Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Tag swap

Here are the tags I made for the Christmas tag swap on the cricut circle message-board, Canadian chat.  I had time in November and made 3 types of tags but only got around to blogging them now, that's life eh.  I used my gypsy and cricut expression machine.  I extra challenged myself to use non-traditional papers and I'm pleased with how they turned out.  Click on any picture to enlarge.

The first one is cut from "Picturesque" cartridge at 2" x 3" with the top layer cut from vellum.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "always cut extra."  The vellum was fussy at this size.  I thought they would be able to run through my little xyron sticker maker, nope, I forgot it had to be 1" or less to fit into there, doh!  So I skipped the gluing and just used the cropadile and eyelets with some pretty sparkle thread to hang them.  I didn't take a picture, but the backs are stamped with a to/from stamp from Inkadinkado Christmas Wishes.  I coralled the eyeletes with a roll of double-stick tape while I was working.  I added Pewter stickles to give the birds eyes, but didn't get a picture of that.  I was just proud of myself just for getting this one assembly line photo of the process.

NOTE:  Vellum likes a medium sticky cricut mat.  That mat needs to be well scraped of flotsam & jetsam or the blade will skip around while cutting the vellum.  Yet another reason to cut extra, sigh.

 These  are the "fails."  I cut yellow tags at 6.39"x4" using the "Sophie" cartridge and yellow Recollections brand paper.  I had an idea to spray them with shimmer ink but decided that would be too messy.  I traced out a template on a page protector and used it as a resist to make a green tree.  The page protector was too flimsy, it took forever for the ink to apply and dry, and it was messy.  I abandoned the experiment.

I then dug out the sparkle gelly pens and hand drew around the trees.  I figured out quickly to put a dot at the tip of the branches where I wanted to end up and thought of smiles, to make the lines curving upwards over the image.    I then pulled a variety of pen colours and dug some scrap out of the garbage to test colours to make ornament dots.  This was very relaxing to do.
I decided I wanted a little sparkle to make the top of the tree pretty, how in the world do you attach anything to a hole?  I use a plastic flexible cutting board from the dollar store on my work surface.  Nothing sticks to it, I can beat it up, cut, ink, or glue on it, no problems.  I added the rhinestone, added a glob of glue & let it dry.  Wha LA!  The trees have a star.
Now, I wasn't quite satisfied with the little bitty star.  I have these old clear epoxy stickers, sometimes known as page pebbles.  These are old dollar store goodies.  I tried them in the cropadile and it punches perfectly.  I tried a centre hole and didn't like it so I put the holes at the bottom of the sticker and they look quite radiant now.
 I inherited these next 2 to/from stamps from family, the silver pigment ink looks great.  We won't even wonder why there is almost no room to write names.  You're supposed to be in awe of how lovely the tags are right?  I run the edges through the paper trimmer ripple blade.  I like how it looks peeking through.  Simple cotton green & white yarn for the string.

 These were the simplest tags to make.  I had a sheet of Graphic 45 brand paper, "Christmas past Letters to Santa" which cut up beautifully with Fiscars stamp-edge deckle scissors.  I cut the tags from "Tags bags Boxes & more" cartridge, unlinked the dimensions to 5.25"x 4" using Recollections brand cardstock.  I made fiddly little bows from raffia and gluedotted them on.  I also added tiny stardust stickles dots to the corners of the "stamp" to add some visual interest.  Still no comment on the amazing amount of room to write names!
 For all the work that goes into these tags, it makes sense to see if they can be double use.  See how the middle can be ripped away from the yellow tag? The back of the green tag can be clipped away too.  These are the first Christmas tags I have made since elementary school when we recycled old cards to make tags.  Remember those days?

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas crafts

I offered to help out at my son's school and was suggested Christmas ornaments or little containers so kids have something they can give away to their friends & families.  5 sheets of white poster-board later, have  a look.  They are white so there is more choices of how to decorate them.   I started with 10 minutes planning them out on the gypsy and then 2 separate hours of steady cutting yielded:

40 pillow boxes (4 per 12" x 12" page) image cut from "Easter 1010" cartridge but I hid the bunny cut out.  Each is 5.57" x 5.75" after cutting.  I prescored one and left notes on the benefits of scoring to reduce frustration.

 About 10 door hangers from the "Christmas"  cartridge about 4" wide x 7" high.  I welded 2 together to use the narrow scraps of poster-board and just snipped off the extra partial loop from the bottom edge. This way the bottom edge can be folded up to make a pocket for a little treasure after decoration.

3 of these are cut from the "Christmas" cartridge, the lower left corner ornament and the 3 in the last picture are all from "Christmas Village" cartridge.  All are about 5" high.

 I didn't even count how many ornaments were cut, but there's LOTS!  I had to put them on Christmasy paper to make them all show up for photos.  I won't be able to help out in class because of work but I did enclose some notes.  I suggested the ornaments could be decorated as is, glued to coloured tissue, cellophane, or aluminum foil and the excess cut away.  I also noted aluminum foil can be coloured with permanent markers.  I'm hoping that the kids have fun decorating them so they can look forward to having something lovely too.  I'm also gifting them a pile of Christmasy paper leftover from the recipe swap.  It was a huge package of paper and too lovely to not share.

Season's greetings!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendars

December first brings a whole new flurry of winter activities for most families.  Never mind I missed my one year "blogiversary."  A whole year of blogging and I'm happy to have met my goal to learn something new (blogging) and I'm grateful to all my kind followers & great comments.

I'm hosting a Christmas tag swap, but they're not quite all in to share so I will post a few at a time starting with my own over the month of December. I had this great idea to string them along a garland with each one showing family fun ideas for the month of December.  An advent calendar of beauty and function.

Here is the list I've drafted of "things to do" in no particular order.  Feel free to pick & choose what suits your family if you wish to make your own advent calendar.  Yes, there is more than 25 things listed, more fun to do, and who says we have to do just "one" thing a day.  A lot of these ideas were collected form a discussion on the Cricut circle messageboard.  They're too great to not share.

  • Make a list for Santa's Helpers (its hard to give things to people who have everything, give them clues so you get what you need instead of more guesses & clutter)
  • Children can make their letters to Santa
  • Make Christmas cards
  • Make Christmas tags from last year's Christmas cards
  • Prep and send out Xmas cards
  • Go window shopping to see all the gorgeous store displays
  • Go sledding
  • Bake Xmas cookies 
  • Organize or join a recipe swap among your friends & family
  • Wrap Xmas gifts for friends and family
  • Watch TV Xmas specials
  • Clean & donate gently used toys to charity
  • Prep for Santa (Xmas Eve)
  • Make some Christmas or winter crafts, go ahead, make a mess too!
  • Read a Christmas story together
  • Go for a drive to look at holiday lights while dressed in pjamas
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Make a snowman
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Put up the Christmas tree and decorate it
  • Go Christmas caroling or sing Christmas songs
  • Read a Christmas book or a story
  • Make & have some egg-nogg, peppermint hot chocolate with marshmallows, or hot apple cider
  • Sing Christmas carols
  • Telephone Santa, there are some Santa Hotlines where children can leave a message
  • Look at past Christmas pictures
  • Take pictures with Santa
  • Hang stockings
  • Pick your favorite ornament and tell why you like it so much
  • Make an ornament or wreath
  • Choose a new dish to make for Christmas dinner or lunch
  • Eat a candy cane
  • Make reindeer snack mix for Santa's reindeer, recipe ideas via internet
  • Go have annual family photos taken, don't forget the out-takes are good too
  • Make some silly family photos
  • Play board-games, cards
  • Learn a new game
  • Take a walk at night in the snow with your dogs, chased by a hot drink fresh from the crock pot
  • Have a pyjama day
  • Plan a Christmas scavenger hunt
  • Make a donation to charity or food banks
  • Attend Christmas parties
  • Throw a Christmas party
  • Go to community events IE: lighting of the tree; visit nativity displays; candle-light vigils

In case you are wanting to make an advent calendar, this site has a nice collection of great ideas.  Homemade-advent-calendar-roundup  I will update this post if I find any more great collections.  We all know it is important to simply celebrate the season in your own cultural & family way.  We need to spread kindness, this is a tough time of year for many families, winter is hard on everyone.  I have some ideas for January since that is always a tough month of winter.  I invite you to think of & share your ways to make the winter season easier.  There's 45 ideas to get you started, they don't all have to be exclusively for December.

Happy Holidays!