Monday, February 23, 2015

Baby B's Gift Album

Hello! I hope everyone is staying warm and cozy-it has been snowy around here (I wrote about how I ride out a winter storm here) but we may be headed for a little break this week? Fingers crossed. 

Today I wanted to share one of the most popular items I sell in my little shop- the custom baby album. If you need a perfectly unique baby gift (for a shower, new adoption, new parent or grandparent) this is it! I wrote instructions to make your own here. I started making these years ago, when my  cousins started having their own kids. I think they really like them ; ). I have since made a couple dozen for friends, family and my clients! 

Baby Album Gift from Etsy

The layout is simple: one page a month. One 4x6 photo and a little space for journalling. Easy to keep up with and add a few details about the first year of a baby's life. I was intentional in keeping it simple, I really wanted this to be something a new mom or dad would enjoy adding to. They have enough they have to do, and memory keeping should be a joy-not a chore.  I often wonder if the reason people do not take on a memory keeping project is because they think it has to be this all or nothing, add all the paper and stickers, write all the stories! That can be even more daunting when you are changing all the diapers, washing all the clothes and not sleeping at all. I believe that a little gift like this can be super easy to maintain and that's the beauty of it! Print one of the 1 zillion pictures you took that month (at 4x6 size you can even print a cell phone picture), add a couple of notes about what went on that month (what's new, what they ate, they started to crawl!, etc.). DONE.

Even though the design is simple, you can add tons of personality by choosing what colors/papers/elements go into each page! This was a gift, so I picked out the products myself (I linked to what I used below). We don't know the gender of little Baby B, so I chose this line from American Crafts that uses green, mauve, navy, kraft and white. Perfectly baby, right? I die cut the 'month' on my Silhouette and added a few bits and pieces from my stash to dress up each page. To hold the journal card i used these glassine envelopes.

Here you can see a little close up of the journal card I designed

Every book includes a pocket to stash the 'stuff'- cards, receipts, hospital bracelet. That 'where the heck do I keep this?' stuff.

What makes this project a great gift is how much you can personalize it for the family you are giving it to! I can make the pages as fussy or simple as you want, without losing the usability of the design. I'm in the process of finishing one with a more vintage look. Same design, but much more feminine and classic in style.

If you are looking for a really unique baby shower or new parent/grandparent gift, you can order one from my shop here. Once you've ordered I'll be in touch to choose out the book, paper and all the accessories- all included in the price! I can get it put together and shipped out in a week-so it will be ready to give!

Feel free to shoot me an email ( or leave a comment here if you have any questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

Products Used For This Project:
Dear Lizzy patterned paper
Studio Calico wood veneer pieces
Freckled Fawn Wood Emoji
Freckled Fawn Enamel Dots
WRMK Gold Brads
My Favorite 8x8 Albums
Vellum Envelopes to hold journal card
Journal Card (my own design)

Friday, February 20, 2015

If You Want To Enjoy A Winter Storm Right

This week has been, well, intense on the weather front. Lots of snow and today -10 degrees. Awesome. Unlike other times of year winter can be particularly hard for someone like me who uses a wheelchair. It can be really frustrating to be literally stuck inside waiting for other people to clear the parking lot or for Mother Nature to stop dumping the white stuff. I've been limited this past week and the cabin fever is real. 

I started out feeling a little like this:
Then I decided a change in attitude was needed, some I bought some of these fleece-lined leggings
(seriously, so nice under jeans). I also put a new pair of water resistant gloves on my amazon list. Because cold, wet hands aren't pretty.

 I stocked up on my favorite local coffee and my favorite grocery store brand

 I bravely fight the battle against dry skin with this combo of a new facial cleanserfavorite scrub and a nice treat for my cuticles and dry, curly hair

Then I block out the wind with my iPod- playing this album and devouring this fantastic new audiobook

I also enjoy a little extra cuddle with cats under a blanket surfing blogs. Check out this series on the Ali Edwards blog.

Here's to (hopefully) a few more weeks of winter and gaining a new attitude!

Happy Weekend, peeps!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Scrappy Swap Month (Part One)

Happy Monday, y'all! Today I wanted to share a fun experiment I conducted with my friend Kelly Waterman. We are swapping supplies and creating out choice of paper project inspired by what the other person chose.  Fun, huh? Today we are both sharing what we made with Kelly's kit. We decided the theme for this round was 'love'.

 I meant to take a picture of the 'before' pile, but, ummmm......I forgot. No worries, because this kind of project can work well with whatever paper you have-in fact, this would be a great way to use up paper scraps!  Her kit included Cocoa Daisy papers, twine, buttons, Studio Calico sequins. I added to it: Emoji stickers I bought at Paper Source (warning: you will be seeing these stickers on a LOT of future project. I'm obsessed.)

I decided to make a set of Valentine's mini books for my nephews Connor and Carson. They are officially the best 5 year old boys around, and I thought they might to see of few of my favorite pictures of them. They are at such a fun age now, it wasn't hard to find funny pictures to use. Also, my sister in law is a rock star at sharing pictures on FB, so I was able to snag a few there.

To make the base I cut two strips of paper (4" x 12") then sewed them together to make an 'L' shape. I wanted it to look like one of those old wallet inserts than fold up accordion style, remember those? Then I printed out wallet sized photos and got to work! A few panels I left blank to keep them from becoming too thick. After I was done adding all the goodies I folded it up and tied them with a little bow/button/tag action.

Enjoy a few of my favorite close ups, please let me know in the comments if you have any questions! 

This kid. He has the BEST sense of humor already. He loves getting his picture taken, until he doesn't. He gets this look on his face when he is tired of slays. He is so brave and bold. His mind works so fast sometimes his mouth can't keep up. He loves to draw and write. He is slightly clumsy. The picture below of him laying on a chair was after he managed to slip between the slats on a kitchen chair-obviously, we stopped to snap a picture, lol. He is a snuggle into your lap, hug and kiss kind of kid. This aunt loves that.


Oh, Connor. This kid is one of a kind. He is sweet, thoughtful. He is more timid than his brother, but tries really hard to keep up. He (finally!) is getting into watching basketball. He is so sweet with his baby sister. He still does that adorable 'stick your tongue out when you're concentrating' thing. And, OMG, this kid's morning face. He takes a few minutes to get going and until he's awake he has the funniest stink face!  He looks like me before my first cup of coffee, lol.

So, there you go over to Kelly's blog!!>> and see what she made!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week. We are FINALLY supposed to get a snow around here, we are pretty excited about it = )


Friday, February 13, 2015

Silhouette Stamp Tracing Tutorial

How To Trace Stamps On Silhouette Cameo

Today is the follow up to Monday's post where I shared this card:
Silhouette Stamp Tracing Tutorial
I took the time to figure out how to cut these little critters using the print and cut feature on my Silhouette Cameo. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, now I wish I had tried it sooner! I know that Silhouette America sells a PicScan mat  that you can use to do this but I decided to try something with what I had already. PLEASE NOTE: I have the designer version of  Silhouette Studio, so if you have the free version your screen might look a little different. I am pretty sure all the functions work that same, but let me know in the comments if you have a question. I also have an HP All in One, with a scanner. This is what worked for me, let's get started!  

To make this work I used: 
1. Stamp images you want to cut out in black ink on a piece of white paper. Black ink on white paper should give you a nice, crisp image. I decided to try this favorite set from Mama Elephant.

2. Scan as a PICTURE, not a DOCUMENT (so it saves as a JPEG file, not a PDF)

3. Open scanned image in the Silhouette Software. This is what mine looked like:

4. Make sure your page settings are set to 8 1/2 x 11. Mine default to 12x12 and that will screw the whole thing up, so make sure to change it.

5. Go the the TRACE feature in the software. Choose SELECT TRACE AREA, then select the area around each image individually. (Don't just highlight around the entire group at once, it might not trace correctly). Click TRACE OUTER EDGE. That should create a red outline on the outside of each stamped image.

6. You can see the red outlines I created around each image. I just moved the stamped image over a bit with my mouse so you could see it. Make sure the red outlines are right over the stamped images. If I print and cut with it looking like this it would print the images where the black outlines are, but cut the red outlines, so I moved them back.

7. Once you have traced each image you can choose SAVE TO LIBRARY to, well, save them to your library. Then, it's time to start printing and cutting.

8. Open the REGISTRATION MARKS MENU and select SHOW REG. Marks or STYLE-CAMEO, depending on your software. Make sure all the stamped images with cut lines are inside the registration marks-mucho important. Then, print! I printed mine on heavy weight cardstock
9. Load your paper onto your cutting mat, lining it up in the top left corner, like this

If all goes well, this is what you come out with!

Like I said before this was alot easier than I thought it would be. I also realized after I made the card that I could have just scanned the graphics right from the clear stamp package, cutting out the first step. Next time, I'll just do that. I plan on doing this again with some of my most used stamps, it could really cut down on producing several cards at once.

Here's the little critters all colored in. I really do love this stamp set so much! Especially the chunky bulldog. I call him Sumo.

Thanks for coming by! Please let me know in the comments if you have done this before? I'd love to hear what worked for you.

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Monday, February 9, 2015

#HappyMailistheBestMail Card Series No. 1

Happy Monday, y'all!
I know its been pretty quite on the old blog so far in 2015, but I appreciate you stopping by today as I have something new and fun to share! One of my goals for this year is to celebrate the everyday a little more and send out more happy mail. I decided to turn it into a blog feature and I want to see you, my lovely friends, play along!

After selling cards and paper goodies on Etsy for a year I have learned alot about the trends for what's popular and when people make an effort to send actual paper letters or cards to their loved ones. December is a biggie-Christmas, Hanukkah, even New Years. Valentine's is a popular one then, well....there is Mother's and Father's Day, but beyond that, people don't send letters and cards like they used to. Even for birthdays, many people send an email or a FB message (I am guilty of that). But, there is something so special about a real life letter or card, the excitement of opening the mailbox and seeing your name on something that is NOT a bill.

Happy mail is the best mail, people.

I went online and found a couple of 'official' holidays each month and decided I would some cards and send them out to my friends. These are not national, parade worthy days, just perfectly lovely little days that are worth celebrating.  I also want to challenge myself to try a new technique or a little something different than my normal style-stretch my creative muscles a little.

Here's how it will work: at the beginning of each month I will post the holidays and the cards I made to celebrate them. I will post them to Instagram with the hashtag #happymailisthebestmail. The, all throughout the month I will be re posting (on IG and FB) what YOU have made or received based on my ideas.  Make sure to use the hashtag so I can find them! I am super excited and ready to see a movement happen. A moment to send out a little paper love and tell the ones we love we are thinking about them. Not just on their birthday-but every day!

Who's with me? Let's get started!

Now, you might be saying 'Michelle, ummm, it's February'. Well, that's true ; ). Thing is, goal setting is a skill I am always working on. When the end of January popped up and I hadn't posted the cards I made. I felt a little discouraged. I thought about scraping the idea. Who would care, anyway? The thing is, I am really excited by this idea. I LOVE the thought that other people will be inspired to send happy mail to their loved ones because they saw what I made here. So, I decided to go ahead and post the cards I made last month with the ones I made for February. Can we agree to not give up on great ideas if you falter at first? good. Let's do this.

{National Hugging Day- January 21st}
You guys, a days for hugging-how cheesy and awesome is that? Mark your calendars for next year ; ). Here's the card I made:
(supplies listed below)
I love the look of heat embossing, but I really use plain powders-black, clear, maybe silver. I saw this card at Paper Source and loved the colors and the letterpress look. I used a couple of colorful embossing powders to recreate the look here. And now I want a pet robot, he is so cute.

{National Pie Day- January 23}
I mean..pie. I am a dessert aficionado. My friends and I have been known to plan their dessert choices at a new restaurant before we plan our entrees....that's how we roll. Don't get me started about how much I love my grandmother's berry pies. Heaven. with whipped cream. Here's the card: 

(supplies below)

The design for this was pretty simple, but for the first time I found clip art and printed it out twice on patterned paper. I kind of 'built' the pie. Nothing earth shattering, but I this it turned out pretty cute! 

Onto February..

(supplies below)
This is my favorite I made of the group for many reasons. I have two furry roomates that I love so much, and I have many friends who feel the same. I also sat down and figured out a technique I have wanted to try for a while- using my Silhouette Cameo to cut out stamped shapes. I put together a step by step of what I did, come back on Friday to see that.

{Thank a Mailman Day- February 4th}
I have a pretty cool mailman. He's an older guy, he is super friendly, and actually remembers my name when I see him. I live in a condo building and I used ot have trouble with my packages not getting delivered, they are inclined to leave them on my doorstep, so I would have to make a special trip to the post office. Very annoying. I told him about it, he makes sure to put my packages in a secret hiding spot where I can find them, they are safe and I am mucho happy. Don is a super nice guy and I should thank him. So I did:
(supplies below)
This card is actually a flat card-I added the slot to stick a smaller card in with my message. I really like how it worked out, I might make more for giving gift cards.

There you go- Series #1 of #happymailisthebestmail . You still have time to send a note for Love Your Pet Day! Let me see them. Leave a comment below if you have any questions about how I made the cards, come back on Friday to see my Silhouette tutorial.


HUG ME! Card: Prima Press Uppercase Stamps, PS Robot Stamp, Ranger Pink Embossing Powder,Embossing Heat Tool

YOU, ME and PIE Card:Dear Lizzy Letter Stickers Blue Card Bases, image from Google Search, paper scraps

PAPER PET LOVE POSSE Card: Mama Elephant Origami Stamp Set,Copic Markers , Silhouette Cameo ,Hero Arts Black Card Bases, paper scraps