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.


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.

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 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

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.