Stars, Stripes and Sailboats

Let me start by saying that it wasn’t my intention to spend my afternoon crafting, but sometimes impromptu crafting just happens and it is so much fun. And, believe you me, I ended up having more fun that one person should have on a rainy afternoon!

I was looking for some pictures on my computer when I ran across this picture:

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This was the window display of a paper store we walked by, and my heart skipped a beat or two when I saw this. I took this picture and then went into the shop to find out more about these absolutely adorable sailboats. I learned that all of these sailboats were made out of wrapping paper from a simple origami pattern. My favorite design was the polka dot paper at the bottom of the rows, so I ended up buying some of that paper, and left the shop thinking that the first thing I was going to do when I got home was look up how to make an origami sailboat.

Fast forward 2 years. I still have the wrapping paper, and I have bookmarked a pattern for a sailboat, but nothing more. Well…..I really can’t explain all that happened in the next 2 hours–all I know is that this picture sparked an idea, and the results of that idea were totally unexpected and totally awesome.

I began by making a sample sailboat from the pattern I had found. I started out with a 5″ square piece of wrapping paper, and ended up with a sailboat that was 3 1/2″ wide. I thought that was too small, so after some additional experimenting, I settled on a 7″ square piece of paper which gave me a sailboat that was 5″ wide. So it’s important to keep in mind that the end design will be smaller than the initial size paper square you start out with.

In what seemed like only a matter of minutes, I had four sailboats

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You could easily end up with a whole fleet of these babies in a matter of a few hours; it’s that quick and easy! I love the contrast of the white sails against the navy paper, and the pattern gives directions on how to accomplish this. The sailboats in the window display don’t have the contrast, so my best guess is that 2 squares of paper were adhered back to back before folding.

This is the point where things got interesting. I now have 4 sweet, navy and white polka dot sailboats; what am I going to do with them? The number 4 ended up being the key to the end result–I thought about all of the things I would need 4 of something for, and one of the first things that came to mind was table settings. And the rest goes something like this:

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I put one of the sailboats on a plate to check for size, and what hit me wasn’t anything to do with the size of the sailboat, but the fact that I had some major work to do to dress up this plate. Talk about boring! This was a situation! I definitely liked the size of the sailboat in comparison to the inner portion of the plate, but I needed to add something that added color and height, so that the sailboat would have some presence and take center stage.

One of the other pictures I ran across before all of this crafting began was of the rosettes I made to decorate the outside of my hand pie envelopes several years ago:

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I had a “eureka” moment, and decided to make some rosettes for the sailboats to sit on. I’ve never made large rosettes before, but I decided there was no time like the present and dove right in. The width of the inner portion of my plate is 7″, so I started with 7″ squares of paper. I cut 3 squares for each rosette. I accordion folded, or fan folded, each square in 1″ increments and then folded each strip in half and taped it together:

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From there I taped all three sections together, and when you attach the last two parts together, you get a rosette:

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I topped each rosette with a starburst circle to cover up the middle, and now was the moment of truth–were these rosettes going to transform the plates from “why bother” to “wow”?

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Oh I think so, hand’s down! At this point I am kind of in shock! Decorating my table for the Fourth of July was the furthest thing from my mind 2 hours ago, and yet now I am staring at the sweetest; most charming table decorations ever! These decorations combine both the nautical and patriotic themes in a way that I never would have imagined, and I couldn’t wait to see what the table looked like with all four places set!

And so, that is the tale of how I went from a picture of a window display

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to a table display

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all in 2 hours on a rainy afternoon. I was so excited with the end result that I couldn’t wait to show you. I did add some tiny star table scatter, which I know is impractical, but it looks good. Sometimes impractical is worth it!

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

 

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Summer Gift Tag Series–Part IV

I am down to designing the last 5 tags for this final bag style:

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The inspiration for this tag came from a Christmas ornament that I gave my husband several years ago. He has worked in corporate finance his entire career, and when I saw this ornament, I knew I had to get it for him. It is actually hanging above the towel hooks in our powder room, and, each time I look at it, I am reminded that I have always wanted to design a card or tag based on the concept:

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I think this is such a clever ornament, and I just love the play on words! I wanted each of my tags to feature an iconic, summer image, and surfboards definitely fit the bill.  The more I thought about the basic concept; the more I could picture the beginnings of a tag design in my mind. Since I have always wanted to re-create this idea, and since there is no time like the present, I decided to jump in and see what I could come up with. I can’t wait to show you how this tag turned out!

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I don’t own any surfboard stamps, so, just like with the flip flops, I found a template on line and reduced the scale to fit the tag base. The basic idea I had was to have 3 surfboards leaning up against a palm tree, so here is how I set the scene:

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The illusions of sand and water were created by sponging the inks directly onto the white background. The design was beginning to come together, but the pink board was too dark, and the surfboards look like fish. They needed definition and embellishment!

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Much better! Now all I needed was the lettering, and this is where I struggled. I had two options for the lettering stamps I chose to work with: I could either have white letters on ink squares

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or brown letters on colored card stock

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The original idea I had in my mind was to use the brown ink blocks with the white lettering, but when I laid it all out, I began to second guess myself. So I spent three days stamping all of the options pictured above, and, in the end, it came down to either the brown ink squares with the white lettering, or the brown letters on the pink card stock. I was really trying to stay away from using a lot of pink, so, after all of this time and effort, I circled back around to my initial choice.

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I glued the individual letter squares onto a card stock strip to keep them straight.

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And here it is; my finished tag. May I introduce you to my version of a summer “board meeting?! This tag took a lot of time, and trial and error, but I am really happy that I stuck with it. I love the final result, and I think this would be a fun tag to use for a summer company gathering. You’ll notice that I attached the tag with a mini clothespin rather than tying it on. After all of the time and effort I put in to this tag, I just couldn’t bare to punch a hole in it!

I’ve come to the end of my summer gift tag challenge, and I have designed and created 20 tags in a little over 2 weeks. Here’s a look at each individual tag:

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I set out to make bright, colorful tags featuring iconic summer images that coordinated with the 4 different bag styles that I found in my “stash”. I definitely think I accomplished my goal, and, as a result,  I have a basket full of fun tags to use throughout this season.

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Do you have a favorite? Each tag is so different from the others, and I did that on purpose–I wanted to end up with a fun assortment of choices that would work for a variety of recipients and gatherings.

I have mixed feelings about this challenge coming to an end–on the one hand, I have thoroughly enjoyed designing and creating these tags, but, on the other hand, I could use some time to restore a sense of order to my craft room. It’s a situation! Thank you for spending this time with me, and I hope we can continue to get together more often this summer. Until next time, take care, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

 

Summer Gift Tag Series–Part III

Today I will be focusing on creating a tag for the solid teal bag:

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and this tag is inspired by a trip my husband and I took to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park this past weekend. As you stand atop the summit of Cadillac Mountain, you have a panoramic view of Southwest Harbor and the Atlantic ocean. The boats in the harbor and out on the water look like small white specks from the mountain top. My pictures certainly don’t do the views justice, but you can at least get a sense of the scale of the harbor below:

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I love seeing the sailboats out on the water, so today’s tag will feature a sailboat and also a more neutral color scheme. The following pictures will show how this tag came together from start:

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to finish.

Since my other two tags have trended more to the feminine side, I wanted to mix things up and create something that is more masculine and versatile. The sailboat image; the stars; and the nautical color scheme all work together to accomplish this goal. The sailboat fits really well on the oval shape of this tag, but I needed to fill in a lot of white space around it. Splitting up the sentiment into separate words is a great technique to take up some of the extra white space.

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Looking at this picture, I am amazed at how this tag totally transforms the feel of this gift–the bag color by itself is definitely feminine, and yet when combined with the tag and plain tissue paper, it takes on a more neutral appearance which would be suitable for any recipient.

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I am 3/4ths of the way through this challenge–15 tags made; 5 tags to go. I am just “sailing right along” with these tags (I apologize–I couldn’t help myself!) and my basket is filling up nicely. I hope you’ll check back for the final part of this series, as, in my opinion, I have saved the best for last! Have a great week, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

Summer Gift Tag Series–Part II

As a quick recap–I found some gift bags in my craft room two weeks ago, and I have challenged myself to make summer gift tags for each of the four different bag styles. In Part I of this series, I made a tag to go with the polka dot teal bag:

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and today, in Part II of this series, I will be designing a tag for the solid pink bag:

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I want this tag to be bright and fun, so that it stands out against the solid background of the bag. In thinking about that goal, colorful flip flops came to mind, so that became the starting point for this tag. I played around with the flip flop stamps that I have, but I just couldn’t come up with a pattern that I liked. So, I abandoned the stamps and found a flip flop template on line. As my Mom used to say: “Sometimes you don’t try harder; you try different”. I will now let my pictures tell the story of my design process from start:

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to finish.

Once I had the template enlarged to my satisfaction, I cut the flip flop bases out of three different patterned papers. The patterned paper isn’t as sturdy as regular card stock, so I backed each tag with white card stock for extra stability. When I looked at the tag bases together, the navy ones were too dark, so I made additional lime green and teal flip flops to bring the total back to 6. Once I added the flowers and the sentiment, these flip flops really came to life. These tags are bright; they are fun; and they are the perfect summer decoration for these pink gift bags! They are nothing like I had pictured, but exactly what I had wanted to accomplish!

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Fun tags can’t be attached to the bags just any ole’ way, so I used the dog tag chains instead of bakers twine or clothespins. I got the idea from a new pair of shoes I purchased this past weekend. There was a key chain attached to one of the shoes with this type of chain. Inspiration is everywhere!

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I am halfway through this challenge, and my basket is half full with these colorful, summer gift tags.  They just make me smile! Stay tuned for Part III, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

 

 

Summer Gift Tag Series–Part I

Look what I found as I was going through my craft room last week–

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Talk about charming gift bags! Just look at those colors; and those scallops; and those polka dots!  I am just as excited seeing them now, as I was when I purchased them last spring. The bags came packaged in sets of 10 for each color, so I have a total of 20 bags. The colors are so bright and happy, and I can just picture how cute they would look for summer gifts. BUT….. gift bags need tags. I need to make some tags.

I have issued myself a challenge to make 5 tags for each of the 4 different bags over the next several weeks, and I will be posting my tag designs and finished projects for you to see. I can’t wait to get started, as these bags are too cute to spend another summer in a bin!

I chose to start with the tag for the polka dot teal bag, as this is my favorite, hands down! My goal is to create a tag that is bright and playful, like the bag itself. I’m going to try something new and different today by just letting the pictures take you through my design process from start:

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to finish.

I’m really happy with how this tag turned out, and I definitely think I accomplished my goal of creating a bright, playful tag. I wasn’t sure if I would use the black and white paper on the tag base, but I’m really glad I did. I think all of the black elements help ground the tag, and provide a nice contrast against the bag color. I hadn’t planned on adding anything to the middle of the flowers, but I didn’t like how they looked with open centers on the tag.

The more I looked at this tag, however, the white space bothered me, so I tried adding the center dots from die-cutting the flowers around the tag.

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Wow–I can’t believe the difference these 3 little cardstock dots make! Not only do they help fill in some of the white space, but they also mimic the polka dots on the bag. I know I have said it before, and I’m going to say it again now–paper crafting is all about trial and error, and you should never be afraid to experiment with your ideas.  You never know when you might end up with a happy little discovery, like I did today.

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5 tags down; 15 to go.

Before I close for today, I have one more picture for you of one of these bags all dressed up and ready to use for a gift:

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It’s true what they say–it’s all about the packaging!

I hope your week has gotten off to a good start. I will be back with another tag design soon, so stay tuned.  Take care, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

 

 

Pocket Cards & Baby Blocks

We have a new baby girl in my family, so I recently created some gifts to welcome this little one into the world. It’s been hard to be patient, but I wanted to wait until the gifts were received and opened before I showed you what I made.

The first gift is a set of 20 thank you cards, which is one of my favorite gifts to make and give to new parents. Thank you cards aren’t usually high on the couple’s priority list of items to purchase and have on hand prior to their baby’s birth, and once the new baby comes home and the baby gifts start to arrive, there isn’t the time nor the energy to run out and get some.

I started with a pocket card design with a flap.

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It’s important to use a strong, narrow adhesive when creating the pocket to maximize the size of the card insert. I used 1/8″ double sided tape, and place the tape as close to the edges as possible:

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I knew that I wanted a sweet, pink baby elephant to be the main image on the card, and my original thought was to stamp the elephant and some flowers on the flap of the card. By stamping all of the images, the card would remain flat and wouldn’t require extra postage and hand-cancelling at the post office.

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I was definitely on the right track, but this design was too basic for me. This card needed more personality and charm for my taste, so I went back to the drawing board and started over. I did want to show you, however, that with the addition of a twine bow and the card insert, I was able to salvage this simple design and turn it  into a cute new baby card:

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This card would be perfect for a beginning stamper to make. It really is a sweet card, and I could have stopped here and changed the sentiment and used this as my final design, but I wanted more.

I started by punching the elephant out of paper, rather than stamping it, and I adhered it to a die-cut circle. I kept the flowers on either side of the elephant, but added a scalloped border to the bottom edge of the flap. My last addition was to attach a “thank you” tag to the circle die-cut with baker’s twine. Not only did the tag add to the charm of the card, but it freed up the entire card insert for the handwritten note.

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Now this is more like it! What a transformation. How sweet is that pink, polka dot elephant! The elephant, combined with the scalloped border and the tag added the charm and personality I was looking for. Here’s a look at the finished card:

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I packaged the 20 cards and envelopes, along with 4 extra insert cards and the stamps for mailing in a box, and gift #1 was complete.

Gift #2 is a home decor piece for the nursery wall, using a shadow box.  I created a stack of paper baby blocks, and embellished them with a variety of punched/die-cut images. I incorporated the colors of the crib bedding in the design, which are navy, mustard yellow, and mint green, and brought in some pink in the background. This first picture was taken before I put it in the shadow box frame, and you can see the detail much more clearly:

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I die-cut the initial out of both navy and pink card stock, and offset them slightly to create the shadow effect.

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The shadow box frame is 9 x 9, and it caught my eye one day when I was shopping at Michaels. I just loved the distressed look and color of the wood.

I have one last picture for you before I close: we were having some work done upstairs while I was working on these gifts, so I needed to move my operation temporarily to the dining room table. This is a behind-the-scene look at how messy creativity can get!

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Take care, stay warm, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

Paper Plate Make-Over

Yesterday I found myself in need of packaging for Christmas cookies in a hurry, and all I had was a white paper plate. I wanted to quickly pass along how I transformed the plate, in case you might find yourself in a similar situation. I gathered a few supplies:

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and gave this paper plate a Christmas make-over. In less than 15 minutes I turned this plain plate

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into a charming plate fit for my Christmas cookies!

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I simply punched holes every 1 1/2 inches around the rim of the plate; wove the ribbon in and out of the holes; made a bow; tied a jingle bell onto the bow; added the holly leaves, and ended up with a sweet, festive cookie plate. Just make sure that you punch an even number of holes, so that the ribbon ends up on the back of the plate on the final hole. I started with about 45″ of ribbon and tied the two ribbon tails in a knot on the underside of the plate when I was done weaving. Trim the ends of the tails close so that they don’t show.

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I actually am so pleased with how this turned out that I think this will become my packaging for baked goods going forward. Necessity really is the mother of invention in this case! My mind is already thinking about different variations of this idea, but, that’s for next year…..

The official countdown before Christmas has begun. Good luck with your final preparations. I wish you all a very merry and magical Christmas, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-