Happy Friday!! To wrap up the week of favorite posts, I thought I would feature Bob's Christmas Cottage. This is definitely an all-time favorite. The attention to detail is amazing.
If you think it looks impressive wait until you hear how he made it. He started with ordinary 12x12 chipboard , cut out a design, hot glued it together, and painted it with white acrylic paint. Next, he hot glued the shingles, which are Rips candy, to the roof. He whipped up royal icing to use as mortar for the peppermints that he used as stones for the foundation and chimney. He also piped icing on the porch roof and ground to simulate snow. He made sugar glass window panes by melting sugar and pouring it out into sheets. He used Twizzlers to tie tiny little bows on peppermint wreaths, and to outline the roof.
I know, isn't he awesome?!?
And, just a little more eye candy. Here's one of my favorite Christmas mini albums that I created for a Ustream class last year.
Keeping with the family friendly ornament theme this week, we made this beautiful, simple little ornament that also smells wonderful. They, along with the glittered pinecones we made earlier in the week, give our tree a fabulous "nature" feel.
To make, just preheat your oven to 225 degrees (F), and cut 2-3 oranges into approximately 1/4" slices. Place on a wire cooling rack (not a baking sheet because they will stick!), and bake in the oven for approximately 2 hours or until mostly dry. Check them after about 1- 1 1/2 hour (and turn -optional). Cool, and tie with elastic cord to hang.
Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
Hey Guys! Today I wanted to share with you one of our super popular Christmas posts from last year. I made these little folded ornaments for my tree, and had no idea how much everyone would enjoy them. I even did a how-to video. Here ya go!
*****THIS IS A 2011 VIDEO, SO THE GIVEAWAY MENTIONED IS OVER, SORRY*****
This video was originally recorded & can also be found on Ustream
Here is a new ornament that's been rattling around in my head since I first saw Pink Paislee's City Sidewalks collection. I was very excited to make them.
Hi Everyone! Welcome back to day 2 of our week of favorite Christmas posts, and tutorials. Today I have 2 of my favorite posts, and a new little ornament tutorial that the whole family will enjoy! It's super easy, inexpensive, and loads of fun!
Let's start with our favorite posts...
Favorite Christmas Post - Glass Dome Ornament
Supplies Used: Melissa Frances Glass Dome Ornament, Prima Sparrow Cradle, Father Christmas rub-ons, chandelier drops, seambinding, hot glue gun, Maya Road satin pleat ribbon green, silver foil cardstock, and tinsel.
I started by adding rub-ons to the glass dome. I used the Santa inside, and the words "Jingle Bells" on the outside. This gives a very cool effect! Since I was working on a curved surface, I Scotch taped the rub-on in place to keep it from moving. Don't place tape over the image as it will make it more difficult to rub off. Also, don't place any images too far inside, as it will be difficult to get the rub-on tool all the way inside the dome. It takes a little work to get the rub-on transferred, but it's well worth it.
The bottom of the dome is chipboard. I traced the top glass dome onto silver cardstock, cut out, and glued to the center of the bottom piece of chipboard. I glued the bird's nest in the center, pleated ribbon to the outside of the nest, and the bottom to the glass dome. I added tinsel to the bottom, and a bow with a chandelier drop to the top.
Favorite Christmas Post - Cottage Ornament
This adorable little chipboard Cottage Ornament comes naked, flat, and easy to assemble and decorate. I painted the entire house with white acrylic paint, hot glued the window and door lattice in place, glued mirrored silver cardstock behind them, and then hot glued the house, base, and roof together. I hot glued the ornament hanger in place, and covered the roof in more silver cardstock. I then decorated with tinsel, seambinding, and a mini holly leaf.
And now for our kid friendly, easy Christmas ornament the whole family will love-
I love creating intricate ornaments that require painting, precision cutting, folding, and fabulous techniques. However, the last couple of years I've been doing more and more ornaments that I can do with the girls. Our family loves to gather around the kitchen table, and get out the Elmer's glue, safety scissors, construction paper, and glitter and go to town for hours! It's great family time, and everyone can't help but join in the fun. Here's a super simple pinecone ornament that looks stunning at night glittering in the lights of the tree. Maddie, 6, and Lily, 5, made dozens of these this year.
We gathered pinecones from our back yard, and made hangers out of gold elastic cord by wrapping the cord around the top of the cone, tying a snug knot at the top, then tying the very ends of the cord to form a hanger.
Paint the tips of the pinecone with Elmer's glue. It seems to work best doing 1/2 the pinecone at a time. Sprinkle with glitter, and gentle tap off excess.
You can hang them on the tree to dry. So easy, and fun!!
Hello Everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I know many of you have been finishing up your Christmas shopping and preparing for Saint Nick! I cannot believe that he'll be coming down the chimney in a little over 2 weeks! We finally got our Christmas tree up, and are slowly decorating it. I thought this week might be a great time to share some of my favorite Christmas posts, and ornament tutorials.
Before I share my first favorite Christmas post of a little Melissa Frances Farmhouse ornament, I thought I would share some pics of our family tree hunting adventure. We took the girls for a little drive in the country to get a Christmas tree last weekend. We had such a wonderful time, and created memories that will last a lifetime, I'm sure! J and J Treeland in Prospect had the best selection of trees I have seen in years (despite the drought). The girls had a wonderful time running through the fields and inspecting each and EVERY tree :) Here are some photos of our adventures:
As promised last week, I'm going to be featuring some of my favorite Christmas projects from years past, and have some great ornament tutorials for you. Here's the first one up from December 2011.It's a Melissa Frances Farm House Ornament that I covered in paper.
Supplies Used: Melissa Frances Farm House Ornament, Stickles, Precision File Set, hot glue gun, off-white acrylic paint, Bottle Brush Trees, paper, Petite Tinsel Green, Glossy Accents, and roses.
Here are the easy steps to creating this little guy. (The farm house ornament comes flat. )
Hi Guys! Today is the last day of our week of Graphic 45 projects with Nikki, and the last day to enter our $50 gift certificate giveaway. First, I want to give a big thank you to Nikki Brown, our guest artist this week, for all of her projects she shared here on the blog. It's been great fun, and I know she appreciates all of the wonderful comments. I didn't want the fun to end, so next week I am doing a week of my favorite Christmas projects, and ornament tutorials. Some of the tutorials are by Bob, so be sure to come back! He's a pretty crafty guy, as you may already know!
Tonight I will be announcing the winner of our $50 gift cerfticate giveway to www.melissasamuels.net here on the blog. That means you still have today to enter. Just leave a comment on this post, and you'll be entered into our giveaway! For more chances to win, also comment on previous posts this week.
Thank you guys sooooo very much for taking the time to leave such sweet comments this week on the blog!! I appreciate each and every one! Now, it's time to pick a winner of the $50 gift certificate. Drum roll, please...
Richard "Mister Cardmaker"
Posted by: Richard |
Congratulations, Richard!! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your certificate!
Here it is the last project by Nikki. It's a beautiful altered jewelry box she decorated using Graphic 45's A Ladies Diary. I adore altered boxes, and this one is not only gorgeous, but has a practical use of housing jewelry. Nikki transformed a plain wooden jewelry box into this fantastic work of art. If you can't find a jewelry box, a cigar box would be perfect for this project. Most cigar shops sell them for a couple of dollars.
Nikki has done it again!! Isn't this canvas just exquisite? I love all of the details. It was created from Graphic 45's A Ladies Diary collection, which happens to be 30% off in our store this week. Check out our newsletter (click here) for this and other great deals!!! Ends 12/10.
Don't forget that we are doing our $50 gift certificate giveaway this week. Each time you make a comment on this week's daily posts, you will be entered into our giveaway (limit 1 comment per day per post). A winner will be announced Friday evening!
Be sure to come back tomorrow for a final post from our guest artist Nikki Brown!
Hey Guys! Nikki Brown from over at Cardstock-a-holic has another beautiful project for us today! She made this gorgeous tray that would be the perfect holiday decoration or gift using Graphic 45's Nutcracker Sweet collection. She stamped, embossed, and inked the images onto white cardstock to create this wonderful work of art.
Don't forget that we are doing our $50 gift certificate giveaway this week. Each time you make a comment on this week's daily posts, you will be entered into our giveaway (limit 1 comment per day per post). A winner will be announced Friday evening!
Nikki used Nutcracker Sweet stamps, white paper, embossing powder, distress inks, markers,
stickles, tulle ribbon, and pink flowers.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back tomorrow to see the next great project by Nikki, and leave a comment to be entered into our giveaway!
Hi Everyone! This week I have a wonderful treat for you! I have guest artist Nikki Brown from over at Cardstock-a-holic in the house!! She has several projects featuring Graphic 45 to share with you guys! And, if that wasn't treat enough, I'm also going to be doing a giveaway! All you have to do is come back each day and comment on the day's post to be entered. Every time you comment (limit 1 per day) you'll be entered, it's that easy! On Friday a winner will be picked! The prize is a $50 gift cerfticate to www.melissasamuels.net. That will go a long way to putting some Graphic 45 goodness under your Christmas tree!!
So, without further ado, let's get to know Nikki!
Hi there! My name is Nikki. I am lucky enough to be married to my best friend ♥(who loves to build storage for my scraproom!!!) and together we have two terrific daughters and a crazy cockerspaniel. I still consider myself a "newbie" when it comes to the wonderful world of scrapbooking. I am addicted to paper, sprays, inks and especially anything I can alter! I truly believe each page needs to weigh 5lbs to even be considered finished!
First up this week we have a Little Darlings Portfolio and Card. It's created from Graphic 45's precious collection, Little Darlings. It's beautifully decorated, and has lots of pockets for storing photos or journaling.
Nikki made this adorable matching card from the scraps. What a great use of leftovers!
Thank you guys for stopping by today, and I do hope you'll come back tomorrow! Don't forget to leave a comment to show Nikki some love, and be entered into our Friday giveaway!!!
Hi Everyone! I can't believe it's Wednesday/Hump Day already! Where did the week go?! With work and school pick-up and drop-offs it all seems like a blur. I'm sure you can relate.
I thought I'd keep things going this week with another flower embellishment tutorial. I have to admit, and you guys probably already know this about me, I'm completely addicted to flowers...fabric, paper, ribbon, you name it!! I can't make enough! I think part of the appeal is how versatile they are. You can use them on a card, layout, mini, gift wrap, and the list goes on.
Here's a cute little pompom flower I made to use on a card. Of course, you could easily adjust the size of the ribbon to use on a mini album or layout.
Pick an assortment of ribbons with lots of different textures. I used lace, burlap ribbon, and even strips of fabric such as muslin and eyelet. I even used a sheet of cheesecloth. Cut into strips approximately 3 1/2-4" long and 1/2" wide. Play around with the size to adjust for the particular project you are working on.
Tie the middle of the sandwich with string or twine. Separate and spread the strips out until it looks like a pompom flower. Trim up any strays, if needed. I tied a sparkly button to the center of my flower, but you could also use a bling center, flower, brad, or regular button.
And...just for fun...
Hey Guys!! I had some leftover Graphic 45 A Ladies Diary paper scraps on my desk from Friday's chipboard binder album. If you missed Friday's blog post check it out here. I couldn't bear to throw the scraps away, so I thought I'd make a card out of it. I ran across a scrap piece of my favorite Webster's Pages lace ribbon, so the wheels started turning. I had to use it, but didn't want to simply glue it onto my card. Then it occurred to me that it would make the most awesome ribbon flower like the fabric ones I made a couple years back (video tutorial can be found here). I loved how it turned out, so I thought I'd share the love, and do a little tutorial.
The card is made from kraft cardstock, Graphic 45 A Ladies Diary paper, Prima Flowers Tasha Teal, Webster's Pages Taupe Trim, Webster's Pages Polka Lace Trim, shipping tag, Ranger Distress Ink Tea Dye, and 8.5x11 Scor-Tape Sheet
Quick and easy, perfect for a card, mini, or layout. Using the off-white ribbon also gives the versatility of Glimmer misting it any color if you like. I hope you enjoy!!
And, just for fun, this weekend we had the Samuels version of Cupcake Wars, one of Maddie and Lily's favorite television shows. We teamed up Maddie and Bob versus Lily and me. Of course, Chris had to be the judge, which she found very awkward at first, but quickly enjoyed critiquing each cupcake (and eating them!). We made a low-fat chocolate devil's food cupcake by replacing the oil in the recipe with applesauce. We split the batter, and each team was allowed to add anything to the cupcake from the pantry, and decorate however we liked. Each team made 3 different types of cupcakes and each cupcake was scored on appearance and taste.
It was a close race, but our team won by only 4 points with a score of 53/60!!! Woot!! It was great family fun, and the girls have cupcakes to eat all week as a treat!
Happy Friday Everyone!!! Hope you're winding up a wonderful week, and enjoy a relaxing weekend ahead. It has been a great week here. Bob and I started our ballroom dancing lessons. So far, so good! No one has any broken toes or bruised shins...YET! The first class was a lot of fun, and we are both looking forward to doing something just for us every week. Of course, doing ballroom dance has inspired a little mini book. It will be nice to document our progress over the next 6 months. So here it is...
I used Graphic 45 A Ladies Dairy collection for the paper, Maya Road Half Circle chipboard binder, Webster's Pages Princess Petals for that stunning little coral tulle flower, Webster's Pages netting (my favorite lace), Prima flowers and Say It In Crystals, and Pink Paislee Mistables ribbon for the fabric trim around the edge.
And, if my week wasn't already fabulous enough, yesterday (Thursday) was my Farm Table box delivery. Every week I recieve a hand-delivered yummy yummy box of fresh produce from local farmers. It's a wonderful service that helps support local farmers, and helps us eat healthy. If you're in the tri-cities area you might be interested. The website is here www.farmtable.org.
I don't know about you guys, but I ALWAYS have about a 1/2 dozen projects going at once in the studio. I'll start something, and then another great idea will occur to me, then off I go to the next project. Or, when a new collection comes in that I'm completely swooning over, I drop everything to make something out of it.
I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse at what's in progress on my desktop at the moment.
This was one of those stress relieving breaks. I started it as a card, but now I'm thinking I may turn it into a little book. I may cut about 4 or 5 more sheets of paper, folded, and glue them together into a journal. I LOVE to just experiment...no clear plan...no set rules....just fun!
I have to tell you that my little card, book, journal, thingy was inspired by my breakfast. Yep, breakfast. I used to skip breakfast all the time, and by the middle of the day I would always be starving. Quite often, even though I was hungry, I would be so busy I would skip lunch. After not eating all day, I'd have a giant smorgasbord of high calorie, high fat foods for dinner. Now, no matter how busy I get I almost always eat something.
One of my favorite quick and easy breakfasts is 1/2 cup (measured) non-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, unsweetened coconut, and sometimes 1 tablespoon of granola. There's no cooking involved, so I can eat and be out the door. It's a great start to the day, and by lunch I'm not starving so I don't overeat.
Not only is it satisfying and healthy, it's very pretty. Yellow=Yum, Yum!! Hence my little project.
Speaking of yellow, it happens to be Lily's FAVORITE color (followed closely by pink). So, it only seemed natural to include some of her work. (FYI, Lily is my 4 year-old daughter) Her most prized possession is her rainbow bear she got at Build-A-Bear Workshop. She drew the most precious picture of her bear, and Maddie's bear, Teddy, getting married.
Okay, so next time you're having a meal, think of all of the art possibilities!
First off, I'd like to say thank you, thank you, thank you so much to everyone who responded so positively to my blog post last week. I appreciate all of the emails, comments, and Facebook messages of encouragement.
As promised last week, I have more to share with you about my life change, as I like to call it. This is quite embarrassing, so I'm going to treat it like pulling off a bandaid. I'm going to close my eyes, and do it quickly in hopes that it hurts less. Let me start by saying I've ALWAYS been very thin, and the picture of health. Occasionally, I would go on whatever the latest fad diet was to lose those 5 vanity pounds (that I usually put on over the winter holidays) so I could fit into my size 6 jeans comfortably, but I never really "had" to go on a diet. The picture below on the left is from August 2011. Bob and I took a trip to the Homestead for our 20th anniversary. When I saw that picture I cringed. I completely didn't recognize myself. I felt as though I was looking at pictures of a stranger. The picture on the right is of a trip we took to Washington D.C. March of this year for my birthday. You may recognize it from a previous blog post (with some creative cropping). What I didn't mention is that I almost passed out when we were there walking around. We had walked all day, I had just started a new medication a few days before, and that afternoon I almost blacked out. I was sweating profusely, felt clammy, and experiencing tunnel vision. I had to lay (I was past sitting) on the Mall lawn to recover enough to make it to the subway. I was so disgusted with myself. It was the first time I experienced being held back because of my weight and my health. That was my lowest point.
About 1 month later, and down only 1 pound Lily took the picture below at Easter. I was running around the yard with the kids trying to fly a kite. I was out of breathe after only a few minutes, and again disgusted with myself. Lily grabbed the camera when I wasn't looking, and snapped some very unflattering shots. When I look at that pic, I think of how tired I looked and was...ALL the time.
By this time I knew I needed a change, but obviously what I was doing wasn't working. A couple weeks later, I somehow came across a WeighWatchers ad with Jennifer Hudson in it, and was impressed. I vaguely remembered my mom being on a WW's diet when I was a kid, but that's about all I knew of the plan. I had a couple of friends over the years mention the name WW, and only had good things to say. I was feeling a little desperate because by this time my blood pressure was out of control (over 172/114), I was having headaches, my hair was falling out, side effects from my BP meds included depression, flushing, more headaches, etc. You get the idea. With nothing to lose (except some extra me), I signed up. Just to clarify, I'm in no way associated or affiliated with WeightWatchers, and this post is not intended to be advice, just my story. It's been just under 5 months, and I've lost 26 pounds!!! WeightWatchers forced me to be accountable for every single thing I put in my mouth. Every day you are allotted points, and each food is assigned a value of points. You have to record EVERYTHING you eat and calculate the amount of points you've used each day. Needless to say, you don't get a ton of points so you try to make each one count with things like fresh fruits and veggies. After 2 weeks of feeling like I was starving, I thought I NEED more points!!! Well, you can earn more points for exercising, duh! I realized in order to not feel deprived I had to exercise. At first, I would swap exercise points for a treat, like a cookie or brownie (just one!), but then it was like a game of seeing how many points I could accumulate from excerise. It's very encouraging that you start over each week with points. If you blow it on dinner out over the weekend, you just try to do better the following week, but that also means you have to keep accumulating those exercise points.
WeightWatchers has been the catalysis for all of the positive, healthy changes in my life. I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (organic preferrably), more chicken and less red meat, I understand the importance of portion control (I swear I can eat anything in moderation!), and I have become more active. I hate to excercise (like going to a gym if I can avoid it), so I hike, bike, mountain climb, camp, play tennis, dance, and any other fun activity I can find!
This is the vacation Bob and I took this year at the end of July. We biked for about 21 miles on the beach, and enjoyed being outdoors. I did some bodyboarding for the first time ever! So much fun!
This was taken last weekend while at the park with the kids. I have another 5-10 pounds I'd like to lose, but today I choose to focus on how far I've come and how great I feel. My blood pressure is normal, I'm not falling-down tired ALL the time (just the normal amount of tired), my hair is growing back, my mood has changed, and I can do the things I want. I'm learning to deal with stress, I'm making better food choices, and I exercise regularly (doing fun stuff!).
I think back to how unhealthy I felt earlier this year, and I never want to go back to that. I guess I'm sharing this very personal story with you because I was in dispair, but there is hope. I know I am not alone, and if my story can help encourage you to live a happier, healthier life then my brief moment of embarrassing photos has purpose.
Finally, I'd like to say I have a few more reasons to live healthy...
This summer has been a very "interesting" time in my life. Early in the spring I had some health issues that prompted me to take a step back and make some big changes in my life. I wanted to improve my overall health, so I made some very serious lifestyle changes. I know that sounds very cliche, but it's very true. I don't want to use the word diet, because diet, in my mind, suggests temporary change in order to acheive a set goal, but rather I've changed what I eat, my attitude toward food, and started exercising. It's been a very interesting journey, with lots of struggles along the way, but I have decided I am worth it and I owe it to myself, and my family, to live the healthiest and happiest life I possibly can.
For quite some time I've been struggling with whether or not to share all of this with you guys, because while it's been a very positive change, it's also been very difficult and not always happy and fun. It's also a very personal issue. After much consideration, I have decided to share this journey, good, bad, or indifferent, with you. If my story can have a positive impact on just one person's life, it will be completely worth it.
Over the coming weeks, I will talk more about where I started, and how far I've come. I'll share with you how I've lost 25 pounds, the day to day changes I've made, recipes, and the adventures I've had over the summer. I'll also share with you an "incentive book" I'm creating to keep myself on track. I never want to go back!! So much to share!!!
For now, I will leave you with this fantastic quote that inspired a card I made for myself. I know, making something for myself! What a concept! I'm planning on putting it in my incentive book.
"Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present." -Bil Keane
(Papers used are from Prima's Almanac collection)