Wednesday, December 26, 2012

package toppers + the list update

hi, folks!  i hope everyone had a merry Christmas.  ours was wonderful, exciting, and relaxing all at the same time.  Mr. Bagubian had a great time opening all of his gifts and he's had two days now to spend playing with all the new toys.  Hoss and i were pretty wiped out today, though.  we stayed up until 2:30am on Christmas Eve putting together a train table and then were up early Christmas morning to get the day started.  i'm hoping things get back to normal soon, but tomorrow we're going shopping all day, hitting up after Christmas sales so we'll probably be wiped out again on Friday!  oh, well, those are the holidays, right?
this season went by sooo fast, didn't it?  it's been a really lovely season, though, and i feel like i actually accomplished much of what i wanted to do.  not everything, but that's par for the course.

number 7 on my List was to wrap packages in a festive way and i was able to check that off, with a little help from Crate Paper, red and white baker's twine, assorted ribbons, washi clothespins, and white wrapping paper.  

i was inspired to make some little gift toppers by the CP Vellum Embellishments.  as soon as i got my box of Sleigh Ride goodies and saw them, i thought of so many things to do with them.  what actually happened was that i ended up hoarding them and i haven't used any yet!  but they did help me come up with these cute tags.

i trimmed a page of Sleigh Ride Accent Cuts and then overlaid each tag with a piece of vellum that i cut with pinking sheers.  i then sewed 3 sides together, leaving the 4th open to create a pocket.  i poured in some sequins, sewed up the 4th side, and my own vellum decorations were done!  super-easy!

when it came to putting them on my packages, i worked with the colors aqua, red, and white and just pulled different materials from my pile of Christmas crafts.  some Paper Source satin ribbon in Pool--both wide and thin--worked out great, as did the Whisker Graphics Itty Bitty bags with red polka dots.  for the above package, i also added a couple of small CP tags from the Sleigh Ride 6x6 paper pad, and a washi covered clothespin attaches the whole ensemble to the ribbon.  

i used a lot of red baker's twine too, wrapping it around packages several times before tying a bow and clipping the gift topper to it with another washi clothespin.

these were really fun to make and i had even more fun decorating my gifts...

and now...speaking of The List, let me give you an update on how much of it i was able to accomplish.
i think i can honestly say that my mission was completed.  there are a couple of loose ends to tie up, but all in all, this was successful.  

1.)  we got a real Christmas tree on December 1st.

2.)  i made two batches of cookies Christmas Eve morning--chocolate chip with mint chips and chocolate chocolate chip with mint chips.  i really wanted to get in some cut outs, but they are time-consuming and if i'm going to make any, they'll just have to wait a few days.

3.)  i made 25 crafty projects and blogged about them...this is mostly true:

i made 8 ornaments and blogged about them here

i made 1 Advent Calendar and blogged about it here

i made 8 package toppers and blogged about them earlier in this post

i made 14 Christmas cards...and haven't blogged about them yet, but i will before the month is over!

technically, that is 31 projects.  my real goal, of course, was 25 different projects, and likely 25 blog posts, but time just did not allow for that.  i did, however, share a couple of Christmas kits which i listed in my Etsy shop, as well as several different combinations of Christmas-inspired washi clothespins.  so...i'm calling #3 complete.

4.)  we took Mr. Bagubian to see Santa Claus last weekend and he actually sat on the big guy's lap by himself without crying.  we were so proud!  

5.)  i showed you my festive packages (twice!)

6.)  i haven't sent them out, but i was able to make Christmas cards and i'm pretty proud of myself for not pushing that list item aside.  when i first shared my list, i said that would be the most difficult task to accomplish.  but i did it!  i made cards to send out to family and close friends.  all that's left to do is photograph them (to share here) and then stick them in the mail.  i'm calling this one accomplished, too!

7.)  we walked around the neighborhood several times looking at all of the Christmas lights with Mr. Bagubian.  

8.)  i made 8 tree ornaments...

9.)  we definitely started some new traditions...going to see Santa, the Advent Calendar and remembering to be happy about something everyday, staying up late on Christmas Eve to assemble the train table--i don't think that will be the last time we do something like that.  i also like the tradition of this list!

10.)  Hoss and i went Christmas shopping last Wednesday night and got Peppermint Mochas...we had a really nice time.  i can definitely see making that a tradition, too.  my mom even sent us a Starbucks gift card to help out...thanks, Mom!  if we make this a tradition, can you make that a tradition? :)

11.)  well, we tried here, but Gooby was just not into watching Rudolph.  he liked it at first but quickly got restless and wanted to go play the first time we put it on for him.  he woke up sick on Sunday so Hoss tried to take advantage of his lethargy and put it on again but he just wanted to watch Cars 2 instead.  maybe we'll try Frosty sometime before the New Year and have better luck.

12.)  i really did enjoy the season and it all culminated on Christmas day when Gooby saw his presents under the tree.  that little guy has been a joy all month long and i have him to thank for making this season so delightful and spirited!  Hoss and i truly are lucky that we have him.

i hope the season has found you happy and surrounded by people who love you, as well.  Happy Holidays, friends.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

tree trimmings

a couple of posts back i mentioned that i had made some ornaments for our tree.  i created them for the Crate Paper blog in conjunction with the group Creative Weekly posts and i'm sharing them here today.

as i said in the Crate post, i'm an East Coast transplant living in Southern California where snow is a foreign commodity (unless you travel up to one of the mountain towns).  at this time of year, i am always missing the snow--though my parents tell me there is none to be missed yet where they live, either.  when January rolls around, i am just fine to do without it, but for Christmas...there's just something about that stuff!

that's why i made all of my ornaments out of snowflakes.  i used chipboard and wood veneer flakes in different sizes and painted most of them with my silver or gold leaf pen.  

from there, i layered on materials like lace, tulle, patterned paper snowflake punches, and more.  for some of them, i placed a large (3") tulle circle over the paper punches to give them a softer look.  i think the ornament in the above photo might just be my favorite; i love the gold bird with the pink and lime green Sleigh Ride papers.  

here's another ornament with the same colors, but i switched out the gold for silver.  the tiny wood bird shapes are from Studio Calico.  they come plain but i just painted them silver and gold like the snowflakes.  in the photos above and below, the backing snowflake is actually a chipboard sticker from the Sleigh Ride collection and they had nice designs on them already so i didn't need to alter them by painting them.  because they were stickers, i backed them with a piece of lace to keep them from sticking to everything they touch.   

these ornaments were super simple to make; it was really just about picking colors and patterns and then deciding which embellishments to pair together.  i only made 8 but i probably would have made a lot more if i'd had the time.  

i'm also considering using them to decorate my Christmas packages.  i usually try to give an ornament as a little add-on gift; it's something my mom has always done.  these would be great to give because they're handmade and they would definitely add a festive touch to the overall package.  

well, it's less than a week until Christmas...the items on my List aren't quite getting accomplished as well as i had hoped...and i'll admit that i got kind of discouraged about that over the weekend.  but what can you do?  sometimes you just have to go with the flow.  i keep saying this in every December post i've written, but i think it's true and i say it here because i need to remind myself that it's what matters:  family comes first.  and after the events in Connecticut last week, it's become even more evident.  when i think of the parents and families who lost loved ones, i realize that baking cookies is not important at all.  what is important is making sure i spend as much time with my little guy and my husband and my family as i can.  i hope you get to do the same.  take care, friends.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

crate paper advent calendar

here we go again!  honestly, where is the time going?!  the good thing is that my class is ending tonight so that will free up a little time.  oh, well, like i said in my last post, as long as i'm enjoying the season, things will be just fine.

i have an actual craft project to share with you today--can you believe it?!  i had a Crate Paper post last week in which i made a very sparkly Christmas countdown calendar.  you can read the post here and i'll share the pictures and a few tidbits in my post today, as well.

i've never made an Advent Calendar but i remember being intrigued by them as a child...mostly because there was supposed to be a treat behind each little door, i'm sure!  instead of little doors, i made mine with glassine envelopes--because now i'm intrigued by those more than the candy inside!

i went with a red, white, and silver palette, using only the Sleigh Ride collection.  i knew i would eventually be hanging each envelope on a board of some kind so i wanted a bit of unity for the project.  that's why i kept the colors simple and why each envelope has a white tag and a vellum number.  in addition, i clipped the tiny packages to the ribbon with a silver mini clothespin.  i painted each of the clothespins with a silver leaf pen--yes, those paint pens have definitely been one of my obsessions this year!

i embellished with a lot of stickers--border stickers, label stickers, chipboard stickers--along with fabric brads and chipboard shapes.  from my own stash, i added extra small touches like the sequins and gems, plus a couple of plain chipboard stars that i painted with the silver pen.


inside, i kept the design very simple, using just a small piece of coordinating paper for each one.  i didn't want to add a lot of bulk and i didn't want to spend a ton of extra time also decorating the inside.  not to mention, the envelopes are see-through and anything i did to the inside would be visible on the outside.  i didn't want there to be all kinds of things competing for attention.

my other reason for keeping the inside simple was because i wanted to write on the back of each small paper something that made us happy.  Christmastime is (*supposed to be) the season of cheer and sometimes that gets overlooked during the hustle and bustle of shopping and baking and decorating.  all of that stuff is wonderful to do but it can become stressful to try to fit everything in and after awhile, it stops being so cheery.  that really is the main thing i want to achieve this season--happiness!  so i gave myself the task of being sure to write down the things i (we as a family) am happy about.

and of course, there is the treat inside.  for Hoss and me, it's dark chocolates from Ghirardelli!  yum!  and for Mr. Bagubian, it's a set of Cars Micro Drifters.  he receives one per week.  i also put a Starbucks gift card in one of the envelopes, so Hoss and i can get those peppermint mochas during an evening shopping trip:)

i chose not to put anything in the Christmas day envelope, simply because we'll already be getting so many other gifts and surprises that we really don't need anything else.

to display my calendar, i used a bulletin board that i already had on hand.  i covered it in red glitter wrapping paper and strung silver ribbons across the front, clipping my envelopes to them with the tiny clothespins.  with the candy in them, they were kind of heavy and pulled on the ribbon a bit, but i anticipated that and i don't think it looks too bad.

i'd like to keep up this tradition--it may not be as fancy as this year's was--but i think that having a Christmas Countdown calendar would be a good tradition to start.  when Gooby and his little brother or sister get older, especially, i'd like to help them recognize what they are happy and thankful for at this time of year.  it's not all about presents and treats--it's about giving and being kind and grateful and recognizing your blessings.  something like this will help them remember those things in a fun (and tasty) way!

thanks for stopping in today...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

twelve days of Christmas

wow!  it's December 6th already.  the season is flying by just like i knew it would--and i am still determined to get the most out of it that i possibly can.    

i definitely didn't mean to be absent from here for so long but life kinda took over--i'm sure you all know how that goes!  but i'm back today and ready to go!  i've still been crafting away behind the scenes and in the coming days and weeks i'll be showing you cards, tags, ornaments, an advent calendar, and more!

this morning i have a simple list to share with you.  you know about the 12 Days of Christmas, complete with the partridge in the pear tree, right?  well, i put my own spin on it and came up with 12 things i MUST do this season.  

we got our (REAL!!) tree on Saturday so there's one thing down.  i've made a few ornaments to go on it, too, so there are two things down.  wow!  look at me go--off to a running start!  (i'll be sharing the ornaments with you in a few days.)  we've also been going out for walks after dinner with Mr. Bagubian so he can see the Christmas lights.  he loves our evening walks and now that people have lots of decorations up, i think he enjoys them even more.

number 10 probably sounds kind of silly, but i seriously have a desire to Christmas shop at night with a Peppermint Mocha.  i don't know why--it's just a feeling, i think.  i love the Christmas lights, too, and we have a couple of big outdoor malls in our area with lots of them.  plus, like so many others, i crave Peppermint Mochas at this time of year and in the evening, they help keep you warm (and awake:).  when i told Hoss this was one of my Christmas season "dreams" he laughed but agreed to it.

{season's greetings}
the most difficult thing to do will be sending out Christmas cards.  that probably doesn't sound difficult, but if you do it each year, then you probably know it's a time-consuming task, especially if you want to make them extra special.  being that i make cards, it's hard for me to send out the photo cards you get from Shutterfly and Target, et al.  i have absolutely nothing against them--and may even break down and do that this year.  i guess i just feel like people might expect something handmade from us.  maybe they don't, i don't know.  maybe they'll just be happy to get some actual mail from us since it's been 3 or 4 years since we've sent one out!  the other thing about the cards is that i'm trying to fit in so many other tasks and projects that a Christmas card will inevitably keep getting pushed back while i finish up the other stuff and before long it will be February!  but since it's on The List, maybe i will get them done before Christmas. 

{paper garland}
the second most difficult thing will be making 25 projects and sharing them.  i've got a few done already, but making 20 more, photographing them, and posting about them...well, i remain hopeful about this one!

{candy cane cookies}
i can't wait to make cookies!  i'll likely wait to do those until just a few days before Christmas and i'll probably only do a couple of kinds so it shouldn't get out of hand.  and if i can enlist Hoss and Gooby to help decorate them, that will just be fun!

Gooby is getting very into the holiday this year and Hoss and i are loving it! he's like a sponge, absorbing everything Christmas related and then spitting it out later.  he understands that he has to be good or Santa won't bring him the "huge train" that he wants.  he keeps saying "hi" to the Christmas tree and every morning when he sees it, he gets excited like it's the first time he's ever seen it.  and he's been singing "Jingle Bells" incessantly.  after we put him to bed the other night, we heard him singing it through the baby monitor--no lie, he sang it over and over for about ten minutes straight.  his favorite part is the big "HEY!" at the end!  

so we're looking forward to taking him to sit on Santa's lap.  i think he will be a little shy at first, but hopefully it will be an experience he'll enjoy.  i also think he'll enjoy watching the Rudolph and Frosty cartoons and even if he loses interest after a bit, i'm still going to watch them!  i love the sense of nostalgia that comes from seeing them every year as an adult.  it takes me right back to being a kid and the innocent excitement i had back then.

{pretty packaging}
{kraft tags}
i also have high hopes for making this year's gifts look fun and festive and beautiful.  the problem there will be narrowing down a color and silver?  gold and teal?  kraft and red?  decisions, decisions.  

but more than anything else on The List, i just want to enjoy this time of year.  we have a very fun 2 year old who is taking great pleasure in this holiday and i don't want to get so caught up in all of the other things i want to do that i miss the way his face lights up when he sees a Santa image.  i don't want to ignore his Christmas carol renditions.  THERE WON'T BE TIME TO DO EVERYTHING.  i know that and i must accept that.  (it's taken 3 days to write this blog post, for goodness sake!)  but there SHOULD always be time for the important things--like listening to Mr. Bagubian singing his version of "Jingle Bells" (which is actually single bells, single all the way!).

so i'll be back with my projects and List accomplishments...but if a few days go by in between and you don't hear from me, well, i hope i'm enjoying my family and starting some new traditions.