Tags on Tags, on Tags

Recently, I feel like I’ve entered a very creative period when it comes to crafting and card making. It feels great! Especially after going through some stints there where I found it tough to be creative whatsoever. I’ve just been letting the ideas flow, and I’m excited to share some of them with you in the coming weeks. This week – tags! I’ve been making them like a crazy person.

Gift tags

I think when you’re in a creative rut, the best place to start is somewhere simple. And that’s what I did here. I had recently gifted two coworkers with some soap, and I  wanted to personalize the bars I gave them, so I grabbed a piece of scrap watercolor paper that I had previously painted (but had no idea what to do with), and just started cutting tags out of it. I used a die that seems to no longer be available from Simon Says Stamp (womp), but I really liked the simplicity of the whole thing. I also added some initials to the tags to personalize them.  So, that got the wheels turning. I painted more panels in the same striped fashion and started cutting tags from them.

Gift tags

After that I just couldn’t stop! :)  I started painting some watercolor paper with  really loose and haphazard washes of color, and made more tags in a rainbow of colors. Now, I have no shortage of cute embellishments for packages, and I’m also selling them in packs of 10 in my Etsy shop.

Gift tags

Gift tags

Gift tags

Gift tags

Gift tags

kimberly

Christmas Cookie Boxes!

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Every year I bake cookies and package them up to give to my staff as holiday gifts. Each year the packaging changes and is something handmade by me! This year, I made a bunch of gift boxes to deliver the cookies in. The gift box is assembled using the Mama Elephant Gable Box die and some double sided tape. Before I could assemble them, though, I had to stamp some patterns on them and color them up!

Poinsettia goodie boxes
Some boxes were cut from white card stock and others from craft card stock. Some had poinsettias and others had pine cones. I stamped most of them with Memento Tuxedo Black ink, but others I stamped with VersaMark ink and white heat-embossed the images. I then used either copics or colored pencils to do my coloring.

Pinecone goodie boxes

While I was finishing up coloring all of the boxes, I had to bake some cookies to go inside! This year I made four different kinds:

Christmas cookies

After I’d finished coloring all of the boxes, I cut widows in one side of them, using the same die set. Some had simple scalloped circle windows while others had a more ornate window that I gave a little dimension to by layering it on top of some fun foam. I then added some vellum behind the window. I thought about using clear acetate, but I used some Press’n Seal to line the insides of the boxes so they wouldn’t get dirty or greasy on the outside, so a clear window would have been obscured anyway.
Christmas gift goodie boxes

Then it was time to start adding my mini gift tags – more about those here.

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Christmas gift goodie boxes

In addition to the stamped and colored boxes, I also made some solid color boxes, just to change it up a bit. I wanted these solid boxes to be just as fancy as the others, so I added my jazzed-up mini tags onto those boxes.

Christmas gift goodie boxes

I managed to fit about 6-ish cookies into each of the boxes. It generally went like this: One snowball, one chocolate chip, 4 holiday bites and several pieces of toffee, broken up. Sometimes I’d add an extra snowball, if there was room.

Christmas gift goodie boxes

I really love how they turned out, and I had a lot of fun making them!

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Happy Holidays!

kimberly

Handmade Card Sets

Handmade Card SetsHandmade sets of anything always make a really nice gift. In all my cardmarking, I decided that sets of cards would be a really easy and thoughtful gift to send off to some of my friends who live far away. I decided on an easily reproduce-able design and used a very simple technique of embossing a sentiment on watercolor paper, and doing a watercolor wash in various colors for the different cards. I then mounted the watercolor panel onto a 4bar-size card base.

Watercolor Card SetsFor some of the cards, I embossed the Hello sentiments with platinum embossing powder, for others I used white or clear embossing powder. Some cards I mounted on off-white cards, others I mounted on kraft cardstock cards. I like to mix it up. I also used a variety of smaller sentiments to go with the “hello” to give a variety of card choices to the recipients of the card sets.

Handmade Card SetsI included 4 cards in every card set, along with 4 envelopes, postage and a pen. I put everything in a nice clear box (that I ordered from clearbags.com), and made a little label for each set on my computer. I had so much fun making these and shipping them off.

Handmade Card Set Box

kimberly

Christmas Tags + Goodie Bags

This year, I made lots and lots of gift tags. I used the gift tags for little goodie bags that I gave out to everyone in my department at work. It was a lot of work, but I had a lot of fun making the tags and assembling the bags. And, I imagine that the gift tag recipients might even re-purpose the tags as Christmas tree ornaments – two gifts in one.

Christmas Gift Tags

Joy To The World Gift Tag

I started off making some [what I like to call] graphic cards, with various stamps and die cuts, and then switched over to using watercolors for a totally different look. I didn’t want any two tags to look exactly the same, which can be kind of tedious when you’re making 12+ tags…I love to make my life difficult.

Watercolor Christmas Gift Tags

Water Colored Gift Tags

Then, I decided to use distress inks on the tags, for lots of color, and a different effect (and here begin the iphone photos). After stamping various backgrounds and sentiments with several stamp sets (here, here, here and here), I heat embossed them using versamark ink and clear embossing powder, and used a mini ink blending tool to apply distress ink all over the card. The embossing resisted the ink to create a colorful background while retaining the crisp white image made with the stamps.

Stamped and Distress Ink Christmas Tags

I had fun experimenting with all of the different techniques, but tried to keep them all pretty similar by using the deer silhouettes as the focal point throughout. After die cutting the bucks, I embossed most of them with Ranger Liquid Platinum Embossing powder.   I also put together a few other tags using snowflake dies, and wrote the names of the recipient on the backs of the cards. Then it was time to assemble the goodie bags.

Goodie Bag Assembly

I slipped some cookies (Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip and Jingle Bell Bites), a candy cane and a gift card into each bag, and added some tissue paper for decoration. I tied the cookie bags with baker’s twine, and used jute twine to tie on the tags. These goodie bags are similar to the cookie boxes I assembled two years ago.

Christmas Goodie Bags

I used leftover tags (because I may have gotten carried away) to adorn some of the wrapped gifts I’ll be giving to friends and family.

wrapped gifts

Is anyone else adding a handmade touch to their gifts this year? Christmas just keeps getting more and more commercialized and I hate feeling like I’ve spent the holiday season at the mall. To me, making these homemade tags and little goodie bags is so much more satisfying. Although, next year I think I’ll start making the tags in July… :)

Happy gift-giving!

kimberly

 

A Different Kind of Gift-Giving // My Subscription Addiction

I’ve been toying with the idea of gifting subscription boxes this year. I think they’re a fun and unique alternative to traditional gift-giving, and there are some really great subscription boxes out there, for just about anything you can think of. After some googling today, I found this website, that lists just about every subscription box available, ever.

mysubscriptionaddiction.comI spend so much time debating over the perfect gift for those hard-to-buy-for people on my list, and subscription boxes do a lot of the work for you! Some of the companies even allow you to just purchase one or three month subscriptions, as opposed to having to sign up for a yearly or month-to-month subscription. AND there are some coupons for boxes! Just thought I’d share. Happy Hunting!

kimberly

DIY Monogrammed Tote Bags

DIY Monogrammed Tote Bag

I wanted to share these easy DIY tote bags because they are the perfect handmade gift-vehicle, and it’s that time of year (although I’m refusing to listen to any Christmas music yet)! I made these totes for my bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer and gave them out after our rehearsal dinner. I loved how they came out, and stuffed them with all kinds of stuff – toys, coloring books and candies for the flower girl and ringbearer, and lavender soap, flip-flops, personalized dress hangers, robes and all the essential bridesmaid survival kit stuff for my ‘maids.

To make your own monogrammed tote, you will need:

  • A tote bag – I purchased these from Amazon.com
  • acrylic paint in the color of your choice
  • paintbrush
  • a letter stencil – I made my own using my silhouette cameo
  • tape – painters tape or masking tape is best
  • I also used an iron to smooth any wrinkles on the tote bag before I started

N Stencil in Silhouette Studio

First, you’ll need to make or buy a large letter stencil. I used my silhouette cameo to cut  letters for my stencils (the letters were about 10 inches high). I used the font Janda Celebration Script for the letters on the girls’ bags, and a more simple/boy appropriate script for the ringbearer bag. Another way to make your own stencil would be to make a large letter in Microsoft Word or another document writing program, print it out and then cut it out.

Letter Stencil on Tote Bag

Then, I just taped the stencil onto the bag, making sure there were no wrinkles under the stencil, and painted over the stencil with acrylic paint.

Painting the Monogrammed Tote Bag

Then, I just removed the stencil, cleaned up any areas I might have missed and let the bags dry.

M Tote Bag

Finished! I really like how they turned out, and I wish I had made one for myself. I might have to now.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you make your own monogrammed tote bags, and what you put in them!

kimberly

DIY Lavender Soap

DIY Lavender Soap

If you’re looking for a quick and easy homemade gift, soap is a great solution. I made these lavender soap for my bridesmaids to include in the gift bags I gave them the night before the wedding. It’s so easy to make, but makes an excellent gift because it’s home made, which I think always gives a gift a special touch.

You will need:

Goat’s Milk Soap Base (2lbs or more)

Soap Mold (any shape, I chose a simple rectangle)

Bunch Dried Lavender (mine came from my wedding florists’ shop!)

Lavender Essential Oil

Double Boiler (I don’t have an actual double boiler, I just created one by resting a bowl inside of a pot with very little water in it)

Soap Colorant (optional)

Lavender Soap Ingredients

Directions:

Cut your soap into small cubes and melt it over medium-low heat in a double boiler. Once the soap has melted completely, remove from heat and stir in your colorant (optional), dried lavender (I used about a handful/maybe two tablespoons worth), and lavender essential oil (about 4 drops), and stir. Pour the soap mixture into your molds and let them cool completely. Once the soap has hardened completely in the mold,  just press the mold and the soap should come right out. *It is normal for the dried lavender to float to the top of the soap.

Lavender Soaps

I used the colorant for some of the bars, for others I did not (one I even did half and half). I also wrapped the bars tightly in plastic wrap to keep them fresh until I was ready to gift them. However, because of the organic ingredients (lavender) the soap won’t keep forever, so use or gift it sooner, rather than later.

Radar sniffing lavender soap

Sometimes I think if I could quit everything and make soap, I would (although I say that about a lot of crafty things). I don’t think Radar would mind.

Let me know if you try making your own soap!

kimberly