I had an AWESOME print find today, and I have to share. It was so hot out in the valley I decided no secret stairs today, and instead just walked around some cute independent shops. I stopped in front of an old frame shop with a sign that said $5 prints. I decided to flip through seeing mostly ads and posters.. nothing exciting. Then I came across this beautiful series (2) of prints. I went into this frame store/shop of oddities and spoke with an old man who must have been the owner. He had to be over 80, with thick magnifying glasses and adorable suspenders (which were the pattern of measuring tape) and this shop looked like his playground. I fell instantly in love with him. He gave me the series for a total of $5. Did I mention these prints were signed and numbered? Nothing like the movie posters he was selling. I had to share this, because I stumbled upon such a great find by stopping into independent shops. Take a walk around your neighborhood and even if you’re just browsing (like I was) you might stumble upon something really special.

Christmas Day 2011

Christmas day began as it traditionally does, opening gifts around 10am with me in pjs and my family fully dressed in nice clothes. I got my parents dog a santa outfit, which we forced her into.

Instead of the usual “everyone opens one gift at a time, then we all look at the gift” (aka 24hr gift giving) we tried to mix it up by having everyone open a gift at once. Thankfully this saved us a lot of time and we all still got to see what everyone was opening. One highlight from the gift giving was grandma receiving a little purse (for an ID + cell phone) and her response of “this is so when Im at the bar and pass out, they can identify the body?” hahaaa.. she’s 93 and hilarious! It gives me hope for 93 year old Bethany. Around 1p we finished opening gifts and my mom prepared a delicious brunch. After that it was nap time!

Later in the night we went to see the Hubbard Park lights, which was a great activity to do with Grandma, so we could all enjoy it from the car. They had a ton of lights, my favorite being the globe of lights.

After dinner we (minus Grandma) went into the center of town to walk. I’m from a charming Connecticut town with historically old homes all dressed for the holidays. It was a beautiful walk and thankfully the temperature was bearable.

We made it an early night, seeing as Erica and I had a train to catch to NYC the next morning.

Holiday Cards: Embossing

My holiday cards have officially been sent (finally!) so I feel it’s safe to talk about them. One style of card that I love is embossing. My family would make these when I was growing up, so I associate Christmas with embossing. After Thanksgiving (black-friday, cough-cough) Michael’s was having a 50% off sale on stamps, so I found a classy yet simple holiday-fall looking stamp and a new Chrsitmas card was born. I already owned the following needed to make this card: cutting mat, brown 8.5X11″ paper, embossing stamp pad, printer access, copper embossing powder, embossing heat gun, metal ruler, accent paper (in this case red card stock).

Once you find the perfect stamp, design a template on the computer that says “Happy Holiday’s in a fun font (check out dafont for ideas). I decided to make a postcard, which meant I could fit 4 cards on a standard 8.5X11 piece of paper. Print your design onto the brown paper. Use the stamp on the embossing pad and stamp it on all four spots on the paper. An embossing pad is like a giant glue stick, so when you stamp and then use the embossing powder, it sticks to the pattern of the stamp.

I own several embossing powders, but I found the copper had a hint of red that gave it a Christmasy vibe. It also stood out on the brown paper. So pour the power over the stamped areas, and then collect the excess powder because it can all be reused.

The paper should look like this (below). Heat up the embossing gun (mine is Martha Stewart brand and it works well). I like to use the heat gun under the paper which then melts the copper powder into a solid. Sometimes the heat causes the paper to warp, but since we are mounting it after, it’s not a big deal. Be safe with the heat gun. You can smell the paper burning while embossing, so be sure to keep the heat moving around the page so you don’t burn the paper or start a fire.

The melted copper powder creates a solid raised pattern matching the stamp. Next cut out the postcards.

Cut out the accent color for the postcard. Once completed, you get a special homemade card that looks classy and unique. Write your greeting on the back of the postcard and then toss in the mail! Warning: Embossing is addicting and you’ll want to make cards to celebrate every occasion.

I have several other designs I’ll unveil this week. Even if you don’t like my patterns, hopefully it’ll inspire you to try something new.

Weekend Recap

Did you go to the Etsy Renegade Craft Fair?! I did, and knocked a ton of gift’s off my to-buy Christmas list. Unfortunately, my camera is still out of commission, so you’ll have to settle for cell phone pics for the next couple weeks of posts. Check out the website HERE for a recap from the event sponsors.

I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite vendors. You see, I go to this event twice a year and I can always count on certain vendors to be back with new merchandise and also some new booths I’ve never seen before. Graze organic is one of these new (or at least new-to-me) booths. They make 100% organic reusable sandwich + snack bags. “Disposable” plastic ziplock bags are convenient but TERRIBLE for the environment. Everyday people use these bags to pack their lunches and then they toss them out at the end of the day. Graze uses organic fabrics to create snack and sandwich sized bags that you can reuse and wash with your clothes in the washing machine. It’s such a great concept. The vendor had one of her first prototypes to show how long they last. It was a tad faded, but considering she’s washed it tons of times, it was in great condition. Check out their website HERE, order them for your family for Christmas and help the environment.

Of course my favorite tee shirt vendor, Fuzzy Ink, was there with a few new designs. And one of my favorite jewelry stands, Love Nail Tree. Another great Renegade fair down.

From the craft fair I went to a sushi-making party at a coworkers place along the Venice Canals. What a beautiful night there, and they’ve put Christmas lights out on all the bridges. I highly recommend a twilight walk along the canals.

After Venice I headed to Largo for Paul Scheer’s Sexy Christmas Show, but that event deserves it’s own post 🙂

Holiday Cards!

I had every intension of going to the gym last night but I got wrapped up in a more creative project: Holiday Cards! This year I want to make my own cards and I know that as it gets closer to December Im getting busier and busier, so if I want to do it, I have to start now. I can’t reveal the cards Im making until after they’ve been sent (I want them to be a surprise for my friends) but I thought it would be a great day to compile some clever ideas that can be adapted into your own personalized cards.

The Christmas Postcard is a great way to send a greeting while being environmentally friendly. It’s also easier to tack to a fridge with a magnet. And if you create one that doesn’t need and envelope, then you save SO much paper.

Stencils are a fun cheap way to make unique holiday cards. With just a can of spray paint and some paper, you can create custom designs. Here’s a great example I found online:

KSD Creations: Kraft Christmas Card Using a Stencil

This card is made using some snowflake stencils (easy to find online, print yourself, and cut out yourself aka FREE), put them on the card and sponge a little white paint on top (or you can use spray paint) and write “Happy Holidays” on it and you have an awesome card. The fun thing about stenciled snow flakes is you can make many versions and play around with the placement on the card, so each card is as unique as a snowflake (cheesy but true).

Design Sponge is a great blog with crafty ideas and DYI projects. I’m sure I will talk about their ideas a lot in future posts, and you should check out there website for inspiration.

I hate to cut it short, but work’s a madhouse today. In the next few weeks Ill develop more card ideas and keep you posted. But for now, you should start thinking about it, because who doesn’t love receiving an awesome homemade holiday card?