Crafting Memories ….

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Hi y’all. It’s finally Friday!

I don’t have a new “crafty” something I’d like to share this week. I have been very busy getting ready for a get together at my house. But, I do have a “craft memory” to share. I guess for me, crafting is quite often about creating memories through various projects and scrapbooking.

But, I have been organizing myself and getting ready for the transition between Fall decorations and Christmas decor. I remembered a project from last year that I absolutely love and plan to expand on this year. Well, I guess this project started about 14 years ago. Now, you say, “she is the queen of unfinished craft projects.” Not quite, but close.

When my daughter was about 5, I decided we needed a Western themed Christmas tree. (I have several themed trees now). Western-themed Christmas stuff, at least in Texas can be expensive! It’s not too bad when you are only adding a piece or two, but we were starting from scratch. So, it was DIY for us. We started by recreating some rope garland I had seen in a department store. I don’t remember the exact cost, but it was something like $40 for a 6- or 8-foot piece. Pfftttt! We made it with an old red bandana and $5 worth of rope from the hardware store. It turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. We are still using that “garland” today.

However, you can’t fill an entire Christmas tree with rope, so we also made ornaments out of dough. Using cookie cutters, we made boots, stars and Texas shapes. My daughter helped me make them. Those are some of my most favorite ornaments I have ever had because of the memories we made. Unfortunately, over the years, the dough ornaments have fallen apart. I think I only have one or two of those left. I have been able to amass quite a collection of holiday stars, cowboy Santa’s and more since then. Even though that tree is full to the brim now, I still enjoy shopping the after Christmas sales every now and then for new finds or picking up new items while on adventures with my family.

Whew! That was a lot of jabber to get to the point of this. Sorry. Last year, I wanted to add something larger to the tree, and do it within a budget. I’ve already talked about my Silhouette Cameo and this is just another example of a project I was able to do.

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I made these stars from red, green and Kraft scrapbooking cardstock. I made them in several sizes, using one 99-cent cut file purchased from the online Silhouette store. I don’t remember quite how many I made, but there are quite a few. In all, I spent less than $10 including paper I’m sure I bought on sale. Cutting them out was a cinch, however gluing all the green and red insets onto the star was a little time consuming. Some of them I ran through the sticker machine and sped the process up a little. You could also totally do them without the insets and the project would take literally minutes.

This year, I am making a few smaller stars to add to the garland on my mantle. It should cost me nothing, as I already have the cut file and some of the paper left from last year. Yay for no-cost projects that make a big impact!!

TOOLBOX TALK: I’ve talked more than once about my Silhouette Cameo and how much I love it. This is not a new machine, but it is a good one. The biggest plus, you don’t have the added cost of buying cartridges of files to cut.

There are so many files out there you can cut and you can pick just what you need, rather than buying a whole collection only to use one or two items from it. There are a multitude of websites that offer low-cost and even free files. I get most of mine from the Silhouette subscription program. Subscriptions start at $9.95 a month, but for that $9.95, you get $25 worth of files. Most files are 99 cents. They also offer a clearance section each week with files for 50 cents, and every Tuesday they offer one FREE file. LOVE it! I’m addicted. I’m amazed at all the scrapbook embellishments I’ve used and crafts I’ve done using their files. I just use the search function to find something specific to match what I’m working on. There are thousands of files and fonts you can choose from. Check it out if you have a chance:

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Keep in mind, you can also cut the fonts you already have on your computer and convert any clip art or shape you have to an SVG (cut) file. I use an online converter, but if you are computer savvy there are other ways to do it as well, I just like the ease of the online converter I found.

With Silhouette software, you are also able to create your own art, alter or resize files you already own. It is so easy.

The only drawback I see (and it is small) to this electronic cutter is that is not super portable. You do have to hook it to a computer with the Silhouette Software on it. This computer “houses” all your cut files.

Until next time ….

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I am a hoarder!

Hi y’all. It’s Finally Friday!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Shelly. I am a hoarder.

I admit it. I am a hoarder of craft supplies. I love trips to craft stores and scrapbook shops. I shop online. And, I am always on the lookout for a good bargain. Very rarely do I buy anything that is not on sale or that I do not have a coupon for. This is great; however, I have managed to amass quite a selection of supplies — mostly paper crafting.

There is a downside. Problem A — finding time to use all the supplies I purchase and collect. I am making a concerted effort to make time for projects and will share some of those as I go. Problem B — finding room to store all these supplies in an organized manner that makes using my “stash” easy and convenient. Quite often, problem A feeds into problem B creating a never-ending cycle.

When I have a project I need or want to do, I often just go buy more supplies as it’s easier than rummaging around in my girl cave looking for what I need. Thus, I have a spare “bedroom” (that no longer has a bed) overstuffed with an endless supply of paper, ribbon, crafting tools, embellishments and sadly, lots of unfinished projects.

As I am beginning my Cooking, Crafting and Chaos journey, one of my challenges for myself is to craft with what I have — not only do projects, but be very diligent in using the products I have, only buying something when absolutely necessary.

As I typed the last part of  the previous sentence I chuckled a little. I know, and those who know me know there will be trips to the craft store. There will be new styles and newfound bargains, and there will be that new product every now and then that “I just have to have.” I must be realistic.  I will make new purchases but I plan to keep myself in check and continue to use up my hoard.

My first project in this journey came out of necessity.  When I took the Halloween décor off my front door a couple of weeks ago, I had nothing to replace it with.  I had a tired wreath that looked absolutely awful.  I’m not sure what I put on my door last year, but I’m sure it wasn’t this.  I decided to make a wreath, and thought this might be the perfect time to repurpose the old one by joining it with some supplies I already had.

I did have a wooden door hanging and one roll of mesh ribbon that I purchased this season for half off at Hobby Lobby.  I used the hanging and a portion of the ribbon on my wreath.  In all, I think I spent about $6 creating this.

With glue gun in hand,  this is what I started with:

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I pulled the decorations off the old wreath.  I re-used the grapevine wreath and a couple of the floral picks.  I added some burlap ribbon I already had to the mix.

The bottom portion of the hanging looked a little blank, so I used some vinyl left over from another project to create a stencil using my Silhouette Cameo.  I also used Martha Stewart orange craft paint and some felt fall leaves left over from a Halloween costume.

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My door looks much better.  I know this was a simple project.  I am sure you’ve seen much better wreaths.  I have.  But,  I took the first step in a challenge I made to myself — to use what I had and to share my progress here.

Toolbox Talk: I cut the stencil using my Silhouette Cameo.  The Silhouette is one of my very, very favorite craft room tools.  The possibilities are endless with this electronic cutting tool.  I’ve helped my children make school projects.  I’ve scrapbooked.  I’ve created original art.  I’ve created stencils to use in etched glass projects.  I’ve used it to make patterns when adding rhinestones to clothing.  You will hear me talk about this machine quite often and I hope to eventually do some tutorials using it.

Look for some more favorite things and craft  projects on Fridays in the weeks to come.

Until next time….