On April 22, 2015, my sister and her husband welcomed little Jason into the world.
I got to visit them in the hospital, but everyone was exhausted I didn't stay long and I didn't get many photos. I did get a photo of me holding Jason for the first time! This little man has made me an aunt, and I am so excited!
A few weeks later, I went over to my sister's place to take some newborn photos. They were mostly for me, as I am not a professional photographer and I didn't want my sister to rely solely on my photos for announcements, portraits for their walls, etc. However, these photos came out soooo much better than I had even hoped! Once we got him asleep, we could put him in any number of positions, so I had a blast posing and snapping away. Here are a few of my favorites:
My sister loves Radio Flyer wagons, so of course we needed a photo of Jason in a wagon.
Dad loves golf, so we got a photo of his future caddy.
And no newborn photo shoot would be complete without the detail shots of all the teeny-tiny baby parts!
I can't wait to see what kind of a person my little nephew grows up into! I have a feeling he's going to be pretty awesome, though I may be slightly biased...
I've been hard at work lately on some exciting projects! I have 3 weddings this summer that I have the privilege of designing for. I can't reveal their designs yet, but I can offer a great big CONGRATULATIONS to the newest Little Paper Creations couples.
My sister-in-law Emily and her fiance Lindsay are getting married this August. I made their save-the-dates a few months ago, and now I'm hard at work on their invitations. Here's a sneak peek at their design:
A childhood friend is also getting married this August, and I was flattered and thrilled when she said she wanted me to design her wedding invitations! Katie and Peder are having a large wedding, so I'm working really hard on their many, many invitations, but I'm having a blast! Here's a sneak peek at their design:
The third wedding I'm creating for is actually a reception, not s full wedding. The couple was married a few months ago out of state and they are having a local reception, so they asked me to create some invitations for that. It's coming up soon, so I'll have a full post on the invitations later, but until then, here's a sneak peek of their design:
For every event I am asked to create for, I make 3-5 samples for the client to choose from. When they choose a design, we tweak it so it's perfect and then I can make the entire order. I really enjoy making a unique, personal design for each person. And every time I make a new design, I learn something new. I love to learn, I love to create, and I love to share my creations with the world.
I'll have more details about these invitations as they happen. I do not post about one of my designs till they are in the hands of the guests or the event has happened. The guests should always see them first.
Do you have any big events coming up this summer? We've got 3 weddings, our anniversary, 5 family birthdays, Father's Day, and 4th of July, plus whatever else comes up. And oh yeah, we have full time jobs too. Wow, this is going to be one busy summer!
When I first starting making cards, I stuck to the supplies I knew from scrapbooking; patterned paper, cardstock, adhesive, and a little ink to distress the edges of my papers.
Then I started using stamps.
And washi tape.
And distress inks.
And embossing powders.
And each new supply created it's own unique storage problem. Because of course nothing could even be the same size or stack neatly together in a drawer. That would be too easy.
So there I was with my few embossing powders and no way to store them! Keeping them in the small jars was great for storage, but not practical to use - I ended up losing a bunch every time I would try to pour it back into the small containers.
Then I started following Jennifer McGuire and Kristina Werner. And when they both shared their embossing powder storage systems around the same time, a light bulb went off in my head! This is the perfect system for me, too! I could not afford to use the expensive containers and fancy tiny spoons they did, but I could buy cheap food storage containers and cheap plastic spoons!
I use my label maker to label all 4 sides with the name/color of the powder so no matter which way I put it back on the shelf, I will always see the color.
I label the bottom with the brand/company so if I ever need to list my supplies, I have the info because I throw away all the original containers.
On the inside of the lid, I attach a small command hook and slip a spoon inside. This keeps the spoon out of the powder, so I don't have to clean it when I need to use it. I love having one spoon for each color, it saves a lot of time cleaning off the powder between colors.
I only put powders in the containers if I use it a lot (like white, clear, gold, and silver) or if I use it for a big project (like the red tinsel powder for my Christmas cards). I do have other colors that I keep in their small containers if I only use them occasionally. I use it over a piece of copy paper and pour the extra back in the bottle.
It's working well so far because I only have a few, but I will likely have to find another place to store them if/when I get more colors.
Maybe I should keep the bottles for the project colors and put them back into the small bottles when I'm done with the project. Then I would only have my most-used colors in the big containers, that would save space.
Does anyone here use embossing powder? How do you store it? I'd love to know what works for you!
Today is Teacher Appreciation Day!
We all know how much extra effort teachers put into their students and their classrooms each and every day.
We know because we are products of those teacher.
Because our children are products of those teachers.
Because we have friends or relatives who are teachers.
Because we are teachers ourselves and we know how deeply we invest ourselves in every child that comes through our classroom.
Everyone go write a nice note or email to a teacher you know.
Go ahead, I'll wait...
Done? Ok good.
I am a preschool teacher. I have been for 10 years now (10 years? Can it really be 10 years already?!?) And as a preschool teacher, I know how important those early years are. And I know how much energy is needed to get through even a half-day class with those tiny balls of boundless energy. And I know how little time I have during the day to plan and prep and get ready for the next class or the next day. Which is why I also know the vital importance of a really good planner. And that's why I know that most of the pre-made planner out there are crap.
Yeah, I said it. Seriously though, teacher planners are just not made for preschool teachers!!! Especially those of us who teach multiple classes each day. So after years of making do and muddling through with the store-bought teacher planners, I made my own.
Is anyone here surprised? Didn't think so! ^_^
Every year, my planner morphs a little based on what I am teaching and what worked or didn't work the year before. I go back through my previous year's planner and see what kinds of notes I made on a regular basis that maybe need a dedicated space in next year's planner. I also color-code my classes, so I can see at a glance what my week looks like.
So let's do a quick break-down of what my 2014-15 planner looks like. Above is the weekly layout, in all it's messy-handwriting glory (seriously, I write like a fidgit-y 9-year-old).
The left-hand page is where I write the weekly themes for each age group and all my whole-room setup information (sensory table, science table, dramatic play center, etc).
I also keep a running list of To Do items here. And since I'm also in charge of our school website and other tech duties, I keep a small tech section at the bottom.
The right-hand page is where all the daily planning takes place. I have AM classes and PM classes, so I break the day into 3 sections: Notes/Events (birthdays, fire drills, meetings, special events), AM, and PM. I have certain activities during the day that I need to plan for like what to do at large group, small group, art, or table time. So I put those sections in each class area. Because if I don't have the prompt, I may forget to plan the activity, and there's nothing worse to not know what you're doing in the middle of a transition in a preschool classroom.
I finish out my planner with a pen loop and monthly tabs. Then I bind it and I'm done!
I love my planner! It helps keep everything organized and in one place so even my assistant and paras can look at it and know what's going on for the day!
I've had quite a few of my co-workers ask about my planner when I take it out at meetings, so I've actually designed some for my coworkers as well! I customize them for each of their unique schedules and planning needs. I've gotten really good feedback from them and even some repeat customers!
I also sell some blank designs in my Etsy shop as well, so if you'd like your very own planner, you can stop by and download a 2-page printable for only $5! And for $8, I'll customize it with the colors, words, and sections you need. And starting at $30, I'll even print out your full (customized!) planner, bind it, and ship it to you!
This planner was designed for preschool, but it would work well for home-schooling, day-care, or nannies also!
Please let me know if you have any questions about my planner or if you have questions about customizing one of your own.
Happy Planning and Happy Crafting!
5-7 days before a holiday or birthday:
*Looks at calendar* Oh look, holiday/birthday is this coming up soon! I should make a card at some point this week.
Night before holiday/birthday:
Shoot, I still haven't made a card! Well, I guess I'll have time before the party/meal/outing tomorrow.
Day of the holiday/birthday:
Aww man! I didn't make a card, I guess I'll have to find one in my stash that will work. (Thank god for my stash!)
Except not this time!!!!!
This time, I made a Mother's Day card in March!!!
I had been experimenting with Distress Ink techniques for a while and wanted to do some resist stamping with the inks. Unfortunately, most of the stamps I already have are too small, too fine, or too specific. I didn't have anything that would fill a whole card and look good with a water-color effect background without getting lost in it. So when Jo-Ann's had an amazing sale one day, I got a new stamp. It's a lot bigger than I normally use, but it's perfect for the technique I wanted to try.
I stamped the image with Versamark ink and covered it with white embossing powder. After I heat set the powder, I used a blending tool to apply different colors of ink over certain areas of the image. Then I just spritzed the whole thing with water and watched the colors magically and perfectly blend! I love distress ink!
Once it was dry, I adhered it to the card base (which I colored green using the same green ink as I used on the flowers) and added the little flag sentiment (which I colored using the pink and purple inks) and voila! Easy-peasy and oh-so-beautiful!
Now I just have to remember I have it when Mother's Day rolls around...
When do you typically make or buy Mother's Day/Father's Day/Birthday/Graduation/Wedding/etc cards? Are you a last-minute card-er like me?
P.S. This card was so much fun to make, I made more! If you'd like to give your mom a beautiful Mother's Day card too, you can get one from my Etsy store! Or talk to me in person, if you know me. :-)
It's time for another family wedding! This time, it's my husband's sister (we both have 1 younger sister). Emily and her boyfriend Lindsay got engaged in Hawaii last fall and are getting married this summer!
I love weddings, but I LOVE family weddings! It's so much more fun when you are related to the bride or groom and it's the best when you get to be involved in the planning. To me, at least. And I am super excited that I get to help create another wedding vision for another family member!
We began with save-the-dates. Their wedding is going to be pretty small, around 100 guests, so I only had to make 55 save-the-dates. Which is still a good amount, but after Erin's wedding last summer with about 150 invitations, 55 seems light!
Emily and Lindsay want a natural/fresh feel to their wedding, so we went with bright spring green and some earthy browns. I found a fern stamp that works well as a corner accent, and used brown ink for that and the text.
(I've blurred out names and locations for privacy - I forgot to make one with fake info)
I decided that the save-the-dates needed a little something more after I had done all the printing and stamping, so I pulled out some bright green spray ink. I've had this stuff in my craft room for years and never really used it before (I wasn't a messy crafter until recently), but it seemed like the perfect addition. I set up a spray-tent and went to work. The green spray ink was just what these save-the-dates needed to really make them pop!
Here's a close-up of the green spray. It's got a slight shimmer to it that really catches the light in person. It was hard to capture it in a photo.
I also decided to spritz the envelopes, and by the time I was finished with everything, my fingers were dyed bright green!
Emily and Lindsay loved them, and I am very excited to make their invitations and other wedding details in the upcoming months. I will have a full run-down of their stationary in the fall after the wedding.
It seems like there are a lot of weddings this summer - we've received save-the-dates to three weddings already! Is anyone else going to any weddings this summer? Or maybe hosting your own? Are you DIY-ing any part of it?
A few weeks ago, I posted about my sister's first baby shower, and last weekend, she had her second! My mom hosted a nautical-themed shower for her because she's decorating her nursery with nautical decor. When mom told me the theme, I was super excited because nautical items are really hot right now! I thought, "Oh! It will be super easy to find nautical supplies!"
The home decor world is filled with nautical items, not the craft world. Or at least, not the paper craft world. So it was fairly difficult to find supplies for this invitation at first!
I finally came across a lighthouse embossing folder, and with some deep blue cardstock, I created the base.
I wanted to add some detailing to the circle, so when I found this white cord, I was very happy!
Unfortunately, when I attached the cord to the invite, it was very thick. I knew that it might not make it through the mail without getting damaged and it may require more postage if it was too thick.
I ran it through my die-cut machine to flatten the cord and it worked perfectly!
I love these invites. They are simple, elegant, and unique. And don't you just love the phrase "Ahoy! It's a Boy!" So cute! Plus, I had to be creative to solve some practical problems. Those projects are usually the most rewarding!
Have you ever had to solve a practical crafty problem? What did you do? Did it work? Let me know in the comments, I love to hear about other people's triumphs!
My husband and I were hanging out with friends the other day and we were talking about candy. My husband pipes up, "Oh, you know those Hershey Kisses you got? I may have eaten all of them." To which I replied, "I hope there's at least 3 left, I still have to take photos of them."
And all my friends stared at me.
So I explained that I 'collect' Hershey Kisses. I find new flavors and take a photo of them so I can record my collection on my blog. Each photo has 3 Kisses; one wrapped (to see the foil), one unwrapped (to see the outside of the Kiss), and one cut down the middle (to see the inside). And then I eat them. And sometimes I share.
I've talked about my Kiss collection here before, but I just found a new (to me) flavor last week! Vanilla Creme! I found them at CVS last week with the Easter candy, but I have not seen them anywhere else. I'm not sure if certain stores get special flavors or if the other stores just choose not to order the unique flavors. Either way, I've learned to look everywhere for new flavors. You never know where a new one will show up!
These have a milk chocolate kiss with a vanilla center. I like them well enough, but they are super-sweet, so I can only eat 1 or 2 at a time.
Then the day after I photographed the Vanilla Creme (there were some left after all), we went out for Easter Brunch with my family. My mom had just returned from a trip to Las Vegas and had gifts! Guess what she found for me?!?!
Macadamia Nut Kisses!!!
I was pretty excited, but the rest of my family was confused, so I had to explain my collection. Again.
The macadamia nut Kisses are good. Milk chocolate outside and a small macadamia nut inside. The nuts are pretty soft, so it's not a crunchy Kiss like the almond ones. I like the flavor - similar to the almond Kisses, but not as nutty.
Has anyone ever tried these flavors before? What did you think?
If you'd like to see all the flavors of Hershey Kisses I've tried, you can check out my Quest for Kisses page.
Happy Crafting! (and eating!)
After my first experiment with Distress Inks, I could not stop! I wanted to try another technique.
For this round, I used the colors Fired Brick, Seedless Preserves, and Picked Raspberry.
This time, I wet the paper and used a brush to put the color onto the paper. The colors were more muted than they were when I dipped the paper into the water-ink mixture directly. I did drop some water onto the dried base layer to create some lighter spots.
These colors were very Valentine-y, so I decided to go with it, even though Valentine's Day is long gone. I used both the positive and negative of another die. But this time, the cards were quite a bit smaller. I used the die to dictate the size, so the larger card is 4.25 x 3 inches and the smaller card is 3 x 2.5 inches.
I kept the outsides pretty simple, so I stamped a small greeting on the inside of the larger card and just a small heart on the inside of the smaller card. Both with black embossing powder.
This is the first time I've made a non-A2-sized card, and i like it! Quick and easy. I'm not sure how I feel about the brush technique I used with the distress inks. I like the random-ness of dipping the paper like I did the first time. Maybe I will use this technique when I need a lighter, more subtle color or when I want more control over where the colors go.
I can't wait to try more!
I feel like I was just writing about my little sister getting married and now here I am announcing that she's pregnant! She's due in May, which means baby showers are coming soon! My mom's friends are throwing her a shower and they came to me for invitations. The only request? Teddy Bears.
Teddy bears? I can do teddy bears!
I found a stamp set and matching die set at Mama Elephant and got to work right away.
First, I printed and die-cut the text part of the invite.
Then I stamped and die-cut dozens of adorable little bears.
Then I was on to assembly.
The thing I like best about these invitations is that they are not all the same! I made 10 invitations and while the colors, style, and layout are all the same, the pattern combinations are all different!
These were so much fun to make! I got to use the die-cut machine I got (from my sister!) for Christmas, I had complete creative control over the design (thanks Carol!), and I got to use tons of patterned paper! I love patterned paper!
So what do you think? Are these bears adorable or what?
Blogs I read:
Bits & Pieces
Jennifer McGuire Ink
I Could Make That