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christine

In DIY, Freebies, Holidays on
December 2, 2017

Reverse Advent Calendar (FREEBIE!)

 

My 4.5yo preschooler is really into a calendar his Oma gave him earlier this year. We have different symbols for when he goes to preschool, church, doctor/dentist offices, and even when visitors are coming. He adds stickers when it’s someone’s birthday. It’s like a year-long art project. So, it was no brainer that we would get one of those ubiquitous chocolate advent calendars. I mean, they are only 99 cents at Trader Joe’s!

The other day as I was unpacking all our Christmas decorations, I came across a large empty plastic fillable ornament. I think it was something someone used to pack their Christmas gift and because I am a pack rat AND maker, I kept it. I bet I thought I could come up with some need for it. And so the creative juices were going and going and *ding* …light bulb!!

The month of December can easily become stressful and busy. Even more so with my family as we have two December birthdays. While my children are at that age where Christmas is now oh-so exciting with bright shimmering lights and fake snowfall, my ultimate hope for this Christmas is to truly experience the gift of the advent season together. So, as a way to cherish this special time, I created this month’s FREEBIE, a Reverse Advent Calendar, which I am having my preschooler do each day this month. It’s reverse because instead of taking something out, he’s putting something special in(to the ornament).

Here’s how it works:

  • Simply download the FREEBIE file (click here) and print
  • Cut out each tag and either hang them on a string (like a banner) or leave them as a stack
  • For each day, write down (or draw!) a favorite memory
  • Wrap the tag around a pencil to curl it and drop it into your ornament
  • Store your ornament in a safe spot to be opened and read next Christmas or 10 Christmases from now!

Supplies Needed:

  • Printer
  • Two 8.5in x 11in sheets of paper. NOTE: I cut 12in x 12in cardstock into 8.5in x 11in sheets. This way, the back of the tags were colorful. Totally not necessary!
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Pen
  • Fillable plastic ornament
  • Ribbon (to tie your ornament closed when finished)

 

We did time capsules for both our kids’ first birthdays, where we asked party guests to write a message for them to read when they turn 18. Pretty cool right? I mean, it sounds like a long time from now but at the same time, if you’re a parent, you know that day will come soon and fast! 

While I’m certain my son won’t remember a single memory from this year’s Christmas, my hope is that when he opens the filled ornament years from now, he will see how much we did together as a family, how many special memories were made, and maybe even laugh at the cute, only-a-kid-would-say “favorite” memory. (I’m not crying, you are…)

I hope you and your kids enjoy this activity! 😊

In Silhouette on
November 30, 2017

It Was Fun While It Lasted (Blogging for Silhouette America)

 

January 2017 was quite a rocky month for me. I said farewell to a corporate job with a company I had been with for nearly a decade. I had no plans. Very unlike me and my Type A tendencies. A little over a week later, I said hello to a new gig blogging for Silhouette America, a company whose product (CAMEO) that I have used religiously for over four years.

Unsure what to expect as a Silhouette Design Team Member, I was pleasantly surprised with an invitation to their annual Summit in May where I met many friendly, inspiring creatives, including a handful of other Design Team members. Soon after returning home, I wrote my first post for Silhouette’s blog. Quite fittingly, it was a roundup of treats and how to dress them up! 😋

My term with Silhouette has (unexpectedly) ended but it was truly fun while it lasted. I have written seven posts for their blog and honestly, each project has pushed me, either in creative design or trying out new materials I would normally not buy. Click here to read my bio and links to my posts. It’s hard to pick a favorite post because they are so unique! I do have to say getting my hands on the PixScanTM mat has been a big game changer!

Through this journey, I have gained crafting confidence, wonderful friendships with other makers, and a rhythm of creativity that was lacking in the past. I am such a happier person when I’m in my crafting space. While I wish I could keep blogging for Silhouette, I am so glad I can still share my projects and tutorials here on my blog.  It’s all right here folks!! 😊

 

In DIY, Graphic Design, Holidays on
November 25, 2017

DIY Envelope Addressing

 

One my “crafty” bucket list goals is to learn modern calligraphy. I took a shot at it earlier this year and even practiced a bit on my whirlwind trip to Paris…how romantic and idyllic does that sound? Well, despite being a creative person, I have a long ways to go. It definitely is one of those “practice makes perfect” kind of activity. And I just need to make time for the practicing to happen.

Until then, I am going to stick to my secret weapon when it comes to addressing my Christmas card envelopes. The irony is that my secret weapon really isn’t that secretive. You probably have it in your own home. I’m talking about a printer! 😱 Yup, I have used my home printer to address all my special occasion envelopes. Hooray, no more hand cramping that leads to sloppy handwriting!

In addition to a printer, you just need either Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or if you’re fancy-schmancy, Adobe InDesign. I have a PC so I can only really vouch for Word and InDesign but all three should work just fine.

Below are the basic steps:

  1. First, set up your file to match the size of your envelope.
  2. Then add text (aka your recipient’s mailing address) using your favorite font(s) and playing around with the formatting.
  3. Once you are happy, insert your envelope into your printer paper/envelope tray. NOTE: you may need to flip it upside down depending on how your tray feeds your envelope.
  4. Do a test print to see how your text lines up and make any adjustments if needed.
  5. Once you have your finalized style, print again and the rest of your envelopes.

If you’re like me, you have a long list of addresses. No problem! You can use a “merge” feature that will auto-fill your addresses so that you are not typing (or copying/pasting) each one in. NOTE: After your program merges and autofills, I do recommend going through each record to make sure everything looks right.

For MS Word, check out this youtube video with step-by-step instructions on  using the MS Word’s “Mail Merge” feature.

For InDesign, watch this video to see how to use the “Data Merge” feature (different name across programs but all the same function).

 

You can even have a little fun and add color plus some vector graphics on your envelope template. The possibilities are truly endless! These little design elements will surely make your envelope and Christmas photo card stand out! 🎄

 

 

In Freebies, Holidays on
November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Activity Placemat for Kids (FREEBIE!)

 

Oh my gravy, thanksgiving crept up on us this year! In fact, we nearly missed out on ordering a smoked turkey from our local BBQ restaurant. I’ve never had a smoked turkey before but it sounds delicious. Have you??

Ordering a pre-cooked turkey is the golden ticket when you are a parent of young children. All I have to focus on is making the side dishes, which I enjoy more anyways. Mmm…mashed potatoes and gravy. Lots of gravy. Time to make sure my stretchy pants are clean and ready to wear come Thanksgiving Day!

This year, we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house and now that my youngest is old enough to self-feed, I may be able to enjoy a *hot* Thanksgiving meal! However, to guarantee this actually happens, I decided to whip up a fun activity placemat for my son, who eats just fine (it baffles me how he’s such a beanpole when he eats so much) but cannot keep his bottom on his seat during meal times. Any other parent have the same problem?! 🙋🏻

This FREEBIE Thanksgiving-themed placemat features four areas of activity.

  • From the top left, going clockwise…we start with the classic tic-tac-toe game. This is great for getting two kids to stay put at the dinner table even if it’s only 10 mins. That is a solid parent win.
  • Next, we have the all-time favorite coloring activity so be sure to have some extra crayons on hand. A cute idea is to wrap a napkin around a bundle of crayons and tie it together with ribbon.
  • On the bottom right, before the tryptophan kicks in, we challenge the kiddos’ brains with a little pattern guessing game. My son is really into this at the moment so I know he will have fun trying to figure it out!
  • Lastly, good ‘ol bingo except the goal is to get all the squares filled. Haha! At least that is what the parents will tell the kids! I know firsthand what an ordeal it can be to get little ones to eat. #thestruggleisreal  All that hard work making your family’s Thanksgiving meal…with this simple bingo game, there will be no food left untried on Thanksgiving Day!

Click here for the blank version of the activity placemat. OR click here for the filled-out version.

Once you’ve downloaded the file, simply print it on letter-size paper. I recommend using cardstock as it’s more durable…otherwise, you may get some crayon markings on your tablecloth/table.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! 🦃🍂🍗

 

In Birthday, Graphic Design, Parties on
November 16, 2017

Hubs’ Surprise Birthday Party

For the past couple months, I have been sneakily planning my hubs’ 35th birthday party. I really couldn’t wait until his 40th to throw a big bash. Having seen how much has changed (euphemism for how much we’ve aged) since having kids, I feel that a celebration midway through a decade is worth celebrating!

As usual, I start every party planning with a theme of some sort so that there is some cohesion throughout the party. For this particular one, I chose to (lightly) focus on the decade my husband, Ryan, was born…the rad 80s! I had an 80s pop Pandora station playing in the background, a DIY “Totally Tubular Dude!” light box sign, and some Rubik’s cubes scattered as decor. I even made goodie bags for the kids that each included a mini Rubik’s cube and a slinky!

The centerpiece of this party was the DIY chili bar because food is of utmost importance! Our guests ranged from babies to preschoolers to adults so I felt that the chili bar would work for all. Would you believe me that the first type of bar I was thinking for a party was a poke bar?? How cool would that be?! Oh well, another time, another party!

This party was quite easy to pull together in terms of food preparation. The hardest part was getting Ryan to get out (and staying out!) of the house for several hours. Thank goodness I have an equally sneaky mother-in-law who “needed to shop” and look at not one but multiple open houses nearby. Ha!

To begin, I cheated and purchased a dry mix by Bear Creek called “Darn Good Chili” that my sweet (and also sneaky…there appears to be a theme!) neighbor made in her home. She prepared two batches, one with ground beef and the other without, in crock pots. Once my hubby left the house, I pulled everything out for the party. Days prior to the party, I had bought various items and stuffed them in every nook and cranny in our house so that he wouldn’t see any bulk products. I even hid a huge box of 50 individual Fritos bags inside our suitcases! I did forget to pull out one item, which Ryan found the next day…a whole tub of Red Vines! Well, y’know you can’t return a tub of fresh red vines! YUM!

I got my toppings inspiration from this Buzzfeed article and placed them in individual bowls on top of kraft paper (roll from Michaels by the dollar bins). I added a bowl of fresh fruit, a tower of Fritos chip bags, and a plate of hot dogs (to make chili dogs because why not?). Lastly, I used a large sharpie marker for food labeling and voila! The DIY chili bar is all set up!

Another element I like to add to parties are printed goods, primarily because I love to design them. For Ryan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday earlier this year, we made a “Back in <insert birthyear>” sign that was quite the hit! So, I replicated the idea, incorporated the trending Memphis patterns, and found some fun stats for the year 1982. Everyone loved reading it!

We ended the night with the ultimate ice cream birthday cake from Baskin Robbins and playing a round of modified Telestrations, where we drew/wrote about our fondest memories of the birthday boy! Fun times all around!! 🎉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In DIY, Home Decor, Silhouette on
November 9, 2017

DIY Lightbox Letters

 

Halloween night was incredible! My 4.5yo and almost 2yo wanted to keep going and going and going, especially my littlest one. As you know with my month-long tribute to the spooktacular holiday, I love Halloween even more now as a parent. It’s such a joy watching my kids get into the spirit, trying to contain their excitement (or not!) and gazing with mesmerized eyes at all the festive decorations in our neighborhood.

Halloween kicks off “crazy season” for my family. I have been a little MIA lately because I threw a surprise birthday party for the hubs. I’ll blog about that party later. But I will share one cool craft I did in preparation for the party. My hubby was born in the 80s so the party had a little nod to that rad decade. Over the summer, I purchased a $10 light box from WalMart and have used it any chance I got. Unfortunately, the hard part is finding a phrase or saying that works. You see, the light box comes with two sets of each letter. So for instance, for Halloween, I couldn’t do “trick or treat” because I didn’t have enough of the letter T. So I just ended up with “Boo!” Haha, I know, super lame.

For the surprise party, I wanted to use the phrase “Totally Tubular Dude” and again, I was stuck with the same letter T problem. Well, enough is enough…I’m a maker and I’m going to make it work! If you find yourself in the same situation, here is a tutorial on how to make your own light box letters!

 

 

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In DIY, Holidays, Silhouette on
October 31, 2017

DIY Paw Patrol Chase and Skye Halloween Costumes

 

 

About the middle of summer is when I have a very important conversation with my son…Halloween costumes. We brainstorm all the possibilities and I let him stew on the options. Yup, I use food puns whenever I can.

Two years ago, I made my son a wearable firetruck costume out of a UPS shipping box. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of keeping the costume AND in plain sight (in the garage). So, of course he asked that this year’s costume be made the same way!

If you know any preschooler these days, it’s all about Paw Patrol. My son is obsessed with Chase the police pup while my daughter loves Skye, the Amelia Earhart of the crew. And voila, Halloween costume decision made!

So, knowing that my by-the-book firstborn son would be checking my work, I got started right away. I have no time to waste! I kid you not, he seriously checked my progress each day and said “yes, mommy, that is good. Yup…Mmm-hmm, that’s correct. Great job mommy.”😳

With my Silhouette cutting machine, I was able to replicate many of the designs on Chase’s vehicle, Skye’s pup pack, as well as their pup badge designs. If you ever wondered how much you can create custom work with the Silhouette for your project needs, this is 100% proof right here.

 

How I made the Chase costume:

  • Spray painted a UPS shipping box (12in x 12in x 20in) blue with multiple coats. Cut out a hole to fit my son in the middle and stapled elastic straps to make “suspenders” for a wearable costume.
  • Create custom pieces that were cut by my Silhouette machine, such as the head/tail lights, wheels, decals, front “winch” box, and badges.
  • Inserted submersible LED tealights into Container Store’s Amac colored boxes to create the back “flashers” as well as put two bike flashing lights on the front.
  • Sew hand-cut blue craft foam onto existing black baseball cap. Glued on yellow ribbon, hand-cut felt ears, and paper badge. He wears this everrrrrrrday.

 

How I made the Skye costume:

  • I already had a dark pink tutu dress (bought from Old Navy) from my daughter’s 1st birthday party. Surprisingly it still fit her…a little on the short side but we just add bottoms and it’s all good. I sewed the paper Skye badge over the glitter “one” HTV that was on the front of her dress. Hooray for this quick hack!
  • To make Skye’s pup pack, I wrapped a software box (no joke!) with pink craft felt and hot glued another paper badge on top. For the wings, I simply cut out cardboard from an Amazon shipping box, wrapped it with silver poster board, and added some pink trim. Lastly, I hot glued both the wings to the back of the pup pack as well as two elastic bands to form a backpack. I also stapled the elastic bands for extra security.
  • The last accessory was the headpiece. Luckily, I had a dark pink fabric headband from one of my daugher’s baby headbands (one of many she never really liked wearing 🙄…). I cut out the “googles” out of light pink felt as well as little pup ears out of light brown felt, and sew both of them onto the headband. That was easy and quick to pull together! Whew!

 

 

All in all, everyone’s happy. The kids are stoked and I couldn’t get my son to take off his hat or vest (even with the insane heat wave last week!). I’m pretty happy how both costumes turned out and I’m also pretty happy to be done working on them! Ha! Looking forward to seeing how these costumes hold up on tonight!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the month-long Halloween craft/DIY projects on the blog! Happy Halloween!! 🎃

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In DIY, Freebies, Holidays on
October 29, 2017

Glow Necklace Favor Tags (FREEBIE!)

Will your little one be roaming the streets this Halloween? Maybe with a group of little goblins? Well, unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you might want to put a little glow stick necklace on your child for safety reasons. It’s easy for you (the parent) to identify your child and what munchkin doesn’t like things that glow in the dark?! Um, can we say win-win? And anytime I can win as a parent…count me in!

Since candy is plenty this time of year, this is a great non-candy goodie for the kiddos! Took a walk through Target’s Halloween section (where I…mmmyeah, probably spent a solid hour) and spotted these simple glow necklaces that came 10 in a bag for just $3. Oh Target, just take my wallet!

To go along with the glow necklaces, I designed these adorable candy corn-shaped favor tags that read “Shine bright on Halloween Night!” You, too, can make these super simple goodies by downloading today’s FREEBIE! Below is a super quick tutorial with supplies that you probably already have at home!

 

Where to buy specific craft supplies: hyde and eek glow necklaces

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In DIY, Holidays, Silhouette on
October 26, 2017

Rice Krispie Treat (Horizontal) Toppers

 

I’m a total sugar junkie. My dentists (yes plural! I’ve seen a lot of dentists 🙈) would all agree too. So since I couldn’t wait until Halloween to sink my teeth into something sweet, I made rice krispie treats. Halloween-style of course.

After spreading the gooey rice krispie and marshmallow mixture onto a baking sheet, I added and pressed in Halloween sprinkles. Then, made rice krispie cutouts with my Halloween-themed cookie cutters. Annnnd in case you couldn’t tell I was excited about Halloween, I added some festive toppers!

I thought to myself…hmm, most of the treat toppers we see are upright ones. (You know, like the ones in cupcakes at birthday parties). But why stop there?? Let’s think outside of the box and do something fun…like horizontal toppers! *insert mind-blown meme*

I always like a good crafting challenge so I came up with a couple fun toppers, three of which uses designs from the Silhouette Design Store!

The pumpkin faces are by Hero Arts (Design ID#67247). With my Silhouette CAMEO machine, I cut out ovals out of a clear acetate sheet and the faces using black cardstock. Then, I used craft glue to stick the faces onto the ovals and hot glue gunned a trimmed toothpick to the back of the oval (behind a face piece to conceal the toothpick) to make it a topper.

 

The “boo!” speech bubble is Design ID#152644. A toothpick was glue to the back of the topper and inserted into the side of the rice krispie ghost cutout.

The other “boo” was my own design and the toothpick was placed behind the “b” so that it was hidden, giving the topper a floating look.

 

I think these horizontal toppers really add some visual pizzazz to the treats, which makes the eating more fun! 😊 Such a simple and playful way to dress up Halloween sweets!

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In DIY, Holidays, Home Decor on
October 23, 2017

Spiderweb Table Runner

 

Everrrrrry time I walk past the dollar bins at Michaels to check out, I see paper rolls of all colors and patterns. Usually I have pretty good self-control with these impulse buy type of products but somehow I have acquired hoarded five of these over the years, none of which have been used…until now!

With every holiday, our dining table gets a little festive makeover. For Halloween this year, I made a table runner out of those dang paper rolls and was quite pleased how it turned out! The paper material is thin so I quickly learned a lesson in patience when peeling the paper off the 12in x 24in cutting mat. I used the spiderweb stencil from Design ID#45894, stretched it out to fit my extra-long cutting mat, modified the design a bit to make it into a 12in x 24in piece (a lot of ungrouping, welding, and deleting border), sent it to Silhouette to cut, and voila!

I know I love Halloween but I can’t help but think what kind of runner I can make for Thanksgiving or Christmas?! After all, I do have paper rolls in kraft and red! 🙈

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