Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Calendar Project

ETA: Sorry about you go!

Since this year is almost over, I thought I'd go out with a bang and show you one more project. Fittingly, it is my kitchen calendar for 2009.

Simply get an acrylic panoramic frame (I got mine at Michael's), and use a hand drill to create holes that go all the way through the frame. Tip: If you leave the packaging inside the frame and then create the holes, you can simply slip that sheet of paper out and use it as your template for creating the holes in all your pages...

Using a swirl stamp at the bottom left and top right of every page and a handful of punches, I set out to start my project. I have a ton of red throughout my home, so I went with colors that complimented my kitchen. I also used Elle's Calendar tags for last year...and she has a ton that can be purchased here...(or in the WIP Kit found here.) I used 7Gypsies black 1" binder rings, but you should use what you have and call it yours...

The lovely Janelle was sweet enough to create sketches for you all...

And you want to know the best part? I'm going to dismember this thing today, trim off the top with the holes, and mount them all onto scrapbook pages. Three months fit on a page perfectly--and all I have to do is add a favorite photo of that month!! I get a jump start on 2010 with FOUR layouts complete!!

If you need a free printable calendar, I found this one online. Feel free to share your links to others you may find as well!!

Happy New Year to you!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year Confections

Saw this idea for confetti bags over at Martha. Not edible, but totally adorable!!
These incredible cookie pops from Amy Atlas are too cute!! You can find out more here...

And these countdown cookies from iambaker are irresistable!! I think I'm ripping this idea off for our New Year's Eve party, for sure...
Enjoy! And Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I saw this and thought it was too dreamy. Makes me want to entertain for New Years in this beautiful color scheme...

DIY Details on the candy buffet can be found here.


Taking a blog break so we can all enjoy the season with our back soon!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Do you believe?

One of my kiddos is "on the fence" about believing in Santa. Last week in the car, I heard, "Mom, I believe in Santa, but I'm not buying flying reindeer." I had to chuckle.

That same kid got an email tonight from the Jolly Old Elf himself. I think he's a believer after seeing the video and all that came with it. SO COOL. Do yourself a favor and follow the prompts to create your own video for that special child in your life who may be on the fence.

Amy, once again you amaze me in finding these gems!! Love ya!!

To each and every one of you out there in family and I wish you all the blessings your heart can hold on this most sacred night.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last minute Christmas gifts

Homemade gifts...

Trying to figure out some last minute gifts for family and friends?
How about a CD of music or photos? This year I uploaded some of my favorite Christmas songs to itunes and made discs for family and friends, but you could just as easily burn some photos on to CD's for family and friends.

The CD template I got from Leah Fungs blog a few years ago and have re used it for both photo CD's and music CD's.
I decorated the cover using papers left over from my December kit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Photographing Your Christmas Tree!

If you are like me, one of your favorite parts of Christmas is putting up the Christmas Tree and enjoying it throughout the holidays. Paired with that, however, is my general dislike of all the photos I take of my Christmas Tree!! They never seem to truly capture the beauty of my tree.

When I used the flash, it was just plain glimmering lights, too much overall light...a very harsh looking tree. It's a bad look all around...

Without the flash they were blurry, and man was my white balance off!! Here is a typical "no flash" shot.

So, thanks to the wonders of the internet I found some great tips for photographing your tree! And as you will see at the end...they really do work! ;)
  1. Use a tripod. This is probably obvious to most, but it wasn't to me! I often forget about my awesome tripod that lives in the front closet!!
  2. Let the light of your tree be your only light. Don't use any overhead or table lighting.
  3. Use Manual or Shutter-priority (Tv) mode on your camera.
  4. Use a high f- stop and a low shutter speed. I will put the exact exposures under each photo. I messed around with the shutter speed. If it was too long, the lights were almost too bright...too short and they didn't sparkle enough for me!
  5. I happened to use a high ISO on these...1600. I tried some with a lower ISO, but to be honest, I wasn't as happy with the results.
  6. Be sure to listen to some good Christmas music and eat some cookies while photographing the tree. Okay, that's not really a rule...but I really think it makes the whole experience better!
Here are my photos. And full disclosure...these were taken last year. Right now the only thing under my tree is a dog toy and a gift for Mirielle from somebody else! ;)

(3.2", f/22, ISO 1600)

(2", f/22, ISO 1600)

So hop to it! Let's see those tree photos! :) And Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Beef Tenderloin

I'm having about 30 guests over for Christmas dinner, and I'm serving the easiest thing on the planet...beef tenderloin. Now, I'll be the first one to tell you that I'm not much of a cook. I love experimenting in the kitchen, but I'm more of a baker than a cook. So when I do find a recipe I love, or learn to cook something impressive and worth bragging about, I tend to go back to it.

This is, hands down, the best meal I know how to cook.

And to beat it all, there are only three ingredients. What's not to love?

You can find the recipe I use here. Go forth and cook. It is so worth the effort.

Don't even bother with cooking this without a meat thermometer. Be warned ahead of time. You don't want to over-cook this dish--especially because it isn't cheap.

I also couldn't do a blog post on beef tenderloin without mentioning the Pioneer Woman's version. The entire post is worth reading--but be warned--it will make you salavate.

Heaven on a fork, indeed...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wool Wreath

Last weekend at the Gingerbread party, my friend Deb showed up with these adorable wreaths for everyone. She got the concept on a blog somehwere, and she took the idea to a whole new level. She took old wool sweaters and cut them into 1" square blocks--totally random. She then strung them up and created these beautiful wreaths. There is no freying at all--and they are soft and fluffy and beautiful!! She put a floral pinecone embellishment at the top, and tied them with strips of ripped fabric. LOVE them. They're beautiful in any color, too. Off to Goodwill to check out their stash...

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I increased the resolution on these pictures, so for those of you who got a warning, these should be fine. Thanks for letting me know! Hope this does the trick...enjoy!!

Thank you notes

I made several packs of thank you notes in no time last night, and wanted to share my quick process. I love using seasonal photography and incorporating them into cards whenever I can. These 4" square cards went together in no time at all...

I took a favorite photo, uploaded it to, and created a collage and added text. After saving it to my computer, I printed the 4x6 photos out on my home printer, and did mass assembly...
I tied 6 cards into a bundle, complete with envelopes, and created 18 packs in no time at all!! Who doesn't need a thank you card? Perfect for bus drivers, school secretaries, lunch name it!
Feel free to use the bottom two for your own notes. Simply save them to your computer (right click on the image, click "save as" and save as a photograph, and then print!) If you don't have a home printer, simply upload the same image to your favorite online site. Inexpensive and fun!

Enjoy your Saturday!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

December Daily

Hey there and Happy Friday! So happy that today is my last day of teaching for the year!! @ weeks off will be SO NICE~ And while I am off I will be sure to a catch up with my December Daily album. All has been documented in photos but not printed out. But I can show you what I have put together so far.

I of course bought the DD album that Trish put together and it was full of awesome goodies! Trish even has some awesome step by step directions for each page - love that! But I could tell right away that mine would take a different path - and that's ok -- it turned out super cute and I am having fun filling it all up!

I decided to make my cover with felt - and as you can see nothing was measured - and I am fine with that - just kinda wanted to homey feel to it. I did a lot of stitching kinda haphazardly and that worked out perfectly.

For the inside pages I utilized what Trish had already put together and made it work for my "vision". I loved that scallopped lace paper - so pretty - I didn't want to hide it so I put it first!
This page used a baseball card sheet that I cut to size. I actually did this in my album last year and I loved it so I put it to use again. Oh and I found the pack at the dollar store - so I am still using them from that same pack!

Inside of the kit there are many little envelopes that are so perfect for hiding some journaling or movie tickets, etc.

As you can see I just kind of went with the flow without too much thought going into it just so long as it was pleasing to me - and in the end that is all that matters right?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Michelle Lanning

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Glass Etching

Good Morning Crafty friends! Laina here today. Today I would like to share a gift I am making for many of my family members. Here is my tutorial for making an etched glass vase.

Contact paper or adhesive vinyl (any color will do)
Blue delicate painters tape (I used 3"wide for this project)
Glass Vase
Craft knife

1.Making a mask for the etching creme is the first step.Adhere a piece of contact paper to the cutting mat of your diecutting machine.

2. Cut desired shape with machine. You want the blade to cut only through the first layer of the contact paper, NOT all the way through to the backing.

3. I use the following settings on my Cricut: blade-2 speed-1 pressure-3 (I would try this out on a small scrap of contact first)

4. Leave the contact paper on the mat. The next step is called weeding. Using a craft knife, gently pull out the design area that you want to be etched, leaving the rest of the contact paper exactly where it is. Throw this part away - you won't be needing it.

5. Remove your contact paper with the backing still on from the cutting mat. Cut your mask down to a smaller size, about 1/2" from the outer edge of the design.

6. Next, take strips of your blue tape and cover the top of your mask (yes, right over the top of your beautiful design.) The blue tape helps us transfer our design to the vase. The contact paper would be too flimsy and hard to apply alone. Plus your design stays centered.

7. Now take the backing off of the contact paper to expose the sticky back of the contact paper mask.

8. Put the sticky mask down on your vase where you want the design to be etched. Rub lightly over the top to remove any bubbles and to make sure the contact paper is really attached to the glass.

9. Now we want to GENTLY and SLOWLY pull off those layers of blue tape. I start at one corner and pull at a 45 degree angle. If you start to pull up your contact mask, just push it back down and and peel the tape while holding the mask down. Your mask should now be applied to the vase exactly where you wanted it.

10. Generously apply etching creme to the open areas of the mask with an old paint brush. The bottle said to let it sit for 5, I think 15 or 20 is better. After the time is up, take the vase to the sink and rinse off all the creme with water.

11. Remove contact paper mask and dry your vase. Finished!

It may seem like a lot of steps, but I assure you it is not hard and anyone can do this! If you don't have a diecutting machine, you can buy premade masks at craft stores. I am going to fill my vases with pretty flat marbles and hopefully (time is running out on me) some handmade origami flowers.

If you have any questions, please let me know!