Thursday, November 13, 2014

Scalloped Advent Banner

Thursday, November 13, 2014
 
 
*Disclaimer- this project is participating in the Cricut Design Space Star Contest and is eligible for prizes.  All ideas and opinions are my own.  This post also contains affiliate links.  I truly do love my Cricut Explore and  if you think you might want one, clicking through the links to purchase will result in a small cash compensation for me.  That is all- on to the project. :)

Can one have too many advent calendars?  I don't think so.  We have a few at our house.  I have five kids, so I'm thinking if I have 5 advent calendars they'll all be happy and there won't be any fighting about who's turn it is that day.  I can dream anyway.   One of my favorite ways to count down to Christmas is to have simple daily activities that bring us together as a family for some fun, reflection or service.  This scalloped advent banner is perfect for that.

The tags inside the bunting are the perfect place to write that day's activities.  Some of our favorite things to include in our countdown are:
make gingerbread houses
read a Christmas story
watch a movie
play a game
make cookies
take a treat to someone
shop for presents
take a drive to see holiday lights
enjoy a treat
write a note to someone
wrap presents
have hot chocolate
visit family
have cinnamon rolls
play in the snow
do a craft

Sometimes we do an activity more than once, for instance read a Christmas story is one that we do at least once a week since we have so many favorite stories.  My main goal with this is to make sure we are taking time every day to stop the craziness and just be together.  But, with that being said- life gets crazy- especially during the holidays- so I really don't want to add one more thing that makes things even more hectic.  I edit the activities and make sure they are simple and reasonable for that day.  For instance, I won't plan the drive to see holiday lights on the same night as a work party- it wouldn't get done and we would all be disappointed and stressed.

This banner was pretty simple to put together with the Cricut Explore.  I uploaded the pocket file and cut out 12 pockets out of a pearl white cardstock.  I find that when I'm using textured cardstock- especially one with a sheen- I need to use the posterboard setting to get it to cut cleanly.  Then I uploaded the cutout file I created that created smaller accent pieces that wouldn't distort the scallops and cut it out once of six different patterned papers.  My team decided that our theme for this round would be Dreamy White Holidays- so I tried to keep the palette pretty muted and focused on white tone on tone paper with just a few hits of green and red.  I cut out tags and labels from the same left over papers and numbers as well.  It took some arranging to find combinations that worked, but I'm thrilled with the final result.  

To assemble the banner fold the pockets on the score lines and crease well.  Then I ran them through my sewing machine to close up the sides.  You could also use glue or double sided tape, but it might make the pocket opening a little narrower and you may need to adjust the size of the tags.  Glue or tape on your patterned pieces, labels and numbers.  I used 3D glue dots to lift the labels off the flag a bit.  Then just run some ribbon through the holes at the top of the banner.  I tied extra ribbon between each of the flags for some extra texture and color.  Add ribbon to the tops of the tags and write your activities on them.  Place them in the right pocket and enjoy your holiday season.

If my project wins this round all the project files will be available in Cricut Design Space.  I'll keep you posted. :)

XOXO,
Amy

Monday, November 3, 2014

Renewal

Monday, November 3, 2014
Here I sit on a Monday morning.  The list of things I could do is a mile long.  Instead I am choosing to sit here and write.  Because, well, I miss this little spot of mine.

 This weekend I received a copy of Where Women Create magazine in the mail.  It's a gorgeous magazine full of beautiful pictures and amazing photography and inspiring women.  Women who have pushed their boundaries, reached for their dreams and achieved incredible things.  Women I greatly admire.

And while I am not ready yet to fully flutter my creative wings and let my dreams go out on a wild flight, it certainly fanned the flames of desire to continue to strengthen and enlarge them in preparation for just such an adventure.

The last month or so has been a crazy ride.  Both my DIY word art and my Black and White Christmas Shadow box projects were selected as the top 10 final projects in the Cricut contest I am participating in.  My word art actually came in second.  It was such an honor.  And, because the winner of that round was already a finalist, I get to compete in the final round for the contest in December.  So much fun!

I had nearly decided to quit blogging.  I am SO tired of all the extra stuff that seems to have to go with it.  I had forgotten why I even started in the first place.  I blog because I love to create.  It makes me happy and fills my life with beauty.  I hope my blog will be a place for others to come to be inspired.  I hope it is a place where other mothers and other women who struggle with the stress of life will come to realize they are not alone in those struggles, because sometimes just knowing you're not alone makes things seem easier to bear.

And these last few weeks have helped me remember these things.  I love making stuff.  And, honestly, I feel like I make good stuff (mostly).  I love sharing stuff.  I love helping others make stuff.  So, hopefully, this marks the beginning of a new era in my blogging life.  And hopefully the community that is already built around this blog will grow and we will create a wonderful place full of joy and light.

 Let's grow our creative wings together, because, flying on the breeze of inspiration is such a wonderful, exhilarating ride!  Won't you come along with me?

 XOXO,
Amy

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween mantel and word art

Friday, October 24, 2014
 So, technically, this isn't a mantel, but it's as close as I can get in this house.  I'm still loving my turquoise dresser and it makes me happy every time I walk in the door.  Last year I purged quite a bunch of my holiday decorations, so I wasn't sure how this year's decorating would look, but I'm pretty happy with it, at least this little spot anyway. 

I promised when I posted the Love Word Art a few weeks ago that I would post a Halloween version, well, it took me a bit longer than I intended, but better late than never, right?  And, if you're looking for something to craft up this weekend, this is a quick project that you can finish in just a couple hours, including drying time.  The instructions for creating the word art are the same as in the previous post.  Cut out three layers of letters from cereal boxes and one set from scrapbook paper.  Use a thin layer of glue to hold them together, make sure to get the edges well.  I like to let them sit under some books for a while to press all the layers together well (after gluing all 4 layers together), just place them in between sheets of wax paper and make sure you don't have huge amounts of glue hanging out of the edges.  While the letters are drying you can paint your stir sticks and stands.  For the orange stand I used a wood candlestick.  The black stand is a bunch of wooden pieces glued together.  I have no idea where you could get them, perhaps Hobby Lobby?  My Mother-in-Law had a whole bucket of turned wood pieces and I found them in there.
To finish off the "Spooky" art, I glued different sized googly eyes to the two letter "O"s.  I used hot glue on the bigger eyes and a glue pen for the small ones. (I didn't want to burn my fingers) ;)  One thing to note is that I did not glue the stir sticks to the stands.  I wanted it to be easier to store them, and especially with the black stand, I might use it again for other holidays so I wanted to keep it available.  I glued the eyes on the letters before I glued the letters to the stir stick.
This "Creepy" word art might be my favorite.  These little plastic spiders I found at my dollar store were just perfect.  Originally I was going to just have the spiders on the letters, but it was making the letters look too busy and a little hard to read.  That's when I had the idea to create a swarm coming up the bottom of the word, and oh, my!  The effect is perfect!  I did glue the letters onto the stir stick before I added the spiders in this case, I wanted to be able to have some of the spiders climbing onto the letters so they needed to be attached.
I had the opportunity to be on a local TV station sharing this craft.  If you want to know what I sound/ look like in person, or see this craft come together in action, click over. :)  The other project in this clip is another simple project, the spider specimen art can be found here.
I hope you're having a wonderful autumn.  Ours could not be more perfect.  The weather has been warm and dry- all month long.  October sure knows how to treat us right, this year anyway. :)
love you all,
xoxo,
Amy
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