to journal and scrap about all the things that make her special.

I used Coptic binding (or a variation thereof – my internet was down so I had to stitch from memory instead of following a tutorial) to bind all the pages of the album together. I like that in using the envelopes as well as the cards, I could make little journalling pages to insert into each envelope – you can see one in the photo above, just waiting for a little love letter from me to her!

I love the way the envelope flaps make a partial page divider – it’s fun to arrange the photos so just a little tantalizer of the next page is peeking out! So much of the fun is in arranging everything just right.

In addition to the adorably pretty Clementine paper, I’ve used the Clementine canvas stickers – so much more texture than just regular paper stickers and I love how they coordinate.

I also added in the Cottage Assortment layered stickers. Theses are so fabulous – stitched fabric with buttons and again, perfectly coordinated. I just love this!

Another pocket/journalling page. Happy sigh.

Here you can see just a peek at the stitching for the binding. I used Waxy Flax to bind the book and it’s holding up really well. I used three different stamp sets for this project, Rugged Dude for one embellishment (see below), the lovely set from the Scroll Album kit (I have two in stock you can buy today!) and the It’s Your Day double set. Keep reading and I’ll let you know how to get this set for only $5!

I just had to try out the wonderful pocket from Rugged Dude, inking it up with Pacifica ink, stamping off to get the denim, and then stamping the stitching with Pacifica “full power”. Can you hear me happy sighing again?

I’ve used ten of my favourite photos and this album is by no means full – even though it’s just over 6 inches square, it packs a punch! I can’t wait to finish it with a few more favourite photos and some heartfelt journalling. My sweet girl deserves this special gift, even though her birthday is months away.

I’m going to do this album as a class at my home studio in Dawson Creek BC – wanna come? Here’s the details: Class takes place on October 2nd from 7-9pm. You will receive lots of product – enough to make one album with lots left over:
Clementine Paper Kit
Clementine Canvas Stickers
Cottage Assortment stickers
Desert Sand Exclusive Inks stamp pad
Bamboo Waxy Flax
Kraft Die Cut Cards & Envelopes
It’s Your Day double stamp set (available with any $35 purchase until September 30, 2012)

For those who would prefer to make something a little different, there is an alternate project for this class; the Clementine banner!  Using a similar design to the banner I made my daughter last Christmas, only with a different colour scheme, the Clementine banner is eight pieces and will make any little girl’s heart thrill with delight!

More photos and details to come soon. Space is limited in this class, so email me if you want to join the class, or to ask about ordering the materials for yourself.