Friday, November 30, 2012

A Holiday Wish: Christmas Cards for a Grandmother's Last Christmas

Today I'm sharing a post with you from my crafty friend Rhonda Greene, who blogs at Mrs. Greene and also is the editor of Dollar Store Crafts.

Rhonda and her family just found out that her beloved grandmother has stage 4 cancer and is not expected to live much longer. Needless to say, Rhonda's family is devastated, especially her grandfather who has enjoyed over 60+ wonderful years with Rhonda's grandmother. And with this news coming at the holidays, it just makes everything a bit harder to swallow.

But Rhonda has come up with a wonderful idea to bring some cheer to her grandparents - and her entire family - this Christmas. Rhonda is asking all her crafty friends - and strangers alike - to send her grandparents a Christmas card.

This is such a simple request, and as I make greeting cards for a living, you know that I'm making one to send to them. I'm also going to ask my fellow team members on the Etsy Greetings Team for help. Each of us (on that team) makes handmade cards, so I'm hopeful for a good response.

Rhonda has been so blessed being able to spend time with her grandparents from the time she was a little girl up through adulthood. I never knew either of my grandfathers, but I'm told each of them knew me when I was just a baby. Both of my grandmothers passed away when I was in high school and then in college. Every so often I think about how neat it would be to spend time with them now, as an adult. My parents share such great stories about their own parents - and those stories are appreciated more now that I'm all grown up an adult. (I'll always be a kid at heart!)

So. Click here to read Rhonda's blog post about her request for Christmas cards. That's where you can find all the details - such as the mailing address - too.

And please join me in sending Rhonda's grandparents a Christmas card: a simple gesture that will mean so much.

Isn't that what the holidays are all about?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paper Ballerina Ornament, Easy Tutorial

Paper Ballerina Ornament DIY by My Very Educated Mother
Paper Ballerina by Erin at My Very Educated Mother

Hi everyone! Laura here! And I'm über-excited to have my crafty friend Erin, who owns the blog My Very Educated Mother, guest posting here today. She has a fabulous paper craft to share with you - the gorgeous vintage-looking ballerina in the above image. I plan on making some of these, and maybe doing a few variations with other vintage images too. Erin swears this is easy to do, so that makes me want to try this even more! The word "easy" attached to anything related to holiday preparations sounds like a win-win to me! 

Without further's Erin!

Hello everyone, my name is Erin and most days you can find me at My Very Educated Mother where I share crafts, recipes, and household tips.  I’m so happy to have this chance to visit with you and tell you a little about the No Ugly Ornament Series.

Whether it’s handmade gifts or festive decorations, nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than crafting.  Unfortunately my oldest doesn’t always agree with me and last year in an attempt to keep everyone happy I started the first No Ugly Ornament Challenge.  Every day during the month of November I tried my hand at a new ornament.  Sure there were a few ugly ones, but working together helped to get the whole family in the creative holiday spirit.

This year, instead of tackling the challenge alone, I recruited a host of crafty bloggers who’ve been visiting and sharing their own ornament tutorials.  I hope you have a chance to stop by and see all their creations.  In the meantime, here is a beautiful paper ballerina ornament tutorial.

Paper Ballerinas - Supplies
  • This image from Graphics Fairy 
  • glitter glue 
  • book pages or any other thinner paper 
  • vellum 
  • hot glue gun 
  • needle and gold thread

Paper Ballerinas - Directions

Once I saw this graphic I knew I wanted to make an ornament with it. I originally thought I’d add a bit of glitter and that would be it, but after I printed her out I knew she demanded more fanfare and fanciness.

1. Start off by printing the image and be sure to FLIP it so that you’ll have a front and back that line up.

Vintage Ballerina Image from The Graphics Fairy

2. Cut out the two ladies and glue them together using glitter glue. (I’m not the best with scissors and if my cuts don’t match up the glitter shows instead of the white of the paper.)

3. While the glue dries make two small medallions out of the old book pages. The size of the medallions depends on the size of your ballerina.  You’ll want it to go from tip to tip of her skirt.

Paper Ballerina Ornament DIY by My Very Educated Mother

4. Next glue the medallions along the top line of the skirt.  I had to unfold it and work the paper to get it to curve.

Paper Ballerina Ornament DIY by My Very Educated Mother

Paper Ballerina Ornament DIY by My Very Educated Mother

5. To add more poof, I added another medallion but this time it was about 1/2 longer and made of vellum.

Paper Ballerina Ornament DIY by My Very Educated Mother

6. All you need now is a way to hang her, so I used gold thread and a needle. You can always go with a hole punch but she won’t be that attractive with a big hole in her head…just saying.

Paper Ballerina Ornament DIY by My Very Educated Mother

Isn’t she lovely?

For more ornament inspiration be sure to stop by My Very Educated Mother or you can keep up with the No Ugly Ornament Series via FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Happy Holidays! 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Etsy in my PetScribbles shop!

cyber monday etsy hanukkah cards Pet Scribbles
Hanukkah Cat Card in my Etsy shop | © Pet Scribbles LLC

Happy Cyber Monday everyone!

Etsy has a TON of amazing Cyber Monday deals all across their website, and you can find many Pet Scribbles items discounted today too!

Search "cybermondayetsy" (without the quotes) to find deals across all Etsy categories from all participating Etsy sellers.

And simply click here to go directly to my Etsy shop.

Here's what's on sale in my Pet Scribbles shop to celebrate Cyber Monday Etsy:

All Christmas and Hanukkah cards are marked at least 50% off! (click here)

This means cards start at $2 each! For handmade cards? You bet! My way of saying thanks for your support over the past year!

cyber monday etsy from the dog christmas card pet scribbles
From the dog Christmas Card in my Etsy shop | © Pet Scribbles LLC

victorian cat christmas card etsy petscribbles
Victorian Cat Christmas Cards - Set of 7 | © Pet Scribbles LLC

All Bubble Magnet Gift Sets are marked 20% off! (click here)

These magnets are a great teachers gift, hostess gift, office gift for your coworkers, or a stocking stuffer!

What makes these magnets special is the combination of pretty and strong: your fridge gets an instant dose of style and you never suffer from "magnet slippage" ever again! Super strong magnets these are!

cyber monday etsy retro floral magnets pet scribbles
Bright Olive and Aqua Retro Floral Bubble Magnet Gift Set | © Pet Scribbles LLC

The size of each bubble magnet is 1 inch, similar to the size of a US Quarter coin (as shown in above image).

These magnets are acrylic, so won't crack or shatter if dropped onto a hard floor like glass marble magnets can.

cybermondayetsy gifts under 20 pet scribbles floral magnets
Gray and Black Floral Magnet Gift Set (with hints of taupe and white) | © Pet Scribbles LLC

All Vintage Pins are marked 15% off! (click here)

Black and White vintage dog pin in my Etsy shop! (Size shown is enlarged to show detail.)

And there's also one more special offer for you to stock up on any regular priced cards: choose any 4 and save 10% off!

cyber monday etsy handmade cards pet scribbles
Stock up on cards you'll need throughout the year! 

And more great deals will be going on all week long in my Etsy shop too!

Happy Shopping! And thanks for your awesome support over the past year!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Easy last-minute Thanksgiving decor ideas!

Here are two super-quick, last-minute decorating ideas for Thanksgiving.

1. Fall Display. Take a basket, wrap some fake leaf garland around it, and add one fluffy cat. See above photo for example. Pretty, right? 

2. Add some Fall color to your sofa with throw pillows. When placing your throw pillows, make sure they are placed in such a way as to provide cute pictures of your pets. See below photo for example. 

Special thanks to our cat Lulu for help in demonstrating each idea!

The past few weeks have been trying ones around here because of Hurricane Sandy. But as I've heard from almost everyone, it has been a tough season for many throughout the country. I wish each of you - and your families - a peaceful and thankful day tomorrow. And if you are bargain hunting, I wish you only the best deals possible!

Happy Thanksgiving!


PS - Please stop by my Etsy shop on Friday, for a weekend of Black Friday-Cyber Monday specials on cards, magnets, and (new this year) Christmas ornaments! The shop isn't completely filled up yet, but the goodies will all be there this Friday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Easy DIY Gilded Ornaments

I may have entered into what is quite possibly craft nirvana, because Plaid Crafts sent me a huge box of Martha Stewart Paints, stencils, brushes, squeegees and applicators. I will definitely be creating many of my Christmas gifts and holiday decor with these supplies, and today I'm sharing how I made a set of gilded Christmas ornaments. It is much easier than you may imagine!

First, at the risk of making you swoon, here's all of the supplies that Plaid sent! I have so many fun projects planned for you - for me - for us - to create!

The Martha Stewart crafting supplies I received included many different types of brushes for stencils, glass paints and general crafts. Also included was glitter glue, crystal ice spray, glass etching creme, and two shades of gilding liquid. I. Am. Going. To. Have. So. Much. Fun. Crafting. This. Holiday. Season. 

These are the gorgeous Martha Stewart Paints I received! The glass paints (top image) include pearl, frost, gloss, metallic and glitter glass paints. The acrylic craft paints (bottom image) include two satin colors, and five course glitter paints. I'm in crafting heaven!

Among the many stencils included for me to try were Martha Stewart Adhesive Stencils. Because these stencils have a sticky back, they are easy to position and easy to remove, making it super easy to craft! Each package comes in a plastic sleeve, and includes helpful directions and tips.

To make the gilded ornaments, I used the following supplies:

  • Paper maché ornaments (only $1 each at the craft store)
  • Martha Stewart Crafts Gold Liquid Gilding
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Martha Stewart Course Glitter Craft Paint in Garnet (red)
  • Wire or string (to hang up the ornaments while they dry)
  • Vintage lace seam binding in red (optional)
  • Two straight pins (optional)


Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area: the liquid gilding is pretty strong as are most specialty paints. I did the gilding in our basement, away from people and pets.

1. Spread out your paper maché ornaments and come up with a plan for how you want them to look.

2. I chose to use both the liquid silver and the liquid gold. (See image below.) I used one of Martha's awesome brushes, and cleaned it enough afterwards that it will be my "gilding brush" going forward. (Yes, I plan on gilding just about everything in sight after learning how easy this product is to work with!)

3. Paint one side at a time, and wait at least one hour in between applying coats. I painted one side, set the timer, kept watching the timer, and couldn't take it anymore after 40 minutes as I was loving how they already looked! I only did one coat on each side and along the edges. I let them dry on wax paper overnight.

The liquid gilding felt like it just glided onto the surface. I painted it on in just one direction as the instructions suggested, and couldn't get over how easy and quick it was to cover the ornaments.

4. This is how they looked the next morning, ready for the next steps. Plaid's website states that Martha Stewart Liquid Gilding is a "one-step leafing paint [that] creates a rich metallic luster..." Oh how true this is! Just look at how pretty these ornaments already are!

I already planned to use some of the adhesive stencils, and instead of regular craft paint I planned on using the course glitter craft paint. This was my first time using these paints, so I decided to see what the colors would look like on grey (for the silver ornaments) and tan (for the gold ornaments) cardstock.

On the grey cardstock, (scroll down this page to see the image) colors are (left to right): Florentine Gold, Garnet, Sugar Cube, Obsidian, and Sterling. On the tan cardstock, colors are (left to right): Sterling, Obsidian, Sugar Cube, Garnet, and Florentine Gold. I thought the Garnet (red) looked so rich and vibrant, and I love the gold and red color combination for Christmas decor, so I chose the Garnet for my gold ornaments. (The silver ornaments I'm saving for another possible tutorial, so the instructions from this point on will be just for the gold ornaments.)

5. Simply place the adhesive stencil of your choice in position and smooth it down so that no paint can find its way underneath the stencil. I had to position a few times, simply because each ornament didn't hang 100% vertically from its gold thread hanger, and I can't have crooked ornaments on my tree!

Using one of the dauber brushes, I gently pounced the Garnet course glitter paint onto the ornament surface, making sure to keep my motions up and down, not side to side which could help the paint find its way underneath the stencil. (Can you tell that I've had stencil leakage in the past?)

6. After covering the surface to my liking, I took a tissue and with my fingernail just gently blotted away some of the paint from the edges of the stencil. (Can you tell that the previous stencil leakage I had experienced in the past sort of traumatized me?) 

7. I carefully removed the adhesive stencil and took a moment to absorb the fact that it worked, it looked so cool, and there was No. Stencil. Leakage. At. All. Yay for me!

Next I used some of the lettered adhesive stencils to spell out JOY. Just think of the possibilities for personalizing ornaments using these stencils! (I already did, and definitely will be making some to give as gifts this year.)

Again, I had to position the stencils a few times to get them just right. At one point, I lost the letter Y. I looked everywhere. And then I found it: stuck to the underside of my hand. (And yes, I did wish for those five minutes of my life back.)

8. Once I stenciled JOY, I hung up both ornaments to dry for about an hour. I hung them up using those twisty-ties you get on loaves of packaged bread, and hung them from some of my slatted shelving in my craft room. Once dry, I took them down and - using the same dauber - I pounced more of the Garnet course glitter paint onto the edges of both ornaments. Then I hung them up to dry again.

9. I loved how they looked, but wanted to add just a tiny bit more "oomph" so I cut three small strips of red vintage lace seam binding, stuck a straight pin through them and into the top of each ornament. I used a red permanent marker to color the top of each straight pin, and then fanned out the pieces as shown below.

And there you have it: a set of gold gilded ornaments that will dress up our smaller Christmas tree that we put up in our library each year! These ornaments could also be hung from a wreath, from a faux (or real) evergreen swag, or tied around bottles of eggnog, wine or as "gift tags" on your gift-wrapped Christmas presents. Lots of possibilities for Christmas gifts and holiday decor!

If you want more information on Martha Stewart Paints or any of the Martha Stewart craft products and supplies used, visit Plaid Crafts on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and for "pinteresting" inspiration definitely follow them on Pinterest. (Click the links in red to be taken directly to those sites.)

For additional holiday crafting inspiration, please visit the gallery links below to see what some of my crafty friends have come up with.

Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Martha Stewart Paints and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.


I'm linking up here, so please stop by for holiday crafts and inspiring decorating ideas:

Weekend Bloggy Reading       

  Glitter, Glue and Paint

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Socks for Sandy Twitter and Blog Info

A few examples of the heavy-duty warm socks that you have donated to Socks for Sandy!

Cue the trumpets: Socks for Sandy not only has a Facebook page, but we just signed up for a Twitter account and we have our own blog now too.

Why I'm saying "we" - when it is "me" - I'm not sure. :)

Click on the links below and please follow us, like us, and share these links too.

Twitter -- @socksforsandy

(please also use the hashtag #socksforsandy)

Splitting up Socks for Sandy from this blog will make it easier for information to be better organized.

Starting Monday, I'll be returning this blog (The Shed) back to its focus on crafts and DIY projects. And all future updates about Socks for Sandy will appear on the new Socks for Sandy blog.

Thanks for everyone's support over the past few weeks! You have helped to make Socks for Sandy a successful project that is providing some warmth to many who need it!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Socks for Sandy: Essentials Needed for the Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey areas

Pride Socks, a sock company based in Austin, Texas, sent us a huge donation!

Socks for Sandy has been able to provide some warmth to so many residents of Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton, New Jersey who lost everything in the Hurricane Sandy storm. From the hats and scarves you sent, to the gloves and mittens, not to mention all of the different kinds of socks, your generosity has been awe-inspiring and appreciated by so many in this community.

Just some of the cozy hats donated by you!

I admit that I naively thought this (Socks for Sandy) would be a short project that I would do, and that we would achieve receiving these necessary essentials quickly and be all set. Like I said: I was naive. And I was a bit premature stating earlier this week that we had enough socks. I even turned down a radio interview this week because I thought we were all set. I was wrong.

You have sent in many sizes and styles of gloves and mittens!

Last night, I attended an ad hoc (informal) meeting of community volunteers sharing information so we all can help those who need it most in the best and most efficient ways possible. And I learned a few things I hadn't known before, such as:

  • Over 800 homes in the 08087 area (Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey) have been condemned.
  • Over 4500 homes in the 08087 area have been affected by Sandy in some way, whether flooding, property damage, etc.
  • The poverty rate in the 08087 area is currently at 45%.

The needs are great, and what is needed still yet are essentials.

You sent in so many cozy slipper socks, that I have been sorting them
into separate boxes to make sure everyone's feet can stay warm!

Socks for Sandy will continue, so that we can continue to provide some warmth as best we can.

After discussing with others last night at the meeting, we came up with a short list that I - as the person running Socks for Sandy - am asking for:

  • New packages of underwear - all sizes from toddlers to adults
  • New packages of sports bras - all sizes
  • New packages of socks - yes, there is still a need for all types of socks, in all sizes for all ages
  • New packages of thermal underwear - all sizes from kids to adults
  • New packages of children's pajamas - from toddlers on up
  • New sweatpants for adults - preferably in neutral colors (black, grey, navy) that could be worn by women or men

This is the need, and we are asking for your help. I will gladly accept all packages for the foreseeable future, at least through the New Year holiday. At that time we will reassess what we've received and what the needs are.

For those of you who have already sent us packages and boxes, you have not only my sincerest thanks, but the thanks of so many in our community who are aware of Socks for Sandy. Please share this new request for essentials with your friends and colleagues at work, in your church groups, etc.

We received a box of socks all the way from Hong Kong! 

For those of you who still want to help: you can!

Please send any of the above items to:

Socks for Sandy
P.O. Box 520
Little Egg Harbor, NJ  08087

I know that I have repeatedly typed the words "thank you" and "thanks" in my blog posts, as well as on our Socks for Sandy Facebook page, but I am not sure if I could ever type or say those words enough to convey the depth of my gratitude for your help and support.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Socks for Sandy Update: New Packages of Underwear Needed

A table full of socks, waiting for me to sort them, all received in Saturday's delivery!

November 17th update: Please see the newest information on what Socks for Sandy is requesting by clicking here. Thank you! ~Laura

November 12, 2012

After only one week, the Socks for Sandy project has collected an amazing amount of gloves, hats, scarves and socks for the Hurricane Sandy victims in our area (zip code 08087) who lost everything in the storm. Literally lost every single thing.

You have been so generous, in fact, that we now have enough hats, gloves, and scarves! Your support and generosity and kindness is VERY much appreciated! Thank you everyone!

There is still a need for new socks, new packages of underwear for men, women, and children - all shapes and sizes. Also sports bras of all sizes are needed.

Please send to:

Socks for Sandy
P.O. Box 520
Little Egg Harbor, NJ  08087

Today is Veterans Day (observed), so US post offices are closed in observance of the holiday. Tomorrow, my husband and I will resume picking up the daily Socks for Sandy shipment full of packages coming in from all over the US and Canada. 

Here's what our car looked like each day last week as the donations began arriving!

We are receiving quite a variety of socks from all of you! Slipper socks, gym socks, diabetes support socks, thermal socks, baby socks, thick socks for outdoors and workboots, athletic socks, cute toddler socks, womens and mens dress socks, holiday socks for kids, knee-high socks, ankle socks... My husband said he now knows more about socks than he ever intended! 

Here's the shipment we received on Saturday! All for Socks for Sandy. 
All for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in our area who lost everything.

 Quite a few people wrote God Bless America on the outside of their packages . . .

 . . . while others wrote little notes and drawings, like this one of a whale wearing socks!

 And one special person took the time to attach an entire page 
of quotations about thanks and gratitude. Love this gesture!

A colorful table full of gloves from the shipment we received on Saturday. 
Thank you so much for helping to warm up plenty of hands!

This is part of the pile of winter gloves for men from Saturday's shipment.
We received so many different sizes of gloves for toddlers up to adults!

 And these are just some of the many cozy hats we received on Saturday from all of you. 
Again, we received baby hats, children's hats and plenty of hats for adults.

I'll be sharing more pictures and updates on our Socks for Sandy Facebook page this week. 
Please "like" our page on Facebook so that you can receive our updates in your news stream there.

Please also keep our Socks for Sandy FAQ page handy, as I will update that as needed too.

Thank you. Whether you mentioned Socks for Sandy to your coworkers or you shared a link on Facebook, whether you wrote a blog post about it or you sent in a package, you have helped to provide warmth to those who need it most right now. Thank you so much!


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