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2011 Christmas Planner

Every year around this time I think about participating in one of the many Christmas scrapbooking "events" that go on all over the internet.  But I find the idea of scrapping a page every day of December really overwhelming, to be honest.  I already have four million things to do and although scrapping is a great stress reliever it sort of stops being fun if it's just one more thing to add to your to-do list.

So this year I came up with an all-in-one mini album that combines a planner AND a place to put important memories and photos.  I like the idea that I can use the organizational section up until the big day and those lists will become a neat record of the past all on their own.  But I can also use the other sections after Christmas when I add highlight photos, reflections on the holidays, and even our family card.

I used the fabulous Echo Park Season's Greetings collection for this, with Cinch book boards and my Bind-It-All. 

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The 6” x 8” outer Cinch boards are covered in cardstock and embellished in a way to avoid getting punched in the binding. 

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All inner pages are cut to 5.75" x 7.75" and the organizational pages are all printed free from this site.

The planner is divided into three sections: planning, details, and memories.  The planning section includes a monthly calendar page, lists for card giving, to-do, and gifting, and a receipt pocket.  The details section has space for photos of some of the parts of the holidays that make it festive and your own like the baking you do, the crafts you make, and your family’s decorations.  The memories section rounds out the year with more photo mats, a spot for your family card, and places to journal about what happened this year. 

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You can read my full tutorial at A Cherry On Top if you want to know dimensions, full details, and see the rest of the pages.

And while you’re at it you should totally link up your “Holiday Madness” creations at Paper Issues!  There is already a staggering amount of awesomeness over there!!

Happy planning!

Chalkboard Gift Tags

Mmmm… chalkboard paint.  ::drool::

Yeah, you’re seeing it everywhere these days but I thought you would enjoy a SUPER easy and practical project that you’ll be able to use again and again.

Chalkboard gift tags:
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- paint generic cheap wood shapes from the craft store with black chalkboard paint (at least two coats)
- punch a hole near the edge of each shape (the Cropadile cuts them like buttah!)
- outline each shape in white pen
- add crystals, pearls, rub-ons, etc. to embellish
- thread with ribbon and tie
- sit back and admire how cute they are

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You can “condition” the tags by rubbing chalk over them.  The chalk rubs off with your fingers and cleans even better with a damp cloth.   You can use your chalkboard tags again and again and a set of these would make a great holiday gift.  Who doesn’t need tags?? 

Last Minute Thanksgiving Table Runner

If you’re like me you start out with grand intentions for a million holiday projects and end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed. As much as I keep thinking I just need to start planning for these busy days in June, well, that’s just not going to happen! So here was my solution for an unbelievably quick and pretty Thanksgiving table runner using May Arts ribbons. Simply change the colors to fit the holiday you need it for.

Supplies
- a piece of burlap about 22” wide and slightly shorter than the length of your table
- hot glue and gun
- 2.5 yds. 372-15-32
- 2.5 yds. 372-15-33
- 2.5 yds. QN76
- 2.5 yds. EH28

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- Begin by cutting your burlap down to about 22 inches wide. To cut a straight line with burlap simple snip where you want to cut and carefully pull out an entire strand of the fibers. That will create a gap in the burlap that is completely straight. Cut along the gap line. Make the burlap just slightly shorter than your table length.

- Fold the edges of the long sides over about an inch and use a sewing machine to sew a clean hem. If you do not have a sewing machine I am sure your hot glue gun would work.

- Do not hem the short ends. Simply pull out several strands of fibers to create a nice fringe.

- Cut two lengths of about 40” of each ribbon.

- This next step can be done by hand but will go infinitely faster if you use a machine. Set your stitch length to the longest possible. Leave long thread trails and sew a straight line down the middle of each ribbon:

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- Take up the end of each ribbon, hold on to just the bottom strand and carefully begin to bunch the ribbon down the thread line creating a ruffle:

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- Continue until you have ruffled each ribbon to about half the length… just enough to fit the width of the burlap, plus a little extra:

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- Now the part where I cheated and made this project super simple!! Usually “the done thing” here is to sew a more permanent line down the center of the ruffle and then remove the basting stitch. But frankly, the entire point of this d├ęcor project was to fool people into THINKING it took me forever… not to have it actually take forever! So what did I do? I hot glued those ruffles right on there!

Make sure you put something under the burlap when you do this. I used a non-stick mat and any glue that leaked through the burlap just peeled right off.

Fold the edge of your ribbon over so you have a clean end and begin gluing. Work in small sections so the glue doesn’t get cold and you can make sure you are laying it the way you want it. When you get to the other end trim (if necessary) and fold the edge again.
- Continue gluing until you have one ruffle of each color on both ends of the table runner.

Annnnnndd…..DONE! I told you this was easy!

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Off to the Market

Despite seeing the Christmas stuff on store shelves and hearing holiday tunes on the radio we STILL have Thanksgiving to celebrate!  I love fall and have a hard time with how it gets shortened each year in favor of more commercialism… don’t rush my pumpkins and leaves!

So today I am showing you another fall project while I still can.  I used the Harvest Market line from Lily Bee for Right at Home Scrapbooking this month and I am in love with the versatile patterns and rich autumn colors. 

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I also used the Maya Road kraft doilies that I can’t get enough of , some twine from The Twinery, wood buttons, and a Pink Paislee Daily Junque number card. 

Happy harvesting!

Veterans Day and Operation Write Home

Happy Veterans Day to all our service men and women past and current! 

Today, in honor of all our folks in uniform May Arts (and many others) teamed up for a blog hop with Operation Write Home again, this time for thank  you cards.  We are sending thank yous to soldiers and thank yous for them to send to their loved ones. 

Please consider sending thank you cards or any other themed cards to Operation Write Home and make a soldier’s day!  In the mean time, check out the rest of the cards and the more of the hop at May Arts.

Here are mine, using Pink Paislee’s 365 Degrees and Hometown Summer lines:

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A Non-Traditional Advent Banner

It’s another banner!

Yes, I have been on banner overdrive lately.  But come ON… how can you not love this fun bag/envelope banner?  I used Pink Paislee’s awesome winter release, Snow Day, so I could use this countdown banner for Christmas, winter birthdays, and even Valentine’s Day. 

This year I will be using it as a non-traditional advent calendar leading up to Christmas.  My husband will get the even numbers and the little guy will get the odd numbers.  I plan on filling each little envelope and bag with things like scratch tickets, candy, and knick knacks (for the husband) and stickers, animal crackers, and toy cars (for the boy).  These bags have a pretty good amount of room so I can even get small books, socks (ooooh!), and a few larger things in there!

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I made all the bags and envelopes myself out of muslin and burlap.  There are six different styles.  I left most of the raw edges unfinished because I liked the rustic look and because, well, I didn’t want to send myself to the funny farm by trying to make burlap look perfect!

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I used my hot glue gun to attach all the paper to the fabric because I wanted it to be durable and burlap is tough, adhesive wise. 

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The brad closure envelopes are hung on the ribbon and closed with twine.

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There are two mini “paper” bags that I sewed to actually have gussets like lunch sacks!  They are folded over at the top and I used clothespins to fasten them to the ribbon. 

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On the right I folded the top of the pouch over and used three brads right through the burlap to fasten it over the ribbon.

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The hanging bags are slightly gusseted but wide and left open at the top.  I hung them from wide ribbon “handles”.

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The hanging sacks have round bottoms and gathered tops and are tied on with the ribbon in the gathered casing. 

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Lastly, the pointed envelopes are simply looped over the top of the ribbon and clothespinned. 

I love this banner. 

You know what else I love??  Paper Issues.  If you want to check out more amazing Snow Day inspiration, link up your own snow themed projects (by the 12th), and even throw your name in to win some fab Snow Day goodness head on over to Paper Issues ASAP!

Till next time!

Harvest Decor

Have I mentioned how much I love autumn yet??  Yes?  Oh.  Well now you have to “hear” it again because today’s post is just screaming fall goodness!  It just doesn’t get much better than a little boy in a pumpkin patch.

I am featuring this altered frame project at Right at Home Scrapbooking.  It features the Harvest Market line from Lily Bee, which is on my favorites list right now!  I adore the rich colors and versatile patterns.

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You'll notice that I completely removed the cardboard backing and the glass from this.  I decided it would be more fun and give me more options if I treated the center more like a shadow box. This way I get a lot more dimension and layers on there.

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Pretty much everything I make these days has a touch of burlap.  It's super inexpensive at your local fabric store and can be used for backgrounds, craft projects, or even like a "ribbon" like I did here.  I simply cut a strip and used my hot glue gun to form the bow.

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I tucked part of a kraft doily on left but adhered it to the top inside of the frame, rather than the bottom.  There's a little foam tape under there to help it pop out and layer on top of the photo.  The wood letters were misted orange. I love the look of wood grain on an autumn project!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Free Class Weekend at Miss Art’s!

Has Halloween left you covered in sweet wrappers, partially duct tapped to your child's abandoned costume with a bank account balance that's more trick than treat? If your feeling more hallow than happy let Miss Art's headmaster treat you to a fantastic, but time sensitive offer. For this weekend only, (November 4 - 6th) enjoy a tuition free class designed to renew your creativity, and go easy on your wallet. You can even snack on the candy "taxes" you've stolen from the kiddos while taking the class. Beginning on Friday, November 4th, you will have 3 days to check out one of our most popular classes for free, no subscription needed. In “Layered Layouts”, you will accompany our inspired resident architect, Julie Winks, as she explains the essential underpinnings of daringly designed layouts. We hope to see you in the class room and if you enjoy our class that you'll be kind enough to leave an apple or a comment for the teacher.

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Julie Winks for Miss Art’s Papercrafting School

Check out this great free class at Miss Art’s Papercrafting School, where it will be available starting on Friday morning!