Die-Cut Christmas – Addressing the Cards

I’ve dubbed this Christmas season in our home as the “Die-Cut Christmas” because I plan to make several projects using both my Cuttlebug for die-cuts and paper punches.  And….it all started with this project:  Christmas Card Addresses!

Editor’s Note:  Here is where I should be totally honest and fess up that it  really all started because my spreadsheet was wrong and I addressed quite a few cards with the wrong zip code.  We didn’t have any extra red envelopes and after writing personalized messages in our cards I needed to find a “cover up”!  Then I liked the cover up better and set out to snazz-up the remainder!

Materials Needed:

  • White or Ivory Text Weight Paper
  • Green Cardstock or Construction paper (it’s ok to reuse envelopes, etc.)
  • Red Paper (it’s ok to reuse envelopes, etc.)
  • Glue Stick (or you could use a Xyron)

Tools  Needed:

  • Top Note Die from Stampin Up
  • Die Cutting Machine (I use a Cuttlebug)
  • Sizzix Festive Christmas Set (purchased 50% off at Joann’s)
  • Standard Hole Punch
  • Scissors or Paper Cutter
  • Computer with Word Processing Software of your choice
  • Home Printer

Getting the pieces punched out:

  1. Cut your paper.  I cut my paper ahead of time so it is easier to center it on the die cut.  Since I am using regular 8.5 x 11 paper, I simply cut my paper into fourths.  For this project I used my paper-cutter because it has the outlines for this size paper on the board so I just line it up and cut.  Each piece of paper should end up 4.25 x 5.5 inches.
  2. Setup your document in your word processing software.  I use MS Word, so I just create a new document and then set the page size to be the 4.25 x 5.5 inches of my pre-cut paper.  Then I center the document and choose my font/size of choice.  For this project I used Monterey BT which I was able to download for free. This is where you could get really fancy and use the mail merge feature of MS Word to fill in from a spreadsheet, it’s a great time-saver but is a bit tricky to setup…or you could just cut and paste in each one like I did.
  3. Print out your address pages.
  4. Start die cutting.  Using the Top Note Die face up in your machine, carefully center the printed page in the center of the surface.  Run through the machine.  Repeat for each printed page.  I won’t lie…this can get old if you have a lot of addresses to cut out.  I did mine in 2 batches while watching Christmas movies so it made it go much faster!
  5. Continue die cutting.  Now take out your green paper and the holly die and start working on cutting out your leaves.  A large holly shaped paper punch would also work well for this if you have one!  You’ll need 2 holly leaves per envelope.  Note that I didn’t use whole pieces of paper when I cut out my leaves…I had some scrap paper from the edges of some green top notes I cut out earlier so I just used the scrap paper to line up over my leaves.  This is a great usage for scraps or even perhaps those envelopes from the Christmas cards you’ve already received!
  6. Punch out your berries.  Now the Holly Die comes with a berry if you’d like a single red berry…but I liked the smaller berries so I went with a standard hole punch.  You’ll need 3 to 4 berries per envelope.  Again this is a great place to reuse paper…you can see I used the cover of an old Paper-Source catalog that was in my recycle bin.

Putting it all together:

  1. Start with the addresses.  Flip each of the addresses face side down and apply your glue stick to the back, making sure to cover all the edges and the center of the shape.  This is also where you could use your Xyron to speed up the process but wouldn’t you just know it mine needs a refill, so I stuck with the readily available glue stick.
  2. Quickly and carefully apply the address to the center of your envelope and press around all the edges and center to ensure it is firmly in place!
  3. Add the Leaves.  Using a piece of plastic or paper, take the glue stick and cover the back of 2 of the holly leaves so that all edges are covered.  Carefully lift them from the backing and place onto envelope (I found it easier to start with the lower leaf in the bottom left corner and then add the upper one afterward).  To remove the leaf from the backing I was able to use my fingernail, however tweezers would also work well for this.
  4. Add the berries.  Using a glue stick repeat the step above for the berries, this is the most tedious step.  I think a glue pen or even school glue might have worked more quickly for this step.
  5. Admire your work and send!

If you like these, you might also like the other entries in my Die-Cut Christmas Series:
Die-Cut Christmas Card Addresses
– Die-Cut Seating Cards
– Die-Cut Food Buffet Labels

Semi-DIY: Embellished Apron Tutorial

So, a while back I revealed the first of my vendor thank you gifts…the frilley functional apron for our florist/DOC.  Today, I’ll walk you through a quick tutorial on the top portion to help get you started making your own.  The trick to making this a quick project was to once again go the semi-DIY route.

Supplies Needed:

  • PreMade apron, I used a plain white one from the re-do line at Target.
  • 1 Package of 1/2 in quilt binding
  • 1.5 yards of 4 inch eyelet
  • .5 yard of fabric for ruffles (mine was 44 inches wide)
  • matching machine thread to make and attach ruffles
  • embroidery thread for monogram
  • Felt for flowers or flower leaves (1 piece per 2 flower and 6 leaves)
  • 1 snap set for each flower to attach (only if you want to be able to switch them out)

Tools Needed:

  • Sewing Machine
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Hand Sewing Needle
  • Heat transfer pencil
  • iron & ironing board
  • straight pins
  • rotary cutting blade & cutting mat

Instructions:

Before I started doing anything to the apron my first step was to wash & dry it.  This took out the sizing and made it a bit softer and easier to work with.  It also made it all wrinkly, which made it a bit more shabby chic since that was the look I was going for.  Then I started work on the monogram on the bib of the apron, since I knew this hand sewing piece would take the longest. 

Hand Embroidery Setup & Directions:

csmurf_texttofabric

  1. Setup your text in the word processor of your choosing and print them out on standard printer paper.
  2. Flip the paper over and using your iron-on transfer pencil trace over the text.  To make this process easier I used a light box, if you don’t have one visit Weddingbee’s Mrs. Stiletto to learn how to make your own. (hint before I owned a real light box I have been known to place a clip lamp under an old glass-topped coffee table).
  3. Cut out around your text for easier placement on your apron (or other fabric item).
  4. Carefully pre-iron your apron top and leaving the apron on the ironing board, place your template, printer side up on your fabric.
  5. Iron over the paper, careful not to move or wrinkle it. I use a high heat seating with no steam.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes, and then carefully remove the paper revealing your text template on your apron.  Now you are ready to start sewing!
  7. Using embroidery thread stitch over your letters to complete your monogram or phrase.  I used a simple outline stitch but a chain stitch would also work well (use the links to view tutorial videos).  I did this while watching NFL football games with the hubs.

Making  Ruffles:
Since the eyelet was purchased pre-ruffled that meant I would only need two more rows of complimenting ruffles.  For this project I used leftover fabric from our wedding cake table, but provided your fabric is wide enough you can easily get 3 ruffles per each 1/2 yard.

  1. First measure the width of your apron bottom and multiply by 1.5 (or 2 if you want really ruffly ruffles) and cut the fabric section into that width.
  2. To make cutting easier I first ironed my fabric, folded it in half lengthwise and pressed it again.
  3. Using the rotary cutter and cutting mat I cut 2 strips of fabric that was 4 inches in height.
  4. Take out your quilt binding and cut it into strips the same width as your fabric.  Cut one piece of binding per each fabric strip and sew to bottom edge of what will become ruffle.
  5. Using either your sewing machine to run a long loose stitch down the top of the ruffle, or do like I did and hand sew a long straight row of loose stitches to the top of the ruffle.  Make sure to leave threads on both ends so you can pull to form the ruffle.
  6. Pull threads to make fabric ruffle, and spread out to be the width of your apron
  7. Pin in place
  8. Using sewing machine, sew ruffle into place
  9. repeat with remaining eyelet and ruffles

Reuse, Recycle: Leaf Seating & Food Labels

Yesterday I left you with a bit of a teaser for today’s project which also uses leftover food box cardboard.   Each year my office has a Thanksgiving lunch, and each year there is always a bit of question as to what each dish on the line is.  So, today we’ll use the scraps leftover from the banner project to make buffet labels or you could use them for seating cards as well.

Today we’ll turn those leftover cardboard box scraps into this:

Materials:
– card board scraps leftover from banner project
– marker (for lettering)
– scotch tape, school glue, or hot glue

Tools:
– Cuttlebug (or edge punch, or scrapbooking scissors)
– Cuttlebug Leaves Dies (or edge punch, or scrapbooking scissors)
– Scissors
– Shape punches (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Carefully stack the leaves dies and the card board and run through the die cutting machine (careful to use acrylic plates as indicated by each machine’s instructions).  Repeat as many times as necessary to cut enough leaves for each of your dishes or place settings.
    Note:  Don’t worry if you don’t have a Cuttlebug, or the leaves dies. You can get an equally fun look by marking off rectangular pieces and cutting out with scrapbook scissors OR also from cutting out with regular scissors and then using an edge punch.
  2. Using your black marker write on the dish names or person’s name for place cards.
  3. For leaf dies cut a small 1.5 x .25 inch piece of leftover cardboard for each leaf. 
  4. Fold each of these pieces in half vertically. 
  5. Use your scotch tape (school glue & hot glue would work well also) to attach the folded piece to the back of each of the leaves.
  6. Place & Enjoy!!

 

New Product – Devine Twine is HERE!

If you aren’t already familiar with Whitney at Whisker Graphics you are already missing out…but as of today she is my hero because she brought new colors of bakers twine to the masses.  I’m seeing the apple green working well with many things in my future!!

(source: Devine Twine)

Click the photo above to check it out and order yours!

**Note: I am in no way affiliated with or receive nothing in return for this post.  It is based purely on my own opinions!”

Reuse, Recycle – Thanksgiving Banner

If you are anything like us, you throw away several “chip board” style boxes every week, between cereal, granola bars, and yogurt packs it adds up.  Now, if you are anything like ME, then you love using chip board & kraft paper for your crafting projects…do you see where I’m going with this? 

For projects that are one-sided, why not reuse something that you would just be throwing away (hopefully in the recycle bin)?  So stick around and I’ll show you how to turn these:

Into this:

Materials:
– card board boxes destined for the trash
– scrapbook paper to make letters
– 3 yards of raffia (twine, ribbon, or yarn… use what you have)
– tape

Tools:
– Cuttlebug (or edge punch, or scrapbooking scissors)
Top Note Die from Stampin Up
– Standard Hole Punch
– Glue Stick, School Glue, or Xyron (again use what you have)
– Scissors
– Bone Folder

Instructions:

  1. Carefully pull apart glued seams on each of the cardboard boxes.  I use a bone folder to help open up the more difficult areas.
  2. Using scissors cut off all side flaps from both sides of each box.  For larger (cereal sized) boxes you will also need to cut the larger areas into small pieces that will fit through your Cuttlebug or Bigz machine.
  3. Carefully stack the Top Note die and the card board and run through the die cutting machine (careful to use acrylic plates as indicated by each machine’s instructions).  Repeat as many times as necessary to cut 6, 12 or 18 (depending on your selected message). 
    Note:  Don’t worry if you don’t have a Cuttlebug, or the Top Note Die. You can get an equally fun look by marking off rectangular pieces and cutting out with scrapbook scissors OR also from cutting out with regular scissors and then using an edge punch.
  4. Put leftover cardboard aside for tomorrow’s project 🙂
  5. Use hole punch to carefully punch the top area of each piece and set aside
  6. Using your scrapbook paper carefully cut out the letters for your desired message.  I like using 2 inch sized letters.  If you have letter dies you could use them to easily punch out your letters, you could also use stickers or pre-cut chip board letters.  OR you can always use old school stencils to trace letters in reverse on the back of your scrapbook paper and cut them out with scissors (that’s what I did) 🙂
  7. Use your glue product to attach letters to card board pieces.
  8. String your card board pieces with the raffia.  To be consistent I always start from the front of each piece of card board, so that the raffia piece is behind the shape. 
  9. To help keep my pieces in place I use a bit of tape on the back of each piece to keep them from sliding.
  10. Hang & Enjoy!!


Another really fun feature to this quick & cheap project is that it folds up to store really easily, so we can use it again next year! 

Price Breakdown:
Since I used boxes that were going to be thrown away, and other materials I already had literally lying around my craft table…it was FREE!!!! 

And did you notice a hint for tomorrow’s crafty post in the photos above?  Yep, check back tomorrow for another reuse project.

DIY – Shoe & Boot Bags for a Buck

A few weeks ago I opened a small etsy shop in an effort to help sell some of  my MIL’s clothing from the late 70’s & 80’s for her husband.  I started with 3 items that were easily posted just to see how well they’d do…and last week I sold my first item (cowboy boots).  It was really exciting (for both my step-FIL and I).   As I prepared to ship the boots to their new owner I realized that they needed to be wrapped to prevent the soles from scuffing the white leather, which made me realize that wasn’t necessarily just a shipping issue.  I started looking around the craft room for something stronger than tissue paper that would survive shipping and saw a couple of Flour Sack dish clothes from the local dollar store that I’d picked up to cut into templates for a quilting project currently running around in my head.  They were perfect, and with scissors and a sewing machine I had two dust bags in less than 10 minutes.   10 minutes + $1 = Winner!

Materials Needed:
– Flour Sack Dish Cloth from Dollar Store (1 per 2 or 3 bags depending on size)

Tools Needed:
– Sewing Machine with matching thread
– Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Measure shoes or boots to determine how large your bag(s) need to be.
  2. Remove tags and open dish cloth flat.
  3. Fold dish cloth in half horizontally with unfinished edges to the outside.
  4. Using measurements determine how many bags can be made from one cloth.  For this example of women’s cowboy boots we can make two bags.
  5. Using scissors or a rotary blade cut the cloth into desired widths.
  6. Align open sides of the cloth (pin in place if needed) and sew along the edges.  Repeat on other open side.
  7. Turn bag right-side out
  8. Insert boots and store for use (or shipping)

bootbags_003

For a more finished product you could also turn down the top edge including a draw string.  I plan to make several more of these for several handbags and seasonal shoes so they won’t get dusty between uses.  I also think I will attach leftover tags to identify what is in each bag.

Price Breakdown for 2 boot bags:
$1.06
(tax included)  – You just can’t beat that 🙂

Holidays: Happy Veterans Day

csmurf_veterans

(Personal Photo)

No matter what branch of service…thank you!

Inspiration: Brightly Colored Clothing

I LOVE colorful clothing, which makes me wonder if I’m the last person to find out about the UK company Boden who now ships to the good ole USA?  I mean just look at a couple of the things I’m currently dreaming of….

WE247_ WK500 WG336 WG348a WE235 WE241

(All Photos from Boden USA)

Holidays – Vintage Christmas Postcards

A while back I mentioned a stack of vintage Christmas postcards I found while cleaning out at my grandmother’s house.  With Christmas approaching I’m trying to think of a way to include some of them in our decorations. 

So…my question is:  How would you suggest using these fun vintage postcards?

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Ramblings – It’s started…

wed1

(photo credit: Climie+Co)

Yesterday I clicked unsubscribe.

To several wedding blogs I’d been following…and it felt kinda nice.  It’s been 4 months since the wedding and while I promise I’ll finish up the posts on all of our wedding DIY projects, I have to admit it feels nice to start stepping away from the mass amounts of wedding planning p0rn out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved our wedding.  Looking back there really isn’t anything big I’d change (other than a few guest list additions since we had the space), but sometimes when looking through all this wedding ideas/photos I “wish” we’d included this or that and it makes me sad.  Which is dumb if you reread the sentence above….I loved our wedding.  It was perfectly “us”.  It was small, simple, clean lines, natural beauty and we felt loved all day.  So really…it was perfect and how do you improve on that?

So…I’m slowly clearing out the majority of the bridal blogs in my reader and plan to replace them with non-baby related newlywed blogs.  And crafty blogs of course.  I think I’ll even try to redo the look of this blog a bit, I think it’s time for Brainy & Smurfette to change out of their wedding finery and find some hiking clothes!  🙂

So, talk to me….what newlywed & crafty blogs can I not live without?




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