Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crafting for Christmas

Did I just type "Christmas?"  I did, I know, right?  It's not even Halloween but the store shelves are lined with Christmas goods and have been for weeks.  And the Christmas scrapbook collections are also hitting the shelves and providing inspiration for fun holiday projects.  I've got a few handmade gifts I want to create for this year and I know how time flies so I am starting early.  When I saw the new Heidi Swapp Believe collection I knew I wanted to use it.  Since I'm always giving away my handmade albums I figured it would be a great time to make one for my family to keep.  I saw the memory file kit for the Believe collection and snagged it up so I could get my Christmas craft on.

The kit comes with two large memory file folders and two small in different front/back designs.  Also included are rub-on embellishments file tab stickers and one foto stack.  I also purchased the coordinating sticker pack, 6x6 inch pad and the ephemera pack.  I highly recommend the ephemera pack as it is filled with an additional 94 pieces of goodness that will get your creativity flowing.  Before I move on I have to admit, I actually purchased three of the memory file kits so I could make two more to give away.  I know, it's a problem I have but I love a good handmade present!

I've tried doing December Daily in the past and made it pretty far but I know I won't be able to keep up this year with my two littles on the move so I set out to create the foundation of an album that would help me document the fun our family has in preparation for Christmas Day.  Our kids are little so we are still forming traditions but I knew there would be certain things we would do such as decorate, celebrate St. Nick's, and a visit to Santa.  The rest of the album I left pretty general and will continue to fill up and embellish but it's a great step forward to have the foundation completed - or I may never get it done!

I decided to cut apart the two large memory files and one of the small ones to make my album pages.  I used my cinch and .75" white wire binding to put it all together.  Here is a look at how it came together.  Sorry the pictures are not so great, it was a rush to get them!
I kept the cover fairly simple with a cluster of fun embellishments and noted the year in the bottom right. The paper stack has one design that is a bunch of journal cards, at the 6x6 size they are mini journal cards and worked perfectly as embellishment throughout the book.  For the first inside pages, I trimmed the top of a paper and glued down the bottom and both sides to make a pocket.  A few more trimmed pattern papers with a tab punch out on each tucked neatly behind providing additional space for photos or journaling.

 Watching how the kids react to Santa year after year is pretty fun so I made sure to leave plenty of space in this mini file to document the visit!  Yeah those are my post its telling me what I have in mind to put there.  It is only October so I just might forget before I complete the album!
 Here is the foto stack that comes with it. I decided to leave it together and just added a few embellishments.  You could rip it apart to use as little pockets or as photo mats throughout your album.

 On the last page I had fun decorating the second mini file with the countdown stars from the ephemera pack.  I know I won't keep up with pictures each day but I thought it would be fun to have a little journal to jot down some of the things we do.

And there it is, ready for our holiday fun!  I'm looking forward to completing this album and having it to look back on.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

DIY Coffee/Espresso/Latte Mugs!

For a while now I've been interested in trying a project with vinyl.  Trying to decide what has always been tough and it's never moved to the tops of the list.  But then, inspiration hit!  So now I have completed my very first project with vinyl using my Silhouette and I'm pretty happy with the results.

For our tenth wedding anniversary, my husband and I had thought we'd be talking a trip somewhere enjoying sun and calm, but really our little ones weren't ready for us to have an extended time away.  So instead, embracing the life we have, we treated ourselves to an espresso machine.  It's been wonderful and we still enjoy it several months later!  Espresso, lungo, cappuccino, and lattes all at the touch of a button.  For a tired person in the morning, it really doesn't get better than this.  My husband ordered some great espresso and latte mugs from Crate & Barrel for us to use.  They are plain white, which I do like but I sort of also saw a Silhouette vinyl project waiting to happen.  So today, I thought, why not make that happen.  Here is the end result:

I thought it would be fun to drink an espresso while putting a mustache on!  And then I couldn't resist some great word art for the latte cups.  It was really fun designing the items to print but the whole process was a bit more work than I thought it would be.  However, I have to mention that I probably should have picked a much simpler project to start with.  But then, I wouldn't be me.

Once I had the designs ready to print in the Silhouette software I went about loading the vinyl.  You're told you don't need a cutting mat and that you can just load the roll but I really couldn't get that to work despite looking for many tips and tricks online.  I ended up cutting a strip of vinyl and using my cutting mat. 

After it's all cut, you have to strip away the excess vinyl and "weed" out the little parts.  This is where I went a bit crazy since I had picked a fairly intricate design but overall it wasn't that bad.  You definitely need all those little tools Silhouette recommends though!

Then I adhered the transfer paper and went about getting the designs onto the mugs.  So I knew I'd have to deal with the curvature of the mugs; however, I didn't think it would be as hard.  The transfer paper actually seemed to work against me a bit during this process as it is a heavy paper and as you bend it, it creases.  The first design I did wasn't so hot.  After removing the transfer paper, I lifted a few items up to fix them. Working slowly and creasing the transfer paper in between design elements, I was able to have more success with the second mug.  That all being said, in the end, I wasn't too impressed with how the vinyl stuck to the mugs!  I hope it holds up well!  I do hand wash these, so I hope that adds to the longevity. 

All in all, I'm glad I gave it a try.  I don't think the project took that long but I was chasing toddlers in the middle of it so it felt like it took forever!  I love the word art I created for the latte mugs and could easily see it as a print as well.  I'm sharing it with you for free for your PERSONAL USE ONLY.  You can grab it here.

Now, what next?