Category Archives: Holiday

10 cards from the January 2019 SSS Kit

I’m not one of those demonstrator bloggers with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, who shows how to make the best use of the monthly Simon Says Stamp kit.

I’m just an obscure follower of the card-making craft, who wants to do a little bit of show and tell. Some of these, I pretty much followed the blogs of other cardmakers.  But only because they were so unbelievably adorable! Hope you don’t judge me too harshly!

  1. The one with the pom-pom streamers.  The sentiment was cut out of one of the 6 x 6 card stock papers included in the kit, and positioned on top of a coordinating paper, with pom-poms threaded on 3 double strands of the thread in the kit. fullsizeoutput_42fa

2. The gift tag–a couple of pieces of the coordinating card stocks put together, to be attached with a ribbon.fullsizeoutput_42fc.jpeg

3. The snowflake kisses sentiment one. Happy thoughts (not often thought of by people who live where it never snows)…fullsizeoutput_42fd.jpeg

4. The hot chocolate one. Not the most elegant, but faintly reminiscent of chocolate.fullsizeoutput_42fe.jpeg

5. The one with the snowmenfullsizeoutput_42ff.jpeg

6. The snowflake is winter’s butterfly one. Butterfly didn’t come with the kit, but I had one lone blue one in the stash.fullsizeoutput_4300.jpeg

7. The “ease into Valentine’s” card. I guess, for people in the cold climates, wintertime after Christmas is over, is very distinct and separate from wintertime before and during Christmas. Hence, maybe even polar opposites? North vs south poles? Santa vs penguins?fullsizeoutput_4301.jpeg

8. The twirling skater one. This one I did almost exactly as the demo in Clips-n-Cuts blog except I used a navy blue card base as the background. I’ve never made a twirling motif such as this before, and I thought it was the coolest! The skater die was included in the kit.fullsizeoutput_4302

9. Another penguin Valentine card. The coordinating blues and plaids, are so fresh.fullsizeoutput_4303.jpeg

10. The snow-covered blossom one. So this little floral sprig fell off of a spray I bought from Hobby Lobby in an attempt to brighten up the place after the Christmas stuff went down. I glued some white pom-poms onto the blossoms to imitate snow piling up on them. fullsizeoutput_4304.jpeg

So anyway, that’s 10 cards from me.

Everywhere a Sign

Remember this?

Yeah, that’s my sign from last month.

Skip wanted me to just do a makeover on this sign, or have some element that can be added and removed, to make the sign suitable for other times of the year.

Like one of those all-purpose calendars with a theme or motif rather than months and days.

Turns out, those holographic vinyl letters were very easy to pick off. And the boards themselves took quite readily to a new coat of milk paint and sanding and clear-lacquer spraying.

And the vinyl lettering took not much effort.


Now a Valentine’s Day sign.

I’m thinking of re-doing it with the font a little bigger. But as is, it sort of implies that love is more humble than a flamboyant flourish, just a simple statement that you might have to pay more attention to, to find it. Anyway, it’s been fun to experiment with!

My True Love gave to me…

“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” [Matthew 8:20]

Speaking of places in which to lay your head, this project is finally done:

Santa reverse redwork embroidery head rest

I looked in the fabric stash, and of course I had a suitable remnant just the ideal size to make two of these for our recliners in the TV room. Bright red, already quilted cotton and a green plaid little piece of cotton with a coordinating red stripe. Instead of trying to machine embroider the quilted fabric, I decided to stitch the Santa motif onto a thin piece of red fabric I found, that had slits all over it from something. Maybe it was involved in a knife fight? Or someone at the fabric store opened a box of bolts with a razor blade and slashed it? Or the fabric has been in the stash so long it just shredded from age?

The design is called “redwork embroidery” because it’s traditionally red thread on white background

It is a pretty close color match to the quilted cotton, so I just appliquéd it on with a satin stitch. And, I was able to use the mirroring function on the Viking to make two opposite-facing images of the Santa motif, which I bought from Embroidery Library.

Sealing the thread ends with Fray Block

I cut the plaid fabric into 5-inch-wide strips, sewed all the pieces into one long strip, then folded the strip in half and pressed it. The idea was to make it like bias binding, except I didn’t cut it on the bias, but rather, the straight grain. I knew better: bias would have been ideal, but I’m too lazy to want to try to cut fabric at the perfect 45 degree angle. Too many opportunities for it to get screwed up, and I’m done when it comes to dealing with more holiday stress! Then I folded each loooooong end of the binding strip under about 1/2″ and pressed them under.

Ironing the binding

Next step, after binding, was sewing on some Velcro strips to attach the headrests to the backs of the chairs. The sticky-back strip will go on the chairs.

Meanwhile, although it’s chilly outside, gorgeous flowers are blooming in the yard.

pink camellias

Feeling very thankful for this time, this season, this holiday! What is it like in your winter wonderland? What is making you happy?

The (Christmas) Party’s Over

We like to have our family Christmas party the Saturday before Christmas if possible, that way it won’t interfere with the grandkids’ celebrations at their homes. 

By way of decorations, we went with a Buffalo-plaid red-and-black check theme, which seems to be a component of the “farmhouse-style” ubiquitous scheme of holiday decorating this year.  Our contribution of craft to the decor was pseudo-barn panel painted and embellished with a holiday sentiment. 

Skip put together three boards that were lying around in the shop. I white-washed them with some white milk paint. 

After they dried completely, I painted over the boards with red milk paint. 

Once the red paint was dry, I “sanded” the boards with Abranet to make some of the white and bare board show through and thus give it a weathered appearance. 

Then I painted a rough image of pine boughs, pine cones, and gold ribbon, nothing very specific, using acrylic paint. 

We painted the whole surface with clear Danish oil mixed with a little bit of walnut Danish oil to seal it and make it look old. Then, after that dried, which took a really long time because it was cold — I actually blew the hair dryer at it for a short while and that did speed up the drying — we sprayed it with clear acrylic. 

Finally, we added a Cricut sentiment out of adhesive-backed shiny holographic vinyl.

There it was, hanging on the wall in the foyer, directing our party guests to the living room where the fun was about to begin! 

Santa Claus, the sequel
Us’ns
the newest baby
Sibling hugs

We’re done with this leg of the journey! 

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Ah, November is here!

Apart from the obvious holidays this month (Veteran’s Day, Election Day, Thanksgiving) we also have a few lesser known national celebrations that have been growing in popularity. I’ll list the ones in which I may be inclined to invest some interest:

  1. NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing month. Although we’re already 5 days into November, which means we’re grossly behind on the deadline to write 50 K words by the end of the month, Skip has already started by writing the first chapter in a mystery tale. It’s in the point of view of “first person,” which made me laugh out loud picturing him as a private detective pulling out his gun in a parking garage…and he wants us to alternate writing chapters. Maybe we can incorporate a character who knits and dabbles in the creative arts while dodging bullets, so I can write about what I know?
  2. Postings of what my Facebook friends are thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving: Thirty Days of Thankfulness. I always enjoy this, because it helps to count one’s blessings, and having visual images of them is a plus. I’m going to alter that concept slightly by making a “Thank You” card every day of the month. I’ve already made a couple, so as not to get too far behind on this deadline.

    Thank card jenny skip
    die cuts, sequins, stamped and embossed greeting, Perfect Pearls powder. Yikes, the greeting is maybe a little bit off-center…

    Family card jenny skip
    Tim Holtz metal butterflies, stamped greeting and motif, stick-on gem, Nuvo drops & inked stamps, glitter and cut outs on tag with twine

    various jenny skip
    various additives

    sympathy jennyskip
    Sympathy with burlap, alcohol resist ink background on Yupo paper with foil accents that you can’t see very well,, packaged leaves and stems, stamped embossed greeting

    3. November is the time of year that men stop shaving for some reason. A carryover from caveman times, to add insulation against the cold weather? We’ve got Movember, which puts emphasis on mustaches, and/or No Shave November, in which guys don’t shave at all. If you want some clarification on this, here’s a link to a comprehensive blog post about it. Personally, I’m like Olive Oyl and I like a Clean Shaven Man, but it is somewhat interesting to see the beards and mustaches sallying forth among all the other activities this month!

    Happy November!

Smells Like Vicks Vap-O-Rub

Skip, feeling better about most things visual, is looking for some new projects.

looking out for projects jenny skip
looking out for projects

What with the popularity of essential oils, he found a great kit at one of his favorite online locations, Penn State Industries, for Aromatherapy Necklaces that hold a few drops of essential oils within little vials that can be turned on the lathe.

specs jenny skip
specs for the necklace

Here is one he made for me, out of “genuine olive wood from Jerusalem”! It is beautiful, and he said it took him about 5 minutes to turn on the lathe!

aromatherapy necklace jenny skip
aromatherapy necklace

The kit comes with several wicks, so you can change up the variety of essential oil whose vapors you want to go around sniffing all day.

wick jenny skip
the inner wick

Since I feel a little cold coming on (what would the change of season be without one, right?) I put some drops of an oil called “Breathe” in the vial. The gold coupling that is attached to the vial, and can be threaded onto the neck chain, has little stylized openings, to let the vapors waft through from the wick.

What an awesome project; I definitely feel better already!

The Dearth of Social Media

I’m slowly coming back from a 10-day fast from Social Media. Some of my friends have done the same, making the 10-day fast not just a pity party of one, but really quite a social experiment.

Some of the results of this time period are eye-opening!

  1. Of course, I had more time on my hands that I felt obligated to fill, doing something else. Being a crafter, you’d think I’d have had lots more time to  make crafts. However, I cut back on watching You-tube videos of craft techniques because—You-tube is a form of social media. So my idea stream dried up a little.

Some of the activities that were suggested to do, rather than stare into the social media screen, included reading, exercising, cooking, communicating with real friends rather than virtual ones, hobbies, and cleaning.

Here’s another idea: decorating with LIVE Halloween decorations!

I downloaded a couple of new Kindle books and read them, but hey! I was still in the habitual posture of staring at a little screen. Reading a novel is different than reading the little sound-bites and meme captions that you work through for hours a day on Facebook and its cronies Instagram and Twitter. Is a novel, then, better? Am I a better person for sailing on a ship in an ocean of complex constructed plot lines with character development, rather than splashing in the puddles of meme expressions and punchlines?

2. During this time, we celebrated our anniversary, and I didn’t post a pic of these flowers on Instagram like I’ve done past years…

roses jenny skip anniversary roses

Skip is pretty good with sending beautiful flowers and spreading around a lot of happiness that way. But I couldn’t help wondering if posting the pics is…gulp…humble-bragging? Ugh, Social Media will catch you up in that.

3. Some of my “friends” posted that they were shocked when they realized how much time they spent on those chummy social sites, and they’re going to set a timer in the future. And what a coincidence, a new iOS came out during the 10-day fast, which now actually logs the amount of time I spend on the phone or tablet.  It divides the time into these  categories: Social Networking, Productivity, and Creativity. I can schedule time to stay away and set limits and restrict myself from certain things. I could probably find a way to fool it into recording something unproductive as productive, but what if it finds out I’m trying to buck the system? I don’t want to be made into an unfavorable example when the Singularity comes around.

4. I’m more aware of my humanness, since I also sustained a physical injury (spider bite?) during the social media fast, probably when I was gardening. That goes to show what happens when you leave the virtual world and try to participate in real-time activities!

spider bite jenny skip After about a week and a half

The first couple of days I had some serious aches and pains in my right armpit and felt like I was running a fever, but I wasn’t. It felt like a hard, tough miniature heat-infused hockey puck was underneath the bite.  As you can see, it’s right at the area my arm would rest on the desk while typing. I kept bumping it on everything. I finally found these colloidal band-aids to keep it covered up, and the swelling underneath gradually went away, after many days.

colloidal band-aid jenny skip covered with colloidal band-aid

Perhaps staying off social media sites for 10 days won’t break any long-held habits, but it did give me a long, slow breathing space to ponder the time I’ve actually spent, engrossed in some things I don’t really want to care about!

The Island of Misfit Card-making Equipment

As I’ve mentioned before, certain paper crafting supplies are not cheap!

The market for such items is huge, though.  A few companies that sell fancy papers, paints, inks, die-cutters and the like, are in extreme demand among the multitudes of folks who want to DIY their own greeting cards.

At our crafting class the other night, a few of us were talking about the monthly card kits we subscribe to, which run about $30 to $60 per month.

“I subscribed to [so-and-so’s] kit, but I refuse to subscribe to [such-and-such’s] because it’s way too expensive,” said one of our members.

I agreed. I also have a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated from the 3 months I’ve been a subscriber, that I haven’t used much of yet. However, I had been looking at that particular expensive kit, because its current offering has some equipment in it to make pretty gift card holders for Christmas. After a few days of mulling it over, I decided maybe I wanted to buy into just this one-off kit. But, in the few days it took me to get to that realization, the kit sold out! The only option was to buy a 3-month subscription, which was $97, not including shipping costs which would come to another $12 or so. Well, I darn sure wasn’t going to pay that…but then again, it was very unique, and it would only average out to $33 per month or so…I tentatively looked at the 3-month option again, and in just a day’s time, it was sold out too! Unreal!

Meanwhile, the company whose kit I do subscribe to, gives a mystery freebie item away with each order (separate from the kits). Which brings me to this item I received a few months back:

mystery freebie item jennyskip
mystery freebie item

Can you tell by looking at it, what it’s supposed to do/be?

The title of it is “Monstrocity.” And inside the envelope are some metal wafer dies in the shapes you see in the image above.

I threw it in a drawer and stopped thinking about it until recently, when I began to get interested in making cards and stuff for Halloween, reasoning that maybe it could fit into the Halloween festivities somehow. So I went to the company’s web site and tried to find a stamp set that coordinated with the dies. No luck. It was not even listed anywhere on the site. I tried Googling it, and I did find a few images someone made using the stamp set back in 2015. On eBay, I found one used stamp set that fits these dies, and it was for sale for about $35, not including shipping and handling. So the freebie is pretty much unusable–destined for the Island of Misfit Card-making Paraphernalia— unless I want to buy the stamp off someone who bought it from the company back in 2015.  Or, I could die-cut the little monsters out of paper, then draw and color them in while eye-balling a picture of the stamps so I’ll know what they’re supposed to look like? What would you do, dear reader?

In the interim, I did have some fun making Halloween cards.

hologram card jennyskip
distress ink background, black ink through a stencil, hologram sticker

Art Journal tree jennyskip
Art Journal page: distress ink, big brush markers, gelée pumpkins, Ferro paste bats in “Bordeaux” color

bats jennyskip
Distress ink background, Ferro paste bats in “Graphite” color through a stencil

dry brushed jennyskip
paper die cuts from Tricia, fog is Perfect Pearls powder dry-brushed on

The seasons are maybe changing a little…

squirrel jennyskip
Lots of squirrel activity in the neighborhood….another harbinger of Fall?

A Card-carrying Crafter

As a crafter/maker, you know that you must keep on producing…something, whether on a lathe, with hardware, the written word, paint, a sewing machine…something! Right?

We’ve revived the Knitting group once a week, and expanded it to include other crafts as well.

One focus that has come forth in the group is the making of greeting cards, mostly by Tricia and me. She went to a Papercrafting Expo and came back with some great ideas and a resolve to make all her own greeting cards.

Papercrafting is BIG! The amount of tools and materials available for such pursuits is staggering. Several companies sell monthly kits with items that, they advertise, you can make at least 10 cards. With all the scraps and options you probably have around from previous projects, you can probably churn out way more than 10 from a kit (which costs about $40). But when you go to the store to buy cards for an occasion, you’re going to probably spend $5 a piece, or more, if you can’t resist the really ornate ones. And several super You-tube makers vlog about the cards they made from the monthly kit, which can give you so much inspiration and ideas.

Here are a few that I have made in the past couple of months:

Cards made from Simon Says Stamp June 2018 kit, based on Vicky Papaionnou’s designs

Laser cut jennyskip
This one incorporates balsa wood letters Skip cut out with the Laser, and some Tim Holtz gears and tape

embossed jennyskip
This one features a raised pattern by an embossing sleeve that was included in the June SSS kit, dusted over with a gold powder

leftover strips jennyskip
These cards used leftover strips cut from 6×6 card stock from the June SSS kit

I learned how to use the leftover strips of card stock (hating to throw anything cute away) courtesy of Shari Carroll’s “Lovely Layered Cards from Top to Bottom” class on the Craftsy platform.

floral butterflies jennyskip
Card papers from the kit, with floral butterflies

These were made from 1) plain cards (the pink and blue “borders” in the photo above are the actual pink and blue cards that the decorative papers were glued onto)  and envelopes that came in a big package of 80 sets from Michael’s on sale for $5, 2) two 6×6 pieces of card stock that came with the SSS kit,  cut down to size so the background paper looks like a border, 3) the sentiments came from a couple of clear stamps and Archival jet black ink, 4) some large sequins I had leftover from my grandmother’s sewing stash, 5) floral butterflies from Hobby Lobby that came in a pkg of 4.

The package of four floral butterflies and the package of 80 sets of cards and envelopes were each the same price; go figure!

Anyway, loads of fun!