Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween!

Happy Halloween!  I tried to get this posted earlier today but we were scrambling to finish Mr. Bagubian's garbage truck costume--it turned out awesome!!  (I posted a photo on Instagram--@thurston_post) We're on the cusp of midnight here and by the time most of you read this, Halloween will be over, but here are my little treat bags anyhow...

I made these goodie bags using the Gossamer Blue Themed Add-On, which featured some really cute embellishments from My Mind's Eye's Frightful collection.  I added a few things from Gramercy Road, also, like enamel dots and the chartreuse paper and stickers.

I got crazy and spritzed some black color mist onto the kraft bags!  It didn't exactly turn out the way I intended--which is why I don't usually do a lot of color misting--but I suppose it looks all right.  I guess if I did it more often, I'd probably be much better at it by now.

This masked guy here is my favorite!  I just punched 2 medallions out of paper and adhered them behind the eyes of the mask.  Then I added the glitter mustache.  Pretty villainous, no?

I filled these with some yummy treats and mailed them to some of my favorite kids on the East Coast whom I don't get to see nearly enough.

Well, I'd really like to hit "publish" before it's no longer October 31st so I'll wrap this up.

As a personal side mother passed away a year ago on November 1st.  Tomorrow is the anniversary and it seems unbelievable that it has already been a year.  Halloween will always be bittersweet for us.  I remember how much fun we had last year--having no idea what the next day would bring.  I will have a post about it this weekend--I promise not to be depressing but it's something I must do.

She passed away unexpectedly on November 1st.  On November 2nd the mail came.  Before I saw it, I had the sad realization that there would be no more mail from my mom.  I love getting mail from her--notes, handmade cards, little surprises--and I almost dreaded going through it that day.  And then I saw her unmistakable hand-writing.  There were 2 envelopes in the mail for the kids from her.  It was eerie almost, and seeing them brought on instant tears.  She had mailed Halloween cards for the kids on October 30th and they arrived the day after she died.  She made them, with my dad's help.  She had pretty bad arthritis in her hands and he said that she needed his help punching out the scallop circles.  But she still managed to make 5 cards for each one of her grandchildren because that's the kind of grandma she was.  She has been missed.

I just wanted to share a small piece of her with you...Hope you had a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

zoom zoom :: happy birthday, Mr. Bagubian!

Happy weekend!  Friday the 17th was Mr. Bagubian's 4th birthday and so my week was pretty full with parties, shopping for presents, wrapping presents, and answering the question: "Is it my birthday today?" every single day.  Then when it was his actual birthday and he was 4 years old, he mused, "Hm.  I don't look like I'm 4 years old."  And now that he's been 4 for 2 days, he's already asking when he'll be 5.  Hey, kid, quit rushing it, will you?  It's hard enough for US to believe you are 4 already!

He is a car/truck/bus/motorcycle/anykindofmotorvehicleyoucanthinkof fiend.  For Halloween he wants to be a garbage truck--not a garbage man, but the actual truck.  So that's gonna be a fun one to make.  I haven't started it yet on the off-chance he changes his mind.  It was only a couple of weeks ago, after all, that he wanted to be a big, giant banana.

I made this card using the Boys Rule collection from Crate Paper.  (The black and white striped paper is from On Trend, though.)  I love this card because it is so Gus.  He is such a little boy and he plays so well with his cars and trucks.  We listen to him making up elaborate scenes with his Hot Wheels--lately they have all been involving one car creating a huge traffic jam because it has a flat tire.  (This is not the result of a real-life experience.)   

I cringe because I see a missed opportunity here...can you spot it?  I totally should have covered the 6 on the chipboard car with a 4!!!!  I have several "4" die cuts and stickers that would have worked perfectly.  With everything going on this week, I think I just overlooked it.  Oh, well, I can always go back and put one on later.  

I'm hoping to get back here a couple times this week with some gift wrap ideas, an Etsy shop update (haven't done one of those in forever!), and maybe a little peek at a really fun gift exchange I'm involved with.  Until then, I hope you are all well!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

gossamer blue inspiration blog hop :: tags & pockets

Hi there!  Are you inspired yet?!  If you're following along with the Gossamer Blue Blog Hop, you probably just came from Mish Wooderson's page.  Welcome here!  (And if you're not following along, you will probably want to...The GB Design Team is sharing some really beautiful projects, all made with the October kits.)  I have some pretty pockets I made from journaling cards, as well as matching tags to go inside them.

Let me start by saying that October's kits are awesome!  They are full of products from My Mind's Eye, Teresa Collins, and Chickaniddy Crafts, plus the usual loveliness from the GB in-house graphic designers.  The kits are so awesome, in fact, that a lot of them are gone!  Sad, I know, but I'm happy to direct you to the kits that are still available throughout the post (just click the links).
One item that stood out to me right away was the journaling card pack from MME in the Main Add-On Kit #2.  The cards offered bold typography with both soft and bright colors.  I'm not sure how my idea to make them into pockets came about exactly, but if I may say so, I'm pretty pleased with the results.  

There was a lot of MME goodness spread out over many of the kits--like the journaling cards, colorful brads, and die cuts.  And then I mixed in the Teresa Collins gold stripe paper to make the tags.  (It's not in the photograph because I've used it all up!!)

I paired each of my typographic cards with an allover repetitive patterned card and, because I wanted at least part of the allover print to be visible, I folded about 1/2" of the type card around to the back.  This also created a closed seam at one end.  I then stitched the remaining sides closed with gold thread.

Due to the nature of the outside cards, there wasn't too much more that needed to be done with them, but a few extra details are always nice--especially when it's in the form of a wood accent or enamel heart.  (I can rarely say no to those, how about you? :)

I didn't want to overwhelm the tags, either, but did wish to tie them in some way to their corresponding pocket.  The die cuts were especially helpful there.  The "love it" sentiment (above) is a stamp and "always" (below) is a rub-on.  Both can be found in the Main Kit.  I then finished each one off with a brad.
I probably could have made a dozen more of these, but I stopped at three.

Well, that does it for me.  Next up is Sabrina Alery.   I've got the entire list of designers with links here but if you get lost, you can always head back to the GB blog for all the blog hop information.  Have fun!

Gossamer Blue
Anabelle O'Malley
Beshka Kueser
Brenda Weaver
Cindy Liebel
Danielle Flanders
Diane Payne
Emily Spahn
Erin Taylor
Eunyoung Lee
Evgenia Petzer
Heather Leopard
Jill Cornell
Jill Keller
Joy Taylor
Katie Ehmann
Keisha Campbell
Laura Crosby
Maria Lacuesta
Melanie Blackburn
Michelle Wooderson
           ---> Rebecca Luminarias <--- That's me!
Sabrina Alery
Tara Anderson
Vanessa Perry
Yana Smakula

{October Main Kit}

Friday, October 10, 2014

tutorial - autumn candle jar cozies

Well, it took all week, but I think I've recovered from my marathon Getting To Know Me post!  Just a little side note, I published that post at 3:30am, fell asleep around 4, and then got up with the kids at 6:50!  Needless to say, I wasn't able to take a rest during the day (kids!) and stayed up until about midnight to finish a post for Crate Paper.  I did mention I liked to work under pressure, right?!  Tuesday wasn't so fun, but I'm doing much better now!

Last weekend, before all of that happened, you may have seen my Autumn Candle Jar Cozies Tutorial on the Gossamer Blue blog.  This project was so much fun and even though I've been doing more DIY/home decor projects than I certainly ever used to, this one was not my typical "comfort zone" kind of thing.  But I am so glad I did it--and it was super-easy so I hope you enjoy it and try it, too!  Here it is, just in case you missed it...

It's around this time of year when I like to have candles burning all day long.  The nostalgic scents of pumpkin, apple, and spice get me in the mood for the upcoming holiday season.  I'm sure that, as you've perused Pinterest, you've seen the cute candle cozies made from socks and sweaters.  They've been bouncing around the internet for awhile now and I've always wanted to make some.  So when I spotted the "sweater weather" die cut in the pack of Gramercy Road Ephemera last month, I knew it was time to give them a try.

Most of the the examples I've seen require sewing.  Since I lack any kind of skill when it comes to fabric-sewing, I wanted to come up with my own idea that was stitch-free.  I've got a quick tutorial for you on how I made my no-sew cozies.  (However, if you love to stitch or knit, please do so!)

Supplies needed: {I'll elaborate on these as we go along}
A sweater
A jar
Fabric scissors
A small piece of cotton canvas
Votives or tea lights
Jute twine
Patterned paper and embellishments of your choice
Gossamer Blue kits/collections used:

I chose a couple of my old cream-colored cable knit sweaters to start.  Old, thrifted, new--use whatever is your preference, but you will be cutting off the sleeves so I wouldn't exactly recommend destroying a brand new garment.  Decide what size jar you want to use.  I went with 16 oz wide mouth mason jars  because they have straight sides and a large rim for easy access to the candles inside of them.

First, push the jar down into the cuff of the sweater.  I folded the rim of the cuff over on some of my jars, but this is optional.  Next, using a pair of fabric shears that are sharp and strong enough to cut through the thick knit of a sweater, cut the sleeve off at 3/4" below the bottom of the jar.  You can eyeball this; what you want is enough material to fold under the jar without creating a lot of bulk.  If you have too much bulk, your jar will sit unevenly, which is not a good thing when there's a fire burning inside of it, right?

Using a die cut machine, punch, or scissors, cut a 2 1/2" circle from patterned paper.  Since fall is my theme and each finished jar features a wood leaf, I chose Gramercy Road's "Cedar Creek" design for it's colorful scattered leaves.

Turn your jar upside down and set the circle on the bottom.  I wanted the leaves to be seen if you looked down into the jar so I covered the pink and brown striped side with my adhesive and carefully folded the sweater ends over it.  For my glue, I used Fabri-Tac because it's my go-to adhesive for just about everything other than paper, but a glue gun will get the job done, too. 

When the jar is turned upright, you see a pretty fall pattern beneath the glass bottom.

Cut another 2 1/2" circle from your swatch of canvas.  You will adhere it to cover the ends of your sweater.  This helps balance the jar and creates a tidy appearance.  By adhering the sweater ends to the  patterned paper and canvas circle, the cover can be easily removed if you need to wash the jar.  (I recommend spot-cleaning only to treat the cozy itself.) 

You are now ready to embellish--the very best part of any project, I say!  

I wanted these jars to be a bit rustic and minimal so chose only a few coordinating elements.  Gossamer Blue's own Gramercy Road, with it's soft-spoken color palette and warm autumn theme was exactly what I had in mind, offering subtle phrases that epitomize chilly fall days.  The gorgeous wood leaves from the Life Pages Themed Add-On were a must, also.  I even stole a large leaf from the pack of wood shapes in the Main Add-On.  And whenever I'm going for a rustic look, I reach for my jute twine.  It's inexpensive, a bit messy, and the best shade of earthy brown to compliment the cream-colored sweaters.   

Another "sweater weather" phrase, this time from Chickaniddy Crafts out of the Add-On #2 kit.  I couldn't NOT use it!

While my supply photo shows votive candles, I actually decided to put tea lights in the jars instead.  They sit lower so are a little safer and also provide more of an allover glow.  You can always remove the embellishments if they feel unsafe to you.  And of course, never leave burning candles unattended

Fall is a time of get-togethers and family gatherings.  These candle jars will make thoughtful, homespun hostess gifts.  Or skip the candle and fill them with fresh chrysanthemums, fun crafty bits for your creative friends, or hot cocoa mix for the food lovers in your life.  Because most of my embellishments are tied to the jars with the twine, they can quickly be switched out for Christmas decorations in December.

What I loved about this project (after it was all done) was how easy it was!  I stressed about it a bit before I actually tried it and then couldn't believe how quickly I got it done.  Whatever you decide to do with these sweater-cozy jars, I hope you have as much fun making them as I did!  Stay warm, my friends!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

getting to know me blog hop

I was recently tagged by my good blogging friend Kate Lorenzini to play along in the Getting To Know Me creative blog hop.  I have seen other bloggers posting answers to these questions here and there but I never dreamed anyone would tag me.  But then someone did.  And I was so honored!  And then I read her post and what she had to say about me and then I was scared!  Oh, my, she really, really did well by her people--both the gal who tagged her and the three of us she tagged in turn.  And because I truly value the friendships and connections I've made in the blogosphere, I hope to do right by my people, too.

Kate has an incredible eye for detail.  She is an "intelligent" crafter and blogger.  That is to say, when you look at her work and you visit her blog, you feel smarter for having done so!  Every single piece of paper and embellishment on every single card is placed there for a reason.  I get the feeling she doesn't just lay different bits out and then blindly choose one--the way that I sometimes do.  While I can't say for sure, I also have a feeling that she is not a 10-minute crafter--I imagine her painstakingly agonizing over each attribute of her cards and if they take hours to create, then so be it.  Though I know that her "real life" job usually entails more than 40 hours per week so I'm not entirely sure when she finds the time to create these detailed masterpieces.  But I'm certainly glad when she does.
We hail from the same part of New York--the Finger Lakes region--and since we stumbled upon this bit of information, we have also discovered many other things that we have in common, including the love of crafting, missing NY autumns (we both now reside on the west coast), and a penchant for being late and being wordy...this post will probably run on for quite some time (hope you brought coffee!).
I've picked out a couple of her cards that I just adore.  See what I mean about the details???  The colors, the die-cutting, the flowers, the glittery bits...that little serendipitous piece of "autumn" dictionary page in the enamel frame on the bird card (she found it by happy accident!)...I am reeled in by these anecdotes because I love details.  I like to know the story behind things and Kate is a brilliant storyteller.


Now that you know how we got here--thank you, Kate--let me answer some questions... 

What creative projects are you currently working on?

At any given moment, I'm working on DT projects and trying to fill up my Etsy shop.  Always.  I don't ever have free time because cultivating and running the Etsy business is never-ending.  I never have free time because there is always something that I should be doing.  The only problem is that when I don't give myself a set deadline (or it's too far away), then the tasks don't seem pressing enough and that, I have learned, can be a really bad thing.  The other day I realized I had an extra day before one of my DT assignments was due, leaving an entire afternoon free from looming deadlines.  All I did was sit at my desk, looking around at all of the things I should start working on.  I felt really overwhelmed by this and accomplished nothing!  So it's better for me to set concrete deadlines and work under pressure--it's a little stressful but I get much more completed.

Above is a sneak peek at a DT project I have coming up later in the week and below is a kit I've just listed in the shop.  It was one of 3 kits I contributed to the Indie Craft Sampler box back in August (for the September box) and I'm only just now getting around to listing them in the shop.  I'm always running a little behind :)

What inspires your designs?

Color, color, color!  More often than not, I am inspired by color.  When working on cards and DIY projects, I tend to go with whatever scrapbooking collections are my favorites of the day.  When I'm making my gift wrap and paper kits for my shop, I build on things that have worked in the past.  Color often plays a large role in whatever I'm doing, though.  In terms of a kit, color is the easiest, most cohesive way to tie different items together.  It then gives me a filter and narrows the focus.

What method/process (if applicable) do you apply to each of your creative projects, and how long does each project take to complete?

Again, color, and a theme.  Each help guide my projects.  I have to set limits for myself or things get out of hand.  And again, it's about narrowing the focus.  Gathering supplies with a common color or theme, adding a few neutrals, and then stopping there or I will be too busy sorting through the huge piles on my desk to focus and create something.

Most of the time, projects take me awhile to complete.  I have to dabble...a lot.  I have to putter around with different elements, papers, and the placement of items.  It is very rare that something comes together in 10 minutes for me--I'm lucky if I can get done in under thirty minutes.  I fuss over details and tweak the placement of items and am terrified that when I actually adhere everything to my surface, it's not going to look as good as I thought.  I'm also usually quite nervous about ruining my project by making a mistake that can't be covered up or re-applied.  "Permanent" mediums like inks/stamps, rub-ons, and mists freak me out a little bit!  The woes of an anxious mind...  

If you had to describe your signature style, what would it be?

I don't really know how I would describe it; I think I absolutely do have a signature style, but I'm not sure how I would classify it.  I like a little bit of everything.  (Though I don't care too much for the whimsical stuff and I'll reject anything that has eyes that are looking at me--is that weird?)  My style is always evolving--which it must do to keep up with the trends.  If I'm working on DT projects, those entail using collections from manufacturers and I like my DT projects to look pretty.  I use some layers and a bit of clustering because I like the way that it looks.  With those, I prefer that my compositions don't appear too clean or too perfect so a bit of distressing or crinkling up the paper is my quick fix for that.  When I'm making things for the shop, I tend to use more neutral products--like plain white tags, doilies, and wood veneer pieces.  These things also appear as extra details in my DT and card projects, but for the shop, they are oftentimes the focal points.  I typically go for minimally designed items for the store.  Also, it seems that there has been something glittery and gold on everything I've made lately! 

What are 3 crafting products/tools that you can't live without?

I'm going to totally cheat on this question and name 3 products AND 3 tools! 
Products:  doilies, washi tape, wood shapes
Tools:  bone folder, craft knife, and paper trimmer


All right, it's my turn to tag some ladies and this was not a difficult decision at all.  I knew right away the 2 gals I wanted to call out (and if she hadn't tagged me first, I would have tagged Kate, too!).

Meredith MacRitchie

Meredith was my first blogging buddy and the only blogging friend I've ever met in person (I clearly don't get out much).  She is the creator of Festive Friday--an idea of hers I loved long before I joined the DT.  Christmas all year?  Yes, please!  She's also one of the most talented stampers I've ever seen.  I love simple stamping.  A word here, an image there.  But an entire background of flowers that are all different colors?  It exhausts and terrifies me to even think of trying it.  Meredith does these all the time.  I asked her once how long it took her to make her gorgeous multi-colored backgrounds and she said something like 10 minutes--maybe less.  She must be lying.  There's no way that only takes 10 minutes!  But I guess, when you're that good, you can do things really fast.  But they sure don't look like they only took 10 minutes.  I'm totally impressed.

Until I met Meredith earlier this year, I always pictured her having a British accent--she doesn't.  I'm not sure why and I don't know if she knows that but I thought I'd put it out there.  She's actually Canadian and we had always had a mutual respect for one another's craft work.  Then one day, on her blog, she put up a post hailing all things Canadian, including The Tragically Hip (a celebrated Canadian band) and Tim Horton's (a donut/coffee chain).  I left a comment on her post about those things and she was surprised I knew of TTH.  (I'm actually familiar with several Canadian bands that get no love here in the States--I'm looking at you, Hawksley Workman!)  Now here we are a year later--very good friends and maybe even bigger fans of each other's work because of it.  But try as I might, I just can't get into The Hip :)

This Tag...I had to go back through a year of her blog posts to find This Tag.  Because I love This Tag.  This is based on a Pinterest find and she wanted to replicate the printed version.  I remember this well because I had seen the same pin and absolutely adored it.  So when she posted this, I almost flipped!  I love This Tag.  And the Christmas card?  It looks like patterned paper, don't you think?  It is gorgeous!  Meredith is currently taking a little break from crafting because she and her husband are renovating their house--themselves.  I hope she gets done soon because I miss her cards.

{Meredith MacRitchie}

Oh, Christine...our Crate Paper DT mama.  She takes the best care of us over there and we are so lucky to have her.  I'm not quite sure where I'd be if it wasn't for her.  I assume she saw some of my projects and liked them well enough to make me a contender for a spot on the DT 2 1/2 years ago.  I've never asked, nor heard otherwise, but CP was my first Design Team and I really, really wanted to be there!  Since joining the team, Christine and I have gotten to know one another and have found that we are much alike in many ways.  I value her insight into the wide world of paper crafting--I know that if I have a question about anything, she probably knows the answer!  Christine has been kind enough to offer me numerous bits of advice on photography, as well, and I can't thank her enough for that.  If you've been around here long enough, you've probably noticed my photos improving over the years--much of that is thanks to Christine.  (And yes, I still have a ways to go...)

I am a huge fan of her scrapbook pages--she layers like no one else in this industry--but I am a bigger fan of her as a person.  I have so much respect for this woman--the challenges she has faced, the life she is living, the life she has built for herself and her young son amid grief and struggles.  Because she keeps going.  I know hers has not been an easy life.  Knowing that the strife she has faced has helped mold her into a strong-willed and independent woman, perhaps it isn't fair of me to be envious of those qualities.  So let me just say that in the face of adversity, I hope I can learn to be just as strong-willed.  Thank you, Christine, for all you have taught me.

{Christine Middlecamp}
Those layers!  Those colors!  That photography...She's another one of these gals who must sit for hours at a time painstakingly working on each detail.  When I joined the Crate DT, I had no idea who Christine was.  (That shouldn't offend her--I didn't know who a lot of folks were because I didn't--and still don't--have much time to go visiting around blogland.  I live in a bubble.)  Then she had a post one day on the CP blog and my mind was blown!  So I went to her blog and again--mind blown!  She is so talented and has such a way of showcasing her work--her closeups are phenomenal and truly capture the textures of each medium she is using.  I have tried to do work like this and fail miserably.  She reigns supreme when it comes to layering.  Sadly, Christine is no longer blogging--I know--you were getting excited to hop on over to her blog, weren't you?  I'm sorry to be such a tease, but she does connect with her fans through Facebook and every once in awhile, we're lucky enough to see an awesome ode to layers from her on the CP blog

{Christine Middlecamp}

Well, we have finally come to the end.  (Are you still with me?  It's 3am; I myself am about to fall over.)  I hope you enjoyed reading about my creative processes.  I'll mention one other thing that I'm often asked about that wasn't on the list (because why would it be?)...Thurston is my middle name.  And I love it :)

Please be sure to stop by the blogs/pages of these other amazing ladies I've talked about here.  I've made it easy for you to do so by pasting links all over the place.  (And if you click the names under the photos, you will be directed to the posts detailing those individual projects.)  You can go back and read Kate's Getting To Know Me post and Meredith (on her blog) and Christine (on Facebook) will be posting their interviews on Monday, October 13th.

(I've posted some photos of the identity board I made back in March of this year because they tie in with these questions.  I discussed more of my creative process in this post about the board.) 

Now I need to go to bed!