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Wednesday, September 14, 2011


 The weather cooled off last week, with nice breezes and all, and so it seems that everyone is looking for fall.  Fall decorations, fall food, and who wouldn't be excited about a party?

My husband's parents host Thanksgiving at their house every year.  As families grow, it seems that people get more spread out and disconnected.  In an effort to increase attendance this year, I suggested written invitations instead of phone calls.

I wanted to make sure that I allowed enough time to get these made and mailed, but I didn't realize I had started quite so early.  The good news, though, is that you will have plenty of time to make some, too.  Mine are for Thanksgiving, but these could easily work for Halloween, and if you got a different stencil and themed stamps, you could use them for any occasion.

You will need a leaf to make a pattern for your invitation shape.  I also used: leaf and pumpkin stamps, a fall colored stamp pad, and white and colored paper.  I used rubber cement to stick the layers together.

A word about rubber cement:  it's great, because it doesn't wrinkle the paper.  It's not great, because it doesn't hold up in heat.  If you're making these in the summer, or mailing them to the tropics, you may want to use a glue stick.

Start by scanning your leaf.  I then pasted mine into a word processing program so that I could control the size.  Size is important here, because if you make the invitations too big, they won't fit in your envelopes.  My envelopes are about a half of a sheet of paper, but my leaf was bigger, so I shrank it on the computer.  Print a copy of your leaf template. I also used the word processor to type up the text for the invitations.

Now, for the stamping.  I did this once, and it was too dark to read the text over the stamping, so here is my "new and improved" version.

Ink your stamp and then press it once onto another sheet of paper.  I used a tissue.  Then stamp on the copy paper you are trying to decorate.  I was able to get 2-4 images each time I inked the stamp.

This picture is actually the darker version of my stamped background.  You will want yours to be a bit lighter, so that your text will show up.

After you stamp your background page, print your invitation text onto the paper.  Make sure you know how the paper feeds into your printer!  I had to put my paper in upside down to get the writing on top of the stamps.

Now, cut out the leaf template you made, and lay it over the text of your invite.  My leaf was actually a bit too small, so I free-handed part of the outline to include all the words.  Once you cut it out, no one will ever know.

After you cut out your shape, place your leaf on a solid color piece of paper.  Cardstock would work quite nicely here, but I only had regular paper, so there you go.  I attached my leaf cut out with rubber cement, but a glue stick or photo splits would do quite nicely.  

 After you attach the cut-out to your solid color paper, free-hand cut about 1/4 in. around the patterned paper so that you just have a solid outline.

I then chose to use a cute little pumpkin stamp in orange.  I stamped three of them, and cut them out of the white paper.  Then, I used rubber cement to attach them to a piece of green background paper, and I cut that out wih a 1/4 in. border.  I used more rubber cement to stick the pumpkins to the leaf.

And here you are!

Bonus:  I pictured the recipients of these putting them on their refrigerators, and I remembered a "save the date" magnet that we received from someone once.  I used a promotional magnet we got in the mail and made the invitation into a magnet.  I just cut the magnet into little rectangles and used photo splits to attach.  

I will use the little pumpkin to decorate the envelopes, too.  What shape or theme will you use for invites?  Leave a comment and tell us about them.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Appreciation Day

I found a great blog post about an "Appreciation Day" at Sew Homegrown.  I wanted to use the idea ever since I saw it, and after school started, it seemed like the perfect time.  Tommy had never heard of an appreciation day, so "Tommy Appreciation Day" was a complete surprise for him.  While he was doing homework the night before, I went to buy him a pencil sharpener, and while I was out, I bought him a Dr. Pepper.  We never have soda around, so I knew he would like it.  I took the opportunity while he was distracted with homework to make him a banner and a card.

The banner was simple--I cut out triangles from cardboard-looking cardstock, painted the letters on them, and used tacky glue to attach the ribbon across the top.

I made this card (the directions are at the end of this post):

I also used some of the same paper to make a sleeve for the soda:

Once my things were made, it was time to go to bed.  I almost always get up before Tommy, so in the morning, I had time to hang up the banner, lay out the card, and serve this for breakfast.

Once again, I used a recipe from Food Gawker:  Eggs in Potato Bowls.  I thought Tommy would take the soda with him to school, but he chose to drink it for breakfast.

After Tommy left for school, I took some time to bake him some cookies.  I used this recipe for Hot Chocolate Cookies from Food Gawker.  Mine looked NOTHING like the pictures on the blog, but they tasted good.  Unfortunately, they looked rather like fried eggs that had been burned.  I dropped a plate of them off in Tommy's locker at his work.  He said his boss and co-workers laughed at them, but he enjoyed eating them.

When Tommy finally made it home, I made dinner.  I didn't do anything particularly fancy, but I had saved a meal to prepare that I knew he would prefer.

Overall, I think Tommy liked the day.

Now, for the directions for the circle card.
I used this circle cutter to make two circles of the same size.  If you don't own a circle cutter (I borrowed this one--Thanks Mom!), you can trace a circle, like a dessert plate, and cut it out.

 You will need three circles of the same size.  I did one in white and one with a pattern.  The third one should be out of scrap paper.  (I didn't make the scrap paper one, and my card didn't come out just right.  Hence, these directions for you.)
Cut a triangle into the patterned piece of paper.  Don't make the triangle deep enough to reach all the way to the center.

Now, for the part I wish I had done.  Fold the scrap circle into fourths.  (It should look like a triangle.) Cut the very tip of the triangle off.  When you reopen the paper circle, it should have a hole in the exact center.  Use this hole to make a small mark in the middle of the patterned paper.

Push a brad through the middle of the two circles, and secure.

Then, you can write your message in the triangle.  Next, turn the top circle to the right, and you will have more space to write another message.  I put about 5 different messages around the circle.  I also liked that with the vertical stripes and the brad, the card kind of resembled a dress shirt.  This was a quick card, and something you could make easily.