12/31/11

Happy New Year!

I have to say that I will be glad to usher this year out and be done with it. It has been one of the worst years for our family and my hope is that things will begin to change for the better. They already have in several ways and I am grateful for that. My wish is that 2012 bring health, happiness, peace, and prosperity to each and every one of us.

Making New Years resolutions is not something I usually do, since I am often too good at setting myself up for failure - lose 30 lbs., get more exercise, eat healthier, read more books, spend less time in front of the computer…..like any of that ever happens. But I have decided that I need to spend more time being creative and journaling on a regular basis, maybe even trying a little art journaling. I am also committed to commenting on more blog posts this year. I am a lurker more than a commenter and I have seen so many wonderful cards and projects but left very few compliments. That’s not fair. It is a bit of work to create blog posts, not to mention the creations which are posted, and at the very least they deserve the few moments it takes to leave an encouraging comment. I am also going to cut down my blog reading list so that I don’t spend all my time blurfing and none of it creating. I have added a few journaling and inspirational blogs to my list. I found some good posts on the New Year and wanted to share a few of the links here, for those of you who might be interested.

Amy Oscar - The Edge of the Year

17 Ways to Be Happier in 2012

How to Craft a Vision You Won’t Give Up On

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

This is one of my favorite blogs - The Warm Milk Journal

My hope for this brand new year is that I can become more hopeful and optimistic, looking for the good in things rather than the not-so-good. I would like to worry less and be happy more. Be grateful for what I have, which is an awful lot, and spend less time wanting more. Spend time with family and friends, both near and far, because that’s what’s most important in life.

I would love to hear your resolutions and hopes for 2012, if you’d like to share them with me. Thank you all for stopping by my blog. There may be some changes this year, I am not sure what kind just yet, so stay tuned.

12/21/11

Love this video!

This is too cute - why can't we all just have fun! You're never too old to do goofy stuff.



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Get out and do something unexpected and fun. Go! Enjoy yourself - you only live once!

Poinsettias and trees

Not a lot of sparkle or bling on these last cards, just lots of red and green.

I love this new Layered Poinsettia die from Spellbinders. It is a little difficult to get out of the die after it’s cut and embossed - even if it’s not embossed - but then most of their dies are that way. Why? Does anyone know? Does anyone care? Probably not. Anyway…I sponged the petals with some Fired Brick Distress ink before I pried them loose and I really like the look. The patterned paper is Basic Grey from last year and I only have a few sheets left so I use it sparingly. Why do we feel the need to hoard paper? You do it, too, I know you do. It’s not going to multiply in the drawers, so at some point we will use the last piece. But not today. No siree.

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More Tsukineko Delicata gold ink on this card. The edge was punched with a Martha border punch and the layer popped up on foam tape. The wispy ferns are Martha and McGill punches.

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I tried to capture the shimmery goodness of this ink and this is the best I could do. If your LSS has some you really should buy it, you will fall in love with it. We need to start a petition to Tsukineko for a silver version. Have you seen that commercial….Can I have a puppy, can I have a puppy, can I have a puppy???? Be persistent. Wear them down, I say.

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A closer view of the poinsettia - so much texture, I love it! That’s a big gold pearl in the center of the flower, from one of the $1 packages of bling at AC Moore.

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Another CASE of a Tami Hartley card from last year here. I just cut a triangle from some Bazzill paper, stamped a damask design (yep, Hero Arts again) on it, and sponged a little Peeled Pain Distress ink around the edges. Too easy. The hardest part was getting the triangle the right shape. It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. Once I got it right, I saved a template so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I need another one. I do have a good idea now and again.

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This is the last of them, along with my wish for your holidays…..filled with happiness!

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Thanks for stopping by and I hope the New Year bring us all peace, happiness, and love.

Party on, people.

12/20/11

That’s All, Folks!

This is the last of the Christmas cards. My room is all clean and straightened up again, Christmas stamps put away till next year, and the cards are in the mail. Whew!

Isn’t he adorable? And so easy to make, too. I found him over on Cindy Lawrence’s blog, complete with instructions, and just had to make a couple of them. I used suede paper rather than card stock, to give his beard, ‘stache, and hat a fuzzy feel, but other than that I followed her instructions. I also made a template for it so I can make it again next year.

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This one was inspired by Sharon Harnist. Don’t you just love her work? I didn’t have the poinsettia stamp that she used, so I used an older swirly Hero Arts stamp instead. The stamps are from Gina K Designs and I colored them with Copics (R29 and YG95), and added 3 gems to the center of the ornament. The border was punched using a Martha border punch and I threaded a little green ribbon through it, made a bow on the Bow Easy and attached it with a glue dot. Am I the only one that wished they would make the “legs” on the Bow Easy a little longer, to make it easier to use with wider ribbon?? How hard can that be? I know they have a larger one but it makes larger bows. I want to make the small-ish bows but just use a little wider ribbon sometimes. I know, I’m the difficult one.

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Last, but not least, a CAS design. I could have made it a one layer card, but it just didn’t seem substantial enough so I layered it up on some red card stock and then on to the card. The trees are by Penny Black (Snow Dust) and I stamped them using that gorgeous Tsukineko Delicata ink. The shine doesn’t show up here, but it sure is beautiful in person. The sentiment is from PTI, embossed with clear powder for a little more shine.

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Winter Solstice…..keep calm and party on. Time to get started on Valentine cards now?

12/18/11

Put a little bling in your Christmas

I do love sparkly things and Christmas cards are the perfect showcase for them, don’t you think? I can’t resist adding a little extra bling and I break out the heat tool for embossing a little more often this time of year, too. It helps keep me warm while I’m crafting on these cold winter nights.

This one is so sparkly, I wish it showed up better in photographs. I love this embossing powder! It’s Stardust from Stampendous and it really shines. The die is from Memory Box, it’s called Country Landscape, and I added a little Stardust Stickles to the edge, trees and house roofs for snow. Is the plural of roof rooves? Hooves is the plural of hoof, right? I give up. Anyway, there’s a pretty stardust-y theme going on with this card! Do you think it needs something? A sentiment across the bottom? I’m no good with white space. I feel the need to fill it up with something. Maybe I better get these mailed quick, before I try to add something.

I found the inspiration for this card on Jenny’s blog, Crafting the in Country. Check this card out, using the same Memory Box die. Gorgeous!! Why didn’t I think of that??

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I was trying to get a good angle to capture the sparkly goodness and got lucky with this shot.

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More bling and embossing. Hero Arts tree, embossed with gold detail powder and encrusted with jewels. Ok, so they are actually craft store rhinestones. In my world they are jewels. Torn edges adorned with Stardust Stickles for the snow banks and the sentiment is………….wait for it…….Hero Arts! Again! So is the music background, stamped with Memories White ink, as well as the starry background, stamped with Memento Desert sand. I sponged a little ink around the edges, too. SeaShell Sandal, I think. I might have found the inspiration piece on the Hero Arts Flickr group or on Pinterest, I really don’t remember.

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A little close up of the precious gems.

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Same thing, different stamp. I’m not even going to tell you who makes it, I think you already know.

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Are you tired of Christmas cards yet? I hope not, because I have a few more to show you tomorrow. See you then. Shine on, people.

12/16/11

On the second day of Christmas…

more Christmas cards!

I think I first saw this one on Pinterest and went to Lisa’s blog, I’m in Haven, and found many more treasures. It uses the negative space left by the Spellbinders Layered Poinsettia die and I added holly leaves and some gems. Which, btw, were a PITA to attach to the centers of the flowers. The top layer of the card is popped up on foam tape and the gems in the flower centers didn’t have aggressive enough adhesive on them, so they didn’t stick down very well. I tried a dot of glue and that didn’t work. I ended up using mini Glue Dots on every one, and several of them got away from me before I could get them stuck. Wily little creatures. In the end I prevailed and this is the result. I only made one of these so far and may make a couple more, but I may have to come up with a different center for the flowers.

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Another one from I’m in Haven. You really should pop over to her blog and have a look around. There is lots of inspiration there, she is so talented! The branch, leaves and berries are made with a Memory Box die, Twigs and Berries, and the sentiment is, of course, Hero Arts. Can you tell I love their stamps?? I added some veins to the leaves with an embossing stylus for a little texture.

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That’s it for today. I better get busy with address labels and stamps. See you tomorrow with a few more cards. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

12/15/11

At last!

Christmas cards!! Done. Now all I have to do is stamp the backs, insert some white card stock on the dark ones, sign them, address and stamp them, and get them to the PO. Whew. I’m tired already.

I cranked up the Silhouette for this one. The trees and “merry” are both cut from designs for the Silhouette. The trees were downloaded from the online Silhouette store and I created “merry” by typing a font and welding the letters together. The background is a Hero Arts stamp, stamped with the awesome Tsukineko Delicata gold ink. No embossing necessary and it actually dries pretty quickly. I love that stuff and I hope they are making a silver version. So far all they have is gold. The “& bright” is embossed in gold and it is a Hero Arts stamp from one of the smaller Sparkle Clear sets from last year, I think. I cut it in half and didn’t use the “Merry” part of it.

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Let me just say now that Pinterest is a wonderful place for inspiration and I spend a LOT of time there. That’s where I got the inspiration for this card. I used the PTI zig zag die and Taylored Expressions Trim the Tree die, along with a Hero Arts sentiment. A few gems, a little red Stickles on the tree, tie some twine on the tree trunk and there you go. Christmas card. Done.

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I also made some in blue, just because I could. I think I used burgundy Stickles on this tree. I do love that little die set. I will be making more cards with it before I am through this year.

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That’s all I have for today, but I will be posting more cards tomorrow and next week, so stay tuned!

12/14/11

No Christmas cards yet...

But can I interest you in a birthday card? The mess on my work table is still there, lots of pieces and parts waiting to be transformed into cards but I had to stop working on Christmas to make a birthday card. One which will arrive late, I'm afraid. I knew the birthday was coming up, it's in my calendar on my computer and it reminds me, but because procrastination is one of my specialties I didn't get around to making it until today (her birthday is tomorrow). I wish I was one of those people who could whip up a card in 10 minutes or less, instead of the 2+ hours it usually takes me. But I'm not. I should have started earlier. By the time I was finished the light was gone and so was the mail carrier. I took the photo anyway but the card won't get in the mail until tomorrow, so it will be late. Boo.

Submitted for your approval...


I used a brand new Just Rite set named Topsy Turvy Cakes. I had to have this one. I heard it calling to me. It kept saying, "Take me home. Ink me up. Make pretty things with me."...over and over and over again. Who could resist that, I ask you. Don't look at me like that, I know stamps have spoken to you before. Don't even try to deny it.

The index is printed in pretty colors, and I am a sucker for pretty colors. I tried several times to color it exactly like the cover photo, but I suspect they used a computer graphics program to color it. I'm sure there are Copic masters who could duplicate it exactly, but I am not one of them. I am, however, quite happy with the way it turned out. I used several different kinds of markers, see the list below. I love my Copics but they really need to work on the purples and pinks. I used Letraset for the purple and a Tria marker for the pink. You can't see it, but I added a little glitter pen to the yellow dots. The photo is a little off color-wise, it's much prettier in person. I can't figure out why my fancy schmancy camera has so much trouble with purple and red/pink. I did do a little color correction but still didn't get it exactly right.

Maybe tomorrow I can jump back on the Christmas card bandwagon with both feet and get them done so I can mail them before Christmas! Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?


Stamps: Topsy Turvy Cakes by JustRite, sentiment is from an unknown small clear set, might be Inkadinkado
Markers: Copic - B04, Y38, Y35; Letraset Orchid and Leaf Green; Tria R8; Copic Spica Sky Blue; Martha Stewart Glitter Pen in gold
Spellbinders Lacy Circles, Ribbon Banners, and Labels 18
Martha Stewart border punch - Scallop Dot
Sizzix Textured Impressions folder
Distress Ink - Tumbled Glass

12/11/11

Another mess

I had a pretty template up here but apparently parts of it disappeared so I'll just go with something plain for now. At least it's Christmasy colors.

I do have some Christmas cards done but I also have another mess on my desk.

 

  


It doesn't look so bad when I photograph it, but it really is a mess. I have been using my Silhouette to cot out some things and I have cheated a little and printed out a few things, now all I have to do is figure out what I want to do with them.

I hope to have some actual cards to post soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

11/17/11

More Christmas Cards

Here are the last 3 samples I made for Stamper's Alley using the new Hero Arts Christmas stamps.


The ornaments are embossed in white, trimmed out (I know - again with the scissors!) and sponged with Peeled Paint and Barn Door Distress Inks. The flower was white and I colored it with my R29 Copic marker, added a button in the center and a twine bow behind it, a la Jennifer McGuire. Don't you just love her creations? Anyway, The scalloped border is done with a Fiskars border punch and I added a couple of gems to the snowflakes on the ornaments. A little silver cord and the red ornament is popped up on foam tape...one more card done!


 This card is a copy of one I found through Pinterest at Poppy Paperie's blog. I kept the basic design but changed everything else since I didn't have the die, the stamps, or the ribbon she used on her card. The die I used is from Spellbinders, it's the Reverse Wonky Rectangle. The border around the sentiment is a small Hero Arts snowflake stamp stamped halfway onto the circle and I sponged a little Shabby Shutters on it, too. The snowflakes on the card, although they are difficult to see, are stamped with Worn Lipstick Distress Ink. The card itself is made from Hero Arts Grenadine Layering papers. Color on the outside, white on the inside so there's no need to put another piece on the inside. Love that!


This card is my favorite of them all and it is a shameless, flat out copy of this card on Vicki's Clips-n-Cuts blog. Do go visit her blog and have a look around, she has the best tutorials and great ideas! The only thing I changed was the background stamp, because I don't have the one she used. Again, I trimmed out the ornaments - I am becoming a little better with scissors! I have become quite fond of the Distress Ink sponging as well, I love the effect.

Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you are having a wonderful day!

11/13/11

A Few Christmas Cards

I was asked to create some samples for Stamper's Alley recently, using some new Hero Arts stamp sets. I do love Hero Arts, they are one of my favorite stamp companies.

So, here's what I came up with (all stamps are Hero Arts):


The snow banks are sponged with Tumbled Glass Distress Ink and I added some Stardust Stickles to make the snow sparkle a little. The tree is cut out and popped up on some foam tape. The loopy thing around the sentiment is a Memory Box die that I modified a bit. It has pointy things on opposite sides of the loops, so I trimmed off the points and used 2 die cuts layered together. I also added a little Stardust Stickles to that...no such thing as too much sparkle on Christmas cards!


The image is embossed in white on watercolor paper and the panel is colored using Twinkling H2Os. I added a few gems here and there for a little sparkle. I also used ScorTape to attach the watercolor panel because it curls a little when it dries, but the ScorTape holds it really well. Just place the tape close to the edges.


 I actually cut out the ornaments myself! I just took my time, held my breath, and used my Cutterbee scissors. I wouldn't want to do 50 of these but onesies and twosies are not too bad. The ornaments are stamped with Peeled Paint and Broken China Distress ink and sponged with Shabby Shutters, Peeled Paint, Tumbled Glass, and Broken China. The snowflakes in the background are stamped with Tumbled Glass and the sentiment with Peeled Paint. A little bit of silver cording, a bow attached with Glossy Accents, and a few gems for sparkle and there you have it!

Thanks for stopping by and I will have some more Christmas cards for you soon.

10/28/11

Happy Halloween!

At last, Halloween cards….done! But before I get to those, I have a question for you all. Do you ever get all of the stamps, embellishments, punches, paper, etc. out and in plain sight, then put off doing anything with all of it because you think you have plenty of time? Until you realize that the occasion for which you are making these cards is only days away? Please tell me I am not the only one. A few weeks ago I got all of my Halloween stamps, punches, etc. put out on my work table (aka the Hot Mess from the last post) and couldn’t come up with a good idea. I wasn’t worried - I had weeks to formulate the perfect design. Weeks! Nearly forever!

Then procrastination set in. I spent hours surfing the blogs and galleries, searching for inspiration. I did find a couple of things I liked, pinned them to Pinterest and kept on looking. I even made a few cards I was pretty happy with, but kept on surfing. Then….Look a squirrel! I took my eyes off the prize and got sidetracked with another project, which hasn’t gone any further for lack of the perfect stamp. The stamp with which the project was made is only available online and, luckily for me, is out of stock. But that didn’t stop me from spending precious time searching through my collection and trying to make something else work. But not to worry, I still had plenty of time to get Halloween cards finished. At least that’s what I thought….and then I looked at the calendar. Uh oh. How did it get to be the 27th already?? It was just October 12 the other day! Damn squirrels.

So, that’s my justification as to why my cards are a little less spectacular than I had originally planned. But I’m happy with the way they turned out. Have a look and see what you think…

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The house was cut with the Silhouette, the cloud, moon, bat, and ghost are punches. I put some gold vellum behind the windows, sponged a bit of Memento London Fog on the cloud and popped the house up on foam tape. The inside of the card is below. Since I feel like I got a little lazy with the outsides I decided to trick out the insides a little more than usual. The verse (it’s on the inside of all of them) is from Lizzie Anne Designs.

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Spellbinders die - no, actually it is a free Silhouette design I found online and I created the oval on the Silhouette to match the inside of the cut out. Hero Arts stamp, Memory Box and some unknown patterned paper.

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Inside. The scrolly things at the top and bottom are another Spellbinder lookalike Silhouette design, cut in half. I have the actual die, but used these instead - one of the Fancy Tags, either Fancy Tags Two or Three.

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Black suede paper punched with Martha Stewart punches, another Silhouette design, Just Rite sentiment, Basic Grey paper from an older 6 x 6 paper pad.

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Just Rite image, colored with Copics. Yep, more Silhouette stuff.

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This one is mostly patterned paper. I added the scaredy cat (Silhouette), the bat and the bit at the bottom - the pretty clouds, moon, etc. are all printed on the paper. I have no idea from whence it came or who makes it.

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The witch is a dollar stamp from the big M from several years ago, layered onto an actual Spellbinders label die. Same punches and paper as the other card above.

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Nothing new and different here, but I do like this one a lot.

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Inside. The Silhouette shape cut in half again. Same sentiment.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings….it is late and I should know better than to try to write anything of value at this time of night, but I wanted to get this posted before Halloween was over!

Happy Haunting everyone!

10/20/11

A Hot Mess

Autumn seems to have arrived here in NC, at least temperature-wise. The leaves are slowly changing and since we had a fairly dry summer there may not be as much brilliant color this year. I do hope I’m wrong about that, the colorful trees are one of my favorite things about Autumn and one of the reasons we chose this area. This is what the trees in the backyard look like this afternoon. It was cloudy, windy, and quite cool out today.

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It’s pitiful. There’s one reddish leaf and way too much green.

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See that sad little red leaf?

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Enough leaf looking… on to the hot mess that is my craft room. I realized yesterday that Halloween was quickly approaching and I had yet to make the first card. So, I cranked up my Silhouette and got to work. I cut out some haunted houses, bats, scaredy cats, trees, and lots of frames and labels. And here they lie.

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Stamps everywhere… and a sewing machine in the midst of it all. Looking at the photos it doesn’t look all that messy but, trust me, it is. I tossed a bunch of the cut out pieces into that plastic bin behind the stamps in an attempt to straighten up a bit. It didn’t help much.

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This happens every year around the holidays because I keep my holiday stamps separate from the rest of my stamps and have to drag them out en masse in order to get holiday cards created. Hence they are spread all over creation, and that makes a slightly OCD person such as myself a little nuts.

I have to say that I am loving the Silhouette. With a good sharp blade and the right setting it cuts through paper like buttah. See that scrolly tree in the bottom right corner of the photo above? Yep - cut with my trusty Silhouette. It has some very fine detail and it cut it perfectly. Some designs cannot be made too small or it won’t cut them well, but the ones I have chosen so far have come out fine. Some of the labels in the first photo are exactly like Spellbinders Fancy Labels Two and I found the cut file - free! - online. They can be resized to any size needed and I can cut as many as 6 or seven at a time depending on the size of the label. That’s what I’m talking about! Mass production, baby!

An ever-so-slightly less chaotic mess even over here…

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A drawer of Halloween papers sitting atop one of my many paper trimmers, scraps of paper  here and there….. arrrgghhhhh! It has to stop. This is what I will be working on this weekend. I will be at Stamper’s Alley working tomorrow, but on Saturday I will attack this mess with gusto and maybe have some cards to show you next week. Oh, I did have a little helper…. but he spent most of his time sleeping on the job. It’s hard to get good help these days. Maybe I need to get better cat treats.

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That is Mr. Michael, taking a little cat nap. I disturbed him a bit with the Silhouette - that thing sounds like a cat caught in a lawnmower! - but he persevered and once the noise was over, he rolled over and went back to sleep.

Since Halloween is right around the corner and I was in a picture taking mood today, here’s a little treat for you. (If you are squeamish you might not want to look - you’ve been warned).

I noticed this guy on the table on our back porch. Isn’t he adorable?

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Thank goodness for a zoom lens is all I gotta say. These things creep me out big time. He’s lucky I didn’t squash him after I took his picture. Here’s a little close-up…what are those things on his head? Eyes? Eewww. Yep, he’s lucky I let him live. He may not get a second chance.

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Happy Halloween!

10/19/11

Adorable Owls

Recently I was in need of a couple of small gift boxes to hold a couple of pairs of earrings I had made for friends’ birthdays (yep, forgot to photograph the earrings). I have some of the silk pouch thingies and those work fine, but they were kind of big for such a small gift. Then I remembered seeing these adorable things:

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I found them on this blog. They are made using the Sizzix Pillow Box die and some punches. I have the die, and we all know I have some punches! So, I came up with these little guys:

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Aren’t they just too cute? They are much easier to make then they seem. I use a 3/4” punch for the circles, applied a bit of glue to the top half and glued them down. The wings are made using an oval punch and the beak is a long, skinny heart punch. The feet are actually flowers. The Sizzix die is hard to fold so the top and bottom are a wee bit crinkled (hers look a lot better!), but next time I will use my Silhouette to cut the pillow boxes. It puts perforations where the box folds and it is so much easier to assemble.

Here are the only punches I used for these:

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The one on the top left is 1-1/4” EK Success punch and the oval is a Stampin’ Up punch, but I also have some oval Nestabilities that would work just fine. The smaller round punch is also by EK and it is 3/4”. The heart is from eMaginations, a company that’s no longer in business, but it wouldn’t be hard to cut a beak without using a punch. I’m just lazy that way.

Thanks for stopping by!