Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to Link Up

Pin It I am totally obsessed with Link Ups!  I've seen these on blogs before, but (silly me!) actually thought the blogger had researched and found all of these projects.  What is a Link Up?  Check out this example where I posted my Strawberry Hairbow.  I'm number 546.  :)  (http://www.bluecricketdesign.net/2011/02/show-and-tell-linking-party.html)  I've run across several blogs where I've found Link Ups, like this amazing list of Link Ups from Childmade (http://childmade.com/index.php?name=Link%20parties).  What a great way for crafters to share projects!  I plan on doing more research into how to host a Link Up on my blog, but in the meantime I thought this might help out all of you bloggers out there.  In case you don't know, here's how a Link Up works:

*A Link Up is set up on a blog for a set period of time (usually a few days) during which time anyone who goes to the blog can post links to their current projects.

*To link your recent project, go down to the bottom of the post.  It usually says "Add Your Link" or something to that effect. 

*When you click on "Add Your Link" you are given windows to include your URL (blog address- use the specific link for your project, not your entire blog), Name (name of your project- not your name. Yup, I made this mistake too), and your email (which will not be shown on the blog, just shown to the blogger).

*After you enter this information you will be brought to a separate screen where you can choose a thumbnail picture from your blog post to use as your link.

*There is one more important step!  Usually each Link Up will have a button (small square picture) that you can include on your blog to show that you took part in a Link Up.  (See the ones on my page called "Featured On".)  It's only fair to put this link on your blog since they allowed you free advertising to participate in the Link Up on their blog.  Under the button it usually has crazy HTML code.  So how do you put this button on your blog?  Here are the directions for Blogger.

-Log into blogger and go to "Design".
-Decide where you'd like to put your button and click on "Add a gadget".
-Go down on the list of gadgets and click on "HTML/JavaScript".
-Enter a title (such as "Featured On") and then paste the HTML code from below the blogger's Link Up button. 
-If you want a separate page like I have, go to "Posting", then "Edit Pages", "New Page", then the "Edit HTML" tab and paste the code in there. You can go back to the "Compose" tab to write around the buttons.

That's it!  It's so easy and quick to do!  If I didn't make this clear and you have questions, leave a comment and I'll try my best to help you out!  I hope you'll use these links to add your projects to Link Ups as well.  I really think this is a spectacular way to share ideas with other bloggers and get some blog traffic yourself.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Baby's New Thank You Card

Pin It Just before my daughter was born I made a bunch of baby thank you cards based on a simple pattern that I had found in a book I borrowed from the library.  Remember this?


When I got my New Arrival Cricut cartridge, I changed the design slightly, as you saw in this layout:


So now that she's a year old, I designed a new card to send out to everyone who sent her a birthday gift.  I used the New Arrival cartridge for the crawling baby & diaper, which I accessorized with a hairstyle more like my daughter's (she has TONS of hair).  I used the Stretch Your Imagination cartridge for the present.  Most of the patterned paper is from the American Girl paper pack.  Much more 1 year old, don't you think?  Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Header!

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I decided to update my header again. The new one was designed by my BFF Sara.  What do you think?  This is the old one:

While I think the old one has a better representation of the variety of some of the projects I've made, I prefer the look of the new one- the space between the photos and the colors.  I've also updated the design of my site slightly - I tried to make the colors more consistent and improve the fonts, etc.  My next goal is to build a blog "button". 

If you want to learn how to make a photo header for your blog, see my previous post (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2011/01/project-of-week-designing-blog.html) with the tutorial link.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Water Lilies

Pin It Is anyone else itching for spring and flowers?  I absolutely love taking pictures of flowers.  They generally stay still long enough for me to get the picture I want, which helps!  I took this picture last year when I was visiting the NC Museum of Art, and I used it in my Art Museum Layout.  Aren't these water lilies amazing?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Art Museum Layout

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During my daughter's first trip to an art museum, I took a number of pictures I thought were really funny of her looking at art.  I decided to make these into an art museum layout, and I wanted to actually make the layout look sort of like an art museum. So I made little signs I printed on cardstock (ex. "The Gallery is Open") and I made frames and title cards for each of the photos of my daughter. 
I had too many pictures for just a 2 page layout, so each side opens where the ribbon is to reveal more photos inside.  I did this by using 4 sheets of plain white cardstock.  Sometimes the clear pockets I use in my scrapbook come with plain white cardstock in them, and I thought this was a perfect way to use it. I measured about a third of the way from the edge of each page and glued the 2 pieces of cardstock together. I used the ribbon to hide the seam.  This is the right side of the layout when opened:

This is the left side opened.  To make it look more like an art museum, I found silhouettes of people on google images and cut them out using black cardstock.  These are meant to be the people looking at the gallery of pictures of my daughter.

I used some recycled materials for this project.  I used the information guide from the art museum to cut out the letters "ART" using the Sans Serif cartridge.  I also used the bag from the gift shop to make the title on the left front of the layout.  I thought this was a fun way to use memorabilia from the trip. 
To really make the art museum "look", my hubby and I came up with funny, baby-related names for the art pieces.  Some examples are below.


What would you name baby art?  Leave a comment with your clever titles.  While you're at it, check out the Abstract Art Title Generator at http://noemata.net/pa/titlegen/. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Little Punk

Pin It Do you remember this cute onesie I made last year for my daughter?  It was one of my favorites, so the first time she wore it I took LOTS of pictures. 
Which I naturally made into a layout for her scrapbook.  I had this great punk paper that was girly with skulls & crossbones and just happened to be pink and blue to match the onesie. 
 
I also used some embroidery thread and did some hand stitching on each side of the layout to add some interest.  (The felt flowers are from a make-your-own cards set I got in the $1 section at Target.)


Here is a closeup of the mini-card I made to hide my journaling.  I don't like my handwriting, so I don't like to use it on layouts, but I did want her to have some examples of it in her scrapbook.
I used the New Arrival cartridge to cut out the onesie from this cute pink pixelated paper that I wanted to use on the layout, but it is a little hard to look at in large quantities.  I love these pages because I love the mix of girly and punk.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day: Mommy & Baby's First Craft Together!

Pin It Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope everyone had a wonderful day.  While I didn't get to do a ton to celebrate, my daughter and I made a lovely valentine for my hubby.  It was our first craft together!  I got the idea from a Family Fun magazine I saw one day when we brought my daughter to the local bounce place.  (Which is great, by the way. They have comfy chairs, tv's, and magazines for the parents while the kids run around.  Since my daughter is only 1, my hubby was playing with her while I was taking a break and reading Family Fun.  Great hubby, right?)  Here is the link to the article in Family Fun:
http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/fingerprint-hearts-663430/

So I knew that I wanted to use the fingerprint heart idea for our valentine, the problem was the ink.  I made my heart first and realized the ink didn't wash off quite as well as I wanted it to (I didn't want my daughter having inky hands since she still sticks them in her mouth all the time), so I looked up online what kind of ink people use with babies for footprints, etc.  I called Michaels to see if they had any "washable, non-toxic, kid-friendly" ink and they said they did.  I went and got some and let me tell you, it was WORSE!  So she ended up with a pink finger anyway.  But the valentine turned out super cute. 


For dessert, I decided to go simple since I only had afternoon naptime to get it together and my daughter wasn't feeling well.  We had some leftover mini-oreos, melting chocolate, pretzels, and mashmallows (from a previous fondue feast) and my husband had liked the chocolate covered oreos so much he'd suggested I make more. So I dipped all the mini oreos and a bunch of pretzels, I made a "U" out of marshmallow, and then poured the leftover chocolate into a heart-shaped cookie cutter and added some crushed oreo crumbles to the top of the heart.  So here was my husband's dessert plate. 

Aren't the flowers fantastic?  We got those delivered this afternoon from my hubby.  I can smell the lilies two rooms away.  Aah...definitely what heaven smells like!

Anyway, hubby liked the valentine and dessert, as well as our favorite recipe for homemade mac & cheese, which I'll share another time, and baby and I loved our flowers.  :)  Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Strawberry Hairbows Forever!

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For some reason my daughter's 18 month size wardrobe has a surprising number of strawberry themed items, my most favorite of which is a "Strawberry Fields Forever" Beatles tee.  When I found this ribbon on clearance I knew it would be the perfect complement to her strawberry outfits.  I used the same technique as in my tutorial (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-first-tutorial-basic-hairbow.html) to make this bow, I stacked the four ribbons and attached them to the covered alligator clip with a button on top.  She's already worn this and it's definitely one of my favorites. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tutorial 2: Flower Hairbow

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This hairbow uses the same basic method as my last tutorial (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-first-tutorial-basic-hairbow.html) but I used wider, 5/8" ribbon.  I found this cute Hello Kitty ribbon at Walmart and knew I wanted it for hairbows even though it was a bit wider than I normally use. To begin, I cut three pieces of ribbon 3" long.


I creased the ribbon in the middle, drew a line of glue on the crease on the back, and folded in each side.
I did this with all three pieces.
Then I stacked and glued the ribbon, adding a button on top. 
I then glued the "flower" on to a previously lined alligator clip. 
Unfortunately, because of the way I cut the ribbon, you can no longer see Hello Kitty.  But I thought it still ended up really cute.  Guess I'll just have to make another Hello Kitty hairbow.  Comment & send me a link or picture if you use this to make your own!  :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Birthday Party Decorations

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My daughter's first birthday party was rainbow themed, just like her bedroom. Two of my BFFs, Sara and Kathy, travelled down to see me to help me decorate for and celebrate the big day. To decorate, we relocated, reused, and made lots of items. You've seen her birthday card (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2011/01/babys-first-birthday-card.html) and her bib (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2011/02/happy-first-birthday-bib.html) already. We also decorated using the tissue paper flowers that I used to have hanging in her room before we moved (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2010/01/tissue-paper-flowers.html).  The BFFs hung them up from the chandelier and Sara took this picture.
Ooh pretty!

We also relocated her paper lantern "curtain" from her room.  (Picture also by Sara)
 
 We cut ribbon confetti.  (Picture also by Sara- she's so artsy!)
 We made rainbow jello (and plan to put baby to play in the sink with the leftovers!).
 And finally we made rainbow present mini-cakes!
Yum!
We picked up some rainbow colored balloons from the party store and voila!  As my BFF Sara said, it looked like a rainbow threw up.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy First Birthday Bib

Pin It Yesterday was my daughter's first birthday!  I had so many ideas about things I wanted to make her and how I wanted her party to turn out, and while things weren't quite as I'd pictured, everything was really wonderful.  I wanted to make her something special to wear, like this amazing outfit by lalaarnold I found on the Hip Girl Boutique forum.

Unfortunately, this is a bit above my skill level (or at least more than I ended up having time for), so this is what I ended up with.
 front
back

I used material that I had found a long time ago (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2009/10/future-sewing-projects.html) and made a template for the bib using one of her existing bibs that fit well.  I am not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing, I am much more of a get-it-done-as-fast-as-I-can kind of girl.  So in total this took me about an hour, most of the time going to the applique.  Overall I'm really happy with it.  It definitely looks handmade, but it's colorful and fun.  (Plus I finally used that fabric!)  Happy Birthday Baby!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thoughts on Blogging

Pin It For the last two weeks, I've been trying to learn as much about blogging as I can.  I love visiting people's blogs and getting ideas from others.  The craft blogging community is a wonderful place to share ideas and I've really wanted to become more a part of it.  I've been a shadow member of a number of online forums, mostly listening to and learning from others, rather than contributing a lot myself.  But this year I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little and to be more vocal and share what I've learned with others like myself.  I do not consider myself an amazing crafter or artist- I'm just an ordinary person who enjoys crafting, learning, and improving my abilities.  But I know I am not the only one, so I hope to reach out to others like me and say, "You can do it too!" because it's true- anyone can.  Whether it be learning a new craft or starting a blog, I want to help you by sharing what I've learned.

I love to craft, but more than anything, I love to craft with others.  It's a great way to learn new things, get inspired, and get feedback from others.  To become a better crafter, these things are essential.  But what if you don't know a lot of other crafters?  This is the position I've found myself in.  My friends and family are very supportive of my work, but I want others who will critique and inspire me.  I'm hoping that the online crafting and craft blogging communities will help me in these ways.  So I reach out to readers to provide feedback and to encourage me to improve.

This was why I asked as a part of my V-day Giveaway for feedback and I want to let you know I've taken all you have to say to heart and I will try to apply all of your suggestions that I can.  In that spirit, I want to make you aware of two new features on my blog. 

1.  Email subscriptions- This was something I really wanted to figure out how to do and struggled a bit to find.  I receive emails from a couple of different craft blogs and I really enjoy having their updates sent right to my inbox.  I'm not a huge fan of the blogger dashboard as a way to follow my favorite blogs, I much prefer email.  So when Deb suggested as a comment that she be able to follow by email, I understood where she was coming from and determined to make it happen.  Therefore you can now subscribe to my updates by email using a link on the right side of the page.  I hope this helps those of you who prefer to follow this way.  For those of you who are interested in doing the same with their own blogs, I used Feedburner (feedburner.google.com) to add this widget.

2. I've decided to share much of what I've learned lately about blogging.  So many crafters enjoy blogging as well and if you don't blog already, you really should!  It's such a great way to share your ideas and get critiques and positive feedback.  So I hope that I might help to make the world of blogging a little easier for any of you that are interested. 

If there is anything you'd like to know about my blog, or would like me to try to find out, leave a comment and let me know!  And thanks again for all of your support and ideas!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Personalizing Scrapbook Pages

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The first family visitors we had after my daughter was born were my father and my brother Andrew.  When I started to put stuff together for scrapbook pages about their visit, I realized I had a bit of a problem.  Most of the items I had bought for my daughter's scrapbook were incredibly girly.  So I wasn't sure how I was going to make the pages go well with her scrapbook, but still reflect my father and my brother.  I decided the best alternative was to pick the least girly papers to work with and find unique embellishments that fit my father and brother's personalities.

My father has been a stamp collector for as long as I can remember.  When I was young, he encouraged me to collect stamps off envelopes, and I used to have a whole notebook full that I had saved from envelopes we'd received in the mail.  I used to have a "stamp remover" that would separate the stamp from the paper envelope, but ultimately it was just two sponges you soaked in water.  (This doesn't work with newer stamps, only the ones you lick.)

My father is also a writer and a die-hard supporter of the U.S. Postal Service, so every week my daughter receives a poem from him in the mail, usually plastered with random stamps that my dad has purchased to decorate his envelopes with.  While I save all of the poems he sends in a binder, I've also saved a number of the envelopes that were particularly stampy and pretty.  So I pulled out a few of these envelopes, soaked them in wet paper towels, and voila!  Instant page embellishments.  I ran them through the Xyron sticker machine and then used them in the white space on the layout. 

The blue squares above cover photos, the grey squares are for journaling I did about my dad and brother's visit (lower right) and a copy of a poem my dad wrote about my daughter (column on left).  The white boxes are "Grampy's" return address and my daughter's name that I cut off the envelope, to include some of my dad's actual handwriting.  Of all the scrapbook pages I've done so far, I felt this was definitely the most personal, because it really shows so much about my dad.  As you can see, even the choices of items on the page all have a story behind them.


My brother is deaf, so when it came time to find some personalized embellishments for his pages, I immediately thought of sign language.  I was able to find several sign drawings using Google Images including "uncle" (on the left next to the word "uncle"), "family" (bottom left), his name (fingerspelled across the top to finish the page title), and "I love you" (bottom right).  I printed these on colored cardstock. 

This is another example of a time when I purchased smaller paper (in this case 8" x 8") and used it as accents on a layout. The background paper is a light blue grid design, but on each page I used four different smaller squares of blue patterened paper to add more interest to the page. Most of them are from an 8" x 8" paper pack I found at Archiver's in their $2 section.  I thought it was a great deal because it included not only a number of 8" x 8" sheets, but also chipboard letters, which I used to spell "uncle" on the left and "niece" on the lower right photo.


So as you can see, personalized embellishments can really enhance a page and can be very inexpensive too!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

V-Day Giveaway!

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I'm so excited to have already over 4000 hits and 20 followers!  Thank you all so much for your encouragement and comments!  As a special Thank You I am going to put together a grab-bag of Valentine's Day ribbon for one lucky follower.  To win, please do the following:

1. Be a follower on my blog.
2. Answer one of the following questions in a comment on this post:

What would you like to see more of on this blog?
What could I do to improve my blog?
What makes your favorite blogs so special?

3. Leave your contact information (email/blog address) in your comment so I can contact you.

I'll select a winner at random on Sunday, February 6.  Thanks for your comments!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mommy & Me

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Before my daughter was born, I made her some tie-dye shirts (http://bingecrafter.blogspot.com/2010/01/tie-dye-part-1.html), and I made some for myself that matched.  One day we did a matching Mommy-Daughter photo shoot, and I tried to find some paper and supplies to match the colors of our tie dye photo shoot.  I found this great "Mom" paper and heart paper that coordinated really well.  I really wanted to do a quilt-style layout, so on the right page I cut all of our photos and the heart & Mom papers to 3" x 3" each and put them in a checkerboard pattern.  I cut the title "Mommy & Me" out using the George & Basic Shapes cricut cartridge. 

I tried to find some unusual and 3D items to use to decorate these pages including buttons and these cute little heart paperclips below.  Office supplies seem to be becoming more popular in the scrapbook aisles as well.  Have you seen the decorative staples?  

The sticker that says "just like my mom" (which I received in a swap) didn't coordinate with the colors of my layout, so I decided to ink over it using a purple ink.  Then I used a white gel pen to write over the words so they still stood out. 


The "love bug" picture and the purple paper behind it were from an 8 1/2" x 11" paper pack that I really liked from Walmart.  I almost always purchase 12" x 12" supplies, even if I'm just planning to use them for accent pieces (as I did with the Mom and heart paper above) but when I find something I really like in another size, I'll buy it and use it for accent pieces or to mat photos.

Overall, I thought this layout was exceptionally girly (which is generally not me) but I really liked it anyway.  I'm always amazed when I make something I ordinarily wouldn't have been attracted to, but end up liking it in the end.  I'm working on a scrapbook about my grandmother, who passed away in October, which is a perfect example of this.  The papers I chose are not ones that would normally have caught my eye, but were very much ones my grandmother would have liked.  After working with them, though, I'm finding I like them much more.  Maybe I'll learn to step outside my comfort zone a little more.

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