Monday, December 27, 2010

Profile Silhouette

Here's any easy idea for a gift. I have seen silhouette's everywhere this year, from stationery to Christmas ornaments to family room walls. There are many ETSY sellers who will let you submit a profile photo of your child and turn it into a wonderful keepsake for your walls, your tree, or your keychain. For me, seeing that someone else can make it, gives me a challenge to try and create one on my own rather than paying someone else to do something for me.
{our youngest nephew:2010}

I tried to stick to handcrafted Christmas gifts this year, and I'd say about 85% of our gifts we gave were in fact handmade by either Nick or myself. Not too shabby for a couple who both hold down full-time jobs.

To make a silhouette of your child, take a photograph of your child's facial profile. Have your child stand against a solid background to make your next step ( photoshopping) a bit easier. Next, play with the contrast and lightness/darkness settings on your photo editing software. Make the face as dark as possible. Print out photo once this step is completed. Then, using a sharpie marker in black, color in the profile's lighter spots with sharpie for a uniform "blackness". I then cut out my silhouette with my scrapbooking scissors ( this was a time consuming activity), laid it on my scanner and scanned it back into my computer ( re-scanning made the silhohuette pitch black..which is the look I was going for). I then picked out a light blue colored cardstock, added "2010" below the silhouette and printed onto the cardstock from my printer. Add a cheap frame or go big and mat it.

Voila, instant gift!

Side note: I am hoping to make silhouette ornaments next year just like YHL did of their daughter Clara. I think I just need to adjust my scale size, scan it to my silhouette cutting machine and anything is possible! How neat would it be to have your child's silhouette year after year to watch them grow in a shabby chic way?

Super Hero Capes

Check out the Puking Pastille's blog for the FREE superhero cape tutorial. I made one for each of my nephews and used the first intial of their first name as part of their alter ego logo. The logos are easy to make. Just iron on fusible webbing to fabric, cut out the design ( cut letters out backwards) and iron-on. For the closure, I used a small velcro tab on each cape.
The red cape is approximately 20" long from neck to bottom, and the navy cape was scaled down to approximately 16" long since it was made for a younger child.

2011 Calendar Project

I finished our 2011 calendar today! Here are the proofs! Each page prints individually, and are all 8x10 in size.

Total cost: about $4-5 per calendar.
Photo Paper: 12 sheets x.25 cents per sheet= $3.00
Ink from printer: ??? We just put a new cartridge in..I suppose I will find out how quickly it goes through ink!
Hanging Device: FREE ( I used an alligator clip we had in the office already)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I {heart} Santa

Look what Santa left under the tree for me!!!

You're probably wondering what this's HOURS of endless crafting. That's what it is..

But really, it's called a Silhouette digital cutter and it hooks up with my computer to provide me with endless possibilities in crafting. This machine can cut out any design ( custom or purchased through the website) and allows for projects such as glass etching, card making, iron on decals, box making ( see my friend Liz's clear ornament box here) and beyond.

I've already been ape-ing with it all morning and am itching for the craft store to open so I can buy some colored cardstock and get my thank you cards finished.

Thank you St. Nick!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The shack

I made a gingerbread surf shack this year, complete with surfboards, flip flops and a towel made of marshmallow fondant thanks to tutorials by my sister, Stephanie at the Sweet creations by stephanie blog.

The curtain

I'm hoping that some day in the future, that Nick and I can re-create this photo with our own kids on Christmas morning.

{NZ, OZ & MZ: circa 1983}
You see, the house we live in is all of 6 houses away from the one he grew up in as a kid. How they fit 5 children and two adults under a roof this size is still a mystery, but none-the-less, Nick is quite familar with our floor plan because our house is exactly the same as his childhood home...ahhhh, tract housing..LOVE it! Apparently, on Christmas morning, Santa put up a big sheet at the end of the hallway, which blocks off the view to the living room...and all the presents.

I love this idea. I love this picture. Christmas morning, jammies, and little wheels turning wondering what Santa delivered the night before..and as a parent, I can't imagine how cool it will be to watch our kids tear through the curtain and rip open their gifts from Santa.

I look forward to that magic. Someday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holly Jolly Memory game

Here's a little "Holly-Jolly" memory game I made my three-and-a-half year old nephew for a little Christmas fun. He's become such a pro at our color matching mini-memory game (link to previous post here) that I decided to make him one for the holidays and challenge that noggin of his a bit more with matching holiday images & words instead of colors.
A while back I picked up some wooden disks at Michael's and found a pack of stickers at Target that included 2 sheets of Holiday "seals" which, to me, are stickers, right? I suppose "seal" sounds more fancy, but whatever, they work for this project perfectly.
I applied my stickers to the disks, and then modge podged them to seal the sticker on the disk and give them a little more durability.
The travel-box that they are contained in is none other than an Altoids tin, spray painted white.
These little games are so easy and fun to make..even if you are not crafty as so many of my readers claim to be..try it, you just might see how EASY this is..and if you are a parent...this is a great interactive activity to play with your kids!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

DIY-Silver polish

I have a champagne bucket that was given to me a long while ago, from the same cousin that sent us the recent bottle of wine from their vineyard. It's one of those items that rarely gets used, but I'm happy to have in my artillery of entertaining devices. I pulled it out of storage today in hopes of repurposing it as a beautiful pointesettia holder. I planned on putting a piece of floral block in the bottom (for height), and placing a pre-potted pointesttia in the bucket.

Unfortunately, when I pulled it out of it's storage place, I found that it has seen better days.

A quick search for DIY silver polish and I was off to the kitchen pantry to concoct my own polish. I figured it was worth a try, even if it didn't work, at least I tried!

Here's the recipe I used:
  • 1/2 cup baking soda

  • 1/4 cup salt

  • 2 sheets of tin foil
  • sponge
  • water

This is how:

  • Plug sink

    Line sink with foil

  • pour in salt and baking soda

  • fill sink halfway with piping hot water

    Soak silver 10 minutes

  • rub silver in circular motions with sponge

  • rinse

  • dry with soft cloth

Since my item was so large, I had to rotate it and continue to fill my sink with hot water as it cooled. I also made a paste of baking soda and salt and applied it to my sponge for the hard to clean areas.

And voila, a little teeny bit of elbow grease and it's ready for a pretty red pointsettia plant.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Coral Tree on etsy

{photo: Coral Tree}

Just a quick plug today for my sister-in-law Charlee's new etsy shop, called Coral Tree. She makes beautifully coordinated baby items, that are one-of-a-kind and not available anywhere else. They make wonderful shower & homecoming gifts to new parents and parents-to-be!

Please check the Coral Tree shop out and show her some love!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Cards

My sister and I usually get together for a craft weekend in late October ( our husbands usually have business travels or car races around that time of year..which leaves us with an entire weekend to craft and ignore our normal wifely duties). Both my sister and I love being wives, both of us work, but I think that if given the opportunity, we'd make some pretty kick ass stay-at-home housewives. You know, the kind that vacuum and mop every single day, the kind that iron their bed linens and have a fully prepared dinner on the table when the Mr. gets home from work. Our mama raised us right. So don't get me wrong, we love doting on our homes and our husbands, but there is something so grand about a weekend of crafting minus our normal responsibilities.

And this year, we missed the window of opportunity.

So, instead of a weekend of brainstorming and creating my yearly family photo calendars and cards, I had a stack of cardstock and no creative juices flowing what-so-ever. My sister has every craft supply known to man, and a multitude of craft and cardmaking magazines to draw inspiration from...
me....not so much.

As you can see, this weekend was a self-made craft-fest, and I finally settled down and made some Holiday cards. I'm a huge Mad Men fan, and all things mid-century so this cute little silhouette that I found of a man and wife and their kitty ( yes, our kitty Beaver is still alive and kicking) was right up my alley. I especially love how she is wearing a dress and heels to adorn her tree. So classy. I added a little playful retro font thanks to Picnik photo editing that wishes our friends and family to "Have a Swell Holiday". Isn't the word swell, so kitschy? All I did was upload the photo to Picnik's site, added the text and printed directly onto my cardstock. Fold, stuff and mail!
Anyhow, they aren't my fanciest cards to date, but they're done.
....if I could just get my butt in gear to address and mail them all before December 25th!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let it glitter..let it glitter..let it glitter

I've found myself in a crafting mood this weekend.. This past week had a couple craptastic days sprinkled in amongst some average ones, so I found myself wanting to hole up in the house this weekend and craft my little heart out. Crafting has always been my go-to..some people eat to soothe, some people drink for comfort...I workout and craft when I get stressed.
(Haha, Isn't that just aweful?!)

So, I found this awesome download on Thursday on eighteen25, and immediately printed out their subway Christmas print and popped it in an existing frame. Easy, peasy...FREE!!!!!!!!

I also happen to have a Dollar Tree store just a hop-skip-and a jump away from where we live ( and unfortunately, I am way to pumped about it for the simple fact that when I just can't hold out any longer, I can run over and buy up a bunch of pregnancy tests to bring home and torture my impatient self with..So far, they've let me down, but if I didn't have the Dollar Tree, I'd send my husband and I into debt with the cost of those bad boys. Seriously, First Response..$20 for one test?) I digress...I love the Dollar Tree because they have lots of craft supplies on the cheap.

My Dollar Store Craft of the Day? Inspired by these trees seen on eighteen25

{photo: eighteen25's glitter trees}

Glitterific Trees on top of spraypainted candlesticks...For a whopping grand total of $3

And as a special treat, I'll let you see where the magic happens...the inside scoop on where all this crafting goes down...Ladies and gents, my craftroom for the day....

...are you ready....

..don't be jealous......

...Here it is....

Yes, this is our backyard...and yes, those are bags of rocks I'm using as sawhorses.

Glamourous, right?

The BIG Advent

I've always wanted an Advent calendar. Those neat ones with the little cardboard doors and windows that open to reveal a piece of cheap chocolate or instruct you to do some random act of kindness.

I never had one as a kid. Not that I was vocal about my desire to have an advent calendar, but I have secretly always wanted one. I've even reasoned with myself as an adult making my own money---that I could in fact buy one of I wanted, but the allure wore off when I could actually buy one on my own..It became one of those, "ohh, that's cute, but I don't want to spend $20 on it" (insert husband's nickname for my thrifty-ness here) items.

Well, leave it to Martha, then improved by the painter family blog for a DIY advent that I went nuts for upon laying my eyes upon this fantabulous idea.

{photo: Painter Family Blog}

A trip to Joanne's on Saturday (where I may or may not have ruined a cashier's day by insisting my gift card had $40 on it, when he told me I owed $3.27 after a $12 purchase...only to realize as the manager was being called to remedy my complaint...that I was using an old card..pulled out my newest GC and lo-and-behold...there was my$40 credit..I apologized profusely, by the way) lead me to realize that buying 25 paper mache boxes of varying sizes was a bit more than I wanted to spend...So, I bought 10 18x18 sheets of black and white polka-dotted scrapbook paper and headed to the Dollar Tree to attack plan B for my rendition of an advent calendar..I had seen another cute idea where clothespins were used to hold cellophane baggies filled with treats, so I purchased a set of clothespins for $1, came home and spray painted them red, and got to MOD podging my scrapbook paper to a remnant piece of plywood my husband had laying around the garage.

While the board and painted clothespins were drying, I used my new scallop punch from Fiskars to punch out some christmasy paper, and printed out the numbers 1-25 in a variety of fonts on white cardstock. I punched the numbers out with my 1.5" circle punch and adhered them to the scalloped circles with my gluestick.

Once the clothespins were dry, I counted out 5 rows of 5 clothespins and spaced them randomly and glued them to my board with Elmer's wood glue.

When the clothespins set up ( overnight), I then used Elmer's to glue my number cut-outs to each clothespin.

And lastly, I filled each little cellophane baggie with two candies ( one for NZ, and one for ME!) to eat each night as we countdown to Christmas morning! I can't wait till we have little ones to share this with!