Friday, November 30, 2012

My Other Creations: Sewing Tins

Exciting news!  You know how much I adore the publications from Stampington & Company and Sew Somerset is one of my ultimate faves!  I'm so honored to have an article (Altered Sewing Tins) in their Winter 2013 issue that just came out. 

Here are just a few shots of my creations inside (all credit goes to the photographers!!)

Like I said, this is a definite must-have issue and I'd still be saying that even if my project wasn't in there.  Seriously-- lots of good stuff inside and I appreciate Stampington & Co for always putting out quality publications.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Other Creations: Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Greetings readers!  Still playing post-Thanksgiving catch-up and feeling like I am NOT READY for December, but I did try and get my Christmas crafting on this weekend.  Here's a fun holiday project I tried that involves cookie cutters, but doesn't involve ovens (I think we've established that baking is not my forte)!  So instead of cutting dough with these holiday cookie cutters, I used them to make some festive Christmas ornaments instead.  Behold this little trio!

To make these, I started out with the FABULOUS All is Bright collection from My Mind's Eye and a pack of holiday cookie cutters that I picked up for just a couple of bucks.  I laid the cookie cutter onto the paper, traced around it, cut out the shape, then glued it to the back of the cookie cutter.  This created an instant "mini shadowbox" of sorts.

I used the All is Bright paper for the background of each of these ornaments and also used many of the stickers from this collection.  I "glammed up" the edges with glitter, glitter flakes and sequins and threw on some 3D elements.

This star-shaped cookie cutter made me think of light, so I added a whimsical lightbulb as the focal point.

For the sled, I went with a little bottle filled with glitter and labeled it, "Christmas Spirit."  I liked the idea of a sled rushing around sprinkling everyone with the feeling of Christmas.  As we all know, it can be harder to catch some years than others!

All in all, these ornaments are fun to make and can be used in lots of ways.  If you don't want to use them as ornaments, you could also use them as place card holders for a holiday dinner.  Just glue a paperclip or a wire curl to the back which can hold a slip of paper with different guests' names (the Christmas tree one is an example of this).  You can also attach these cookie cutters to gifts in the place of a bow for a very fancy wrap job.  You could even stick a gift card to the back for the perfect gift combo: something handmade combined with something store bought that you know the receiver will use and enjoy.  

The bottom line?  With cookie cutters being so cost effective and so crafty-cute, there's no reason NOT to use them outside of the kitchen, too!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Other Creations: Embellished Christmas CD/DVD Case

Since I lack basic baking skills and we don't always know what to buy our various family members, my husband and I started making DVD's to give away as Christmas gifts.  Using a program like Adobe, we can make slide shows from family photos and video footage taken throughout the year (and if you're not tech-savvy, there are many companies that you can hire to do this for you).  This gift is personal, is always appreciated and can be extremely cost-effective.  And what better way is there to add an extra bit of "oomph" to the gift than packaging it with style?

I made this CD cover and decorative "belly band" using the absolutely beautiful "All is Bright" Christmas collection from My Mind's Eye.  Simply put, this is one of my favorite Christmas collections EVER.

Belly bands are a relatively easy way to dress up any sort of box or container.  You can wrap the box (or not) then wrap on a belly band to spruce it up.  They're a great alternative to a standard gift bow and with drool-causing collections like this one, your job's a snap!

So why not compile some family photos and make a DVD that will continue to give for generations?  You just can't beat watching your family's truimphs, disasters and embarrassments on the the big screen.  It's a gift that's thoughtful, personal and sure to be enjoyed during many holiday get-togethers.  And the best part is that you, as the Chief Editor, get to pick whether or not to include that awesome picture of you in 7th grade with scary hair, braces and half-closed eyes!  Happy holidays are coming!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Cards and Tags: Basic Grey Fact & Fiction Collection

Oh what joy filled my shopping soul when I walked into JoAnn's this weekend and saw this display of Basic Grey's new Fact & Fiction collection!  There is nothing like being unexpectedly stopped in your tracks by the brilliant new offerings of our favorite companies!

In addition to the pleasing patterns of this collection, I was equally impressed by its clever concept.  There are two paper pads, one titled, "Fact" and the other titled, "Fiction."  As you can guess, the "Fact" paper was a little more linear and graph-ish while the "Fiction" pack was a little more floral and whimsical.  Totally represents the theory of left and right-brained thinkers.  LOVE that! 

So here's a card I made from the collection and I'll also throw in some pics of the collection itself.  Lots of fun and two thumbs up (or two brain halves up) for whoever thought of this one!

This card was made entirely with the Fact & Fiction collection except for the metal hangers (Tim Holtz), the lace and measuring tape pieces (vintage stuff I had on hand), and the stamp of the man and the "Oddity" sentiment (both from Studio 490 by Wendy Vecchi- whose products I also madly adore).

And here are some pics of other parts of the collection.  In this first shot, those mint green blob-looking things are fake wax seals, which I thought was clever.  Behind that is a notebook of collaged ephemera sheets.

Cute brads, too, and there are seriously about a billion fun little arrows and tags and tickets in the pack of ephemera pieces.

There's also a chipboard mini album you can put together.

And of course I chose the "Fiction"  paper pack (though the "Fact" one is great, too).  Paper packs come in either 12X12 or 6X6.

And here's my favorite piece of all: the 3D "I hate math" sticker/badge!

The collection has a lot of other cool components like buttons, transparencies, file folder cards with envelopes, more ephemera packs, etc., but I already skimmed all I could off the grocery budget to splurge on these!  :)   Each of these packs costs $3.99 (including the chipboard album) and the 12X12 paper pack costs $14.99.  You can use a 40 or 50% off coupon on the paper pack and if you hit JoAnn's when they're having a sale on all embellishments/stickers of any brand, you've scored a sweet deal indeed!  Both halves of your brain would be pleased with that!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Cards and Tags: Thankful Card

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week!!  Since I wouldn't know the first thing about what to do with a turkey, I will leave that to my brilliant culinary mother and contribute in a different way: by making some "Thankful" cards!  I thought these would be a fun memento to give out to family members.  On the inside, I've written what I'm thankful for about that family member.

I used pretty much every brand of paper known to man for this card, namely Authentique, Cosmo Cricket, We R Memory Keepers, Recollections, Simple Stories, My Mind's Eye and Basic Grey.

For the 3D flowers, I used a Sizzix flower die and I used Prima flowers behind the 3D flowers.  I also added some yarn from Crystal Palace behind the flowers.

The "thankful" sentiment was made using alphabet letter stamps from Studio G.  The big and little letter T's were already printed on the patterned paper, so I just cut them out and stamped "thankful" underneath it.

The initial inspiration for this card came from the first ever Monthly Monday Challenge issued by the Scrapbook USA Expo.  Have you read through the challenge yet?  Submit a project, card, etc., based on the word "thankful" and you could win some sweet prizes!  Check out the challenge here!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Other Creations: Idea Book

My good friend Amber (who's also my crafting compadre) gave me a notebook that is PERFECT for storing all sorts of pictures, clippings, thoughts and ideas (an unofficial "SMASH" book style of sorts).  It's a Brag Book made by Fancy Pants (love that company) that includes 50 journaling pages, 15 2-slot clear photo sleeves and 15 pocket pages to stash stuff in.  Very heavy duty as well as versatile.  It came with a plain brown cover that you can embellish or leave as is.  This weekend I decided to give the cover a little "oomph" and add some colorful division tabs as well.

The classy lady on the front is one that I cut out from a piece of patterned paper produced by our beloved Tim Holtz.  The Bingo card is vintage and was found at a thrift store.

Other paper brands I used include We R Memory Keepers (pale green chevron stripes), Recollections (brown polka dots), Graphic 45 (blue pattern behind the "brilliant" sentiment and also used at the top of the page), Simple Stories (diagonal stripes and floral print) as well as My Mind's Eye (blue wood background page).  The "brilliant" word is from a light bulb stamp set by Maya Road and I used a large scallop border punch by EK Success.

The different idea categories of my book now include ideas for home decor, ideas for craft projects, new things I want to investigate/buy, ideas for writing, and quotes that I like.  Good stuff and a kudos to my friend Amber for once again giving me a gift that keeps on giving!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tutorials: Make Paper Pine Cones from 3D Flower Dies

Hey there loyal readers!  Today I bring you the handmade paper pine cone!!  How did this all come about, you ask?  I went on a walk yesterday afternoon, saw a cute little pine cone in my path and started thinking about how I could make a dimensional pine cone out of paper to adorn either Fall or Christmas gifts.  I know of at least one very cool die out there that already makes 3D pine cones (thank you, Tim Holtz!), but I didn't have one.  What I did have was a 3D flower die from Sizzix.  So here's how I turned a 3D flower into the pine cone you see on this embellished tin:

Start by cutting out two identical 3D flower spirals from the die of your choice (Sizzix, Lifestyle Crafts, Cricut and Spellbinders all have these spiral-flower designs).

I used DCWV paper because it's sturdy and both sides are colored so you don't have to worry about a back and front.  Next, roll the flowers into their 3D shape, starting from the outside in.  Remember my earlier tip about using a quilling tool to do this!  It makes life so much easier!

You now have two spiral flowers rolled.  You are going to stick these together to form your pine cone.

Because you're going to stick one flower into the other, cut out the center of one of the flowers so that you'll have room to insert the other flower into it.  The one that you cut will form the top of your pine cone.

Use hot glue or the adhesive of your choice to glue the two flowers together.

Once they're glued together, use needle-nose pliers to pull and elongate the bottom flower into a more narrow pine cone shape. 

Wah-la!  The last thing I did was to rub black ink across the pine cone (especially the edges) to give it a little more distinction and to blot out the white core of the paper.

So there you have it!  An adorable pine cone just ready and waiting to be put on the perfect gift!  For my little tin, I used paper from My Mind's Eye as the background and used fabric, tulle and lace to add accents at the top of the pine cone.  I used alphabet stamps for the sentiment.

The great thing about pine cones is their versatility.  You could add glitter to make it more festive or "frost" the edges with white for a winter look. The possibilities are endless and I enjoyed how these cute little pine cones turned out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tutorials: Gratitude Garland

Greetings!  You have arrived at the blog of Andrea Ockey Parr and may I offer you a hearty welcome!  I'm a long-time crafter and an avid literary nerd, but I've only recently tried my hand at blogging.  So thanks for checking out my little corner of the online universe!  I'm also thrilled to be a member of the Scrapbook USA Expo Design Team and am thoroughly impressed with the skills of my teammates.

If you've stumbled onto this Blog Hop by accident, then it's your lucky day!  Here are the details: Between now (Monday, November 5th) and Wednesday (November 7th) at midnight, visit each of our blogs (listed below) and leave a comment. Each time you comment on one of our blogs you will be entered to win 2 of DCWV’s brand spankin’ new Christmas 4X5 pads!!

A chance at a crafty prize?  NICE!  And with Christmas just around the corner these would certainly come in handy!!  So using our math skills (warning!  Mine are minimal), that means that if you comment on each of our blogs, as well as the Scrapbook USA Expo blog, you will be entered eight times!!  Now I'm no statistics expert, but that sounds mighty better than zero entries!  Woo hoo!

Without further ado, here is my Blog Hop Project!

We are now fully entrenched in my favorite time of the year!  The highlights?  Being able to drink hot chocolate without looking like a weirdo (I down the stuff ALL YEAR, which draws some looks in mid-July), wearing power boots and snuggly sweaters, seeing the changing leaves, getting giddy about Santy Claus's impending visit, spending time with family and friends, eating yummy food (thanks, mom!) and reflecting on our many blessings.  What's not to love about Fall?

To get myself into thankful mode, I put together this Gratitude Garland:

Since the holiday season can get a tad busier than I'd like (we all know THAT feeling), I wanted to make something that was fast and easy, but still meaningful.  I decided to make paper leaves listing some of my greatest joys and blessings and I attached them to a store-bought garland.  And if you want to go even lower stress, just stamp words on store-bought leaves!  It doesn't get any more time-saving than that!

The paper I used to make these leaves is from the "Autumn Melody" collection by DCWV.  I cut out some leaf shapes using the Cricut "Accent Essentials" cartridge, then stamped something I was grateful for on each leaf using alphabet stamps.  I inked and distressed the edges of the leaves and crinkled them and folded them to give them some added dimension.  Then I glued them to the garland and put the pumpkin in the middle.

This project is low-stress and is a great visual reminder to slow down and cherish what's truly important.  It would also be fun to do as a family activity with each family member writing down some things they're grateful for on the leaves.

So whether you use this garland as a circular centerpiece, or weave it in between some Fall-colored candles, you can bet that it will not only look good, but it will also be a good reminder of all the things there are to be grateful for!

I hope that you enjoy my blog and that you love hoppin' on to these others, too:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Other Creations: Memory Box

Greetings fellow revelers of Fall!  Are we already getting giddy about the holidays??  I know I am!  And this year I wanted to create something handmade that was pretty to look at, but also had the POW of emotional impact.  The result?  This memory box!

So what's the theory of a "memory box" and how did I create it?  I wanted to make something for my mom, who has filled my life with gifts from her talented sewing hands.  She made me beautiful clothes while I was growing up, she sewed a quilt for me when I got married, and she kept my dolls stylin' when I was a kid by surprising me with new outfits for them.  She is so talented in any sort of handwork and I wanted to honor her for that.  So I put together some notions and fabric to fill the inside of the box:

On these items, I wrote some of my favorite sewing-related memories of her (stamped onto the cloth that unrolls from the spools, written on the back of the button packages, etc.).

Next, I included this nifty recordable card from  Picture that Sound.  It's a company that makes cards which you can embellish and record a message onto.  You get 20 seconds of recording time to leave just the right sentiment for your loved one.

The card started out like this:

(Front and back views-- you can decorate either side)

And I made it into this.  My mom will just push the "play" button on the back to hear my message.

Adding a personalized message instantly makes any gift more memorable!  So with the notes written to my mom on the sewing notions and a card with a recorded message, I'm hoping she'll see just how much I love and cherish the beautiful things she's made me over the years.

For this project, I used paper, stickers and embellishments from "The Sweetest Thing" collection from My Mind's Eye.  Always LOVE pretty much anything that MME cranks out!  I also used stick pins from Maya Road and flowers from Prima, some of my other favorite brands.

So if you're struggling to know what to give someone this year, try a memory box filled with things they love, and reasons why you love them, too!