Handmade Holiday Day 7: Album

I’ve had such fun sharing this week of holiday inspiration with you, together with Meredith! I was inspired by her projects and I know she shared a few ideas I’m definitely going to try.

For our final share of the week, we decided to do a mini album project. I was toying with all kinds of ideas – I do love mini albums – but I decided that it would be fun to make something just for myself, and I pulled out a holiday mini album kit from Little Yellow Bicycle. The little envelopes in the album somehow just called for recipes, rather than photos, so I made myself a Christmas recipe album. It holds all the recipes that have become tradition in my home, with room for more.

It’s bright and Christmassy, just the way a Christmas recipe album should be! I added extra pages between each original page, and the rings are large enough that I can add more if I need to.

Each page is a different size, which adds to the eclectic look. I used lots of stamps for the embellishments, all my new sets from Unity Stamp Co.

No recipe on the little tag shape – but look how cute!

Hey, I made this one big so you can try the recipe! It’s a good one. This postcard stamp from Unity Stamp Co. is just the right size for recipes.



This is a long narrow envelope that fit a detailed recipe for our twenty-five year tradition of making painted sugar cookies.

My internet provider is giving me fits so this is the last photo I’ll be posting. Rest assured that there are enough calories packed into this little album to ensure that every family member will be packing their own “bowl full of jelly” come January!

Thanks so much for coming along on this week of Christmas ideas. Don’t forget to check out what Meredith has planned for today and my  full list of Handmade Holiday posts can be accessed via the link on the left hand sidebar.

Handmade Holiday Day 6: Christmas Card

How long is your Christmas card list? Or have you given card sending up as an antiquated tradition? Maybe you do photo cards or an annual newsletter. I just love making handmade cards, and some years I’ve given a photo card wrapped in a newsletter tucked in a hand stamped card – yes, I am an overachiever!

This year for my annual Christmas card class I focused on simple stamping – no heat embossing or fancy techniques. When you’re aiming for ten cards in two hours, you need to keep it simple. For the card below I wanted to make my own patterned paper using snowflake stamps. I knew I wanted red in it, and I made three cards before I managed to get a pattern I liked where  the red didn’t overpower the rest of the card.

The stamps I used are from Stampin’ Up! and are a cling rubber, which actually isn’t ideal. For precise placement you want clear cling stamps, but these snowflakes are my favourite, so I just had to use them.

I started by stamping the largest snowflake using Desert Sand ink right in the centre of my card.

Then I began stamping the smallest snowflakes around it on four sides in Bamboo ink. I had to guess at placement, so they are not perfect, but I’m okay with that. Once I had four small snowflakes stamped, I was able to place my next large snowflake. I kept alternating small and large snowflakes until I had the paper filled.

The red snowflakes were centred in the spaces left over.

Final step: stamping a script background stamp with Bamboo ink over the whole thing. This ties it all together somehow and it looks much more “finished.” I also inked the edges of the card with Bamboo.

The finished card is simple and flat, easy to mail and the snowflake pattern could be easily mass-produced. As much as I love buying patterned paper, it can be so fun and rewarding to make one’s own!

Now go check out the card Meredith has created for today! And use the link in the left hand sidebar if you need to see the projects from days 1-5!

Materials Used: Cardstock, Real Red, Olive – Stampin’ Up!, Colonial White – Close to My Heart; Ink, Bamboo, Desert Sand, Cranberry, Olive – Close to My Heart; Stamps, Stampin’ Up!, Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous; Punch, Martha Stewart Crafts

Handmade Holiday Day 5: Decorate the Halls!

Sometimes photos just don’t do a project justice.

Today’s Handmade Holiday post is all about decking the halls. Meredith and I are both featuring a home decor piece on our blogs, and I was planning to make a Christmas decoration of some kind, when I went into my daughters’ room. I painted it this fall and haven’t put anything on the walls yet. It’s a fun, fresh green but seems a little empty. The only real art in the room is the set of wooden letters spelling my oldest girl’s name, but my second daughter’s name is longer, and I have yet to find wooden letters to match the first set. So I decided “to heck with matching” and, inspired by the colours of the wooden letters (which I had painted cream with violets), made a chipboard banner honouring my sweet middle child. She doesn’t know she’ll be getting this for Christmas!

The banner is from Close to My Heart, and comes as plain white chipboard. I cut cardstock in cream (Colonial White from CTMH) and inked the edges with Desert Sand ink, stamping using Gypsy ink and Mellow Moss and a beautiful stamp set (Moments in Bloom from Unity Stamp Co.

I used my Silhouette to cut out the letters of her name, and layered them over Spellbinders die cuts and some awesome purple paper from Pink Paislee’s Hocus Pocus line.

I inked ALL the edges in the paper elements in this project and it made a huge difference. The colour tones in the purple cardstock became richer and yet muted, and all the different elements tied together through the use of that one technique.

I wish I could invite you in and then swoop this banner out of the box – I’ve been having fun showing the banner to friends this way when they come over, and they always gasp. It is just that pretty, and again, the photos don’t do it justice.

I can’t wait to see my girlie’s face on Christmas morning. And now I’m excited about making some special papercrafted projects for my other two children.

Now you need to see a peek into what Meredith’s decking her halls with! Have a wonderful day!

Handmade Holiday Day 4: Wrap Session

I’m not a gift wrap expert, I’ll be the first to admit it. I am not fussy about folds or persnickety about patterns, and have been known to spend Christmas Eve hastily wrapping gifts to be opened less than twelve hours later. So I really love the gift bag – I mean, it’s just so EASY to throw a gift into a bag, top with tissue paper and tie a bow (if you want to get really fancy). Also I love that gift bags are saved and used over and over again! Unfortunately, most of mine are left over from baby showers and don’t really work for Christmas gifts. And this year for my Christmas gift wrapping, I want things to at least be coordinated, so I bought a couple of rolls of kraft paper from the post office – you know, the kind that you wrap packages in. Thought being; they’re neutral, look great with red ribbon, and can be stamped on to make patterned paper.


They make great gift bags. I made this little gift bag myself, after taking apart an old gift bag to see what the scoring/folding should look like. It’s easier than you’d think to make a custom gift bag, and I’ve got instructions below.

Even better than a custom gift bag is a handmade Christmas ornament, and I think I may just have to make a dozen of these to give to friends and family. I used two different Spellbinders dies, Blossom Stackers and Parisian Elements to create the ornament, layering and die cutting and stamping using Unity Stamp Co’s Blossom Stackers stamps. (Note: die cut two of the largest blossom die so you have one for the back of the ornament.)

Here’s a little diagram of how I sized and scored my bag. Open in new window or save to view full size.

Now if you look at a gift bag, you’ll notice that it has some diagonal folds on the sides and bottom. These had me a little nervous, but there’s really nothing to it – here’s what you do:

It’s worth a try, right? One thing I didn’t do on mine, since I used a border punch along the top, was to fold down the top edge into the bag – many gift bags use this which, if you’re using a lightweight paper, will give you more strength for your handles. Just add an extra inch to the short side when cutting out the bag, and score an inch from the top so you can fold it down easily.

Now you need to check out Meredith’s post for today and see her ingenious, affordable, eco-conscious AND cute system for packaging her Christmas gifts!

And if you’ve missed any Handmade Holidays posts, check out the button I’ve added at the sidebar. You can see all the posts by clicking on the link.

Handmade Holiday Day 3: Better than Receiving

Confession time: I have yet to bring in the Christmas ornaments and unpack the Christmas CDs. Where’s a candy cane mug when you need one? Mine’s out in the storage shed.

Why does it seem so late this year when it isn’t even December yet? My mom used to insist that it needed to be at least the middle of December before we could start our Christmas decorating, and yet many of my friends have had their decorations up since the middle of November (or before!). I am content to wait a little longer. If it warms up this week I’ll put up the Christmas lights.

After you’ve checked out my Handmade Holiday post for today, run over to Meredith’s blog to see what she’s dreamed up – betcha it’s a gooder!

It’s not too early though to start thinking about gifts. I teach a Sunday School class of the cutest little first graders you ever did see, and am I ever glad I saved a dozen of those clear plastic packages in which blueberries are sold. They were so cute (about a one cup size) and I knew I could find a use for them closer to Christmas, so I washed them up and put them in my “cute container” tote, waiting for inspiration to strike.

Can you guess what’s in the package? There’s a little round window behind all that ribbon…

Hint: It’s really, really ridiculously delicious. (Unless you’re my son who doesn’t eat raisins.)

So I made a batch of German Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies (recipe here) – I’m kind of a cookie baking machine. When you have three kids and a husband with a sweet tooth, cookies are the go-to snack of choice.

Mmm. Is all I have to say about that.

It’s easy to dress up these little clear packages – I just worried about putting something cute on top, and tied it all together with a bit of ribbon or lace.

Materials Used Package #1: Paper, October Afternoon; Stamps, Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous; Ink, Close to My Heart Blush; Chipboard, October Afternoon; Seam Binding, The Pretty Paper Shop; Dies, Spellbinders; Stickles Frosted Lace

Materials Used Package #2: Cardstock, Stampin’ Up Real Red, Close to My Heart Colonial White; Paper, My Mind’s Eye, The Girl’s Paperie; Stamps, Unity Stamp Co.; Dies, Spellbinders, Papertrey Ink; Ribbon, vintage unknown; Brad, My Mind’s Eye


Handmade Holiday Day 2: Gift Card Magic

Welcome to Handmade Holidays Day 2! Meredith and I are sharing gift card holders today. (For Day 1, click here.)

I love giving gifts and picking out the perfect gift for someone special. But sometimes you just know a gift card will be more appreciated than another “thing”. I made my gift card holder part of a card.

You can embellish your card front any which way (for more Christmas card ideas check out this post), and the gift card magic happens on the inside:

That red shape is two identical Spellbinders Labels 17 die cuts, scored at one end. I also embossed a gift card pocket into both die cuts using Papertrey Ink’s Button Card die, upside down so I embossed the outside shape of the die, run through the Big Shot with the embossing pads. I applied adhesive to the edges of the top and bottom edge of the two die cuts, and then adhered the scored ends with the join centred over the card’s fold, one end on each side of the fold. You can see how it was adhered to the card in the photo below, as well as a peek at the inside of the card.

You wouldn’t need to emboss the die cuts as I did, but I thought it added to the look as well as making just a little more space to in which to slip the gift card.

I’ve pulled the card out a little bit here – that’s a Tim Hortons gift card and here in Canada a “Timcard” is always appreciated! Personally I can’t go a week without whipping through the drive through for a “large mocha, no chocolate drizzle”. The card actually slips in so that only a half inch shows at the end. Wouldn’t it be fun to coordinate your Christmas card with the colour of the gift card that fits inside? I also love that this gift card holder is nice and flat. It would be easy to mail, or to give to one of those annoying people that is always doing super nice things for you and never accepting payment – they wouldn’t know it contained more than a “thank you” until they opened it up!

I hope you’ve been inspired by this simple embossing-happy approach to gift card giving – I’m on a bit of a Spellbinders tear lately so you’re forewarned for the rest of the week! :) Don’t forget to go and check out Meredith’s blog and come back tomorrow as we pull out ALL the stops and share a handmade gift!

Materials Used: Cardstock, Stampin’ Up! Real Red, Crumb Cake; Close to My Heart Colonial White; Paper, Authentique Wonder, The Girl’s Paperie Tinsel & Twig; Stamps, Unity Stamp Co., Stampendous; Ink, Close to My Heart Desert Sand, Cranberry, Olive; Dies, Spellbinders

Handmade Holiday Day 1: Tag-alicious!

Hi! I’m so excited to be collaborating with Meredith MacRitchie for this holiday inspiration blog event. Meredith and I have put together a week’s worth of handmade holiday projects that we hope will inspire you to spend a little more time crafting this Christmas. For our first day we’re featuring tags – make sure to hop over to Meredith’s blog and we’d both love to hear your comments on our posts this week!

I’m not really a tag maker, but this year I’m making kraft paper and gift bags my packaging of choice, and I think a tag can go a long way to dressing up plain-jane wrapping.

I die cut these tags using Spellbinders Labels 4. Both of the Christmas tags use nested die cuts, which is my current favourite die technique. Using two dies “nested” together, I die cut the outer shape (cream cardstock on the tree tag in front), and then die cut poinsettia patterned paper using the smaller sized die. The die cut poinsettia paper perfectly fit the opening in the cream cardstock.

Another great idea for the tag-challenged like me is to make tags a part of Christmas gifting. Here I’ve made a simple card, and the tag is mounted on the front of the card with repositionable adhesive (I used foam tape with a low tack). The recipient of this Christmas card will be able to remove the tag (revealing the stamped tree underneath so the card is still attractive) and use it on their Christmas gifts.

Thanks for joining Meredith and I for our first Handmade Holiday blog post! Please come back tomorrow and we’ll have something new for you with which to be inspired!

Materials Used: Card stock, Close to My Heart Colonial White, Stampin’ Up! Real Red, Old Olive; Paper, Authentique Wonder, The Girl’s Paperie Tinsel & Twig; Stamps, Unity Stamp Co.; Red Rhinestones, Teresa Collins; Brad, Stampin’ Up!; Dies, Spellbinders Labels 4, Ribbon Banners, Beaded Circles