Friday, July 29, 2011

Noel Cards

I have a rep for making my own Christmas cards. Seriously, one of my friends even mentioned my cards in the Christmas letter she sent out to all our friends! I am not bragging... I actually feel pressure to deliver. So far each year I have been fortunate enough to get an idea for the cards then work my fingers to the bone making them.  (I am open to ideas for this year!)

This was last year's card.

Supplies:
Coordinating 12 x 12 Christmas  paper. (I bought a tablet with a coupon so it was pretty inexpensive.)
Photos of your family. 3 1/2" square
Gluesticks
Time

For each card
Cut a 4" square from each of the four corners of the 12 x 12 paper. It will look kind of like this. Save the squares you cut. The inside of the card will be the plain side of the paper. The words will be glued to the printed side and the pictures will be on the plain side.

Fold each flap in toward the center.
Decide on what you want your card to say. I selected the word "Noel".

Writing.
Each square began with a letter in the word Noel. I downloaded some free Christmas fonts. I set up a table in a word processing program with 3 1/2" cells. I put one large capital letter in each square with the writing underneath it. Cut these out.
Stack everything (words and pictures) up so you can create an assembly line.
Put on a favorite Christmas movie and get to work.

With the flaps all folded in on the card, glue the N to the top flap. On the inside of that flap, glue the corresponding picture. (I had my pictures color copied. You could also use actual photographs.) Continue with each letter and each flap.






On the center of my card, I added an extra flap. Tape a square from a coordinating paper and put your message on that flap. Put a family photo under the flap. (Put the tape on the back of the flap so it doesn't show.)


I used scraps from all of the cards to decorate the back center of the card. The one shown is pretty simple (it was a leftover one,) but some of my others were pretty intricate with ribbons and mosaics.


When you fold your card for mailing, make sure you spell the word right. Don't make it say LEON!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Memories and Predictions Traditions

Ok so maybe this is a New Year's tradition but Christmas and New Year's are only a week apart! And you can do this for Christmas as well. Throughout the year we save a ticket or receipt or little mementos that represent something special we did as a family (or at least most of the family.) Usually, mom puts the little things in the box so we don't know what to expect when we open it. Each year, we open it, take a couple things out then go around in a circle and tell everyone what we got out of the box. It's a great way to remember the fun times we had throughout the year. Our box isn't anything special, just an old Werther's Original can. You can decorate your family's box or can together or just find an already decorative box.

We also make predictions for the next year. We predict something for each person in the family, whether they're there or not. We make predictions like "Jordan's youngest will learn how to walk," or "Mom will walk on the moon." Some we take more seriously than others...We read the last year's prediction when we open the box as well. Sometimes we actually predict things right too! It's a great way to bring together the family and have a good time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christmas in July- Gift Tags

Similar to my mom I love to give gifts. There is something magical when you have thought of the perfect gift for someone you love. You purchase it and have to keep the secret. You select special wrapping paper and you make sure it has a beautiful ribbon and of course your need an amazing gift tag!

I got an idea for gift tags made out of polymer clay (Sculpey) from this tutorial and I thought it would be cute to do holiday tags. I think the variations on this are endless. Here are a couple ideas that I had.




First pick the color you want and knead the clay to make it warm. You can roll it out with a small rolling pin (as shown in the picture) but I used my "clay conditioner" (similar to a pasta maker). I put it through the largest setting then when I moved it to a smaller setting I put it through width wise to widen it. Make sure your clay is warm or it won't go through. My gift tags are 1/4" thick. I wouldn't suggest going any thinner because they will be fragile.



Next pick a shape. I cut mine for a Christmas tree. You can use cookie cutters in this step as well. Make sure you cut a hole to tie them onto the package. I used a mini set of stamps to stamp in the "to:" and "from:"

Last bake them, put them on your package, and impress people. After I baked mine I used permanent marker to fill in the letters so you could read them. You can also use acrylic paints.








What variations can you think of?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Frosting Christmas Cookies and Drizzle Frosting Recipe

One of my favorite Christmas traditions as a child, and even now, is decorating Christmas cookies. It is the culmination of the season for our family, since we make and decorate them on Christmas Eve.


My mom makes the dough and the kids roll it out and cut the cookies. We make at least four cookie sheets worth!



I have to share a secret with you: We make UGLY cookies. And we love them. This is why it's so fun and why we're still decorating them even as adults.




 We use a drizzled kind of frosting, so the cookies are tasty but....not perfect in appearance. I think we've made some really cool cookies though.


Harry Potter cookies to go along with our obsession. These are Jasmine's. She made that golden snitch cookie that says "I open at the close" cool, huh? Don't forget about Harry, Ron, Hermione and Voldemorte


She made the Weasley family too!

Now for some not so pretty cookies:


Michael Jackson, RIP!


Jaime by Jaime (I added an elephant for some class)


My favorite on here is by my brother-in-law, he did the NC State cookie. I was impressed!


Frosting Recipe:


Ingredients:
1 lb Powdered Sugar
6 Tablespoons of Whole milk
6 Tablespoons of light corn syrup
1 Teaspoon of almond or vanilla extract

Directions:
With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth. Then mix in corn syrup and extract. We put about 3/4 cup into a mug and then add food coloring and stir. We use spoons to drizzle the frosting on and tooth picks for accents.

Do you make Christmas cookies every year? Ever made ugly ones?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Christmas in July: Felt Advent Calendar

It's Christmas in July! All week on Wayward Girls' Crafts, we'll be blogging Christmas crafts. And next week, a very special week of craftiness!


Every year, our family uses a felt Advent calendar (you know, a calendar to count the days until Christmas). My mom's calendar is gorgeous, with details in gold thread and beautiful beads and sequins, including some shaped like holly leaves, snowflakes and more. When I made mine, however, I couldn't find the fancy sequins anywhere :( . It just wasn't the same, so I went for a different form of decoration in my calendar.

Materials:

  • Felt
  • Scissors
  • Glitter fabric paint
  • Tacky glue
  • Thread
  • 25 hooks and 26 eyes
  • (Possibly: sewing machine or needle)
In this set of ornaments, I'm missing my reindeer and sleigh. The second row of ornaments are symbols of Christ (and technically, the candle belongs there).
I combined elements of my husband's family's felt Advent calendar, too: they have a Nativity scene among their ornaments, and I loved that sentiment. The Nativity characters are along the bottom row (the first one is an angel, but the silver and iridescent sparkles don't show up well here).

I tried to make sure that each ornament had some bling on it somewhere with glitter fabric paint. I glued the various piece of felt together with tacky glue. Here's a closeup of one of the pieces:


The background is a Christmas tree on red felt, with rows of pockets at the bottom for the ornaments. I couldn't find mine (I hope it's somewhere with the reindeer and sleigh!), but here's the idea:

Each day of December, you add another ornament to the tree using the hooks and eyes. We kept the last ornament, for Christmas Day, (we used the star; my husband's family used the baby Jesus) on an extra hook on the back of the calendar. We loved the calendar so much that we always fought over who got to put up the ornaments--but now that most of us don't live at home, sometimes Mom doesn't even put up the calendar until the week before Christmas!

My favorite ornaments, aside from the characters, are the snowflake and snowman. Which are your favorites? What would you put on your tree?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Sister Spotlight 2: Six Sisters' Stuff!

How's that for alliteration?

I love coming across other sister blogs as I roam the crafty-blogosphere. I just get this feeling if all of us crafting sister blogs could unite, we could use our powers for both good and awesome!

Okay, not exactly. I feel such a kinship with crafting sister blogs, though, that I want to do something special to reach out to them.


This month for our second Saturday Sister Spotlight, we're highlighting:

The six (yes, six kids, all girls) sisters are, from youngest to oldest: Camille, Kristen, Elyse, Stephanie, Lauren, and Kendra. Of course, I'm pretty sure these lovely ladies are not in that order in this picture:
Aaand I forgot to ask who's who, and I don't even want to guess, since I know what it's like to be mixed up with your sisters All. The. Time. (Hello, people at church who thought they were clever by calling us "Sister Lastname"--we know it's because you don't know our first names!!)

About the six sisters, adapted from their about page:
Camille is the oldest. A SAHM of two, she's busily trying to decorate the family's first home on a budget.

Kristen is also a mom of two, and baby, she was born to run. (This must be how she gets away with the decadent dessert recipes from the blog!)

Elyse is a mom of one who loves decorating, baking and exercising. (Again with the desserts!)

Stephanie knows how to shop and has an amazing wardrobe to show for it!

Lauren plays tennis and according to her sisters, she always looks cute.

Kendra is the stylish one in the family! She's an accomplished soccer player. (All right, fine. You can all eat desserts.)

The youngest three sisters are busily working away at their schooling (one in college, two in high school), leaving them little time to craft, but the older three do their best to make up for it on the blog! They have so many delicious/beautiful/cute looking crafts and recipes that I had a really hard time narrowing this down. Be sure to check out:







(Other really tempting contenders included the Nutella Stuffed Custard French Toast, Samoa Brownies, Pom Pom Flower Bib Necklace Tutorial and Mini Snickers Caramel Cheesecakes. See what I mean?!)

You can show off your crafts alongside these amazing ladies' with their weekly link party, Strut Your Stuff Saturdays, too!

And this spotlight wouldn't be complete without a . . .


A Saturday Sister Spotlight Challenge!

We challenged Six Sisters' Stuff to create crafts around a theme of our choosing, and with summer upon us, that theme is . . . BEACH!

And since I should've posted this, like, an hour ago, the sisters are already hard at work!

Anthropologie-ish "Beach" T-shirt Upcycle Necklace

UPDATE: All the beach crafts!

Upcycled Beach Flip Flops

Tropical Chocolate Coconut Brownies

Fabric Scrap Rope Bracelet

Stay tuned to Six Sisters' Stuff for today's Strut Your Stuff Saturday and more beach themed crafts (and I'll update the post as they post their answers to our challenge)!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Magnetic Paper Dolls

While I was in Rexburg, Idaho recently, I visited a store I am sure all paper crafters would love called Artco. They had tons of paper, cards, guest books, matchbooks, and other items for sale at a very low cost. I bought 8  12" x 17" sheets of thin magnet paper for a project for church. (Only $.50 each.) But alas! we decided to go in another direction so I was left with lots of magnet sheets. I decided to make some personalized paper dolls for the grandchildren who will be here in a few short days. In the past, I used photographs and my Xyron 900 machine and the laminate/magnet roll to create refridgerator magnets of mom, dad, both grandparents, some aunts, and the children themselves. (They lost the magnet with my photo! How could that be?) This time, I wanted to have lots of costumes for the children to use with their dolls so I decided photographs wouldn't do.

I found a great website called Making Friends with lots of multi-cultural paper dolls with many costumes. Then I found some good shots of the grandchildren's faces. I selected the paper doll page I wanted to use, then right clicked on it and selected COPY. I opened a NEW file in Photoshop (you could use any digital photography program), then pasted the page of dolls. I also opened the photograph of my grandson with Photoshop. Using the lasso tool, I selected just his face. I copied this on the clipboard and then pasted it on the face of the paper doll. I rotated it just a bit to make it fit the angle of the head of the paper doll.


I have started to fill in the edges using the clone tool in this shot.
 Of course they were not the same size, so I used the clone tool to fill in the shape of the head with his skintone. (The paper dolls are a little fat-headed!) I used the blur tool to blend in any lines. This took me a long time to get it how I wanted it, but now I think I could do it pretty quickly. I painted the ears to match the face skin, but I didn't change the body color. (Laziness.) Sometimes I had to redraw the outlines with the pencil tool.


I used the blur tool to soften the lines that the clone tool left.

Once I had my paper dolls personalized, I went back to the website and found the clothes that I wanted. I pasted many of them into my Paint program and then selected only the specific items I planned to use. (I was trying to squish them together to save paper.) Then I printed them with my Inkjet printer on the magnetic sheets. I was concerned that they might smear, but it worked great.















One thing I encountered after I had printed out everything was that the magnets weren't very strong. Only two layers will stick together at a time. Next time I would test things out first before I printed everything.

If you can't make it to Artco, you can buy magnet sheets at craft or office supply stores. You could also printed the dolls on cardstock and glue them to those thin magnets you get as free advertisements or you could use a Xyron machine to laminate and apply a magnet.


Note: If you decide to change the size of any dolls or clothes, make sure you change all of the images by the same percentage so the clothes will fit.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reducing Bulk

Sewing instructions usually say trim. Well what the heck does that mean? It can mean a few things. The purpose of "trimming" is to reduce bulk at the seams.The instructions typically don't tell you how to reduce bulk, they just stick with trim. Here's how to tell how to reduce bulk:

Curves:
Reducing bulk at curved seams can be done with notching or clipping.
On an outer curve, we notch. This is cutting triangles along the edge. To check whether or not it worked, pull the fabric and straighten it.When you straighten the curve, it should make a straight line without bumps. If it bunches when you straighten it and looks wavy, you need to notch more. Cut close to the seam line but DO NOT cut the seam (that weakens the seam.)
Now for inside curves you use clipping. This is cutting slits into the fabric. You don't take out any fabric, just one single cut will do. When you straighten the curve to check if it worked, there should be any pulling in the fabric and it should straighten nicely. Add more clips if there's pulling or stress on the fabric.

Corners:
Reducing bulk at corners can be done with trimming and clipping
At an outside corner is really easy to reduce bulk. To trim, just cut the tip off close to the seam. Easy beezy, done.
Clipping at an inside corner is super tricky....just kidding. You make one clip into the fabric where the corner is. Boom, done.
When you straighten these, the trimmed edge should meet and the clipped edge should straighten. Trimming when straightened should look like clipping when not straightened and clipping when straightened should look like trimming when not straightened.

Layers:
Grading is cutting multiple layers shorter and shorter one layer at a time. This is for when multiple pieces of fabric meet. Leave the facing the longest, so just don't cut that one. Cut the layer next to the facing a little bit shorter than the facing. Continue cutting each layer shorter and shorter. How much you cut off depends on how many layers there are. If there are three layers, you leave the facing the same, the 2nd layer should be around half of the length of the facing and the 3rd layer should be very short and close the seam. To check, run your finger along the layers, it should feel smooth and flows nicely.


Don't be jealous of my Paint skills ;) Hope my artistic abilities helped!

And happy anniversary to Jordan and her husband!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post: Blog Swap with Kristine from J&M's Eye Candy Blog

Hi Wayward Girls' readers! 

Kristine here from J&M's Eye Candy Blog and Shoppe!

My SIL Britney and I created our blog as a place where we can collectively archive our projects and share it with others like you. We hope that you are taking the time and enjoying crafting, whether it's during nap time, after work, and/or late at night like we do.

We blog about crafts, our families, recipes, fashion and we love us a linky party or two! Check us out on Tuesdays for "Help a Momma Out!," where you can link up and read fun mom stories, advice, crafts anything relating to helping a momma out! And our fun "Strut Your Stuff Sundays" party where you have a chance to show off your latest creations and of course browse amazing talent from other bloggers!

I'm so excited to be blog swapping with the talented Brooke today!
Be sure to check Brooke out over on our blog, and show her some comment love!


I have a little girl M who is turning the BIG 1 at the end of this month! To celebrate we are throwing a Pink Elephant/Circus theme celebration! I will be posting about all the decor and DIY projects I've done for the party, after the party, on our blog. One of my faves is how to make tissue ball poms. Since I didn't want to post the exact ones I've made for the party just yet, I'm posting the tutorial and pics taken from our family's blog from February of this year. It was my first time attempting these beauties on my own. Read on!

Notes:
I promise these are super easy!! By cutting the tissue paper in half I made two "small" poms out of the fuchsia pink tissue paper. As you can see the other poms are "large." No cutting necessary. The black and white pom I switched up a bit. Instead of rounding the edges, I made a point. So instead of scalloped circles, I made triangles.
You can see a HUGE difference once the pom is all done. Don't be afraid to try different cuts. Remember those crazy scissors that use to be so widely popular?! Of course I couldn't find mine, but that would be awesome and make that step so easy!

P.S. Never again will I photograph a tutorial with M's Princess play mat as the background. Ha! Sorry ya'll! I didn't even notice while I was creating and snapping pictures along the way. A momma can't be picky tho! I made these with M playing beside me. Perfect! No complaining here! Did I mention how big she's getting?! A year this weekend peeps! So crazy! She is so good-natured. We are blessed.



Below is a picture of some tissue ball poms I made, that we hung in M's nursery. I had the hubs put up some hooks and then hang the poms on them using fishing wire. Can't wait to post about the ones I made for M's party!! SO many different ways to use these fun tissue pom balls!

As usual - Happy Creating!! If you use this tutorial please let me know, I would love to feature you on our blog and/or FB page. Email me at jandmseyecandy@hotmail.com. I would love to see what you come up with! Thanks so much Brooke for swapping with me today!! We appreciate it! We hope you Wayward Girls' readers will hop on over and party with us too!!
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