Thursday, April 28, 2016

Woodland Greetings!

Hello there... from the woodlands! Yep, I am talking about creating greeting cards shaped as woodland creatures such as, owls and foxes using Fox Tales Fold-a-Long dies by Jen Long for Sizzix.

In today's tutorial, I have used Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Fox Label Fold-a-Long and Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long.

Making Fold-A-Long cards are super easy if you know this one little folding trick! Be sure to watch this video before you start as Jen Long herself explains it. All you need to do is fold a 6" x 12" paper in half to measure 6" x 6". 

Then, create the following Sizzix Sandwich: on Sizzix Accessory Standard Magnetic Platform for Wafer-Thin Dies, lay another Sizzix Accessory Standard Cutting Pad. Lay the folded cardstock on the Standard Cutting Pad. Place the base card die from Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long, straight edge flush along the folded edge of the cardstock, blade-side down, just as Jen shows in her video. Place the other Standard Cutting Pad on top and pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

This is what the die-cut base of the Owl Fold-a-Long card looks like.

Fold along the crease lines and see your curved edges match up perfectly as you make the base of this gatefold Owl card.

Now, die-cut the accessories to dress up your Owl Fold-a-Long card. Mind you, you'll need to die-cut a pair of each shape here - crest, eyes, wings and beaks. To die-cut these shapes, create the same Sizzix sandwich as above with these dies from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long.

I die-cut my Owl pieces out of white cardstock which I painted, but you can choose your favorite colors and patterns of papers.

In the exact same way as the Owl, die-cut all the pieces from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Fox Label Fold-a-Long.

Here you can see the Fox card all folded and assembled.

Now, you start decorating with your own choice of colors and elements. I used watercolors to paint mine because that's what I love to do!

I also brush-lettered some sentiments in the shaped labels that you tuck inside the cards by placing them in the notches in the back. You can stamp as well.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make these woodland cuties!

Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Fox Label Fold-a-Long 
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long
Sizzix Accessory - Standard Magnetic Platform for Wafer-Thin Dies
Sizzix Accessory - Cutting Pads, Standard, 1 Pair (Mint)
Sizzix Big Shot Machine Only (White & Gray)
Others: cardstock, watercolor paints, paint brush, adhesive

Note: I am a project designer for Sizzix. Sizzix provided me with the above dies to create the above project. If you click the links to buy these dies, I will earn an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. Use the code SZB2015 at checkout. You get 15% off and I get an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. It's win-win!  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Some Organization Tips From My Studio

Hello there! Hope your hump day is going smoothly.

Today, I am sharing with you a peek into my studio. Since our move to the new home, I haven't had much time to decorate my studio space.  

As with any moving into a new space, there's been a phase of trying to make the furniture that I had fit into the new space, simply because this is a new space plan and it requires creative re-configuration of everything.  

I have swapped furniture between all our rooms. When the arrangements seemed reasonable and tolerable, I set up a basic workspace with only the items that are essential for my ongoing projects. To be honest, I have to admit that much of what I loved in my space previously are still in boxes in the basement.

Here's a view of my desk where I do most of my work these days. There's another table where I shoot my videos. The move pushed me to make room for shooting inside my studio rather than on our dining table. 

Since, I design for a few different companies, I always try to make sure that I keep the products separate from each other and from my personal stash of supplies. Let me show you how I organize my supplies from Richard Garay.  

Along the way, I'll also show you a behind-the-scenes look at my process behind each tutorial I post on this blog.

Here are some ideas that I find helpful in keeping my space organized and accessible.

I buy these scrapbook boxes from Michael's. They come in a few different colors if you prefer your things color coded. I use them to store 12x12 papers and sometimes projects in progress if I have multiple projects going on at the same time. It keeps them flat and dust free.

I plan a lot of my studio organization around office supplies. I have found many uses for these magazine holders aside from storing and displaying magazines. They are great for keeping packs of 8.5 x 11 inches cardstock and other letter sized papers

They are also great for the bigger dies that various manufacturers are launching these days. Standing them up inside the holders makes it easier to get them out. I never stack my dies because I fear that pressure from the top dies will mess up the bottom ones. Besides, that would make it harder to access them.

 Small plastic crates are great for storing ink pads and adhesives. They come in a rainbow of colors you can choose from or keep it unified with just color. 

You could also use wooden crates that are all the rage nowadays. Finding vintage crates isn't always easy, but you can paint and distress your own with unfinished wooden crates sold in craft stores.

Many stamp sets come with matching dies. I store them in their original envelopes to keep them together and stand them inside small crates. One important thing to remember is to not stuff the crates too tight.

I find storing tools like scissors, bone folder, brushes, brayer, etc. in a jar to be the easiest. Here I used a vintage big square green glass jar to match the green of my Richard Garay tools.

I keep the Color Splashes in a small glass tray. This works for me because I have very few of these colors. I'll switch to a crate or box as my collection grows.

I usually start a project in my notebook. I might sketch, jot down some ideas and just plan it out. Next, I'll get the stuff I need out. This is super important when I shoot a video.

With my supplies at hand and plan in place, I proceed to make the project. If it's a step-out tutorial, I take photos along the way.

And of course, I take a few photos of the finished project.

Then it's time to transfer images, videos, etc. to the computer and edit them. After the images are edited and the post is drafted, I email the DT coordinator, the lovely Julie Garcia-Matus the hi-resolution images and links.  

On the scheduled day, my post appears here on my blog and eventually gets shared on social media

And it all happens in this space right now!

Hope you enjoyed today's post and feel free to share your organization tips or ask questions in the comments.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Introducing my new Coloring Book

I'm SO EXCITED to share this news with you!!! I have created a coloring book with my own drawings inspired by my love of all things home.

Why a coloring book, you wonder?

Let me tell you a little story here.

As a kid, I was always drawing everything around me. We did not have drawing books like here in the States. I still remember my mom rolling out a big rim of drawing paper on the bedroom floor, marking, folding and cutting it and then hand-stitching little drawing books for me. Books that I could carry around easily and draw as I go. And I still do that!

When this trend of Coloring books started, I was very happy. I bought and colored several. I was inspired. Then I started drawing again and coloring those drawings, just like I used to do a long time ago. 
Stampington's The Coloring Studio asked me to create the cover for their premiere issue.

After that, I got busy preparing for CHA Mega Show. I came home inspired to create a coloring book of my own.

I picked a theme: home!

Homes I lived in, visited, saw on commercials, on television, in magazines - homes that left an impression on my mind. And I started drawing. Pretty soon, I had a stack of black and white line drawings. 

I envisioned these drawings to bring you joy, for you to color with pencils, watercolors, etc. and frame your favorites like as home decor. 

I picked 30 of those drawings and made it into No Place Like Home: A Coloring Book for the Home Lover!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Let's Color!


Hello there fellow bloggers, Mou here with today's inspiration! I am coloring a page with the Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils.

Adult coloring books are a popular method of de-stressing and I, myself, have picked up a few because I love coloring. 

This is the page I'm going to work on.

You can make a page as colorful as you wish. Today, I'm sticking with shades of Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils: BLUE set - 139, 140, 141, 143, 144, 147, 154; RED set: 136 and GREEN set: 151. While these colors don't all belong to the same set, they are similar and great for my color palette. You could definitely pick just one set and use those colors.


Here's the colored page done with the Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils.

Now, since I used watercolor pencils, I get to use a waterbrush to create a softer, blended look. 

Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils:
BLUE set - 139, 140, 141, 143, 144, 147, 154
RED set: 136
GREEN set: 151
Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Deluxe Waterbrush
Others: coloring book

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Approval Junkie: A Review

When I first saw the book cover and read the title, all the gold stars reminded me of Max Lucado's You Are Special where the wemmicks gave each other gold stars of approval and grey dots of disapproval. I knew I had to read this book because the title sounded like it could be me! I too am a people pleaser and to some extent, most girls and women I know, are too.

As I started reading it, I laughed out loud at her humor at places and her compounding of words like 'wasband' for ex-husband, 'noga' for yoga pants in which she never really did yoga, or 'yobbling' for yelling while sobbing- drew such vivid mental pictures! Then there were such poignant moments of confusion and sorrow over the loss of her beloved mother, failing of her marriage, struggles with her body image, and more. 

This book is a woman's journey from seeking external approval to accepting that such a quest may not be all in vain after all as long as it is not all we are pining for and are willing to balance it with self-acceptance.

In Faith Salie's own words, "Seeking approval has not undone me. It's done me;'s built me." "There is no downside to:

  • Making good grades
  • Doing the extra credit
  • Not doing drugs
  • Praying..."
Approval Junkie is a must-read!

Read more about Approval Junkie here and the author, Faith Salie here.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Say 'Happy Mother's Day' with Handmade Poppies!

For this Mother's Day, how 'bout making some handmade flowers for the moms in your life? Or even to create a centerpiece for a special Mom's Day dinner? I am sure you'll find a way to use these beauties once you see how much fun they are to make!

Today, I am using  brand new Brenda Walton dies from Sizzix: 
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 4PK - Large Poppy, Sizzix Bigz Die - French Favor Box and Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 14PK - Frames & Embellishments.

Let's start by die-cutting the pieces we will use.

Diecut the French Favor Box using this Sizzix Sandwich -  place Sizzix Bigz Die - French Favor Box, blade side up on a Sizzix Accessory Cutting Pad- Standard. Lay cardstock or thin chipboard on the die and cover with another Standard Cutting Pad. Pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

Repeat this step because you'll need two pieces to create the French Favor Box. 

TIP: While you can cut several layers at the same time, it is better to do this in two steps rather than one, so that the extra pressure from the machine in cutting through multi layers doesn't cut through the crease lines.

Pick the designs you want to embellish your French Favor Box with from Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 14PK - Frames & Embellishments.

To die-cut the above pieces, create the following Sizzix Sandwich. on the Sizzix Accessory Standard Magnetic Platform for Wafer-Thin Dies, lay a Standard Cutting Pad. Lay the cardstock on the Standard Cutting Pad. Lay out your Frames and Embellishments dies, blade side down on the cardstock and cover with the other Standard Cutting Pad. Pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

The strong magnets of the Magnetic Platform for Wafer-Thin Dies will hold each die in place making it possible to get clean precise cuts of multiple designs in just one pass through the Big Shot machine.

Next, we die-cut the pieces for the Large Poppy - petals, stamen, leaf and calyx. Use the same Sizzix Sandwich as you did with the Frames and Embellishments dies.

How many of each of these pieces you'll need will depend upon the number of flowers you want to make. I went with ten petals and one of each of the stamen, calyx and leaf for each flower.

TIP: Use a softer paper like tissue or crepe paper for the petals as that will be easier to sculpt around than a cardstock or even text-weight paper.

Here are the die-cut parts of the Large Poppy.

Now that all the pieces are die-cut, we start assembling.

Add a strip of adhesive to one of the joining tabs of the French Favor Box and attach the twin piece. Hold off assembling the rest till you have colored this piece.

TIP: It is easier to color a flat piece than a dimensional one.

I used watercolors. You can use any kind of paints you like best or even die-cut patterned papers to layer on.

Once the paints dry, apply adhesives to the remaining tabs and add the base piece to complete assembling the French Favor Box

Embellish with flower, leaves and bird die-cuts from the Frames and Embellishments set.

You can color your petals too. I did not start with colored tissue paper because I didn't want my flowers to have a flat color. I find the variegated look much more natural and prettier. But this just a matter of personal taste. You can save time by starting with colored paper.

Coloring tissue paper is easy. Stack them together in a paper plate. Add water to soak the paper. Drop inks or diluted paints. Let it sit for a few minutes, remove gently and use a heat tool to dry the layers. Just work gently so you don't tear the papers. You will get beautifully shaded petals as the ink gets lighter in the bottom layers. Make sure the petals are thoroughly dry before you start working with them.  

Since I wanted a painted look, I colored all the parts of my flower. Again, you could just use colored papers to begin with.

Cut a piece of wire. Put a dab of hot glue at the top. Start wrapping the stamen die-cut around the wire tightly. Finish by adding a little more glue at the end to keep it from unraveling.

You will end up with a little broom-like piece.

Next, use small dabs of glue and wrap the first petal around the stamen. Keep going till you feel that your Large Poppy is full enough.

Gently slide the calyx piece up the wire and glue it at the base of the Large Poppy

Wrap the wire with green floral tape to look like stem. You could also start with green florist's wire if you have it.

Sculpt the petals by curling some of them inward and some outward. I splattered some paints on it at the end.

Repeat to make more Large Poppies.

Glue the leaves to their wire stems.

Arrange all the stems in the French Favor Box for a cute little gift!

Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 4PK - Large Poppy
Sizzix Bigz Die - French Favor Box
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 14PK - Frames & Embellishments
Sizzix Accessory - Standard Magnetic Platform for Wafer-Thin Dies
Sizzix Accessory - Cutting Pads, Standard, 1 Pair (Mint)
Sizzix Big Shot Machine Only (White & Gray)
Others: cardstock, tissue paper, watercolor paints, paint brush, wire, wire cutter, paper plate, hot glue gun 


Note: I am a project designer for Sizzix. Sizzix provided me with the above dies to create the above project. If you click the links to buy these dies, I will earn an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. Use the code SZB2015 at checkout. You get 15% off and I get an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. It's win-win!