Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Go-to Gal Designer Challenge {Neat & Tangled}

Hello friends! Today is a Go-to Gal Designer Challenge! We're happy to be sharing some fabulous products from Neat and Tangled today! Neat and Tangled is sweet company that sells the best quality photopolymer clear stamps, made in the USA! (Woot woot!)

I've been creating like crazy, with the Just For You stamp set. This first card I created for an inside-and-out call for Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking a few months ago. This is the front of the card. . .

and in this photo you can see the inside of the card too. (It's two copies of the same card.) 

Next, I stamped the balloons in assorted ink colors. I love the way they overlap and the colors show through, just like real balloons would. It was fun to play with all these bright colors!

I can't wait to see what the other Go-to Gals have created with their Neat & Tangled goodies! Stop on by and visit them all!

Also, stop by and visit the Neat & Tangled website, Neat & Tangled on Facebook, and Neat & Tangled on Pinterest!  Thanks for coming by today!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Go-to Gal Blog Hop {Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine}

I've already talked a bit about Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine coming to a close. Us Go-to Gals decided to take today to celebrate the magazine, the editors, and our time as Go-to partners in crime, with a little blog hop. (Because blog hops - well, it's what we do, y'all.) 

I'll admit - I didn't create this card especially for today's blog post. It's been sitting in a file for quite some time actually. I was just fooling around with Paper Smooches dies and some patterned papers, and this card came together. And I kinda loved it. So I hoarded it and saved it for the perfect pub call, or the perfect day. Today. Is. That. Day.

I've already shared my sadness and my reflections about the magazine. . . . today, what I'd really like to say is THANK YOU. It's fitting that this week we'll celebrate Thanksgiving, because although I'm feeling lost and incredibly disappointed at the loss of our magazine, I'm overwhelmingly thankful.

Sweet editors, past and present:
Thank you. . . 
for accepting that first card for publication, in 2008. It started something kinda magical!
for invitations to magazine assignments. for trusting my art, and for trusting me as a reliable designer.
for the invitation to try out to become a Go-to Gal. (It was epic to receive even that.)
for THE phone call. for knocking my socks off in surprise.
for bringing together all kinds of people who have become crafty, kind, beautiful friends, and otherwise wouldn't have probably ever known each other.
again, for trusting my art, and for trusting ME with the responsibility.
for making me laugh till I cry on a regular basis.
for stressing me out with scary assignments that I'm not sure I can do.
for giving me the opportunity to prove to myself that i CAN.
for being my cheerleaders and my coaches every step of the way.
for ridiculous hashtags like #poundsign and #swine 
for TEACHING me. (Seriously, every time I have a conversation with Jennifer, I learn something.)
for laughing at me. for helping me understand that I'm a pretty okay person, with something to offer.
for trips to Utah. Kind of a highlight of my adult life. (Is that bad? I mean, my family tops my highlights list, but after that. . .well. . . .editorial board meetings in Utah. It's right up there.) 
for snowy (early) mornings at Starbucks. #earlybirdsrock

Dear Go-to Gals:
Thank you. . .
for inspiring me.
for laughing at me.
for doing hilarious things that i can laugh at. (Betsy. Dishwasher detergent. Enough said.)
for becoming fast and fierce friends.
for being dependable, available practically 24 hours a day, and for completely GETTING me.
for teaching me. so very VERY many things I've learned from you!
for your extreme generosity and kind hearts.
dang we work well together, don't we? 

I'm thankful that we're all just an email or text away from each other, as always. Things will never be the same again. But the friends I've made, are still my friends whether there's a magazine or not. And for that, I am MOST thankful of all!

Please head around to visit the other Go-to Gals participating today. . . (Laina is on a cruise in the Caribbean, so we've decided to let her off the hook today.

Friday, November 21, 2014

brushstrokes2stamp {The Stamps of Life}

I'm happy to introduce you to brushstrokes2stamp, from The Stamps of Life
I had a blast creating backgrounds, sentiments, and designs with this stamp set! 

On this card, I paired brushstrokes2stamp along with new tag dies, that Stephanie Barnard created for Sizzix.  (affiliate link) I'm a sucker for tag dies. They have so many uses, and I love putting them on cards or using them for journaling blocks (plus, well. . .using them as tags.) I stamped the brushstroke in three colors of pigment ink to create this fun effect. Then I died the ribbon to match. I used color-ready ribbon from Close To My Heart, and I just got it slightly wet and then brushed ink onto it. It spread and blended and turned out really fun!

On this card I tapped my stamps into some diluted ink, to create a watercolor effect, and then added a few splotches with a brush. Super simple, but kind of fun, right?
On this last card I overlapped the brushstrokes to create a background and then just stamped my sentiment right on top. I'm just realizing I need to reproduce this card about 20 times, because how EASY is that, and it's the perfect card to mass-produce. I think it will be fun to play with different color combinations too. I know what I'm working on tonight! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

3 Free Gifts and 40% off! {Shutterfly}

Hi friends! I just wanted to share some brand new (and fabulous) Shutterfly deals with you! I've had an order accumulating in my cart, that I need to order this week! Most especially, I'm excited about 40% off EVERYTHING with code SHAREIT, through November 24th. 40% off EVERYTHING?! This hardly ever happens, so go get some shopping done!

Thanks so much for all your sweet words about my china cabinet repaint, and my artwork on the Paper Crafts blog yesterday. (Scroll on down, if you missed that post!) I am really excited about these projects, and I'm thrilled that so many of you love them too! Have a great weekend! xoxo

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cheering Up the China Cabinet {painted furniture tutorial}

Today, my friends, I'd like to officially introduce you to my happy china cabinet! But before you meet her, I'd like you to meet my dark, sad, lovely-in-her-own-way china cabinet. (Also known as: The Before Photo)

You may not wish to hear all the details about this china cabinet, but this is my blog, so I'm going to tell you. It was given to my husband when he was in college. It filled the entire wall of his apartment, as it had two other pieces, but each time we've moved, we've er - lost one. It was already well-loved when Eric got it, and we've been married now for 13 years, so this cabinet has definitely lived a good life. And it is pretty cool. I love the detail at the top. But it's DARK. And in the we-can't-paint-the-walls townhouse where we live, I miss COLOR. I'm a pretty bright and cheery person, and our living room is white and brown. Booooo.

SO, after reading about a hundred furniture painting tutorials, the hubs and I decided to dive in and do it. (I've never loved him more, than when he got fired up about an aqua china cabinet.) We debated about chalk paint or latex paint. I was worried about having to get wax in all those little grooves and details. So we went with latex.

After cleaning the whole thing with soapy water, and then allowing it to dry, we used Zinsser Bull's Eye 1-2-3 Primer. It's water based, and the surfaces don't have to be sanded first. It stuck really well, and I will definitely use this again.

For the paint, we chose Behr Premium Plus Ultra, in Lap Pool Blue, from Home Depot. Everything we used, was recommended from websites and blog posts that I read. (I'll link my favorites at the end.) We used two coats, and still have at least half a gallon of paint left. Our littlest man wanted to help, so I let him paint the back of one of the corner pieces. I had him paint his name too!
After everything was painted and dried came my favorite part - distressing it. I sanded the edges and corners and spots on the doors. It's weird how fun it was to basically destroy all my hard work. I love the way some of the primer shows through, and then the dark lovely wood. 

We really debated about whether or not to take the hardware off before we started painting. I was terrified that it wouldn't go back on properly, but my husband was brave and took control of that situation. I painted the hardware with Rustoleum Hammered spray paint. It actually left a hammered metal texture to it - I have no idea how that works, but it looks great. (I sprayed WAY too much though, and it took forever to dry!)

These were the handles before we removed them. When we reassembled it, we left off the extra detail pieces. 

In this picture, you can see the hammered texture of the painted hardware.

The biggest debate was a finishing coat. We bought Minwax Polycrylic, and then I read some blog posts that scared me - they talked about brush strokes and bubbles and I was afraid we'd ruin all our work. I applied Polycrylic to the cabinet doors, decided I didn't like it, sanded it off, and the repainted and redistressed the doors. This cabinet doesn't get a lot of wear and tear, so we're just leaving it without.
So there you have it. Meet the happy, cheery, aqua china cabinet! It has really brightened up our whole living area. I asked my husband how long it will be until we say "Remember when it was so trendy to have aqua furniture?" Who knows how many colors this sweet old cabinet will end up being! My dream is that some day I'll have a craft room, and this can be part of my storage space. Can't you just picture it filled with jars of buttons and twine!? (Swooooon.) 

Here are some of the blogs that helped us:
Whatever (this is the post that got me fired up. COLOR. COLOR. COLOR. and craft supplies!)

In addition, I pinned a lot of tutorials on Pinterest, as well as examples that inspired us.

And now, if you haven't had enough of me, stop on by the Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking blog, because I took an unused shelf from this cabinet, and turned it into a piece of artwork, thanks to Hazel & Ruby stencils! Come on over and see! Thanks for listening to me ramble on today. Holler if you have any questions! :) 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This week. {Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine}

I just recently sent this card to someone I adore an awful lot. I hope it brightened her day! 

It's been a WEEK, friends. Seriously. The paper crafting world is reeling from the news that Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking is ceasing publication. It's amazing how a magazine has drawn people together, created friendships and connections and been such a huge life changer for so many people. Sweet, crafty folks like you and me (well, I'm sweet MOST days) have been changed. We've had an outlet for our creativity. It made our hobby feel LEGIT - didn't it? People who don't craft, don't really GET us sometimes. But when we say, "Yeah, I create stuff that's been in magazines." Well - they GET that. When I started submitting, I just thought it would be cool to see my name and artwork in print. And it is seriously cool. The novelty has never worn off. I didn't expect that I'd make friends all over the world, participate in blog hops, work with amazing designers, and companies, and even get to sit in THE office at Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking. Being a Go-to Gal wasn't even something in my realm of dreams, but it taught be to dream a bit bigger though! 

It hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. Behind the scenes of the magazine, there is WORK. Occasionally, there are tears and private hissy fits. There are projects that are redone (and sometimes redone again) and sometimes they are thrown in the garbage. There are last minute deadlines and phone meetings and schedules to keep. We had fun beyond words, and we laughed like crazy people, but it wasn't always easy. We worked our tails off, especially the editors and staff, to create a magazine that would inspire, and educate. It's hard to understand that one day we're all cranking along and working on the June issue . . .and then, well . . . .we're not. 

Some have voiced their strong opinions and frustrations about this week's news. But please, be kind. . . .please remember there are a lovely, talented, and tireless group of people who lost their full time JOBS in this situation. Whether you felt sunshine and roses about the magazine or not - people have worked their TAILS off to create it. We've poured our hearts and souls into it - and there's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than I even understand. So think before you type. Be kind. On the flip side, there have been so many kind words. We've been comforted by our stories and memories and connections, haven't we?!

I'm feeling a little lost this week, as I know a lot of us are. My calendar was mostly wiped clean, and I've just looked at my desk wondering what in the world to do with myself. This was sudden - it wasn't something any of us were expecting, and it's going to take a while for the new normal to set in. The good news is - we're all still connected by social media and blogs, so let's work together to maintain the crafty, creative connections we have. And hey - maybe I'll spend some more time blogging now. Thank you sweet friends, stay crafty!!! I'd love to hear your thoughts and favorite things about the magazine if you feel like sharing! xoxo

Card details: I used Elle's Studio Shine Collection and Shine journaling cards. (affiliate links) This collection is so bright and cheery! I love it! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easy thank you cards to mass produce {Lil' Inker Designs}

Between family birthdays and holidays, this time of year I generally make just as many thank you cards as holiday cards - if not more! I also love to share cards as gifts, and thank you and birthday tend to be what people need the most of. I'm always on the hunt for a versatile card layout, that's super cute, but quick to assemble, and it can work with a variety of papers.

This weekend I was trying to create some more masculine cards, for my husband to mail out. I used dies from Lil' Inker and patterned papers from Fancy Pants, and I think I'll be reproducing this card in a bunch of colors and patterns. This card is totally flat, so it's easy peasy for mailing. No layers or bumps.

Thanks for stopping by today! xoxo

Products I used:
Lil' Inker Flags and Tags dies (I'm seriously using these dies on everything I touch!)
Lil' Inker Designs Thanks Word Die (at just $6.00, this is a must-have!) 
Fancy Pants Captured Moments 6x6 paper and Brag Pad

Friday, November 7, 2014

Holiday Cards freebie and inspiration {Tiny Prints and Lil' Inker}

Even though I'm a crafter at heart, it's so fun to have photo cards for family and close friends. And let's face it, creating a million Christmas cards isn't always how we want to spend the month of November. To save you some sanity and time, I'd love to share a great deal with you from Tiny Prints*. Through November 12th, you can get 10 free holiday cards. You pay the shipping, but it's totally worth it. Tiny Prints is a Shutterfly brand, and they along with Shutterfly each offer a large selection of cards. I'm going to be completely honest - I prefer the Tiny Prints cards hands down. I've ordered from both, and I like Shutterfly's cards . . . .but I LOVE Tiny Prints' cards. The paper is so gorgeous, and photos look amazing. 

Use my link to get this deal, as you won't find it on the website. It's an affiliate exclusive! Woohoo! 

EDT: I created a quick card today, and ordered it! Here's a sneak peek. Just a plain and simple look, so I could cram a bunch of photos on it. (My family photos are seriously lacking this year!) In addition to the above deal, I got ANOTHER promo code today. There's a 25% site wide sale going on, but with promo code TPSAVE25FS you'll get FREE SHIPPING too, with no minimum order. So here's the deal, I ordered these 10 cards, plus a set of address labels, and paid $5.84. Total. BAM. 

And now. . . . a little more handcrafted Christmas inspiration. Here's another Lil' Inker new release - the Baubled Christmas Tree die. I die-cut the Christmas tree from glittered cardstock, and then I used the inside dots that were cut out, as embellishments on the card. It's a two-for-one deal! Love it! The stamped sentiment is from the Big Christmas Stamps, I just masked the sentiment. 

Check out all the Lil' Inker new products here!

*Tiny Prints is a Shutterfly brand, so they are part of the affiliate program I belong to. I promise, I'm not going to start bombarding you with sales pitches and affiliate posts. BUT, I really do recommend and use Shutterfly and Tiny Prints, and I love a super good deal. A perk of being a Shutterfly affiliate is that I get an advance scoop on upcoming deals, AND more importantly, I get special affiliate-only deals. I can't help but pass these on to you! (After all, I'd want you to do the same for me!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stitched Script Christmas Card {Lil' Inker Designs}

Hello friends! I still have a few more projects to share with you, from the Lil' Inker release, so I thought I'd pop in to share one today. I've had a sick kiddo at home this week, and I haven't been getting much accomplished - but I can throw together a blog post while he recuperates with a little television time. (What are sick days for, after all!?)

I used the brand new Stitched Script Holiday Word dies for this card, plus the Border Builders die (to create the fun scalloped and stitched rounded layers) and I also used the Cover Up Die: Snowflakes. The Cover Up dies are background dies - but I trimmed just one snowflake from my die-cut panel, and added it onto this card. The real work on this card was on the sentiment. The Stitched Script die creates a stitched sentiment. It can absolutely be left as is, but I decided to use some black thread and stitch the sentiment. I'm a huge fan of bold colors for Christmas, and black/white/red always makes me happy. . . .so I'm pretty pleased with the final product. 

You can find all the dies I used in the Lil' Inker store!

Monday, November 3, 2014

tictactoe2play{The Stamps of Life}

Tictactoe2play is the newest stamp set from The Stamps of Life.  How CLEVER is this!? Seriously, tic tac toe!? This set of stamps, and the coordinating dies are cute for cards, plus other gifts and creations. I have a few projects to share with you today! Ready? 

Here's a quick tip for adding twine to a card. I wanted the twine to cut across my card at an angle. I used a hole punch and cut out a half-circle, which creates a notch for the twine to rest in. That way it won't slide around. 

On the next card, I stamped my images and sentiments with white pigment ink, on chalkboard paper. It's a quick easy way to create a chalkboard look! 

I hate it when I forget to photograph something important (or cute.) On this last card, I die cut the tic tac toe board from chipboard to give it some nice dimension. On the inside of the card (but not photographed) is a cute little clear envelope that holds the tic tac toe pieces, so that the card can be used as a game board! Fun for a child's birthday card, isn't it?

And last but not least, I created a tic tac toe game pad. I trimmed copy paper and stamped the boards. I added a piece of patterned paper on top, and a slightly larger piece of card stock on the bottom. I folded the top over and stapled it. (The tic tac toe title hides the staples.) I added die cut shapes to the front, and some twine. My kids had fun using up this notepad all at one time!
So here's the deal with the stamps and dies at The Stamps of Life. You can purchase any of the products in the shop at any time, but TSOL also has two great club options as well. You can get the full scoop here on their website. If you love the idea of stamps (and dies) showing up in your mailbox every month, then you might love the club membership! I have to say - the prices are quite reasonable, and the product is TOP NOTCH! 

Thanks so much for stopping by today! Stop on by the TSOL gallery for lots more tic tac toe inspiration!