In DIY, Freebies on
May 21, 2017

Graduation/Encouragement Print (FREEBIE!)


It’s graduation season! <cue “Pomp and Circumstance” song>

Although I personally don’t have any close friends or family graduating this year, I know next year will be a whole different story as my firstborn will graduate from preschool…um, where did the time go?! Please check in with me this time of year next year…I may be a hot mess.

When I look back at my school days, even as far back as elementary school, I remember certain instances when I questioned my ability, intelligence, or confidence. Each new challenge seemed daunting and I wondered how I would get through it. Obviously, I managed to tackle the hurdles, sometimes miraculously leaping over them and other times tumbling my way through but I somehow always ended back on my feet. This ebb and flow pattern continues strongly in the parenting life and I have to constantly remind myself that I am enough by remembering what I have gone through for the past 30+ years. As a parent now, I hope to instill this self-awareness and confidence to my children early on.

I came across this beautiful quote from A.A. Milne, author of Winne the Pooh, and it just stopped me in my tracks. I love how it affirms the reader that he/she “is” braver/stronger/smarter/loved versus “will be” or “can be” braver/stronger/smarter/loved. It draws out the truth that already lives deeply within each one of us.

If you know someone who is graduating or just needs some encouragement, please print out one of these! Better yet, frame it and it becomes a perfect wall art gift! I think I will put one in each of my kiddos’ rooms.

This is my first freebie and it comes in three colors (black, coral pink, and steel blue). They are 8×10 prints and available in both PNG and PDF formats. I hope you like them! 🙂

Black [click to download PNG] or [click to download PDF]

Coral Pink [click to download PNG] or [click to download PDF]


Steel Blue [click to download PNG] or [click to download PDF]


In Birthday, DIY on
May 17, 2017

Pineapple Shaker Card


A week ago, I arrived on the beautiful island of Oahu. I soaked up the sun and ate my way through Waikiki (I had no car otherwise I would have hit up North Shore shrimp trucks or Island Snow shaved ice in Kailua)! I felt my pants were getting tighter each day because I just kept eating and eating. #noregrets

Hawaii appears to be the place to be as my mother-in-law was also in town to celebrate her birthday! Um, can I go somewhere fabulous for my birthday every year? Sigh! Soooo, it was only fitting to make a fun tropical-style birthday shaker card! Shaker cards really take your handmade cards to the next level. Not only is it fun to shake as if it was a maraca, it looks fancy-schmancy (aka it looks like you spent hours on it but ya didn’t!).

Never made a shaker card? For those with a Silhouette cutting machine, follow along this tutorial to see how easy it is!

Supplies needed:

  • Download Silhouette Design ID #83612 by talented Amy Robison (whom I met on my Silhouette Summit trip!)
  • Download Silhouette Design ID #192829 by Daniela Moscone
  • Cardstock in green, coral, khaki, and white
  • Patterned cardstock (for card base) or feel free to use anything you have
  • Shaker filler materials
    • I used sequins in gold, silver, light pink light orange
    • Tiny rhinestones. I used a mix of Silhouette rhinestones and leftover ones I purchased from Michaels
  • Dimensional adhesive
  • Fabric or regular washi tape
  • Brown fine-tip marker
  • Clear acetate. (HACK: This is going to sound weird but it’s resourceful…I use the clear acetate that comes with dimensional stickers or clear stamps. Be sure to use ones that are truly clear and unblemished.)
  • Foam tape (I purchased this one which is available in many local stores)
  • Tape runner (this is my go-to crafting adhesive)


Make the card base:

  • This is a standard 4.25″ wide x 5.5″ tall card. So the card base measures 8.5″ wide by 5.5″ high and then folded in the middle.

Make the white cutout layer:

  • In Silhouette Studio, cut a 4.125″ wide x 5.375″ high rectangle. Then, drop in Design ID#83612.
  • Right click on the design and “ungroup” the various pieces. Delete the middle and left pieces. What you have left is the pineapple top (the stem) and pineapple bottom.
  • This step is optional: I modified the pineapple top by deleting (anchor) points near the bottom to give it a shorter “stem”
  • Next, move the pineapple top so that it rests right above the pineapple bottom (the oval shape). Right click to group.
  • Then, resize the grouped pineapple piece so that it would be almost as tall as the card.
  • Ungroup the pineapple piece and “cut” the pineapple top” and “paste” onto a blank Silhouette file. This is because we want the pineapple top to be cut on a different paper. *See last step*
  • Now, you should be left with just a rectangle and the oval-shaped pineapple bottom. This will be your “shaker window.”
  • Using white cardstock, send to Silhouette with the appropriate cut settings.

Make the background design for the shaker window:

  • I used leftover yellow scrap paper that was larger than the shaker window
  • Center your cutout layer on top of the card base to determine where to place the yellow scrap paper underneath. Once you find the perfect spot, use tape runner to adhere the yellow scrap paper to the card base.
  • Next, set your cutout layer down over the card base+yellow scrap paper. Hold down firmly so that the cutout layer doesn’t move.
  • Take the brown fine-tip marker and draw in pineapple design on the yellow scrap paper. Be careful not to run marker too close to the cutout layer otherwise marker will bleed onto the white cutout paper.

Create shaker window:

  • Trim the plastic acetate if necessary. Ideally, it should be 0.5″ larger than the cutout.
  • Apply tape runner to the inside perimeter of the cutout
  • Set the plastic acetate on top and press firmly. Tada! You’ve created your shaker window!

Add shaker filler material:

  • On the background design, glue on a few rhinestones and sequins. These will be static embellishments. Why?? The reason why I do this is because it keeps the card visually interesting. Otherwise, all the sequins are all bunched up on the bottom of the shaker window.
  • Next, cut little strips of the adhesive foam tape and place them on top of the plastic acetate, following the oval shape of the cutout.
    • TIP: Offset the strips about 0.125″ from the cutout edge so that you don’t see the foam tape from the front of the window.
    • TIP: Make sure to have the foam tape pieces touch from one end to another. This way the shaker filler won’t fall out of the window.
  • On the background design, drop in your filler materials. I used sequins of various sizes and colors.  Make a little pile in the middle of the background design.
  • Take your cutout layer that now has the foam tape and set it over the card base.
  • Press firmly where the adhesive foam tape is to securely close the shaker window.
  • Add adhesive foam tape as necessary at the corners of the cutout layer. This will make your entire cutout layer “pop” from the card base.
  • Once you have ensured your shaker window is secure, shake your card to see the filler material move around inside the window. Fun, right?!

Add final embellishments:

  • On top of the shaker window, add a strip of washi tape. I used fabric because it was a new material I wanted to try out and I like how it brings a different texture to the card
  • The circular “have a sweet birthday” tag was created using Silhouette’s Print and Cut feature. Adhere to card with dimensional adhesive to give it a layered look.
  • Next, cut and add two hibiscus flowers and tropical leaf from Design ID #192829 to tie in the tropical theme.
  • Lastly, remember when we saved the pineapple top (stem) onto a separate Silhouette design file? Cut the design using the same green paper as the tropical leaf. Use adhesive tape runner to adhere it above the shaker window (pineapple bottom).


In DIY, Holidays on
May 12, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day Cards


Mother’s Day is three days away but I’ve already treated myself by flying off to Hawaii to attend the Silhouette Summit 2017 conference in beautiful Waikiki, Hawaii! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I wasn’t going miss it! I’ll be blogging more later about what I learned today, which is A LOT! A whole lot of GOOD stuff!

So that meant I had to get crackin’ on making some Mother’s Day cards before I left!

The one on the left is for my incredible mother-in-law or as the kiddos call her “Oma.” Inside the car, I took a stab at hand lettering and wrote “You are a “mom” to all of us!” <cue the tears> This little phrase ties in the scrabble tiles on the front of the card. I used dimensional adhesive to make the scrabble tiles “pop” thus creating visual interest.

The card on the right is for my sweet mom who loves gardening. So, I personalized her card with a floral background paper along with a flower embellishment. The ready-made graphic can be found here on the Silhouette Design Store. My newest addition to my craft supplies is fabric washi tape. I love that it added subtle texture to the card!

To all the mamas out there…Happy Mother’s Day!






In DIY on
May 7, 2017

Words of Affirmation Print


I’ve been sharing many projects made by my Silhouette machine but some of my other creative projects are made using graphic design software like Adobe InDesign or Illustrator. Here is one of my favorite projects, a customized print featuring “words of affirmation” to describe a person. In my opinion, I think women, especially moms, are hard on ourselves which results in negative words swirling in our heads about our identity, worth, and purpose.

These prints were created for two wonderful women who were my table leaders at my local MOPS chapter (Mothers of Preschoolers, I asked the other mamas at my table to provide a few words to describe each one of them and what you see is a beautiful piece of art speaking truth and love. Each line (or two) came from each mom and as the one who collected everyone’s words, it was really interesting to see how many of the same or similar words were reiterated. I mean, how much more truth do you need to believe in yourself? Do you know someone who needs to hear words of affirmation? Put together a print like this to encourage and empower your loved ones!

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, this would be a quick project to whip up! Ask your siblings/children to come up with words to describe their mom!


In DIY on
May 3, 2017

Custom Return Address Labels


You know what can put a damper on your day….running out of return address labels! Of all things! They’re one of those things that you don’t really ever think about but still a necessity! I love my self-inking stamps but for smaller envelopes, you just need the good ‘ol labels. Why am I rambling about the most random topic you ask? I ran out of my return address labels the other day but needed some ASAP! Silhouette to the rescue!

I use Silhouette’s White Sticker Paper for a lot of different projects as you saw on the Birthday Card + Sticker Combo project. So, why not use it for practical home needs?

This is one of my favorite projects thus far because I can create a variety of designs I actually like vs getting multiple sheets of one design that I only like for a month. #creativepeopleissues  I also love that by using the Silhouette cutting machines I can create labels of any shape!


Supplies needed:

  • Visit the Silhouette Design Store for cute designs. You can filter your search by choosing “Print & Cut” under “Cut Type” for ready-to-go graphics. If you choose one that is not Print & Cut, no big deal! You can color in your design using the “Fill Color” and “Line Color” options. For mine, I chose Design ID #181693 and made some modifications which I explain below in the “Follow these steps” section.
  • Silhouette White Sticker Paper
  • Color Printer


Next, follow these steps to make yourself cute return address labels for real happy mail:

  • To re-create the cactus labels I made:
    • Open Design ID #181693. Right click and ungroup. I did not use the middle cactus so deleted it from my design.
    • You will notice each cactus has a hole at the top because these are originally created as tags. To remove the tag hole, select one cactus and right click and ungroup. This will separate the colored cactus image from the red cut line border (that has the tag hole).
    • Right click on the red cut line and choose “Release Compound Path” and delete the inner red circle of the tag hole. See picture below.
      • DID YOU KNOW? You can quickly zoom in by holding down ALT on your keyboard and scrolling on your mouse! I love shortcuts! 🙂


  • Next, right click again on the red cut line and choose “Edit Points” See screenshot below.


  • Delete the points on the tag hole red line to create a border that wraps around the cactus. This may require adjusting the blue point handles, which I’ve circled with a yellow circle in the screenshot below


  • For the remaining cactus piece, I removed the red cut line entirely because it was going to serve as “clipart” within my return address label design.
  • Next, I created the main label piece by creating a rectangle approximately 2″ wide and 0.5″ tall. I set it off to the side on my drawing area in Silhouette Studio®.
  • I resized the cactus pieces until I liked how it looked on the rectangle label. There’s lots of freedom to do whatever you like here! I purposely let my taller cactus overlap the rectangle so that I would have a uniquely shaped label.
  • asdfa
  • Next, I clicked on both the cactus red cut line and the rectangle. Then, chose “Weld” in the Modify window. See picture below. Tada! You’ve created your label shape!

  • Almost there folks, hang in there! Now, time for your address info!
    • Add your text. For some fonts (mostly script fonts), you will need to weld so that it becomes one piece.
    • Really important step here! Be sure to choose “No Cut” under “Cut Settings.” You simply want this text printed not printed+cut. See screenshot to see where you can find the “No Cut” setting
    • Lastly, fill in text using “Fill Color” and “Line Color”…whatever you choose here is whatever your printer will print. A suggestion: I would choose a dark color for your text so that it’s legible since these labels are fairly small.
  • Once you’re done creating your label, group it!
  • Next, set your Registration Marks so you know where you can actually place your labels. DID YOU KNOW? You can adjust your inset positions to maximize print area? I type in 0.3″ and it defaults to 0.394″ as the lowest value. It’s just faster for me to type “0.3” than “0.394”…time is of the essence friends! 🙂

  • Next, duplicate your label and fit as many as you can within the red line. I stress this because your Silhouette machine will only cut whatever is within the red line!
  • Ok, this is a neurotic step but save your file! You put a lot of hard work into creating your beautiful return address label so save your masterpiece! In fact, it’s a good habit to save your file as you go!
  • Then, print your file on the best setting. This will ensure your small text is crisp and legible!
  • Lastly, place your printed file on your cutting  mat and send to Silhouette using the “White Sticker Paper” setting. Now you have the coolest return address labels!


In DIY, Holidays on
April 30, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Card


Usually I like to create unique items but there are days where I have zero energy, zero ideas, or zero time. Luckily, I know I can rely on Silhouette Design Store for some super cute, ready-to-go designs that looks like I spent hours creating!

This adorable card (Design ID #65200 by Tanya Batrak) caught my eye because it features several elements I consider important in a handmade card. It uses layers, various materials, and little details that make a big visual difference!

Card-making Essentials:

  • Layers – This card is full of layers! #hearteyes There’s the card’s playful base layer, on which lies a double-scalloped pocket that holds another interesting layer, a notebook page. The last layer is the adorable apple cutout, which “pops” thanks to dimensional adhesive.
  • Materials – Other than pretty patterned paper, it’s fun to add other mediums to a handmade card because it makes the card visually interesting. The black baker’s twine coordinates nicely with the black “Thanks!” diecut pulling together a cohesive look.
  • Little Details, Big Impact – Another way to make your handmade card stand out is in the little details. This attention to details is when your recipient will think, “Oh wow! Some special thought was put into this!” In this card, the little detail is in the apple’s leaf. I love how it isn’t just a plain leaf cutout but that it includes little thin cutouts within it, thus giving the leaf a unique look. Also, I like how simply curling the leaf draws the eye to the apple. Lastly, although you cannot see it on my cards (but you can see it on Silhouette Design Store’s example), I thought the little folder tab piece is adorable! A simple addition but really adds flair and spunk to a school-themed card!
In DIY, Holidays on
April 26, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Personalized Tote Bag


For those whose kids are in some form of school, this is your PSA…Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up on May 8-12, 2017! This year’s National Teacher Day will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 9. Last year, I was ill-prepared so I definitely wasn’t going to let that happen this year, especially considering how awesome my son’s preschool teacher is! He absolutely adores her! We have seen tremendous growth in vocabulary, understanding, and even confidence!

I love practical gifts and since I live in a plastic bag-free city, I thought it would be fun to create a tote bag recognizing the hard work of a teacher. You can never have too many totes, especially if it’s cute like this one!

Isn’t the colorblock tote so cute and totally summery? It’s made by Imagin8 and can be found with the summer items. I got it at my local Michaels craft store for a little under five bucks!

This project is super easy to pull together and won’t break your budget! Who are you going to make one or two or three for?

For this project, you will need:

  • Silhouette Design ID #145943
  • Smooth Heat Transfer Vinyl in whatever colors you would like. I used black, dark pink, and glitter gold.
  • Iron or Heat Press Machine
  • Thin hand towel or cloth napkin (if using iron)

After downloading Design ID #145943 and opening it in my Silhouette Studio, I ungrouped and separated the words to better fit my project space. I did this because the totebag had a wider/horizontal space versus a taller/vertical space. Doing this meant the words/design would be more legible from a distance.

The most important step when doing a DIY heat transfer vinyl (HTV) project is to mirror your design. It’s the worst feeling when you forget to mirror the design and your Silhouette machine is cutting away your only piece of HTV!

When you have all the pieces cut out and weeded, center them in the appropriate space on the tote. Double, triple-check the layout, alignment, etc to make sure all is correct before ironing/sealing the HTV to the tote bag.

When you’re ready, place the thin hand towel or cloth napkin over the design and iron/press with even pressure. Note: if you’re using an iron, I recommend not “pushing” the iron across but rather press downward and hold for 15 seconds. Lift and press down again at a different spot. This method avoids any chance of your HTV accidentally getting scrunched or stretched.

Once you are confident all the HTV has been “transferred” to the tote bag, pull off the clear backing. At this point, I put the thin hand towel back over the HTV and iron one last time. And finally Voila! You have made a super cute customized tote bag for your favorite well-deserving teacher!

My favorite part of this project is using a butterfly icon as the text separator which is fitting for the preschool class name! 🙂


In Birthday, DIY on
April 22, 2017

Birthday Card + Sticker Combo



As an avid paper crafter, I love making handmade cards. Sure, there are stores and aisles filled with greeting cards but nothing beats a 100% personalized card. Now that my 4-year-old has his groups of friends, we have been invited to many birthday parties. But let’s be real, name a preschooler who keeps (and cares?!) about his birthday cards…it’s always about the gift under the wrapping paper!

So what is a crafty mama to do?! Other than wrapped presents, I know what else preschoolers love…stickers! So, I created these adorable cards with a built-in sticker that peels off!

With two birthday parties this month to attend, I created two cards to match the birthday party themes. Paw Patrol and construction…totally classic 4-year-old themes, right? I was even able to make the Paw Patrol one a little more fun by making the number 4 and bone pieces “pop” using dimensional adhesive.

Supplies used:

  • Cardstock for card backing
  • Silhouette White Sticker Paper
  • Dimensional adhesive
  • Silhouette Design ID # 59769 (for the construction-themed card)


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In DIY, Holidays on
April 18, 2017

Circus Animal Cupcake Wrappers


Today is National Animal Cracker Day! Super important stuff. #yourewelcome

So obviously it is only appropriate to celebrate this momentous day with some delectable treats! To this day, I prefer the frosted animal crackers…probably because it was super rare when I got to enjoy these sweet cookies…like only at birthday parties…someone else’s birthday party. But now that I’m a grown woman, there are days I channel Donna and Tom (from Parks and Recreation) and I think to myself, “Girl, it’s time to Treat. Yo. Self!”

I thought it would be fun to put the frosted animal crackers on top of a yummy cupcake (go big or go home right?!). To play along with the animal (cracker) theme, I created a unique cupcake wrapper that resembled a circus podium. For those planning a circus-themed party, these cupcake wrappers will really dress up your treats and make them stand out!

Here’s how you can make these easy cupcake wrappers:

  • Download the cupcake wrapper I created.
    • When you open the file, it includes one podium ring, ten triangle panels, and ten stars.
    • All of these shapes make one cupcake wrapper so duplicate as-needed.
    • Lastly, use scrapbooking adhesive or glue to adhere the pieces.
  • Download Miss Kate Cuttables’ Designs ID #42737 and #42738 from the Silhouette Design Store.
    • I made these cut files into a “Print and Cut” file because I wanted to use the animals as a cupcake topper, which is another fun way to dress up the treat.
    • In order to do this:
      • Ungroup and release any compound paths.
      • Keep the pieces you need to make the circus animal. You may need to overlap some pieces to create the full image. Delete everything else that is not used.
      • Open up the “Fill Color Window” and choose a color to “fill” your animal shape.
      • For most shapes’ lines, I chose “Transparent” in the “Line Color Window” except for the elephant because I wanted the elephant trunk and tusks to stand out.
      • To make this a “Print and Cut” file, we need to create an outer cut line for each animal.
        • Pick one animal and open the “Trace Window” and select Trace Area, from which you will adjust the High and Low Pass Filters to get a good outline of your animal.
        • Then, click “Trace Outer Edge”
      • Almost done…click on “Cut Settings” and make sure the outer line that you just created is the only one that has a cut line applied to it. In other words, this should be the only line in red.
      • This step is optional but I highly recommend it to keep your shapes in tact. Highlight and group the various pieces per animal. Re-size your grouped shape as necessary. You may want large or small cupcake toppers.
      • Lastly, open the “Registration Marks Window” and set your registration marks.
      • Send it off to your printer, then place your printed document on the cutting mat, and send to Silhouette. And that’s it!


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In DIY, Holidays on
April 17, 2017

Summertime Drink/Straw Umbrellas


Warm and sunny days here in SoCal have me thinking about summer and all the fun get-togethers with family and friends. Last year, we hosted a 4th of July BBQ potluck. It was our first party since Zoe was born. I’m pretty sure it was my idea but truly, I think all three of us (hubby, firstborn son, and me) were ready to have folks over for good food and fellowship! Prior to kids, we used to have friends over for hours, playing games after games after games, sometimes until 10/11pm. These days, we are asleep by that time. Young children have no mercy…it’s go time when the clock strikes 6am.

If we host another Independence Day party this year, I’m going to add some holiday pizzaz to the drinks with this drink/straw umbrella combo! The paper straw is a fantastic way to add color and/or incorporate the party theme. Adding the drink umbrella is not only fun but can also be practical! For narrow glassware like the milk bottle pictured, you can even push the umbrella down the straw and it can serve as a “drink lid,” keeping your beverage free of bugs or falling leaves. Nothing is going to ruin your holiday festivities!

Want to make some of your own? It’s incredibly easy! You need the following:

  • Silhouette Design ID#81181 (the Silhouette Design Store has several other designs as well)
  • Cardstock (for the base umbrella piece)
  • Patterned paper (for the decorative panels)
  • Scrapbooking adhesive or tape
  • Paper straws

In order to “thread” the straw through the drink umbrella, I modified the original drink umbrella cut file by adding a 0.25″ circle and centering it. See screenshot below. No need to do anything else…simply send it to your Silhouette machine to cut. Fold on the preforated lines and voila! It’s fancy drink time!

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