Thursday, October 25, 2012

Luxury On A Dime

Welcome to another edition of The Cherry On Top,

Today, I would like to talk about embellishments.  I have had a few rare opportunities where I caught an awesome deal or had some kind of budget for a project, but for the most part budget, materials and the environment are often a factor.  I keep a mind for the environment by up-cycling many, many items.  It reduces waste, saves money and keeps your creative mojo flowing.

These pictures I share with you in this entry are cheap/free ways to enhance your layouts and projects.  I hope to give you some tips so that you keep your eye out for the beauty in the rough or a rough that you can smooth out with a bit of finesse, glitter, pearls or paint.

In the first photo, I used a purchased, beige, fabric flower, which actually also doubles for an excellent tutorial on how to make these for myself in any color and fabric of my choosing, there is a cut out and corner rounded, mini card and finally, what is that gold and pearly thing?  A button.  An old button from the thrift store.  I have a huge container filled with awesome buttons.  I use them in a lot of projects.  There are actually 4 other buttons on this very same layout. 2 more like this one and 2 other gold and pearl buttons.

This image is a bit scanty.  The tag is from newly purchased clothes, recycled ribbon and a circle punch, cut in half.  I often cut off the legs or stems of brads and apply with 3D dots.  There are more circle punches, and even punched out flowers, but this layout is pretty much all hand made.  Not purchased.

Here is a large, pink Eiffel Tower.  LOL!  Maybe not one of the best homemade embellishments, but it just what I wanted for lack of  better artistic skill.  I used the negative space of a paper die cut as a stencil.

In the image to the left there is a  hand made hanger.  I just used some craft wire and fashioned it into a hanger shape, then took some fun thread and wrapped it all around the hanger and painfully tied up a tiny ribbon bow and glue it on.  That simple and super cute!

Actually, that entire project was all handmade and there is a blog dedicated to it further down.

Here is a paper flower all hand made, too.  Just take strips of paper, fold them in half, adhere, then adhere them all to a punched out circle on the top and bottom.  I put the little strands of pearls to keep the look in the project going and added a little panache to this pink petalled  Petunia.

These chipboard shapes, were bought at a steal.  They looked a bit flat and boring though.  So, I pimped them up with some brads and fun threads.

Wow!  Yes, wow!  This tag is one of my all time favourites.  I still can't believe that I made this.  Not only do I love the color, but I took so much care into making it when usually I try to fly through my projects and take short cuts.

Of course, I did not make this bird cage.  Isn't it just gorgeous?  Kaiser Krafts I think?  I cut out an image from a 6x6 paper which is also that of a birdcage and some flowers, then placed the wooden cage on top of it.  Then I meticulously cut out this little part of a flower, from a different 6x6 paper, adhered it to the cage then used pearl paint for the small dots and a little bit of pink glitter glue for some extra bling.  Two different kinds of pink ribbon add more texture and a luxurious feel to the entire tag.

I still love it!  I think I paid less than $4 for two of these cages.

I'm still experimenting with my butterflies.  These are just punched out paper with some different colored glittered and more Pearl Drops.  Awesome stuff, BTW.  Layering up all of this cheap, cheap ribbon and using different textures and colours make it look like you spent more money than what you really did.  I put the glitter all around the edges of the frames and more Pearl Drops for my unending need for bling.  The little tags are just images cut out from 6x6 papers.  Above and below are from Webster's Pages, if you were wondering.

Add poppage to a boring chipboard flower by adding texture and color with this pink...stuff.  I got it as wrapping around some present ages ago. There is another cheapy flower on top of that then a button.  I cut off the fastening rod and just adhered it with a 3D glue dot.  It still needed something.  So, I applied some adhesive pearls around the edges, but I could have used the Pearl Drops, too.

I suppose this tag speaks for itself.  I had a template that I got for free on the internet and printed out.  I cut it out and used it as a stencil on the kind of paper I wanted.  I then cut out some word art from another 6x6 paper and used thick adhesive foam tape to apply it to my tag.  I took glue and ran around the edges of the tag and dazzled on the glitter.  Pow!

This butterfly is a chipboard butterfly from Maya Road.  I used it as a stencil to cut out some pretty paper that I also used on the layout.  I took a copper ink pad and went around the edges, carefully and then rubbed it in with my finger.  I added some adhesive pearls of varying sizes and some more of those handy pearl strands as antennae.  Can you imagine how much you would pay for something like this!?

All of these embellishments to the left are just cut outs from papers or small paper tags that have been reinforced with an underlying piece of paper with a complementive colour.  Then more old buttons for texture, richness and  dimension as well as satiny ribbon to give it even more love.

Wow!  All done for just a few cents, really.

So there are a few ideas you can use to save money and the environment.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Organised Chaos

A sleepy Sunday for me, my cyber friends.

As I lazily peruse Pinterest and Facebook, I am inundated with pictures of people's work space.  They do not, in any way, resemble that of the pictures below.  They are typically white and tidy beyond comprehension.  An empty desk top, with an exception of a cute, little lamp.  There are often shelves neatly organised with barely recognisable crafting products.  Lush, warm carpeting, a window for natural light to optimise the creative experience, a comfy chair and perhaps a framed, Michael's work of art to tie it all together.

Not that there is anything at all wrong with that, for most of my house might resemble that of a typical catalog from a particular Swedish store.  My work space however, looks exactly like a work space.  At first glance, it fits the typical cliche of, "a tornado ran through it", but there really is a lot of organisation going on as well as chaos.

My pens are neatly organised in my Trader Joe's peanut bucket.  The little plastic drawers are also organised.  One for blingy gems and pearls, one with frames and the other with tags.  My adhesive dots are on top of that in order of size.  The drawers are pretty good, too.  Inside are clear, glass jars filled with brads, buttons and foam embellishments.  Ribbons fill another drawer.  Yes, fill and alphabet words and letters fill the other two drawers.  Yip, I have enough to fill two drawers.

Take a look at the my other ribbon organisation.  An empty wrapping paper roll holds my washi and ribbon with a large whole, while a pants hanger holds those with a small one.  Everything right under my eyeballs, which apparently is what most people need.  I was reading through some comments about how people keep their work area and they also said, that if it wasn't out, it was forgotten.  For me the same.

There are several diaper boxes also organising my paper 12x12 and A4 in rainbow order.  My rainbow, rounded organiser has a space for glitter and glitter glue, adhesives of the varying sort and tools often used such as wire snippers, punches, extra double sided tape and exact-o knives.

The tools I use most such as corner rounders, circle punches, cutting machine, double sided tape, ruler, pencils, charcoal pencils, etc are in the centre drawer for fastest and easiest use.

My desk top is truly a mess.  Organised piles that I often weed through, are from current projects.  As you may know, I am a savvy scrapper.  I use as much as I can from all of my products and throw very little away, which also makes for quantitative mess.

So far, this system has worked pretty well for me, but as usual there is always room for improvement.  I feel that my mother might just cringe if she were to see this area. For her house, every single last part including the basement, is fit for museum standards.  Hehehe....

Even though this area is an eye sore, I still relish every minute that I can sit on that old, pleather chair from the previous house owner.  I look upon this mess and only this mess, with great adoration and excitement.  It is a place where I can relax and unleash all of the craziness and creativity that is constantly occupying my brain.  Oh!  Revelation!  This is a pretty darn good picture of my brain!  Organised chaos!

Have a super Sunday, Folks and may your day be full of creative endeavors!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lego Party

 A fabulous Friday to you!

This week we hosted a Lego party just for the fun of it.  It took a few days of planning, it costs a couple of bucks, but not too much.  The kids were really excited about it and they had a GREAT time.

When the kids arrived at noon, I had this tray of healthy-ish treats ready for them until I had lunch ready.  In Belgium, the kids get out of school at lunch onWednesdays.  So, I picked up as many kids that could fit in our Touran and brought them back with me.

Even though I put RSVP on the invitations and sent e-mails way in advanced.  There were people calling the day of and the day before the party, which messed up a few things because I did my shopping in advance.  There was even someone hailing us down on our way to the car wanting to come.  Ugh!


The children were told that they could not play in the beginning because we were going to eat first.  So, when they came in, I had Ninjago on the TV. That worked great.  Thank goodness!

The boys had hot dogs and french fries.  As you can see by the picture, they were very pleased with this.  Those who brought a lunch, left it in their backpacks.  (I did mention that lunch would be included on the invitation.)

After lunch was cleaned up, I made up sections of the living/dining area where particular Lego sets
were displayed, ready to play with.  I learned to
keep the bedrooms off limits when it comes to
parties. Toys get trashed and broken and the room is a disaster!  No way!  Not again!

Further down, you will see a  Behaviour Booster Chart.  Let me suggest this.  It worked wonders.  The place stayed clean, the kids got along tremendously and I'm not sure if I ever was complemented as much in my entire life.  Hehehe...  Make sure you point out when someone does something worth earning a sticker for.  They went nuts over these charts and were
more than willing to help keep things in order.

The goal was to get 5 stickers.  Then they would receive a prize as they left the party.  Before the first one leaves, the person with the most stickers gets to choose their prize first.

Behaved, Team Work and Mean Clean are how they earn their stickers.  They worked in teams to construct their Lego creations and for the Scavenger Hunt.

Below with the other printables I used, you will find a Scavenger Hunt/Zoektocht print out.  I would also highly recommend this activity at your party.  They went crazy!

There were three teams.  Each had their list of clues where the pieces could be found.  I put them in a different order so that they were not on top of each other the entire time. In each hiding place there were three bags clearly marked with which team the bag was for, they needed five bags with
the colour of their team on it.

After they found all five bags, they had to assemble the robot.  The first team to complete
the mission was the winner of three stickers.  The second team, two stickers and the last, one sticker.

The kids worked beautifully together.  I continuously encouraged them, pointed out desired behaviour and gave stickers often.

>>>That's my little guy very happy with his find!

Keep the bags separate from each other if possible.

Make it a bit clear where they are so that they don't trash your place.  Like you see here.>>>

>>>>Here are the winners!

We actually had, nice weather.  What a great
opportunity to put the kids outside and clean up
around the house, do dishes and get the next
part of the party ready.  They cleaned up all of the toys before going back inside and earned more stickers.

Another phase of the party was Ninjago/Lego
colouring pages.  I will provide links for you at the bottom of this entry.  I couldn't find anything on Lego's website.  If you know of any please leave a comment.

Upon completion of staying in the lines and
writing their name, they received another sticker.
This not only motivated EVERYONE to colour a
page, but also took up more time.  Keeping the kids
engaged is crucial for good behaviour.

Before each child went home, they received a diploma, their Behaviour Booster chart if they wanted it, their straw with Lego head, the laminated Ninjago dude name tags (have more than one of the same if possible.  It was hard for them to choose.  Hehehe...), a small bag of treats and a prize for their sticker charts.  Of course, they all made the goal of 5 stickers!

Below you will see my print out for the Scavenger Hunt/Zoektocht in both English and Dutch.  There are explicit directions to remind you how to set up the game.  Don't forget to mix the order on your print outs or put numbers for which ones they should look for first. That might be easier.

Below are the most useful Behaviour Booster Charts.  I highly recommend them to keep things neat and the kids in line.  Once again, I provided them in Dutch and English.

Here are some very simple printouts of the invitations I used in both English and Dutch.  There are also instructions on my print out.

These name tags were also a hit!  They like them all and could not decide which ones to take home.  I put a hole through and tied some string around.  Of course you could get key rings, pins, paper clips, rubber bands, etc... if you wanted to use those.

The straw toppers were also laminated, cut out and adhered with a small glue dot.  It went really fast.  I had to make extras for the boys to take home.  They loved them.

The colouring pages I found on Google Image Search after not finding anything on Lego's site and even Pinterest came up blank.  The straw toppers were found there, though.  All of the rest of the stuff I made up using PowerPoint.

I couldn't believe how excited the boys were, how much they seemed to love EVERYTHING, how well behaved everyone was and how easy this party was to host.  I'm not a fan of having parties, but if they all were this easy, I might have them a bit more often.

Share your ideas, finds and pictures when you host a Lego Party!  Here you will find even more ideas for your Lego Party.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Match Box Mini Album

Welcome weary scrappers to this Monday morning edition of, The Cherry On Top.  Are you dragging your butt a bit after the weekend?  Did you get your scrap on?  I started this mini on Friday and finished it up on Saturday.  It took under 4 hours from start to finish.  It requires hardly ANY products.  Pictures will take up most of your space.  So the budget is miniscule. I didn't buy anything for it.  I just used what was laying around.  If that isn't motivation to make one for yourself, than I don't know what is?!  When I can knock out a project it makes me very pleased.  I have so many unfinished projects laying around, that I need to throw in a few quickies here and there to help keep me motivated.

Check out this match box make-over!  As you may remember, I'm not a math person.  Looking at a numerical equation is like trying to decipher Chinese.  I'm definitely an eyeballer, but as you can see, I did break out the ruler.  I got a rough estimation for the inside of the box to make the insert.  This insert was 4 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide, under estimated for mistakes, imperfections and potential girth.  Hehehe....

I cut three strips of plain card stock.  Then measured in 4 inches to indicate where the fold would be, but you could also measure 8 inches and just fold the darn thing in half.  Hehehe...

As you can see, you may also do a book insert rather than the accordion that I did.  I figured an accordion would allow for more embellishing.  I love my goodies and do not like when I can't get dimensional.

For the first time, I used book binding tape.  
It's been sitting around here for so long and it 
worked absolutely fantastic for this project.  
You can see that I put the binding tape just over where the two pieces come together. This kind of tape allows for excellent flexibility.

 <-  There it is.  My mini accordion.  All ready for pictures and goodies.  I'm using mostly Graphic 45 products, which are typically antique in character and why I chose this antique white for my background.  Keep in mind, that your accordion or book insert is not too, wide.  Otherwise, it might make sliding in and out difficult.

The outside of the box insert was roughly measured then wrapped up like a present. I unfortunately, mis-measured, as usual and came up too short.  Hence, the paper tape, measured trim.  Hehehe...I actually, like the detail.  It adds a bit more interest and covers up a boo boo.  Hehehe...

Wrapping the outer box is very simple. Also like a present, lay the out box on a piece of paper and simply measure for all around coverage. You don't need to measure any sides, which is where I goofed for the insert box.  Below, I demonstrated where I put my double sided tape.  I put a large piece down the middle of the box and two more on each ends of the paper.

I used decorative paper tape for the insert as well.  It went very quickly and easily.  I can't tell you from what manufacturer it is because it was only marked on the packaging, which is kind of a bummer because it's really good stuff.  I'll be sure to keep it in supply if I can even find it again.  Both of these tapes worked great with G45.  Adding to the antique look and covering the inside of the box in a snap.

Keep in mind, not to use too heavy of paper for your insert box.  Otherwise, movement in and out is difficult.  This typical weighted paper just barely works.  It is a little tricksy.  If you hold it firm, then push it, rather than grab and pull, it works best.

Above you will see some supplies that were used as well as the finished box insert and outer covering.  The stamp pad was used to dull down the word art chipboard, from K&Co.  The yellow was a bit too, bold for the rest of the look and I wanted to age it a bit.

These K&Company chipboard pieces were absolutely fantastic for this project.  I thought it went perfect with G45's "Play Time" collection.
They were super rigid, which I cannot say about G45's tags. They were so thin, that I had to use extreme caution when taking them off the sheet.

It's always convenient and faster when you can use only one collection for an entire project, but that rarely happens here.  I don't have that kind of budget for most endeavours and I do really enjoy mixing and matching.  It brings another element of perfect imperfection which is a leading characteristic in handmade crafts.
Here are some close ups of the inserts.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much flexibility I actually had.  I was thinking it would be more challenging to come up with pictures that would fit in what seemed to be such a small insert, but that was not the case.  Nearly every picture I put aside, I was able to crop up to fit.

Bellies were also not a problem  because there are so many pictures, there really wasn't that much room for a lot of embellishments.  I even had to ditch a few pics so that I could get a few on there.  That paper tape was perfect to continue the look as well as give interest to the insert.

You may choose to adhere your accordion to the bottom of the insert box.  Then you don't have to worry about covering the inside bottom and you won't lose the book.  I left quite a bit of room in the box insert by making my insert book a bit smaller both in length and girth.
The cover was even more fun to decorate than the insert!  I used more G45 bellies, an antique button from the thrift store and added some more metal with the brassy brads.  These embellishments add warmth, texture and dimension.  (Man!  I love that button.  It was actually made of metal.)

So, there you have it!  A gorgeous, mini match box album that you can make yourself in an afternoon.  Think about this box outside of the box.  A child's project would be fun and easy.  They could decorate their box and it could be a secret place for there small trinkets.  You could also store just about anything small to keep in or on top of furniture for yourself or to give.  The ideas are endless and what better way to recycle?!  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you share your pictures of this project done up YOUR way.

My next blog will cover my party I'm having here on Wednesday.  A Lego Party for my son and a few of his buddies from class.  There will be ideas, pictures and a lot printable ideas for you to snag and use either for a party or just individually for your family.

Take care and happy scrapping!