Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gift Wrap for Pennies.

It's going to be a handmade shabby chic Christmas!

I have been working today on our Christmas wrap and getting my gifts in order. Oh hush, it's NOT too early! LOL I shop and create all year long so I end up with baskets full of gifts at this time of year just waiting to be wrapped and tagged and tucked away until December. I need to clear the tables and get these off my docket so I can move on and get the next batch ready for Dec 2011.

That means it's also time for GIFT WRAP! I saw some great concepts on Pinterest lately and I was inspired! My workplace tosses out literally garbage bags full of plain brown rumpled craft paper every week. We get it in packed product shipments but the store has no use for it---until I came along! I am adopting the brown paper to make my gift wrap for 2011! I challenged myself--like I do so often-- to make it COMPLETELY from stash if possible. It was important to me to stay "green" with this project and use up some of my already existing white accents, paints, trims, and so on with this donated 'trashed' craft paper. Craft paper brown and white look terrific together. Shabby chic all the way!

Now that I had the wrap concept, I had to plan my tags and ribbons to somehow coordinate. What did I have a LOT of that I could make tags from? In my studio I found a 1/2 inch stack of white 12x12 chipboard and several sheets of leftover 12x12 brown and cream font handwriting paper. The chipboard was the kind you get on the backs of paper stacks. DING! DING! DING! And away we go!

I grabbed my white and brown inks and paints and a few snowflake rubber stamps. My arms were full but I tucked my Tattered Angels mist bottle on top! On the way out of the room I snagged a yard and a half of prewrinkled rippled white cotton fabric to tear up for my "ribbon". Whew!
TIP: Garage sales are the best sources for unique fabrics!

As you can see, I work in assembly line style. I cut LOTS of 3x5 tags! Tag steps from left to right: Cut the tags. Mist the tags. Chalk ink the edges. Add the pattern paper at the bottom. Stamp the snowflakes. Add TO and FROM with brown Zig marker. Stamp the back with a complementing stamp. Lastly I added a little sparkle with glitter glaze and gems on the snowflakes.

I tied up my gift with a 1 x 45 inch strip of my torn white fabric and here is the finished item! I might add some more lace or bling to the bow areas too. I have a whole little tin of rhinestone bits that might look good on the bows of the ladies gifts.

I think a holiday tree with oodles of these underneath it will look so sweet. :D

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The benefits of doing Genealogy

Two family oriented gifts: art calenders!

Seen above--Besler Botanical prints --my new geneo-horticultural passion!

One of the great benefits of doing our family genealogy work over the last 35 years is that we have some truly interesting connections to the past. I discovered one that lends itself to a few fun twists to our family gifting this season. My husband's family is related to the German Killians of colonial Lancaster county PA who are in turn descended from the Kilian engraving family of Augsburg, Germany. To make a long story short, my hubby's Kilian ancestor Wolfgang Kilian did the master engraving for one of the first botanical reference books ever done-published in 1613. The work was commissioned by Prince Bishop Johann Gemmingen who loved to garden and was wealthy enough to have rare types of things in his garden (for the 1600's anyway). The Bishop had a botanist and artist named Basil Besler draw them over 16 years, all 667 of them. Then he had Wolfgang and his metal engraving family engrave them all so that the huge book could be printed and reprinted. In those days there were no Kinkos. Metal engraving was how you reprinted any pictorial work. What a botanical treasure. Fast forward to 2011 and those Besler/Kilian prints are still being sold around the world 400 years later. Cool huh? If you are super interested, you can see a small sampling of the book here as a PDF.

So, I have been making home print outs of some of these botanical specimens into gifts for our family. I converted them back to sepia to show off the engraving aspect of them. The Art calender and the Family calender above each hold 12 different prints of this family artwork. Plus, I am telling the story of the past Kilians to them too--as you would expect. Don't you love it?

Now for the next gift --made from advertising prints!

This one is a fun gift.
All four salt kitchen ads are downloaded off the internet (at EBAY of all places!) I saved off the pics and printed them for pennies here at home. This black and white mat frame was from a garage sale for $2 and it was terrific frame quality. Plus it was all ready to go! I just inserted the sepia computer print outs of four charming 1906-1910 ads from a food company relevant to their family history during that era. Great conversation piece too!

If I tell them the stories often enough, they might remember, right??!

Treasure the Moment!

I have been crafting away in August and in Sept so far. Yep, working on Christmas gifts from our Scrapper's Challenge "Christmas in July" and "Christmas in August" postings. What fun ideas bounced around our SC Facebook site too! Join if you haven't yet!

I have also been inspired by some great ideas from PINTEREST, my new go-to spot for tutorials and new concepts. Well perhaps a 25 year old crochet pattern might not be considered truly a NEW concept but if it's new to me, I love it!

The Treasure the Moments 4x6 accordion album cost me all of about $1. I found the base album brand new at Goodwill for $1 tucked under some notebooks. Bam! It's mine. Boring black but I can decorate it in about 20 minutes. And I did --with the addition of one of my own extra ATC cards, the cardboard from the Cosmo Cricket packaging which held the lock charm. Ah yes upcycle when you can.... and I added some creamy delicious vintage cotton string off a crochet roll from a garage sale. Those older rolls of string and lace just have a great patina to them.

What else have I been making? More to come in another post...soon!
Don't forget to treasure the moment!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Have you discovered PINTEREST yet?

I have! And boy do I LOVE Pinterest now!

It's all about organizing those randomly found wonder ideas out on the internet and bringing them home to a VISUAL bookmarking organizational method. It really is simple and it really does WORK!

You do a simple download and add their toolbar to your top of your browsers regular basic toolbar. Once you have it there, you can travel the internet and whenever you find a wonderful idea, sketch, artwork, or whatever--you can then pin it and it will go to your own boards. The PIN IT button will make a bookmark style notation electronically so you can at any time after that go straight to your boards and find that idea BY PICTURE! No more trying to remember whose blog something was at. Its all visual. Sort ALL your crafts, sketches, scrapping or other tutorials, ideas, even your own work into boards on your Pinterest page.

Anything you need to keep track of online, Pinterest will help you keep track of where it's at. After you have pinned a photo, it's on your board for you to come back to at any time. From your board, you just click on that photo of the item you want to go see. The photo gets larger and then you simply click again at the upper right where you see their URL link. Poof away you go back to that page that you want. Browsing the internet is so much more fun when I know I can actually keep track of those cool ideas and online tutorials!

Just be sure that when you are looking at a bookmark PIN for the first time that you are actually pinning to the base link for that idea and not just a picture of a picture. Follow up to find the actual web page the idea came from originally. Not just someone's compilation of links. For those of us who have original ideas and tutorials out there, it is the only way to make sure we still get credit as a creator. Keep the original author's link as the PINNED link.

Pinterest is the ultimate "What You See is What You Get" bookmarking application for those us who are in a hurry. I am very visual --and frankly I forget to bookmark websites the old fashioned way. You can check out what other members-- who have the same interests --have pinned to their boards with the Pinterest keyword search feature. Do you love decorating with blue Ball jars? Type it in at Pinterest's home page search engine and see what others have pinned. RePin the ones you like from other people's boards over to your own boards. Love making chocolates? Make a whole board of delicious photo links to those scrumptious treats! You'll never loose a online recipe again! You could theoretically make a whole online virtual cookbook via Pinterest! You can have as many boards as you like!

Give Pinterest visual bookmarking a try. You can start with my own personal boards here at PINTEREST. I suggest the board called "Inspiring Crafty Stuff". Have fun!