Design team member of Alpha Stamps, moderator at Craftster, lover of ephemera and junk.

Welcome! Grab a cold one, kick off your shoes, and have a look around.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Alpha Stamps Circus Giveaway!

EDIT: Sorry, this contest is now over. Everything is still available for purchase, though. :)

If you know me, you know I love the circus. Alpha Stamps has been having themed giveaways all week, and this theme (in my opinion, at least) is the very best: it's practically a three ring circus in itself! Just look at all the goodies:

Click here to see details of what you could win, and some samples I made using these products. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on the blog, and if you post on your blog or Facebook page, you can enter twice. Best. Prize. Ever.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quick Placecards and Ornaments for the Christmas Table

Each year for our big family Christmas Eve dinner, we like to set the table with placecards that everyone can keep and later hang on their tree. Each year, it's so fun to see all the ornaments from past Christmases. The last time we did a glass ornament was in 2001, and everyone at the table signed their name. Ten years later, all the kids are grown up, so we thought it would be fun to do one again. These are so easy to do: all you need is a paint pen!

Here's the 2001 ornament:

And some of the signatures:




And here's what we'll be signing this year:

 I thought it would be fun for everyone to have their name on the front. This is such a quick and easy project, and it's so nice to have the look back at the ornament and remember who was at the table that year.

We hosted a dinner party for some of our neighbors this weekend, and because I had a few ornaments left over after making them for the family, I thought it would be a nice take-home gift for our dinner guests. Each couple got an ornament like this one:
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Calendars for My Girls

My good friend Amy from Craftster.org made the most fantastic Steampunk advent calendar last year around Christmastime. After seeing that, I got a huge bee in my bonnet about making a more traditional version for each of my girls. Although I found the paper maché boxes in November of 2010, I didn't finish these up until this fall.

I did my best to make them similar, but different enough so the girls can tell whose is whose. Here's what I made for my older daughter: 

And here's the calendar for my younger daughter:

The background papers are all from Graphic45, and the images are mostly from Alpha Stamps

I kept the sides and back simple, just using coordinating papers:

Hopefully the girls will use these for many years to come. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Paper Maché Santas

I've been making Santas! These are paper maché forms that are covered with gesso, and then painted and inked to age them. I gave each of the little men something to hold onto. Ho ho ho!
From the back:
Come spring, I'm going to make some of these Santas do double duty as garden elves.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Snow Altered Matchbox

My older daughter is teaching English in Korea and will be away from home for Christmas for the first time this year. Because she's overseas, I've been trying to think of small, lightweight items to send to her in a care package. I've purchased a few fun things, but didn't want her to be totally without a little handmade Christmas as well, so I altered this little matchbox for her. Hopefully it will remind her of home and her family that loves her.

The outside:

And the inside:

Simple, but sweet. Don't you love that tiny little man? He and the tree came from tinythingsarecute. I love their little supplies!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Santa's Here! Altoid Tin Ornament

We had a little Vintage Christmas Altered Altoid Tin swap on Craftster, and here's an ornament I made for my swap partner. I painted a lightweight wooden frame and added few rhinestones and a pretty metal flower. The little girl was adhered with foam squares, so she is raised up a bit from the background. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the tree is actually a bottle brush tree, decorated with crystal stars and red rhinestones. Santa's hat has a tiny pom pom at the tip.

And the back. I love this candy striped paper and the "Night Before Christmas" excerpt from Graphic 45. Almost all of the supplies for this ornament tin came from Alpha Stamps. They have tons of great supplies for Christmas crafting!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Houses

These masonite houses from Alpha Stamps came in a little set designed to make a tiny house book. I opted not to make the book, but instead decorated each one individually. I decorated the fronts with papers, trims, buttons, glitter, and images from AS collage sheets, and left the back plain with contrasting decorative paper. These will make great gift tags, which later can hang on the tree. The little size (they're 2" by 2") makes them quick and easy to decorate.
The first and third house from the left have little leftover pieces of other shrines layered on them to give them dimension.

More Christmas to come...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Come To The Big Top!

Now that Halloween is over, and before I jump too far into Christmas, I decided to do a few more circus tins for Etsy. There was a run on them last week! Here are the first two I did (both already sold). Although the tin on the right looks a bit distorted, it's fine. I caught a funny angle when I took the picture. 
I just placed an order for more clown heads. I know they creep a lot of people out, but I just love them.

Here's a circus wagon. I really love the way the wooden frame looks just like the edges of a vintage circus wagon. I painted it to match the striped paper on the sides and back, and then added some wooden spool wheels and some vintage circus images (all supplies from Alpha Stamps).

A little bit of the side:

I'd like to make a series of these wagons some day. Wouldn't a string of several of them look great together?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Couple of Circus Elephants

I managed to scrounge through my packed supplies and find enough stuff to put together a couple of elephants. One of these will be auctioned off next weekend at a March of Dimes fundraising event, and one will be for sale on Etsy. I just can't decide which is which.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Craft Room

It's been a while since I've made anything new, and here's why: we're in the process of remodeling our upstairs, and I'm moving into a designated craft room. I'm very excited, but this has meant that I had to pack up all my gear and move out! We'll be done with the remodel in about three weeks, but meanwhile, I'll be doing a tiny bit of crafting in the kitchen, providing I kept out the right gear.

Just for fun, here's my craft area "before":

And a closeup of my desktop, in an unnaturally clean state:

I can't wait to show you the after.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another Santa's Helper

This elephant borrowed Santa's pant and boots, and is now wondering just how he's going to fit down that chimney, which is strung with festive Christmas lights in anticipation of the big day.

And here's my favorite part of this one: the little buttoned flap on back of his pants.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We are Santa's Elephants

 Not an elf, but a Christmas elephant! I decided I needed a little ho-ho-holiday time after making so many witches and goblins, so I dressed this elephant in a felt Santa hat and put him to work delivering gifts. Luckily, he's got pretty good balance; he hasn't dropped one yet.

The trinket box is covered with some pretty Graphic45 holiday paper and a bright red ribbon.

And here's the end. Literally. Maybe one of those presents is for YOU!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More Pumpkins!

 I thought one of my elephants might enjoy hanging around in a tiny pumpkin patch, so I dressed him for Halloween and set him loose. He picked out the best pumpkin, and carved it into a cute little jack o'lantern. Trick or treat!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Witch in the Pumpkin Patch

I found a huge container of "Mini Pods" at Michaels this week, and although I don't know what they really are, they look like amazing tiny pumpkins to me! I don't know what I'll do with hundreds of tiny pumpkins, but they were on sale, and I just couldn't pass them up. Look how great they look in this little tin!
Aren't they just the cutest? Thanks, Michaels!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Witchy Bingo

One of the best things I've found on Etsy is awesome supplies. I love these Bingo cards I got recently; they're all so beautifully yellowed. Perfect for a little Halloween collage! The image is, of course, from Alpha Stamps. I added a rhinestone and a small black feather. Add few shiny stars for magic (including one on the necklace she's wearing), a silver moon, and the mood is set. The countdown to Halloween continues!

I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Mr. De Mille:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes

 Happy October! I feel like it's time to kick the Halloween crafting into high gear! Here's an altered tin I finished up today. Most of the supplies for this one came from Alpha Stamps. I gave the two lovely ladies witch hats to help get them into the Halloween spirit. The little skull is actually a bead. I painted the wooden spool, and then sanded it and inked it to give it some age. And the part on the top was a round filigree flower that I bent into a 90 degree angle so I could glue it on. I love how it looks.

Here's a closeup of the interior:
  

And you know I never like to leave those backs unfinished!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another Trick or Treater

I really loved making my first little Halloween elephant, so I had to make him a little buddy. This one is similar, but many of the details are different.

Like his friend, his bag is separate so he can access his candy.
Trick or treat!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grinning Jack

 Carving pumpkins can be such a mess.  I decided to paint a permanent grin on a faux pumpkin to help celebrate Halloween this year. He ended up looking a little crazed, but I think that's part of his charm.

He needed a bit of a lift, so I painted a wooden candlestick in orange, black, lime green and purple, and then aged it with ink so it wouldn't look so new. His collar is made of crepe paper.

I had a hard time getting a good picture of the candlestick in focus, so here's a photo of it alone. It's still a little hard to see the polka dots, but most of them are composed of three different colors; for example, the dots on the black part are orange, green, and black. I guess you could say it "looks better in person".

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nevermore! Edgar Allan Poe's New Friend

 Here's the second raven. I made him a nice party hat, but he convinced me that he was too dignified to wear it, so he's arriving to the party "as is". He's perched on a block with great vintage images (from Alpha Stamps, of course!) I painted the block he's sitting on and the little wooden feet black, and then misted them with some copper colored glimmer mist to give them some shine.

Aaaand, his back:

That's enough ravens for one season! Tomorrow, it's back to elephants. I have a custom order for a little girl's birthday, in great colors: cream, red, and turquoise. It's going to be fun to paint.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Halloween Raven

 I've been working ahead for Christmas, but I just had to take a break and do a little Halloween crafting. On Pinterest, I saw a wonderful raven perched on a wooden block, and wanted to make one similar. (Actually, I'm going to make another, but I decided to do one at a time, just to see how things would go together.) Here's my first one. Of course I had to give him a party hat, but he also demanded a ruffled collar. I wanted to give him something to do, so I let him hold a key.

There were a few things I struggled with on this one: I used crepe paper for his collar. It was hand pleated and then glued to a ribbon, which is tied around his neck. Because the ribbon wouldn't lay flat and I was afraid the glue wouldn't hold well, I ended up actually pinning the collar into his neck, which made it nice and secure. Getting that beast to hold the key was a bit of a struggle as well. I made a small hole in the beak, but didn't want to make it so big that the jump ring was loose. There was a lot of trial and error (and perhaps a bit of cursing) over that.

The block was easy; I painted it, sanded it, and then used Mod Podge to adhere some scrapbook paper to each side. I was going to use just the paper on the sides, but it looked too plain, so I added the buttons, which helps break up the space a little. I wanted to give it all a bit more height, so I added wooden beads for feet.

I'm not sure how I'll do the next one. I want it to be different, so it will be a surprise as to how he turns out.  Perhaps I can get to him tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Fiftieth!

My cousin is turning 50 soon, and a surprise party has been planned for Friday. (Shhhh!) Luckily, she doesn't read my blog, even though she's definitely missing out!

We're supposed to bring her joke gifts, but how many "you're getting older" gifts does anyone really want? In my opinion, "zero" is the correct answer. Instead of getting her something that she has absolutely no desire or need for, I whipped her up a quick Happy Birthday tin, using an image of my favorite fun time gal, Millicent.
She looks like she's having a blast, doesn't she? You can't stop her!

Here's the back, with a nice reminder of a simple truth:
Now doesn't that beat receiving a nicely wrapped box of Depends? I think so.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ahoy! Long Giraffe Silver Sailing the High Seas

I just completed my first custom order on Etsy! Someone who liked my pirate elephant wanted a scurvy giraffe. I really had fun making this one. Like his elephant friend, he has an eye patch and a peg leg. His little paper hat is so tiny, that for good measure, I gave him a golden earring.

He takes his pirating job seriously!
I really tried to get a good closeup of his face, but it's too dark here and my camera is not cooperating today.  Arrrrrrrr!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sacred Heart Shrine

I love these masonite sacred heart shrine kits that Alpha Stamps is now carrying. There are so many ways they can be decorated! Here's what I did with mine: I made a little hanging shrine to creativity. First, I painted all the layers of the masonite. I outlined the fire and the rays with a gold paint pen, and sprayed them with Glimmer Mist to give it some sparkle. I painted some dots on the blue layer, and added metal studs. The smallest heart was stamped with some text. I used StazOn ink for a deep black image, and lightly inked the edges with an older ink pad.

I put a silver hand charm and the word "create" into the niche; perfect for a craft room!

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