art for Izzy: beautiful AND inexpensive (you can do this!)

You all know I dig paper cutting. I have a hard time committing to design-y stuff around the house so this project is a perfect quick and cheap addition to Izzy's room.

I got SO many nice comments on instagram yesterday when I shared this image. Honestly, the cutting is the easy part...designing this beauty takes skill though! That's what I need to work on next :) As I mentioned in my last post, I downloaded this template from here. I just enlarged it a bit so it filled an 8.5 x 11" sheet of cardstock. (You need to browse this blog - such lovely work. I adore Wynken, Blynken and Nod, Paper Moon (which would be an AWESOME starter project if you are hesitant to try this out) and these Zombie templates which I planned to use last Halloween but ran out of time on. This year for sure - and there are some other Halloweeny templates as well!)
LEFT printed template + glass mat // RIGHT after cutting the small letters and script letter centers
LEFT these big chunks? so gratifying. // RIGHT starting to get a little hairy
LEFT I'll admit, this part freaks me out just a little // RIGHT finished and ready to hang
In situ. Just hanging in an out-of-the-way corner where she can't really get to it.


new in the shop

I've been playing around with some new things for the shop...both digital and physical paper stuff and some knitted goodies) I need to take photos and create the listings but I thought I'd share a little here in the meantime.

I did add a new kit yesterday - a brush set to date your photos - just $2!

I also have small notebooks and blank greeting card sets ready to be listed...kraft handcut geometric shapes + glitter + grid paper inserts. I'm loving how these turned out and have pieces cut to assemble more in a variety of colors.

These are veneer tags with glitter designs...working on different colors (hot pink, matte gold) and thinking of doing different sizes as well. Still in limbo on these. I'm thinking this size would make perfect tags for the holidays!

No photos of the knitted items yet but I hope to knock those out this weekend and list them the first of next week.

Today though, I'm working on a hand cut piece for Izzy's room. I saw this yesterday and immediately printed the template. I'll share a photo of the finished piece once I figure out where to put it...excited to pull out the exacto today during quiet time...so meditative for me.


project life: week 27

I'm almost caught up with sharing what I have done...now to move forward and get completely caught up!

products used: Adrienne Looman papers Petunia + Mustard Sky // Ticketed Tabs // 4x6 Layers


project life: week 26

products used: KP stamps // honeycomb pattern from Pugly Pixel  // blinks of life cut files (used digitally) // chalkboard card - my own (using vintage image from here) download here if you'd like it :)


project life: weeks 24 + 25

Moving on...here is what I came up with for weeks 24 and 25. Definitely loving this process a lot more (though I did enjoy adding the tiny bits and baubles - this is working so much better for me!)
products used:  Card Creator from Bananafish // Fleetwood (woodgrain paper, adjusted) from Sahlin Studio // "you" printable from Paper Coterie // this fab icon set (for the heart and speech bubble)
I'm still playing around with a glitter effect but I'm semi happy with it for now. If you want some really fabulous digital glitter letters, grab these from Design Editor.
products used: Kelly Purkey stamps // Persnickety Prints Bird of a Feather
Obviously I didn't have a lot to work with this week but that's OK because I LOVE that picture of Izzy and was more than happy to showcase it. I mixed a little vintage/grungy look with a more graphic look by combining the Persnickety stuff with the KP stuff. I'm good with it :)


project life: weeks 22 + 23

So I've been a project life fool the past couple of weeks. I think I've done eleven weeks? (and yet, I'm still only in mid-July) Once I caught up with the pictures I had already printed (weeks 18 - 21) I decided that rather than print pictures and then embellish and journal, I'd complete the spread digitally (using the templates I created previously for planning purposes) and print the completed slot fillers to simply slide into my page protectors. I know I could do it all digitally and print as a book but I do like the idea of staying "caught up" as well as being able to add extra page protectors between spreads for school work and art. I also want to have the option of adding embellishments after the fact if I really, really feel the need.

I'm just going to skip sharing those last few pre-printed photo weeks because frankly, they aren't my favorite. Plus, it is a pain in the ass to photograph and I'm never happy with how they present on the blog. With this new approach, I can share the digital image - much cleaner!

I have about 6 weeks done and ready to print but I'll spread them out a bit. Here are weeks 22 and 23:
products used: Let's Go Mini from Robyn Meierotto // Card Creator from Bananafish
I created that tweet image to use as an overlay. I used a card from the Let's Go mini, a screenshot of my tweet (changed the layer mode to "multiply") and then added the image (color changed to white, opacity lowered) If you'd like the png, just click and save :)

products used: Digitally Smitten from Digital Design Essentials
Wanna see what my prints order looks like? For the 3x3, 3x4 and 4x4" slots, I obviously mix and match. For the 12x6" slot, I broke it into 3 sections. I've done this before and honestly, when you adhere them to a sheet of cardstock, the seam isn't even noticeable.

I think this is going to work much better for me. At least until I can call myself caught up again!


tutorial: using vintage images to create a digital chalkboard effect

I've been creating some chalkboard type digital elements for my project life album and thought I would share how I do it in case you'd like to do some yourself. Here are a few examples I've done just kind of playing around. The images I've used are from this site (lots of copyright free vintage images) and this fun free printable from Fifth and Hazel.

OK, for the tutorial:
open your chalkboard background and the image you'd like to use
with your image file open, choose your rectangular marquee tool (M)
draw a selection box around the portion of your image you'd like to use
choose edit > define brush from selection
name your image if you'd like, then click OK
switch to your chalkboard image and create a new layer
activate your brush tool (B)
and choose the brush image you just created
stamp your image (make sure you have the new layer selected...not your chalkboard background layer)
add another new layer and while holding the control key, click on the thumbnail of the image layer
the previous action will create a selection area based on the image...hide your image layer and you'll be able to see. choose your brush tool (B) again and select the default chalk brush (I use the 36 px size)
now simply draw over your selection with the chalk brush. the drawing will be limited to the selection you've created with the image to create a chalky finished product. remember the more times you go over an area, the darker and more filled in it will become so try to go sparingly and cover the are in as few passes as necessary. playing with the opacity a bit might help blend the image as well (I think I used 85% here)

If you'd like to use the chalkboard image I used, grab it by enlarging this image and right clicking to save. Enjoy!


sharing some papers

A few months ago, I created some journaling cards and other printables for Lisa's Captured Life series of classes at Two Peas. Her stuff is always bright and fun so I wanted to have a set of papers that reflected her style that I could go back to again and again as I created more complementary files: classic patterns and a rainbow of colors. I've been cleaning and organizing my files and ran across these papers again. Perhaps you can use them for something? The download includes (6) 12x12" 300 dpi papers. You can download them here - enjoy!


apologies in advance...

but this post may make your ass grow three sizes just by reading it.

Jake's birthday was last week and he requested an ice cream cake. Being the thrifty do-it-yourselfer that I am, I wanted to make it rather than buy it. My SIL has been making this cake for my nephew the past couple of years and now that Jake has had it, he has deemed it THE birthday cake from here on out.

So incredibly simple. More expensive than a typical birthday cake but much less than purchasing one. Simply layer ice cream sandwiches (I use the Kroger brand minis so I can puzzle them together better,) crushed candy of your choice (we went for reeses peanut butter cups...oooooooh yeah,) drizzled chocolate syrup and a layer of Cool Whip. Yup. And then do it again. Because if 1 is good, 2 is better.

Final tally for a 12" square pan? 24 ice cream sandwiches and 16 reeses. Gulp. Not even gonna begin to calculate a calorie total on that bad boy.

Here's the kicker. C and I have been totally egg free and almost completely dairy free for 3 months now. This? No bueno. We have felt fairly lethargic since Thursday. A good reminder to kick the dairy for good, I think. Baby steps...we'll get there!


updating some older stuff and sharing a coordinating freebie

 I've slowly been adding some of my previous releases to my etsy shop. Today, I added the Shot Through the Heart papers, elements and alphabet.   

I updated the elements to include a 2013 version of the February calendar and used a pie chart file I created awhile back to create this accent. You can grab the coordinating freebie by right-clicking and saving. Enjoy! (by the way, it's BIG so you can make it a full 12x12 page or shrink it down)


at it again

I fell off of the project life bandwagon. Hard. It hurt so bad I didn't get back on for months. I dusted it back off today though and set about the arduous task of catching up. I'm working on week 18 now but wanted to share the weeks I had done previously that never made it to the blog. No detail shots so I won't overwhelm you with details but here are weeks 14 - 17.

Week 14

Week 15

Week 16

(had to add a close up of this slot...some school work that I scanned, reduced to 4x3" and printed)
 Week 17

(OK, one more close up because, I mean, how could I not?)


they just want your time

Sunday, we had the boys' birthday party at our house. A small affair, as it usually is, with grandparents and a smattering of aunts and uncles. We normally give the boys the choice of having a party at home or a party at Chuck E Cheese (aka kiddie casino) but this year as we aren't exactly rolling in the discretionary income, we didn't give them the option.

They didn't complain.

We had an awesome afternoon. It was perfect weather. The big kids played with the little kids. No one got hurt. We ate simple, easy food and opted for cupcakes to keep everyone outside and mobile. When the boys opened their presents they were thankful and used good manners. Jake even said "the best present is having everyone here today." No lie. He was probably yanking our chains but I'm not 100% sure of that because that kid really is that thoughtful. And even if he was playing us, he at least knows that he should be grateful to have family that cares for and loves him so much.

are you loving how their shirts coordinate with their presents?
My nephew Tyler spent the night so once it got dark, we put the firepit to use (ahem, for the first time since we moved in...5 years ago) and Carlos made a big ass fire. See:

I could tell he was a teensy bit concerned about the height of that thing. Guess we accumulated some pretty good kindling in the past five years. Here he is looking up, just waiting for the branches to combust:

The flames died down to a less worrisome level though and the boys whooped it up Lord of the Flies style. An end of summer bonfire is undoubtedly a new tradition.

There was an awesome full moon Sunday - did you see it? I thought a night walk was in order so I coerced Jake into joining me and we set off.

We talked about the party. We talked about school. We just walked for a bit listening to the crickets chirp and frogs sing. He said it was the best party ever. He said that he loved spending time with me. He said he was a little nervous about school but mostly excited about being able to join drama club and run for student council. He said his favorite part of the day was that walk.

All they want is your time. We do all kinds of things as a family. This night though was an excellent reminder of why we need to devote our complete, undivided, 100% attention to them all by themselves once in awhile. To remind them how special they are. To enjoy the silence together and appreciate a late summer night.

It was the perfect end to the summer.

But guess what? THEY ARE BACK AT SCHOOL RIGHT THIS INSTANT. And that's pretty good too ;) So to celebrate (they are excited too, really! it's not just me) I have a coupon for my etsy shop. For today only, use the code BACKTOSCHOOL for 50% off your purchase!

I added a handful of kits over the weekend. Some repackaged, some new. I added a custom option for my Peace Love and Understanding journaling cards - a custom text 8x10 printable PDF perfect for a favorite quote or wedding date or birth details.

I did these for myself. I have a thing for song lyrics and would love to do a bunch of them all grouped. I did these three individually - lyrics that I love. Then I realized how perfectly they work together. Boom, done.

The birth detail PDF can be shrunk down, combined with a photo and used as a pretty sweet birth announcement:

This custom option is included in the sale so if you like it, today would be a great day to hit "add to cart."

Hope your Labor Day weekend was as perfect as our was!


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