Monday, December 26, 2011

The Christmas Gift: Revealed!!!

Hello to everyone not reading my blog! I assumed that since no one really reads this thing, it wouldn't be too terrible if I missed a week. (Sorry, it's been crazy around here!)

I had a blast making 2 sets of 20 hand-made, custom cards, perfect for many occasions, for Christmas gifts! I made a set for my sister, and another set for my cousin and his wife. It was a great gift because it was budget-friendly, and it was something really unique that will save the recipients some time and  money in the upcoming year! I always hate when I'm getting ready to go to a birthday party and I realize I don't have a card. Now, my sister and cousins won't have to worry about that... there are plenty of cards in their arsenal for the upcoming year.

Here are some shots:
Here's the set of 20 I made for my sister

Here's the set of 20 for my cousin and his wife

Close-up of 2 birthday cards

Some more birthday cards. The insides have little rhymes and sentiments,
but I'm not sharing those online, since I'm submitting them for a greeting-card company job!

A "Just Because" card and a "Love" card

More birthday!

Baby cards for variety!

All wrapped up and ready to go!
I put pretty gel pens in the front because
the ink looks nicer with the hand-made cards
than ink from just a regular old pen.

I thought that the Thirty-One Littles Carry-All Caddy would be the perfect choice for the "gift-wrap." They are $12, but they are so wonderful. I rave about these on my "Products I Love" page, but seriously... how cute is this! And then the cards can be stored in the large open area, with some pens, scissors, tape, whatever, in the front mesh pocket! Really, you can store any stationery in the caddy, so when the cards are gone, it'll still be useful!

Overall, the cards were pretty inexpensive and easy. It was difficult to be creative after making so many. I bought the cards for about $4 for a pack of 25. I used scrapbook paper from a 12x12 Variety Pack that I've had for years for the backgrounds. You can buy new packs for $9.99-$19.99 these days, or you can get individual sheets. I used scraps from large pieces as well as from my Scrap Packs for the accents, and stickers to finish it off!!! I used acid-free photo glue to hold everything together, as well.

These could definitely be more expensive to make if you use the delux stickers. I looked everywhere for big packs of birthday/Valentine's/Christmas stickers and got the most bang for my buck.

Let me know if you have any questions! I'd love to hear your comments!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Project #4: Assorted Thank You Cards

This might not be as big of a challenge since I make cards pretty frequently, but this is my first foray into using stamps! And cards with cutouts! And it's my first time trying to sell something on my Etsy shop! So it was a pretty new experience.

I found a pack of cards with "windows" at Michael's in their $1 bin and thought they were unique and cute. So $1 for 8 cards and envelopes. Then I found flower stickers (you wouldn't believe how rare a decent set of flower stickers is!) for $1.79. I received some stamps and ink for my birthday and decided I'd give them a try with these other supplies.

The supplies: Ink pads, stamps, flower stickers,
and blank cards with windows.

Stamping the cards!

The top sentiments are done in pink, and the large "Thank You" at the bottom is done in blue.

Finished product!

The set of four, for sale on Etsy!!!
2 say "Kindness is in full bloom" and
the other 2 say "Kindness is always in season."

I'm really happy with how these turned out. I wanted them to be more whimsical and not quite so "perfect," and that is definitely how they came out!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Project #3: The Wedding Program Ornament

I had seen some pretty nifty wedding invitations turned into ornaments, so on my almost daily pilgrimage to Michael's, I spotted craft ornaments on sale outside and picked up two. I had every intention on creating something really new and unique, but I decided to copy off Pinterest again and use my cousin's wedding program to make a Christmas gift for him and his wife.

Here's a "before" shot: The wedding program
and the empty plastic ornament.

I took off the front of the program and cut it into narrow strips.
I wanted to make sure the words were all intact.

Luckily, the strips were narrow enough that I could feed them through the opening at the top of the ornament (when the metal piece is removed.) I fed them in so that the text was on the outside. I also added a few burgundy pieces of paper to go with the wedding colors. A few pieces of paper got wrapped around a pen first to give them some spiral and extra dimension.

I added a heart charm and a burgundy velvet bow (left over from my bookmark project) to finish it off, and ta-da! You can read some important pieces from the program and it incorporates the color scheme.

The Supplies and Cost:
*The ribbon was a leftover from a previous project, and a spool cost $2.99
*The charm was a leftover from a previous project, and a pack of 6 was on sale for $2.40, regular price $4.
*The ornament is typically $1.49 but was on sale for $0.75.

Total cost (using the sale prices) was about $1.25, and I think it is a great momento for their first Christmas as husband and wife!

Check back in a few days to see what happens to the second ornament!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A New Challenge: Christmas, 2012

After trying my hand at a few crafty things already (and anticipating a new sewing machine in *hopefully* the near future), my goal is to make all my Christmas gifts for next year (except for Landon, but that might change.) I'll have to start now, but I think a handmade gift would be a great idea for everyone on my list.

Challenge Accepted.

It's a good thing JoAnn's has a big sale this weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Project #2: Spur-of-the-Moment Inspirational Earrings

This idea is one I did NOT take from Pinterest, though I'm sure someone thought of it before so I am sorry if I really am stealing an idea that I kind of came up with myself.

Remember those ribbon bookmarks from yesterday? I used my leftover Easter Basket ribbon and made one for myself:

Then, I had 2 charms left. "Hope" and "Love," and my leftover ribbon clamps were too big for ALL the ribbon I have in my house. So I decided to make earrings!

These are the only supplies I used. My jewelry pliers, 2 jump rings,
2 dangly earring bases, and my 2 charms. Don't ask me how much everything
costs because it all comes in big packs. I'm guessing this set cost me about $1.00
And I'm already wearing them. I'm hoping people ask me about them at work tonight.
I'll let you know!

All you do is use your pliers to open the jump ring.
Hook it into the dangly earring base and the charm's jump ring.
(This ensures that the words hang straight and not with the
narrow edge of the charms facing people.)
Close the jump ring with your pliers. Repeat on other earring.

Project #1: The Ribbon Bookmark

I found a "gifts for under $5" section on Pinterest, and couldn't stop myself from immediately wanting to make 8 of each. I fell in love with the ribbon bookmarks, especially with Christmas around the corner. I think the velvet ribbon is so appropriate for Christmas, and I do have a few women who are retired but who love to read, and they are very hard to buy for. So these would be perfect!

*The cost of the ribbon was $2.99 for a whole spool. It was on sale at Michael's.
*The ribbon clamps are assorted sizes, which was a bummer, but I had an 11 month old baby with me and was in a hurry, so I bought them anyway. They were $2.99 for 5 sets.
*The charms came 6 in a pack for $3.99. I also found individual charms for $1.99 each, but loved what these charms said, since they are for women who are very involved in the church. Plus, I had a 40% off one item coupon, so really they were $2.39. Look online for coupons before you go shopping!
*Pliers. I used my jewelry pliers. But you just need something to squeeze the clamps closed.

These are all the supplies: scissors to cut the ribbon, clamps, 2 sizes of ribbon (since the clamps are different sizes), charms, and my jewelry pliers. Regular pliers would work well though, too.

Steps in Pictures:

Cut the ribbon to about 9 inches.
You can go longer than this too, if you want the ribbon
to hang out of the book a little bit more.
Position a ribbon clamp at one end of the ribbon.

Use the pliers to pinch the ribbon clamp so it is tight on the ribbon.
You don't want it to fall off!
Repeat this for the other end of your ribbon.

Sorry, this one's blurry. Take your charm, and using your pliers,
open the jump ring at the end to attach it to the ribbon clamp.
Most charms will have the jump rings, but if not, you can buy a large pack for about $3.
Once the jump ring is threaded through the hook on the clamp,
use your pliers to close the jump ring again so it is tight and won't fall off.

Here you can see how the ribbon and the clamps are not the same size.
I don't mind it because I like how the clamp looks a smidgen too large.
However, in the future, I will be buying one-size clamps and making sure
they are the same width as the ribbon to give it a more "professional" look.

These say "Play" with the basketballs, "Believe," and "Faith."
It took about 10 minutes to make all 3 of these,
 and I can make 2 more with the clamps that I have.
So I can make start-to-finish 5 bookmarks for $8.40, plus have
some leftover supplies for when I buy more clamps.
Less than $2.00 per unique, one of a kind gift?
Yes, please!

I hope this tutorial was helpful to you!
Please comment if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them for you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Step 1: The Challenge

Ever watch that movie, Julie and Julia, where Julie goes through Julia Child's cookbook in a year? Consider this a crafty version of that.

In an attempt to improve my skill in my craftiness, I'm exploring my abilities in blog-form. At least once each week, I'll try something new, and post about it here! 

A friend of mine is doing this through a larger network... "52 weeks of Pinterest," and I think it's a great idea. I love creating things, and I love sharing creativity with other people. I know it's not very creative to rip-off this idea, but I love it so much that I am challenging myself to do something creative on a daily basis, and to share that with you. Some ideas will be from Pinterest (in fact, as I'm new to the site and have found many great ideas already, I'm sore most of them will be from Pinterest), but I'll also try to put some of my own ideas on here.

I am so excited to embark on this journey, and I hope you enjoy the next year of crafts and Jubilant Designs!!!