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.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tiny Ornament Boxes, OR a Fun Swap

Quite some time ago, a good friend of mine and I got all excited about decorating vintage Christmas ornament boxes. I found a great deal on Ebay: two adorable identical boxes for $10. Each box measured just 4" by 5 1/2". I kept one and sent one to her, with the promise that we would each decorate them and give them to each other as gifts.

So here's what I sent her. It's a vintage plastic reindeer with a stocking, sitting on a glittery surface of snow. There's a little package next to him, addressed to her. What could be inside?
I left the cellophane window on mine; she removed hers. She wins. It's really better without. I told her she may want to take that off of the one I sent her. The glare is pretty bad, especially in photos.

Aren't these the cutest boxes ever? Neither of us could bear to mess with the outsides; they were just too perfect!

And here's what she sent me. I just love it so much! The tree is raised up to give it dimension, and look at that deer, spying on Santa. So cute! There's lots of glitter in the snow on the ground and on the roof of the house. I am a big fan of the little bit of glitter around the opening of the box.

And a picture of the side, so you can see the dimension better. 
What a fun Christmas exchange. Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mini Tin Ornament

My last kit from Alpha Stamps came with the cutest little reindeer charm. I just had to figure out something to do with him. I also had some small bottle brush trees and lots of Snow-tex left over, so I popped the lid off of a mini Altoids tin and put this little ornament together. The gold tinsel and the jingle bell hanging on the bottom make it extra festive.
This was a quick little project that was fun to do.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Light-up Christmas House, with Tutorial

Christmas is coming! Inspired by vintage Putz houses, I made this little house using Alpha Stamps' new Glitter House Template collage sheet and lots of other fun Christmas supplies (also from Alpha Stamps, of course!) This house has an LED light inside, and a working streetlight on the corner. Here it is in daylight:

And here it is in the dark, with both the inside light and the street light lit. When the lights are on, you can see the Christmas tree inside the front window.
These little houses are so fun and easy to make! Here's how I made this one.

Cut apart the template and adhere it temporarily with spray adhesive to the backside of sturdy double sided scrapbook paper. For this project, I used a very light coat of Aleene's Spray Tacky Glue. Once the house was cut out, I removed the template. Using a ruler and x-acto knife, cut around the outside edge of the template, and the doors and windows. Use a bone folder to score along the tab lines and the dotted fold lines, and then carefully remove the template from the scrapbook paper.

Fold along the scored tab and fold lines, and begin to glue the house together. I glued the top of the house down first, then the sides, and then folded up and glued the bottom. It really helps to cut out the bottom of the floor (noted on the template), so you can get your hands up into the house and hold down those glued edges until they dry. Once the house is assembled, you can replace the cut out part and complete the floor. In this next photo (using different paper from the final project), the top part of the house is glued down, and the tabs on the side are folded and glued. Just tuck them in and hold for a few minutes while the glue sets, and then finish up with the floor.

Now for the roof. I used corrugated cardboard for my roof, so I gently peeled off the top layer of paper to expose the ribs within. Once the cardboard is stripped, adhere the template, and then cut and score the roof. Glue it to the top of the house. I used a rubber band to hold the roof in place until the glue was set.

This is my first time to use Snow-tex, but definitely not my last! I just couldn't wait to try it out, so I did a little test area on the roof, using an old paintbrush. Notice I taped around the edge of the lid of the box with masking tape; I didn't want to get any snow on the sides. (In case you're wondering, yes, I always work like this. My desk is a mess!)

Glue the chimney to the roof using Tacky Glue. Don't worry that the chimney doesn't sit flat on the corrugated cardboard; Snow-tex will cover that up.

Next, I put a string of tiny pearls around the door and all of the windows except the large one in front. I found that it helped to cut the string into tinier segments, especially when going around a curve. For the rounded windows, I cut the strands so that I was only gluing on two pearls at a time. Here, Santa stands guard while you check out those pearly windows. The snow you see on the window panes was added using an embroidery needle. I found the popsicle stick to be too large for applying small amounts of the Snow-tex.

I made the chimney cap a bit smaller than the one on the template so it didn't hang over the chimney, but I did cut the hole in it so I could add some smoke, which was made with a little bit of cotton pulled off a cotton ball.  In this next photo, I was determining placement of the house, the Santa, and the trees on the box lid.

I drew around all the elements on the top to help give me a guide of where to punch holes out for the wiring of the streetlight and the LED light within the house. Once I knew where things were going to go, I punched out the holes. The larger hole for the LED light was made with scissor tips, and the smaller streetlight hole was made with a large needle. These holes don't have to be pretty; they will be covered in the final project.

To keep the lights stable on top, I used a bit of Apoxie Sculpt to secure them underneath the lid. 

Now it's time to add the snow. To keep the front doorstep from being buried, I sat the house up on a piece of cardboard cut to the same size as the floor. This will make the house look like it's on a little hill. Now, fill in the snow! I used a popsicle stick for the larger areas, like the ground, and a toothpick for some of the smaller areas, like the tops of the windows and around the Santa. As I mentioned before, the tiny bits of snow on the window panes were applied with a needle.

The trees were a little taller than I needed, so I used wire clippers to cut their wooden bases off. Once I applied all the snow on the ground, I used Aleene's Tacky Glue around the bottoms of the trees and set them into place. Push them into that snow, so they'll be nice and stable.

To make the wreath in the front window, I used a hole reinforcement label and some green yarn. I wrapped the yarn around the circle several times, adding some tacky glue when necessary. Red seed beads were then glued on to resemble holly berries. An upside down candy cane made the perfect wreath hanger.

Before assembly, I painted the box with cream and white stripes, and glued on some 7/8" lace around the rim of the top. The batteries for the lights are now hidden within the box. Look around back: someone has built a snowman!

The great thing about these templates is how flexible they are. You can make whatever sort of houses you wish. How about a haunted house next October? Meanwhile, happy little Christmas house! For a complete list of supplies, click here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cigar Box Mini

I really love old cigar boxes, so when the November kit from Alpha Stamps came out, I couldn't wait to start; they are now carrying so many new cigar box themed collage sheets, plus tons of coordinating scrapbook papers. I made a mini cigar box! Here's a photo of it with some of my actual sized boxes.
Isn't it so cute? The tiny masonite cigar box I used is just the right size to hold a gift card, and the Turquoise Mini Cigar Boxes collage sheet is designed to perfectly fit this box.

Here's a little tip if you're going to be covering a box: before you adhere the paper to the top, reinforce the hinged area with some tape. This will help keep that joint strong when the lid is opened and closed.

I added images from some of the other collage sheets to the top and sides of the box. Here's the finished outside, with the red "seal" broken:

The interior is lined with a lovely houndstooth pattern, and features a 3D cigar-themed sticker.

This little box would make a perfect gift box for a cigar aficionado. But I'd like to just display it, so I chose a few images from the Cigar Box Secrets scrapbook paper, cut them out, and mounted them on a little foam core base, cut just to fit inside the box. They stand up nicely, but are easy to remove should I decide to use the box to hold a gift card later.

In this next photo, you can see the three pieces after I first completed them. I liked the way they looked inside the box, but just couldn't be happy with that lady in the back. She blends in too much with the background, and it's hard to see her and tell that she's actually 3D.

I used some colored pencils to give her face and hair a little more definition, and then used some Copic Markers to color in the halo in the background. What a difference! Now she shows up so much better.

It looks to me like these lovely ladies are all waiting for a parade.
For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Scary Toy

It's been a while since I've made a Scary Toy, but I just participated in a Craftster swap and my partner mentioned that she really liked the toys I've done in the past. Since the swap was for "one tiny October thing", I decided to make her a Halloween themed toy. Here's what I sent her:

I guess you could say it's sort of a modified batmobile. One of the rules of the swap was that items had to be no more that 4" in any direction. The toy shown above is actually the second toy I made. The first was just a little large. I'm a rule follower! Here's the bigger toy:

The back has a "vintage" bat wings label on it. 
I popped this one up for sale in my etsy shop with the rest of my Halloween things.  Spooky!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gravestones and Goblins

How cool are the new paper maché tombstones from Alpha Stamps? I used all three to make a spooky graveyard and set it up in the backyard. This is a tiny cemetery; the tombstones are each just around 6" tall.

A little bit about how I made them: the tombstones were originally the color of craft paper. I thought about covering them with scrapbook paper, but really wanted to get the look of an actual stone tombstone, so I ended up painting them. To get the mottled effect, I used four colors of paint: white, light grey, dark grey, and black. Using one brush, I dipped it into the paints and just dabbed it all over the surface, mixing the paints as I went. This technique works great; you just have to keep adding paints and dabbing until you achieve the look you want. Once the surface was done, I went in with a detail brush and black paint and added some cracks.

To make the niches for the skulls and gargoyle, use an ellipse template to draw the desired outline of the opening.

Once you've got your opening outlined, carefully cut it out with an xacto knife. I found it worked best to lightly score around the penciled outline, and then use the tip of the xacto in a sawing motion to cut through the cardboard. The tombstones are hollow, but there are strips of cardboard inside for support. I was able to just move those strips out of the way where I wanted the hole. Once I had the opening cut, I painted the inside black so it would be nice and dark.

The skulls and gargoyle are adhered with Apoxie Sculpt clay. I absolutely love that stuff. I was able to not only attach them, but to raise them up to the proper height to fit well in the niche. I ended up making a little frame around each niche to give them a more finished look. Here's the first of the gravestones. Is that nasty goblin trying to remove a stone on the frame?

The gargoyle bead in the second tombstone is the perfect addition to a proper gentleman's final resting place. The crow perched on this grave is also a bead, so it had a hole through its chest and back. I filled the hole with Apoxie Sculpt and painted it black. A little moss growing on the gravestones adds to the aged look.

And last but not least, there's the last resting place of a drama queen. Poor girl died relatively young. Someone has left her flowers, but I'm afraid those pesky goblins are thinking of stealing them.

Here they are all together. Happy Halloween!
Need supplies? Click here for a complete list.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Couple of Kitties

I just did a swap with a good friend of mine on Craftster. She wanted some pet portraits; I asked for a blanket to have on my screened in porch for cool evenings.

Here are her kitties:

And here's the gorgeous afghan she sent in return. Look how great it looks with the pillows! Awesome swap!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Edgar Allan Poe Chalkboard

Halloween is near! I bought a cheap wooden frame at Michaels and with lots of fun supplies from Alpha Stamps, including chalkboard paint!, made a spooky Edgar Allan Poe chalkboard. Ole Edgar can say whatever I want him to say. Here he is quoting himself:

What else do you have to say, Edgar?

Edgar loves Alpha Stamps because they carry several great Edgar Allan Poe collage sheets and lots of  other great Halloween art supplies, including most of the embellishments on his new frame!

For a list of spooky supplies, click here!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts

Earlier this year, I was contacted by the editor of Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine, asking if they could feature my Halloween cat in this year's addition. The magazine came out this week, and I just got my copy! Here's the kitty, from page 13. So exciting!
The Holiday issue has lots of great ideas in it, plus tutorials. There are several Halloween and Christmas crafts I plan on making this year.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Finn, Accomplished Bird Boy

A while back, a partner in a Craftster swap sent me some crocheted flowers and ceramic bird heads and leaves that she made.  She thought I might enjoy playing with them, and she was correct! The other day I was procrastinating (while supposedly working on a different project), and I started fiddling around with the things she sent and a vintage block, and somehow, Finn was born.

Doesn't the crocheted flower make the perfect ruffly collar? I was going to give Finn a party hat, using the lace for a trim, but when I cut the lace to size, it struck me that the lace made a perfect crown.

The head, wings and doll feet were affixed with Apoxie Sculpt. It makes the perfect little pantaloons.
 Stand tall, Finn!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Snarky Housewives. Now! With More Snark!

I love those way-to-happy-to-be-real housewife images they used in the 50's for advertising. I'm pretty darn sure I never look so happy when I'm cooking or cleaning. I talked with Leslie over at Alpha Stamps about my obsession, and she was nice enough to create some great 50's housewife collage sheets and source some fun supplies. I decided to showcase my housewives in windowed tins: there's the angelic 50's housewife on the outside, but on the inside, the true snark shows through.

I am totally in love with that pie paper! Plus, all the little trinkets: the rolling pin, the tiny cookbook, and of course that nice bottle of red wine. I told my hubby that I was going to put a magnet on the back of this tin, and he could use it as a mood gauge. Lid on: happy wife, good dinner coming. Lid off: attitude adjustment needed, poor me a glass of wine and make some reservations!

Here's another deceptively sweet gal, who looks like she's ready to cook up something delicious, but actually, not:

In the original image, she held a grocery list. I altered her list a tad.

Alpha Stamps has tons of great scrapbook papers, snarky housewife collage sheets, and miniature supplies for housewives, just search under "retro kitchen". Here are those wonderfully snarky ladies again. I think they would be the best of friends.

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