Monday, December 1, 2014

Blog Hop - Wrapping Up the Holidays

Happy December! I am SO excited for the Christmas season. The lights, the music, the decorations, the baking, the general holiday spirit -- I love it all! One thing I don't love? All the spending. It's so incredibly easy to go over budget come Christmastime, and while we're not quite "poor, starving college students" we are on a student budget. So this month, for our Wrapping Up the Holidays blog hop, I'm showing you some of my favorite -- and cheap! -- gift wrap options.

Can you believe that the US spends $2.6 BILLION each year on gift wrap?! That's absurd! Especially if you grocery shop. My favorite "trick" is to use the brown paper grocery bags as wrapping paper. Simply stamp a few Christmas-y images on it and tie it with some cute ribbon or twine, and you have cheap (and eco-friendly!) gift wrap a-plenty!

Gift tags can get expensive, too. Instead of buying them, I dug through my craft drawers and found some old washi tape (from last year's Holiday Catalog) and some Whisper White cardstock, and I made my own!

Adding rhinestones to the tags gives them a little bit extra holiday sparkle, don't you think?

The cute little To/From stamp is from a retired set called "Sleigh Full of Toys", and I love it!

Oh, you want some budget-friendly decor ideas, too? Hit the dollar store! Remember the super-cute rope-wrapped vase I made last month? I swapped out the fall-themed (Dollar-store) flowers for some poinsettias from my Christmas box, and voila!

We also hung Christmas lights (which we got on sale last year for super-cheap) on our balcony, since we finally have an outdoor space to decorate!

So there you have it! My budget-friendly Christmas blog hop. Be sure to hop on through the rest of the blogs to see what they're showing off today.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

'Tis the Season - Blog Hop

Happy November! For me, today officially kicks off the holiday season, so it's fitting that this month's theme is " 'Tis the Season." Thanksgiving is coming up soon, then Christmas & New Year and all the wonderful celebrations just make me SO happy! As much as you might hear me complain about the cold weather (and snow! Ugh. Give me back my California weather!) I really do love this time of year. There's so much to celebrate and so many excuses to CREATE!

So today, I want to show off -- er, share with you -- some of the fun things I've been creating that really encapsulate what Fall is to me. No cards this time, but plenty of other creative, fun things to get your brain going.

First up: Baking! Nothing says Fall quite like lots of delicious baking! Today's recipe was a decadent chocolate cupcake and dark chocolate frosting for my friend's birthday. Yum!

Oh, and see the festive Fall vase? Yeah, I made that. I covered a dollar-store vase with some thick jute and filled it with dollar-store flowers. I love it!

I also love decorating for Fall! Here's the "Thanks" banner I made last year. It fits perfectly in the empty wall space between my living room bookcase and the kitchen.

And the pumpkins! I love pumpkins! Yet again, this is a dollar-store find. (Ok, so I didn't make anything here, but I did arrange it.)

Do you remember the Spring Wreath I made way back in January? Well, after having it hang around our apartment (pun intended) for months -- including through our move this summer -- I finally pulled it back out. The paper flowers, though cute, had faded from being hung in sunlight for months. So I ripped them off and added -- guess what! -- more dollar store flowers! I absolutely LOVE the burlap and fall colors, don't you?! It makes me SO happy every time I come home :)

Last but not least, Fall makes me think of cozy things. Someday, I might learn to (have the patience to) knit or crochet, but for now, I've got my trusty little sewing machine. I whipped this pillow out in just about an hour, start to finish. It's the pop of pattern I've been wanting in my craft room since before I even moved in here!

What's YOUR favorite part of fall? Have any fun crafts up your sleeves? Hop on through to see what else our fabulous bloggers have to inspire you today!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Blog Hop: Check Out the Holiday Catalog!

Holy moly, it's October! The weather's cooling off, days are getting shorter, and there are pumpkins EVERYWHERE -- sure signs that the holidays are sneaking up on us. Did you know there are less than 15 Fridays until Christmas?! Crazy! So even though I'd like to think that we have all the time in the world to prep for the holiday fun & festivities, it really is time to get started. For all kinds of awesome holiday inspiration -- from Halloween to Christmas and everything in between -- be sure to check out the Holiday Catalog from Stampin Up.

I made a cute little gift box with the new die in the holiday catalog, featuring silver Glimmer Paper handles & tag tied on with Cherry Cobbler baker's twine.

Perfect size for a mini pumpkin muffin! Or a good-sized hunk of homemade fudge. Mmmm. Must be time to start on my favorite part of fall -- baking!

What other fun things are you looking forward to this holiday season? Keep on hoppin' through our Blog Hop to see what other inspiration you might find. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Craft Room Update

A lot has changed around our apartment since I posted pictures of my new craft space (way back in June!), so I wanted to give you an update -- and show off a bit :)

Now, you'll please excuse the clutter. This *is* a creating space, after all, and creating things always involves making a mess along the way! When you last saw the craft room, it was painted and kinda furnished, but that's all. It had spunk, but no personality yet. Well, now it's got plenty of personal touches, and I absolutely freaking LOVE this room! Check it out:

I found this adorable red clock at Target for about $8 - what a deal! And it perfectly matches the color scheme I wanted in the room!

We've brought in a small TV (for my hubby to play video games on occasionally) and added another small dresser to hold craft stuff. My old plastic cart, which used to be home to practically ALL my stamp stuff? Yeah, it's gone :)  

My desk! I got this desk off KSL for about $40. It was originally blond "wood" laminate, but I knew I wanted a big white desk in this space. So I dismantled, sanded, primed, painted, and finished the WHOLE DANG THING. It took hours and hours, it seemed, but in the end it is SO worth it. I love this desk and all the lightness it brings into the room. (Though I *am* constantly wiping it down and scrubbing little specks off it.... oh, white furniture...)

I (finally) fixed the drawers on it, which I had mounted incorrectly when we assembled the desk at midnight (UGH, was THAT a mistake....) so now at least they sit right. The sides of the drawers are painted bright red, matching the chair, so when you open them you get a fun "pop" of color!

Oh, and see the posters? We found some really great, nerdy prints on Etsy and framed them up in matching frames to hand across that big empty wall over the desk. There's a Firefly, Doctor Who, and Megaman poster there.

Remember how I said the room has lots of personality now? Yeah, it's a NERDY personality, and I love it. We've got a plush little Kirby sitting on the desk to keep me company while I create, and we're working on making a gallery wall with fan-art prints we got at Comic Con earlier this month. Along with the prints, our gallery will feature duct tape "paintings" done by my very own little brother. They're amazing! HE'S amazing!

I got a sewing machine! It makes me SO incredibly happy to have a sewing machine of my very own!  After a few small "refresher" projects (a simple curtain panel, and a super-simple purse for my little cousin), I jumped right into making my costume for Comic Con. The shirt off to the right, there? That's sitting on a custom-made dress form! It's made entirely out of Duct Tape and pillow stuffing, and it probably cost about $15 to make. Win! I'll do a more detailed post on that soon, I promise.

Speaking of that costume... I have a portion of the closet in my craft room dedicated to costume materials! Here you can see the Loki cloak I made for Comic Con (in about a week, I might add...). I also made arm "bracers" to wear with the green shirt and black (pleather!) pants I bought to complete the look. Here you can see my costume. That's my super-talented little brother with me, and he made the Captain America shield I carried at Comic Con, too.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Blog Hop - "Use Your Words"

Hello! It's time again for our monthly We Create Blog Hop. This month's theme made me laugh out loud when I heard it, because it's something I say a lot -- "Use your words." I can only imagine I'll be saying it even more when I have kids someday!

Anyway. I was super excited to do this hop because, if you haven't already seen them, the new catalog features some sets with AMAZING typography! The stamps I've featured are ones that can stand all on their own (though adding a little extra pizzazz is never a bad thing, right?), which makes cards come together lickety-split! In fact, I made all the cards for this hop in under an hour total! Like I said, super quick and easy!

Stamp sets: Big News, Something for Baby
Framelits: Baby's First Framelits 

Stamp set: Big News

Stamp Sets: Occasions 4 You, Mixed Bunch
Petal Punch 

Stamp Set: Big News
And because Stampin Up loves making things so easy for us, there's also an index of greetings & alphabet stamp sets right in the back of the current catalog! How easy is that?! You can check out the catalog by clicking on the link in the sidebar.

There are SO many more great ways to Use Your Words with Stampin' Up!'s word sets, so be sure to hop through the rest of the blogs to see what other ideas you can find!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Big Shot Blog Hop

Welcome! This month, I'm so excited to show off one of my very favorite tools: the Big Shot! For those who aren't familiar, the Big Shot is an epic multi-tool. Check it out.
Run dies through it to cut shapes out of all sorts of materials. Use it with Textured Impressions Embossing Folders to give dimension and texture to your projects. Also be sure to check out the Framelits, Embosslis, Bigz dies, Edgelits, and Thinlits. So many options!

If you've been waiting for the right time to purchase a Big Shot, that time is now! When you buy a Big Shot during the month of August, you'll receive your choice of one of five FREE exclusive stamp set and Framelits bundles (see bundles here)--that's up to a $60 value absolutely free! If you already own a Big Shot, we're also offering a 15-percent discount on these select bundles.

My project today showcases a few of the fun things you can do with the Big Shot. I had a friend ask me if we could make invitations for her daughter's 4th birthday. What a fun project! So we brainstormed and came up with these super-cute invitations.

The texture on top is the Mosaic Madness embossing folder, and the cute little butterflies are part of an Embosslit. We took a strip of DSP and creased it into an adorable ruffle to stick underneath the edge of the Tempting Turquoise paper.

This is just such a small sample of all the great things the Big Shot can do, so be sure to hop through to the other bloggers to see what they've showcased!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bundle & Save Blog Hop (Or, Please excuse the moving madness)

Welcome back, stampers! This month has been insanely busy! As you saw in my last post, I'm getting ready to move, along with helping several friends move and deal with other huge life changes, and getting to go on vacation with my husband (our first road trip!). So please excuse the temporary lack of project and enjoy the quick post about the great Bundle & Save options that Stampin Up offers.

This year's catalog features several fantastic "bundle" options that pair a stamp set with matching accessories -- usually Framelits for the Big Shot -- and give you a 15% savings! You can't beat coordinating products AND great savings!

Here's a handy list of each of the Bundle & Save options included in this year's catalog:
  • Chalk Talk -- pg 11 
  • Label Love -- pg 14
  • Four Frames -- pg 21 
  • Journal Bundles -- pg 29
  • Apothecary Art -- pg 57
  • Something for Baby -- pg 74
  • Itty Bitty Banners -- pg 79
  • Simply Sports--  pg 90
  • Playful Pennants -- pg 91/92
  • Starburst Sayings -- pg 117 
  • Honeycomb Hello -- pg 134 
  • Flower Patch -- pg 156 
  • Tag a Bag -- pg 201
I decided to feature the Chalk Talk bundle, which is so much fun to play with! It was one that I borrowed from Julie, actually, but it may be on my "need to buy" list now! The stamps are super fun, but the really awesome part is the Framelits! You can cut out (somewhat) customized tags out of anything! So versatile!

This card features a cute little narrow tag and a popped-up heart. As you've seen in previous posts, I really love the combination of Crumb Cake and Cherry Cobbler (maybe because they're both desserts?) It's such a simple card, but the textured background and the chalk-like font give it a lot of character.

My second card was a little more tricky to figure out. I tried and tried and tried to figure out how to put one of the big tags on this card, and it just wasn't happening. So I browsed Pinterest and got the inspiration I needed: Ditch the big tag and focus on this super-sweet sentiment instead! After that, things just fell together so much better. The oval was cut out using a punch, rather than the Chalk Talk framelits, but I think the Oval Framelits would work too.

What's your favorite Bundle & Save option? Be sure to hop through all the other blogs to see their great projects!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My new crafting space!

Surprise! I'm blogging again -- and it's not even a blog hop! In my post earlier this month, I showed off the new catalog, but I have to tell ya, I wasn't most excited about the catalog that day. What I was really really excited about was my new apartment. More specifically, my new craft room! My FIRST craft room!

Before I show you the wonderful new space (and it is wonderful), let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we? This is my previous setup:

Whenever I felt like getting crafty, I had to take over the entire living room - couch, coffee table, floor, shelving, even the TV! (I like background noise when I craft.) It worked, sure, but it was not ideal. I mean, c'mon, my beautiful Big Shot was basically a craft troll -- living under the coffee table until someone needed it:

But now! Now, things are wonderful. Take a look:

Ta-da! I freaking LOVE this room! It just inspires me to get creative. That might be from all the WORK I put into this baby. I really do feel like it's my baby -- I'm ridiculously proud of the room and always want to show it off and tell people all about it. I painted the walls (a color that is almost exactly Pool Party, by happy accident, my favorite SU color); sanded & painted the chair (a yardsale find - only $2!!); and stripped, sanded, and painted (then reassembled -- ugh!) that monster of a desk. This was my first time EVER doing any project like this, and I have to say: I feel so proud of myself!

Ok. Brag session over. I'm just so excited to have a big, open, inspiring space to create! There's a closet in that room, too, in which I plan to hang/store my costuming experiments. I'm sure you'll hear more about that in the coming months, as Comic Con is on my radar and I have a very detailed costume in my sights. (We'll see if my ambition lives up to my vision.) (Spoiler alert: probably not.)