Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back and Planning Ahead

I loved this December 29th Challenge posted by Lisa over at BIRDS OF A FEATHER! She asked us to create a layout about something we may have missed that we didn't realize until the end of 2011, and that is exactly what I have done.

Laundry is actually code for all the things I think I HAVE to do to be my crazy idea of the person I should be. This layout is a reminder to myself of all the things I let myself miss this past year - the things I really should have concentrated on instead of trying to live up to the ideal of the perfect me in my head. I have missed taking my family on walks that I said we would go on, sitting down to watch a movie with my kids, playing board games, trips to local attractions - all because my floors needing vacuuming or laundry needed to be done or___________ (insert project or task here). I don't want to have memories of a clean house when I am old. I want memories of more family times.

You know I can't create a layout without a cluster of randomness:

And I love using different letters in my title!

My second layout is one looking forward to the future. I made a Bucket List for my December 30th Challenge using THIS SKETCH from Sue Sykes over at Let's Capture These Sketches!

For those of you who are curious, here is my list:

Hope you are enjoying your last day of the year! Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Remembering 2011 - A Countdown to 2012 Challenge

Have you been playing along with the Birds of a Feather Countdown to 2012 Challenge? I have, and it has certainly been a lot of fun! I created this layout for a challenge in which we were to look back on an event (or events) that occurred this past year. My papers are Prima and were purchased a few months ago from my favorite online scrapbooking Canadian Store, LET'S CAPTURE OUR MEMORIES.

I created a simple grid pattern using pictures from some of my favorite events this past year. And, of course, I had to make sure I layered my papers and embellies because a layout just isn't complete without a little layered loveliness! (Yes, using a little alliteration here, folks)

A couple metal accents from my favorite scrapbooking guy, Tim Holtz, and I was done!

There's still time to play along - the challenge runs through January 1st, and a prize is given away every single day! Sounds like the perfect way to ring in the new year to me!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Countdown to 2012 with Birds of a Feather!

As you may know, I live in the Houston area. It almost never snows here. And on the rare occasions we do get snow, it is NEVER more than a couple of inches that is usually melted by the next day. So...winter wonderland vistas and children all bundled up with nothing but red noses and rosy cheeks peeking out are out for my January layouts.

This month's Birds of a Feather KIT makes me hate my snow-less January (which is right around the corner)a little less. The mixture of papers is vibrant enough to warm me up when it's cold and rainy outside and diverse enough so that I can create layouts of just about any person and any occasion! And the collection of chipboard pieces, ribbon, three different alphas and Smooch paint means I don't have to get up from my worktable to dig through the massive chaos of supplies left over from the madness that was Christmas!!!

I love the dimension (and cuteness) these chipboard pieces give my layout!

Here's my second layout using the January kit.

The chipboard clouds, flowers and butterflies (as well as the papers) made me think of growing things, and that made me think of my niece who, I swear, was just a baby the other day! I loved cutting out the measuring tape paper and sewing randomly across it (because, let's face it, I will find just about any excuse to sew on my paper!).
And I am all kinds of crazy in love over the frame included in this month's kit! I painted mine white, added patterned paper, and used it for my title - but I need about 4 or 5 more frames so I can use them for all the OTHER ideas I have!!!

And speaking of ideas reminds me of this BRILLIANT idea that Amy had over at BOAF! We are having a COUNTDOWN TO 2012 over at the HenHouse! What is that, you ask? Well, now that the craziness Hustle and Bustle of Christmas has died down, we actually have a little breathing room to get back to scrapbooking. So, our Countdown to 2012 has a new challenge posted each day and FABULOUS PRIZES TO BE GIVEN AWAY!!! Play every day or just drop in when you have time - we would love to see you!

P.S. Are you on Facebook? So is Birds of a Feather! Check it out - HERE!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Catching Up on Christmas with BOAF

The December Birds of a Feather KIT is packed with so many Christmas goodies that I was finally inspired to finish scrapping my Christmas pictures from 2010 - and just in time, too, with Christmas 2011 only one week away! In addition to my layout of my two oldest daughters posing together, I also had fun playing with all white embellies on this layout of my youngest daughter, who was obviously excited when I took her picture on Christmas Eve! Can't you tell? I think she is wearing one of the hugest grins I have ever seen!

I used Creative Scrappers Sketch 186 found HERE. At first I was going to use letters and embellishments that were several different colors. But the more I played with the (mostly) white clusters, the more I liked the look.

If the embellie didn't start out white (like my letters and cardboard flower) - no problem! A little paint, and I had exactly what I wanted!

Happy Crafty Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Make an Explosion Box - Video Tutorial

This is my first explosion box (using my BOAF December KIT), and it was such an incredibly fun project!!! There may have been a hiccup or two along the way, but everything was easily fixable and the result, I think, was fantastic!

First, here are a few pictures of the box. This is a gift for a friend so none of the tags have pictures or journaling on them.

And, without further ado, here is my video...or should I say videos. Yes, plural. There are two of them because I had to cut it up in two parts to upload to YouTube. Why? Well, YouTube has a ten minute limit per video and...apparently, I talked a lot (even after editing). And I said, "as you can see," waaaayyy to much. In fact, if you want to play a game, you can count how many times I said, "as you can see" and leave me a comment letting me know! But would you also let me know what you think about the project? And maybe whether you have any Christmas projects that you have had fun making?

Here is Part One:

And here is Part Two:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lori Whitlock Christmas Party Winners and a Sneek Peek

First, I wanted to thank every single one of you who left such wonderful comments on my Christmas Party blog post. You are all the best, and I am extremely appreciative!

By randon selection, the winner of Lori Whitlock's $25 gift certificate is Chrissie, who commented: This is such a great stocking stuffer idea - I love it!!! Thank you so much for such great inspriration!

And, the winner of Kerri Bradford's $25 gift certificate is Trisha, who commented: Your designs for these CD cases are so great. Love all your cutting.

Chrissie and Trisha, please send me an email at, with YOUR email address so I can get those gift certificates to YOU!

In other news, I have been working on an explosion box and my second ever video tutorial. Be sure to check back on Tuesday when I post my video! Untill Tuesday, here is a sneak peek of my box, made using the Birds of a Feather December KIT.

To see my blog posting on Birds of a Feather's site, click HERE.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Last Minute Gifts - CDs with Flair

If you are like me, you have relatives and friends who live in a different state (or maybe a different country). And when Christmas comes around, you want to send them something a little more meaningful than a card, but you don't want to go bankrupt paying for postage (not to mention standing in mile-long lines at the post office! Well, look no further! I have come up with a FANTASTIC solution! It's cute, it's easy, it's thoughtful, and best of all - it's a quick little project that you can get done in no time at all! What is it?

Well, I took boring cd cases and, using Lori Whitlock's CUTTING FILES
and Kerri Bradford's CUTTING FILES (and using Echo Park's Season's Greetings papers - designed by Lori Whitlock), I turned them into this:

My first cd contains some of my favorite Christmas carols that I am sending to an old friend who has been feeling a little blue.

Kerri Bradford's notebook paper diecut from her BECAUSE OF YOU Collectionwas just the thing I needed for my playlist.

And, of course, you can't have a Christmas carol cd without this adorable "fa la la" diecut from Kerri's THIS + THAT CHRISTMAS Collection!

My mother-in-law, who we only get to see a few times a year, has everything except...high-speed internet. She lives waaaay out in the country with a slooowwww dial-up connection. As a result, we don't often email pictures to her. So, a cd full of pictures is a gift I know she will enjoy.

I added pop-dots under the middle of the tag from Kerri's LABEL IT Collection to provide a little dimension. My little 11 year old "helper" insisted that the Merry & Bright letters from Kerri's THIS + THAT CHRISTMAS Collection needed to be outlined in white. Don't you think she did a great job?!?

Kerri's pocket from her BECAUSE OF YOU Collection and Lori's tag and snowflake diecuts from her CHRISTMAS SET 2 Collection look like they were meant to go together, don't they?

I plan to host a cookie exchange next weekend, and as a hostess gift, I am going to give out these embellished cd cases. The cds will contain the recipes of all the cookies that are being exchanged. Pretty neat, huh? And did I mention quick? And easy?


Every follower who leaves a comment between now and Saturday, December 10th, at 6:oo p.m., on my blog and any one of the following blogs (It is the season to spread love and cheer, after all) will be eligible for not one, but two drawings (chosen by! This first drawing will be for a $25 gift certificate to Lori Whitlock's STORE; and the second drawing will be for a $25 gift certificate to Kerri Bradford's STORE. So what are you waiting for??? Leave some love, see some more fantastic last-minute gift ideas, and maybe win a great prize!


Happy Christmas Crafting!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If you are like me your outside Christmas lights are still not completely up, your child just came home with a note saying she has to bring in 50 homemade cupcakes tomorrow, your cats have knocked half the ornaments off your tree, and your Christmas list is a mile long and seems to be growing every day!

Well, take a DEEP BREATHE and maybe pour yourself a glass of eggnog (spiking it is optional) because the design teams for LORI WHITLOCK and KERRI BRADFORD have put their heads together and have been coming up with some fabulous QUICK, easy-to-make and super CUTE last minute gift ideas.

Be sure to check out Lori's BLOG and Kerri's BLOG for those wonderful ideas and for a chance to win some $50 gift certificates to people that post their favorite last minute gift ideas. Those winners will be announced TOMORROW so take a few minutes to share your last-minute ideas.

I will be back tomorrow and will show you my own last minute Christmas gift idea - can't wait for you to see it. And, if you stop by tomorrow and leave me a comment, you will be entered into a random drawing to win a $25 gift certificate for Lori's store and ALSO a chance to win a $25 gift certificate from Kerri's store. That's right - you have two chances to win!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Birds of a Feather - Fall is Over, Winter is Here

I took very few pictures over Thanksgiving - probably because I was too busy cooking, eating or sleeping off a 1000+ calorie meal! Then I repeated the last two steps several more times over the course of the weekend. I did manage to snap this picture, though, of my oldest daughter and her guy, and I found a great Creative Scrappers SKETCH #184 which worked perfectly with the last bits of paper from my Birds of a Feather November Kit. After I finished this layout, I relegated my remaining scraps to their respective folders and officially declared my November Kit finished! I then immediately ripped open my December Kit and spent a significant amount of time oohing and aahing over everything!

I KNEW there was a reason I had not yet used my pictures from last year in layouts - it's because I was waiting for the right kit. Seriously. No, really. Really. Well, believe me, I found exactly the inspiration I needed with the December Kit! It's got banner pieces and parts (and you KNOW how much I love banners), journaling words, and bling and bling and more bling. And let's be honest here - I DO like my bling!

Here is my first layout:

A close-up of a little cluster of layered loveliness:

And my second layout:

Look at these fun journaling words!

And my filter flowers with blingy, sparkly accents all around...

I think I am next going to make some kind of mini with my December kit. I'm trying to find one I want to do using some repurposed item - such as a cd case or a paper bag album. Any ideas? What would YOU like to see???
I'll include a video tutorial if you help me come up with an idea.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Made an Altered Book (yes, I did)

Ta Da!!!!! Here it is, my very first altered book! I have been wanting to make one of these for awhile and finally took the plunge and got started a couple of weeks ago. The hardest part of this was actully finding a book I didn't like enough so that I wouldn't have minor heart failure when I began mutilating it! But, I did locate one that I never finished reading (which almost never happens) because it was THAT boring! So I figured it and I would be a lot happier if it were altered in such a way that I would actually get some enjoyment out of it - and use it as something other than a dust catcher.

The second hardest part was figuring out just HOW to cut out all those pages. Every tutorial I could find only had small niches being cut out or had all the pages taken out and a foam block inserted with the book pages glued around the edges - both great ideas but not what I was looking for.

First, I ended up glueing all my pages together. I did this by getting really thick binder clips and clipping the pages together tightly. I then brushed liberal amounts of an acrylic gel medium along the edges of the papers, which pretty effectively sealed them all together.

Once the pages were dry and firmly stuck together, I drew an outline of opening I wanted cut. Here is where I did cheat: I took the book out to my husband who was already working on a project in the garage. He did the next step, but they were easy, and you can do this part, too! With the back and front cover of the book bent away from the glued pages and clipped together. He drilled a starter hole in two opposite corners of the glued pages. He then used a SABER SAW to cut along the outline that I had drawn. A saber saw is a power tool, but you could also use a COPING SAW or KEYHOLE SAW, which are both manual saws. Believe me, the pages are just too thick to use an exacto knife so a saw of some type is the way to go! Once the middle was cut out, I did use my exacto knife to trim out little rough edges left behind and glued the inside portion of the cut pages the same way, by brushing a gel medium along the pages.

After everything was dried, I decorated the inside of my box simply by cutting out papers to fit and inking everything to "antique" it.

Once the inside was decorated, I started working on the outside. I added a border strip along the spine to imitate a book title:

I wanted texture and dimension on the top, so I brougt out my charms and big handmde fabric flowers.

I used glossy accents to hold all my metal items down.

I crackle painted and inked my chipboard letters:

And, of course, all my papers were from my BIRDS OF A FEATHER November Kit, which is one of my favorite, to date!!!

Now that my altered book is finished, I plan to display it on (where else?) one of my bookshelves. I think I will make a very small mini-album to fit inside it.

Are there any altered projects you would like to try or, even better, have tried? If so, feel free to leave me a comment with the link as I would LOVE to check them out and get more ideas for my own future projects!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Lori Whitlock Inspired Layout

First, I want to thank each and every one of you who stopped by to visit or leave a wonderful comment during the Lori Whitlock Christmas Blog Hop this past weekend. The Blog Hop was a huge success, and I can't express to you how much your comments meant to me! (I know, me, at a loss for words - must be the lack of coffee this morning!) Congratulations to Sue D, the winner of the $25 gift certificate to Lori's STORE! Now, on to the regularly scheduled programming...

I know you have seen quite a few projects using Lori's cutting files that are certainly crafty, but not exactly considered "traditional" scrapbooking. For instance, you can use her files to make GIFT BAGS, CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS and more! But I wanted to show that her files can definitely be used (and used a lot) for my very favorite thing - creating a scrapbook layout! I very seldom buy flowers or other packs of embellishments anymore, unless I find something (usually not in the scrapbooking section) that is out-of-the-ordinary. Why? Because I can use my Silhouette (and Lori's files) to make everything else: in exactly the color I want, in exactly the size I want, and exactly the number I want.

For this project, I used Lori's flowers and banner found in the Silhouette STORE as well as the following found in Lori's online STORE: FALL LEAF LACE, FALL LEAF FLOURISH, FALL SET, 12x12 BACKGROUND PACK 2, and THANKSGIVING TITLES. Papers were from my Birds of a Feather November Kit found HERE.

I simply added ink and a little crackle paint to give my paper shapes a little dimension so the end results ended up looking like this:

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving - full of food, family and friends, and maybe a little crafty fun added in! I will be back Friday with an altered book to share with you! See you then!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lori Whitlock Christmas Blog Hop

Happy Friday morning everyone! Lori and the rest of the team (including me) have a fantastic couple of days planned for you! Why? Because we have decided to kick off the holidays by having our very first Design Team Blog Hop. I am so glad you are joining in the celebration with us!

Now, if you are just joining in and want to hop along with us, you need to start at Lori's BLOG.

If you were just at Joy's WEBSITE before you came here, you are at the right place!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you know what that means, right? Well, yes, it does mean we have to get out our fat jeans with the elastic waist bands but, more importantly, it means that we need to get started on all those cute Christmas projects and gifts we said we were finally going to make this year. To help get you in the holiday mood, the rest of the Design Team and I have been busy working on some fun Christmas projects . And...

To help get you even MORE in the holiday mood... EVERYTHING IN LORI'S ONLINE SHOP IS 25% OFF THIS WEEKEND (now through Sunday)!
That's right, there is nothing like a good sale to help put you in the spirit of Christmas, right?!

But wait! That's not all!

Better than a ginsu knife, better than a light that turns on and off when you clap, Lori is giving away a $25 gift card to her online shop to one lucky winner. AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN THE PRIZE IS SIMPLY TO LEAVE A COMMENT AT EACH STOP ALONG THE BLOG HOP. Lori will choose the winner from everyone who leaves a comment at all seven stops along the way and then post the winner on her blog on Sunday. It doesn't get much easier than that.

And as an extra special thank-you for stopping by to say hi, Lori has designed a gift tag set that will definitely come in handy over the holidays.
She's going to be selling the entire set soon. But - right now you can pick one up FOR FREE at each stop along the way. So, be sure to visit each blog and grab the free SVG/DXF tag. You can download my tag HERE!

Now, want to see what I've made using Lori's wonderful cutting files that I got from her online store (as well as from the Silhouette Store)?

You know I have been on a mini-album kick lately. I think it's because I just recently started making them, and I feel like I have a lot of lost time to make up for!!! No, seriously, they fascinate me - plain and simple. And cutting files (like Lori's) are PERFECT for decorating and embellishing them. In fact, I even used one of Lori's mini-album cutting files to make the actual album. See?
Those adorable stockings are from her Christmas Set 2, and she has lots of wonderful Christmas PHRASES as well.
On the inside of my cover, I simply made a small tag holder and then layered a small card on top. Both are great for squeezing in extra journaling or one more picture.

I used the tree from Christmas Set 2 on this page:
...and the snowflake from the same set that I cut in two and placed behind two corners of my photo:

Here, the flower and the frame are two of Lori's files sold at the Silhouette store. (Check out the journaling pocket and card behind the photo)

Using another snowflake, this time as a larger background shape:

And look at these cute little library pocket card holders.
Sure you can use them to hold things like gift cards. But I prefer to use mine in my album to hold extra tags with photos and journaling.

Last two pages. Don't you just love that banner? Lori designed it, of course.

And that's it! I hope you have enjoyed looking at my mini-album as much as I have enjoyed making it.

Now, just one more stop at Tamara's BLOG and then it will be time for YOU to start your own crafty project! Have a great weekend!!!