Sunday, October 29, 2017

October Travelers Notebook - Part One


Today I wanted to share a few pages of the Travelers Notebook I am dedicating to all things October. It's one of my favorite months, full of lots of  things I'd like to remember. One of the best things about working in this format is there's no 'pressure'. It's small and much more casual than a big scrapbook so I feel free to just add a few things here or there...

If you are interested in learning more about travelers notebooks as a form of memory keeping, I'm working on a few blog posts coming soon! Or you can see what I have saved on Pinterest HERE. I made this notebook myself (I sell similar ones in my shop HERE). Into the usual white pages I added two sheets of patterned paper from my stash. I stitch my notebooks all together on my sewing machine.

Here's my notebook so far...

For this spread I got pictures of my family off FB and printed them as 3.5" squares. I love that I get a peek of what they are doing even though we live in different states! I used a few stamps and ink to create a falling leaf background (all supplies will be linked at the end of the post)

This is the first page of my journal. It really has no significance except- how weird is that pumpkin? I snapped a picture and thought it would be a great first page. It captures that fall vibe so well. I would like 20 more sheets of this pretty orange and gold striped paper = )

Here's a few of the products I used, there are not many, which is another great reason to try a project like this >> notebook- from my shop, orange/gold stripe paper-this paper pack from Michael's, Gold Swirl vellum- Dear Lizzy (not shown), wood banner-Studio Calico, resin camera-Freckled Fawn, Heart Is Full card- old A Beautiful Mess kit, leaf stamps-A Beautiful Mess, inks- #1, #2, #3 Hero Arts

I plan to add a bunch to this book and hopefully share here next weekend. There is a LOT of pictures on my phone, I just need to print them out!

See you soon,


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Trying Something New

This post could also be subtitled Michelle does not need a new hobby. But she has one. 

When was the last time you learned a new skill? I have been a maker/DIYer/tinkerer for as long as I can remember. Over the years I have gravitated towards certain mediums and gotten pretty good at them (paper, fabric and ink). I have dabbled in a few things that frustrated me because it didn't come easy (sculpture, jewelry making, ahem tennis)

Guys I get OFFENDED when I start something and I am not naturally good at it. It's a patience thing. A confidence thing. Not necessarily a good thing. Can you relate? Learning a new skill can be so rewarding! Using those parts of your body or your brain that are dormant can be such a high. Picture a crossfitter who works out like crazy for three months and can FINALLY turn over a huge tire (or climb a wall, or whatever crazy things cross fitters endeavor to achieve). That's an amazing feeling!

Not that I would know about flipping over tires. I am more of a tilt your cocktail glass up kind of girl.

This year I have challenged myself to learn two new skills: Photoshop and weaving.

I know....huh? What do they have to do with each other? Nothing except I don't know much about either. I might talk more about Photoshop in the future, but basically I didn't learn the program in school and I know there are a million ways it could be useful in my business and creative endeavors. So, thru Google and a few online courses I am slowly but surely learning how to edit pictures and create graphics. If you'd like to see what I've learned I've been creating digital downloads for my shop! You can see them HERE.

Back to  weaving. 

I've done pot holders, dream catcher, god's eyes and all those crafty fiber projects in the past, but for Xmas I asked for a lap loom so I could learn to weave properly. Oh man, it is hard and FUN. One of my favorite online crafters is Rachel Denbow of Smile and Wave. The past few years she has been weaving and sharing tutorials on her blog. She wrote a book last year that I promptly ordered from the library. Twice. She's an amazing teacher. (sidenote: she is teaching a workshop this weekend and ohmygod I am excited to attend. I will try not to fan girl, and learn as mush as I can. I'll share pictures next week!)

So far I have only created one proper wall hanging. I don't even think I'll hang it up. It was really just a sampler. As you can see I tried several knots, shapes, stitches. 

Some of it looks like a hot mess BUT I DID IT! 

 There was a couple of time (while pulling out a row or two) that I was so frustrated. WHY THE HECK AREN'T I GOOD AT THIS. Why is this more like an hourglass less like a rectangle. I lost count on a pattern a million times. But, it was that good kind of frustration! and there are actually a few parts of the design I really like: - The fringe at the bottom (called rya knots?) was fun to add. The black, gray an white yarn was a bit thicker and created 'bubbles'. I liked that effect..

 When I teach a workshop I always tell people ' everyone is a beginner once!' and 'you can definitely learn to do this!' Because they can! And the satisfaction of making something with your own two hands is amazing. And addicting.  And so good for you.

So, I'll practice. I'll take this workshop and see where this medium takes me. Maybe it will lead to new handmade products to sell. Or maybe I will only pull it out when I want a new 'something' to decorate my home. Insert witty quote about the journey being more important than the destination. 

What was the last thing you tried to learn? Was it hard or did it come easy to you? Was it a one time for fun activity or something you have kept up with? I'd love to hear about it! 

See you soon

Monday, June 12, 2017

Easy Tassel Earrings DIY

Hello friends! 

 I was doing a little online browsing and came across these really fun tassel earrings and fell in love- except they didn't come in the color I wanted. I was inspired to try and make them myself and a new workshop idea was born! 

You can reserve your seat for the June 29th in person workshop HERE, but if you are not local I put together a short tutorial so you can join the fun from home. I also recorded the process and wanted to share my first video! (find that on my YouTube Channel HERE)  I have wanted to share videos here forever, but I was really intimidated. I don't have a great video camera or microphone and so I put it off. Well, I did some short videos for National DIY Day and it was so empowering! Those videos gave me a little nudge to just DO IT. It is NOT perfect and it definitely took more than one take to get it right - but, hey I can only get better, right? Please enjoy and I hope to share more videos with your over the summer.

Let's get going on our earrings, shall we?

Supplies Needed (affiliate links to Amazon): small scissors, needle nose pliers, thick embroidery floss, earring hardware, a piece of stiff paper (cut to desired length of earring). You will only need ONE skein of floss and 2 sets of earring hardware. All these supplies can found at local craft stores! 

1. Trim your stiff paper to the length you want your earring to be.Mine was about 3 inches. Wrap embroidery floss around paper as many times to achieve thickness desired for tassel. Do NOT separate strands of floss like you do with embroidery. I wrapped my floss about 30 times (you'll see in the video I just kind of eyeballed it, lol)

2. Cut floss, set paper aside. Cut a second piece of floss to about 20 inches. 

3. Take that second piece and tie short end to top of tassel while it is still on the card. Gently slide wrapped floss off paper, keeping it together with your fingers.

4. Hold tassel in one hand and take the long end of second piece in the other. Wrap it around the tassel about 10-11 times to create the top of the tassel. Go slow and make sure each wrap is tight.

It should look like this! 

5. This part can be a bit tricky - wrap the long end around one last time loosely, then tuck the end into the wrap and pull to tighten. That will secure the floss without using glue or any other adhesive! Once your wrap is secured, trim the loose end of the tassel to your finished length.

6. Using pliers, attach two jump rings and earring back to knot on top of tassel.

7. Now is the time to SQUEAL, because these are TOO CUTE and you made them with your own two hands. YAY YOU!

Did you have fun working along? If you do make your own tassel earrings, PLEASE share a pic with me on Facebook or Instagram @hotwheelsandglueguns. I LOVE seeing what y'all make with my tutorials! Need a little more visual instruction? Why don't you check out my YouTube video?

What other DIY's would you like to see here this summer? I have a list of posts to get tarted, but I would love to hear your ideas! Leave me a comment or shoot me a message.

Thanks for stopping by, be back soon!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Back To My Scrapbook - National Scrapbook Day

The first Saturday in May is notorious around Kentucky for being DERBY DAY. If you don't live in the state, you may not know it was such a big deal.Most years I hang out with friends and watch the race, but this year I had a nasty allergy attack and it was rainy cold, so I stayed home.

Why am I telling you this? Ha! Well I spent the day updating my personal scrapbook. Used to be, I filled my scrapbook with pages and pages of paper and pictures. These days I am so busy, well I haven't had to the chance to do this in AGES. It was so much fun!  As a happy coincidence the first Satuday in May is ALSO National Scrapbooking Day - so there was lots of memory keeping talk online and folks on Instagram to share with. Have a peek at what I made (and if you want to make something similar, I linked most of the products up to an online store!):

(supplies:  paper- Photo Play, American Crafts / journalling card- old one from my stash 

Graduation Day. My oldest nephew graduated last summer! It was such a fun weekend. I had this design in my head for a while (I think I saw something similar in a magazine?) and it turned out to be a great way to add a lot of pictures in a layout that is not too 'cluttered' 

 metal flair and enamel dots from my stash)

I never have pictures from Thanksgiving, so I was so happy to get these from my cousins' FB page! About half my extended family gets together and it is a perfect day. I found a craft kit from A Beautiful Mess that I had for maybe a year (I actually had forgotten I had it!) and it was perfect for this occasion.

cards from an old A Beautiful Mess kit gold crosses - from my stash)

Each month in my scrapbook starts with a pocket page like this. I use it to add random pictures, and pictures of my family that they shared online. I love including updates from their lives in my book! Bottom left is my beautiful niece (far right) on her homecoming night! Bottom right is another niece with my dad and his wife on a weekend in Gatlinburg. Top right, two nephews and a niece just being very photogenic = ).

It may have been a bummer of a Derby Day, but it was a pretty good day pulling out my paper and glue! SO, are you a scrapbooker? Did you make anything this weekend? Do tell!


Monday, March 20, 2017

DIY Photo Canvas Using Modge Podge Transfer Medium (National DIY DAY post)

Hello peeps. I am thrilled to e working with the Craft Box Girls as a  National DIY Day Ambassador. What the heck does that mean? Well we are celebrating the 'let's make something' spirit with inspiration, tutorials and a crafty brunch I'm hosting here in Louisville April 2nd. Today is my turn to share a DIY project you. Hard job, huh?

If you have been around for a while you know I love unique ways to share photographs I love. Browsing Michaels one day I found that Modge Podge has a photo transfer medium and an idea was born.  I have always loved this picture of my parents on their wedding day. Look how young they are!  It didn’t take long for an idea to form and I really love how it turned out.  Curious how this came together? Let’s get started!

SUGGESTED SUPPLIES    white canvas (I used 8x10), and laser copy of your chosen photo, Modge Podge Photo Transfer Medium, sponge brush, spray bottle with water, clean sponge, scraper (or an old credit card),  acrylic paint and I used a black paint pen for script, any embellishments you want to add (I linked up to the products I used, but you could definitely improvise and use what you have.  I am an Amazon affiliate, so I get a small commission when you buy using the link. Thank you for supporting my small business!)


Please note – this project will take TWO DAYS to complete. You have to let the image dry with the transfer medium on it, so keep that in mind, if you are like me and NEVER read ahead on directions

1.  Make sure you have an LASER printer copy of your photo for this to work. A lab printed photo or an INKJET printer copy will not work (according to the website).  If you want room to add doodles or paint to the outside you want to pick a picture with central detail to highlight and a fair amount of negative space.
2. Using your sponge brush apply a thick coat of the Modge Podge over the image. You don’t need the liquid to puddle, but you want it to cover the image so you can’t see it .
3. Flip it over and lay it sticky side down onto the blank canvas. Use your fingers (or your scraper) to smooth out air bubbles and make sure it is good and stuck. You’ll see later I did not take enough care on the edges and they lifted off. Not a big deal to me, but just shows I did not take enough care in those areas.
4.  Now the hard part – leave it along for 24 hours !! Ugh. I hate waiting. I also don’t like projects that take too long, so OF COURSE I wanted to pull it up early. But, don’t. If it doesn’t cure thoroughly it won’t transfer the image.

5. Here we go! When fully dry and cured the paper will feel stiff on the canvas.  Now we will work to remove the white paper and show the picture. I did this is three parts:
                - I peeled off the topmost layer of paper.  I just used my fingers for this part, and honestly I may have pulled a bit too much off. As you can see in the image here some of my wedding picture pulled off the canvas. You just want to peel a thin layer of the paper
                - Next I used my spray bottle get the white paper wet, then I used my sponge and scraper to get that paper all the way off. WORK GENTLY. You might think (as I did) that you will have to scrape to get the paper off, but all you’ll do is scrape the image off the canvas. You can see spots above my parents’ heads where that happened.(top pic below)

- (2nd photo) Here you see what it looks like at this point, 95% of the paper is off, but there is still a white ‘haze’ in spots. That is paper residue. Let the canvas sit and dry for a bit, then spray with water and use your fingers to GENTLY scrape off the residue. See how clear and bright it is now! (3rd photo) As you can see- a bit of the image scraped off the edges. I definitely think I was too rough when scraping off the paper. I could have redone it, but I decided just to fill in the empty spots with paint. Like any new medium the more you use it the better result you will get.

6. Let your canvas dry again. Now it is time to gather your paint, embellishments and decide what you are going to do! Every canvas is going to be unique and everyone has their own idea for what they want to do, but I have a few tips for helping you achieve the look you want.
                - Start with a lighter touch and lighter color than you think you might want. You can always add more paint and a darker color, but you can't take it away!
                - I think colors work well in groups of three: a main color and two accents. Here I used: gray, green and coral. You can add more colors if you want, but this is a good starting point!
                - I used this simple rose shape to accent the corners, and it is an easy shape you can replicate. Just get a bit of color on your brush, put the tip of your brush on the paper and move in a spiral pattern. I mixed the coral with a bit of hot pink and just swirled them together to make it pop. I also added a bit of white to the green of the leaves.
                - I used a gray that matched the color of the car in the photo. I used that to add color to the spots that rubbed off. I think it gives a bit of interest around the edge, and this was a case of ‘go light’. It would have be really easy to add too much paint, but I was careful to step back occasionally and look at the whole image.

7. To finish off my canvas I used glitter glue to accent the flowers, hot glue to add a few pearls and then a paint pen to script a name and date. 

Have you ever used your handwriting on a DIY project? A lot of people are intimidated to do that, but here’s a couple of tips to hopefully help you achieve the look you see in your head:
                - Different pens will give you different looks, but you don’t need an expensive brush or pen to get started. Try writing with a Sharpie! Then a paint pen, then maybe a gel pen, then a brush and paint! Each one works differently and the ONLY way to be more comfortable is to give it a little time and PRACTICE. 
                - Hold your pen/brush and use a light touch, pressing too hard can cause too much ink or paint and might not be the look you are going for! Being comfortable means you will be more confident and get the result you see in your mind. That’s the secret.

Here you can see my pretty canvas hung up on my wall – I just love it. This was a really fun medium to work in and I definitely want to try it again. I thought this might be fun to do with a collage of pictures. Or maybe paint the canvas, then transfer a photo?


Are you inspired to try this out for yourself? I hope so! If you do, PLEASE come find me and share a picture, I love seeing what other folks make! Find me on Instagram HERE and Facebook HERE @hotwheelsandglueguns.  Also, make sure you follow all the fun over on the National DIY Day site. Almost every day there is something fun on the blog and the FB page.

Thanks for stopping by! 


Monday, March 6, 2017

Shop Talk- Benjamin's Baby Scrapbook

Hello! Today I want to share one of my favorite custom orders from 2016. Baby Benjamin turned one and his mama (who happens to be my beautiful cousin Kara) decided he needed a proper baby book! She also did the very-common-first-baby thing of printing ALL the photos. She came to me with a box of about 500 pictures, totally overwhelmed and not sure where the heck to start. She really wanted to document his first year, but had no idea how to organize it all- sound familiar

Using my method for large memory keeping projects we narrowed down what the most important stories were. I focused on those pages while she took the other pictures home and put them in his album using pocket pages.

 Interested in making your own one of a kind baby book? Email me to get started! 

Here is a peek at what I created for the highlight pages of Benjamin's baby book.

To preserve this special gift from a family friend I hand stitched the clothes to an acid free paper background. Easy to snip the thread and take out if they ever want to.

Thanks for coming by today! Baby albums are always a big deal to be a part of, I just love them! If you are interested in your own custom made baby album- email me ( and let's chat!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Random Act of Kindness Day 2017! Join In A Little Fun (and a free download)

Hello peeps! I have schemed up a last minute fun project I am really excited to share with you today.

Kindness starts with me...and YOU!

Did you know that February 12- 18 is OFFICIALLY Random Acts of Kindness Week? I knew there was a group out there promoting little acts of kindness around the world, but I had no idea the designated time would be this week. Until I read about it... last week. The day before I left for a three day conference. Not the best timing, but I was so inspired! I really wanted to celebrate - to embrace the idea and maybe get a few other crazy folks to play along. On the way home (I had a four hour drive) I can up with a crazy plan. Truth be told - I got the original idea from The Alison Show. She is so much fun and she sells these 'I'm Doing Awesome' tumblers. I thought, how fun (and random) would it be to pass out a little cup of fun to someone having a bad day? And the 'Swag Cup' was born (patent pending, just kidding

So Monday night I made up 10 of the cups you see above. I filled them with: candy, confetti a few surprises, and a blank note card to encourage the recipient to keep the fun going.

 Then I called a few of my favorite people around town. I asked them to take a cup and give it out on Friday. And I'll be damned.... they said YES! I was a little surprised at how easy it was. ?These are busy people. Like, really busy. But somehow they bought into this crazy idea of spreading joy! So, now there are TEN SWAG CUPS floating around Louisville just waiting to surprise someone.


YOU GUYS. I am so so excited. I am hoping they send me lots of IG messages and texts with pictures so I be a witness to their craziness. We will be sharing with #HotWheelsandRAK.

Care to join us??

As much as I wish I could send all of you a SWAG CUP, well......this is kind of a last minute thing. Instead, I created a few FREE downloads you can print at home to use for your own Random Act! 

I don't want this to me an overwhelming or stressful activity.Simple plan, y'all.. Here's what to do:
1. Click over HERE to get your free downloads. Included in the download is 2 'You're Doing Awesome note cards, a note you can sign for your new friend, a tips sheet for playing along 
2. Print out your note cards , sign your letter and put something with it. Maybe some candy, a flower, it doesn't have to be anything big, be creative! 
3. Go out on Friday and give out your swag. If you can, snap a picture or two along the way. More on how to share that with me for a chance to be featured on social media below! 
4. Bask in the glow that comes from making someone's day a little brighter, and that we were able to pull it off in just a couple of days! (crazy impromptu schemes for the win)

OK, one last thing. I really want this to be a group project. I want to see YOU! I want to see what you put together and hear who you gave it to! Share it with your peeps on Instagram and/or Facebook . Use #HotwheelsandRAK  and I will be sharing your pictures all weekend long- I want  keep the warm fuzzy feeling going.

So....have I convinced you? I hope so! Go now and get your goodies, and tell your friends! You can use the links below this post to Tweet, FB share or Pin on Pintrest. The more people we have spreading fun around the city the better IMHO

Leave me a comment below with a HELL YEAH! If you are going to play along.

xoxo, Michelle

Saturday, January 14, 2017

December Memories Album


Happy 2017 peeps! How have you been?  I really love the idea of a new year- fresh starts, resolutions, motivation for new goals. In theory. I've never been great at goal setting or resolutions, but I have made some big plans for the new year- in my work and personal life. What about you? Any new resolutions for 2017? 

Today I wanted to share my December Memories book for 2016. I've done this project before and always really love having a collection of pictures from everything I do over the holidays. This year was particularly full- I turned 40 last month! Thanks to my wonderful friends and family, it was a really amazing birthday = ). I am a lucky bitch woman. 

I have been really into traveler's notebooks as a place for memory keeping, and decided to use one for this album. It's smaller than in years past, but I had a lot of fun just playing around and sneaking in a little creative time. This was a place to just share highlights and fun tidbits- I plan to tell the larger stories - my birthday, family, etc in my bigger 12x12 yearly book. Does nayone else work that way? 

So, let's dive in. I linked as my of the products as possible at the end of this post, but many of this stuff was older product from my stash. The cover pictures above was 100% inspired by Paige Evans. I have used her stitching techniques on pages before, it is such a fun accent! Title is an acrylic piece from Color Cast Designs that I colored with a Copic marker to match my color scheme. 

First page. That awesome left side is the wrapping paper I WAS OBSESSED WITH. It's from Target. I may have audibly squealed when I found it. Maybe. I decided to line the insides of my book with it. As you can see, it did have a few puckers, because it was so thin, but I still love it. Right side- I printed a large photo of my front door on textured cardstock.

Like I said before, I used a lot of products I had in my stash. The notebook is something I sell in my Etsy shop. I one thing I did buy specifically for this project was two sets of journaling cards from Paislee Press. Instead of using them as 3x4 cards I used my Silhouette to print and cut them like titles. I love that little machine, you can do so much with it! (also, this year will officially be known as the year of the Christmas Flamingo.)

I also used the Silhouette to print this merry paper. Aren't my friends adorable? ; )

That holly and berries is an old Kelly Purkey stamp.

Pictures from our family Christmas. Birthday cake and Xavier basketball centerpieces. Yep.

The tricky thing with travel journals is not using too many bulky embellishments. These felt snowflakes I found are so perfect! Not too big but a cool texture.

Those glasses were the best 3.99 I spent in December and I will never admit how long it took for me to get Penny to sit still for this picture #fancycat 

Did you do a December album? I want to see it! Leave a link in the comments below. Also, check out the supply list below if you are looking to try making a travel journal into a mini album. I shared links to my favorite pens, adhesives and books for this kind of project.

Want to see my December albums from years past? Click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by! xoxo

Supplies List:
kraft notebook (from my shop) These are also really good
die cut elements, titles - Paislee Press
Washi Tape - Studio Calico, Target, most are older from my stash
Patterned Paper - Target
Silhouette Cameo Cutting Machine
Photo Printer - Canon Selphy
Cover acrylic title - Color Cast Designs
Paper clips - American Crafts
My favorite journaling pen
My favorite paper adhesive
Felt Snowflakes - Hobby Lobby
Red twine - from my stash