Saturday, July 28, 2012

Little notebooks again!

I wanted to share some more of these after another day of crafting (and setting up tents at an art show, that's a whole 'nother story). These are some of my favourite books with their matching pens...

More Christmas!

OK, so I got a little carried away. I signed up for a Christmas craft show so now I'm in major production mode! Today I made about two dozen of these little notebooks. How cute are they? I used some of the same papers again and again (and some I still have more of!) but each one is totally unique. They aren't all embellished yet, but they were super fun to make. Each book comes with a matching pen too, but I didn't have them all done and was dying to get some photos online! Of course the photos aren't the greatest quality either seeing as they were taken on the kitchen table at about 1am...

Most of the embellishments I designed myself, printed out and cut with various punches and dies. The cute lil raindeer came from Spoon Graphics, who deserves mad props for making such a cutie pie! The raindeer notebook is definitely my favourite.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Christmas in July

Yep, I'm not kidding. I don't even do craft fairs or anything (yet, it's something I would like to do once I'm more settled) but today was all about Christmas. I'm big on making my own gifts, and have done so for as long as I can remember. I wrote on my other blog last year about our family traditions surrounding Christmas and showed some of the gifts we made.

This year I wanted to get a head start, so I started planning. I started by making two lists, one of everyone I wanted to give something to (even if just a card) and another of ideas I collected (mostly on Pinterest). Then I started matching them up in Excel. I use Excel for a lot of things, and this type of list coordination is one of them. Once you get the hand of formulas and different ways of arranging, it can be a SUPER handy planning tool. Here's what my gift list looked like once I was done(ish):

Down the left hand side is everyones name. For families, if I was only sending one card I added it to only one members name, I'll just have to keep that straight in my head. Then I did a text column of what I wanted to give people. With only a few exceptions, there's a limited amount of things I'm making, all from the tab you can see at the bottom "Gift Ideas". My main gifts this year are going to be my annual calendar, cookie mix, hot cocoa mix, a spa kit, a first aid kit, cup sleeves and for my medic buddies, stethoscope covers. For the kiddie crowd (not a huge demographic in my social circle unfortunately) I also plan on putting together some craft kits a la Ashley-Ann. I put those gifts along the top and added up how many of each I would need. This makes it super easy to plan and budget!

There's two items that show up more than others, post-it/tags and cards. Cards will go out to each family, and some people are getting only cards, as I just don't have the budget to give everyone a special gift. The post-it/tags are a cute idea I found on Pinterest that lead me here. Instead of just putting a boring plain tag on each gift, they'll be a post it note holder! They will also be stand alone gifts for some.

The other crucial part of my planning spread sheet is the supply shopping list. Here I listed all the individual pieces of each gift, where I found it (I spent a fair amount of time today researching at various stores) and how much it costs broken down to per gift. This is where Excel shines, and makes my life so easy! Once the list was done, I could just sort it by the source and I have an idiot proof shopping list!

As you can see, I'm not sure where I'll get lavender essential oil (or how to spell it) but I'm suspecting it will be at Walmart or Zellers. There's also a fair number of things, especially for the first aid kits, that I already have, so I don't need to purchase those.

The beauty of planning like this is that I have some spare time now, so I'm making use of it. I can also spend the next few months waiting and looking for things on sale now that I have a base line. The plan is flexible, and I can add or take away from it as I wish. Each of the over 40 people on my list will be getting a handmade gift, but I won't be spending a ridiculous amount of time making them (once I have the supplies, an assembly line gets nearly everything done in an afternoon) or break the bank buying things (I'll be spending less than $10 per person). The most time consuming gift will be making card sets for a few very special people, but now that I have it in black and white how many I need, it will be easy to work on those over the next few months.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birthday gifts

I'm currently in a whirlwind of gift making. A dear friend of mine has her birthday (today actually, her gift will be late, oops!) and is having a really rough time with life right now, so I decided to send her a special gift. This is the one with the pink butterfly card, and everything is going along the pink theme here!

This little box was a great idea I found on Pinterest and modified for the supplies I had on hand and could find at the dollar store.

Inside is a variety of small objects and a poem:

Your hope chest…
A star to remind you to keep shining
paperclip to help you hold it all together
eraser to fix all your mistakes
lock to keep all your secrets safe
penny so that you’re never broke
elastic to help you stretch beyond your limitss
A bottle of
glitter for when life’s in need of a little more bling
bandaid for when you fall and scrape yourself
marble for the day you’re sure you’ve lost yours
candle so you always have light
And a
mint for when life just stinks.

I also included a frame I had sitting around with a stamped quote in it, a feather boa, some candy and a small notebook. I ended up adding a friendship bracelet I made while sitting in front of the TV too.

I made another box for a different friend, I'll post photos of that when I'm done with it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A few new ones

I've been totally swamped with a new job and getting my life in a semblance of order around that. But I still had some time to make some new cards! I got a huge shipment of new stamps, so I just HAD to play with them, and here's some of the results.

This first one was from a set of doggie stamps. My mom is always looking for dog themed cards, so I'll probably make her a set like this. This one is just a mini-card that can't be mailed on it's own, but they make a great insert to a bouquet of flowers or a gift basket (maybe for a new puppy?).

Another set of coordinating mini-cards. Just a quick test of a new (to me) set and some bows I found on sale at Walmart.

This next one is a birthday card for a dear friend who's obsessed with pink. She doesn't know about my blog yet, so I can post it now even though she hasn't gotten it yet. I might post some photos of her whole present, it's super fun!

I made this one for an owl obsessed friend, but I might just keep it for myself, he's so cute!

I also made some more of the square cards I featured below. I'm thinking of offering a workshop and/or kit to make these, they are SO simple, easy and cheap to make. Each card costs less than a dollar to make once you know where to get the materials and how to put all the different techniques together. It's also a great way to showcase a particular stamp, texture or technique!

But by far my favourite recent card project was making cards with some little friends of mine. I think they turned out great, what do you think?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Simple sketches

I finally got a chance to bust out some of my new stamp sets! I sat down and within a couple hours I'd made three cards with them. I cheated a little and multitasked during a meeting at work, making some sketches in my notes. The same sketch ended up with these two cards, both for friends who are expecting girls...

I love this concept, so I'll probably be using it again. I actually have some boxes left over from other projects that would fit a set of these beautifully. It's also something that's easy and you can use a variety of different techniques, so I'm thinking it would be a great workshop card or set!

I also made this card, which is a concept I had in my head from the minute I saw the stamp set. It's been modified a bit from the original concept I had in mind, mostly because on different days I have different tastes! The inside says "peace love happiness" (I suppose the outside does too, just in a different language!). I think I know who's getting this one too, but I now have two cards for them for the same reason, so I might just put this one for sale after all.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Odds and Ends

I just received a huge batch of new stamps and punches, so I've been fiddling around with some new ideas. The first two are a Stampin Up! punch and coordinating stamp. The others are from a variety of different sets.