Wednesday, December 31, 2014

sometimes procrastination is a GOOD thing!

i mentioned last week that jeff had the chance to use up a few extra vacation days right before christmas, and that he was excited about last-minute opportunities to spend a day in bethlehem at christkindlmarkt and later for us to take an overnight near his parents' house so we could visit longwood gardens. we also unexpectedly go the chance to play host to some cousins from out of state who were in town for "a limited engagement" during christmas week. all of these events were wonderful, but there's only so much time in a day, so the thing that got pushed to the back-burner was december daily. i was still taking photos and composing pages, but photographing and posting just didn't happen. and i'm *fine* with that. afterall, there's no statute of limitations in papercrafting, darlings! my book is finished now, though, and i have a mega-wrap-up post for you, so let's get started:

dd19: oh rats
all december i'd been periodically checking the listings on the logo channel to see when they'd be showing their annual "battle of the nutcrackers" in which a different version of the ballet airs each night. and it was NEVER listed. the friday before xmas i discovered why... because it's not on logo, it's on ovation! so here's a page that's cute AND an excellent reminder to be careful about asking a question to which you THINK you know the answer.

dd20: (photo-less) christmas with the bergolds
apparently it's going to be a yearly tradition that there will be one BIG december event at which i utterly fail to take any photos at all. last year it was brunch with my family. this year it was christmas dinner with jeff's family, which took place on the saturday before the big day. somehow i came away with only one quick iphone snap of the badly backlit mini tree in my MIL's living room that i took when we first arrived. once there were cool photogenic PEOPLE onsite, it seems i forgot all about photos.

so i played around with filters and levels, printed the best version of the one pic i had, did some handlettering on top and journaling underneath on an attached oversized card. it's not the page i envisaged, but again it illustrates a nice point: during the holidays, it's more important than ever to just ROLL WITH IT. yeah, i can do that.  

dd21: longwood christmas
conversely, from our day at longwood gardens, i have waaaaaaaaaay more photos that i could possibly ever use. so i didn't even try. i chose one shot i liked, printed it at 5x7, attached the fold-out map and part of our e-tickets, added a couple of dimensional sparkly velvet flowers on top, and called it done. 

dd22: gangsta wrap
i love wrapping presents. i may have mentioned this about elebenty gazzillion times over the last few years. i like to take pics of gifts i think look especially nice... but they don't need many words, really, so a page covered with one of the textured papers i used, trimmed out with ribbon and featuring a nice big photo and a few thickers works for me. job done.

dd23: two trees
here's the only page in the whole album that i might actually go back and add to, or at least tinker with. once again this year we have two full-sized, freshly cut, seriously sparkly, uber-decorated christmas trees. and they are both kinda... well, MAGNIFICENT, actually... if i do say so myself, which apparently, i do! :) i took a pretty good full-sized shot of each and then made a pocket on the back of the page to hold a close-up detail pic of each tree. the back of both little cards holds typed journaling telling the type of tree, what kind of lights and garland i used, and other details i know i'll want to remember next year. i definitely like what's here, but i wouldn't rule out the addition of a few more decor pictures, on a different/extra page.

dd24: handmade holiday
i'm pretty sure this journal has more pocket pages than any project i've ever done, and here's another! it holds mini-snaps of the handmade gifts i gave this year: shadow boxes for my aunt and uncle, a funky ruffly rainbow purse for our new niece-by-marriage's little girl, and wooly caps for all the american girl dolls.

dd25: the yule log
this is probably only funny/interesting if you are me, or possibly if you are my sister. which admittedly, you might not be! but amie and i have both long been obsessed with the televised burning yule log that gets aired on smaller cable tv stations on christmas morning. which it turns out looks REALLY cool on the biiiiiiiiig giant tv that now (still rather surprisingly to me) resides in our living room. so of course i had to take and text a photo of it to my sis first thing that morning, and many, "i hope you have a dvd of fire extinguishers standing by" jokes ensued. again, you probably need to be us to find this even remotely significant but to me it seemed a fitting image to conclude this year's december daily festivities!

december daily 2014: the big sprawl
no journaling project of mine could be considered complete without the sprawly picture of the finished book, so here's this year's version. below, a more restrained photo of the same thing:

and this really does conclude december daily 2014... just in time to conclude december 2014!

happy new year's eve, darlings!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

SOS182: thrice as nice!

this week we're rolling out the last challenge of 2014 at shopping our stash, and in the true spirit of stash-busting we'd like to see projects which feature at least three different patterned papers. combining patterns is one of my favorite things, in fact my current record is 47! i'm not even close to that on today's card, in fact, i've only got four, but that's one more than i need for "thrice is nice"!

patterned paper: recollections, crate paper, basic grey; journal cards (2 combined to make an extra long panel): october afternoon; flower stack: october afternoon diecuts, prima and heidi swapp florals, doodlebug brad; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i built my card around a pair of uber-cuuuuute vintage-style journal cards ("it's a party" and the sweet kiddos peering round the door)  that i glued together to make one extra-long sentiment panel. then i grabbed a mat of yellow and orangey tiles, another mat of yellow checks (it looks solid, b/c there isn't much showing) a nice big background panel of pink polkas, and a little flag-strip with strawberries on. since there was quite a bit going on already, i kept the embellishments pretty minimal, just a flower stack held on with a cupcake brad, to reinforce the birthday party idea.

i used the current retro sketch (#146)-- admittedly in quite a loose way-- to guide the placement of my elements:

need a little more inspiration in combining patterns? head on over to SOS where the whole team has created awesomeness for your enjoyment. ciao, darlings! ♥

Thursday, December 25, 2014

merry christmas!

whether or not you are celebrating today, i hope you are having a wonderful, calm, happy day... and maybe even have a few treats to look forward to! in case your preferences run to eye candy, here are a few photos from our trip to longwood gardens on sunday:

longwood gardens, in kennett square, pennsylvania, close to the delaware state line, is glorious in EVERY season, but secretly, christmas time might be my favorite, as you can see, they go ALL OUT in terms of decor!

most of these pics were taken with my iphone; jeff shot using our "real" digital camera, and we made a little flickr album of those to share with members of the family who couldn't come with us that day.

if you go to longwood, it's a really good idea to pre-book tickets online because they get quite a few bus tours in addition to individuals and families, so it's possible a drop-in visitor could be turned away if they are full. (this has never happened to anyone we know, but especially at xmas we do tend to book ahead.)

in addition to bringing your camera and some comfy shoes, you'll want to save a bit of time and a few extra calories to have a cup of longwood's justifiably famous, uber-rich, creamy mushroom soup in the cafe. there is also a more formal restaurant on site, but we like the quickness of the cafeteria-style one, and the menus (including availability of beer and wine for the over-21 crowd) are similar in both places.

all of the indoor and outdoor facilities at longwood-- including the enormous 20-room conservatory which houses most of the christmas display during the holiday season-- are wheelchair-friendly and very accessible. there are wheelchairs and motorized scooters available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis. we've gotten a scooter for my mother-in-law several times, and it makes it possible for her to enjoy the very same experience as the rest of the family.

we've been to longwood... gosh, i'm not even sure how many times! it's quite near jeff's parents' house, so it's a semi-regular stop for our family. but no matter how many times we visit, the experience is always different, and always wonderful! ♥

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

it's beginning to look a lot... christmas panic, lol! ok, panic is too strong a word, but there's always a point in the proceedings when i realize that i can either do all the things i need to do OR talk about them, and that's where i am right now. i have lots more december daily pages to show, loads of decor pics, and photos from our last-minute overnight trip this weekend which included a long and photo-heavy stop at the magnificent longwood gardens. i'll be sharing all of those, in dribs and drabs over the weekend, when things calm down! meanwhile, here are some fun giftbags, sitting under our vintage-ornament-bedecked tree, which i love beyond reason:

i used the current sketch at stuck on u sketches for my basic layout, though admittedly i have been pretty loosey-goosey with the proportions of the various elements:

since i usually need to make a bunch of kid-style gift bags at christmas, i almost always go for a hybrid design. i make the basic collage in photoshop using digital elements, print it out, and embellish with real-life lumpy-bumpy details. here's a closeup of riley's bag so you can see the collage properly: 

digi kit: an icy christmas by amber shaw and studio flergs, from sweet shoppe designs; plus a few other digi papers of unknown origin, possibly from katie pertiet of designer digitals; over the rainbow glitter style by studio flergs; colorful real-life paper scraps including october afternoon, echo park, we r memory keepers, studio calico, pebbles and lots more; florals: prima; felt snowflakes, red velvet wired ribbon, plain 10x13 kraft gift bags and gems: michaels; silver star brads, gem brads and xmas badges: oriental trading; ink: colorbox, vintage trimmings from my stash

ok, so which bits are which? the dark green mat at the very back, the red flower and white snowflake, the scatter of red rhinestones, the wonky layered trees, the red and white braided vintage trim and the machine stitching are real life elements... everything else is digi, bumped up with varying degrees of drop-shadow. i always go strongest on the name so it realllllly shows up... because let's face it, we all LOVE to see our names in big sparkly letters on a fancy present, right?

my favorite part of these miiiiiight be the gloriously wonky trees. the ones below are from lindsay's bag. there were a number of styles included in the digi kit i used, "an icy christmas" by amber shaw and studio flergs from sweet shoppe designs, and that's what i used in my digital composition, to get all the sizes and shapes lined up. then, before i printed out the collage, i deleted the digital versions of the trees, so that i could replace them with real-life versions, which i made by hand-cutting lots of colorful paper scraps into triangles, and stacking them in various combinations. this was definitely a fun and super-easy thing to do and i can imagine making a collaborative project in which a grown-up makes and prints the digi collage and some kiddos make the trees and attach the other embellies! 

i hope that your holiday preparations are going well and that you are taking time to enjoy christmas eve and look forward to the big day tomorrow! ♥♥♥

Friday, December 19, 2014

gingerbread and bratwurst? (oh ja!)

we are officially into christmas vacation now, and the normally home-loving jeff has become a fireball of holiday activity, so i'm not sure how many more of my december daily pages are going to be made and posted before the big day. but that's ok; because there's NO statue of limitations on papercrafting! today, however, he's immersed in a marathon of marketing and cooking so i'm sneaking in a couple more while i can:

dd17: christmas lights and gingerbread

we live pretty close to an open-air shopping mall in bucks county, pennsylvania, called peddler's village which hosts a number of yearly events, our favorite being the annual gingerbread house competition. we usually meet up with our friends kim and dave during the holiday season, have a nice dinner together, and then go check out the amazing gingerbread creations, enjoy the display of holiday lights, and maybe do a little shopping. this year all of that happened on wednesday night and was absolutely awesome, as usual. for my page i printed a small instagrammed pic of one of my favorite g-bread houses and turned it into flip-card to hold my journaling. then i mounted it on a full page (5x7) print of faux-bokeh holiday lights that i made by putting a pretty strong dose of pse9's "palette knife" filter onto an ordinary photo i took that evening. i had to play around with saturation and light levels a bit, and of course it's a total cheat, but i'm FINE with that, lol!

on thursday we drove up to bethlehem, pennsylvania, to visit the annual holiday event they call "christkindlmarkt" which is kind of half high-end craft fair and half holiday party. jeff and my mom are both big fans of this yearly treat (well heck, so am i!) and have been known to wax lyrical about the amazingly creative artisans who display their work, the live music provided by a variety of local groups and the awesome decorations, all set against the unique backdrop of the historic steel stacks, but don't be fooled, because i'll tell you right now, in reality, the two of them are all about the bratwurst, which is admittedly wonderful, and served in the bavarian-themed food court! :) :) :)

dd18: christkindlmarkt see-through pocket page

i'm a big fan of including "real life stuff" in any journal project, and i tend to collect paper ephemera wherever i go. at christkindlmarkt i bagged a few brochures, a vendor's map of the artisan booths, a menu, and a postcard of the steel stacks at night which was handed over to me in the very cool clear plastic bag from the artsquest visitor's center. i was especially psyched about the latter, because it allowed me to neatly include all of the above AND a few photos i took on the day. score!

well i guess that's it for today, except to wish you a fabulous friday, darlings! ♥♥♥

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

makin' a list (or several)

two things in life that should *ALWAYS* have pockets, in my opinion, are casual trousers and minibooks! because let's face it, we all carry around a bunch of stuff, and we need our hands free to fiddle with our phones! :) 

dd16: "makin' a list" pocket page
this is pretty straightforward: to make a nice deep pocket that would fit in my 5x7" book i took a 9x7" piece of double-sided patterned paper (this one happens to be from basic grey's aspen frost collection) scored it at the 4" mark, and machine stitched along the two sides. i went with old school BG alphas for the title (b/c they are STILL my all-time favorites!) and added on a poinsettia i had doodled and cut out for another project, but never used. then i stuffed the pocket full of my current lists of things to do and buy and send and finish:

most of these will get chucked out as i complete the tasks, but one that will remain after the xmas season is the "master" list of presents given; because i know from experience that next december jeff and i will want to buy exactly the same gift for one person, and make sure we don't replicate something else, and the only way we'll know for sure is if i've made a detailed list with brand- and store-names for specialty items and the amounts of giftcards and donations.

another awesome use i've found for last year's december daily book is to figure out the logistics of various decorations. the most recent example is the garland that goes on our staircase. i like to change the "toppings" on it each year, but being able to look at a photo and see exactly which bannister posts from which it needs to hang in order to look centered* definitely speeds up the process and lets us skip the super-fun part where we take turns holding up the laden boughs single-handed. definitely a "labor-saving" device! :)

*you would THINK to make garland look centered you'd hang it on the CENTER post, right? nuh-uh. because of the angle of our particular stairs, hanging it in the center makes it look wrong. turns out, to make it look centered we have to hang it one post closer to the bottom of the stairs. tricky, eh? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

*RED* alert!

ok, no, there isn't an emergency, unless you count the fact that christmas is only NINE DAYS AWAY!!! which is obviously not something that any of us around here are panicking about, no sirree bob. :) no, in this case, "red alert" is actually the title of this week's challenge at shopping our stash. or rather --in honor of the fact that we are approaching the big day-- this fortnight's challenge; and you'll no doubt have sussed that the brief is to make a project that features red fairly prominently. it doesn't have to be a holiday project; it doesn't even have to be ALL red; let's just say, we shouldn't have to look for the red. does that make sense? awesome. here's mine. i'm sure you'll be shocked to discover... it's another december daily page!!! :)

bells cut from a vintage songbook; patterned paper: pebbles; transparency: teresa collins; journal card + diecuts on lower page: crate paper; florals: prima; brads: mme; tape: october afternoon, love my tapes, martha stewart; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape

something else that might not be surprising at this point, either: it's another double page... a solid base, over which the title and some journaling is "floated" using a transparency. i'm not sure why i'm making so many of these at the moment, but it works for me, so i'm just goin' with it, lol!

as you can see, i've got this year's xmas playlist on the bottom page, with a little collage of new + vintage items riding on the clear top sheet. something i was pretty excited to see on ali edwards' blog last week was a post where she talked about not worrying too much about which day things fell on; she has a certain amount of stories she wants to tell this month and when she can place things on the "correct" date that's awesome, but when there are multiple events for one day, she's happy to spread them out. i would go further and say if you have a little extra time over a weekend (like i did on sunday) why not crack on with some "dateless" topics (like a holiday playlist, or a little feature on xmas collections, or a pocket page to collect all your lists) and then spread them out into the following week, mixed with actual "events"? because let's face it, as much fun as this december daily lark is, doing a page per day can be daunting. wilna furstenburg had another idea for approaching this project that i absolutely ♥LOVE♥: she sets up a foundation for just 12 days... and then chooses which ones to document as the month unfolds! how brilliant is that?!

speaking of brilliant: why not head over to SOS and see what gorgeous inspirations the other DT darlings have made to spur you on for the next two weeks? ciao, darlings! ♥

Monday, December 15, 2014

all is calm, all is bright

hello and welcome to the strangest and most random page i've made for december daily so far. it actually doesn't have much to do with christmas, but it would never have happened if i wasn't doing this project:

ok, yeah, so i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren, have you gone nuts?!" well, possibly, yes... luckily with me, that sort of thing is hard to tell, lol! :) but lemme essplain: on one of the elebenty nights i was outside around dusk trying to get a nice photo of the outdoor lights, there was a full moon in a sort of hazy blue sky, hovering between the bare branches of our neighbors' trees. and it looked REALLY cool, so i took some pics, which came out pretty well, considering i was just shooting up into the sky using my iphone. at the time, this fact was actually slightly galling to me, because the shot i was absolutely failing to get was the one i wanted, of the xmas lights. but that's the way it goes, right? anyway, at some point i added a few p-shop filters and printed my favorite shot on an inkjet transparency, intending to use it on a journal page in january or so. but every time i saw it on my desk, i just wanted to make something NOW. so, eventually i gave in, layered it over some creamy/white glitter paper, machine stitched on top* and decided to call it a december daily page. is it crazy to make something random and pointless when there's already waaaaaaaaay too much to do? possibly. but i can tell you that the most relaxed and focused i have felt in at least a week was the 20 minutes or so i sat at the sewing machine, stitching over the handwritten words; and looking at the finished page makes me smile. so there ya go. that's the kind of crazy i'll take, anyday, darlings! ♥

*exactly how i made the page: i printed the moon photo in reverse (aka "iron on mode") on the pebbly side of an inkjet transparency sheet. i layered it over some old doodlebug sparkly glitter paper. i wrote "calm" and "bright" on the shiny side of the transparency using the AWESOME new fine point white sharpie paint pen and let it dry. i applied the dymo labels in the correct position, and tacked the whole sheet to the glitter paper using some 1/8" score tape. then i took the whole thing over to the sewing machine (loaded with white upholstery thread and set on 12 stitches per inch) and sewed over the thin white line of my handwriting. i did a few layers, until the curves were nice and smooth and the stitching really showed up. then i inked around the whole thing with waterproof black ink, punched a hole for the bookring, and called it DONE.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

more december daily: 11, 12, 13

are you ready for some more december daily pages? ok, well, possibly not... but that's what i have today, so here they are, lol:

doilies, vintage music paper and lace from my stash; patterned papers: graphic 45, kaiser craft; glitter paper: best creations; journal card: october afternoon; florals: petaloo; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

dd11: JOY
a page assembled out of the leftovers from the three vintage-style xmas cards that made up my very first teaching experience, at paper anthology, which was completely awesome! :) (i've just finished the prototypes for my jan/feb class, which involve watercolor paint and machine stitching; i will tell you more later this month!)

dd12: i (miss) ny
here's a page i love about a subject that's bumming me out: this is the first year in... i don't even know how long... in which my mom and i aren't doing our gala nyc windows tour* because i've been having an issue with my foot** that makes prolonged walking or standing a bit of a no-no at the moment. to sum it up in a visual way, i've layered a snowflake transparency holding my title over a 5x7 photo i took a couple of years ago of the baccarat crystal unicef star that hangs above 5th avenue at 57th street, and added just a tiny bit of typed journaling on the lower layer. easy, peasy.

my nyc pic printed on hp 5x7 photo paper; snowflake transparency: creative imaginations; patterned paper: mme; thickers: american crafts; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, sewing machine

my photo of the gorgeous vintage mailboxes at the kenvil, nj, post office printed on hp 5x7 glossy paper; deer, elves and holly cut from various falling-apart vintage xmas books; vintage trading stamps; diecuts: october afternoon, studio calico, pebbles, mme; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape

dd13: goin' postal
so it turns out, i've been doing my holiday mailing WRONG all these years! see, i've always gotten all my cards and packages ready to go, and made one biiiiiiiiiiiiiig trip to the PO. that's the most efficient way, right? well.... maybe not... somehow this year i've wound up making 4 or 5 "little" trips with a portion of cards and/or gifts each time. and here's the thing that shocks me: I LIKE THIS WAY BETTER! it's less daunting, somehow; and i've avoided seeing that panic-stricken-reindeer look in the eyes of the various postal employees i've encountered! big win, darlings! :)  

*a couple of years ago, i wrote quite a long post detailing my favorite stops on our gala ny xmas decorations tour; that post is still right here for anyone who'd like to use it for a real-- or vicarious-- nyc holiday experience! 

**long story short: in september i mysteriously --and pretty suddenly-- developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot. i've had the cortisone injections, i do the stretching exercises, i wear a diabolical metal boot thing to bed every night and orthotics during the day, i've changed my gym routine, etc, etc, and though it's thankfully a bit less painful... it hasn't really gone away... in the range of health problems i realize this is very much on the "light" side, for which i am VERY grateful. but it's inconvenient and a bit disheartening. ah well, c'est la vie, non, chers?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

december daily: 8, 9, 10

this happens every time, so i'm not sure why it still surprises me: i have very little trouble keeping up with the pages of a daily project, it's the photos and posts that get me!!! luckily, there is no statute of limitations in papercrafting, so here's a lovely bonus round-up of december daily:

dd08: LIGHTS!
we actually had them up and running the sunday after thanksgiving, though we were tinkering with the little a-frame around the door for a bit (garland and a new kind of lights there this year); mostly, though, i had a hard time getting outside at the right time on a day that wasn't raining. i'm not in love with this photo, but it's infinitely better than all the others so i'm calling it DONE! :)

dd09: rudolph
i'll admit i built this whole page around the fact that last year my cousin ann sent me this awesome xmas card, and wrote inside, "have a holly jolly christmas!" but as a matter of fact, on tuesday night at 8pm, when jeff was flicking around the channels, i said, "hey, can you check cbs, i want to see what night rudolph's on" and it was just starting right then. score! (yeah, i'm pitiful, but it's been that kind of week, ok? this WAS "the big win" lol!)

dd10: up on the housetop?
the yellow illustration part of this page is from an old ideals magazine; it was intended for one of the etsy december journals, but i accidentally cut it too small. so i put it in the pile to use in my own book. but the funny thing is: any other year, i would just see a pretty picture of a cosy little house in the winter. but... having had a new roof put on our own home less than a month ago... right now all i can see is a potentially damaging build-up of snow and ice, and wonder if the contractors used the correct type of sheathing for harsh weather, and was the flashing around that chimney installed properly? because perspective is EVERYTHING, darlings! :) :) :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

holiday coffee lovers' blog hop? yes, please!

my lovely friend amy tsuruta told me about her awesome holiday coffee lovers' blog hop, so of course i had to play along! you can, too, and i think you might like to, because there are prizes galore! all you have to do is make a new project which references coffee, (or your other favorite hot holiday beverage) link it up on amy's blog, and leave feedback for at least three of your fellow players. easy peasy, right?! now, in my opinion, NOBODY beats miss amy when it comes to rockin' the coffee-related cards, she is the queen of that genre; so i didn't even try to compete. but it just so happened that on the same day i heard about the hop, i received a christmassy catalog in the mail which had the cuuuuuuuuuuuutest holiday cocoa mugs in it, so of course my first thought was, "those would look great on a card!" for the record, i stand by that judgement.

photo of mugs from a catalog, backed w/cardstock and fussy-cut; patterned paper: studio calico, oct afternoon, dcwv and basic grey; ribbon: making memories; doily die: cheery lynn designs; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, scotch gluestick, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

seeing as how i was already thinking about amy t and card-making, it occurred to me that i hadn't got to play in the last two challenges at fusion, and i was really missing that. imagine how psyched i was when i realized the colors and shapes of said cocoa mugs would let me play along pretty easily with the current challenge!

another optional facet of the blog hop is to add in a little blog candy or share a favorite beverage recipe. now i do looooooooooove me a fancy coffee drink, especially one that tastes like the kind you get at starbucks, but without a gazzillion calories. so i was pretty psyched when my sister found this recipe on the hungry girl website. my secret to making it even easier is that i always have cold coffee and coffee ice cubes on hand. does that sound fussy? well, it isn't, honestly! instead of tossing out the leftover coffee each morning i just pour it into a pitcher that lives in my fridge. then, maybe once a week, i make a tray of ice cubes* with any coffee that's left in the fridge, wash the pitcher, and start over. thus iced coffee is never more than a few minutes away!

here's my lazy-girl version of 

1/4 c. light soymilk 
1 tbsp. hershey's sugar free chocolate syrup
1 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
12-16 oz. cold coffee (or about 2/3 the size of your favorite travel mug)
coffee ice cubes

optional topping:
1/4 cup fat free whipped topping
1 1/2 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
maraschino cherry

place soymilk, cherry juice and syrup in the bottom of your favorite travel mug or large glass and stir until they are well-combined. add cold coffee and continue stirring, leaving a little room for ice cubes, and the topping if desired. enjoy at home or in the car! ps: there are a million variations on this idea, you can use any type of syrup paired with any flavor of soymilk or creamer you enjoy!

and now why not check out all the details on facebook or amy's blog and start planning your own bid for holiday coffee-loving world domination?

*it's the essential oils in coffee which give it the lovely fragrance and flavor, but they do leave a very faint residue on plastic kitchen items. thus i have one specific ice cube tray, and one specific pitcher, that i only use for coffee.

**i don't like very sweet drinks, at starbrucks i ask for HALF the amount of syrup in pretty much any beverage, so you might like to add a little more syrup than i do!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SOS180: favorite technique

i don't know about you, but when it comes to challenges, i'm excited to hear the word "favorite" in the title, because it means i get to do something i already love! don't get me wrong, i also enjoy challenges that make me stretch, but the occasional "gimme" is nice, isn't it? i mention all of this because it just so happens that this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "favorite technique" so you might want to come along and show us one of yours! be sure to mention what it is, as well, k? as you know, my favorite technique is collage, especially the kind that has layers of vintage paper and/or doilies. so you probably won't be surprised too shocked to see a layered doily tree on my card:

not to be obnoxious, but i really love how these trees look and they are soooooooooo easy to make! if you're interested in trying it out, i've actually made a little step-by-step tutorial, which, by a lucky coincidence, is located in the post directly below this one. :)

as for layout, you can never go wrong with a sketch from cardabilities, am i right? this is the current one, #112:

meanwhile my lovely SOS dt darlings have all made gorgeous projects featuring their favorite techniques, so why not hop over and check those out!

how to make collaged and layered doily trees

just in case you haven't seen the post right above this one, my card for the "favorite technique" challenge at shopping our stash features a fun little diecut christmas tree made by inking and layering doily scraps. these are super easy to make, but there are a few little tricks that i'd love to show you!

grab your stuff:
you'll need doilies or doily scraps, neutral paper to use as a base, a gluestick, scissors and ink. you'll also need a christmas tree die and mechanical diecut machine (such as cuttlebug) OR the ability to hand-draw and fussy cut a tree from the finished doily collage. if you're using a die (mine is sizzix christmas tree #2 which, for the record, might be my all-time favorite) it's a great idea to save the "frame" part from a previous cut... we'll be using this to help us build the prettiest layers!

start layering bits of doily
the best adhesive to use for this is gluestick (mine is the kind that goes on purple and dries clear, just so you can see it in the pics.) use a gentle dabbing motion rather than pulling the stick along, because those little lacy bits really want to tear. on the plus side, we are actually gluing this on in bits, so any torn parts will likely still be usable! :) if you're using one color of doily as i've done here, the cool collaged layers just will not show without a little ink on the edges, so you may want to apply some as you go. it will take about half of a 6" doily to fill in the space of my 4.5" tree, but i like LOTS of layers!

keep layering
to get a random "swagged" look like my tree, you need to offset the layers a bit. i like to place the first piece almost horizontal at the bottom of the tree, then lean the next piece towards the right, and the following one to the left. now you see why we wanted that frame from a previous diecut of the same tree... it's how we can see where the layers are going to fall and know when we've got enough on there. (you CAN add layers after the tree is cut, but hand-trimming the overhang is kind of a drag!)

diecut the tree
contrary to what this photo suggests, i like to place the doily side face down against the die, i think it gives a smoother cut. if dies tend to shift a bit in your machine, a tiny piece of scotch tape placed at the edge will hold your collaged paper securely in place.

ink the outer edges voila! you have one lovely little collaged doily tree to use on a card, tag, or holiday journal page! add flowers, pearls, bling or glitter to make your tree even more festive. for a funkier look, alternate layers of text paper or glitter paper with the doily layers, or machine stitch back and forth along the layers before diecutting. or... add your own amazing touches to make something uniquely yours!

Monday, December 8, 2014

dd07: (almost) postal

the big xmas-readiness news from sunday was that i finished the design of our mailing labels in photoshop, then list-merged names and printed them out using printshop.* then i wrote out and signed all the ones that get mailed on their own; i still have to do the ones that will be sent with gifts. for that matter, i mostly have to BUY the gifts, but that's another story. to sum up: my dd06 page is the embellished postcard-sized label:

mailing label created digitally in photoshop using elements and brushes from "an icy christmas" by amber shaw and studio flergs and the "hello winter" kit by llilea designs plus damask tonal papers by katie pertiet; vogue and tabith fonts; printed on avery full-sheet labels via broderbund's printshop; real-life products: core'dinations cardstock, love my tapes washi, studio b cardinal sticker, otc snowflake brad, queen and co mini brads, stickopotamus metallic snowflake stickers, hero arts snowflake gems, and ranger white glossy cardstock

the fun thing about using vintage paper, and only working on one side of the page, is that some of my pages have a completely unrelated image on the back, like this one:

in the past i've often wanted to cover up such "distractions" but this year i'm amused by the random juxtaposition of images-- in this case a green tinted naval officer with my fancy label-- so i've just been leaving them as is. it just adds another layer of interesting, really; and there's nothing wrong with that! :)

*whereas i now do all my digital design in photoshop (because it's all about the LAYERS, baby!) when it comes to printing, i jump back to my trusty broderbund printshop; a very old graphics program that i still use because it still works. an ancient version of the same program was actually the very first piece of software i learned... on a secondhand apple ii which came from my b-i-l c.1988 or so! :) i love that it has basic templates for pretty much anything i might want to design and print (mailing labels, calendar pages, letterhead, business cards etc) so that i don't have to think about basic things like size and shape but i can import whatever graphics i'd like to use and arrange them, add text, list merge with my address book, etc etc. i'm all for learning new things but when the old things work i'm happy to stick with 'em.