PPC#80: Back to Nature with Home Made Jam

When I was a little girl, summertime always meant berry picking. On my knees with Grandma in the wild strawberry patch always reaped a jewel-like handful to eat with cream and sugar. Berry picking outings with my mum and aunt included a lot more complaining, batting at bees and blackflies in the saskatoon thicket or gazing fearfully around worrying about grizzly encounters on Huckleberry Mountain.

Not much has changed over the years, only now I’m the mum, and the complaining is done by my kids. Actually, I try to be pretty sensitive about not keeping them out there against their will; at least not for too long!

And berry picking also means fresh jam! Delicious! I’ve made strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and apricot-mango (pictured below) and though I didn’t pick the fruit, the apricot-mango is my favourite. I thought it would be fun to make some cute labels for the jars I plan to give as gifts, so I got out my favourite dies – Spellbinders dies – to see what I could come up with.
Not a complicated design – just an arrangement of die cuts I layered (Spellbinders Labels 1, Large Circles and Scallop Circles Large, and Ribbon Banners for the orange felt). I like using 100% wool felt for die cutting since it cuts so cleanly.

The rest of the Scrapbooker’s Paradise design team is getting Back to Nature and what’s more natural than homemade jam? (aside from fresh berries, that is!) I’m pleased to have jars that I would be proud to give to a friend as a sweet and delicious gift, and I’d love to see what you come up with in your own Back to Nature challenge entry!

Visit the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog today to see the rest of the design team’s projects and submit your challenge entry! Thanks for visiting; won’t you stop by for jam & fresh buns one of these days?

Bookmarks for the Graduate

It’s grad week in town and the energy is high! Our church has four or five teens graduating this year from home schools, high schools and public schools, and the church always does a presentation commemorating their achievement. This year we are giving the grads the book Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung which is a good read for any Christian regarding decision making. Life choices are a big deal when you’re eighteen and the whole world is ahead of you!

I made a batch of bookmarks to include with the grad gifts and thought I’d share them here. I did a feminine bookmark and a more masculine one, using products from Close to My Heart.

The verse stamp is from the set Everlasting Life and the flourishes on the back of the bookmark use stamps from Love Life which is one of my favourite sets. It is so versatile! The paper is from the Pemberley workshop kit. Close to My Heart has their huge deal Stampaganza sale on right now – buy two sets, get one free – until the end of June. Canadians can shop my web site here.

For the masculine bookmarks I used the Victory paper pack, with the same stamps as the feminine bookmarks. The double-sided paper makes it easy to make coordinating bookmark and bookmark pocket. Remember when you are making a bookmark to avoid bulky embellishments like buttons and bows!

I didn’t design the bookmark but copied a bookmark given to me by my dear friend Charity of Sweet Cherry Ink, who got the design idea from another local paper crafter, Vicki Wizniuk. You can get the measurements here.

Have a great day!

Prima License Plate Hello Sign

So I had kind of a funky idea and I haven’t showed it to anyone else yet, so I don’t know if it works or if it’s just all in my mind, you know? Sometimes I’m not very objective when it comes to a project into which I’ve poured a lot of energy.

My idea was to make something cool to hang on the front door. Something that says “spring” and something that suits my vintage rustic style. I like rusty signs in my kitchen, vintage sleds leaning against the wall, and broken garden tools sprouting in my garden. So I used an old license plate.

The year on the plate is 1963, and I bought it ten years ago at a yard sale to use in crafts. It’s about time I got around to it!

I didn’t want to cover the plate entirely, but I did want to have a message beyond the numbers on the plate, so I used Scrabble tiles (another passion, and just to let you know that I thoroughly beat my sister the last time we played; she usually beats me.) So, using a piece of Prima Resistant Canvas as my base, I watercoloured the canvas, stamped it and adhered the Scrabble tiles, and then covered the whole thing with Rock Candy crackle paint.

And just as a treat for you, I’m practising my videography and did a little tutorial on using watercolour on canvas. Just FYI.

I’d love to know what you think of this project! It was fun to make, and I think it says my name, if you know what I mean.

Playing in Paradise #61: Egg-spired Canvas Hang Pillow

It’s Good Friday today and I was expecting to stay home with the kids while my husband went off to work. Being self-employed means statutory holidays aren’t on our calendar so much. Surprise! This morning he tells me he’s staying home, and he’d like to go to the community Good Friday service – all this with less than an hour’s notice! So it was a scramble to get cleaned up and fed before church, and try to get the kids to look as if their hair was clean, and then through the service my boy kept whispering, “When do we get candy?” and insisting that since we were in church, it must be Sunday and the Easter egg hunt was next!

Now we’ve lunched and I’m going to get my bike out and see if it’s still ride-able. Wade’s got a brush pile to burn (such a rural spring activity!) and I’m sure the kids will enjoy the mud!

I decided this year that I really do have a favourite colour and it’s robin’s-egg-blue. Or any variation of teal, turquoise or aqua, really. So that was the concept that inspired me when I looked at this week’s Playing in Paradise challenge.


That and the natural beauty of the eggs. I used unprimed canvas for my hang pillow, stamped with Baja Breeze ink, and then hand stitched around each letter. Hand stitching is so time-consuming, but it’s always a beautiful result. The butterfly sticker is from an October Afternoon sticker sheet, and the buttons are from my stash.

Note: I love alphabet stamps – they are a great item to invest in because they are so versatile. They can be used over and over again, stamped in any colour you desire, and make great titles, backgrounds, and journalling. Here’s a link to some alphabet stamps you can buy at Scrapbooker’s Paradise – did you see one set is very on sale? Totally worth it!

Now you have a long weekend before you – go and play along with the challenge! You have until Thursday to create your own egg-inspired masterpiece and I can’t wait to see it!

Friday Stuff

Being sick is really boring, you know? This cold has sapped my energy and I’ve done nothing but try to rest this week. I did get to see the first episode of the new season of American Idol, and I’ve read two books, and I’ve eaten a lot of things I couldn’t really taste. I keep hoping I’ll be able to taste it, so I keep eating, you know?

Speaking of tasting good, have you tried Popcorn Indiana popcorn? It appeared at the grocery store just after Christmas and MAN is it good. That is, when I can taste it. I like the Black & White flavour – it’s drizzled with dark and white chocolate.

I don’t think that popcorn is actual size.

I’ve been very unproductive this week – too tired to craft. But I have a bunch of new products to play with – the kits for my upcoming “Year in Scrapbooking” class arrived and it will be fun to put that together! And I have a card on the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog today for their current Playing in Paradise challenge.

In other news, I made this. It’s a cute little box – about the size of a credit card, and it’s filled with adhesive backed bookplates. Fun! Paper’s from Cosmo Cricket.

Bitty Love Zipper Pulls

My children are quite happy that this latest project didn’t get picked for a recent publication call. Now they get to keep what I made!

I was thinking of “back to school” when I made these little zipper pulls from shrink plastic. Have you ever used shrink plastic? It’s pretty fun and addictive, once you get started!

The pulls are two part, the top is stamped with the Bitty Love stamps from Paper and Such and die cut before shrinking. I also made sure to punch my holes before shrinking, one at the top and the bottom of the circular elements.

I lightly sanded the shrink plastic before stamping, and then stamped with Staz On ink, finishing off by adding colour with Faber-Castell Pitt Pens. Don’t use Copics, since they will lift off the Staz On ink. If you only have Copics, you can add colour by colouring on the reverse side of the stamped image – though I think the effect is more colourful if you can use a water-based marker and colour directly on the stamped side.

The alphas are from {ippity} by Unity Stamp Co. and they were super fun to colour! I used Spica glitter pens to add colour as well as the Pitt pens and they get super glittery when shrunk down. Again, don’t forget to punch that hole, before shrinking.

You can use your oven to shrink the plastic, but I find the fastest way is by using my heat gun. It will curl and act freaky, but most of the time will flatten back out without mishap. A few times I had to redo because the curled plastic wanted to stick together.

I decorated a little tin to keep the zipper pulls in using October Afternoon’s Five and Dime paper and embellishments. I’m imagining making a whole punch for the kids to give to friends. Of course, my kids are homeschooled, but they still use backpacks, or maybe they’ll attach them to their coats! I used jewellery findings to put the whole thing together and love the way it all turned out!

Mini Treasure Box

First off, did you know that Paper and Such is having a big sale? 25% off including the January stamp releases that I designed! Sale ends Sunday Jan 15 at midnight!

Each of my children received a paper crafted gift from me this Christmas. Maybe I should make it a tradition – I am so glad I made time to make gifts this Christmas – it was so much more meaningful than purchased items. 

This box measures about 4″ square, and I wanted my boy to have a “treasure box” to keep his little trinkets in. He loves Lego men and small, fit-in-hand action figures. I dampened kraft paper and crumpled it up. Once it was dry, I inked the crinkles with Desert Sand ink and decoupaged the paper to the box. I inked the box edges once the paper was adhered, and painted the inside of the box black.

For the closure I had bought a thin belt from the thrift store, but I ended up only using the buckle. The vinyl was just too thick and looked clunky, so I made my belt from two strips of cardstock, stitched on my sewing machine. The one wraps right around the box and the box fastens shut with the buckle. Which was a mistake because my son couldn’t manage the buckle and ripped the cardstock right away. I will have to alter it a little and just use the buckle for show. The other “belt” portion, going crossways, is just on the lid.

I’m quite proud of how I did the nameplate at the top of the box – I used a metal frame from Close to My Heart and I wanted his name spelled out inside the frame. So I adhered letter stickers to cardstock, glued aluminum foil over the letter stickers and embossed with a stylus so that the letters look like they are embossed into a metal plate. And then, just to add more detail yet, I painted the embossed foil with black acrylic paint, and gently sanded off the paint from the raised letters (note: use two or more layers of foil so that you don’t sand through to the paper). And then I attached my name plate behind the frame and filled it in with glossy accents.

A few cute metal corners (Tim Holtz) and my box was done and ready to be filled. I put a mini Spiderman in it and my boy was thrilled on Christmas Day to have a mini pirate’s treasure box!


Wood Veneer Photo Frame

I keep forgetting to mention that I was doing some fixing in the back room of my blog and had to delete a couple of things. If you’re subscribing to my blog you might be getting a “feed deleted” message – please go ahead and re-subscribe using the button on the right. I’ve got lots planned for this year – painting and stamping video tutorials are going to be popping up, and oh, lots of great projects.

Since I had to disqualify myself from continuing to round #2 of the Spellbinders Design Team competition due to a scheduling conflict (I’m taking my husband to Las Vegas for his 35th birthday to watch the Monster Jam World Finals and it conflicts with the Spellbinders design team trip to Arizona), I think I can get away with showing you the project that put me through round #1.

I made this photo frame featuring my beautiful children, cardstock, wood veneer paper and Spellbinders dies. Isn’t it pretty? The wood veneer paper was die cut to make the frames, and then stained using dye ink and varnished.

I covered chipboard with paper and cardstock for the frame base, and mounted my frames on the base using foam tape with a gap at the top so I could slip the photos in. And then I got to play with flower dies to my heart’s content!

Here’s a list of the dies I used: Labels 17, Parisian Accents, Blossom Stackers, Flower Creations, all from Spellbinders. Paper and cardstock are from Close to My Heart.


A “Neutral-esque” Cookie Sheet Calendar

Merry Christmas, everyone! We’ve enjoyed a lovely Christmas day here at my in-laws, with lots of food, a beautiful Christmas Day church service, an orgy of gift-opening and umpteen hours spent reading instructions for toys and games. I taught both my girls to play Battleship, Mastermind and Carcasonne today.

I wanted to share with you the gift I gave my sister-in-law, now that she’s seen it. I wanted to give her a cookie sheet calendar and since I recently put together cut files for the pieces on my Silhouette, it went together a lot faster.

Except for the pieces in the head and foot (which were stamped on cream cardstock), the paper is all from Pink Paislee. I stamped the months and weekdays using a large set of calendar stamps from Fancy Pants.

I inked all the edges of the calendar using Desert Sand ink from Close to My Heart. It adds so much to unify the look!

I loved the way I was able to take a piece of Colonial White cardstock and stamp it to create my own patterned paper, using an assortment of stamps from Close to My Heart.

My colour scheme (and this was tricky because I wasn’t 100% certain of my sis-in-law’s decor colours – we live 16 hours apart), was a neutral-ish mix of grey-green, brown, a hint of orange. It’s neutral-esque without being bland.

I have been hoarding several packages of brads from My Mind’s Eye – I put them to work here, embellishing the day squares. They were the perfect mix of colours! And I had a little space at the bottom of the calendar – the cookie sheet I used was a little larger than the one on my tutorial, so I added a piece at the bottom with an inspirational quote. Chris will be able to put a photo in the space at the top and I’m sure she’ll choose a family photo!

It meant a lot to me to be able to make time to create hand-crafted gifts for loved ones this Christmas. It really does come from the heart!

And I’ll be teaching another cookie sheet calendar class if there’s enough interest in the new year, so let me know if you want to come over and make one!