December 25, 2013

Sarah's Elf Boot

Oh my gosh!  Look at this fantastic project that my niece Sarah created for her mom for Christmas!  It's an Elf Boot with a tall mini-album inside chock full of photos and other goodies, made using Kathy Orta's (Paper Phenomenon) Hocus Pocus tutorial!

This was a very involved project, with a 3-D boot complete with curved seams and a multi-paged album with lots of interactive elements.  Sarah worked on it for a couple of months with a big push at the end to finish in time for Christmas.

Sarah also made a brave decision to make a video of her work and enter the project in Paper Phenomenon's Kit Club Contest.  Please consider visiting the contest web page and voting for her entry - scroll down to the bottom of the page - it's number 41.  Just click on "Vote" under the photo of the Elf Boot.  And please note, I was just Sarah's helper on this project - all design decisions and construction choices were hers.  I cut and colored at her direction and did the craft knife cutting, but this was her project. You can see the video on the contest page or at the end of this post.
And now for some more photos and details on the project...

December 11, 2013

Heaven and Nature Sing

A little break from paper crafting to finish up a Christmas quilt.  This is one of McKenna Ryan's patterns - "Heaven and Nature Sing".  The quilt is about 60 inches square.

I have made quite a few of her quilts over the years and love them all.They are done with a fusible applique method.  It's like a puzzle - you cut out a zillion pieces out of different colored batik fabrics that have a fusible web backing.  Then you put the pieces all together following each block's pattern.  After the top is all put together it is layered with batting and a backing.

The quilting goes around every single one of those zillion pieces, following all the branches in the trees, the dips in the snow and the spots on the fawns.

December 2, 2013

Countdown to Christmas

I've had a lot of fun doing construction projects this year and I thought I would finish up by designing a countdown to Christmas calendar for my niece and her family.

It's the North Pole, complete with buildings and snow and reindeer and of course, Santa.  There are places for treats and a hanging sign to display the number of days until Christmas.

November 16, 2013

Autumn Fairy House

I love autumn and all the fall colors.  When I saw Bo Bunny's Autumn Song paper I just knew I had to have it - the colors are so vibrant.

And then Laura Denison of Following the Paper Trail decided to showcase her Autumn Fairy house pattern with this paper collection.   When Laura previewed the house on her blog ( I was just blown away, and couldn't wait to make it.

The house itself is fun with its curlicue dormers and rolled shingles.  But the stump and the tree that it is built into - what a fantastic idea!  I do so love her designs.

I added a couple of my own touches - the wraparound curved balcony with the twig railing and a couple of extra staircases.

November 3, 2013

Fairy House Tunnel Book

I decided that I would make something to go on the inside of the green Summer Fairy House (you remember the Fairy Houses - the post about them is here).

It had been awhile since I made a tunnel book, and with all the cute fairies on the Prima Fairy Rhymes paper it seemed like just the thing.

I kept the size to 6" x 6" since that was the size of the paper pads and that would make it much simpler to make each panel.  I used Prima Fairy Whispers and Nature's Garden papers.

The book has five panels plus the back.

In this closeup of the left side you can see the fairies on the second and fourth panels.

The short grass is attached to the back of the first panel and the tall, darker grass is attached to the second panel.

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween !!

My birthday came a little early this year - my niece made me this wonderful decorative Halloween witch's hat.

It's a tall piece - it stands about 14" tall and looks wonderful as the centerpiece on the dining room table.

She made it by starting with some papier mache items from the craft store - a cone and a round box.

After painting a base coat of black on the outside, she covered the hat pieces with decorative Halloween paper.  I think she did a super job selecting the paper to have a great contrast between all the elements of the hat.

But wait!  It's not just pretty to look... there's so much more!

The top of the hat has a countdown calendar!

In this photo you can see that the card says "It's Halloween".  I think you can make out the opening on the tag holder on the right.  There are cards that start the countdown 10 days before Halloween, and you just reach in and change the cards as the days count down.

... and there's CANDY!

The top of the cone is hinged to add little treats.  The treats dispense at the bottom of the cone.

The trick-or-treaters are actually a door.  See the long green nose on the character on the left?  It's longer than it looks and the tip is holding the door closed.  If you move it, you can get some candy (there's an orange piece on the left).

The interactive elements are so much fun I had to make a movie...check it out, and have a Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2013

Baking and Crafting - A Perfect Day

My niece had no school today so we spent the day together.  We had a plan - I had just received the new We R Memory Keepers Gift Bag punch and we decided to make treat bags and fill them with home baked cookies.

So we dug out the sugar cookie recipe and baked some pumpkins, cats and ghosts.  While they were cooling, Sarah figured out how to use the punch. Then some decorating - aren't the cookies cute?  I especially like the whiskers on the cats and the ghosts with mouths like an "O".

Back to the workroom again to work on the treat bags.  We used the Martha Stewart spider web border punch to make a decorative border on the top of the bag.  Sarah then put the bags together and found some cool "Halloween-y" fibers that she braided to make the handles.  We die cut spider webs and spiders and a cat out of grunge board to hang as a charm.

Everyone got one of each of the cookies in their treat bag, and a there were some extras to share. The "great pumpkin" cookie was made from all the leftover dough at the end of rolling.  The cookies were yummy, and thanks to the great new punch, the treat bags were a fun, quick project to make.

October 27, 2013

From A to Z

Ever since Graphic 45 came out with their Typography paper line I knew I wanted to try to make 3-D alphabet letters. So here is what I came up with... the letter "a" and the letter "z".

Each letter is 6 inches by 6 inches, and 2 inches thick.

They are completely made out of chipboard and are hollow inside.

Here are some close-ups....

The "a"

and the "z"

The camera angle is a little odd on this one - it really is pretty square.

October 16, 2013

A Fairy Subdivision

My niece and I have had a lot of fun making Fairy Houses from Laura Denison's (Following the Paper Trail) Summer Fairy House pattern.  It was a really great construction project - both of us learned some new techniques and we exercised our creative muscle by adding some unique touches to the houses (wait until you see what Sarah did inside her house!).  Here are the houses we made - Sarah says hers really looks like summer - it's the sunny house in the middle.

And here are the houses "after dark".  We added LED tea lights behind the windows so the fairies in the tower and front room would be illuminated.

Here are individual shots of the three houses.

First Sarah's house... if you look closely, you might be able to spy a fairy in the tower window and one in the front window.

And these fairies have a faithful companion - see him lying on the front lawn?  Sarah found a small figurine just the right size for her house.

A few dried flowers in the chimney complete the house.

Sarah used DCWV's Painted Petals stack on both the inside and outside of her house.

October 14, 2013

Halloween Carnival - "Glass" Hot Air Balloon

I gave myself a challenge to try and make a hot air balloon that looked like it had been made out of glass - I have Steampunk on the brain.

The balloon itself is actually a very straightforward construction.  I used the template available from Laura Carson ( on her Hot Air Balloon tutorial page and just modified the length.  The five sides were made out of vellum.  A plastic piece was attached to each side and scored to give a look of individual glass panels and to give some flexibility to the sides.  Before I closed up the balloon completely I inserted a long screw post through a small hole in the top.

I reinforced the rim and then added a hinged door so that an LED tea light could be inserted to give the balloon a glow when it's dark.  I found some flat sided light bulbs and added them to the rim.

I wanted to have the option of either hanging the balloon or putting it on "legs" so it could stand at the back of my Halloween Carnival, so I attached the basket using some thin skewers so the whole unit would be sturdy.  I covered the skewers with waxed linen thread so they would look like thick rope.

The basket is a five sided chipboard box covered with embossed metal foil tape.  The characters are from Laura Carson's Halloween Collage Sheets.  I used her pin technique in the bottom of each character so they could easily stand up in the foam core base of the balloon's basket.

I painted two corks and suspended them from a chain to simulate ballast (don't you love the irony of corks for ballast?)  I added a couple of more gears on a skewer.

October 13, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Zombie Zipper

Today I'm answering Laura Carson's challenge to create an element of my own design to go with her Halloween Carnival.  To learn more about this challenge and the carnival project including details, tutorials and videos, please go to Laura's page dedicated to the carnival.

I knew I wanted to make a ride with some height so I searched for images of carnival rides and found one that I thought could work...the zipper.  I knew that capturing all the different movements would probably be too challenging, but I thought that I could design something that was similar.  The zipper turns on one central access point and the cauldrons swing and move as they go around.  I must confess that the side tower support design is basically the same as the system Laura designed for her ferris wheel.

October 12, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Stare Down a Gargoyle and the Haunted Carousel

Today we'll look at the last two elements I made using tutorials from Laura Carson's ( Halloween Carnival - Stare Down a Gargoyle and the Haunted Carousel.  For more details, tutorials and videos, and to make your own version of Laura's fantastic project, please go to her page dedicated to the carnival.

Stare Down a Gargoyle - Win a Season Pass - this was a fun element because it included both building something and learning a new technique.

First the building...The main vertical construction is a masonite box (CubbyHoles 4 Compartments - which is easily put together.  I love these masonite constructions - I have built many different ones.  A handy supply/tool to have for these is the Quilled Creations Precision Tip Glue Applicator Bottle.  It puts out a fine line of glue - as my niece says "I don't know how we ever managed to do any crafting before we got this".

October 11, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Stump an Owl and Boo Bash

Today is the third of four installments looking at the elements I have made for my version of Laura Carson's ( Halloween Carnival.  For more details, tutorials and videos, and to make your own version of Laura's fantastic project, please go to her page dedicated to the carnival.

Let's start with Stump an Owl.  I haven't got all the elements that Laura has on her version yet.  There's a book that I want to add but I need to improvise something to put it on.  I think it definitely needs that additional element, and I think I will follow Laura's lead and add some foliage or other decorations to the top (there's a nice ledge there).

The figurine is Bat Boy Ben.

October 10, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Hot Air Balloon and Pumpkin Pets

Today is a continuing look at the elements I have made for my version of Laura Carson's ( Halloween Carnival.  For more details, tutorials and videos, and to make your own version of Laura's fantastic project, please go to her page dedicated to the carnival.

First off is the Hot Air Balloon.  Laura actually posted this tutorial along with a video before the carnival series began.  She included not only the balloon, but also a dirigible.  You can see the tutorial and the video on this page on her blog.

This was a super fun project to make.  Laura has great tips on how to put the balloon together very easily.  I used Graphic 45 Steampunk Spells paper from both the 8x8 and 6x6 paper pads.  I really love this paper collection.

Just about all of the collage elements are from one or more of Laura's collage sheets.  The exception is the bats.  I just couldn't face cutting out 20 bats!  Luckily a friend had a die and cut out oodles of bats for me to use both on this element and other elements in the project.

October 9, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Ticket Booth and Directory

Ever since Laura Carson ( announced her Halloween project for this year - a Halloween Carnival - I couldn't wait until she started posting the videos and tutorials.  You can see the entire project and instructions on her blog on a page dedicated to the carnival.  I've lost track of the count of all the elements that can be built - there's booths and games and rides - and even a hot air balloon!

I've made eight of the projects so far - the Ticket Booth, Directory Signpost, Pumpkin Pets, Stump an Owl, Boo Bash, Stare Down a Gargoyle, the Haunted Carousel and the Hot Air Balloon.  I also accepted Laura's challenge to create a element of my own -I'm calling it the Zombie Zipper - which is almost done and I will show it in a later post.

Throughout the projects I have used two paper collections - Graphic 45 Steampunk Spells and Wicked by My Mind's Eye.  I used images from all of Laura's Halloween collage sheets from both this year and last year.

In the photos you may see one of the Lori Mitchell Halloween figurines I have been collecting over the last few years.  I am always on the lookout for new ones in a shop we frequent on vacation.  This year I added two - the mummy (thanks to my sister) and the little bat boy.  I knew when I saw the carnival it would be the perfect environment for these characters and it is!

Today I'm featuring my versions of the Ticket Booth and Directory Signpost.  These were the first two I made.  I followed Laura's directions and used many of the items she listed in the first tutorial.  The only change I made was to add the two shutters to the Ticket Booth - I wanted a little more width.

June 2, 2013

June Typewriter Tag

It is hard to believe it is June already!  Leaves that were buds just a few weeks ago are now fully grown.  There is a small forest outside my home - and now there is nothing but green - not even a small speck of sky shows through.

I started with the idea of leaves, leaves leaves, but it morphed a little along the way as ideas often do...  The background is simply inked with a variety of blue and green distress inks.  I then colored some Golden Light Molding Paste with various greens from Distress Paints and Ranger Color Dabbers.  I used a new stencil from Joggles stencil line - Branches.  (Have you see their stencils - check them out here - they are wonderful!).

May 31, 2013

May Bird Abode

Have you seen Laura Denison's Bird Abodes?  She has a series of patterns (and is creating more) for bird houses which she calls "Bird Abodes".  You can see them on her website, Following the Paper Trail, and get the patterns to make your own at her store.

This is my version of her May bird house.  I followed along pretty much with her pattern, but added a few of my own touches - windows, window flower boxes and a chimney.

I used paper from a variety of collections and leftovers from other projects.  Most of the flowers are from the Tim Holtz Sizzix die, Tattered Floral Garland, although I did have a few flower punches that I used.

May 12, 2013

Sarah's Ladies Diary Album

Sarah made this gorgeous mini album for her mom as a combination birthday/Mother's Day gift.  It is based on Laura Denison's Imagination album and uses paper from Graphic 45 - A Ladies Diary.

There are lots of tags and fussy cutting.  Sarah also used some nice calligraphy to make special notes and elements throughout the album.  She made it extra special with a personal note to her mom tucked away in one of the pockets.

May 11, 2013

May Typewriter Tag

Well it's time for May's tag for the Vintage Typewriter.  In the last 10 days Spring has finally sprung here in Wisconsin - Yeah!!  So this tag has lots of blue sky and spring greens and flowers.

It's a pretty simple tag.  I started with a simple inked background - Distress Inks Stormy Sky, Salty Ocean,Mowed Lawn, Forest Moss and Peeled Paint.  I love the look of a white picket fence so I used Tim Holtz' On the Fence die and cut one out of chipboard and painted it white.

May 7, 2013

Distress Ink Storage

I have been thinking about making a storage unit for all my Distress Inks, applicators and re-inkers and here it is.  I previously had all the ink pads stored three to a drawer with their re-inkers in two  small parts storage drawer units (the kind that come from a hardware store).  They sat on my main work surface and it was ok.

Two things lit a fire under me to do something - first, it wasn't really convenient to get the ink pads out of the drawers, and secondly, whenever anyone else wanted to ink something it wasn't a very convenient setup.

April 14, 2013

April Typewriter Tag

I woke up this morning to a light snow on the ground, freezing rain and all-around unpleasant weather...but determined to THINK SPRING!  I'm working on a big project, but decided to take a little time off to make the April Typewriter tag (after all, it is the middle of the month, so about time, don;t you think?)

Anyway, I broke out every green distress ink pad I had to make the background.  a few drips of water and that part was completed.

April 13, 2013

Butterflies Accordion Book

My niece Sarah made a wonderful version of the accordion book with lots of butterflies.  She finished it up last week but I kept forgetting to post the pictures.

April 1, 2013

Unique Individuals Accordion Book

Every Wednesday, Barb from creates a "Mid-Week Muse".  Last Wednesday she made an ATC size accordion book with lots of mixed media techniques (see her video here).  I thought it looked like a fun project and so here's my version.

Unique Individuals Accordion Book - Open

Barb's version was ATC sized (Artist Trading Card - 2 1/2" x 3 1/2") but I made this book larger to accommodate some larger stamps.  Each of the colored panels in my version is 3" x 4 1/4".  I experimented with several of the techniques in the video.  

March 25, 2013

March Typewriter Tag

March has somehow gotten away from me, so I'm just now finishing this month's tag for the Vintage Typewriter. 

March 3, 2013

Flower Explosion Box

Well, I have spring fever, even if the calendar and mother nature are not quite ready!  Spring ideas have been tumbling around in my mind - colors, flowers, quotes and sayings... I also had been thinking some time about making an explosion box, but I wanted to do something different.  So I thought...why not try to make a flower pot, fill it with flowers and then make it explode to have more flowers inside?

February 18, 2013

Mini Album for Vintage Camera

Today I finished the mini album that fits in the back of the Vintage Camera.  You may remember the camera from a post earlier this month.  Now the album that goes inside is done.

I'm not much of a picture taker so I usually find some quotes or interesting items to go in an album.  This time I followed a theme of "create", based on the word tag that accompanied the butterfly on the lens of the camera.

February 14, 2013

Valentine for Sarah

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  Today I made this card for my niece.  It's really a tag that fits inside a bag but I think it qualifies as a card.

I started out by using  the wrinkle free distress technique on a piece of paper large enough to fit Tim Holtz' "In the Bag" die. I originally used a piece of glossy paper but I wasn't sure if the ink was drying properly so I switched to regular cardstock (I found out later that had I been patient, the ink would have thoroughly dried.  I'm going to use that glossy paper for another project because it is really pretty, but I digress.)

February 11, 2013

Distress Ink Applicators

I know, I know... just what we all more post about homemade Distress Ink applicators.  But here it is anyway.

For a long time I have "made do" with a handful of "official" applicators and switched out the colored ink pads each time I wanted to use a different color.  This just wasn't working for me because when I want to use some Distress, I want to use it immediately and not fool around with the old switcheroo.  Neither did I want to spend my craft budget on applicators - you can see that there are several colors missing from my collection and that's where I wanted to spend my money.

February 10, 2013

Place In Time Book - January

My niece Sarah is working on a book using Graphic 45's Place In Time paperline.  She plans to do a page each month and then bind the pages into a book in December.

She is doing all the construction and decorating on her own (auntie offers options from time-to-time).

February 4, 2013

Say Cheese...

I spent this weekend working on this Vintage Camera, based on a tutorial by Kathy Files (Paper Phenomenon), and put the finishing touches on it this evening.  It's all painted chipboard and paper, with a few Graphic 45 and Tim Holtz hardware pieces.
If you've never tried one of Kathy's tutorials, I strongly suggest you do so.  The instructions are awesome!  They are incredibly detailed and full of pictures and tips.  You can see them all here, including the Vintage Camera.  I followed the tutorial with just a few minor alterations.

February 2, 2013

February Tag for Vintage Typewriter

OK,  I'll admit that I'm not a pink and red person.  I guess no one says February has to be pink and red so why did I feel compelled to do so? Who knows. 

Anyway, here's the February tag for my vintage typewriter.  I started with the wrinkle free distress technique with various shades of red and some of the new metallic stain Brushed Pewter.  I used the On the Edge die "Distressed Doily" for the pocket. (Funny story, the first time my niece saw this die she thought the name was "Distressed Dolly"...we had a laugh, and now generally refer to it with the dolly sobriquet.)  "February" was cut using the Wingo Zingo Sizzlit die and some metallic tape from the home improvement store.  I found a little valentine from Tim Holtz' Seasonal Salvage Stickers and added a trinket pin.  I stamped some words from one of Tim Holtz' stamp sets.  An actual doily accents the front roller of the typewrite.

It's a little busy and very pink but it's also... done!!

February 1, 2013

Endless Love Card

A few days ago I shared my version of a never-ending card.  Well, my niece Sarah made one too and finished it up last night.  Isn't it great?  She decided to go for a Valentines theme.  She used her creativity to make up for the lack of pink and heart things in my stash.

January 30, 2013

Snowfall Card

Have you seen this kind of fun interactive card?  It's called a waterfall card and it was new to me when I found this video by Karen on YouTube.  She has great instructions in the video and you can even download a pdf with the instructions.

January 27, 2013

Endless Card

Yesterday I saw a really cool card when I was looking for something else on YouTube.  It's called an endless or never-ending card.  I'm sure many of you are familiar with it, but it was new to me.  I watched a video by Robin Messenheimer which has really great instructions and I was able to make a card very quickly by following her instructions.

I used four piece of black cardstock 2-1/2" x 5".  Robin explains that you can use any size you want as long as the length is twice the width.  I just added paper from the Tim Holtz Lost and Found pad and a couple of stamped images.

Want to see what makes it endless?  Take a look....

January 26, 2013

Optimism Reliquary

Last fall I was browsing around and came upon the Friends in Art website. Linda had created a shadowbox and used one of Paper Whimsy's reliquaries as a component.  It was a wonderful project and inspired me to get a few reliquaries from Paper Whimsy myself.

The reliquaries are precision cut wood or fiberboard boxes and are very easy to assemble and finish.  I used the Medium Angel Reliquary for this project.

I knew I wanted to add something to the shrine to hold a small book or tags  and an idea finally came to me last weekend.  I decided to make a second box the same size as the reliquary and then attach it with hinges.  The opening of this second box would face inward and hold some tags.

January 20, 2013

January Tag for Vintage Typewriter

In the fall I made Kathy Orta's Vintage Typewriter.  It was a really fun project.  Today I completed a tag and an insert for January.  Since the temperature is in the single digits this morning I added the "brr" insert in front of the roller.

The tag is pretty much all things Tim Holtz.  I used the wrinkle free distress technique for the background.  I used one of his stamps for the quote.

I used four Sizzix Alterations dies:
  • Typeset (January)
  • Tattered Banners (behind January)
  • Word Play (brr)
  • Snow Flurries (pocket on the tag)
If you're interested in making the typewriter, visit Kathy Orta's website Paper Phenomenon and look for "Vintage Typewriter in the Tutorial section.

January 19, 2013

Nutcracker Sweet Slider-PopUp Album

Over the Christmas holidays my niece and I made this Nutcracker Sweet slider-popup album following the tutorials of Anne from AnnesPaperCreations.  We had a lot of fun learning new techniques and then putting our own touches on the album.  There was quite a bit of fussy cutting which my niece loves to do- she does a fantastic job at it.

Watch the video to see all the cool things inside...

January 18, 2013

Imagination Album

The Imagination Album started with Laura Denison on the New Year's Eve Scrap Bash is done!  I used a kit with Basic Grey Serenade paper and accessories that I purchased from Laura.  I added stamped images that went with the imagination theme.

If you would like to make this album, the pattern is available on Laura's website.  She also has recorded Ustream videos available on her blog for this project.

And now a look inside the book...