Friday, December 19, 2014

Tips for Choosing the Right Artificial Tree

Tips for Choosing the Right Artificial Tree

There is no time like now to start shopping for your new artificial Christmas tree. But before you rush out and buy the first on you find on the floor of the department store, there are a few things you must consider. Not all fake Christmas trees are created equally. In fact, every type and brand of tree has its own unique properties. Thankfully, the following tips will help you choose the perfect tree for your home.

Size and Shape

The size – specifically height – is the first thing that you should consider while deciding which tree to purchase. Do you want a small tree that sits on the table or a larger on that can reach your cathedral ceiling? A good general rule of thumb is to purchase a tree that is 6-inch lowers than the ceiling. This will allow you to fill the room while still leaving enough room for your tree topper. The height listed for the tree is generally the height measured from the very top of the tree to the floor. This measurement usually includes the stand. 

You should consider the girth and width of the tree as well. Standard trees are usually on the fuller end of the spectrum but they are also available in slim and pencil shapes, which make the ideal fit for compact areas like alcoves or entryways. The profile and density of the tree should also be taken into consideration. For example, if you fill the boughs with ornaments and ribbon, you will want to get a tree that features deeper branch pockets. 

Tips and Treatments

You may not have considered this before, but the types of tips and branch treatments should also be thought about before making your decision. The truth is, there are various different types of branch tips and needles available on fake trees. Most are molded from real trees to look as realistic as possible. Royal Spruce, Douglas Firs and Western Hemlocks are just a few of the real trees used to recreate an authentic-looking Christmas tree.

Company

Something that most consumers often over look is the company who is making and/or selling the tree. This is an extremely important and you should do your research on the company before purchasing. For example, you can read reviews of Balsam Hill trees to get an idea of how long the last, how the look and how satisfied the costumer is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Remembering Loved Ones at Christmas

Christmas time is about families, but sometimes we cannot be with all of our family members during this time of year.  I just got done reading a story about a little boy who wanted to give a very special gift . . . the gift of time with loved ones . . . to his Mother.  His Grandmother had passed away earlier that year, and his Mother was missing her and he wanted to give them one day together.


I don't want to give the rest away, but you can go to Laura's blog by clicking HERE to read her summary of the background behind the idea for a story that she is writing and illustrating.  It is a beautiful story of family, remembering those that are not here with us any more, and the magic of Christmas!

Thank you Laura for sharing this story.  I may make this a tradition at our house also.  I look forward to seeing the completed book!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Cards

Even though I make cards, I don't make my Holiday Cards.  I never have the time to make the 30+ cards that I send out by hand.  But this year I found time to make a couple of cards for our new neighbors and I decided I would do a "two for one" kind of project . . . two cards, one project . . . EASY and FAST.  Here is what I mean.

To start, I used one piece of teal blue cardstock that I cut in half.  I folded each half in half to create the base for 2 small cards.  Perfect!  No waste and both were cut at the same time!


I found an accent piece of paper that I cut a large strip from, trimmed it down to fit the card and attached it.  Since it was one long strip, I had enough to put some on both cards.  Again, easy and done quickly with no waste.


Now for the snowmen cuts.  One piece of paper, and cut the snowman twice out of white and and the backing piece in brown using my Winter Frolic Cricut cartridge.  

If you don't own this cartridge but want to make a similar card you could use any snowman.  
{but Shawn, how will I know which Cricut cartridges have a snowman on them?}
That's easy!  Just go to MyCutSearch.com and type in the word snowman . . . the website will do the rest!  You will see handbook previews of each and every Cricut handbook that has a snowman on it!


I don't know if you notice, but one of my snowmen is wearing a green scarf and blue mittens, and the other one is wearing a blue scarf with green mittens.  This is because the scarf and mittens are all cut with the same layer function button on this cartridge.  If I would have just been making one card, I would have cut this layer twice, from two different colors, and then just had extra pieces that I would not have used.  But since I knew I was making two cards, I cut the layer twice from two different colors and just did a mix and match kind of thing between the two cards.  If you ever run into a Cricut cartridge where you want to break up the colors on one layer, making two cards at once is a good way to do that.


See those little tiny buttons on the snowman?  They look like I just took an individual rhinestone and set it on there, don't they?  Well, that is NOT what I did!  

I had made some tags using the Sizzix Scallop Tags die and the rhinestone sticker sheets from The Buckle Boutique.  The piece that I used for the buttons on the snowman are the little tiny circles that came out of the tags!  (see image below)


This just shows that you can cut really small stuff with the rhinestone sticker sheets, and that I save EVERYTHING!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Your so Cool!

Not only do I have a fun project today, this project also gave me an idea for a little video I want to do that will show you how I searched and found this tag image on MyCutSearch.com


I had made a little tag for a co-worker of mine last spring and she asked me to make her some more.  I was busy moving and kind of missed all of the fall holidays, so I am staring in with the winter ones for her.


I used a stamp set by Lawn Fawn called Critters in the Snow.  I thought the penguins on this stamp set were really cute.  I stamped the first one on the tag, and then stamped it again on a post it note and cut around it with my Westcott scissors.


I placed the post it note penguin over the top of the penguin I stamped on the tag, and then I stamped the larger penguin to the left of the first penguin, overlapping it just a little bit.


Once I peeled the post it note penguin off, you can see that it now looks like the larger penguin is standing behind the smaller one a little bit.  I put the post it note penguin back in the Lawn Fawn stamp set package just in case I ever want to layer these penguins like this again.


Now it is time to add color!  I used some sponges that I dabbed into different shades of blue and teal and rubbed them around the area above the penguins.  This gave a fun cloud/sky look to the tag.  Then I drew some lines with a colored pencil to make it look like they were standing on a pile of snow.


I colored in the bodies of the penguins, and stamped a few snowflakes in shades of blue.  I used a really deep blue for the sentiment "You're so cool!"


I dabbed a little silver glitter glue in the center of the two largest snowflakes just to add a little sparkle to the tag.


The final touch was to add a piece of ribbon in shades of blue from the top.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Personalized Holiday Decor

Since we are at a new house this year, I wanted a new Holiday decoration to kind of celebrate the fact that our family has moved.

We have a little family joke where my husband, daughter and I refer to each other as "The Three Amigos" . . . and I wanted a one item that celebrated that.  (Our oldest child moved out a few years ago)


I found the perfect item at GiftsForYouNow.com . . . they have SO MANY different items for the home that you can personalized any way you want!  I found this snowman family plaque that I really liked.


Then I personalized it by adding our family name, choosing that I wanted three snow people on the plaque, and added the first names of family members below.


I think it looks really cute sitting with our Christmas stockings that I made a few years ago.  There are other items, like a doormat, that match this same snowman family . . . so if I wanted to continue with the theme and add other items I could do that too!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chair Cover

Here is another project I did for the new house. My daughter had a chair in her room that she got several years ago, when she was into the whole pink camouflage trend.  Now that she is a teenager, she is over that look, but she still loves the chair.  Out comes my Brother sewing machine and it is time for Mom to the Rescue!


My daughter picked out the fabric for the new slipcover on her own.  I love the color and the pattern.  I started out by measuring from the top of the chair and running the tape measure down into the scoop of the chair, and then down to the bottom edge.

Then my daughter and I worked together to draw a perfect circle for the slipcover.  It really was not all that hard!  We folded the fabric in half, tied a pencil to a string and while my daughter held the string tight on the folded edge of the fabric, I moved the pencil along in a perfect arch to create a half circle.  Since it was drawn on the fold of the fabric, once I cut on the pencil line it was a perfect circle of fabric!


I know I did not really NEED to finish the edges, but I did do an overcasting stitch all the way around the circle.  I think it gave it a cleaner look.  Then I folded over the fabric and did a blanket stitch to create a casing all the way around the circle.


I love the variety of stitches there are to choose from on my Brother sewing and embroidery machine.  Then I fed elastic through the casing.  Here is a little trick . . . put a safety pin on both ends of the piece of elastic before you start to feed it through the casing.  On the front end, this helps you to continue to push the elastic through, but on the back end it helps in case you pull too hard and the back end of the elastic slips inside of the casing.  Since it has a safety pin on it, you can easy find that end that got away from you and push it back out.


Then we just put the whole thing over the chair.  Yes, it is not as tailored at the original chair, but my daughter loves it.  And if she spills anything on it I can just pull it off and toss it in the wash!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving . . . Pass the DEALS!

After you have had your fill of turkey and pie, you know what that means . . . time to start to think about your holiday shopping!  Why not make it a lot easier this year and avoid the lines and crazy people at the mall . . . stay home and click on these links for deals!

If you complete the survey you could get a Kohl's gift card . . . THAT could buy some gifts this holiday season!



I found some offers that will save you on food gifts . . .
 A Popcorn Tin is a great gift idea for so many people on your list!

 Or how about some chocolate covered berries? They are great for ANY holiday!

 For the coffee lover on your list . . . or for yourself!
















And you KNOW we will all be doing some holiday baking and cooking. Want to try some new recipes? Then check out these links.

































I also found this deal for your shopping needs . . . Zulily has a little bit of everything, so you can find items for most of the people on your holiday list in one stop.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Frozen and Cricut

Hey Disney fans . . . have you heard?  Cricut is teaming up with Disney to do another cartridge!  This time it will be for Frozen!


Currently the new Frozen images are ONLY available for use with the Cricut Explore machine, and ProvoCraft does have a package deal where you can get the Explore AND the Frozen DIGITAL cartridge by clicking HERE.  


The other news is that if you own an E or E2 (like me) and are not planning to upgrade to the Explore, there WILL be a physical Frozen cartridge, but it will not be coming out until sometime next year.

Here are some more images you can find on this cartridge.


I am thinking we might need another Disney Pixar Blog Hop to celebrate the release of the physical cartridge when it comes out.





Decorating the New House

I am starting to decorate our new house, and I used Pinterest to help me get started.

I made a board on Pinterest, and then later when I wanted to show my husband the options of what I was looking at I just showed him the board.  If there were items on it that he hated, I deleted them.  This really helped us to narrow down what we liked and figure out where we wanted to shop.

I found this table that I wanted to get for our front entry area.

I found it at Wayfair.  I had never shopped there before, but I can tell you I WILL be shopping there again!  They have SO MUCH to choose from and the prices are really great!

Then I found this discount . . . .



Just click on the Wayfair button and you can start shopping and saving too!  I might need to do some Christmas shopping this way.

I have the table ordered and once it arrives I will post a photo of it in the entry of our home.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Craft Room Update

I am making progress slowly on my craft room.  I went with a bright pink for the accent color, and I mixed in some glitter additive I found at the paint store to the can.  The photo does not show it very well, but the wall looks like it was covered in a pink glitter paper.


Here you can see the new storage cabinets that I got.  More info on where to purchase these HERE. I am happy to say that I was able to fit a LOT of supplies in here!   For those of you that are wondering, yes, scrapbook paper pads DO fit in these cubes.  You can see some of mine in the upper left cube.


I put up some white and blue Minnie and Mickey Mouse curtains in the room, on a white rod.  Yes, there are still boxes on the floor, but I wanted to start to PLAY in my craft room and needed a break from unpacking.  Plus I am still need to get some shelves up on the wall to display things too.  Plain white walls are boring.


I am using the same bed with a work surface over the top that I had at the old house.  If you want to see the post on how that was created, click HERE.  There are a couple of reasons for this . . . it saved some money, and I do want to still have a bed to use if we need it for a guest.


Another angle of the wall of cubes.


You can see the glitter in the paint a little bit in this photo.

I still have work to do, but at least now I can work on my crafts if I want, and then I can finish unpacking later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Ornaments

That time of year is coming . . . the time when we will be looking at magazines, our local craft stores and Pinterest to find the Christmas ornament that we want to make.  I thought that it might be fun to take a look back at some of the ornaments I have created and shared in the past.  Click on the link titles to go to the full tutorial for each ornament.

Magic Marble Paint Dipped Ornament


This one was fun because I did this with my daughter.  She had fun picking out the colors to combine.  The one in this example combines the school colors for my husband's college. 



We had so much fun with the FIRST set of ornaments, and one of my family members mentioned how much she liked them, that we did some more in other colors.

Dried Floral Ornament 


After my Grandfather died, we saved the flowers from his funeral.  He was in the Navy, so we had red, white and blue flowers on top of his casket.  I used these flowers to create an ornament for every family member, so that we can have a special remembrance of Papa on the Christmas tree every year.



I am a huge Disney fan, and my daughter has inherited that love too.  Her favorite character is Donald Duck, so I created this ornament for her as a gift last year.

I hope you enjoyed this Christmas Ornament review!  Who knows what I will make this year!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

6 Simple and Fun Fall Crafts

Fall is a festive time of year that creates all kinds of crafting possibilities. To make your home full of autumn cheer, try out these six fun and simple crafts.

1. Treasure Acorns 
 Ever wondered what you could do with all of those plastic eggs left over from Easter? Repurpose them into a festive fall craft by gluing twine carefully around one half of the egg, leaving the opening exposed so you can still fill the egg with a treasure. It makes for a great party gift or decoration. Put snacks, candy, or other little treasures inside the egg for a unique fall surprise.

2. Thankful Board 
 Fall is a time to reflect on the good things in life, which means everything that you are thankful for. Some people need a little help remembering the good things in life. Cut a large acorn shape out of corkboard, topping it with cardstock circles to create the cap and stem. Hang it where your family and friends can see it and fill it every day with notes and pictures about the things you are thankful for.

3. Sparkling Candle Holders
 Want to really create that golden fall glow inside your home? Take some clear votive candle holders and mist the inside down with water. While they are still wet, gently spray metallic paint inside the glass on top of the water (gold will give you a better “glow”). Once this dries, spray it again with gold glitter spray for a truly sparkling finish. It also works in other color combinations, so let your imagination run wild.

4. Autumn Garden Bunting 
 Banners and buntings make for perfect decorations in the house on walls, along banisters, or even at the edges of tables. Just go out into your yard and pull items right from nature such as leaves and seed pods. Attach them to wire and drape where you please.

5. Burlap Wreath
 Burlap can be used for all kinds of crafts and creates a nostalgic fall look. Using a foam wreath as your base, wrap some burlap ribbon around the foam and use straight pins to keep it in place. You can finish it off by hot-gluing burlap flowers or other trinkets on top.



6. Painted Stemware 
 Festive glasses aren’t just for the winter months anymore. Create fall wine glasses by putting paint on the bottom of the base of your stemware. Use a brush or other fine-tipped tool to create designs such as swirls by working out from the center. Let it dry completely before placing the base on a surface. Glitter glass paint is also an option for coating the topside of the base and stem.

Get Creative 
 These fall crafts are sure to give your home a festive glow. Try other combinations to create new decorations for any time of the year.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cuff Bracelet with Rhinestones

This project video will inspire you to invite some friends over for a crafting party. Marisa Pawelko recently taped a segment for Creative Living on PBS. The Buckle Boutique is honored that Marisa included our rhinestone sticker sheets in her video for these AMAZING cuff bracelets.

 If you did not know, Marisa has a website call The Modern Surrealist and a full line of dies with Sizzix. One of the dies is a base cut for a cuff bracelet, and there are a variety overlays that you can add to the base cut to embellish your bracelet. These dies make it simple to perfectly cut your pieces, and when you use rhinestone sticker sheets for the overlay pieces you can add sparkle easily!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cupcake Tag

Here is a cupcake tag I made that would be perfect for a gift tag for a birthday celebration!

I actually made this tag MONTHS ago, but totally forgot to blog about it!  I did a blog post before about a cupcake card, that you can see HERE.  In that post I mentioned that I was saving the pieces I did not use in that card for another project.  Well, this is that project.


I cut the tag shape from the Sweet Treats Cricut cartridge.  I used a polka dot paper for the lower half of the cupcake, and a yellow handmade paper for the top half.


I really liked the texture that the handmade paper added to the top of this tag.  I also cut a heart from the orange rhinestone sticker sheets from The Buckle Boutique.  If you have not tried these rhinestone sheets then now is the time to give them a try!  You can cut them with scissors, a craft knife or a die cutting machine.  I cut this heart with my Cricut.  If you want the cutting instructions, you can find those HERE.


Since the heart has adhesive on it, I attached the ribbon to the back of the heart before I attached the whole cupcake to the blue backing piece.  This way the ribbon was sandwiched in the middle.




Monday, November 10, 2014

Playing with Scraps

Do you save your scraps? I have to admit . . . I do! If I look at a piece of paper and think "I can get one more heart cut out of that" then I do. I even have a container where I keep all of these scrap cuts. They are nice because if my daughter and her friends want to create something they know they can use anything in the scrap bin and not worry about accidentally cutting a shape out of some paper I was saving for a special layout.

I even keep the scraps of strips that I trim off of pages . . . you know, the stuff you had to trim to make things fit just right.

Here is one of those piles of scrap strips of paper.

I decided to make a card JUST using these strips . . . no new cuts.  I used a plain kraft paper card base, and then I just grabbed some random strips in similar colors.  I started to adhere them to the card at an angle, and then just added the next strip so that it lined up with the one before it.



Once I had all of the strips on the card, I just trimmed them off at the edge of the card.  Adding some dots of Viva Decor added some dimension to the card.  The final step was stamping a sentiment on to the card. 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Handmade Holidays Blog Hop


Handmade Holidays 2014 Hop Logo



Welcome to the 4th Annual Handmade Holidays Blog Hop! A few years ago we were looking online for handmade gift ideas and thought it would be great if there was a resource dedicated JUST to handmade gift ideas. Enter the Handmade Holidays hop!

We've gathered over 100 of our creative blogger friends in the craft industry as well as some of our fellow product manufacturers to bring you a plethora of inspiring gift ideas you can make now to give to your friends, family, and colleagues. Pin and bookmark these ideas for this holiday season and to use throughout the year! Each day of the hop features approximately 30 gift projects and you can "hop" from one blog to another to check them all out.

I am so happy to be a part of this hop with so many amazing crafters and I cannot wait to show you the project I created using the rhinestone sticker sheets from The Buckle Boutique.

Custom cell phone cases are a great way to show off your personal style, and it can be a great gift idea . . . especially for a teen in your life.



 Today I am going to show you how to make this custom cell phone case.  Following the directions here you will be able to easily create a rhinestone cell phone case with an image of your choice.

First, I started off with an ugly cell phone case that I picked up at the Dollar Store.  I did not care what image was already on the cell phone case since I knew I would be covering it with rhinestone sticker sheets.  I knew once the project was done, it was NOT going to look like a Dollar Store case.



I also used the royal blue and clear rhinestone sticker sheets from The Buckle Boutique.

I decided to use the anchor image since the Nautical Theme seems to be a popular one right now, but feel free to use any image you like.


I cut the anchor out of the royal blue rhinestone sticker sheet.  Yes, you can CUT these rhinestone sticker sheet with scissors, a craft knife or a die cutting machine.  This is because the "gems" are actually a soft resin material and not a hard stone.  You can find full cutting instructions and a video here, but the basics instructions are

1) place the rhinestone sticker sheet on the cutting mat with the rhinestones down, so you are cutting through the BACK of the sheet


2) flip the image, since you are cutting through the back of the sheet, otherwise your whole cut comes out backwards

 3) cut at a SLOW SPEED with LOW PRESSURE on a very sticky mat with a DEEP CUT BLADE

4) I use a mulit-cut of 3 or 4 just to make sure that the blade gets all the way through the sticker sheet

I cut the same anchor shape at the same size out of the clear rhinestone sticker sheet.



Now, kind of like a puzzle, I put the clear anchor into the opening on the blue sheet, and the blue anchor into the opening on the clear sheet.


Technically, I could make TWO personalized cell phone cases now . . . one with a clear background and a blue anchor and one with a blue background and a clear anchor.

Which one do you like better?




I decided to go with the clear background and blue anchor combination.  If I pick up another cell phone case I already have the product cut and ready to go to make the second one.


I peeled off the backing from the anchor image to expose the sticky adhesive back of the sticker sheet, and I stuck it to the cell phone case.  I know . . . it looks a little silly over that image that was already on the cell phone case.  Don't worry.  The next step will take care of that.


I peeled off a few small portions of the backing on the clear rhinestone sticker sheet so that I could "puzzle piece" things back together on the cell phone case without having ALL of the adhesive exposed for the FULL cell phone case.  This allowed me to be able to adjust and maneuver the piece more.  I always get frustrated when you are trying to attach an embellishment and sticks to the project before you really wanted it to and then you have to peel it off and start over.  This is my trick to avoid that.



I used a craft knife to trim away the excess product and to cut the little oval out of the camera hole.




From that excess that I trimmed away, I was able to cut some strips that I used to cover the sides of the sides of the cell phone case.  Since the rhinestone sticker sheet are flexible, these strips easily wrap around and hug the curves of the side of the cell phone case.  I used my Westcott scissors to trim the strips for the sides when I got to an opening in the cell phone case.



And there you have it!  A rhinestone covered cell phone case from a Dollar Store purchase and the rhinestone sticker sheets from The Buckle Boutique!

What would YOU put on your cell phone case?

Are you ready for lots more creative handmade gift ideas and projects?? Follow along on our blog hop! Simply click on each of the links below to be taken to that post with additional information and photos on how to create a handmade gift project. Have fun and pin away!

  Clearsnap
  Ellison Educational Equipment
Walnut Hollow
Graphic 45
  Hydrangea Hippo
Westcott
  Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L
Rowland Technologies
  Neat and Tangled
ICE Resin
Therm O Web
Elizabeth Craft Designs
Pink and Main
  The Buckle Boutique
Clearsnap - Vivian Keh
  Ashley Rader - Giddy Upcycled
  ICE Resin - Jen Cushman
  Candy Spiegel- Candy Scraps
Graphic 45 - Andrew Roberts
Rina Gonzales - Mothership Scrapbook Gal
Therm O Web - Amanda Niederhauser
Cori Warner - The Flying C
  Yana Smakula - My Cardmaking & Scrapbooking
  The Buckle Boutique - Shawn Mosch
Eileen Hull Designs - Eileen Hull
Angela Muir - Handmade in the Heartland
  Krista Winters - eat, knit & d.i.y.
  Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L - Erica Houghton
  Katie Smith - Punk Projects
  Elizabeth Craft Designs - Karen Aicken
Jeanie Hevener - Create & Babble
Ellison Educational Equipment - Hilary Kanwischer
  Fancy Shanty - Stacy Molter
  Liz Hicks - Blogerisms

  CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER TO WIN PRIZES FROM OUR SPONSORS!
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Follow our Handmade Holidays Gift Ideas Pinterest board for even more inspiration!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE PINTEREST BOARD

A huge thank you to our sponsors for this hop - please visit their blogs below and follow them. And be sure to come back tomorrow for another 30+ amazing Handmade Gift Ideas!

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