Mason Mondays

It’s no secret–I LOVE mason jars! I love their shape and the color of the vintage aqua jars.  They are incredibly versatile, and can be used for many different functions and purposes. I have used them all throughout my house, and in each instance, they serve a specific need.  For example:

Mason jars on window ledge_1.jpg

I am using these jars in my pantry to provide a splash of color.

Mason jar vase_1.jpg

This jar in my kitchen is doubling as a vase,

Mason jar home decor_1.jpg

while the painted jar in my living room,

Mason jar craft room decor_1.jpg

as well as these jars in my craft room have been re-purposed as home decor.

Mason jars work really well for craft projects. Since I tend to use them often, I am starting a new series here on my blog entitled “Mason Mondays” to highlight my posts using these jars. Anytime I feature a mason jar in my project design or packaging, I will post it on a Monday under the “Mason Mondays” heading.

Today is the first post in this series, as I used the 4 oz. mason jars for my husband’s Father’s Day dessert. He loves Key Lime Pie, and when I found this recipe for Key Lime Pie Cups, I knew these would be the perfect ending to his Father’s Day meal.

You start out by filling each jar with a graham cracker crumb mixture,

Graham cracker crust layer_1.jpg

followed by the key lime filling.

Key lime filling_1.jpg

The filling gets topped with Cool Whip and graham cracker crumbs, and then the cups need to refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Ready to refrigerate_1.jpg

Just before serving, place a lime wedge on each cup.

Dressed up and ready to serve_1.jpg

All I needed to do now was put each Key Lime Pie cup on a dessert plate and pour the coffee. My husband could hardly wait to dig in!

Served and ready to eat_1.jpg

Look how sweet each dessert looks in the 4 oz. mason jars! And it tasted just as good as it looked–I love it when that happens! It was very light and refreshing–a perfect summertime treat. My husband had 2 servings, so I think we can call this recipe a success! Check, check, and check!

I hope your week has gotten off to a good start. 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-

 

 

 

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Coming Soon!

sliding door

I have a new address, and a new craft room!

After moving to Maine; working hard all winter to organize and put the finishing touches on my craft room; and having a party for our daughter, who graduated from college in May, I finally feel like I can get back to paper crafting. I am in the process of planning and designing projects that will celebrate this summer season, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

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-

 

 

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.

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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.”

-C-

 

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.”

-C-

 

 

 

 

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.”

-C-

 

 

“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.”

-C-

 

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.”

-C-