Monday, December 8, 2014

Free Scrapinar for December

There are just 17 days left until Christmas - every year December seems to go faster and faster.  With the rain and some of our other plans this weekend, I still have not had a chance to put lights up on the outside of the house.  We always put the candles in the windows on the Sunday after Thanksgiving so at least it looks a bit festive!.

I love to see the lights around our area and this decorated tree house is one of my favorite places.  Usually I am driving and I can't take a photo but we stopped on a side street and I tried snapping a few photos in the rain so I would be able to remember how sweet this looks.  Wouldn't you love to climb up there with some hot chocolate or cider?

The free Scrapinar presented by Lain Ehmann this month is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, December 9th.  Layle Koncar of Simple Stories will show how a planner can help to streamline both your schedule and your memory keeping.

Layle will show some of the latest trends in customizable planners and explain how you can combine your stories with your daily planner.  Layle's style is bold and colorful.  You will learn about the newest planners (doesn't it seem like everyone is offering a custom planner these days?) and also find out how you can make your planner do double duty as a memory-keeping aid.

Layle will be working with the new “Life… Documented” planner line from Simple Stories.  However, if you don't have this planner you will still learn a lot from this Scrapinar because Layle will also share ideas that can work with just about any planner or product line. You can use products you already own to customize your planner and pocket pages.  She will also share some time saving tips for using a planner.

There will be time for questions in this live, interactive session.  If the time does not work for you to attend the live session, you will be able to watch a recording of the scrapinar for a limited time after the event.  However, you must register HERE to receive an email with the link to watch the replay.

This scrapinar will help you get off to a good start in the new year so be sure to register right away (click HERE) so you won't miss out on tomorrow's session.

Do you use a paper planner or have you switched to using a device like your phone or tablet to keep your schedule?  I think it is often easier to work with the "old-fashioned" style with pen and paper - especially if I have a lot of things to do.  I love to check things off a list as I get them done!

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sparkle and Shine Christmas Tree Card


This card is full of sparkle and texture with shimmer, glitter and foil cardstocks, Stickles and gold metallic heat embossing for the sentiment.  I love sparkly things at any time of year and for Christmas it seems like you can never have too much sparkle and shine!

The Christmas tree I chose is from the Anna Griffin Winter Wonderland Cricut cartridge.  I made it slightly wider than the original sizing to fill the front of the card.

I wanted to use more traditional colors so I changed the tree to green, the garlands and candles to red and the base and star to gold.  I also eliminated the background layer so the open design of the branches would be featured.

Changing a Cricut image in Design Space

Here you can see the image as it appears from the cartridge on the left and my altered version on the right.  I used the iPad app for the Cricut Explore (I am one of the people previewing the app which is expected to be available in January).  It was very quick and easy to make these changes and I love the convenience of using the iPad with the wireless adapter instead of carrying my laptop up and down the stairs.

Here is the assembled tree.  I cut the base, star and tree from Core'dinations Core Couture glitter cardstock.  The candles and garland are cut from American Crafts foil cardstock.  You may notice that my candles have green "flames" since they are part of the base tree cut.

I added yellow Stickles glitter glue to each candle flame.  After letting it dry, I thought that one coat was not completely covering the green so I put on a second layer of yellow for the final card.

Here are all of the pieces for the card.  The card base is a gold shimmer A2 card from the David Tutera collection.

These card and envelope sets were recently on clearance at Consumer Crafts and I stocked up on them.  I like the lovely gold shimmer and the cards are white inside which saves the step of adding a liner to the card for your message.

I found the perfect sentiment on this stamp set from Close to My Heart called "Yuletide Greetings."  The number for this set is D1553 and you can find it on my friend Joy Tracey's CTMH site HERE.  There are lots of lovely images in this set that can be hand colored - or stamped in a single color if you prefer.

I made the sentiment strip 3 3/4 inches x 3/4 of an inch and attached it at the very bottom of the embossed white layer.

The white layer is embossed with this "Snowfall" Anna Griffin Cuttlebug embossing folder.  I got this as part of the Autoship package when I purchased Anna Griffin Dies and Folders earlier this year.  The folder is part of the Christmas Folders and Dies set which is available individually on the HSN site HERE.

The white layer is cut at 3 3/4 x 5 inches and the dark green layer below is cut at 4 x 5 1/4 inches.  When embossing the white layer I was careful to center the design on the piece of cardstock.  This card just needs to be symmetrical!

The stamped sentiment has very thin and small letters but I was able to emboss it.  After I finished I remembered that I have some fine detail embossing powder and I might try that the next time I emboss with this stamp.

Here are the yellow Stickles and Zing gold metallic embossing powder that I used for this card.  I store my Stickles bottles upside down so they are always ready to apply and the tip does not dry out (that's why the contents are all at the top of the bottle).

I like the effect of the dark border with the sentiment at the bottom of the layered card.  In this case, it created a sort of "floor" for the tree to stand on.

The tree is very thin so I used 1/8 inch ScorTape on the trunk of the tree and some liquid adhesive on the branches and tips of the tree.

Here is a closer view of the candles after the second layer of Stickles was dry.

I was very pleased with the clean cut through the glitter cardstock - The images were perfect on the first try. 

There are so many lovely and elegant images on the Anna Griffin Winter Wonderland cartridge - it is definitely one of my favorites.  Click HERE to see more about the cartridge (affiliate links).

I used a couple of the images to make this banner panel last year - you can read about the project HERE.  This cartridge is not included in the Image Library Subscription so you might want to think about adding it to your collection! 

The weather hasn't been very nice so far this weekend - it was cold and rainy here today.  We are getting a lot of projects done around the house, including some painting that we want to finish before everyone arrives home for the holidays.  I hope it all gets done!  Do you start big projects on short deadlines?  I should know better!

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Crucolo Cheese Parade in Concord

Yesterday I walked into town for the Fifth Annual Crucolo Parade sponsored by the Concord Cheese Shop.  The Concord Cheese Shop is very well known for having amazing and delicious cheeses from all over the world.  For the past five years, Peter Lovis, the owner, has brought in a giant (400 pound) wheel of Crucolo cheese from Italy with great ceremony.

The street was blocked off for the arrival of the cheese (one of the great things about a small town - the street is closed fairly often for special events - there is an easy way to detour this block).

Students from Concord Academy perform as the Crucolo Dancers, dressed in red, white and green and waving flags and cheese labels.

It was a chilly and clear day and a crowd of hundreds gathered for the arrival of the cheese.  I stayed near the corner so I could get some photos of the horse drawn wagon when it arrived.

The barricades were moved back as the wagon approached.

Peter waved the large Italian flag and called out the arrival of the Crucolo.

The cheesemaker and other dignitaries arrived in the wagon with the cheese.  The cheese has been made by the Purin family in the mountains of Trentino, Italy for 250 years.

Peter led the procession with a "Crucolo Dance" down Walden Street.

The student dancers followed with great enthusiasm.

The parade continued down Walden street with much flag waving and dancing.

These beautiful horses were very well trained and calm as they drew the wagon down the street.

Peeking through the back of the wagon you can see the huge wheel of cheese.

The crowd moved together in the area in front of the Cheese Shop.  If you look carefully, you can see the Italian flag in the top right of this photo.  This is where the wagon stopped for the proclamations.

The arrival of the cheese was proclaimed with great ceremony.  Everything Peter said was repeated by the student group but I was a bit too far back in the crowd to hear clearly.

Some sections of the cheese were displayed in front of the store and this was the "photo opp" spot for anyone who wanted their picture taken with the cheese.

Miss Crucolo Universe and Miss Crucolo USA posed for photos with people from the crowd.

It was fun to see the excitement of the children in the crowd - it's not everyday that a huge cheese arrives in a small town with such pomp and ceremony!

After all of the proclamations and celebration it was time to cut the cheese for sampling.

Sections of cheese were cut to bite size and loaded on trays to pass through the crowd.

The cheese is delicious and the samples were appreciated by everyone.

It was a great time for townspeople (and some from far away) to see their friends and catch up on holiday plans.

People lingered for quite a while after the cheese was served.

Jason Bond, chef of the Bondir restaurant across the street carried a large piece of cheese back to his kitchen to prepare some special menu items.

As I walked back home, the light in the sky was very pretty and the First Parish Church steeple was glowing.

You can read more about the cheese parade in an article from the Boston Globe HERE and see some more photos of the event from WBUR (Boston's NPR News Station) HERE.

Does your town have any unusual traditions like this?  I really enjoy quirky local celebrations and the stories behind them.  Today I will head back into town and buy some of the cheese for our family to enjoy at Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"The Watermelon Seed" Wreath

It's time for the "Family Trees" exhibit at the Concord Museum.  Every year, our local museum has an exhibit of Christmas trees that are decorated by volunteers.  The decorations are inspired by children's books.  Over the years I have decorated quite a few trees.  For the past three years I have decorated a wreath in a small hallway.  You can see last year's wreath based on the book The Matchbox Diary HERE, the wreath from two years ago based on Wynken, Blynken and Nod HERE, and the tree I decorated with my neighbor three years ago based on the book Dear Mermaid HERE.

The book for this year's wreath was "the Watermelon Seed" by Greg Pizzoli.  It is a very cute and simple story about a crocodile who loves watermelon.  He has loved watermelon ever since he was a baby crocodile.  When he accidentally swallows a seed, he panics thinking that a watermelon might grow inside him!  Then he burps and the seed comes out.  He says with relief that he'll never eat watermelon again...well...maybe just one slice!

One of the features I like about Cricut Design Space is the search function which helps you locate images from many different image sets and preview them in full color.  I didn't end up using a crocodile from the Cricut images but I was able to find some watermelons, wedges, and slices that suited my project.  I also found some perfectly shaped watermelon seeds on the watermelon bag topper from the "Bag Toppers - Summer" digital set.

I cut quite a few seeds from a shimmery brown cardstock.  I also cut 130 small circles from  watermelon pink pearl cardstock.  I wanted to use papers that would catch some light from the overhead fixture in the hallway.  I kept the circles on the mat while I added a watermelon seed to each circle.  This made it much easier to keep track of all of the tiny pieces.  To accent the watermelon circles and make them stand out better on the green wreath, I punched white scalloped circles.

You never know when some craft supplies in your stash will find the perfect project.  I found this oversized rick-rack in a discount store four or five years ago.  It turned out to coordinate nicely with the color used in the book.  It was exciting to finally have a good use for it!  To be sure that the watermelon seed circles would stay attached to the garland for the duration of the exhibit, I stapled the white scalloped circles to the rick-rack and then used ScorTape to attach the watermelon seed circles them.  I used my Tim Holtz tiny attacher stapler since the staples are small and easily hidden.

Since watermelons are generally a summer treat, I used some red gingham ribbon that reminds me of picnic tablecloths to make a bow for the wreath.  I also wound the ribbon through the wreath, along with the watermelon seed garland.  If you'd like to see how I make big fluffy bows like this, there is a blog post from last year HERE and I also did a Snapguide with the step by step photos and directions HERE.

I cut five full watermelons and alternated them with slices and wedges of watermelon - with more seeds!  The rick-rack garland is about twelve feet long and is wound in and out of the wreath.  I didn't use any tiny lights this year since the elements are all so brightly colored.

There are a lot of watermelon seeds on this wreath!

I used Design Space to create a crocodile that looked pretty close to the crocodile in the book.  I did this by welding circles, ovals and a few rectangles together.  My version is not identical to the illustration in the book but I think you can recognize him!

If you look carefully at a picture, you can figure out the basic shapes that go into creating the image.  I wasn't able to create a perfect shadow layer in Design Space (I hope that an offset function will eventually be added to the program).  I needed the black outline to make him stand out in the center of the wreath.  I added another pink circle beneath the seed in his hand to make it a little more noticeable.  His teeth are made from a string of small circles welded together. I cut into the main piece of the crocodile to insert the teeth and then added the black line at the bottom of his "lips" with some black washi tape curved along the snout.

The wreath is in a tiny hallway between two rooms at the museum so it is very difficult to get far enough away to take a photo!  To hide the hanging wire at the top I added a loop of the red and white gingham ribbon.

While I was working on the decorations at home, our cat decided that she liked to hang out behind the wreath.  She makes a pretty cute decoration too!

I hope that the families visiting the museum for the Family Trees exhibit enjoy the story of the little crocodile and the watermelon seed.  The inspiration books are displayed by each tree (or wreath) and you often see families reading the books as they go through the museum. 

 Have you ever swallowed a watermelon seed?

The Concord Museum

The Concord Museum has a wonderful collection, including Ralph Waldo Emerson's study, Henry David Thoreau's desk from his Walden cabin and the Paul Revere lantern from 1775 ("one if by land and two if by sea...").  You can find the museum website HERE.  If you live in this area and have never been to the museum it is well worth a visit and from now until the end of the year you will also be able to see the Family Trees exhibit.

Family Trees is a special event that has been held at the museum for the past eighteen years.  Volunteers decorate trees with a children's book as the inspiration.  Some of the trees are decorated by the author or illustrator of the book.  This event is a fundraiser for the educational initiatives at the museum.  You can read more about the Family Trees event HERE.

I have started to put up some decorations at home.  I was surprised to read that many people put up their Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.  We put up artificial trees in most of our rooms little by little through December but never put the real tree up until just a few days before Christmas.  If you put up a tree, when do you do it?  Artificial or real?  Curious minds want to know!

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This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product using the link I may receive a commission. I only participate in affiliate programs for products that I use or can recommend without reservation.