Happy May Day!

Welcome back to my second post for today!

I know that May Day isn’t celebrated as it was when I was growing up, but I have such fond memories of making and delivering baskets to my friends’ doorsteps that I have decided to keep the tradition alive for my own enjoyment.

If you’re not familiar with the tradition of May Day baskets, I go into quite a bit of detail in my very first blog post here so I won’t repeat myself now. Instead, I’d like to get right into this year’s project. Since the treats set the tone for the entire theme, I’m going to start there and end with the basket.

I chose to make sugar cookies for my treats this year, but not just any sugar cookie–I made Swig Sugar Cookies. Have you heard of them? I saw the recipe several years ago on a blog I follow, and I have been wanting to find a time to make them ever since. These cookies were started by a bakery in St. George, Utah and are reported to be the best sugar cookie known to man. It’s said that the magic of these cookies is that the cookies are cold and the frosting is at room temperature. What intrigued me the most is the cookie’s shape–it reminds me of a flower and with the pale pink frosting, I  think they are really pretty.

After you make the dough, you roll it into balls. Then you dip the bottom of a glass into some sugar and flatten out each ball, which gives each cookie it’s signature shape and creates a well for the frosting.

Flattened cookies_1.jpg

Even after baking, the cookies retain their shape:

Cookies after baking_1

The frosting is tinted with one drop of red food coloring, and I just love the pale pink color. Don’t you just love how the cookies look once they are frosted?

Frosted cookies_1

I think they are such pretty cookies, and they really do look like flowers. Now that I had the cookies made, it was time to focus on the basket.

I already knew what basket I was going to make, as I had saved the directions to a basket I had seen online several months ago. I thought it would be the perfect size for my cookies. I spent quite a bit of time picking out the colors and the designer paper for this basket, as it was important that the basket be as pretty and sweet as the cookies were. I ended up using the same patterned paper that was used in the online tutorial, as the floral pattern and the colors matched the cookies perfectly.

Basic basket_1.jpg

The basic basket is a 4 x 4 box with 3/4″ flaps on all sides. The fun part comes when you add on 1″ strips of paper going both directions.

Basket with strips_1.jpg

The ends of the strips get attached just underneath the top flaps and create these arched slats. Here is a front and side view of the slats:

arch of strips_1.jpg

Side view of strip arch_1.jpg

Once you have all of the paper strips attached at the top, you fold the flaps down.

Flaps folded down_1.jpg

All that was left to do was add the handle, which I edged on both sides with lace for some added charm.

Basket tag added_1.jpg

I kept the tag simple, so that the basket shape and colors could really stand out.

Basket tag_1.jpg

Ta da–I present to you my May Day basket for 2016! I love the shape and details of this basket, and I think it’s the perfect basket to hold my sugar cookie treats. Here’s what it looked like with the cookies inside:

Basket ready to go_1

The sugar cookie recipe makes a lot of cookies–71 to be exact–so I still have a lot of cookies left over. As an additional surprise, I have another packaging idea for cookies for you that doesn’t involve a handmade basket.

I decided to make a paper backing for the cookies that would hold the cookies in place inside a cellophane bag. This type of packaging would work for any occasion and for any size of cookie. I simply measured the height and width of my cookie, and cut a piece of white paper that was 2 1/2″ longer and just as wide as my cookie. My cookies were 3 x 3, so my paper was 5 1/2″ x 3. I scored the bottom at 1/2″ and 1 1/2″. Once the paper is folded on those score lines, it will create a cradle for the cookies. I decorated my paper backing with stamped flowers in pastel colors, made a tag by stamping a small doily with coordinating images, and this is what the final set looked like:

Cookie backing and tag_1

I’m sure this all makes more sense, now that you have a visual! I took a picture of the cookies sitting the backing before I package them up, as the glare from the cellophane bag makes it difficult to see everything clearly.

Cookies on backing_1

You can see that I added a piece of patterned paper to the bottom flap of the backing, as otherwise it would have been white.

Cookies all packaged up_1

You could make this packaging even simpler by using patterned paper for the backing instead of stamping designs of plain paper.

Before I close, I thought I would pass along the links for the cookie recipe and the basket pattern in case you are interested to try either or both yourself.

Well, this has been quite a day here at “Made By The C”! An anniversary and May Day, all in the same day! I hope you’ve enjoyed my projects today, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”



One Year Later

It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true; today is the first anniversary of “Made By The C”. In honor of my first anniversary, I thought I would give you an annual report of sorts by sharing some interesting statistics about how my blog did over this past year:

1. This blog has been viewed 836 times by visitors from 23 different countries, and my first global visitor was from Puerto Rico in July of 2015.

2. I have posted 18 times, and my most popular post has been “A Toast to Summer”, followed by “Apple Pie and Fry Boxes”. If you haven’t read either of these posts, you can view them here and here.

3. The most visits I have had to my blog in one day is 60, and that occurred on May 22, 2015.

4. Fridays at 7:00 p.m. seem to be the most popular time for visits to my blog.

I find all of these facts humbling and mind-blowing. I started this blog purely for me as a way to be able to showcase and create a running journal of my paper crafting projects. I never imagined that my site would be viewed by anyone other than close friends and family, let alone that it would go global.

So I would like to propose a “Happy Anniversary” toast to all of my readers. Thank you for visiting my site and taking an interest in my projects. Your support means the world to me! I love the time that we get to spend together here at “Made By The C”, and I look forward to many more opportunities in the coming year.

And now for a surprise–my anniversary gift to you is another blog post later on today, as today is not only my first anniversary; it’s also May Day. May Day means baskets and treats, and I can’t wait to show you what I made for this year!

Enjoy your morning, and as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”






Unexpected Inspiration

Today’s project started at Home Depot……

With this display……

Home Depot display

I am always on the lookout for interesting seasonal gift items to have on hand for whenever the need or opportunity arises, and when I saw these seed pods, I knew I had just found that “perfect little something” for my springtime gifts. I was so excited! It’s not everyday that you find such a fun and unique product! I thought that the herb pods would be the most versatile and appealing, so I purchased 2 of them and left the store with a big smile on my face.

Now for the fun part–the packaging! The packaging is just as important as the gift, and it is one of my most favorite things to design. I had already begun to think about all sorts of ideas the minute I saw the display, so I could hardly wait to get home and start creating.

The most challenging part of the project was finding a container to fit the depth of the seed pod. I had initially thought that I would use a flower pot, but the pots I had were either too shallow or too wide at the top. I didn’t have any boxes that were the right size, so I thought about making one, but that was going to require more effort than I really wanted to put into this project. I knew I could use a cellophane bag, but I was reserving that as a last resort– I was really hoping I could come up with something more creative than a bag. The turning point came when I found a package of berry boxes during a final search through all of my gift wrap supplies, and folks, we had a winner. The seed pod fit perfectly in the berry box! With container in hand, the rest of the design came together quickly.

First stage of seed pod packaging_2

I wanted the packaging to have a garden theme in the same yellow and green color scheme found on the pod label. I started out by wrapping the top edge of the berry box with some vintage lace, before adding the strip of patterned paper. I added the lace not only for softness, but to help tone down the vibrant green paper. The flower pattern on the paper and the flower embellishment helped to support the garden theme, and the felt and the tiny button used on the flower helped provide additional softness and charm. The only other thing I wanted to do was add a plant marker before filling the basket with the pod.

Finished seed pod packaging with yellow filler_1

The second most challenging part of the project was choosing what color of shredded filler paper to use in the basket. I had thought all along that I would use brown paper to imitate dirt, but it didn’t even last long enough in the basket for me to snap a picture! Brown was definitely the wrong color. My next choice was yellow, and, while it stayed in the basket long enough for a picture, it too was the wrong color. The only green paper I had wasn’t the right green, so I moved on to white paper, which ended up being the perfect choice. The pod stood out better against the white background, and the white color didn’t compete with or detract from the overall project.

Finished seed pod packaging with white filler_1

I think the plant marker is so sweet, and I can’t decide what I love more–the fonts used on the sentiment or the tiny yellow button and twine bow. I’m so happy with how this packaging turn out; it just makes me smile. Here’s a side view of the basket:

Side view of seed pod packaging_1

This project isn’t done yet, though, as you can’t give a gift without a card, can you? I kept the same color scheme and used some of the same elements to make a coordinating notecard.

Seed pod gift ensemble_1

It would be very easy to tailor this card to any occasion by just changing out the sentiments. It doesn’t get much better than that–a fun and versatile gift with a versatile card design. And to think that this all started at Home Depot, of all places!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit today, and I hope my project has put a little extra “spring” in your step. Have a good rest of the week, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”




“Beauty without Bulk”

One aspect of card making that I am very conscious of, and constantly struggle with, is how to add visual interest without adding extra bulk or weight, especially if the card is going to be mailed. I call it the “beauty without bulk” dilemma. I recently made a card which showcases one of my favorite solutions to this dilemma–adding a decorative edge to a card stock layer. The card stock edge functions as an embellishment, and adds visual appeal without increased bulk. Talk about a win-win situation!

Let’s take a look at the card, and I’ll explain further:Finished card front_1

I wanted this card to have a soft, vintage look, and I wanted the flowers to be the main focal point. With so much white space surrounding the floral image, I needed to bring in embellishments that would take up a good portion of that space, without detracting from the flowers. Enter patterned paper. The paper acts as an embellishment, and the decorative edges help maintain the soft, vintage feel I was trying to accomplish.

The decorative edge at the top of the card was made by using an edger die. I have several different edger dies, and here is what they look like:

Edger dies_1

Each different edge pattern comes in a set of two dies; one for portrait orientation, and one for landscape orientation. The dies pictured above are all portrait orientation, and I used the middle die on my card.

The other decorative edge in the bottom left-hand corner of the card was made by simply tearing a piece of patterned paper. It’s one of the first paper techniques I learned, and I use it quite frequently, as I love the worn, vintage look it gives to my cards. I especially love adding torn pieces of newsprint to one of the upper corners of my cards to enhance the vintage feel.

There are several other ways you can cut a decorative edge to paper, such as decorative-edged scissors (i.e. pinking shears), hand-held paper punches, and scoring. Scoring creates a pattern of lines in the card stock, as shown on this card:

Torn paper and scoring example_1

Remember how I mentioned I like to use torn pieces of newsprint in one of the upper corners of my cards to add a vintage touch? Take a look at the upper left-hand corner of this card. It’s amazing how such a small torn piece of newsprint can add so much.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my mini tutorial on one of my favorite ways to solve the “beauty without bulk” dilemma. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”



My Word for 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 has officially arrived, and it has a nice ring to it.

Do you set New Year’s goals? I not only set goals, but I also select one word that sets the tone and provides the direction for my yearly goals. I start thinking about my new word in December, and this is the first time that it has taken me all month to make my final decision. I had a general idea of what changes I wanted to make in 2016, but I just couldn’t seem to come up with the right word that encompasses everything I was thinking about.

The perfect answer finally came to me this week, however, and my word for 2016 is: RESTORE. My husband and I took on a fairly major addition/renovation project and it ended up consuming most of our time and energy these past 8 months. Our life consisted of rushing from one decision to the next, which left very little time for anything else.  For me, specifically, I felt like I lost my sense of daily order and balance, as well as time for paper crafting.  I am hoping to bring back and restore these things in 2016.

So “Cheers” to a brand new year; a clean slate. I have a good feeling about this year! Enjoy the first day of what I hope will be a great year for you, too, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”





Song Lyrics and a Computer

New Stamp Set and Dies_1

Stampin’ Up! recently released their 2015 Holiday catalog, and the minute I saw this stamp set and coordinating dies, I knew I had to have it. Not only was I excited about the possibility of using the dies to create all sorts of layered scenes, but I was also excited that the dies were sized such that they could be used on tags as well as cards. I also liked how the sentiments in the stamp set were curved to follow the lines of the dies.

My favorite part about this set is the horse-drawn sleigh die, and the first thing that came to mind when I saw it was the song “Over The River And Through The Woods”. I think these song lyrics and a horse-drawn sleigh scene were meant to go together on a card, so I could hardly wait to make that happen. If you look at the stamp set, however, you will notice that these song lyrics are not one of the sentiment options offered. Does that mean the game is over? Hardly. I’m going to show you how I made the card I pictured in my mind a reality by creating the song lyrics on the computer.

The key to success, I’ve found, is choosing the right card stock. The weight of the card stock is important because it’s going to be going through your printer. You want a card stock that is lightweight and flexible enough to be accepted by the printer. The color of the card stock is also important because you need to be able to see through it when holding it up to the light. So, I’ve found that using white, cream, or a light pastel color are the best options.

The first step is to prepare your card front or project to the extent that you can, so that you can see exactly where you want your sentiment to go.

Prepare card front_1

Since the focal point of my card was the scene layers, I needed to cut them out and place them on the card panel, so I could determine what space was left for the sentiment. Once you have a general sense of where your sentiment is going to go, it’s time to head to the computer. As a side note, in order to get the trees on the lefthand side of the paper for the top layer, I just turned the paper over after I cut it.

The second step is to select a font and font size, and type out a sample of your sentiment.   It’s important to take the time to select a font that matches the style of the project you are working on. Having your project planned out and somewhat prepared helps you determine what font size to use, as you have a general idea of how large or small a space you have to work with. For my card, I knew I wanted to use a larger font size to help take up some of that white space at the top of the card.

Once you have your font style and size selected, it’s time to type out a sample of your sentiment. I use Microsoft Office Word, and I always align the wording in the center of the paper. I type all drafts in black ink, as it shows up the best underneath card stock when held up to light. Once I am satisfied with my sample, then I’ll change the color, if needed. It takes a lot of time and trial and error to get everything just the way you want it, so be patient. I print each draft that I type, and place the card stock over the draft and hold it up to the light to check for size and placement.

Determine Placement by Holding up to Light_1

When you are satisfied with your typed sample, and have the card stock panel placed just where you want it, use scotch tape to tape the card stock panel to the copy paper and mark all four corners of the card stock with a pencil. The pencil marks will help with paper placement, should you need to make multiple copies of the sentiment. I have made my marks with a marker in this sample for better visualization.

Tape & mark paper position_1

You are now ready to print a trial onto the card stock. All you need to do is turn the copy paper over, and place it in the paper tray making sure that the card stock panel is at the top of the tray.

Print sample on cardstock_1

After the sample was printed, I placed my scene layers back on the card stock panel to get a sense of what the card front was going to look like.

Verify position by placing layers_1

Perfect! If you’re satisfied with everything, you can remove the scotch tape from the card stock panel only; leave the scotch tape on the copy paper. If you only need one copy printed, you can now finish your card. If you need to print more copies, just place another card stock panel where your pencil marks are; use the same pieces of tape on the copy paper to hold the card stock down; and print. Continue these same three steps to print the remainder of copies needed.

Once all of your printing is done, set the copy paper aside, and finish your card.

Completed SU card_1

Since “Over The River And Through The Woods” is a Thanksgiving song, I wanted to use a fall color scheme. I also wanted the card to have a down home, country feel, so my embellishments included a button and some lace. Here’s a close up of the embellishment:

SU Embellishment close up_1

This is the first time I’ve tried using a short piece of lace underneath an embellishment like the banners, and I know I’ll be doing this a lot more. I love how such a small piece of lace can add so much charm.

Once I was done with this card, I ended up cutting more scene layers out of other patterned paper, and I made three more versions of this card.

Whole group of cards_1

I’m so happy with how these cards turned out; they ended up looking exactly like what I had pictured in my mind. That doesn’t always happen! The best part was that I was able to increase the versatility of this stamp and die set by creating a sentiment on the computer. It’s always fun to get more bang for your buck!

As for the copy paper I used, I documented all of the specific details and measurements I used to create this card, and I’ve saved it in a file. That way, I can come back to this paper at any point in the future and have all of the information I need to recreate the same card.

Better instruction sheet_1

Well, that wraps it up for me today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars.”







Threads of Gold

I saw this card several days ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it:

Joy & Peace Wreath Card

I liked everything about the layout. I liked the burgundy paper at the bottom of the card, and more specifically, I liked the large plaid pattern, the edging, and the contrast it gave to the white background. I also really liked the wooden star–it’s so tiny, and yet it makes a huge impact on this card.

I couldn’t wait to try this layout today, and while I don’t have any wooden stars, I do have some wooden leaves, so that set the theme for my card. I chose my color scheme, gathered my papers and ink, and let the creativity begin.

I started with a Very Vanilla card base, and then I cut the patterned paper for the bottom and added the wooden leaf. I laid out different leaf dies until I found the right size and set the die on the card for placement.

Beginning of card_1

Next I stamped the leaf that coordinates with this die, and quickly watercolored the design centers. I cut the leaf shape out with the die, and also stamped the sentiment in the upper right corner.

Card step 2_1

The card was really beginning to come together, but I needed to fill in some of the white space around the leaf. I ended up stamping some paint splatters behind it, and, while that certainly helped, I still felt like the card needed something more.

Card step 3_1

I tried using all kinds of things behind the leaf–linen thread, vintage lace, part of a doily–and I also tried a gold button on the stem. Nothing was working for me; all of the above options either looked too heavy or looked odd and out of place. I then tried bunching up some fine gold thread, and that was it–that’s what this card needed!

Gold thread_1

The gold thread added the extra visual interest I was looking for without being heavy, and the messy bunch gave the impression of movement, like a gusty wind. I attached the leaf over the thread with dimensionals, and here is the finished card:

Finished card on tray_1

I’m quite pleased with how this card turned out, and I owe it all to threads of gold. Have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out number the stars.”