Sunday, June 15, 2014

All Beauty and No Beast!

We just marked the start of summer at our house:  completion of dance recital performances!  My kiddo's ballet school has a special way of doing recitals:  they do a full ballet with two performances in lieu of a standard recital that includes all the students from age 5 to age 18 in the show!  The high school seniors and advanced dancers have the starring roles; the younger classes have supporting roles.  My daughter's class performed as the Silverware and the Dream Belles. The parents do the set design and creation, make costumes, do lighting, stage management, house management, handle tickets, props, sound, and keep the kids ready for their parts! Some dads even have roles in the performances!  It is such a huge production and undertaking!  I took off two weeks of work to help and I needed an extra week to recover, but that didn't happen!  (My daughter always seemed so surprised that I was tired when she was the one dancing.)
Rehearsal for the Finale
Each year, at the December Mother-Daughter Tea, we learn which ballet the girls will perform in June so we have known for a bit that this year would be Beauty and the Beast.  The two employees (and that includes the owner!!) of the school choreograph the show and teach the girls their parts.  I find it incredible that they do this all with parent volunteers and only two employees.  It really is remarkable!  This is the 30th year for the school and the current owner is the daughter of the original owner.  It is a family affair in many ways! And it is so much more...they make all the little girls feel important and like they are part of something BIG!  My daughter told me, "Whatever the year, my class always has important parts in the ballet!"  (And that from a salad fork, her role in one of her dances!)  They make it fun, using a blend of the traditional music from the ballet as well as some from the Disney movie.  It seamlessly works together like magic.

Each year, my daughter gives Opening Night gifts to the ballerinas in her class.  For the past couple of years, I have made the gifts and tried to make them as wearable keepsakes that represented the ballet for that year.  You can see last year's post on the Cinderella Ballet by clicking here!  

Last year was Cinderella!
Each year, it seems a little harder to think of something that the girls would enjoy.  My daughter, at age 10, is one of the youngest in her class.  Students in this pre-pointe class go all the way to middle school.  I thought silver bangle bracelets might be the way to go this time around and my kiddo approved.  I fell in love with Alex and Ani bracelets but needing eleven meant I had to come up with something that wouldn't break the bank! I found so many great options with A Bead Story brand!  Their round bangle bracelets feature a screw-off bead on the ends which makes adding and changing beads a snap!  This is so easy! Their spacer beads have what I suppose is a silicone liner that keeps the beads from sliding too much.  After depleting the supply of bangle bracelets at the store nearest me, I went online and found slightly different oval bracelets, a different brand.  They worked just fine and my daughter actually liked those better for her small wrist!

I chose beads that represented elements of the story:  the rose, the yellow dress, the dancers, the dome over the rose.  These girls have all out-grown the Disney Princesses and so those icons were not an option for this project.  

I added spacer beads between the charms.  These made the various charms seem to be more integrated with the whole bracelet, though admittedly, less like the style I had originally been trying to copy.

I also made some drop charms using head pins, crystals, and smaller silver beads.

I found my supplies at Hobby Lobby for the A BEAD STORY round bracelets and all siver beads.  The oval bracelets were from ebay.  I found the crystals at Michaels.  The ballerina charms and the crystal ball charms came from both and Hobby Lobby.  The 3D flower charms came from Michaels physical store.  The flat siver roses and the large amber rondelles were from Fire Mountain Gems.  The small crystals and head pins came from Michael's. 

To package them, I used my favorite gift box:  the jewelry box on the Cricut cartridge, Bridal Shower (page 14).  I cut it at 11".  

I use upholstery batting (dacron) for the inside padding.  

I decorated the tops with yellow roses.  I learned to make these from Juliana Michaels when she was part of the fantastic Circle Design Team.  You can find her video on how to make them here.  She uses Mother's Day Bouquet to make them.  They are fabulous!  For the sizes, I have a cheat cheat based on the sizes I make them:

I cut the ones for my boxes using key 27 cut at 1.25" and key 8 cut at 2.75".  Juliana shows how to make them on her video (link above).  

After cutting the floral pieces, I assemble them using hot glue.  The nice thing about having an Explore and an Expression is that you can cut the same thing on both machines since you can use the physical cart in the Expression and the digital version in the Explore.  For projects with lots of duplication, it really makes the cutting go fast!

Wrapped with yellow ribbon and tagged.  
Of course my kiddo gets one of the bracelets, and all of the ballerinas receive flowers from their families on opening night, but I also get her something special.  I decorated her gift bag with another yellow rose, but I wanted to go overboard on size so I made one from the Cricut cartridge Giant Flowers, cut at 10.5"  

She kept it and put it on a shelf.  It is a fun decor piece!

They were a hit (always a relief!) and it's always fun on opening night with all the energy and excitement.  Gifts just add to the fun.  I will say that this is my daughter's fifth ballet, but the first one where she smiled during all of her performances.  She really looked like she was having fun.  

Thank you so much for letting me share my project and photos of my kiddo!  

But wait!  There's more! On a totally unrelated note, I wanted to give a big shout-out to my friend, Danita, and suggest you go look at her blog.  She has been ramping-up glass etching and she doesn't use etching cream.  She does what she calls "Air Erasing" and I was so impressed (and scared) that I think you need to see this!  She always does great work and has made several blog posts of her projects, but this time, she shows us a tutorial and all of her tricks!  Check it out:  Danita's Designs.  And if you need a little more of a nudge, she says that it is easy, cheaper after the initial set-up, and you get a much nicer effect than by using etching cream on your glass items!  True, high quality etched glass items that look like high-end boutique gifts!!  Ooooo...maybe next year's ballet will feature etched glass pendants!  I'll be driving to Danita's house for help with those!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cheery Gifts for Mom.. And a Contest Winner!

One of my favorite people to make things for is my mom.  She appreciates hand-crafted gifts and home-made treats!  She keeps every card.  Is your mom like that too?  

Because my mom is a diabetic, I wanted to make something made in kitchen and sweet but without affecting her diet. A sugar scrub is perfect!  

This gift set features a lemon sugar body scrub in a decorated glass canister, a dimensional card that holds a store gift card, and a large tag that will go on fresh flowers to be picked up the day before Mother's Day.

I started by contacting a fellow crafter, who you might remember from the Sweet Sassy Diva blog, Bobbi Jo Henke.  A long time ago, I was a guest designer on that blog a couple of times.  She is also a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils.  Bobbi Jo suggested a scrub recipe that I altered a small bit for my gift.  If you are looking for a trust-worthy person to buy essential oils from for home spa projects or dietary uses, contact Bobbi Jo at or (262)498-3107.  

This is the recipe I used for my scrub.  

Lemon Sugar Scrub

1/4 cup  plus 2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil (found in the baking section of the grocery store)
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
16 drops lemon oil
zest of one lemon

Mix thoroughly by hand in a glass bowl and place in a clean and dry glass jar to store.

I used small scraps of vinyl and cut a decorative lid design.   

I made this on my Cricut Explore.  The design uses Paisley for the lemon motif and A Child's Year font for the text.  This is my Design Space file for this part of this project:  

The small tag for this was made with  Cricut cartridge Holiday Frames and Tags (page 67, cut at 2.5"). "MOM" was cut using Cricut cartridge A Child's Year (at 1") on my Cricut Expression while my Explore was cutting vinyl.

I made a tag for flowers that will also be part of this gift.

This was also made using Cricut cartridge Holiday Frames and Tags (page 67, cut at 4").  The small quilled flowers were cut from Art Philosophy at 2" (page 68).  The large gingham flower is one I learned to make when it was featured on a wreath on the old Cricut Circle Blog.  The good news:  Juliana Michaels made a construction video so you can make these too.  Here's a link to her video tutorial:  click here.    
Sizes for Juliana's rose for this tag:  
Mother's Day Bouquet key 27 cut 3 at 1" 
Mother's Day Bouquet key 8 cut 4 at 1.75"  

I also made a coordinating card to dress up a store gift card.  

The card base was cut from Cricut cartridge Art Philosophy (page 53 at 4").  The gingham mat was cut at 3.75".  The butterfly was cut at 2" (also from Art Philosophy, page 55).  I used the same rose from Juliana Michaels that I used on the tag above.
Sizes for Juliana's rose for this card:  
Mother's Day Bouquet key 27 cut 3 at 1.25" 
Mother's Day Bouquet key 8 cut 4 at 2.75"  

I also made a gift card holder for my mother-in-law as part of a different gift set for her.

This is the easiest project ever!  The little purse is one-piece cut from SVGcuts Luxury Handbags collection. The little paper tassel is from a different purse in that same collection.  I think this is so sweet and such a pretty way to dress up a gift card!  The flower under the brad is from Mother's Day Bouquet cut at 1".  (I cut the paper tassel at 10" width, a bit smaller than the cutting menu suggests for the other purse).

I took advantage of the pattern placement when cutting the purse.

Baked goodies and a flower will accompany this gift. She is not a crafter and hand-made stuff is not her thing, but she is a wonderful person and Mom and I always invite her to our Mother's Day lunches and brunches!  (I love that they get along so well!  They usually also exchange Mother's Day gifts with one another.  Of course, my mom gives my kiddo a Mother's Day gift because she says she is the mother of her dolls.)

And... We also have a contest winner for the $25 Michael's Gift Card from my Circle NSD post (previous post on this blog).  

This is my lovely assistant, Piper. 

And she has drawn out a name.....

And the Winner is....

Angie (AKA TiffysMom AKA Angie's Paper Passion)

Congrats to you, Angie!  Contact me so I can mail your gift card!

Thank you for checking my blog post today!  To see many of my previous projects, check out My Project Gallery!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Thank You, Teacher!

Happy NSD Weekend!  This project is linked to Circleville NSD and the Peach of a Teach Challenge! Scroll down to the end of this post to see links to other Circleville NSD bloggers! 

     And... I am giving away a prize here on my blog!  Details for that are below the list of Circleville NSD bloggers near the end of this post!!

And guess what is also coming this week?  It's NEA's National Teacher Day on May 6 and PTA's Teacher Appreciation Week  May 5-9!  This is a great time to thank the person (or persons) to whom you entrust your favorite kiddos all day long!  My daughter's teacher is great this year and has been more accessible than any previous teacher so I have gotten to know a bit about some of her challenges.  There are only eight students in her class, so this year has been all about individual attention!  To tell her 'thank you' for her efforts, care, kindness, and expertise, I wanted to put together a gift set.

And what better time to make a gift than NSD Weekend?!  (Maybe one year, I will actually do a scrapbook page for NSD!)

For my project, I used my Cricut Explore with files from SVGcuts:  School Days and Miss Baker's Classroom.  School Days has an adorable three dimensional schoolhouse gift box and Miss Baker's Classroom has a card that is very similar to the box.  From that file, I  made a matching card and a tag. SVGcuts has easy-to-put-together projects that are a lot of fun to decorate and customize!  

Of course there are other options:  If you were wanting to do this project with Cricut cartridges instead of SVG files, there is a great box on Sweet-tooth Boxes.  To see an adorable schoolhouse made with this cartridge on the Crazy about Cricut blog, click here.  If you wanted to make your own SVG or even hand-cut one, there is a fantastic little free PDF mini schoolhouse gift box by Design Mom -click here.

If you are a Cricut Explore owner and have never downloaded SVG files or have concern about doing that, check out this video by Melody Lane (click here).  She shows you how to navigate the site and how to download files from SVGcuts to Design Space.

I started with the schoolhouse box on School Days.  I followed the SVGcuts construction video, making these changes:

I cut the window 'glass' from recycled clamshell acetate as well as vellum.  I set this up as a new material with pressure of 338 and multi-cut 3.  To set up a new material, I set the dial to 'custom' and clicked the material settings button at the bottom of the panel, after loading the mat and before pressing the cut button.)

This did not cut the material all the way through, but scored it so that I could peel it along the cut lines, making a clean edge.  I wanted a clear window that I could use to frame photos of my daughter and her friends.  After the acetate was adhered in place with Terrifically Tacky two-sided tape, I glued in the photos. I backed the windows and photos with the pieces of vellum.

I embossed the roof and tower roof (as well as the door and building front)...

...And, unlike the construction video, I glued the two roof pieces together before gluing the hinge to make it easier.  

I glued the hinge underneath the roof to hide it.

Next:  The fun part!  Decorating the schoolhouse!

I made a flag from Cricut cartridge Stand and Salute, cut at 2.5".  I cut this on my Expression while my Explore cut flowers!  I flipped the red and blue pieces so that the flag would be completed on both sides.  I used an Xacto knife to cut a small slit over the door.  I inserted the flag pole and split open the layers and glued them to the inside of the schoolhouse box.  I punched a square and adhered it to hide that construction.

I punched a small flower that I slit and glued in place around the flagpole on the front to hide the cut I made with my Xacto knife.  

I downloaded a free flower design from the fabulous Juliana Michaels, of 17 Turtles.  You will remember her from the wonderful Circle Design Team!  You can find her SVG flower file by clicking here to get to her blog post, where you will be able to download it!  I also used a punch for the tiny red flowers.  

I added a bell by grabbing the one off of SVGcuts Miss Baker's Class that I had downloaded in preparation for my matching card and tag.  I grabbed a 1" square from one of my images in Design space.

The next time I make this box, I think I would like to cut out the space in the tower and add the bell inside!   I added an owl that was cut at 2" from the Recess Cricut cartridge.

Next, I worked on the tag and card.  I wanted them to MATCH one another... I sized the card as instructed on the SVGcuts "menu" (a handy guide for knowing what size the pieces were designed to be).  I sized the tag to be 50% of the card.  That just means if a width for a card item was sized at 3", I made the size 1.5" for that same item on my tag.  I did that sizing adjustment for each piece.

This card is perfect for writing inside with the Explore because there is a separate, shaped, inside mat.  I actually cut two and wrote on one, leaving the other one blank because I think I would rather have my kiddo write a personalized message to her teacher.  I wasn't sure what she thought about that so I cut both just in case.  I'll let my daughter decide!

If you have not tried adding a font to your Cricut cuts, check out the OfficialCricut video for attaching text (click here).  This is Writing Font:  Creative Memories Tiny Treasures Sweet Pea.  For a list of pens that work great with the Explore and a photo of all Cricut handwriting fonts, see my Pen Options and Writing Fonts page.  I used a Pilot Precise V5 pen for this project.

The card has two pieces that are glued together to make the base.  For the tag, I only used the front!  That little mat cut is also perfect for a message on the back of the tag I created.

With the card and tag complete, I lined the box with a sheet of tissue paper and filled it with Hershey's Kisses.

A florist's card holder keeps my tag in place in the pot of gerbera daisies. This is the finished gift set:

I hope you have enjoyed NSD Weekend.  If you are a Cricut Circle member and haven't stopped by the Message Board in a while, check it out today to see all of the Circleville NSD challenges and tutorials!

If you are not a Circle Member, no worries!  Many of us are putting our Circleville NSD projects, like I did here, on our blogs and we would love you to join us:

Scrapping for More Fun -

The Singing Shell -

And YES!  I do have a prize to give away!!  Just leave a comment (only one comment per human, please!) in order to go into a drawing for a $25 Michael's Gift Card!  Drawing will be held next Friday, May 9, 2014 and the winner's name will be posted on this blog that day.  Let me know how to contact you in your comment in the event that you win!  You are welcome to follow this blog if it looks like your cup of tea, but it is NOT mandatory to be in the drawing. I don't have a security code on my comments (because those are just annoying!) but I do moderate the comments so yours won't show up right away because I have to approve it first.  (It's just that a male enhancement spammer leaves me nasty notes if I don't moderate... and even though it can be entertaining, it gets old!  LOL!!!  I hope you will understand. And if you are having a temporary freak out and try to comment repeatedly because it doesn't show up, I will just delete your extras so no one will have to know.  It will be our little secret because we all have those days!)

If you are looking for more ideas for teacher gifts, check out my previous years' teacher-related projects or teacher-appropriate gifts (click photo to go to original post on this blog unless otherwise indicated):

This card is not linked to a post.

To see many of my previous projects, check out My Project Gallery (click here).  Thank you for looking at my post today.   Happy Crafting!  

But wait! There's more! Click 'older posts' above!

But wait!  There's more!  Click 'older posts' above!