Thursday, December 12, 2013

prayer journals

I wanted to show you how I made the prayer journals that I sold last month at the school craft fair. They were a big hit...and so easy to make.

The idea for them was sparked by a project over at Big Picture Classes using a cheap "brag book" type photo album ($1 from Walmart and Dollar Tree) to create a mini-book. Such a great idea...So you'll want to grab some of these $1 plastic photo albums. The ones at Walmart have fewer pages than the ones at Dollar Tree. Unfortunately Target sells these for twice the price.

Cut a bunch of paper to 4" x 6". The great thing is that there's no waste since regular scrapbook paper is 12" x 12"...just cut each sheet in half (6") and then cut those halves into 3 4" sections. Easy peazy.  

Next find and lay out the prayers or inspirational messages you'd like to include. Print them out on paper. You can either set it up to print on larger paper, 4 up or so, and then cut to size. I found it easier to cut my paper into 3" x 5" cards which I then fed through the printer. You could also use index cards for this.

Another idea is to layout the pages at 4" x 6" and use digital scrapbooking elements to design the page. Or, you could create works of art for each page, scan them in and then print them out. It would take a while, sure, to make all that artwork...but then you'd have a wonderful gift you could reproduce for lots of people.

Slip out the covers included with the book and use those as a guide to cut 4 pieces of printed paper. (If you are using 2-sided printed paper, you can just make 2 cover for the front one for the back) I like the look of making the front and back cover the same design. It makes it look more like a book. You can include a label if you'd like on the front cover. And the inside cover could include a message to your recipient, including ideas for how to use the journal. 

Then, it's just assembling the book. I used 2-sided tape to secure the prayer card in the middle of one of the 4" x 6" papers and added the prayers to every right page. I put blank patterned papers on the left pages but you could put prayers there as well. My thought though is that you could tuck in prayer intentions on slips of paper...or write them directly on those blank printed papers, so that as you use the journal you can pray specifically for those people and situations. You can also add your own prayers...or change them out. 

This next step is essential for transforming the book from cheap-plastic looking to something better. Simply add bookbinding tape along the spine. Instantly better. 

I'm cranking these out! One of the ladies who bought a bunch at the craft fair called and wanted a few more, including one for her mother with specific prayers. 

You can take this idea and make all sorts of journals! It would be a great gift for a teacher with a photo of each child and a little note. It would also make a great project for a child to do...a way to create a book easily.

Have fun with this idea!

Julie, the font is Carolyna Pro Black. I also love using Emily Lime, Itchy Handwriting, Jenna Sue, and Mrs. Blackfort. All these can be purchased at first search for free ones.

Monday, December 9, 2013

show toppers wonderment jar

It's a snow day here so Alfredo and I decided to do a little crafting. Well, mostly I crafted and Alfredo staged an epic dinosaur battle all around me. I made this adorable snow jar using a regular jar and Cosmo Cricket's super Show Toppers jar lid and mini mobile. Let me show you how I did it.

First, I used Claudine Hellmuth's paper doll set to make a fun version of our little family. It was super easy to do it in photoshop but if you don't have mad photoshop skills, you could just make the paper dolls the old-fashioned cut and paste way and then scan them in. Then, make them into Shinky Dinks by printing them onto Shrinky Dink Ink Jet plastic sheets! Shrinky Dinks will shrink to about 1/3 of the original print out size. One great thing about making Shrinky Dink paper dolls is that it's easier to cut out a paper doll that's 6" tall compared to one that's 2" tall.

To prepare the file, lighten the colors quite a bit. As the image shrinks, it becomes darker. If you skip this step, your Shrinky Dinks will be too dark.

There's nothing so fun as making Shrinky Dinks! It was most fun to make them using a toaster oven so Alfredo could easily watch them shrink. They roll and fold onto themselves as they shrink, doing somersaults. You really must make little Shrinky Dinks of yourself!

To make the snowy mound that we're standing on, I used a styrofoam ball, cut in half using a serrated kitchen knife.

I covered the styrofoam surface with a generous, gooey coat of Alene's Tacky Glue...

And then dumped clear glitter on top.

I inserted two toothpicks (trimmed to about 2")  to the snow mound so that I'd have something to attach my little people to. And I left this to dry a bit.

Meanwhile, I used the mini mobile from Cosmo Cricket to make a sweet little chandelier. I used some crinkly wire but you can use any kind of thin wire you have on hand.

I began by twisting the end of the wire to one of the hooks. I cut a length about 18" long and began threading little beads on. 

I used the tiny beads from this assortment, adding them randomly.

When I had enough beaded to make a little swag, I wrapped the wire around the next hook and continued around the entire mobile. 

Then I added another layer, with less beads, above those swags. 

I glued a large silver bead over each of the hooks to help keep the wires on...and I added some dangly bits attached in the center, like the heart bead. These dangling wires ended up being a bit too long so I wound them around a round toothpick to make them like springs, which made them shorter.

To assemble the jar, I glued the snowy mound into the bottom of the jar. I added extra glitter, which settled nicely all along the bottom of the snowy mound. Then I attached the chandelier to the hook inside the show stopper lid and screwed the lid onto the jar.

Can you even stand how adorable this is?  You have got to make a little version of your family for your own little snow jar! 

Enjoy! And hey! Show me what you make!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

diy typography/subway art

My niece Ashley got married last year and the two lovebirds just bought the sweetest little house. They are both crazy about typography/subway art so I decided to make her a custom sign commemorating their big day. It turned out so well I thought you might like to see how I did it.

The first thing I did was to design the layout. I used a 9" x 12" gallery wrapped canvas so I designed the layout on a regular letter size paper. I used a serif (footed) font and adjusted the font size and kerning (spacing between letters) so that each word spanned from the left to the right edge of the paper. If you want to get fancy, you can add vertical words. I wanted to keep it pretty simple.

I used a black canvas but you could always prep a plain white canvas by painting it black first. Black gesso would work great...and would simulate chalkboard nicely. You could also make this on a painted wood panel.

Saral Transfer Paper in white is excellent for transferring the letters. You simply sandwich the transfer paper between the printout and the canvas. Make sure the transfer side is against the canvas or the transfer will be made on the reverse side of the printout...oops! Be sure to center the printout. Tape into place to secure it while you trace the letters.

White will be transferred to the background but I think that adds to the chalkboard effect. It's okay if you miss parts of the transfer. See how I missed part of the "Y"? There is enough there for me to fill in with the next step.

Using a white oil pencil (or you could use a white colored pencil or white chalk pencil), fill in the letters. 

Use a fixative spray to protect the piece. This is especially important if you used colored pencil or chalk.

This same process can be used to create art with special quotes and personalized messages.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

St. Nick

Friday is St. Nicholas' feast day. When children leave their shoes out the night before, St. Nick will stop by and fill them with treats. He leaves children treats at Alfredo's school too. The children usually leave their shoes lined up in the hallway but last year St. Nick's helpers were caught red-handed. This year, I helped St. Nick by making paper shoes. Look how sweet they turned out:

I adapted this pattern by adding a shoe tongue and real ribbon laces. Then I printed the template onto patterned scrapbook paper. Here's the template for my adaptation if you want to make some too.

St. Nick traditionally leaves gold coins, a candy cane and a clementine. We have allergy concerns in the classroom so I used plastic coins instead of chocolate or candy ones. I added a few little gifts like a Christmas pencil and eraser, a ball, and a little pad of paper. I also tucked in a St. Nicholas prayer card. I put all the gifts (except the prayer card and clementine) in a little muslin bag with an ironed-on graphic. I used one of the sticker graphics from here.

Whew! 30 paper shoes, all set to deliver on Friday.  We'll set them out at their desks while they are at mass in the morning.

Happy St. Nicholas Day...December 6!