Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December {Delights} Vol. 2 - the Unique Gift Edition

Here we go with another installation of my favorite seasonal shares! :)

Ok, ok, so this is one I should have shared well before we hit the ten-days-until-Christmas mark! But I just can't get over how beautiful this jewelry is. I ordered a custom necklace for a special someone on my Christmas list, and it is so stunning and super well crafted. It turned out even better than I would have imagined, and the seller is so lovely to work with. She's currently closed her shop until after the New Year, so it's too late for this Christmas (sorry!), but definitely check back for Valentine's Day, and to find special ideas for all your year-round gifting needs.
Another one of my favorite products that I chose to gift this Christmas. These are definitely the highest quality candles I've found. They have - in my opinion - the perfect amount of really lovely fragrance, and all of their candles - from the small travel tins to the larger glass pieces - are really attractive to have around your house. Whether you choose one of their holiday scents, like Gingerbread House (ginger and pear) or Amarylis, or you choose a more classic fragrance like Limoncello (my fave!) or Gardenia, you really can't go wrong!

Felt Play Food
Ask pretty much anyone who's ever met me and they will tell you that, even childless and at the age of 26, I'm obsessed with play food. And I'm so excited about the influx of handmade felt play food I've been seeing. There are some really adorable pieces out there - and they're very safe for little ones! I've even found some patterns you can purchase to make your own "meals." Also, if you want to give some felt play food to your favorite wee one, check out Family Fun's recent tutorial on making a play kitchen out of cardboard boxes! So fun! :)

Here's another can't-miss option. The Container Store has an amazing selection of fun, useful, and just downright quirky little items to bring a smile to anyone on your list. A 3D drawing set for your nephew, jeweled ear buds for your teen's bff, an apple shaped notepad for your child's teacher, vintage record CD labels for your hubby, a fancy-schmancy crossword book for your mom, a cute silicone sleeve for your girlfriend's morning coffee, and hanging work light for your dad. Done! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Santa Claus around the world

This is just too cute - the info and the graphic! - I couldn't possibly not share :)

Santas around the World

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December {Delights}

'Tis the season for gift giving, treats, traditions, and small luxuries. So I've decided to put together a couple posts throughout the month with some things I've found recently that I love. Gift ideas, recipes, project ideas... anything seasonal that I stumble upon and want to share! :) So, without any further ado (aka babbling from me) - here are my first picks!

I found this recipe on the poppytalk blog back in September. My dad loves all things Scandinavian - Swedish especially - so I immediately emailed them the recipe, and then promptly forgot about it. And then my mom brought it over for our pizza-and-tree-trimming party last night. She said it was so easy to make, and very different from other cake recipes, that she actually questioned whether there was a mistake in the recipe. And it is so delicious! The perfect combination of lemon, almond, and vanilla. I have a feeling this will definitely become a go-to recipe.

 For a few years, I didn't even have a winter coat, I just wore my LL Bean fleece. Last year, though, I started to feel super cold in October, and I knew the fleece just wasn't going to cut it for the rest of the winter. On a whim, walking by Eddie Bauer at the mall, I decided to look at their down jackets. Hands down, the adorable bright red one I walked out with just a few minutes later was the best money I've ever spent. I just purchased this vest as a treat for myself, and - surprise, surprise! - I am absolutely in love. It has the best fleece lining in the color and pockets - it feels like a really expensive stuffed animal! :)

I just discovered the amazing online boutique of this garden and home store in Pennsylvania. All I can say is, too bad I had all my shopping finished before I found it. They have the most beautiful selection of home decor, accessories, and stunning gift items for your favorite gardener. My faves? Vintage icicle ornaments, a brightly colored scarf on a spool, a hot cocoa treat set, a vintage fruit crate. Love.

This is a small, Quincy, MA-based company run by a brother-sister team that got its start peddling t-shirts on college campuses around the Boston area. I went to Boston University, and then lived in Quincy for a year while working in Cambridge, so I'm all about supporting my neighbors. And this company has such a cool concept: They make super fun tees that say love in various languages. A friend of mine (who also lives in Quincy!) made me aware of the company when she was raving about how much she loved the tee she got from them. I can't wait to get one for myself! :) But I'm sharing their site because I think these T-shirts would be fantastic gifts for husbands/boyfriends, teenage kids, best girlfriends - almost anybody on your list!

OK, that's it for my first round of December picks. I'll try to do at least a post a week for the rest of the month. Hope you enjoyed this assortment of recent fun finds! Let me know if you've come across anything you think is share-worthy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

a little holiday inspiration...

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! As of today, there are exactly 29 days until Christmas, so I wanted to share something I've found really inspiring and fun: Kristina Werner's Holiday Card Series. She's currently mid-way through her 2010 Series and I seriously suggest you check it out! But for today, here's last year's Holiday Card Series to help you get your Christmas juices flowing! :)


Sunday, November 21, 2010

my first craft fair

Wow, I really haven't blogged in a while! Been feeling pretty uninspired lately... working on packaging and displaying and not much else.

So, yesterday was my very first craft fair! :) It's one I look forward to going to every year, so I figured it would be a good place to start. I literally had zero expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. I made my table fee back in the first ten minutes (that was really the only thing I was hoping for). A couple items were sold out in an hour or two, with people asking if they could purchase my sample items over and over for the rest of the day. As I honestly expected, the things I thought would sell the best really didn't sell at all. But I did sell over $200 worth of items... not bad considering most things were priced at $3-6! :)

So if you've read my blog, I'm sure by now you're used to the mostly-crappy photos my little point-and-shoot takes. It's the best camera when you're outdoors on a sunny day, but yesterday we just could not get the lighting correct. But I wanted to share these pics, despite they're less-than-stellar quality!

Hope you're having a great weekend! Getting any Christmas shopping done? :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Caring Hearts: A Reminder

Hey all!

I've been busy getting ready for my *first* craft fair coming up a week from Saturday... mostly working on packaging and displays, and unfortunately, I haven't been feeling very crafty lately. BUT, I wanted to check in and remind you that all Caring Hearts Card Drive cards must be received by this Monday, November 15th. That means you've still got a couple days to get your cards into the mail!

Hope you had a great week!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

my new {obsession}


A quick post today to share some cards I made recently with The Girls' Paperie Tinsel and Twig line. These are seriously some stunning products. The papers are incredible and the colors are just perfection. And the embellishments? Don't even get me started! I haven't used any of them yet (except one button) because I can't suppress my hoarding instinct! ;)

My inspiration for all these cards was patchwork. One of the pieces of patterned paper has a gorgeous patchwork of some of the other papers' patterns, plus a couple that don't appear anywhere else in the collection.

Tinsel and Twig paper
Here's a card I made using a piece of this paper as my background.

(I also used Papertrey Ink's new Big and Bold Holiday Greetings set, which I am also in love with.)

For these next two cards, I made my own patchwork by gluing together 1 inch squares punched from all the different patterns.

(This one uses another new PTI stamp set, Merry Little Christmas - another current fave! It's inspired by an adorable card that PTI DT member Erin Lincoln made for the release countdown.)

And, lastly, a bit of a different spin on the concept of patchwork. This one didn't come out quite how I wanted... I wish the circles were a bit closer together, but I only have 1" and 1.5" punches and the larger circle was just too big. So... we make do, right? :)

Hope you had a great weekend! Wasn't it awesome to get an extra hour of sleep last night? :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Holiday Tag Swap

I am SO excited about this! My first swap! And what a great way to start... My LSS, {Colorful Creations} in Hyannis, MA, is sponsoring this Holiday Tag Swap. I wish it was the type of swap where everybody got together and made the tags, but it's still going to be super fun. I signed up for two "groups," which means I made two sets of 5 identical tags and I get two sets of 5 unique, handmade tags in return.

My first tag is inspired by an amazing card that Maile Belles made for the Lawn Fawn October release countdown. I just fell in love with the simplicity of it. I used the mistletoe stamp from Lawn Fawn's Bows and Holly set. Also, I decided to make 3x3" folded "gift enclosure" cards instead of using the traditional tag shape.

My second tag design uses another technique from the Thinking Inking class - the same technique that I used in my card for the Caring Hearts Blog Hop. This is the acrylic block stamping technique, and I am obsessed with it ... especially in this Tumbled Glass/Milled Lavender/Pumice Stone combination with snowflakes!

And just to show you how much I love this technique and Distress Ink color combo... Here are the two cards I originally made that inspired these tags! :)

Have a great weekend! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! :)

So, today is my birthday. I'm 26 on the 26th! :) But I actually purchased this little treat for myself a while back, and have been meaning to share it since it arrived.

I love this thing already! Amazing! I don't have a ton of surfaces to store things on top of, but this is such a great use of a very small footprint. I picked up the Base Unit and the Upper Tier Add-On. You get a TON of clips and dividers too. More than enough to get started... unless you're lucky enough to have a ginormous stamp collection - haha! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

a Distress Ink experiment

I was so inspired by a card that Ms. Papertrey Ink herself, Nichole Heady, made for the most recent PTI release. She embossed flowers on vellum and rubbed ink on their centers using a sponge. Then she flipped the vellum over and adhered it, wrong side out, to her card.

Here's a photo of her card (and you can see the original post on the PTI blog)...

Is this not the prettiest thing you've ever seen? My immediate thought when I saw this: How gorgeous would this be with snowflakes! :) So I grabbed my then-brand-new Lawn Fawn Frosties stamp set and...

Epic Fail. No matter what I did, I could not get that amazing, vibrant, gradient color with my Distress Inks! And wherever I tried to add a new color and blend, the new color just wiped off the old color. I used makeup sponges, sponge daubers, Inkssentials foam blenders, my fingers... I just couldn't get that pretty gradient color concentrated behind my snowflakes!

Ok, Ok, so maybe calling this card an 'epic fail' is going a little too hard on myself. I like the end effect, and I like how sweet and simple the finished card turned out. But I'm not pleased that I couldn't get the look I wanted. I wonder if it might work with a different type of ink? Hmm...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Caring Hearts Blog Hop

Wow! This is amazing! I can't believe I'm here, hopping with the best of them! What a testament to this amazing cause to have so many fantastic crafters involved. Major kudos to Vera Yates for organizing all this!

So if you're here from Amy's blog - Welcome! I hope you're having fun! If you've come here by another route, I hope you'll head over to Vera's blog to make sure you don't miss any of the goodness!

We live in a country where the wisest and most experienced members of our society don't always receive the respect they deserve. We've all banded together today to celebrate and bring joy to some elderly people who may not be lucky enough have friends and family nearby during the holiday season. I encourage you to join the CARING HEARTS CARD DRIVE and make a card to send! All the information can be found by clicking the badge in the upper right corner of my blog. You have until November 15th to get your card to Vera.

I wanted to show you something I've never shared before, but since I don't have a TON of supply stash, that was kinda hard. I was hoping my new Papertrey Ink stamps would arrive in time, but alas, they did not :( So I decided to employ a bunch of Thinking Inking techniques for this card. I used acrylic block stamping for the background (you'll see more of this technique here soon!), generation stamping for the trees (with the same stamp that Jennifer used nonetheless), watercoloring with Distress Inks for the trunks, snowflake centers, and garlands (except I used my blender pen instead of mixing the ink with water), and inking with a foam blender for the edges of the card base.

Thank you so very much for visiting! The next stop on the hop is Ayana's Creations. I can't wait to see what she made! :) I hope you will be inspired to participate in the Caring Hearts Card Drive!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have a confession...

If you were to make a list of Anna's Top Ten Rules to Live By, number one on that list would be "Christmas music may only be listened to from December 1st until December 25th." Well, yesterday I sat down to work on some more Christmas cards, and I just couldn't resist the urge to break my own Number One Rule :) So, for two evenings now, I've been crafting along to some of my favorite Christmas tunes on my ipod! And I'm having a blast... I just hope now I can stop and wait until December! :-D

Most of the projects I've made are things I'm not quite ready to share, but I do have some Basic Grey Jovial collection and Lawn Fawn Bows and Holly for you today.

 One of my favorite things about the Jovial collection is the really unique color combination. I used Broken China Distress Ink to stamp the label on this card... Now, I mean, how often do you see turquoise for Christmas? :) I muted it a little with some Antique Linen, because the turquoise in the paper is a little bit greener and somewhat distressed.

I apologize for the supreme crumminess of this photo... I'll try to take a new one tomorrow! 
This card was totally inspired by Brit Swiderski. She had the amazing idea to use the Distress Ink Bleeding technique that I used on my fall placecards with this adorable wreath stamp from Lawn Fawn's Bows and Holly. Genius. I love how it turned out... even though when I re-stamped over the image with bleeding I kind of, well, missed :) So there's the bleeding and also a little bit of a shadow effect. I used a Sakura Stardust pen on the ribbon that's wrapped around the wreath. The bow was painted with Fired Brick Distress Ink mixed with water and gold Perfect Pearls. (This is Technique 3 from Week 1 of the Holiday Thinking Inking series.) I also added a little Glossy Accents (I *finally* bought some!) to the berries.

Here's a closeup of the wreath so you can see all the special treatments.

Wish me luck in turning off the Christmas music! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 18, 2010

StampTV Thursday Sketch 10/14

This was another tough one for me... so different from what I usually do! I really wanted to change it up somehow, but I challenged myself to stick to the sketch! Except I flipped it. Oh, and forgot it was supposed to be square. Oops! :)

This was also my first time using the new Gina K. Designs set Buds and Vases, illustrated by Melanie Muenchinger. I've never Copic colored glass before, and I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing!

Here's the sketch...

And here's my card...

Hope your week's gotten off to a great start!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holiday Thinking Inking - Ink Bleeding Technique

Like pretty much everybody else in the online crafting community, I am so excited about the return of the fabulous Jennifer McGuire's fabulous Thinking Inking class over at Two Peas in a Bucket. It's back and better than ever - this time with a holiday theme! :)

I finally got around to making my first project playing along with the techniques Jennifer's sharing with us. This is the second technique from her Week Two video - she calls it Ink Bleeding. I used her card project as inspiration and decided to make place cards.

(A little back story here... My family has used the exact same place cards at every gathering for years. Decades. Seriously. They're made from folded index cards that either my brother or I colored pictures or patterns on. And my mother is in love with them. So I have no doubt she won't be at all interested in actually using these new ones I made, but I had fun with them nonetheless!)

And here are some close-ups... I used water mixed with a little bit of gold Perfect Pearls when I spritzed the stamped images. It's more prominent on some of the leaves, but they all have a subtle, pretty sheen to them.

Supplies for this project: Distress Inks - Walnut Stain, Spiced Marmalade, Fired Brick, Peeled Paint, Scattered Straw; Stamp - Autumn Splendor by Gina K. Designs; Cardstock - Pure Luxury by Gina K. Designs (Sweet Corn, Pumpkin Spice), Stampin' Up (Crumb Cake); Patterned Paper - Flannel Sheets (Lily Bee Designs' Catching Fall collection); Misc. - Memento Marker (Rich Cocoa), foam ink blending tool, Perfect Pearls, Ranger Mini Mister

Thanks for stopping by! Now go check out Jennifer's video and play along too! :)