Halloween Countdown Chain

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Handy Boy has been hounding me lately, asking “When’s Halloween?!?!” He is 9 and has a better sense of time than younger kids, but a month still seems like ages to him.

I decided to make him a Halloween Countdown chain.  I have made Christmas countdown chains for him in the past, so why not Halloween?  This was very easy to do.  You could also make a countdown chain for a birthday, or a big trip, using different paper.

I used 12×12″ scrapbook paper.  I chose Halloween colors, and cut them into 1 inch wide strips, using my  Making Memories trimmer.  You can buy this trimmer at craft stores.  I LOVE THIS TRIMMER!  I highly recommend it for any kind of scrapbooking or paper crafting.

Here are all of the Halloween colors I used.  Different shades of orange, gray, brown, black, etc.

I stapled all of the rings together.  After, I noticed that some of my scrapbook paper was white on one side, but Handy Boy won’t care.  He’ll take one ring off every night before he goes to bed.

Here it is!  I decided to make enough rings for the rest of September.  Why not?  Handy Boy loved it.  I was going to work on this when he came home from school today, but I couldn’t wait.  😉

Linking to: The Gypsy’s Corner/All Thingz Related/A Silly Little Sparrow/It’s a Blog Party/My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia/Lucky Star Lane/My Backyard Eden/We are That Family/Blue Cricket Design/Someday Crafts/The Thrifty Home/Seven Thirty Three/Tales from Bloggeritaville/somewhat simple/Fireflies and Jellybeans/House of Hepworths/The Shabby Nest/My Romantic Home/Fingerprints on the Fridge/Remodelaholic/Funky Junk Interiors/I Heart Naptime/It’s So Very Cheri/Keeping it Simple/The Girl Creative/Skip to My Lou

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Scrapbook Paper Organizing

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I decided that I really needed to go through my scrapbook paper in order to be more productive for my upcoming scrap projects.  I just had too many papers that I wasn’t using.  Sometimes, when I went to look for a color, I’d see the same old papers staring out at me that I’ve had for years.  I kept passing those colors and patterns by.  For some reason it finally dawned on me (!!) that I should just take out the papers I am never going to use.

After taking out papers I won’t use, I freed up almost 1/4 of my paper storage!  Wheeeee!

I used to be a Creative Memories scrapbook consultant, so these large plastic envelopes and the large black bin are from CM.  They are discontinued items now, but you can find similar systems in scrapbook stores, or online.

These clear folders have two pockets; I store whole sheets in the back pocket and scraps in the front pocket.

I also dug out our Brother P-touch label maker and labeled the tabs in a better way.  I separated solids and prints.  I have a folder for “Reds” and one for “Red Prints”, and so on.  I also have folders in the back for large ABC/123 stickers.

Ahhhh…maybe this means I can work on some pages now!  I have been wanting to scrap so badly, but I knew that I had to go through my paper first, since it was such a mess.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a “before” photo, but the black container was STUFFED full of paper, and it was getting very hard to add or remove paper.

As for the paper I removed: I saved some pieces for Handy Boy to play with, and I made a large stack to donate to a friend who has a scrapbook ministry.

Crafters (especially scrapbookers): do you need to clean out any crafty items, so you can move along with a project?

My Scrapbook Table

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I’ve been scrapbooking since 1998, and over the years I’ve used various tables and desks to work on.  We decided that since I do SO much scrapbooking, I needed a better set up.  We went to an unfinished furniture store in our area, and bought this: a kitchen island.

Handy Man brought it home and finished it with polyurethane for me.  He also reinforced the bottom, and put rubber wheels on it so I could move it around.  I can move it into the living room and watch a movie while I scrap.

Believe me, my scrap surface is NOT this clean all the time!  I try to start out this way, so I can find everything…but it ends up covered in pages and paper and photos, etc.  The zippered case on the left holds blades and cutting system patterns. The long, black case in the middle stores stickers.  The tall black case on the right stores paper.  On the left is my 12″ Making Memories trimmer , and the pages I’m working on are right in front of me.  I also put the small trimmer to my right.  The blue and white item on the surface is my Ott light.  These lights are great for giving good, clear light for scrapping or any kind of crafting.

On the side of the island facing us, there is an overhang that is hard to see in the photo.  I bought a bar-height chair that I can sit on that brings me right up to the table so I can sit in a good position to scrap.

I bought these baskets from the unfinished furniture store; they were reasonably priced, and fit perfectly.  Inside them I store my EZ runner and other adhesives; large and small punches, extra cutting templates etc. etc.  I can pick up a basket and put it on the surface while using it.

The back of the unit, which has shelves for storage: I usually store my photo boxes in there, and bags and cases that I use when transporting my stuff to a crop.  I also store 12×12 page refills, and 12×12 pages that are in progress.  I do have to pull the whole unit from the wall to get around to the back, but that is easy because of the wheels.  Plus, I store things in there that I don’t need to access every time I scrap.

These are the shelves opposite the basket shelves.  Handy Man thought I should get more square baskets, but I wanted larger areas to store big items.  I store memorabilia in here, stamps (which I don’t use that much yet), and oversize memorabilia and such that won’t fit elsewhere.  I may get more square baskets eventually, but for now I like the more open storage here.

Above each side (where the baskets and large memorabilia are stored), I have small drawers. One side holds pens and a few extra blades; and the other side stores miscellaneous photos.

That’s a tour of my scrapbook table.  Right now, the surface is a mess, because I’ve been sorting some photos and memorabilia, but before I get to working, I’ll clean it off.  This holds most of the things I use to scrap.  I do have some extra albums and pages in a closet elsewhere, because if I stored them here I’d have to room for my little things!  But this table really contains all of the things I use when I’m scrapping.

I am also very careful when I think about buying something new; I think about where it would go on or in my table.  I’m selective, because I do not want to outgrow this table.  I want everything to be self-contained on here.

It can be hard to store crafts that have a lot of supplies (like scrapbooking, stamping, sewing, etc.)  If you have a craft area and it is a huge mess, work on whittling down the amount of “stuff” you have.  You can ask local schools if they would take donations of craft items.  Think about different ways you can store your craft things.

This wasn’t the cheapest option, but over the years I have struggled with storage, and having a large enough surface, so it was worth it to me to buy this piece of furniture.  Handy Man thought about buying wood to make me something similar, but it turns out that buying all new wood would have cost more than buying this island and refinishing it!

Linking to: Miss Mustard Seed/Organize and Decorate Everything/It’s so Very Cheri

Do you have a craft or hobby area?  What is it like?

What To Do With All Those Christmas Cards?

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Over New Year’s and the weekend, we took down our Christmas decorations and I took down our Christmas cards.   I always put the photo cards in my scrapbook…but I was also looking at the other cards and thinking “What can I do with these?”

A few years ago, I cut everyone’s signatures out of their cards and put them into a scrapbook layout.  I thought it was a fun way to capture people’s writing, especially in the Intenet Age, where almost NO ONE writes letters anymore!

This year, I decided that I was going to take some of my punches, and punch some shapes out of the cards.  I looked through my punches, and decided to use my square maker to make some punch-outs:

I used these squares to decorate my scrapbook pages with the photo cards on them.  Great, easy decorations for a scrapbook page!  Sorry, I won’t be posting the scrap layouts here, as I want to keep my family, friends and especially their children’s faces “anonymous.”

Another thing I did was to punch out some tags:

Just make sure that the section of card that you are punching out is blank on the back; so you can use the back side to write who the gifts are “to” and “from.”  The Creative Memories tag maker that I used also has the option to punch a hole on the top of the tag.  You can then tie it to a package with ribbon.  Save these tags for next Christmas!

Another option for Christmas cards is to send them to the St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. This is an organization that helps neglected children.  Children and volunteers cut off the fronts of cards, then attach them to new white or ivory cards, and sell the cards to raise funds for their organization.  Very cool!  They accept cards other than Christmas cards, as well.   It says on the site that cards will be accepted this year until February 28, 2010.

What do you do with your Christmas cards?  Toss ’em? Recycle them somehow?  Share your ideas here!

Wicked Simple Christmas Decorations

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It turns out that I have a very Crafty Sister-in-Law!  Magdalena is Crafty in different ways than I am: she can sew for one; I can’t even sew a button on straight!  I KNEW she would love scrapbooking, and I showed her how to scrapbook.  Her scrapbooks are great, too!

Magdalena decorated her home for Christmas in some very Crafty and inexpensive ways.   I know it’s after Christmas now, but you could also use these ideas for winter decorating as well.

My sister-in-law and her family have a Christmas tree and a Nativity set up for Christmas, but I loved the other simple decorations she made.  She used some pine branches, a ribbon, a votive and some pine cones from our yard to make an arrangement on the dresser in their entryway:

More pine branches in a simple vase she already had, in the guest bathroom:

A simple votive holder, inside a little glass dish with little red decorative stones from a discount store:

Cute, huh?  I have pine trees all around our house, yet I never thought to use them this way.  Have you made any home made decorations using nature?

Wicked Easy Christmas Ornaments

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Today’s post is from my first Guest Blogger, Danielle!  Danielle is a “Wicked” Crafty Girl, she is way more crafty than I am.  Her scrapbook pages are incredible; and she also makes crafty, home made decorations.  Here are some cute, easy Christmas ornaments that she recently made.  When I saw them, I told her that I had to show these on my blog.  You can make these with children, as long as they are old enough to be careful with the glass.

Supplies:
– 1 clear glass ornament
– paper strips (I make them about 1 in x 6 in)
– ribbon to match

Start by rolling each paper strip into as tight of a ball you can. (I pull the strip as I’m rolling it to keep it really tight). Drop each piece into the glass ornament and continue to roll each piece until they reach the top, leaving a bit of room to get the top of the ornament back in.

Add a ribbon to the top so you can hang it on the tree, and add whatever “bling” you may want to use. I kept this one simple because I am going to personalize it for a family member with a white pen. Simple, but different and elegant. You can also add self-adhesive jewels to the outside of the glass, or glitter on the inside for a little pizazz!

Thanks, Danielle!

Fall Craftiness

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Since the weather is turning cooler, I decided to take out my fall decorations and set them up.  However, I noticed that two of our fall wreaths were looking pretty awful!!  Two years ago, we got a lot of rain in the fall, and before Handy Man could put up the storm doors, the wreaths got POURED on and some of the decorations on them were faded and started to look “icky.”

I didn’t take a “before” photo…but I took out my glue gun (or, I should say, Handy Man’s glue gun) and got to work.

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I took some fake fall leaves, pine cones, berries, etc. that I bought cheap at  a craft store (on sale for a WHOPPING $3), and I took off the faded pieces and glued the new pieces on.

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Aren’t they purty now?  While I call myself “Crafty Woman”, I’m definately not the type to make wreaths like this from scratch.  But I can fix them, so we don’t have to buy new ones.

Sharing this with The Shabby Nest.

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