Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cottage gardens and crafting dies

Last June I visited England's cottage gardens. It was like falling into a storybook! Those gardens and my own little patch of green inspired a collection of flower garden crafting dies from Spellbinders Paper Arts. They'll be in stores soon and today I can finally share a little peek at a few of the products and a project you can make yourself.

Like almost all my cut paper, these crafting dies are very intricately detailed. They let you turn a crank and produce something that took me a lot longer to cut!

There's going to be a wedding in the family and the planning is underway. We've begun with a Save the Date card but you could make one for a baby announcement or birthday card, or as a special frame. For a full tutorial you can go to the Spellbinders blog here.

This group of creative crafting dies is full of flowers and other joys we find in our gardens: butterflies, birds, berries, dragonflies... 

I'll be sharing more peeks very soon. You can find these dies beginning in March at the Spellbinders website or at a store near you. If you have a favorite local store, just ask if they'll be carrying the Flower Garden collection this spring and summer.

More peeks soon... 

For now we're saving the date for a special wedding here and planning invitations, party goods and favors made from this group of easy to use crafting dies.

(And don't tell anyone but they make those handmade party goods fast as can be even though it looks like we spent hours!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Creative gift wrapping in a jiffy

It's officially "the last minute," that scurry around time when the  house smells like cookies and pie.

Time to wrap gifts, and FAST! But it must look splendid.

Nothing just jammed into a bag if I can possibly help it.

This is the simplest kind of crafting. Wrap your gifts in kraft paper (in a pinch, use old grocery or lunch bags!) 

Using dies from my Sharyn Sowell Holiday 2017 dies from Spellbinders Paper Arts, cut out some paper die cuts and use a glue stick to adhere them to the package.

Using a white Sharpie, a white UniBall Signo pen or a splash of white gouache, add some dots for snowflakes and a name. Tie with a pretty red bow and tuck a sprig of greens under the ribbon if you like.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Creative neighbors

"Come over," said Pearl, "we're going to be in the greenhouse making wreaths."

So of course I did! What a gift to be part of a creative community of women like these. 
Each of us working at different kinds of art forms, each gifted in her own way, living with style and imagination.

When these friends invite, you drop everything and run over. It's just too much fun not to!

Gathering material from their family garden, Pearl and Kate make several hundred wreaths every year, selling them in the local food CoOp and at their own farm stand.

They make little bouquets that they assemble into wreaths.

When the girls get thirsty, they can reach for the tea kettle; when they feel like a tune, they can flip on some merry music.

These dear friends love me and I love them. We get together to make things, to celebrate the occasions in our lives large and small. We laugh together, cry together, teach one another how to knit or prune or bake macarons. 

I am so grateful to share the beauty of the seasons of earth and life with these wonderful women who are as beautiful inside as they are outwardly.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Merry Shadow Box - a tutorial

It’s so much fun to give home made Christmas presents and if you’re on my list this year, you might be getting a shadow box! They are so much fun to make.

Here’s how:

1. Take a small sturdy box and cover with the paper of your choice. You will want to choose a die that fits your box well. I used vintage paper throughout.
I glittered the back of my wrapped box by simply rubbing a glue stick on it and dropping mica glitter in, then tapping the excess back into a jar.

2. Using the adhesive you like best, ruffle some paper and stick it on the top of the box as shown. I used a roll of crepe paper glued quick and dirty with my trusty fine tip hot glue gun but you can use any paper and adhesive you like.

3. Fold the paper down so it becomes a “curtain” across the top of your shadow box and glue another piece of paper across the top of the box. This will cover up any messy glue that may have escaped in step #2! Trim the curtain to the length you want. I used scalloped scissors for this.

4. Cut out the die of your choice from card stock. My Shapeabilities Holiday 2017 die (please insert link to this page) is a perfect fit for this kind of project. 
Fold the bottom of the die cut paper over and glue to the bottom of the box.

5. Now decorate and embellish to your heart’s content. I used pipe cleaners, glitter, baker’s twine,a sprig of wired trim, and two silver star stickers. You can add feet if you want. Mine are hazelnuts.

I love home made gifts more than anything ready made because they come from the heart. Isn't this one sweet?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

And the winner is...

Maria F, you were the lucky winner of our $25 gift certificate!
Look at your email for instructions on how to redeem.

Congratulations, everyone. 
Even if you didn't win, you can find the Build A House die and lots of others at Spellbinders online or in a store near you.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Creative. Living. A challenge for the year ahead.

My goal this year: make every part of my life more effortlessly creative.

Not working on it, simply enjoying, allowing creativity to invade everything.
Embracing mistakes, learning to be gentler with myself, because perfection is so over-rated
and creativity flourishes when we love ourselves as much as we love others.

This kind of creativity doesn't take much time, doesn't cost a penny.

I've been using pretty dishes and napkins for ordinary moments, even when I'm alone, and pausing to notice and appreciate artisan honey, green beans from the garden, the scent of my tea.

Being mindful, living with gratitude and awareness changes everything.
Even dull, rainy afternoons are beautiful and pausing for literally ten seconds to snap a photo and remember the beauty transforms a dark day.

Watch a butterfly. 
Laugh with a child.
Put flowers in your hair and dance.
Take time to walk with someone you love very dearly, because tomorrow may be too late.

We can all do this, can't we?

And there are so many ways to be creative, so many new skills to learn!
The local yarn store has free knitting lessons. Woohoo, I'm all in!

Torch firing enameled beads- yes! I'm back to my roots as a jeweler.
I'll be putting these on Etsy very shortly (watch this space for an announcement.)

It's wonderful to applaud others, too, and to honor them by asking them to teach us. 

When I bought my tulip bulbs and saw a migrant worker planting in the display garden, I asked her in my halting Spanish for tips and wow! Her creativity will be visible in my little garden this spring.

Right in my own little studio, I've been savoring long hours of creative time. 
New mediums, new friendships. Permission to make mistakes and falter.

So here's a challenge for you for the coming year:

Give yourself permission to be creative every day in every way.
Chase the fun of creativity in whatever way brings you joy.

And remember to say "thank you" for all the gifts that surround and inspire.
It will change your life.