It seems like I am on a never-ending quest to declutter and destash my craft room. It's a circle, not a vicious one, but a happy one. Less stuff leads to more places to put new stuff, thus the clutter is reduced and the stash is manageable. (FYI--the stash will never be gone. I love that my husband or my kids can come to me, ask for something and know that it is to be found amongst my things. Kailtin, my 9 year old, already knows that I have every adhesive known to man for every possilbe use under the sun.)
In order to meet this goal-that-will-never-really-be-met, I am employing the following methods. Try, try, try to use what I already have and finish the projects that I begin. Oh, and go back and finish all of my WIPs (works in progress, for the uninitiated), because they contribute to, if not the clutter, because they are well hidden in storage bins, then the loss of any crafty mojo that I have. So, for every new project, I try to tackle an old project as well. Oh, and I try to be realistic about whether or not I really even want to finish a project. If I don't, it goes in the trash. Yes, the trash. It's brutal but freeing. Kind of like following through on your threats to your kids instead of caving in. It hurts for a little bit, but then you realize that it's for the best, and you feel proud, like you could actually do it again!
But enough of this obsessive chatter about my personal failings and on to my two little projects! One is a new one--little Valentine's Day gifts for my kids' teachers. The other is an old one, repurposed for what is going on in my life right now. Ready?
First the new--because the current stuff is almost always more exciting than the old stuff, right?
Sometimes I make something that's so cute, I can't humble about it. I think this may be one of those times. This is CUTE, right?! But then reality sets in, and I know that I have to give the credit to somebody else. This is not my original idea. I am a YouTube junkie. And no, junkie is not an exaggeration. I crave my Youtube videos like a. . .well, you can insert your own metaphor here. One of the YouTubers I follow is Bona from Live Love Scrap. I always know when there is something great in the $1.50 bins at Michaels because of her, and she always makes the best projects with things she finds there. And she's kind enough to share all of her little lovelies with us. On YouTube! For a Youtube junkie, there is nothing better.
Recently she showed us some adorable balsa wood boxes that she bought at Michaels and altered. I was instantly smitten and ran out, probably the minute after I saw her video, and bought a bunch of these boxes. I may have been back a time of two more to buy more. I love these boxes! I never want to run out of them! I know that this poses a problem for achieving the stated objectives above, so I have put a moratorium on buying balsa boxes. It has nothing to do with the fact that I bought out one of the Michaels stores in my area on Friday. Nothing at all. What!? Don't judge!
Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted to use these boxes to make some little Valetine's Day gifts for my kids' teachers to show them how much we love them and appreciate all of their hard work. They make perfect little gift holders. Since it was Valentine's Day I filled them with foil covered Sees hearts. But they will also hold a nice bar of soap--perfect if you want to give a little treat to a friend who is trying to lose weight, for example, or who is stronger than I am, and doesn't eat sugar. At all. I'm told that such people exist. I'm skeptical. Anyway, who doesn't like a really beautifully presented package, whatever the contents?
To make this box, I removed the bown elastic and the little wooden knob that keep the box shut. Then I pained the edges of the box a creamy white color. Next, I used some of the new Love Story collection by Lori Whitlock for Echo Park Paper to cover the outside and line the inside of the box. I thought that the lined pink paper was perfect for a teacher. The banner on the outside is a combination of a sticker from the Love Story sticker sheet and little punches from the Jenni Bowlin Blue Ribbon punch. I then used some mulberry hearts that I found in the $1.50 bins at Michaels and a little bit of lace that I pleated with my fingers and hot glued into place. I then put the knob and the elastic back on, filled a little celophane bag with chocolates, put a small valentine inside and voila! A cute teacher gift that came together really quickly! By the way, if you want some of these boxes, I suggest you finish this post and then run as fast as you can to your closest Michaels. The stores I have have been to are almost out. They probably won't restock them. That's the danger of the $1.50 bins at Michaels. If you see something you really like grab it while you can!
My next project doesn't need so much background. As you can guess, I sort of love the $1.50 bins at Michaels. One thing that they always have is cute cards. They're mostly just plain--fun designs but no embellishment. A long time ago, in a year far, far away, I bought a bunch of these cards, thinking it would be fun to make little card sets to give to friends, since I'm always looking for non-food gifts to give to people. Anyway, way back when, they had some really cute collections, so I bought a few packs. But like all of my best laid crafty plans, the cards simply sat on top of the island in my craft room, unused, unembellished, gathering dust. Until last night! I finally thought of a use for these cards!
Yesterday my LDS Stake was split. In the process they had to realign many of the wards in our area. Mine was one of the ones who had some major changes. Until yesterday I was an Activity Days leader. What that means is that I got to have the cutest group of 9 year old girls over to my house every other week to work on the Faith In God Program requirements with them, or just to have fun and do something crafty. I wasn't their leader for very long. I began in September, but I have really loved getting to know these beautiful girls. They are all so unique, but somehow they managed to come together, love each other, and be really, really kind to each other. No, really. I saw so many little kindnesses during my time with these girls. I am very impressed with each of them. I wanted to let each girl know what I loved about her and how she touched my life and taught me some important lessons along the way.
Enter the cards. The cards were perfect--pretty and girly, and with a minimal amount of embellishment, just what I wanted to give my girls!
The card base is from a pack of cards from Michaels. I used pink cardstock to create a ribbon banner to run across the bottom. I stamped sentiments from a stamp set by Ali Edwards for Technique Tuesday called Simply You. The cards says, "You are simply the best, the fantastic, incredible, wonderful, amazing person you are." Next I used the Notched Flowers Die from Papertrey Ink, wool felt, a button and some jute twine to make the little flower. Finally I cut out some leaves with my Silhouette. I layered everything together, and a cute little card emerged.
I still have some packs of cards, but now that I know I can whip up a pack of 8 cards in about an hour, I might feel a bit more inclined to make more and have some on hand for when I need a quick gift.
I can already feel my craft room getting lighter.