multi-task holiday season crafting [BPC blog hop]


Season’s greetings!

It’s the holiday season, and that means days are short, to-do lists are long, and time is precious. The one pitfall I try very hard to avoid is making the mistake of not making time to be creative.

Today I am participating in the Big Picture 12 days of Christmas instructor blog hop! As a multi-tasking woman this time of year I am combining my contribution with a “25 days of holiday crafting” post with a real gift I needed to wrap up this afternoon.

See how that works? Not only can you multi-task by crafting in especially useful ways, but I find that I feel better because I’m crafting – even if it is small projects and short amounts of time. Multi-tasking is my absolute favorite thing to do during December! It’s a holiday tradition really, and I love the challenge.

Today I am going to share with you a how-to on this gift card holder – gift cards are a favorite thing of mine to give, but I like to take 5-10minutes and dress them up a bit. That is truly all it takes! It gives me the chance to play with crafty things AND fancy-fy a gift for someone.

First, you need an idea. I took a little Starbucks gift card holder and covered the front with white cardstock. Because COME ON. I’m not giving someone a gift card that SAYS where the gift card is from right on the front!

To get some color on it I just dotted distress stain onto my craft mat, then misted my gift card holder with water and rubbed it around…

Bam! As you can see it turns out there was a hidden pattern on the sides – cool! This idea is one I borrowed from Tim Holtz – he’s been doing this for backgrounds on his tags this week. scrap-lifting, another great time saver!

I misted with my green patina perfect pearls mist, then closed it up (gift card inside), wrapped with some green tulle, added a charm…

then I stamped some holly leaves + my one and only Christmas sentiment stamp (love it!), edged with gold paint…

Then my deer seemed too silver, so I dabbed some (caramel) alcohol ink onto him and it’s ready to go!  I timed myself with this project – it took 7 minutes start to finish and I am SO much happier with giving away this Starbucks gift card than if I had just handed it over plain.


If you’re short on time this holiday season, consider multi-tasking so that you can feel that you are accomplishing things while also getting to be creative. Looking for more ideas? Please do continue along the hop! The next blog hop stop is Karen Grunberg 

Want to know more about the Big Picture Class “12 days of Christmas” that I’m a part of? Head on over to the class registration page and check it out. It’s a great way to get inspiration for a dozen scrapbook pages from a dozen BPC instructors. I’m so happy to be a part of it – and see what the other instructors have come up with too!

Here is a full listing of the instructors participating in today’s blog hop:

Nic Howard
Georgana Hall
Stacy Julian
Tami Morrison 
Wendy Smedley 
Lisa Day
Kelly Purkey
Elizabeth Dillow
Karen Grunberg


day 14 | faux snow globes


I created a video tutorial for an article that just posted at all about my new favorite project – snow globes!

Well to be honest, they’re not real ones. No water or fluids, just a cool scene and glitter.

 This one has been on display a little over a week now, and gets lots of attention from my girls + comments from visitors too. A one of a kind, easy, fun, and looks great on display decor piece! I can not wait to make more.

Here’s a link to my article that has the how-to video:

day 13 | the projects don’t all work.


I have not been happy with my attempts at banners. They simply aren’t working in the way I envision them, and for now I am tossing the project aside. Perhaps I’ll re-visit at Valentine’s Day time or Easter.

Know what? that’s alright. Because mistakes, projects gone bad, and hideously ugly creations are a part of my process.

Above is a die cut snow globe gone wild (in the worst sense). Oh yeah. Using photo paper because I’m too lazy to figure out where I have white cardstock… well… sometimes things do NOT work as substitutions. SO noted that my rock candy crackle paint doesn’t like to play with that particular paper. It’s like a nasty sunburn or something… so gross…

Y’all know that you have to be careful when stamping with distress inks and you don’t let it dry/set and instead in your big hurry apply rock candy distress crackle paint right away. You know it’s gonna bleed out until you can’t see the image, right?


These are just three of today’s examples of crafting gone bad. That’s alright. It’s cool baby. I have had a few “HEY! mine didn’t turn out like so-and-so’s” moments too – in which I realize I didn’t follow directions.

Sometimes that leads to AWESOME things…

Like my first tag inspired by Tim’s 12 Tags of Christmas. I got all mixed up, ended up adding steps that aren’t there… and it WORKED. I LOVE IT. I will be sharing a full how-to this weekend because I have two other posts that are going up (also GOOD things) before it!

Just remember – the goofs can lead to good things – so enjoy the process…

day 12 | using scrapbook product off the page this holiday season


Today Nancy and Melissa (aka the other contributors to Nancy’s site are also blogging about using scrapbook products “off the page” this holiday season. Be sure to check out their blogs for their ideas!

This time of year – nothing is off limits. I’m yanking silk flowers out of arrangements to use on gift wrap, stamping onto brown paper bags to create custom wrapping paper, using patterned paper in place of ribbon.

In other words, when it comes to crafting supplies – the walls are torn down! I’ve been sharing my crafty adventures (25 days worth!) you can see the archives here: There is still much to come, today I want to look specifically at how I use my scrapbook supplies off the page:

Above you see a wrapped gift… done almost entirely with craft supplies! The paper I use (and most often use) is just a roll of kraft paper you can find at any craft store. A shopping bag works too. From there I built with my crafty stash. Patterned paper, stamped tag, die cut patterned paper, paper rosette… even the doily and ribbon are from my scrapbook stash!

The biggest thing to remember is this: use what works. Sometimes that fancy (expensive) “gift wrap” product is something you as a crafter have, or can quickly DIY.

shown above: a package arrives at my house with baker’s twine (trendy SB product!) + stamped image wrapped in kraft.

Above you see a glittered postcard (here’s a link they’re on sale at amazon right now – LOVE Cavallini postcards) I purchased these to use both on gifts and in my scrapbook. LOVE products that are multi-purpose.

Where else can you use crafty products? Anywhere really! Here’s a list of some other favorites:

  • table settings [napkin rings, place cards, centerpiece, table runner (paper!) or place mats]
  • ornaments
  • wall decor
  • altered items [wood items, re-purposed, etc]
  • other items for decor [configurations boxes, mini books, etc]
  • cards & gift wrap
  • garlands
  • punch “confetti”

The best thing about all of this for me, is maximizing my budget AND using up what I already own. *LOVE* the budget aspect. I can make stuff for SO MUCH LESS than buying so much of the time!! I made myself a very quick & easy table runner from 2 pieces of fabric (minimal sewing too) from stuff I already had for a dinner party last weekend.

 I also used some Tim Holtz die cuts to create quick and easy place cards that I set on the napkins

I edged the snowman die cut in faded jeans ink, used a banner die cut for the name, and my white sakura souffle pen to write the name. Simple, but it added to my blue & white “winter” table better than anything I could find to purchase.

Customization and total control – another reason I love cardstock and die cuts AND bringing my craft room out into the house this time of year. Semi-homemade and DIY craftiness does not have to take a lot of time. You can do things quickly and on a budget, and have fun too.

Personally, nothing makes me happier than seeing my craftiness in use and being enjoyed by friends and family.  I’m off to make my first paper banner of the season – I will share that how-to, as well as an apron tutorial and more later this week.

Reminder: Check out Melissa & Nancy’s blogs for their ideas too: 

first days of (a very crafty) december.


I’m 3pgs into my “december daily”, which I think is an AWESOME start. Especially since it was an insanely crazy weekend – so much so that I did not once turn on my computer!

As I said before I’m not doing “Daily” yesterday inspired 3-5 pages. Many of those will simply be recipes. Here is one I just made sitting down with my morning coffee instead of surfing internet. It took 9 minutes. I printed it out, I can add product to it now if I want. LATER. For now, it’s in the album and my Barefoot Contessa love is documented:

I did this in Microsoft Word, added in the birdie + the image of my tea crackers. The image was so grainy and poor, I decided rather than try and print at a larger size and add later I’d just print it onto cardstock with the rest. (cream cardstock used).

I love documenting recipes I’ve used, and WHY/what reason I first used them. This is one I’ll revisit. The spread is AMAZING. Here’s a link to her recipe.

I have other recipes I will document, I am snagging scraps of fabric from my homemade table runner to staple to a page, and other assorted details.

The #1 detail about my project DD? I AM NOT THINKING ABOUT DESIGN. Not thinking about “pretty” or “balance”. I’m treating it more journal-like. Just documenting stories + details. “Letting go” of the usual details I play with, going for pure speed vs pretty is going to ensure that I get a LOT packed into this album.

I’ve already proven to myself that this 8 1/2 x 11 album size is the PERFECT size for this. I’ve printed out 3 pages and stuck them straight in already. BOOM! That sense of accomplishment, the lack of paper trimmer so far in this project – it’s nice. I’m enjoying it tremendously and if I want to pretty something up, or make a separate scrapbook page I always can.

Other note from this weekend: I made 2 different cookies from the new Milk & Cookies cookbook (available @ – and only like $13.50 at last check – for hardback!) it’d be an EXCELLENT Christmas gift or gift for yourself. The recipes are not over the top, AND the stuff so far is amazingly delicious. Can’t recommend it enough!!

I have a full week of holiday craftiness + baking scheduled here – I’ll be back with more soon!

day 10 | december daily album


One year I got a mini album but never did any pages.

Other than that, I’ve never tried my hand at a December Daily album. Mainly because, well, I wouldn’t do it. The “daily” aspect and numbered pages are unappealing to me, as is the pre-made page bases. FOR ME. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s AWESOME and every year I get jealous of the ones I see. It’s such a cool thing and I adore how Ali makes it work and how inspiring she is. I just know the idea doesn’t quite fit for me and I wouldn’t enjoy doing it that way.

I was contemplating trying it my own way, an “inspired by December Daily” project, and after some thought I ordered up an American Crafts 8 1/2 x 11 album off amazon and made my plan. My book is not “my book”, it’s the family album. This is going to be an old school SCRAP BOOK – bits of life, stories, part journal and photos optional.

The photos are the tricky part. In fact they are a huge part of why I’ve never taken this on. I don’t print my own photos unless it is an emergency. I found a solution. I will cut out a 4×4 and 4×6 (to account for hipstamatic and regular prints) piece of chipboard and keep them handy. i will mark where/what photos I am using AS I GO. This way I can create and play and have fun – and I will just add in photos once or twice.

I’m really excited about this project and how much fun it will be to add in things like:

  • things the kids say
  • “wish lists” for santa
  • kid artwork
  • funny stories
  • traditions and why we do what we do
  • information about special decorations
  • a page for our holiday guests to sign/make notes
  • recipes new and old favorites
  • just for fun/because pretty art journal/quote type pages
  • notes & stories from anyone who wants to contribute

My album is ready, I have 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock purchased and ready to use. It’s going to be simple, the pages won’t be my usual “scrapbook page” looking pages. It’s going to be a new adventure. I will check in a few times when I come up with something cool or noteworthy to share.

I made a video of my creative process in making my cover – in case you want to check that out:

Supplies used:

I am not designating a “Dec Daily” folder or box or anything. I will just use/pull whatever is out or strikes my fancy as I go along. To be perfectly honest my studio is a MESS and I have everything out already.

That said – MAD LOVE to the October Afternoon holiday line (link shown above), Cavallini tapes, and the real vintage Jenni Bowlin treats I scored. I will be using all of these things, and most especially my Green Patina perfect pearls mist – and more.

Are you taking on a big holiday craft project? I’d love to hear about it!

Day 9 | hybrid tag


Sometimes I want a fast tag, something semi-homemade but cute. Today I want to share a hybrid tag featuring an image from that only takes a few minutes.

1. Open up the digital image (in word, photo editing software, etc.) and print out onto paper a size that is slightly larger than your tag. I printed 6.5in high for mine.

2. Tape your tag to the paper across the top. This will let it smoothly run through the printer, and because you  pre-printed you know exactly where the design will print.

3. Carefully remove the tape and you’re ready to play!

There is a tiny space where the tape was that you’ll have no printing on. It didn’t bother me, but I used a bit of Tim Holtz new limited edition distress ink on mine and made it barely visible! At this point I also highlighted a few areas with glossy accents + allowed to dry.

I could add glitter, more layers… but instead I just spritzed with my favorite template + current favorite mist.

And there you have it.

I will definitely be pulling this trick out more often – and yes you could re-print easily and/or print more than one at a time.







Note: The links to the seasonal distress inks (above) are to and – and they are both on sale as of this post! Get ’em while you can!!

Stencil blog hop!


I’m happy to be a part of another of Julie Balzer’s stencil blog hops today! Today the focus is on the leaf and flower frame stencils. I managed to work in both – and I had a lot of fun.

First I placed the leaf stencil onto a piece of green (kraft core) cardstock, then I used the green patina perfect pearls mist all over. I did not spray heavily – I wanted a dotted/misted look not a solid look. I then dabbed gold acrylic paint all over, and because it was still wet (and I knew this going in!) it smudged in some places. LOVE the look!

Where the mist is – it’s barely visible and in person SO sparkly. LOVE this green patina mist. Once dry I added my photos, stitched a bit, and used some yellow paint + flower frame (6″) stencil to accent my page…

In addition to the stenciled spot, I turned over the (wet) stencil and “stamped” a few spots on my page. Great use of the extra paint and I love the look!

I also used the leaf frame and (my favorite) punchinella stencils on a strip of patterned paper to add more color and depth to it. FUN.

I misted a leaf onto my journaling tag, and added a few paint, distress stickles, and other accents to finish the page.

I could see the leaves taking on a spring feel, bolder green for summer, perhaps a tropical vacation page… so many things.

As you can see I used the leaf stencil 3 ways on this page in addition to the punchinella and flower frame stencils.

A great selection of Crafter’s Workshop templates can be found at, a ton of the 6″ templates are available at, and also has a number of their templates.

Be sure to check out the other ladies in today’s hop too:
Amy Tan:
Karen Ellis:
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer:

Supplies used:

Buddy is back…


Buddy returned this weekend for his second year of being our scout elf. Becca was concerned he might come to life and eat her brains (wha—-?) but then after we re-read his book she is convinced he is kind, but still won’t speak to him. Elizabeth on the other hand will not stop talking to him about her toys, things she wants, questions about Santa…

Which reminded me I have this layout about Buddy that I’d created for Tim Holtz (CHA-Summer) that I have yet to share:

Our house rule is that you can hold/kiss/hug Buddy ONCE on the day he arrives, and again on Christmas day before he goes back to the North Pole. But you’re not allowed to touch him otherwise (per the book). Sometimes Buddy forgets to move (whoops) – we think it’s that he forgets where he had been parked or just really likes a specific spot.


into the details…


I like the sparkle. The detail. The hoopla surrounding this time of year.

I believe in not just focusing on my own immediate family here that I live with, but making sure to spread cheer and gifts to lots of people I care about. To send more happy mail, to enjoy each and every moment of the season. To let myself get carried away in a sea of glitter and giggles, spend an entire day doing a jigsaw puzzle or just laying around watching movies.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, and this holiday season in general I hope you make merry. Have fun with it. Don’t justify or excuse yourself for stuff- just smile and enjoy whatever it is you are doing. If you don’t want to send cards or spread cheer – well that’s fine too!

I will just say that in my experience, *I* get the greatest joy from the season when I’m giving and spreading cheer to others.I get more enjoyment from giving gifts than whatever I might get – which is how it should be. I don’t focus on what I want, what I would like… I just make merry and trust the rest to fall in place.

Know what? I’ve found that it does.

The years I focus on me and don’t share holiday spirit? Those are the darkest and seem the least special in retrospect.

Just something to consider…

It doesn’t have to be expensive either. A card, email, phone call… reaching out can make someone’s day. Not to mention put a bright spot in your own day.

I’m off to make some memories, try some new things, and stick to some traditions as well this weekend. Enjoy!