Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015....Hello 2016!

#2015 bestnine from Instagram. Follow me there! 

Today is the last day of 2015. How the hell did that happen? It has been a busy, but wonderful holidays around here-how about you? Before 2016 I thought I would share a few highlights from this year. A few of my favorites- what about you? share something in the comments!

Books. This was a tough one. I read alot of good books this year! I kept track of my books on GoodReads HERE. I think my favorite were: The Girl On The Train and Career of Evil

Movies: Star Wars (duh) and I finally watched the entire Lord of the Rings series and really got them! I tried to watch them years ago, but found them terribly boring. Obviously I needed to mature.

Project: This wall hanging. Everytime I lay on the couch I just LOVE looking at it! I need to do another one next year. Even though I didn't make it all 12 months, I also really enjoyed my #happymailisthebestmail series.

Shop goals- Professionally this was a big year for me! My little shop grew and I have learned so much! I can't even tell you how much I appreciate my customers- #squadgoals. I am setting a few goals for next year, can't wait to share!

Thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who comes to my little corner of the internet. I hope you had a more than wonderful 2015. To celebrate the new year, I am running a BIG BOGO sale in my Etsy shop- get all the details on my FB page HERE.

Happy New Year, y'all- see you in 2016 xoxo, Michelle

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Easy Halloween Cards

Hey y'all! Just a quick post today to share an idea for easy Halloween cards I made this year to send my friends. Just like these scrapbook layouts I shared on Monday I made it out of paper scraps. I also used a couple of free fonts and bought some fun stickers to add a little flair. (NOTE: non of the links included are affiliate, and I don't get any money for recommending them. Just passing along things I used and loved!)

After I created this notecard set for my Etsy shop I was inspired to send a similar card to my favorite witches. I created a new Word document with 2x3 inch text boxes to hold my sentiment. I used Oswald and Art Brewery, both free fonts. As that printed, I googled 'martini glass' and found a clip art I could use to cut on my Silhouette. That fun glitter paper came from this pack I bought from Michael's and cut perfectly (it was pretty think paper, so I made sure to double cut it). 

- use the ocean that is Google Image and you can find almost anything you want to cut on a digi cutter. Anything that is in a SVG, PNG, JPG can be used. There may be more file types you can use, I'm only familiar with these
-If you want to make a group of similar cards, always think of your paper scraps first! If you are like me you will have a stack of pieces you are saving 'for the right project', 

I needed to make 8 cards, and I was able to use paper left over from cards I had made for my shop. I did buy those fun bat stickers specifically for these cards......because clearly these drinks needed garnish ; )

So, what's your plan for the weekend? Anyone going to a fun Halloween party? Pictures or it didn't happen (Instagram: @hotwheelsandglueguns )

See you next week!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tips for Using Multiple Photos on a Layout- October Scrapbook Layouts

Hello! Today I wanted to share a couple of Halloween themed layouts I made with pictures from last October. I am also going to share my tips for using lots of photos at one time-something I do pretty often. What I love about these layouts was it showcases alot of photos and used almost exclusively paper scraps! It was time intense, but I was in the mood to just play around for a while, but I didn't buy any new paper to do it-I just used a few pieces of 12x12 cardstock and a bunch of paper scraps. 

supplies used: Sharpie fine tip , October Afternoon- letter stickers, Studio Calico- bobby pins, sequins from October 2014 kit, Making Memories- patterned paper, My Mind's Eye- stickers, Freckled Fawn- washi tape, American Crfts cardstock, Silohuette cut files- haunted house, tree, spider web

For this layout I cut a haunted house and spooky tree from black card stock. I cut a spiders web from a piece of older Making Memories paper. It has a bit of orange glitter that gives it a little pop. I wanted to include a lot of photos, but that can make a layout look a bit of a mess, right? To combat that I trimmed 4 of them down to a 3x4 size with just the most important parts, then lined them up along the bottom. I layered them over a long strip of striped paper. Over that I added sequins and some leftover word stickers (behind the haunted house I added some off white paper to make the 'windows'). To balance the business of the bottom I kept the top of the spread simple- One large photo, the spiders web and some journalling. 

Supplies Used: Silhouette  files- spider web, letter stickers-old from Studio Calico and October Afternoon (couldn't find a link), Studio Calico- sequins (from Oct. 2014 kit)Chic Tags- 'carve' tag (couldn't find a link), American Crfts cardstock

For this layout I cut more of those spiders' webs from patterned paper. This time I filled in the 'holes' with little bits of patterned paper. I even used the cover sheet from an October Afternoon pack that had little squares of pattern. The small size was great for filling in!  

This layout also had a lot of pictures (I take a LOT of pictures in October), so I cut them to a uniform size, except the first one that is a little larger to create an 'anchor'. I lined them up and anchored the whole strip with a small strip of paper. Added a few sequins, a few bits of paper and washi tape, and then old letter stickers (luckily I add enough to spell 'jack o lantern ; ) )

HOT WHEELS TIP (for using lots of photos on a layout):
- trim photos to a smaller size to cut out blank empty space and focus on the most important part.
- Choose photos with similar color schemes and patterns
- Use white space in the layout to give the eye a place to rest
-Anchor your photos visually- Either with a paper border, words, or something that groups the photos together. Don't let them just float in space in a random matter.


In this post I talked about how I mix traditional scrapbook pages with a couple of Project Life pages each month.  This was my page from October 2014. I am a Halloween dork, y'all. Last year I: decorated my condo, watched the original Halloween movies, saw a live performance of Dracula ,and went to a really Spectacular Jack of Lantern exhibit. Again, I just used paper scraps in colors that went with my pictures-not necessarily from a Halloween line! I also used leftover bits like: a key, a glitter bat, a wax seal (from a Harry Potter sticker set) and some buttons.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions about what I talked about here, please leave me a comment.

Later, Witches! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hot Wheels Essentials- Halloween Edition

Now that October is in full swing it is Halloween central in my world. It's one of my favorite holidays, and I love taking part in all the fun things the month has to offer (however, I wish there were a few more weekends in October, a girl can only do so many things at once, right?) On the list of things to do: visit a few haunted houses, watch a few scary movies, send out a few Halloween cards, and eat a few caramel apple  flavored things....with hot coffee.

#pumpkinspiceyolife y'all.

In the interest of sharing holiday cheer I wanted to share a few of my essentials-things I want use/do/enjoy almost every year around this time. It's a well rounded list-including everything from good movies, activities for locals and some fun crafty things!  (note: some of these links are affiliate, but I only recommend things I know and love)

- I read Doctor Sleep last year and really enjoyed it. I thought about reading The Shining this month. But, I've already seen the movie, so will I still enjoy the book? Still considering that.
 - My friends and I get together to watch a couple of movies every year-usually one older one and one newer one. This year we are watching The Omen and Scream. I would also highly recommend The Saw series (my gateway drug into horror movies) and I always watch The Great Pumpkin....because I'm basically a big kid ; )
 - I've written before about my podcast listening habits, and one of my favorite podcasters is doing a series on Halloween books. She is EXCELLENT, and this is a paid series, but totally worth it for a month of spooky entertainment.

Are you from in/around Louisville? Here's a few things that I think are a good time.
 - Bernheim Forest. Y'all......Kentucky in the fall is the most beautiful thing. And Louisville has many beautiful parks-but Bernheim does fall right. Their Colorfest is a great time for families, but you could just wander around and take a million pictures of the color explosion.
 - Hillcrest Avenue. Hillcrest Avenue gives me house decorating goals. It also gives me a chance to throw a party! I live just a couple blocks away, so it gather up a few of my peeps, fill them with booze and goodies, then we wander around the two block long stretch of houses that decorate like crazy every October. (they don't have an official website, but the link above takes you to their FB page!)
 -Halloween Haunt at Kings Island. haunted attractions+a roller coaster + pizza= pretty much a perfect day, IMHO.

p.s. Have you seen Dracula at Actors Theatre? You should. And Fright Night Campouts is on my list for next year.

Of course, I love make and give cards. I am selling many Halloween cards in my shop. But, I also enjoy decorating and by that I mean, cover my condo in skulls, spider webs and anything glow in the dark.  I have searched far and wide for good quality craft supplies that add glow in the dark sparkle to my DIY decorations.
 - Martha Stewart is the queen of Halloween, forever. I LOVE her magazine special issue, and I go back again and again for her GLOW PAINT and GLITTER.
 - Judekins Embossing Powder. I bought this on a whim on Amazon, but I was uber impressed. For my friends who don't make handmade cards embossing powder is heat set and used over stamping to add gloss or shine. THIS POWDER IS AMAZING!! (sorry, I didn't mean to shout) It heat set like a dream, and once you charge it with light it makes your card GLOW! Here's a peek at one of the cards I made using it with a BOO! stamp. I'm working on another blog post to show you how you can use it-stay tuned!
 - Glow Sticks. I buy a bunch of these every year, and I don't really have a favorite brand to link to. I just get whatever they have at my local dollar store. I use them all over- I pass them out to friends who come to my party. I stick them in a few of my decorations to give them a fun glow. Last year I discovered you can empty the liquid out into water and it will make the jar or bottle glow! True fact-you can put a glow stick in your freezer and it's glowabilities will last a long time. I found one in the back of my freezer in December (one of my friends who thinks they are very funny ; ) ) and it was still glowing a little!
- No glow factor here, but I bought a bunch of this paper to make cards and scrapbook my October adventures. So pretty in person!

Two new shows I plan to watch to add to my schedule are:
- AHS: Hotel. Last season was a little lackluster, but I have LOVED the other seasons...and Lady Gaga is in the cast....YASSS.

- Scream Queens. Looks hilarious, campy, a little creepy. I'm in. Are you watching?
I tend to cook more once the weather cools off. Obviously, things like soup or anything 'slow cooked' in its' title peaks my interest.

-  I love all kinds of chili, and my favorite to make at home is this vegetarian version. It's super easy and makes my kitchen smells so good you want to put cheese on it. Actually, this midwest girl eats her chili with spaghetti, cheese and oyster crackers (and sometimes hot sauce). The recipe I make is with Skyline chili seasoning and tofu crumbles but you could totally sub out you favorite chili seasonings and turkey or beef. It's a pretty basic recipe that you can fix up however you like. [click and save the photo below to save my recipe] 

- I am really intrigued by this Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili recipe. Adding it to my list.
- on the sweet side: I prefer hazelnut to pumpkin spice and I plan to make these cereal bars at least once.

Now I want to know- what am I missing? What to I need to add to my October essentials list? 

Leave a comment below! 


p.s. This month in my shop I have handmade cards created by my uber talented friend Alicia

p.p.s Want to see more recipes, Halloween ideas and more than enough crafty projects? Follow me on Pintrest 

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Week In The Life Album 2015

Happppppy Monday, peeps

Today I wanted to share my Week In The Life album for this year. (new to WITL? You can read more HERE). I always enjoy playing along with everyone over on Instagram and posted at least a couple of pictures each say. This was the definition of a totally normal week for me, really nothing special happened and to be honest, by the end of the week I felt really uninspired taking pictures (although the weekend did bring many fun photo ops). 

Because I didn't have as many pictures as years past I decided to gather them up into a small mini album. I pulled out black and white paper/embellishments, to let the colorful photos really pop. I was excited to use this set of Days of The Week cards I made for my Etsy shop. I created them about am month ago-inspired by some fellow crafty friends who like to play along with WITL, and wanted some simple designs to go with their photos. I made these 3x4 cards with a bold stamp, but lots of white space so you could add your memories right to the card. You could even slip them right into your Project Life album if that's your jam! (You can buy your own set HERE!)

 The first page is a large picture I rook while waiting in traffic one day. I think I might go back and write some notes on it, but not sure what? I add these sweet pictures on my furry roomate, so I added them on the other side of this journalling card.

Did you participate in Week In The Life this year? I want to see your album-send me a pic or link me up in the comment section! Speaking of links-I linked up as many of the products as I could below, it really was a random mix of things =) Also, the album is a American Crafts mini book, but for the life of me I couldn't find it online.

Thanks a bunch for stopping by! Have a great week =)

Products Used:  washi tape- Freckled Fawn and camera, pink word stickers-Studio Calico, clear circle accents- My Mind's Eye, Days of the Week cards

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shop Talk- Disney Scrapbooks Now For Sale!

Happy first week of fall, peeps! Today I wanted to share a new line I just added to my Etsy shop- all sorts of goodies to help you remember your latest Disney vacation. 

First up- a series of premade 12x12 scrapbook pages:

The Best Day Ever this would make a great first page of an album. I added the big photo corners so all you had to do is slip in your 8x10!

Make Magic Memories. It's a little hard to see here-but this one features
 a silver screenprinted title! IRL it is very sparkly and fun.

Magic Memories-Double Page. This one has spaces for 4 4x6 pictures and that little pocket 
in the corner? It's perfect for little tickets or coins or other memorabilia.

Mickey and Friends. I made this page in my own scrapbook, to hold a few of those character meet up pictures. Because me, a grown woman, totally got her picture with Minnie Mouse....and The Genie from Aladdin.....and Mickey Mouse ; ). This page would go great with a pocket style page next to it (like this)

What if you're not interested in a big 12x12 photo album, but want a way to show off your pictures? I have the perfect thing!

Disney Mini Album! This sweet little album has 20 pages, with 11 of them made to hold a 4x6 picture. I made the opposite pages with a little decoration and space for adding some words if you want. I added a sturdy back pocket so you can save a few of those things you picked up-tickets, etc. 

Here's a peek at a few of the interior pages:

The pages are bound in a ring binder, so you can move them around anyway you like! It's a nice 5x7" size, so you can throw it in your bag and take it with you! 

Thanks for stopping by! And make sure to check out the entire Disney section of my shop HERE. Each item is one of kind, so get them for your pictures before someone else snags them!  As always, if you have any questions or can't find what you need leave me a comment or email me ( I'm happy to help!

See you soon! Michelle

Friday, August 28, 2015

#HappyMailIsTheBestMail Series No. 7 (Foil Stamping and Mirror Stamping)

Hello friends! 

I'm back with another installment in my Happy Mail Is The Best Mail series! New to the blog? So far this year I have: added a handmade bracelet to a card, made a card almost entirely with washi tape, played with watercolors,  I even sewed up a quilted card! I can't believe the year is over half way over, can you? I've really enjoyed these little card experiments and I hope you have learned from them. Have you played along yet? If do, make sure to tag your card/letter with #happymailisthebestmail on social media-I want to see what you make! 

Onto this month's cards

{National Dog Day}- August 26 . Ok, so I am a little late on this one, but I really liked this card, so I hope you can use my ideas to make something soon. And, technically, you don't have to wait for a special occasion to appreciate your furry friends. 

Mirror stamping allows you to stretch your stamps by using the reverse image. See that pair of pups, they are one stamp! I used this tutorial from Jenifer Maguire to stamp the guy on the left. I heat embossed the images, then used some loose watercoloring. I used one of my favorite Mama Elephant stamp sets

To make the balloon I also heat embossed one of the images from this set, added the point at the bottom, and drew on a string.

{Just Because Day}- August 29 (that's today!) Here's the beauty of this particular holiday, it can really be whatever you want! It's the perfect holiday to write a letter or send out a quick card to someone you love. Who have you been meaning to reach out to-do it today!

 I am still learning my way around all the uses for transfer foil. (I shared a trio of cards HERE). I bought some of this liquid adhesive from Thermoweb and wanted to see if I could use it like paint with a stamp.

I used the balloon image from this stamp set and used a brush to apply the glue. Then I stamped it (I did this twice), then quickly cleaned the stamp with soap and warm water. I let the glue set for a few minutes as per the instructions, then applied some of the pretty pink foil.

As you can see, it was not a perfect technique. Maybe I needed to use more glue? Not sure. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments! 

To finish of the card, I added a pair pandas (from this set) and just a little bit of blue Distress Ink. I left the inside blank.....just because ; )

So that's all for today folks! I'm off this weekend for an end of summer family visit. What are your plans this weekend? Planning to send out some happy mail? Make sure to tag it #happymailisthebestmail so we can all see it!


Dog Day Card: Mama Elephant Oragami stamp, Love Languages stamp, Versamark Ink, AC Embossing Powder, basis watercolors from Target(?), American Crafts cardstock
Just Because Card: Mama Elephant panda stamp, Good Times stamp, American Crafts cardstock, Thermoweb transfer glue, Thermoweb transfer foil in magenta, Blue Distress Ink 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Let's Talk About Social Media

Hello peeps!

I have been thinking about my little business alot this week. Obviously, as a one woman show, I produce all the content I share and the products I sell. I am also the only person who is truly committed to promoting and growing my audience. I like to get to know the people I work for and bring them what they need, I like to chat with fellow makers, and get inspired by companies doing new things in my industry.I use social media almost everyday for this purpose. I share my products on Pintrest. I ask questions to my customers on my Facebook page. I share pictures and follow many other makers on Instagram.Recently I started a Tumblr blog. It's ALOT to cover. Add to it, I am generally a social person and I enjoy chatting with my friends/family, talking pop culture/politics, sharing stories. Sometimes I worry about over sharing. I worry that something I say/post will turn off one of my Hot Wheels peeps...but then I worry about coming across as phony or insincere.

So, today I'd love to get some thoughts from you lovely people. This blog is a mix of my IRL friends, Hot Wheels customers, and maybe a few fellow crafty people who enjoy DIY ideas as much as I do? I'll share my thoughts on the social media sites I use and how I use them, and in the comments you tell me what you think! 

Facebook- I consider this my social media gateway drug. I originally only had a personal page, and I still LOVE keeping up with my friends and family. It's my #1 place for keeping up with my IRL peeps. Last year, I started a business page, to share what I sell in my Etsy shop and chat with people who support my business. I get a lot of referrals and custom order from Facebook. I post business related stuff 4-5 times a week. I schedule/edit what I post more here than what I do on other sites, which can be tricky.

Twitter- I started my Twitter as a way to follow: companies I love, tv shows, celebrities, its also a great way to follow news events. Last year I started sharing new listings in my shop and every time I write a blog I share it once or twice. To be honest, I don't get a ton of traffic from Twitter, but enough that it's worth posting. I plan/edit some of what I post, but honestly-the temporary nature of tweets makes me feel like I don't need to edit myself so much. I also feel freer to tweet about politics and pop culture. Hopefully, that doesn't turn off potential customers? I honestly don't don't think it has so far.

Instagram: I post at least once a day, most days. I try to be concience of what I share there, with bright, clear pictures. My posts here tend to be all over the place-pics from my real life, pics of projects I am working on, and pics of my products/services. Like FB, I take more time to edit my pictures and choose my words carefully. I love the visual nature of Instagram, and I want to add to that in my own small way. And where else is it acceptable to share a snap of your favorte local ice cream place? #importantstuff

Pintrest-I hopped on the Pintrest bandwagon right in the beginning. I use it as a way to keep track of things like: recipes, books I want to read, party ideas, etc. Biz-wise I pin every single thing I offer in my shop and almost every blog post. I pin 4-5 times a week, and post my products multiple times, because Pintrest, like Twitter, is always changing and I hope to reach different people at different times of the day.According to Etsy I get the most traffic (social media wise) from Pintrest,do I make a concerted effort to be active there, but I have very little 'interaction' with people. I post things, and people either click over to my shop or share it.

I purposely didn't link to any of my accounts in the post. You can find me using the links in the right hand sidebar. Like I said before, I am a social person-I would love to connect with you on any of these websites! But, I don't want this post to be about me promoting myself. I want to hear from you!

 Here's what I want to know. If you have a minute, leave me a comment! (or send me a tweet or FB message if you prefer) and tell me:

-are you a business owner? What social media platforms do you use and find the most successful
- are you a crafter? a maker? which platform do you visit most often to share ideas and find inspiration?
- Are you one of my customers? Do you buy from other local/handmade businesses? Where do you follow your favorite companies? (bonus question: How often can a business post without seeming 'spammy'?)
-I also have  Tumblr and a Snapchat account, but I don't do much with either. Do you?

I know y'all are busy just like me, but I so appreciate our thoughts. Social media is such an awesome thing, but it has gotten so BIG it can feel like another part time job keeping up with it.

Of to like some pretty Instagram photos......