Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ornaments, Tiles, and Mailbox Beautification

     This week, I decided to try my hand at glittering ornaments for the kids.  Do you ever see those plain, empty plastic or glass ornaments at the craft store and wonder about who really buys them?  I used to.

     Now, I'm the person buying them... and I wish that I had done it earlier!

     Luckily, you can still find them at Michael's and Hobby Lobby right now for 50% off... so grab your car keys and get moving.

     I'll probably do a quick tutorial on these in the future because they really are fun and even a first-timer can totally blow this one out of the water.
Right after they dried and had the caps put back on.

When they were finished.

    Long story short, clean the inside of the ornaments with rubbing alcohol (swish and pour back in the bottle), then swirl floor polish (with Future Shine) around the inside.  Immediately after pouring the excess floor polish back into the polish bottle, add your extra fine glitter, plug the top of the ornament up with your thumb and shake to coat the inside.  Tap excess glitter back into container.  Finally, clean the outside of the ornament with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball and add vinyl embellishments.  :)

   SUPER easy, very rewarding.

     Along with the ornaments, I also made a few tiles to give out as "thank you"s to the receptionists and the nurse at my doctor's office.  They've been phenomenal whenever I've gone in there, both before and after Liam came.  I wanted to show them how much they were appreciated.

     I love that Rudolph file.  And glitter vinyl is becoming my favorite thing EVER.

     Also made a thermos for my dad.  (No worries, he doesn't read my blog.  Crafting is not his thing and I keep him posted about the family through my mom and Facebook.)  

     He wanted a Harley for the longest time and finally got one a few years ago.  I remembered growing up how he would always talk about owning one.  Now he's got one and he loves it.  Harley-anything goes over really well.  Dad has always been kind of hard to shop for, but this is right up his alley.

     Finally, today I finally decided that I didn't want to look at my horrible mailbox for one second longer.  I picked up some black glossy spray paint and got to work.

     My mailbox went from this:
   A sad, raggedy and generally ugly mailbox.

To this:
    *cue angels singing*

     I was so happy with how it turned out.  Honestly, just a little bit of paint and some sprucing up will really make something old, new again.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Santa and Rudolph Canvases

     I made my first canvases this week!

     There's a blank wall in my entryway that I thought would look good with a little Christmas art.  When I saw the Santa file on my Silhouette group, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  I went to Michael's and picked up some canvases (value bundle pack) to decorate, prepped them with some white acrylic paint, and then vinyled them.  Of course, Santa couldn't be alone, he had to have his buddy, Rudolph, with him.

     So happy with how they both turned out!  I may be slightly hooked on this "canvas" thing now.  :)

     The Santa artwork is originally from Pottery Barn and someone in the group was kind enough to share the file with us.  Rudolph, I created after seeing a beautiful wall hanging in the "Land of Nod" catalog.

     I had a few requests for a tutorial on how I made Rudolph, so I learned how to use iMovie... with the help of my 9 year-old son.  Guess I have finally crossed the threshold into "old fart" territory.

     Here's how I made Rudolph:

     Hope this helps give you all some tips and tricks!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

William's Sonoma Knockoff- Christmas Glasses

     I LOVE, absolutely LOVE Williams Sonoma.  However, I rarely shop there because of the price.  Their stuff is fantastic and absolutely beautiful, but I just can't bring myself to shell out that kind of money when I still have kids in the house who would take those beautiful things and trash them completely within minutes.  :)

     Flipping through their most recent catalog, however, I saw a set of glasses that I loved.  They had beautiful pine trees etched into the side and just screamed "Christmas".  Price for a set of 4?  Hold on to your socks... $69.95.  WOW.

     I had a quick thought, though.  Those pretty glasses didn't look so hard to make.  I had all the stuff to recreate it.  Just had to do it.

     In the end, I'm thrilled with how they turned out.  The glass on the left is from Williams Sonoma and a set of four sell for $69.95.  The one on the right is my recreation, and a set of four cost me a measly $4.  SCORE!

     To recreate them.  I used 4 glasses that I picked up at the dollar store for $1 each.  I also had a free sample of Series 351 Metallized vinyl in silver from Oracal that I had received from their website.  (Sign up for an account and you can get 5 samples per month.  Great way to try out new vinyl.  I'm now dying to get more of this stuff.)

     To get the artwork, I uploaded the .jpg image of the Williams Sonoma glasses into the Silhouette software and used the trace feature to select and trace the trees.  I don't have a specific formula or set of rules for this, I just mess with it until it "feels" right.  Once I had a good trace, I deleted all of the super tiny dots that wouldn't be easy to vinyl on, enlarged the middle tree, and played with the sizing and placement of the other trees until I was satisfied.  I then replicated it to have four... one for each glass.

     After that, it was just a matter of sending it to the Silhouette to cut.  I used a blade setting of 2 and lowered the speed by one (down to 8, I believe... whatever is one less than the normal vinyl setting) because the cut is very detailed.

     When the Silhouette was finished cutting, I weeded out the part of the vinyl that I didn't want to adhere to the glass.  Applied transfer tape, and then transferred it to the glass.  Peeled back the tape... and had my new Christmas-y set of glasses!

     Sometimes it pays to be cheap.  ;)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

T-shirt FAIL... plus "More Cowbell".

With Christmas coming up, I wanted to go ahead and knock out some of Travis' Christmas gifts.  Since it takes awhile to ship to an APO address, I figured that I'd better get my butt in gear and knock something out.

     I've had a few t-shirt ideas for awhile, so with those in mind, I went to the store and picked up some shirts to bring it to fruition.

     The first shirt paid homage to one of the best films ever... "The Big Lebowski".

     I considered making one that said, "You want a toe?  I'll get you a toe." With a line drawing of a toe.  However, I discovered that doing a Google image search for "toe" is a painful process that brings up some pretty disgusting and funkified toe anomalies.  PLUS, after about 30 seconds of looking through toe pictures, I felt like a complete weirdo and decided to drop it.  Therefore, "The Dude Abides".

     My second t-shirt was a tribute to The Lonely Island's "I Threw it on the Ground".  (A funny, yet pointless song that makes me laugh.)

     I was so proud of using my new heat press and making some shirts that I knew he would actually wear and appreciate.  I packed them up and shipped them the next day.

     UNFORTUNATELY, I guess that size "Adult XL" at Joann's is actually a Young Adult size for teenagers.  Yup, the shirts were tighter than what you would see in a Britney Spears video.

     So, of course, I begged for pics to post.  If I'm going to flop, at least let me get a giggle out of it.

     I think it was more out of pity for me that he did it.  He knew how upset I was about the shirts not fitting, but I did laugh hysterically when I saw this and told him that he could always try out for The Village People if the Army didn't work out.  ;)

     After the shirt fail, I felt the need to redeem myself.  I had gotten the idea from my Silhouette forum and found the artwork to recreate it.

     "I got a fever... and the only prescription... is more cowbell."

     What he's going to do with a giant cowbell that has Christopher Walken plastered on it, I honestly don't know.  But it was fun to make.

     Finally, Cameron ran up to me this past week with his homework folder and asked me to embellish it.  When I asked him what he wanted, he said that he wanted the Notre Dame logo.  (BTW, Notre Dame is doing fantastic this season.  Go Irish!)

     Wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!  This is the first year that I have to make the turkey.  I'm hoping that I don't accidentally poison everyone.  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Give Thanks!

     Everyone ready for Thanksgiving?  I'm not.  I don't even have a turkey yet!

     I did, however, think of something that would be fun for Cameron's class to do as a project.  I thought it would be fun for all of the kids to have Thanksgiving cards that they could each write something about their teacher that they are thankful for.  In turn, their teacher would have cards to write something she is thankful for about each student.

    Spread the holiday love.

     While looking in the Silhouette online store, I saw an adorable turkey cut design.  However, I didn't want to have to cut and assemble multiple layers for more than 25 individual cards, so I worked with it in the Silhouette software to make it a print and cut.

     Here's how the kids-to-teacher cards turned out:

     Aren't they sweet?!

     To make the turkey file a print and cut, click on each part of the turkey and fill it with the color you want, starting with the biggest part of the tail feathers and working your way forward through the layers. Also, make all of the lines transparent. (Just select the turkey part, then "line" and "transparent".) Do the fill and line transparency for each of the turkey parts until it's totally colored in. Once it is, "Group" the image and then start from the beginning of the "Under a Cherry Tree" tutorial. The image will act like a print and cut image while it's grouped and you can personalize it from there. 

     After making the turkey cards, I designed my own file for the teacher cards using Silhouette Designer Edition software.  I love the fill background selections they have!  It was a lot of fun to play with the new software and start to learn the ins and outs.

Teacher cards (left) and student cards (right).

     When I finished with the cards, my younger son saw them and begged me to do them for his classroom as well.  We decided to make his different from his brother's and used Lettering Delights' Kanshasai file to do the same project for his class.

     Definitely enjoying the new software!

     Hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Vinyl-Embellished Bento Lunch Boxes

     I love bento boxes!  I've had some in my Amazon wishlist for a really long time, but just recently, I was lucky enough to come across some of these great bento boxes at Tuesday Morning.  While the colors were bright, they were missing some pizazz... so I asked the kids what they wanted.

     Kai, of course, chose Batman; and Cameron chose Pokemon.  I'll admit that the Batman one was much, MUCH easier to accomplish.  The Batman logo was in the Silhouette store and after I downloaded a free Batman font from, all I had to do was add Kai's name, cut and vinyl.

     With Cameron's, well... it was just a nightmare from the get-go.  I couldn't find any Pokemon files that I wanted and he was very specific about wanting Zekerom on his lunchbox.  I was able to find a pretty clear image of the dragon/bumble bee guy, trace it, and then start cutting and layering the vinyl.  It took a total of 5 colors to complete him.  A base layer of black, then light gray and dark gray for the body, blue tip on the horn, and a teeny tiny red eye.

     For the Pokemon logo, I was able to trace and cut with no problem.  Cameron's name, however, took a bit more work.  I won't go too into detail, but I noticed that the Pokemon font didn't have the vowels overlapping and cutting into the other letters like the logo did.  With my crafting OCD, this was unacceptable and I spent a good hour to an hour and a half playing in the Silhouette software to cut chunks out of the letters surrounding the vowels and crowding the letters to look more "authentic".  Finally, I was able to put everything on there and proudly show my project to the children.

     The kids, of course, nodded and said, "Nice, Mom.  Thanks."  Hmm.. not exactly the whooping and screaming reception I was hoping for, but I was happy with how they turned out anyway.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Pics and Angry Bird Cups

     I hope that everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!  We had another fun year and it was Liam's first Halloween, so he was able to continue our family tradition of wearing the infant lobster costume.
     Usually the lobster costume brings on the baby screams, but Liam had shots that day, so I think he was just happy to stay warm and wrapped up.  Poor little guy never made a single discontented peep.

     This year, aside from Liam the Lobster, we had Cameron as Lord Voldemort, Kai was vampire Spiderman, and Scarlett was... of course... a princess.
     And here is Kai in all of his decked out "vampire Spiderman" glory.  Yes, we actually trick-or-treated this way, which brought on a lot of weird looks and people cracking up.
     That's my boy!

     While the boys were at school, I used my Silhouette to make the Angry Bird cups that I've been wanting to make for the kids.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the right color orange for the yellow bird, so I had to wait on that, but here's how they turned out.
     All of the files, with the exception of the black Angry Bird, were shared files that were shared on the Silhouette group that I'm a part of.  The black Angry Bird was my first attempt at creating my own layered vinyl file and I'm super happy with how it turned out.  The kids were thrilled with their cups.  We're big "Angry Birds" fans here.  :)