Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Handmade Christmas: The Cards Are On the Table

DONE DONE DONE!!!!  I am finished with my Christmas cards.  I have no idea how it happened.  I also didn't even realize that it DID happen!  I was bored and decided that I would write my little message inside of each card and start loading the envelopes and checking off my mailing list.  Next thing I know, I run out of people and cards at the same time.  YAY! 

So here are the final cards I made.

I made some simple wreaths.  I traced the circle using a little kiddie cup and then I cut it out with craft scissors-- saved money by not buying an expensive punch!  Then, I used a smaller circular punch I already had to cut out the center of the wreath, but if you don't have one, gently fold the circle in half and use craft scissors again.  That's what I would have tried.

I made some snowflake cards.  These are layered stickers.  I always bulk up on winter stickers and rub-ons.... and it seems like, for the most part, winter lasts for so little time here.  Between all the Fall harvest decor and beautiful colors and Spring... I just don't ever use any of my winter embellishments.  So!  Yeap!  Another *FREE* set of cards made with more things I had lying around.

These are just a few gingerbread men that I drew on some cardstock and cut out.  Then, since I don't have one of those fancy dye things for the edges, I just layered the gingerbread men on some black cardstock and cut the whole thing out.  I think these are my favorite ones of all.
The cardstock that I used to make the gingerbread men says "chocolate".  Cute!

I also made some ornaments. They are drying in this picture. I used the same circle stencil I made for the wreaths and just cut out some circles from pretty paper and embellished the paper with flowers, glitter glue, and ribbon.
I wasn't expecting to finish the cards so soon.  I was just getting discouraged last night, thinking I had about 25 more to make.  I was about to give up because if I spent any more time making cards, I would not have time to get on with the hand made gifts.
Problem solved!  The cards are signed, put away into their addressed envelopes.  I am just waiting another week or so to mail them out. 
I also have to admit that I was a little bummed out because I am trying for perfection.  I keep having to stop and tell myself that THAT IS WHAT HANDMADE IS ALL ABOUT! 
Those tiny imperfections that signify that THIS was HAND-CRAFTED by a HUMAN with a CARING HEART and all the wonderful IMPERFECTIONS that make her UNIQUE
Do you ever have to pep talk yourself into believing that you are worth all that you are?  Man!  I have to do it all the time.  Without realizing it, I can really be hard on myself.  It's no fun when you are your worst, and sometimes only, critic.  But I am learning to change this, day by day, and project, by project.
As for tonight, even thought it is really late, I am going to start on my next project.  I am making some things for a girl  that is on the cheerleading squad with My Little Darling.  She is having a birthday party, and after spending $1500 on Black Friday and another $400 on Cyber Monday, I am going to have to make something phenomenal out of whatever supplies I have on deck!  And, trust me!  I am sooooo Up for the Challenge!  ...  T minus Two Weeks until the birthday party.  Wish me luck, patience and perseverance!
Happy Holidays!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Handmade Holidays: Inspo Flow!

It's really true when someone says, "You can't  have it all!"  I hate to be honest about it and face those facts, but it is what it is.  I can't have the best of ALL worlds.  My week has been FULL of crafting, shopping and gift wrapping.  I have to slow down and remember my priorities....

At this point, my apartment looks like a fucking crime scene:  Laundry piled higher than the head of my soon-to-be six year old!  Disorganized piles of things for work, holiday crafting, mail, to-do... and whatever.  We have NO FOOD in the house-- how the hell have I been finding time to cook so much???  My kiddo's home school lessons haven't been planned for the next week.  My hair is on top of my head, looking like a crazy piece of hell! And on top of that, I have been getting 2-4 hours of sleep per night. 

In case you were wondering what my priorities are:  Self-Care (preserving my mental health and physical wellness), Domestic Responsibilities (being a good Mother and Wife), Financial Gain, and then comes Arts/Crafts.  As of right now, I am living my priorities backwards--  I have been arting more than anything.  Then, I have taken on lots of responsibilities at work, and I spend time at home tackling that mess I created.  I am totally slacking in the area of all things "domestically related".  And I haven't been eating or sleeping well at all.  So yea---  tonight is not about art.  It's about getting my apartment scrubbed, my hair combed, my feet pedicured, and making a menu/grocery list.

Don't you hate it when reality slaps the shit out of you??  IT SUCKS!  I just wanna have FUNNN!!!  But it really is no fun when you can't focus on what you enjoy because the more important tasks have not taken care of themselves!

.....  BUT!!!  I did need to take some time tonight to jot down my Christmas Inspo.  Having a handmade Christmas is so much fun, but I really have to do my research!  So this is what I did today:  I went to the grocery store.  They have a reasonable magazine selection.  But I am far too cheap to make several magazine purchases.  I mean some where as expensive as $12!!!  Yea right!  So I whipped out my phone and took some pictures.  They are totally low quality, but I don't have many readers, so more than anything, this is my little "cyber bulletin board" of what would be magazine clippings if I could actually afford all of the magazines. 

Disclaimer:  I do not have all of the citation information for each photo, but I will post a hyperlinked list at the end of the pictures in case you would like to go to the store and check out the magazine yourself :)

This picture is the reason I opted for a Handmade Christmas!  I know, it's always something so small and seemingly insignificant. But I love these hand-sewn cards and so I wanted to try to do my own cards and the idea snowballed from there.

I have to apologize again for the terrible quality.  I was literally watching over my shoulder because I wasn't sure if I was even allowed to take pictures of magazines rather then buy them LOL!

This is a GORGEOUS wreath made from balls of yarn, pine cones, and jingles.  I think there are also some glittery gold foam ornaments as well.  I want to make a few wreaths this holiday season. 

Here is another wreath made with plastic berries, yarn wrapped around a foam circle shape, and felt rolled rose flowers.  I have been wanting to make a wreath for a few years... I figured, since I am doing a handmade Christmas-- there is no time like the present, right?!


I saw lots of examples of hand made paper ornaments like this one.  This one is special because it's the first one that I saw that was embellished like this-- LOVE ME SOME SPARKLY!  And I also really like the beading coming from the hanging wire and dangling down. These are really simple to make.  Get a paper punch at your local craft store in this scalloped circle shape.  Cut out three or four.  Embellish as you will.  Fold them in half and glue them to one another with a wire or string for hanging from the top (with a loop) until the bottom that you can embellish with beads.  I may not make a tree full of these, but I am going to give this a try!

I also saw lots of really cute things for children.  I like the idea of getting My Little Darling in the spirit by allowing her to hand craft gifts for her friends.  Like this Crayola wreath-- ADORABLE!

I love this picture frame with all the different textures of buttons.  This is a little more detailed then I would prefer for my daughter to work on, but I think the idea is cute and something that would be fun to do with a child as a joint effort for a gift.
And last, but definitely not least, a Christmas tree for a Little One.  My Little Darling has requested her own tree.  I would love to get her one, but I am still torn about the ornament situation.  I am not a big fan of having glass in the room of someone under the age of ten.  Ya just never know how that might turn out.  And My Little Darling is a WILD CHILD!  But I can do something like these adorable, easily crafted felt ornaments.  And I can make them WITH My Little Darling!
I am sure the layout of this post is a little crazy, but it's all good.  I just wanted a place to put all my handmade inspo.  Will you be doing anything interesting this year?  Crafting something special?  Are you attending a craft fair or will you be making just a few small sentimental gifts for a select few?  I wish I could allow people to post responses on here.  I would love to hear what others are doing and SEE what everyone is trying out...
Well, laundry calls!  And I am in no position not to listen! 
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hanmade Holidays: Play Your Cards Right

Weeelllll...  It is the end of Black Friday.  I have to admit that I did all my shopping from 8pm until 2:30 in the morning like some sort of psycho path.  You would think I was really out to get some awesome electronics and whatnot.  Nope!  I am all about TOYS!  Ha ha ha!  I get all of My Little Darling's gifts on Black Friday in addition to about 5-10 other gifts for the other awesome Little Ones in my life.  It's the easiest and cheapest way to get everything taken care of.

This year was a whole new experience, let me tell ya!  I was at work...with some children.  I knew it was a risk to try to do something like face a Black Friday Wal-Mart MOB with them.  I knew the risk of a kid running off with some random weirdo who wears his hunting gear full time was high.  I knew the risk of a kid inciting a riot, only due to the uncontrollable urge to innocently start a flash mob, was high.  I knew the risk of getting attacked by one of the kids due to the stress of the mania was high.  But the deals were too good to resist!  And we played our cards right, strategically stationing ourselves all over the store. I got everything I wanted.  But I can't say what any of it is......  Not until the 25th of December, that is!

I went to bed at 3am, and I woke up feeling hung over...  This past summer, I was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia, which basically means that sugar is now my mortal enemy and I must do what I can to avoid it at all costs.  I just don't really give too much a shit about my health when it comes to THANKSGIVING YUMMYNESS!!!!  So I had about 5 too many slices of pies and about 4 too many sodas...and countless carbs!  Unfortunately, the effect it has on me is that my body shuts down and I am completely exhausted and incoherent after my body crashes from the sugar high. 

With that said, I went for a bagel this morning, rather than the slices of chess pie I planned on eating.  I had tea instead of the large coffee with pumpkin spice flavoring and 1/4 cup of eggnog latte creamer.  I was depressed and didn't really finish my food... I was still craving pure sugar.

I spent the day running around like a mad person between stores, wrapping gifts and hiding them in my small apartment, driving to pick up my daughter and back home and rushing to work.  I meant to have all my cards done by last Sunday ...

But that didn't happen.  I had to put everything to the side so I could plan out my Black Friday shopping!  I have almost finished about half of them.  I started with some very simple cards, just cutting out rectangles from festive paper and mounting it onto the card.

Like these two.  Very simple.  In hindsight, I should have just made them all this way. Faster. Easier.  Cleaner.  But where's the fun in that???

So then I made some Christmas trees.  I figured, "If you are going through the trouble to even bother with hand making all your cards, you should at least get some fun out of it.  Try something new!"  So I did.  I love working with paper a lot, but I am not very good with making cards.  I browsed all my magazines and books on the topic.  But, as I find so often, it's best if I just let my imagination take over and do what works well for me.

I am almost done with about half of them.  I had to throw away about 20 embellishments.  I used some fabric paint....  It didn't do what I was hoping it would and I have to go back re-make all of those cards again.  I'm SO NOT HAPPY about that, but hey-- Isn't that what art is about?  Trying the unconventional?  Taking chances?  Realizing that you fucked up royally?  And starting from ground zero again and again and again?  Until you find something like contentment with what you've fought so hard to create?  Well, that's what it's like for me!  Ha ha ha!  I assume that, for aspiring crafty/artsy peoples, this is not encouraging, but let me just put this out there:  There is NO greater feeling that trying 127 kabillion times to make something, anything, which invokes a sense of pride within you.  Nothing makes you happier and feel more accomplished.

The name of the game for the next few days is to get 100% done with ALL designs, including a re-do of the wreaths & ornaments I had, snowflakes, snowman, gift boxes, gingerbread men, and even Rudolf!  Wish me luck!  I sketch everything by hand on cardstock and use it as a stencil.  I am not sure if Rudolf will look like a reindeer or an Water Buffalo! I don't have that many cards left to make, but I am totally determined to have me some FUN while I get to it! 

--Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Have a Happy Handmade Christmas!

Well, it's the holiday season.  I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by.  I planned on making more posts this year than ever, but I guess that didn't work out. It's really time consuming to log in, comment, read, write, edit, upload, post daily for me.  It's also painful, as I have really bad carpal tunnel.

But it's the holidays and I am newly inspired!  I have wanted to do this for years, and for some reason, this year I am actually working on a HANDMADE CHRISTMAS.  Don't get me wrong, it will not be 100% handmade.  The fact is:  I am not building a dollhouse for my daughter or taking an electrical engineer class in order to construct some awesome electronic gifts.  So those will be store bought, but outside of toys and electronics, I am making things by hand.

So I am sitting in my disaster of a dining area late last night (or early this morning; take your pick) and I am working on my cards to mail out, cutting, pasting, decorating, etc.... and I think:  Why am I not blogging about this???  I know the answer.... "Because every time I post, I disappear for months on end without notice..."  Well, that and my wrist hurts really bad when I am on my laptop *Sad face!

But even if the posts are short and the pictures are of mediocre quality, I want to have some proof that I made my Christmas!

First, I made myself a holiday planner.  The picture of the cover is somehow saved in an odd angle that I can't fix, but this is the inside.  I got the idea off of pinterest randomly looking up DIY Christmas gift ideas.  I didn't find any ideas I liked, but I was ecstatic about getting organized in such a cute way!

Then I got started on my Christmas cards.  I normally buy about 200 cards, but this year, I wanted to make them, so I kept it simple, keeping the mailing list to less than 100.  If I spend the next weeks making cards, then I am sure to disappoint those expecting some creative gifts!

I cranked out about 60 envelopes over the weekend!  I am glad I kept up the hard work.  My attention span is about as short as a new born baby's. 

And then the other night, I fooled around with about 40 fonts until I found 4 that I liked the best.  I edited the text into the small cards and cut them out.

I have actually finished about half of them now, but I will save that for another day to post about :) 
I chose not to make lavish, extravagant (and time consuming cards) but I really like the cards I designed.  They are festive, cute, and simple.

More to come in the next few days, as I prepare to mail out my first batch of cards!

Happy Holidays!