Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to New Beginnings

I want to wish my family and friends a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.  We are not big New Year's party people here so we will be home tonight with a bottle of wine and filet mignon that is marinating now, plus champagne at midnight.  After the hustle and bustle of the past month, we are happy to just relax and enjoy our evening.

I am not one for resolutions as the minute I call them that I seem to be doomed to failure.  I prefer to set goals instead. And to make me more accountable, I want to put them in writing here:
  • continue on my weight loss/better health lifestyle; add more exercise to the mix
  • cook more; try new recipes
  • go on a spending freeze; pay down debt
  • read more
  • work on organization
  • create, create, create

I would also like to thank you all for taking the time to visit my blog.  I'm so grateful that I have people in my life who want to keep up with me and my creative efforts.  Granted, it's been short on creativity thus far but I hope to get started back on that very soon.  And if you have a blog, I would love it if you would leave a link in the comment section so I can add yours to my Google Reader. 

I know that 2009 was tough on many of us. Hopefully 2010 represents a chance at a new beginning and happier times.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quick and Easy Gift Card Holders

I hope you are enjoying your holiday thus far.  We are visiting with my stepdaughter and family in North Carolina.  It's fun to be around the girls for Christmas and we can't wait for Santa's visit!

We most always give my son and daughter-in-law some money for Christmas along with their other gifts.  I try to make them a little more personal though by packaging the money or gift card in a creative way.  This year I decided on wanted a pocket style piece.

 I made the backs by cutting white cardstock using the largest die from the Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels 8 set. I then stamped a simple image to the upper portion of it.  I used the same Nestabilities die to cut a matching piece from patterned paper.  I trimmed off the upper portion and punched a border using my Fiskars border punches (Apron Lace and Leave it to Weaver).  I stitched the patterned paper piece to the cardstock to form a pocket.  I added few embellishments and they were done.

Here they are individually with the money tucked inside:

And here they are under the tree:

Very quick and fun to do plus easily translatable for other occasions.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Looking a Lot Like Christmas

I've had my Christmas decorating done since a few days after Thanksgiving but am just now getting around to taking photos. I thought I would share those with you today.
I normally decorate my mantle rather simply:

I made our stockings several years ago:

Another simple decoration in my foyer:


I love Christmas trees as you will see in the following photos.  I normally have two large trees, one in the den and the other in the diningroom, plus other small ones.  This year I decided to forgo the second large tree since we really don't plan on being home on Christmas day anyway.  

Some of you familiar with Lifetime Moments 30 Days of Gifts might remember this from last year.  I decided to put it in my diningroom this year.


The tree I get most comments about is my kitchen tree, decorated with a combo of cooking related ornaments as well as common kitchen utensils.

I filled this jar with marshmallows and soft peppermints:

This is the small rustic tree I have sitting in my sunroom:

And yet another small one in our bedroom:

And my personal favorite, our main tree in the den:

Just a few more purchases and I should be done with shopping.  This year I have really made a concerted effort to enjoy my holiday season rather than stressing over it. I hope you are doing the same.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Anatomy of Christmas Card Making

This is my fourth year to make my own Christmas cards.  Along the way, I've learned a few lessons.  In years past there were too many steps involved so this time I resolved to cut those down.  Secondly, some things were just too labor intensive - last year's ribbon work seemed to take forever.  In past  years I have worked in batches - making 5-10 complete cards at a time.  This time I decided to switch gears work completely in assembly line mode. And lastly, I got started a lot earlier so that I didn't feel pressured. 

I've done vintage and whimsical in previous years so this time I wanted something classic.  My Little Yellow Bicycle 25 Days of Christmas fit the bill for me. I sketched out a design and created my prototype to make sure that I liked the result.

Step 1: I cut and scored my cardstock for the card base.  I actually did this in the evening while watching television.  I then stamped my sentiment on all 60 pieces.

Step 2:  I made my ribbon accents, another project while watching television at night.

Step 3: I then set everything up at my kitchen table with the theory that if I had my project in a public area of the house I would work faster.  I cut out my cardstock pieces, embossed with my Cuttlebug and used my ticket corner punch on the lower corners.

Step 4: I cut out the patterned paper portion of the card, using my ticket corner punch on the top edges. I used two different border punches on the bottom edges just to even out the wear and tear on my favorite punches.

Step 5: I adhered my cardstock and patterned paper pieces to the front of each card base.

Step 6: For the finaI step I used a combination of ribbon accents, chipboard and/or stickers for the embellishments.

Here are just 3 of the completed 60 cards:

Honestly, it has taken me a lot longer to address envelopes and sign the cards than it did to make them! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I am here.....

I have finally joined the blogging world.  I still have a lot to learn as you can "plainly" see.  Nevertheless, here I am.  I will be sharing some creative projects with you as well as a few tidbits about my life along the way.

I tried blogging once before and didn't keep up with it, but I have decided to try a little harder this time around. I have to admit that the closing of Lifetime Moments has really pushed me in the blogging direction.  It has been a part of my life for seven years, the last five of those as a member of the Design Team. It has been a privilege to get to know Jackie and Thad Bogert, simply two of the nicest people one could ever meet.  I have so many fond memories,  Design Team retreats at Jackie's house, late night scrapbooking at the warehouse in Wixom, the swap board, CHA, the sharing of life's ups and downs in the Cafe, Scrapfests, etc.  I've made friends along the way and I hope that we can all manage to stay in touch.  Although the reality of it is that it will be difficult as we are scattered all over the world.  People move on.  It makes me sad to think about it. So I hope you stick with me as I get this blog thing rolling.

And speaking of Lifetime Moments....Jackie is having an awesome closeout sale.  Everything is now an amazing 45% off and there are still plenty of awesome finds in the store. Use code 45-577 at checkout.  I just placed an order from the ribbon section just the other day!