Sunday, April 5, 2009


welcome to another CAARDVARKS challenge! this time we're a conjuring up a FANTASY theme: princesses, spacemen, knights in shining armor, vampires, monsters, aliens, faeries or fairy tales...wherever your own fancy takes you! just make a new card & head to the caardvarks blog to link it up by midnight, april 18th. while you're there, why not drool over the brand new design team's MAGNIFICENT creations...check out the FAB prize from two spotted dogs...and maybe even hop around to see other readers' cards?! (i can assure you, the latter is a trip worth making every single time!)

oh and did i mention we've got a new feature? it's called CAARDS and MORE! last month laura davis made an this amazing fry box, and this month pamela smerker has a gorgeous art piece...and i have...waittttttttttt forrrrrrr ittttttttttt...a PRINCESS GIFT SET!!!

afterall, it is a FANTASY theme! and you know, when a gal turns *five*...that's half a decade, can't just hand her any old present in any old wrapping! so i thought that this year niece madeline really needed something extra-special, extra-cool, and extra-princessy!

to go with the special project feature i'll be giving more than usually detailed instructions (which in my case means...ummmmm...some!) and there are even closeup photos below to go with them! (you can blame nathalia for that!) since there was so much to tell, i decided to break it into two posts, with the gift bag today, and the card & wand tomorrow. to speed up the narrative flow, i've put a complete list of products at the end of the post. so let's get started:

the crucial bit is the name panel. five-year-old girls *like* to see their names spelled out in sparkly pink letters. well, heck, don't we all??! i traced--and slightly shortened--a page from maya road acrylic album onto some pink patterned paper to get that nice artisan label shape. i cut out, outlined & inked it, then glued it to a piece of sparkly silver cardstock and cut out again about an eighth inch around the whole thing.

the tiara is made from fancy pants chipboard flourishes. i painted them with metallic silver craft paint, then a couple of coats of metallic pearl white & finally clear glitter nail polish. all of this was done in an evening while watching tv & i let the whole thing dry overnight.

i adhered the rhinestone heart sticker and its attendant chip pieces to a scrap of pink paper for stability & cut out around the whole thing. i decorated all the swirls with rhinestones in graduated sizes and finally added a little detailing with a silver gel pen before popping the whole thing onto foam tape & affixing it to the panel. "princess" is a rusty pickle rub-on sentiment; the pink stickyback acrylic letters which spell "maddie" came from joann fabrics in the early 14th century. the panel is attached to the bag using more foam tape. yes, i attached it BEFORE i decorated the bag. i know there are people who can compose a balanced piece inside their head and have it come out right. i'm not one of them!!!

i used my hot glue gun to affix white "maribou" trim around the entire top of the bag, followed by a swag of sparkly white rosette trim and then sparkly white plastic "fuzzy" trim. (this is also glued around the edge of the wand, where it can be better seen in the pics; irl it's much more noticeable on the bag!)

next i used a bow-making frame & floral wire to make a 5" compound bow from white and silver wired ribbons and pink tulle. i made a center decoration for the bow out of some large pink-printed primas, a flower bead, a faux pearl, a pink silk rose, and a white butterfly decoration from last xmas. i hot-glued them to the center of the bow which i attached to the handle on the left side.

at this point i *thought* i might be done, but a little break from the project revealed that the whole thing looked seriously, SERIOUSLY top heavy. (i told you--i CANNOT compose anything balanced in my head!) after another little break... (i generally work in spurts like this, between bits of "real life") ...i decided that some swirls of wired beads would "ground" the top part and help it work better with the panel. i randomly strung various sizes of faux pearls and some little silver flower beads onto jewelry wire, anchored the ends, and made little swirls which i held up against the bag until i was happy. when i liked how it looked i wired one end to the handle and used more hot glue to tack it in a few places for stability.

finally i embellished with additional rhinestone-centered layers of prima flowers, and made some little dangles of a thin metallic silver wired ribbon to hang down on either side and further "anchor" the top of the bag to the rest of the project.

et voila!!!

(materials list for gift bag: "maribou" trim, pink tulle, assorted ribbons & trims, silk roses, butterfly, "pearl" beads, rhinestones, feathers: michaels; heart patterned paper: sei; silver glitter paper: dcwv; paper flowers: prima; chipboard flourishes: fancy pants big boards; "princess" rub-on: rusty pickle; pink acrylic letters: joann essentials; heart pins: boxer scrapbook; adhesives: 3m foam tape, uhu gluestick, tombow mono adhesive runner, judikins diamond glaze, low temp hot glue gun; ink: colorbox fluid chalk; silver gel pen; sakura; black pen: zig writer; metallic acryllic paints: folk art; other: misc jewelry wire & beads; glitter nail polish from the $ store.)

a quick note about the HUGE list above: 99% of these products are older things i had in my stash. i mention this for two reasons. #1: b/c a lot of them may now be unavailable... (like those sparkly pink plastic letters from joann's!) and#2: b/c to go out and buy all this stuff would cost a PRETTY PENNY; far more than i'd personally be comfortable spending on ONE project!

on the other hand, i really, REALLY, really, don't think you NEED to have the same stuff to achieve a similar effect; you could use ruffled ribbon or pleated fabric instead of maribou trim; you could stamp or print a clipart a tiara instead of painting chipboard pieces; a pre-made bow & one of those curly ribbon cascades would make an equally nice adornment to the handles. i guarantee if you are crafty enough to have read this far, you've got SOMETHING you could use that would wind up looking *fabulous*! why not raid your stash and see what you can come up with?!

feel free to ask questions via comments or email and i will do my best to answer!

tomorrow: the card and the wand!!!


  1. Wowsers@!!!! This is the prettiest bag I've ever seen! Gorgeous!!! Your niece is so lucky! Can't wait to do this challenge

  2. You are magic ... pure magic ... I don't think I ever would have looked at those chipboard pieces and envisioned a tiara ... and clear sparkled nail polish?? ... why didn't I ever think of that. Miss Maddie is going to love this. Can't wait to see how you made the wand because I am going to meed to make one of those for my princess niece Mimi.

  3. Holy macaroni!! What can you possibly be putting in that bag that won't pale in comparison to the packaging! This is awesome Lauren, truly awesome!

    (-: Heidi

  4. Lauren, just thought you might want to know that I'm turning 5 next week and you're definitely invited to my birthday party! ;)

    OMG though this is a sheer, outrageously gorgeous, abundant and perfect representation of every little girl's princess fantasy! Can't wait to see the wand tomorrow...and yes, I love all the close-ups. :)

  5. eeekkk darling!!
    i love it!!

  6. What was the term I used? Oh yeah, PINKALICIOUS!! ♥ I am completely astounded by the sheer amount of fluffy and sparkly items you so artfully used to create such a wonderful project. This goes down in my "Lauren favorites" collection (which is growing by the minute!)

  7. I bow to you, Queen of Creating All Things Princess-y. Fortunately for me my lumbar issues are not as tricky and troublesome as yours :)

  8. Speechless.... these are soooo fab they are beyond belief. I can only image that Princess Maddie will be in awe. Love the posts and the pixs and everything 'bout them. Quite a tutorial and a part two as well. I feel very spoiled!

  9. (swoon) Seriously beautiful, I can think of big girls who would love such a delightfully girly bag. I love it.

  10. what a great project! so much detail, i'm sure your family totally appreciates the time you put into these things! beautiful!!

  11. Oh my how I am enjoying your cute funny blog! Love the monster gift wrap anD the funny doggies! This set is stunning, love the girlyness of it all!


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