Saturday, February 28, 2015

papertrey ink :: quick stitch kits - sewing staples

Hello!  Today is the day I get to share all of my projects from Papertrey Ink's debut Quick Stitch Kit with you!  I'm so excited for you to see what I've done with this kit!  Settle in, my may be here awhile ;)

The first Quick Stitch Kit will be released on March 9th, and it is entitled "Sewing Staples". Erin has really outdone herself with this one! The stitching dies included help you to make a few different sewing accessories that are not only beautiful, but also super functional.  You will have all of your sewing supplies in order just in time for the new stitching products coming out over the next year!  Not only will this kit help YOU to get organized, but also make wonderful handmade gifts for friends and family.  The team even has a few unconventional uses for these stitching dies that will allow you to take everything in a completely different direction and get more value for your investment in these tools!

Custom Printed Tote Bag

Sewing Staples: Scissor Keeper die collection
Sewing Staples: Needle Book die collection
Sewing Staples: Floral Cluster die collection
Sewing Staples: Stitched Floss Bobbin die collection
Sewing Staples: Flowers die collection
Sewing Staples stamp set + label
(1) Wooden Bobbin Box
(2) Heavy white 8-1/2" x 11" sheets cover board
(2) Iron-on 8-1/2" x 11" Transfer sheets 
(1) spool Fresh Snow Satin Ribbon-5 yards
(1) test tube white 8/0 seed beads
(1) pdf download with full instructions

The total retail cost of the "Sewing Staples" Kit is $110. There will be a limited number of these exclusive kits available, so be sure to get yours while you can! Some individual items will be available for sale at a later date.  The "Sewing Staples" Kit will be available for sale beginning on March 9th at 10pm EST, only at Papertrey Ink. Read all the details on Nichole's blog or contact Customer Service with any questions.

While I love the fact that each of these items is meant to sweetly house your sewing tools, I also love that you can get more bang for your buck by using them in unconventional ways.  I think the DIY-er in me is always looking for ways to turn conventional things on their heads so I'm naturally looking for a way to do things a little differently.  Especially when I'm going to spend a bit of money on a craft supply, I always ask: 'What else can I do with it?'

I adore the scalloped scissor keeper and yes, I did actually make one for scissors (coming up next), but I also thought it would be darling as a little flower pouch.  I lined it with wax paper to keep the inside dry and clean and gathered a small bouquet of purple and green flowers to match my Smokey Shadow felt.

A few outside decorations--some from the kit, some not--and in no time I had a cute little gift all ready for giving.  I'm thinking this would also be perfect for Easter bouquets and wild flowers!

Scissor Keeper Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Flower Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Felt: Smokey Shadow, Vintage Cream (PTI)
Happy Harlequin Stamp Set (PTI)
True Black Ink (PTI)
White Seed Beads (Sewing Staples Kit)
Embroidery Floss: Purple - DMC 154
Metallic Gold Thread (Coats & Clark)
Vintage Purple Ribbon
White Tag (Avery)
Purple cabochon
Gold glitter stem
Mini glitter clothespins

When I'm creating large-scale projects for creative teams, I often prefer to give meaning and substance to my work by making gifts.  There's usually a long-winded back story that goes with each project and it's no different this time.  I've been gathering the odd vintage notions for a few years now and one of my favorite collections belonged to my Grandma Peg.  After she passed, my mother kindly handed down many of her trims and buttons and I've hoarded them for years--always fearing they were too priceless to use.  Then the Sewing Staples kit came along, with it's neat and tidy little holders for all of my favorite sewing tools and accoutrements.  And it gave me an idea...

Wouldn't it be nice if I passed along a few of the beloved treasures to my aunt?  My mom is no longer with me or I would have made her a set, too.  I'm not sure my aunt is keen to have loads and loads of these notions but I prepared a few things for her as keepsakes--a handmade, meaningful gift from me to her.

The first thing I made was the scissor pouch in Melon Berry and Vintage Cream felts.  I kept it simple with a single flower and a couple of cute tags--one from paper, using a stamp from the kit, and one made with Aqua Mist felt, using the bobbin die.

Scissor Keeper Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Flower Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Floss Bobbin Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Felt:  Aqua Mist, Melon Berry, Vintage Cream (PTI)
Heavy White Card Stock (Sewing Staples Kit)
Sewing Staples Stamp Set (Sewing Staples Kit)
White Seed Beads (Sewing Staples Kit)
Metallic Gold Thread (Coats & Clark)
Embroidery Floss: Melon - DMC 352; Aqua - DMC 964
White Strung Tag (Avery)

I did something slightly different with the bobbins, using them for some vintage trims instead of cataloguing my embroidery floss--although I definitely think that is a must-do future project!   The bobbins are such sweet things all on their own, but I wanted to add a little extra detail so I die cut some hearts and pinned one to each trim.  (I included a couple extra bobbins in case my aunt has her own ribbons she wants to add.)

Floss Bobbin Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Flower Die Collection (heart) (Sewing Staples Kit)
Felt:  Aqua Mist, Melon Berry (PTI)
Heavy White Card Stock (Sewing Staples Kit)
Embroidery Floss: Melon - DMC 352; Aqua - DMC 964

Years ago, my aunt sewed the tiniest of quilts for my mom.  She attached some buttons to a few of the squares and embroidered "My Button Collection" onto it.  It has hung in my mother's office since the day it was given to her.  I first thought of filling the kit's wooden box with Grandma Peg's buttons and giving them to my aunt that way, until I remembered that miniature quilt and how I could make something similar from the needle book patterns.


I chose some of the prettiest buttons and stitched them to the smaller Aqua Mist felt piece before stitching that piece to the larger white scalloped backing.  I added a couple of flowers, too, and used the small rectangular die as a tab at the top.  (It's part of the Needle Book Die Collection.)  I folded it in half and stitched it in place to make a loop.  I hope my aunt enjoys her pretty keepsakes!

Needle Book Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Flower Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Felt: Melon Berry, Vintage Cream, Aqua Mist (PTI)
White Seed Beads (Sewing Staples Kit)
Metallic Gold Thread (Coats & Clark)
Embroidery Floss: Melon - DMC 352; Aqua - DMC 964

My final project is another needle book that is not a needle book!  It is closer to a book than the previous one, though--it's folded--and I filled this one with handmade tags.  I stitched a pocket to the inside, using Limeade Ice felt, and made 5 flower tags to put in it.

The tags are simple and sparse but I'm really pleased with the way they turned out.  I stamped leaves (using the stamp set from the kit and Limeade Ice ink), then cut a few different flower shapes out of Raspberry Fizz and Vintage Cream felts.  Some I stitched to add interest, while others I left bare.

I used the same die for the tab closure that I used to create the loop on the button keeper in the previous project.  This time, though, I only stitched it to the back of my book.  I added a small swatch of Velcro to the front of the book and the tab to keep the book closed.  If you don't prefer the Velcro, the set contains dies to cut ribbon slots.  Thread your trim through, tie, and you're all set!  I know some of the other girls have projects that demonstrate this technique (I have links to each of their blogs at the end of this post, or you can head to Nichole's blog and find them there.)

Needle Book Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Flower Die Collection (Sewing Staples Kit)
Felt: Raspberry Fizz, Limeade Ice, Vintage Cream (PTI)
Sewing Staples Stamp Set (Sewing Staples Kit)
Limeade Ice Ink (PTI)
White Seed Beads (Sewing Staples Kit)
Embroidery Floss: Raspberry - DMC 956; Cream
White Strung Tags (Avery)
Velcro you think this is something you might want to try?  Erin's kit is amazing--she has literally thought of everything whilst designing it, and as I toiled away on my projects this last week and a half, I found myself wondering just what was going on inside that creative brain of hers.  Confession:  I really don't know that much about sewing (ssshhh, don't tell)...but that's kind of the genius behind the Quick Stitch Kits: You don't have to!  If you can thread a needle, you're basically good to go.  Honestly.  The rest is just fun!

Please be sure to pay a visit to the other ladies on the team--we've all been working hard on these projects and I know their blogs will be full of inspiration for you!  And don't forget--the kit will be released on March 9th!

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, February 27, 2015

crate paper :: heartfelt gift

My fabulous friend Lara of The Ink Road, a fellow creative, recently said to me, "making things for other people is emotionally healthy in a way that nothing else is."  Oh, is that ever true!  It just makes you feel good to give something nice to another person.  It doesn't have to be big or expensive; it just has to come from the heart.  

One of my favorite gifts to give are small notebooks.  I buy them usually because I'm attracted to their covers, but I like to imagine all of the amazing notes, sketches, and ideas that will soon fill their pages.  While I didn't make the journal itself, I did adorn the gift wrap and create an extra special card to go with it.

I cut a strip of glitter from one of the banners in the Open Book bunting kit and layered it with blush pink crepe paper, a scrap of embroidered white fabric, and some shiny gold party tinsel I picked up at a discount store.  (FYI:  That tinsel is my new go-to for adding shiny gold fun to all of my packaging; you're sure to see it again in the future!)  As a finishing touch, there are two Open Book stickers with words pertaining to writing--'notes' and 'documented.'  A strip of washi tape hides beneath the crepe paper to seal the bag closed.

For the matching card, I mixed pieces from OB with Craft Market (like the bottom layer of "Inspired" embossed patterned paper and the 'friends like you' sticker atop the chipboard medallion) to create some stacked pink and gold textural eye candy!

One thing I have always loved about Crate Paper is how easily you can blend all of their different collections.  Each line is distinctive, yet they all mingle so nicely together.

I don't believe it's the amount of money you spend on a present, but the care you put into giving it that is the real gift.  A nice, personal message inside the card goes a long way, as well.  I was feeling all warm and fuzzy after this crafting session; I can't wait to send this little ensemble on it's merry way to my sweet friend Bonita Rose!

Speaking of The Ink Road, Lara has an Etsy shop where she sells paper crafting and scrapbooking supplies at really great prices.  Whenever you order from her shop, she gives you a few extra fun goodies and everything is wrapped up in such a pretty way.  I wish I had a photo of that but when I got my last package, I couldn't wait to open it.  (Good thing I'm expecting a new package to arrive...I'll be sure to get photos of the wrapping this time :)  Do check out her shop for yourself, though!  I don't know if my timing is good or bad:  Lara's in the process of moving so if you do place an order, there's a bit of a wait for it to ship.  But if you don't mind waiting, use coupon code "Moving" to save 50% off your entire order!!!  That's pretty amazing--you'd better go quick!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

gossamer blue :: love & marriage card trio

Holy cow, it's been a crazy week!  It's been kind of a crazy month, actually--mostly good, but there have been some touch 'n' go moments that have just made me want slink into bed, pull the blanket over my head, and never come out!  And with February being a short month, I have never before found myself wishing it was a leap year like I am right now!  Oh, to have that ONE extra day!  But, alas, the end of the month is a mere 2 days away and so are a whole slew of due dates.

This trio of cards has nothing to do with my February deadlines, but I did want to share them before the month has passed us by.  I made them using Gossamer Blue's On My Desk, as well as a couple of items from the GB January kits.

When I spread the collection out on my desk, I noticed a really fun love & marriage theme.  The diamonds, the big gold heart with 'YES' printed on it, the 'Best Day Ever' overlay...From the engagement to the Big Day, they all just seemed to perfectly say wedded bliss.

It's a bit hard to see, but there is a pile of messy blush pink thread underneath each overlay.  The doilies are from my Etsy shop, and the 'for like ever' foam Thickers are Dear Lizzy (they were in the January LP Themed Add-on kit).  They fit so well with this theme.  The trio will be listed very soon in my shop, too, so you can get a jump on wedding season preparation! 

I hope you are having a lovely day, friends!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

planner clip overload

Well, I guess I've become highly influenced by the Planner Girls out there!  There's been such a surge in the popularity of decorated planners in the last several months that I guess it was bound to happen.  Quite by accident, I've ended up immersed in this world myself, with the surprise opportunity to join the Papertrey Ink Moments Inked team.  And when I received my Gossamer Blue February kits, I found myself thinking in terms of my planners and organizers instead of my usual gift wrap and packaging projects.  Gasp!

As you may have learned in this post, I have purchased a few different planners, date books, and schedulers recently, but haven't really taken (had) the time to do much with them.  But now, after a project for GB, I'm armed with enough clips to last the entire year, I think!!

To fashion them, I used items in February's Main Kit, most notably the Simple Stories "Life Documented" Bits & Pieces and Basic Grey "J'Adore" Mixed Brads.  If you have a few moments, you can make them, too.

First up, paper clips!  I've seen some darling handmade ones out there which are handy for clipping appointment cards, photos or encouraging mantras to pages without adding a lot of extra bulk.  For the first set of paper clips, I simply used my hot glue gun to affix die cut shapes to the clips.  Some girls laminate the die cuts before adhering to make them sturdier.  (I don't have a laminator, but thought I'd pass on that helpful hint anyhow.)

Next up, I removed the epoxy stickers from the "J'Adore" brads and glued them to small metal clips.  They were the perfect size and are so pretty!  It's a great way to add interest to plain clips and coordinate them with other embellishments in the planner.  I will suggest adding a dab of extra glue so the stickers stay firmly in place.

I then took the flair badges and adhered them to extra large paper clips (3" or 76mm).  The buttons have a sticky back so I covered them with a small paper circle before gluing them to the clip.  (The glue will dry but if you don't cover the sticky back, your buttons will get stuck to your pages.) 

I love how colorful those clips are!  The February kits certainly weren't lacking in vibrant hues or beautiful patterns.  I'm pretty sure every color of the rainbow was represented this month so if you love color, these kits will take you far!

It's a rare project I do that doesn't involve a mini clothespin and this one was no different.  I couldn't resist sticking the pink and turquoise rhinestone hearts to these plain pegs.  They, too, come backed with a sticky foam dot, which I removed because I didn't want the extra thickness.  But if you like the pop-up dots, then by all means, leave them on!

Each of these clips was easy and inexpensive to make.  Now, I just have to utilize them to help me get organized!

Allow me to get mushy for a minute, when I say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of the messages, comments, and congratulations sent over the weekend.  They meant so much and I am unbelievably lucky to be a part of such an amazing community.  It is a dream to join Papertrey Ink and what has made that opportunity even sweeter is a wider network of new friends!  I am grateful.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

another exciting announcement from papertrey ink!!

So joining Papertrey Ink as a member of the Moments Inked Team isn't the only secret I've been sitting on...I'm also going to be a part of the Quick Stitch Kit Team!  What is a Quick Stitch Kit?  They are entire "creative suites" designed to work especially with PTI's 100% wool felt.  Each kit includes numerous dies and a whole ensemble of embellishments to work with to create beautiful gifts (and I LOVE to do that!).  The dies all come with stitching holes so there is no guesswork, extra steps, or even the need for a sewing machine when you use them.  Please be sure to check out Nichole Heady's blog today to find out more about these kits and to meet the rest of the amazingly crafty gals on the team.

 The first kit is called Sewing Staples and will be available to purchase on March 1st.  I have a sneak peek of one of my projects today and there will be much more coming soon!  But let me just say, oh my goodness, my notions-loving-heart fell head over heels for this kit!  The dies make me want to create pouches and pockets and packaging for all of the sewing treasures I've collected from my dear grandmother's collection over the past few years.  In fact, I could consider making pouches for just about everything, sewing-related or not!


Because there might be some new people who will be popping in here this weekend on account of all the excitement over at PTI, allow me to take a few moments and introduce myself.

I'm Rebecca and I live in Southern California.  I'm an upstate New Yorker at heart but on a whim, I moved out to a mountain town in the middle of California 10 years ago.  It was completely unlike me to have done that because I'm an introverted homebody who doesn't like change and had never even touched a snowboard or a pair of skis!  Aside from missing my family and my small town life in NY, it was the best thing I ever did for myself and now I have a fantastic husband (Arvin) and 2 amazing little ones--Gus, 4, and Nemy (pronounced like Emmy), 2.  I married into a Filipino family and if you know any Filipinos, you know how generous and loving they are so I'm quite lucky to have gained an extraordinary extended family through them.

Along with PTI, I'm on the Crate Paper and Gossamer Blue Design Teams.  I've been paper crafting for about 8 years now.  I started out making cards and, while I still make them, I've developed quite the crush on packaging and gift wrapping, with an affinity for all things glassine and gold.  (If you take the time to scroll through my blog, you're certain to find evidence of this.)

Every day I answer a gazillion and a half "WHY" questions from my 4-year-old: Why are there 100 people?  Why do dinosaurs stink? (He meant why are they extinct?)  Why are there germs?  Why does pee smell like old roasted chicken?  Between Googling the answers to these provocative inquiries and scratching my head wondering when in his short life has he ever smelled old roasted chicken, I tend to my small Etsy shop where I sell my handmade gift wrap and packaging products.  It provides a nice distraction.  

I love peanut M&M's, black coffee, and music, with Ed Harcourt playing on heavy rotation for the last 2 months.  I have an extreme phobia of vomiting and it's really important that you know that in case we are ever to meet face to face.


Thanks for stopping by today--and don't forget all of the fun things happening on Nichole's blog--it's release day, after all!  (But you'll still have to wait until March 1st for the Quick Stitch Kits debut...)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

introducing moments inked memory planner system

I have some really exciting news to share on this lovely Valentine's's twofold, really, because 1.) I am now happy to be a part of the Papertrey Ink family as a member of their Moments Inked Promotional Team (!!!!), and 2.) PTI is jumping head first into the Planning market!

For awhile now, I have been searching for a simplified planner that will work with a busy schedule full of due dates--design team work, creative collaborations, Etsy shop releases, blog posts, etc.  I've mostly been storing all of my dates to remember in my head--yup, that's right, my head.  Along with index cards and keeping important emails filed on my phone, I rely on my brain to do the rest.  It's not pretty and nowhere near organized, so when the opportunity arose to try out the PTI Moments Inked Planner System, I jumped on board!  I've been searching for a planner that has the month-at-a-glance, week-at-a-glance, and a page for each day.  To say I was happy that the MI planner has each one of those things is an understatement.

I happen to be mutually following quite a few "Planner Girls" on Instagram so as I'm scrolling through, I see so many different kinds of date books and organizers.  Having seen so many on IG, I really wasn't expecting the Papertrey planner to look quite like it does...that is to say, it is THICK!  Let's face it, though, it's difficult to do a page-per-day book without some girth so I quickly got over my initial shock once I began to thumb through it.  It's thick, but at a 5x7 scale, it's petite, or well, stocky might be more accurate!!  But trust me, there is A LOT packed into one notebook-style organizer.

A few things to note before I give you a tour of my favorite aspects:

- The planner itself is spiral-bound with color-coded monthly tabs for quick reference.
- It will retail for $45, which is mid-range, and seems like a great deal to me for all that can be done with it.
- The system has coordinating dies and stamp sets (sold separately) that allow you to fully customize this book to YOUR lifestyle.  With the dies, you can add pages, make banners, page flags, and sticky notes.  The stamp sets cover pretty much everything you could think of: appointments, reminders, memory keeping, and there's even a set just for bloggers (which I love!).  And, of course, there's more to come with future releases.
- The linen pages are not your average planner pages.  They are elegant (but not stuffy), yet thin and with a hint of texture.  They are a dream to write on--it was difficult to make my first pen mark in this book for fear of interrupting it's perfectly pristine pages!
- If you love color like I do, you will not be disappointed here.  Papertrey's colors are saturated and vibrant and somehow all coordinate perfectly with each other and it's no different here in this planner.  Each month is a different set of lovely colors which makes it really easy (and fun) to customize the add-ins.

There is a choice of 3 different covers and it's my understanding that more will be offered in the future.  I chose the 'Make It Happen' cover because I hope to bring about some positive changes and achieve a few milestones this year.  It is also the most minimal cover (lots of white space), which will be my approach to planning this year.

This system is designed to combine all of your current journals and planners into one notebook so as to simplify your life (i.e. minimize).  I have tried and bought half a dozen different organizers--for blogging, for my Etsy shop, for family life...I have a big, thick 8 1/2 x 11 weekly planner, I have a smaller weekly planner; I have a thin yearly planner, and I have a couple of planners that are month-by-month, meaning they have 31 pages in them and you buy a new one every month.  I rarely have time to write in them all and because my desk space is usually limited to the current project I'm working on, it's difficult to pull each one out, check what needs to be done, and make more notes.  It's time-consuming and so they sit, unused.  That said, I also don't have the room to keep this organizer sitting open on my desk, but if I am able to pull out just one book and make all my notes in it, then that is much easier than pulling out 5 or 6.  (I may hang onto one of the smaller ones for transport, though, because this one is pretty heavy and cumbersome to be carrying around in my purse!)

Here's a look at the month-at-a-glance spread, which I find so helpful when looking ahead.  Holidays and observances are noted, and I've decided to lightly color in the number box of each day that has passed so I know exactly where I am in the month and how far away (or near!) my next deadline is.  There's room for one or two short notes each day and a sidebar for the major happenings and projects.

And here is the week-at-a-glance.  While there isn't a ton of space to write things down (but keep in mind there is an entire page for each day), it's the perfect spot to keep track of the week's appointments and due dates.  Each day has a small notes section under it and because there is a blank column on the left page, I can add important reminders there.

My own approach to planning will be keeping it simple--minimal.  I'm using the planner to stay organized and on task and if I allow myself to go all out and get crazy decorating it, I don't imagine I'll be very productive in other aspects of my life--which is kind of the point of the planner!  But the great thing about this system is that I can still incorporate my beloved index cards into it.  I used one of the 'Basic Pages' dies to cut spiral edges along the sides, added a few simple stamped headings, and just like that, I'm on track for the day, the week, and even the month.  And because I'd rather not add too much extra bulk to this guy, I don't feel badly at all tossing out the old index cards when my to-do list is complete or long-passed.

These ribbon paperclips are so easy to make and not only keep loose papers contained in the planner, but they also make it easy to flip between today's date and either my month- or week-at-a-glance.  I just clip all the in-between pages together for fast flipping.  To make them, I cut short strips (about 6") of ribbon and looped them through one end of the paperclip.  All set!

One other thing I struggle with sometimes is staying up on Etsy orders and shipping.  I always know when an order needs to be shipped, but because I take care to package everything nicely, write a quick personalized note, and add a little extra something to each order, it's not a job I like to leave until the last moment (although, that often happens).  So I created some mini white notecards to clip into my planner.  Using the "prepare" stamp from 'Planner Banners', I can quickly jot down all outgoing mail that needs tending to so that when I'm ready to go to the Post Office, so are my packages.

I have a goal to start thinking more positively this year and a friend of mine was recently talking about how writing down one thing she was grateful for each day helped her change her negative mindset.  My initial feeling about Moments Inked is that it's really upbeat.  The colors are happy and there is positivity reinforced on nearly every page, from helpful quotes at the beginning of each month, to a full page dedicated to written goals and creating a productive year ahead, to the daily helpful reminders to be grateful.

Each day is designed with the intention of helping you be the best you can be.  While there isn't much room to lay down a schedule of the day's events, if you actively use these key notes, I think you will find yourself feeling better and better as the year progresses.  With reminders to be active, drink enough water, be thankful, eat well, be prepared for the next day, and even take some indulgent time for yourself each day, it's a system--when used consistently--that helps you maintain and track your progress.  To be completely honest, I am at a point in my life and my career when I need something like this.  At the end of the day, this is just a book.  But it's what I do with this book--and this opportunity--that will decide if I'm going to feel better about myself in December or if I'm going to disappointed because I still am not taking care of myself the way that I should be.  Stay tuned...

There are a lot of exciting things happening on Nichole Headey's blog today, so be sure to pop over there for the grand introduction of the Moments Inked Planner System and to meet the rest of talented Moments Inked Team!  Have a Happy Valentine's Day, friends!!

Supply List:
*All Supplies Papertrey Ink unless otherwise noted
Moments Inked Memory Planner
Inks: Limeade Ice, Raspberry Fizz, True Black, Aqua Mist Cubes
Stamps: Planner Banners, Posted, Remembered
Dies: Moments Inked Basic Pages
Ribbon: Aqua Mist Twill Tape, Raspberry Fizz Satin Dot
Index Cards, Paper Clips (office supply store)