Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Celebrate 4th of July!

This week's challenge over at Heart2Heart Challenges is a color challenge.  The suggested colors are Barn Red, Bamboo, and our choice of blue.  Since 4th of July is right around the corner, and I could use something fun for my home decor, I decided to make this cute little box. 

Can you believe this box is made out of drink coasters????  Read on to find out how........

A while back, I picked up some of these coasters at Michaels.  Didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I knew I would figure it out!  :-)  There are 8 in a pack, and they were on sale for $1/pack.  They measure 4x4, so I just took some cardstock, trimmed it to 4x4, decorated it, and adhered it to the top of the coaster with Liquid Glass (this is seriously the best adhesive ever!). Liquid Glass dries dimensionally, so make sure you have smoothed it out before adhering your cardstock, otherwise you'll have little bumps underneath your paper.  I like to use a sponge paintbrush to smooth it out, making sure the glue goes completely to the edges.  Once the cardstock was glued on, I cut off the edges that were hanging over the corners, then used my awesome sanding block to  smooth out the rest of the edges.  I could have inked the edges, but I kind of liked the contrast of the white core.  :-0) 

I then used my Crop-a-Dile to punch holes in the sides.  It took me a few time to figure out how to thread the ribbon so that the bow ended up on the outside, but I finally realized that if I worked it like shoelaces, I could get it.  Once all 4 sides were laced together, I used a 5th coaster for the bottom of the box.  Again, I used Liquid Glass as my glue.  I turned the whole thing upside down, applied Liqud Glass to the bottom of each coaster, and centered the 5th coaster on top of the other 4.  I put a book on top of it, and let it sit for a few minutes, just to make sure everything was adhered securely.

I cut out the circles with my Cricut (I think they are 3"), then stamped them using Cranberry ink, for a tone-on-tone look.  The stars are chipboard.  Now, Close To My Heart sells Dimensional Elements Stars that would have been ideal for this project, but I had used all but one of mine for another project.  At first, I thought I was out of luck, but then I came up with a way to work it out.  Did you know that CTMH sells plain chipboard?? 

 It comes in sheets that are 9" x 12", and they are the same weight/thickness of the Dimensional Elements.  I grabbed some of that, traced the star that I had left over, and cut it out.   Yay!  I covered the stars with Bamboo cardstock, sanded them down, then stamped the letters on with Outdoor Denim ink and the new Polka-Dot alphabet stamps.  The stars were then glued to the top of the circles.

I had extra plant stakes left over from my flower box class in April, so I used those to adhere the toppers to.  Originally I thought I was going to use the Create-A-Shade paint with some reinker, and paint the stakes, but I didn't have any Outdoor Denim reinker.  Now, I have enough of those little bottles of craft paint from other projects that I probably could have come up with something that looked OK, but I hate it when things don't match! I wondered what would happen if I just inked up the stakes with my ink pad.  Using a dauber, I sponged each stake with the ink, and it worked perfectly!  Perfectly matched, that is!  I then simply hot-glued the stakes to the back of the circles with the words.

I cut up some flower foam, and put it in the box, then arranged the stakes how I wanted them.  Added a little homemade shred (ran some Colonial White through my crimper, then used the Martha Stewart shredding scissors to cut it all up).  All done!  As I'm posting these pictures, it's looking a little blah to me, so I think I will probably go back and add some bling to the coasters, and some ribbon or buttons or some other embellishments to the circles.  But for right now, it looks pretty stinkin' cute sitting on the fireplace mantle in my living room!  :-) 

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting creative with Trees & Things

OK, so I'm a pretty seasoned stamper, and there's not much that I haven't tried with my stamps, but I love that Close To My Heart is constantly presenting new ideas.....why don't you give these techniques a try yourself??  Give me a call, or head on over to my website to get this stamp set for yourself.  :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm so excited!!!

My favorite email by far last week started out with these words "....Congratulations – I would like to extend an invitation to you to become a member of the Heart 2 Heart Challenges Design Team......"  WOW!!!!  I was absolutely blown away!!   Heart2Heart Challenges is a blog run by another Close To My Heart consultant, and each week a different challenge is posted, and people are invited to play along.  Click on the badge in the left sidebar to go straight to the blog.  The challenge is open to anyone, not just CTMH consultants.  I encourage you to play!!

When I saw that the term for the current design team was expiring, and they were accepting applications for new DT members, I decided to go ahead and apply.  I really was just doing it for the experience, you know, kind of like when you apply for a job, knowing you're not qualified enough for the position....NEVER in a million years did I dream that I would actually be asked to join the Design Team!!!  So I was absolutely beyond shocked when I received the invitation email last week.  After blowing out my mom's eardrum screaming (I was talking to her on the phone when the email came in), and then having a small panic attack about the quality of my work (have you SEEN what phenomenal projects  the current design team comes up with??), I emailed back and gladly accepted the position.  I will be part of the team through the end of the year, and just can't believe what an honor is it.  I'm putting links to the other DT members in my sidebar....please visit their blogs and leave them some love!  I can't wait to get to know these ladies!

The next 6 months are going to be scary, challenging, and exciting.  I am so critical of my own work most of the time, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to be pushed to my creative limits.  The reason I love challenges is because they force me to think outside the box, and spark ideas I never would have come up with on my own.  And it's fun to see how others interpret the same ideas.  So bookmark the blog, and come join me on this new adventure!!  See you at Heart2Heart!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Heart2Heart challenge, and Mojo Monday

This week's challenge at Heart2Heart was to pick a row on the Bingo card, and use the embellishments in that row.

 I chose the "ribbon-border punch-brads" row.  I was excited to get some ink on my "Neighborhood" stamp set, which had not yet seen the light of day.  Love when I get an excuse to break out some stamps I've never used!  Makes me feel like less of a hoarder.  :-)

Mojo Monday's sketch was pretty simple this week, but I love all the different takes on it! Here is the sketch:

And my design:

Thanks for looking!

Materials used (all products CTMH, unless otherwise noted):

paper: Vineyard Berry cs, Colonial White cs, Wings level 2 paper pack
ink: Black, Vineyard Berry, Sweet Leaf
stamps: Chairs to You (May SOTM); Neighborhood
embellishments: Wings level 2 ribbon, Black brads
other: Cricut (to cut the ovals), Martha Stewart border punch, Martha Stewart butterfly punch

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Have you received your FREE Studio J jpeg yet??????

For the month of June, Close To My Heart has been offering a Free jpeg from Studio J.  I think most of you know by now what Studio J is, but many of you may not know just how FUN it is to use!!!!!  I admit, I had to be pulled kicking and screaming into the realm of digital scrapbooking, but once I was educated on how easy it is to use, I discovered that it really is a lot of fun!!!  I can be just as creative making my pages as I can with traditional scrapbooking.  Here are some of the benefits I've found to using Studio J to make my scrapbooks pages:

1).  My absolute-hands-down-favorite reason is that you can change the color of your papers, EVEN the patterned paper!!!  This means that I can match colors to whatever pictures I have, using the papers I love. 

2.) You never run out of embellishments in the middle of a project.  Just click the little button, and you've got what you need!  You can also change the color of the embellishments.

3.) Pictures can be edited in Studio J....enlarge them, crop them, make them black & white, or sepia.  No more printing pictures, only to find you want a different size.

4.) It's sooooo easy to journal (something I often neglect to go back and finish in my 3-D layouts....).  Just add the journal box, pick your font, and you're done!

5.)  It's portable.  Bring your laptop anywhere there is Wi-Fi, and you're good to go!  Imagine sitting on your porch, enjoying the morning air, and a cup of java, while working on your scrapbooks......ahhhh......

6.)  NO MESS to clean up!  (This one would run a close second to my favorite benefit!).

7.)  Members can purchase the layout in JPEG form, meaning it can uploaded to blogs, Facebook, sent by email, or even printed in a size other than 12x12.

8.) Close To My Heart prints the layouts with fantastic quality.  In fact, it is often hard to spot the difference between a Studio J layout, and a regular layout in an album, unless you are right up close to it. 

Here is what I created this month, using my FREE jpeg.  I love, love, love the fact that this layout was DONE less than 3 days after the event.  That NEVER happens when I do a traditional scrapbook page.  :-)  For privacy issues, I've blurred out some information on the layout.  Just wanted you to know it looks that way on purpose!    :-)  The layout is on a Colonial White base, so I apologize that it blends in to the background here.....

If you'd like to play around with Studio J, it is always free to try it.  Just go to my website, click on Studio J, and either enter as a guest, or create a free account.  You can create your page, and download the JPEG for free until June 30th.  Contact me if you'd like a free tutoring session.  I can't wait to show you all the tricks of the trade!!  :-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paper flowers and hot glue to the rescue!!

Last week, my beautiful baby girl attended her school's 5th grade promotion ceremony.  Now, I think it is a bit ridiculous to have a "graduation" at the 5th grade, but it is a big deal at the school, and all the students look forward to it.  Two hours before the ceremony, Allie asked me if we could get a new headband to match her new dress.  She wanted a style that is all the rage right know, the one with the big, HUGE flower on the side?  While I understood her desire to accessorize,  I said no, for two reasons...1.) I didn't want to spend the money, because I know she'd never wear it again, and 2.) We didn't have the time to run in to Target, get back home, and still have time to eat dinner.  I asked her if I could try to make one for her, and bless her little soul, she said sure. So I pulled out my handy-dandy CTMH paper flowers, a sponge, and my black ink pad, and went to work. 

I started with 4 Just Blooms White Daisy paper flowers (I know, I know, the picture only shows 2... ). I love these flowers, because they can be inked, sprayed, stamped on, and whatever else you can think of to do to paper. 

I inked up the flowers with regular ole Black ink.  I didn't worry too much about the middle of two of them, because I knew that part would be covered.

I layered them together, and stuck a pearl brad from Creative Imaginations through the center. I used the prongs of the brad to wrap the flower around a headband we already had, and used a hot glue gun to make sure it stayed put.

Here is the finished product.  Allie was very happy with it, and I think I probably saved myself about $12 bucks!  Even better, the whole thing probably took me less than 5 minutes.  I think it took longer to heat up the glue gun than it did to put the flower togther.

And here's a picture of my baby girl.  Can't believe she'll be a middle-schooler next year! 

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mojo Monday challenge 194

Here is the sketch for this week's Mojo Monday challenge:

And here is my submission.  This card worked perfectly for the teacher Thank You cards I needed to make.  Click the picture, to enlarge it, and look at the cute little pencil borders.  :-)

Once again, I had to use non-CTMH stamps...I'm noticing some glaring omissions in my stamp sets! 

Thanks for looking!!

Materials used (all products CTMH, unless otherwise noted):
-paper:  Indian Corn Blue cardstock, Cranberry cardstock, Colonial White cardstock, Zippidee B&T paper
-ink:  Black ink, Copic markers
-embellishments:  red buttons from the Red Assortment
-tools:  Nestabilities die, Fiskars border punch
-letter: Making Memories

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heart2Heart challenge

Here is my submission for this week's Heart2Heart challenge.  This week's challenge was to create your own background paper, using stamps and ink, then use that paper to make a Father's Day card.  I already had one card made for my Dad, but still needed to make a card for my DH, so this was the perfect kick in the butt to get it done.  :-)

(Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

For my background paper, I used Sunsest cardstock, and stamped images from last year's June Stamp of the Month... Wonderful Friend.  I used Sunset ink, and stamped the argyle pattern over the Sunset cardstock, resulting in a subtle, but defined pattern.  I then used a strip of Colonial White cardstock, and stamped the same argyle pattern with Versamark ink.  Using clear detail embossing powder, I heat embossed the image.  I think heat embossing is one of my very favorite techniques...I just love watching that powder melt (yes, I am easily amused)!  :-)  After the image was embossed, I used a sponge to sponge on Sunset, Olive and Outdoor Denim inks, one at at time, right next to each other.  The embossing resists the ink, and reveals the Colonial White color underneath.  So cool!  I attached some hemp around the Sunset cardstock, then adhered the Colonial White strip on top of that.

Next, I heat embossed the sentiments, again using Colonial White cardstock, Versamark, and clear detail powder.  I inked them up with Outdoor Denim ink, cut them out, and adhered them to the card.

Added some Olive buttons, with hemp, and Voila!!  Card done!

Thanks for looking!

Materials list (all products are CTMH, unless otherwise noted):
-papers:  Lucky, Colonial White, Sunset
-stamps:  Wonderful Friend
-inks: Sunset, Outdoor Denim, Olive, Versamark
-embellishments: Olive buttons (from the Green Assortment, I believe); hemp; clear detail powder

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Acrylix Dreams Come True stamp set

I absolutely love this stamp set!  It's so versatile.  And I just may have to make one of those banners.....hmmmmm.......

Monday, June 13, 2011

Get Well Soon!!

One of my good friends (and my upline!) Traci Pasqualone was very sick last week, down with a sinus infection. When I was talking with her on the phone, she just sounded like she was absolutely miserable, so I thought I'd bring her a little care package, and hopefully cheer her up some. The idea is not a Michelle-original....I first saw it here, on Lorrinda Holman's blog ( I LOVE her work!!). What a cute idea! Think I'll make up a few more, just to have on hand. Traci, I hope you're feeling better!! :-)

The stamps I used are not Close To My Heart. Unbelieveably, I don't have any CTMH "Get Well Soon" stamps yet! I need to rectify that situation soon! :-) The images were colored with Copic markers, and I used a Martha Stewart border punch for the front. The papers were all CTMH, including Tulip cardstock, and Cherry-O B&T papers. I used a SU Sizzix die for the front label.

Thanks for looking!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mojo Monday challenge

I love the sketches at Mojo Monday, and many of the cards I've made in the past few weeks have originated with these sketches.  Here is my submission for the week.  It is based on this original sketch:

And here is what I made.  I was able to use up some of the scraps from my You and Me kit (which you can see here).

Thanks for looking!!

Materials list: (all supplies are CTMH, unless otherwise noted)
-Smoothie cardstock
-Colonial White cardstock
-You & Me B&T paper
-A Little Thanks stamp set
-Chocolate ink
-Chocolate grosgrain ribbon
-Colonial White brad

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy birthday, baby girl!!

So as I said in a recent post, our May/June is jammed with celebrations.  Today is my daughter's turn, as she turns 11 years old.  It's so bittersweet for me, as she's my youngest, and I think it's even harder watching her grow up, knowing there's no more kids behind her.  No more sippy cups, no more blankies, no more night lights, no more Brownies, no more elementary school.  But she's growing up to be such a wonderful young woman, it's making those "no mores" easier to accept.  We're so proud of her, and are eager to watch her develop into the amazing young woman God wants her to be.  Happy birthday, Allie!!

Since Allie is a competitive gymnast, we thought it would be fun to surprise her with tickets to the Covergirl Classic gymnastics meet in Chicago.  This is a meet where the nation's top gymnasts compete....competitors in previous years have included Carly Patterson, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liuken, Alicia Sacramone, and Chelsie Memmel, just to name a few.  She is so EXCITED to go!  It will be a girls weekend, with just her, her friend Leah, myself, my mom and my sister-in-law going.   NO BOYS this trip!  Because of the cost, she agreed that this trip IS her other presents, or parties.  (Part of me is secretly relieved at the no party part....sssh!)  To present her with the ticket (well, the receipt for the tickets...I ordered online!), I made a special little box for her, using Sophia papaers.  I also made a coordinating birthday card.  It was a total Sophia weekend, as I finally decorated some paper maiche letters I've had sitting in my craft room for years, but I'll post on that later.  :-)

Here are pictures of the box and card:

And pictures of Allie opening her present:


Happy birthday, baby girl!!!!  We love you!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A quick birthday card

This was a card that I made for my husband's birthday, at the end of May.  He is my rock, and I'm so lucky to have him in my life.  I know he doesn't read this blog, but I LOVE YOU, honey!!

This card was based on a Mojo Monday sketch, seen here.

Supplies used (all products are CTMH, unless noted):
-Lucky level 2 paper pack
-Lucky Level 2 My Stickease ("Happy" piece)
-Lucky Level 2 Assortment (chipboard arrow)
-Sunset Mini-Medley (brads)
-Party Pennants stamp set
-Enjoy Life stamp set (graphic in top left/bottom right corners)
-Outdoor Denim ink pad
-Sunset ink pad
-Martha Stewart border punch

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Buddy!!

So this time of year is absolutely, positively crazy for us here in the Auten household!!!  The middle of May brings SOL testing, Mother's Day, and then from May 23-June 7 we have 3 birthdays in this house, right in a row.  Boom, boom, boom.  It's cake and ice cream and presents for a straight month!  :-)  Anyway, I want this post to focus on my (now) 14-year old son, Josh.

Josh is our first-born, and we couldn't be prouder of him.  He has a HUGE heart, is well-liked,  loves sports, and does well in school.  However, as a teenager, he's become increasingly hard to buy gifts for, and in the past few years we've just resorted to giving him a gift card.  This year, we decided on giving him cash.  But, instead of just putting the money in a envelope with a card, I wanted to come up with some clever way to make him "work" for it.

A few months ago, one of my customers, Patty, made these cute little cake boxes for our WOTG club.  You can see my post about them here.  I thought it would be fun if I made Josh a "cake", and filled each box with "filling".  I would hide the money in the "filling", and challenge him to find his present.  :-)  Now, since I was coming up with this brilliant idea the night before his birthday, I was running short on time, and not sure I could get all of the boxes cut out by hand, using the template that Patty shared with us.  Then it hit me......I  remembered that one of my Cricut cartridges has an image similar to the cake box template.  I sorted through all my cartridges, and VOILA!  There it was....cake box, on Tags, Bags, Boxes and More.   Wahoo!!!  This would make things so much simpler!  So I started cutting, and here is what I ended up with:  (note.....these papers are Basic Grey, not Close To My Heart....I encourage my customers to actually use what they have, not just let it sit on the shelf, so I'm trying to follow my own advice, and use up my very LARGE stash of pre-CTMH paper!!)

This is a picture of one of the "slices" of cake

Here it is with the "filling"...I decided to use Easter grass, and cut up straws. 

 I rolled a $50 bill into one of the straws, and he had to find which one it was.  Sort of a "needle-in-a-haystack" theory.  :-)

A picture of the completed "cake".  This was presented to Josh with a note that simply said "You may want to eat this cake, but you can't.....look through the filling to find your friend Grant". 

Josh trying to figure out where his present really is.  ;-)

The aftermath

It took Josh a while to figure out he was looking for money.  I think he enjoyed the "puzzle", and it was much more gratifying to watch, than just simply opening a card, taking the money and tossing the card aside.

Happy birthday, Josh!!  We love you, buddy!