Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WINNER Blog Hop: Top Dog Dies & Echo Park Paper

Thanks to every one of you who stopped by for the blog hop with Top Dog Dies and Echo Park Paper.

The winner chosen from my blog comments is............



Please email me (link in sidebar) with the collection you'd like to receive, along with an alternate choice just in case your first choice isn't in stock. :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Hop: Top Dog Dies + Echo Park Paper

Welcome to the Echo Park Paper Design Team Blog Hop! 

Today the Echo Park Paper Design Team is showcasing projects from our latest collections and working with fabulous Top Dog Die Cut shapes.

Top Dog sent me the Heart Mini Album Die, which is a steel rule die, and the Madison Doily Die, which is a wafer thin die. For my project,I chose to pair both of my dies together on one project using the Splendid Sunshine collection by Echo Park Paper.

To re-create this card:
  1. Cut a piece of white cardstock measuring 6" x 10 1/2" and fold it in half to create a 6" x 5 1/4" card base.
  2. Place the folded edge of the card base just inside the straight edge of the Heart Mini Album Die and run it through your die cut machine. This allows the folded edge to stay intact creating your shaped card base.
  3. Open up the card and machine stitch, on the card front only, just inside the edge of the heart shape using white thread. I stitched around the shape a total of 4 times.
  4. Die cut the Madison Doily Die using white cardstock. Hold the die cut in one hand and flick the paper with the other hand to help release all of the intricately cut pieces from the doily.  
  5. Cut an 8" piece of pompom ribbon or lace. Drape it across your doily die cut and begin building the 'happy' banner using stickers from the Splendid Sunshine Element Sticker sheet.
  6. Once you have it in place, staple the 'happy' banner stickers and pompom ribbon in place. 
  7. Secure the ends of the banner with large white brads and trim excess pompom ribbon.
  8. Continue embellishing the doily with the remaining stickers shown--all from the Element Stickers sheet.
  9. Add mini rhinestones to the flower stickers.
  10. Adhere the doily to the card base.

Be sure to follow the blog hop list below as you hop from one blog to the next. Return to the Echo Park Paper blog at any time for the next blogger on the list in case you get lost or confused!
  • ONE winner will be selected from each Echo Park Paper designer's blog to receive an Echo Park Paper collection kit of their choosing. 
  • Top Dog will also be offering special prizes so check each blog for details. 
  • To qualify for winning the kit you must leave a comment. Comments will be due by midnight MDT, Sunday, March 16th.
  • Winner will be announced on each blog Wednesday, March 19th so be sure to check back to see if you've won.

Hop List:
Echo Park Paper
Ashley Horton
Corri Garza
Holly Gagnon
Tania Willis
Aly Dosdall
Lisa Swift 

Happy hopping!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Echo Park Paper: Easy Valentine Card Pocket

Are you looking a super quick last minute Valentine idea? This darling card doubles as gift packaging to store some delicious chocolate treats for the ones you love...or child's teacher. Wait, that didn't come out right. I didn't mean to make it sound like you don't love your child's teacher. Errr, ummmmm, nevermind.

Moving along.

To make this charming Valentine Pocket, I used the Head Over Heels collection from Echo Park Paper. More specifically, I used product HOH59010 Journaling Cards.  If you're familiar with Echo Park Paper's product, you know that they design a set of journaling cards for nearly every collection, so if you're not needing a Valentine, you could use this same concept with a different collection kit. Brilliant, yes!?

Anywho.  I simply cut out the two adjacent cards (the "xoxo" and the "one sweet love") and folded along the bottom edge of the "xoxo" journaling card. Then, before sealing up the sides to create the pocket, I used a paper piercing tool to pierce holes along the outline of the heart, so I could guessed it......hand-stitching! I just used all 6 strands of DMC embroidery floss in a coordinating color.  Once my stitching was completely, I added layers of stickers, sealed up the sides and stuffed it with filler shred.

Tuck some delicious chocolates in there, and you've got yourself a gift!

If you're looking for additional Valentine's ideas, be sure to check out these projects by the other Design Experts:

Valentine for Teen's by Ashley Horton
Valentine Gift Bag by Holly Gagnon
Valentine Fold-Out Card by Aly Dosdall
Valentine for Friends by Lisa Swift
Valentine Wine Tag and Candy Box by Corri Garza

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Echo Park: Head Over Heels "Oh Darling" Layout: FREE Tutorial Download

I'm back in the saddle already with creating tutorials and loving every second of it!  Afterall, teaching others how to craft is my passion. :)

This time it comes in the form of a double-page layout using Echo Park's Head Over Heels collection.I absolutely *adore* everything about this collection. 
I love that the Element Stickers sheet it is versatile enough to be used on layouts with pictures of couples AND photos of children and/or other loved ones. The soft colors paired with the red are just so sweet.
If you're not a double-page spread type of scrapbooker, no worries. I created each page in such a way that they can stand alone if desired. Just pick one of the two and ignore the instructions for the page you don't wish to create. Easy enough, right?
I've used a good portion of the patterns from the Head Over Heels collection pack that includes 12 12x12 double-sided patterns, along with the Element Stickers sheet, the Journaling Cards, and the Alphabet Stickers sheet, but still had PLENTY leftovers to create several other projects.
The instructions also have some other close-up detail photos that will be helpful as you follow along.  As always, if you have any questions, you're welcome to email me using the link over there in the sidebar under my photo!

You can download the FREE step-by-step tutorial for the layout by clicking here: Head Over Heels "Oh Darling" Layout by Tania Willis

Enjoy, and I'll catch you back here soon!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Year = New Opportunities

So, um, hello. It's me, Tania.  Hope you haven't forgotten me in my long lost absence here on this blog. I surely haven't forgotten all of you who have always been so faithful as to check in on me only to be let down time and time again when you saw that nothing had changed.

I'm sure that has you asking....where have I been?

Well, to sum it all up briefly, I spent the last 18 months dedicated to blogging as a Lead Fiskateer for Fiskars for what was supposed to be a part-time position.  If you know me, you know that I don't do anything half-way. I'm either all-in or I'm out. And well, I wanted to give it my all, which meant putting some other things on the back this blog here.

BUT.  There's always a 'but' isn't there?  I'm quite thankful for those.

But, that's all changed.

I am no longer working for Fiskars as a Lead Fiskateer or a Crafting Expert, which allows me opportunity for growth and advancement while working for myself and other companies in the industry. 

New beginnings are always a good thing, yes? I quite like new beginnings.

Which brings me to the point of this first post of 2014--my first new opportunity in 2014:

I'm beyond thrilled to have been asked to join the Echo Park Paper Design Team.  So for those of you following my crafty adventures, check back here often because I'll have lots of fun stuff to share in the weeks to come.

Now that I have all this new-found time blogging time on my hands you might just see a whole lot more of me in this space of mine. :)

Happy New Year, friends!  Onward and upward. It's gonna be a GREAT year! I can feel it in my bones.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Punch Art Turkey Thanksgiving Cards

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it only feels natural to want to express our gratitude to those who help make our world go round. Yes?

This year, I'm thanking friends and family with these mixed-media cards featuring a delightful little paper pieced turkey using layers of basic punched shapes using a variety of my Fiskars punches.

First, punch both scalloped circles and regular circles, in graduating sizes, making sure that the colors of each layer contrast with one another. It's also fun to mix up the textures and finishes of the papers you use. For example, maybe mix in some cork paper for the texture and a bit of metallic cardstock for the shine.

For my turkey, the shapes I used from largest to smallest are:
Fiskars Circle Lever Punch 4XL
Fiskars Pretty Scallops Lever Punch 4XL
Fiskars Circle Lever Punch 3XL
Fiskars Pretty Scallops Lever Punch XXL
Fiskars Round ‘N Round Squeeze Punch XL
Fiskars Round ‘N Round Squeeze Punch Large

If you don’t have these exact sizes, get creative in layering the shapes that you do have on hand. Graduated hexagons would make an adorable graphic mod turkey too! It's a darling way to celebrate the season and embellish those cards we like to gift expressing our utmost gratitude. It's even more fun when you can pull out some fun and funky colored cardstock to create your little turkey masterpieces, don't you think!?

Once my turkey was assembled with finishing details, I misted a kraft card base and layered it with washi tape and a 'thanks' banner made with punched pieces and alphabet stickers. Super easy, yet looks like you fussed over it for hours. Love those kind of projects!

You can see the full tutorial with a bit more detailed instructions on by clicking here.

How many of you send Thanksgiving cards?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Altered Canvas Album featuring Prima Marketing Inc. Products

Prima Marketing Inc. sent me a wonderful assortment of their products to pair with my Fiskars tools to create a few projects to share with you. Today, I’m sharing a few of those products with you and will explain how I created a Canvas Mixed Media Covered 12-month Calendar. The quilted canvas mixed media covers by Prima are a wonderful blank canvas just bursting with possibility. They have a subtle text resist on them allowing the pattern to peek through once they are altered with inks and mists.
To alter my canvas covers, I first placed a Prima stencil, measuring approximately 6” x 6” onto the front canvas cover making sure the area underneath and surrounding the cover was adequately protected. Then I began adding a layer of Chartreuse Color Shine. Once the Chartreuse was dry, I added a few more layers of Shimmer Mist and Color Shine.
After determining where my flower embellishments would go, I punched three hexagon shapes in a row out of a scrap piece of cardstock using my Hexagon Squeeze Punch and used this as a stencil in the area on the bottom right. I held the cardstock firmly in place and then applied Barn Door Distress Paint. Once that was dry, I added several layers of machine stitching around the perimeter of the larger Prima stenciled design.
Next, I cut a piece of pink burlap cut with Medium Design Set 100780-Circle.
Then, hot-glued on the fabric and flower embellishments by first adhering the burlap circle to the lower right section of the cover. Layered on top of the burlap circle is a paper doily and several flower embellishments from Prima. My favorite is the Pewter Ascot Park style flower that anchors the center. The red-ish flower was created by adding layers of Mustard Color Shine and Barn Door Distress Paint to a cream colored flower. Because the flowers are made from a mulberry-like paper material they take paints, inks, and mists very well. To embellish further I added some wooden leaves from Prima from a set of Wooden Icons. These come as a natural wood so you can leave them natural or use paints or mists to color them. To give them a nice golden color they were sprayed with Mustard Color Shine. Lastly, I brushed the edges of the album in various places with Barn Door Distress Paint and then used Crayola Crayons along with my heat embossing gun to create drips of green, white, and mustard yellow wax on the album cover.

Full Disclosure: The Prima Marketing, Inc. products were supplied to me free of charge for the purpose of creating this tutorial. I was not compensated in addition to the free supplies. Again, I only agree to use products that I love and would shell out my own money for. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blowing Kisses Layout featuring Prima Marketing Products

As a designer for Fiskars, I received some products from Prima Marketing, Inc. to pair together with Fiskars tools. I couldn’t resist putting the beautiful 12x12 stencils to use to make my own background paper for a layout.

These stencils are a nice weight and really are perfect for both scrapbooking and mixed media albums and really easy to line up and get centered on the layout as they are the full 12” wide.

To create my background, I first covered my work space to protect it from the mist overspray. Then, used the Circle Lattice stencil over a light blue textured cardstock. I then sprayed a layer of Turquoise Blue Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist all over. Once dry, I added light layers of Sweet Cherry, Mustard and Chartreuse Color Shine just around the edges to give more depth to the color and design. Once that was completely dry, I added some purposeful drips of mist randomly across the background by unscrewing the spritzing mechanism and letting the mist drip onto the page from the end of the uptake tube.

I couldn’t believe how perfect of a match the Say It In Crystals Hexagon Bling matched up with Fiskars Hexagon Squeeze Punches. Like so perfect you’d thing the two companies were in collaboration together in the making of these products. So, I decided that the hexagon punched shapes and the bling would be paired together as accents on the layout. They were punched from Coredinations Cardstock and then some of them even layered together on the page.

To put the page together, I layered several coordinating pieces of patterned paper on top of the stenciled background before adding two matted photos. These papers were right-aligned as to leave space along the left for embellishing with flowers, wooden icons in a box and the hexagon bling, all by Prima Marketing, Inc.

Prima Supplies:
Flowers: Cabriole – Lavender
Wooden Icons In A Box: Birds and Owls
Wooden Icons In A Box: Leaves and Mushrooms
Say It In Crystals Hexagon Bling

Fiskars Tools:
Paper Trimmer
Hexagon Punches

Full Disclosure: The Prima Marketing, Inc. products were supplied to me free of charge for the purpose of creating this tutorial. I was not compensated in addition to the free supplies. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

And We Have Our First Broken Bone

Early morning, Saturday June 29th, my youngest, Emma was playing basketball with my husband and jammed her finger. Immediate tears ensued. How many times have you seen or heard of fingers being jammed playing sports? If you've been around active kids, it's plenty, I'm sure. I know I jammed a finger or two many different times as a kid playing basketball or practicing tae kwon do and all we ever did was use some athletic tape to buddy tape the injured finger to the next one and went about our day.

Well, by Sunday evening it was all sorts of pink & purple at all three knuckle joints and quite swollen. Add to that a super irritable personality (which is so not her). Fun....not! So I thought I'd take her to get it x-rayed at a Close to Home Children's Urgent Care. We arrived about 1 hour before closing time and the place was empty. Small miracle, for sure.

I was convinced they would just say "continue with the buddy tape." But, before long we were handed a copy of an xray. Sure enough, broken. At this point it's about 10 minutes after closing and in walks two nurses. One oversaw the other putting a splint. Mid splint, the doctor peeked his head in the room and said "goodnight" to the nurses. After the door closed, we were told (mid splint, mind you) "this is her first time putting one of these on.

Let me just say....I'm all for people learning, but after this experience when it comes to my baby and a broken bone....give me the professional. Keep reading, you'll see.

So, the splint is done and they sent us on our way with instructions to follow up with her pediatrician. Along with instructions for not getting it wet, meaning no swimming. No swimming is such a bummer summer. Let's just say, I've never been more thankful for daily rain showers than I have been this last 10 days. Twelve inches in 10 days and they are calling for 2-4 more today. I digress.

We called the pediatrician Monday morning and we were referred to an orthopedist at Children's Hospital. Scheduled for one week out, Monday July 8.

We went about our day Monday, handled bath time like we'd be doing this awkward thing all the days of her life, and all was well in the world.

Until Tuesday morning.

My girl woke up freaked out in the worst way because her splint had come off. You would have thought it was the end of the world. I quickly got her dressed and took her to Urgent Care at the main hospital. First thing we heard from the nurse was "who did her splint?" Um, well, funny you should ask. And so the story was told of our less-than-ideal experience less than 36 hours earlier.

So we waited, and I kept Emma content by handing over a marker to draw on the paper cover.

Soon we spoke with the doctor who pulled up her xray from our first visit. It was then we learned, it's not just broken in one place but three. The nurse reassured me, "Don't worry mom, we'll fix her right up and things will be good as new and this splint will stay on until you see the orthopedist on Monday." She debated on reusing the already formed hard Orthoglass splint, when I politely asked that she not, but instead start from square one. She changed the splint to an aluminum splint and wrapped it half-way up her arm with an ace wrap. Before leaving the room she asked if she wanted a popsicle for the ride home.

Um, if you know Emma at all, you know the answer to that question is ALWAYS a yes! We left with a new splint and a popsicle for breakfast....and feeling confident that this one would absolutely stay put until Monday.

Monday, late afternoon, I get a call saying she's complaining of the web of skin between her thumb and index finger feeling raw. We agreed to slap a band-aid on to cushion it and call it good. She was happy with that provision and went about her evening. Come bedtime, out of nowhere she starts sobbing hysterically saying her hand hurts. After looking at it, we see that it's red and angry. We immediately removed the wrap to find her hand under the wrap entirely purple. *sigh* Her circulation is being cut off.

At this point, she's coming unglued and won't let me touch it, so we pack her back in the car at 9:30pm and take her back to the same Urgent Care--twice in the same day--to have it done for the third time. Somehow, in her mind, a stranger doing it is better than mommy touching it. We heard once again from a nurse "who did your splint?" in a questioning way as if to say "wow, they really botched this." Because reliving this third trip is mentally and emotionally exhausting, let's just say that we got back in the car after that third visit, sat in the parking lot and both just sobbed. It looked like a 2 year old had splinted it for her in their sleep. A mega mess and Emma was none too pleased. She begged me to take her somewhere else.

We got back home and I calmly told her I'm going wrap this thing myself. So, I did. And guess what? It stayed on the entire week and didn't come off until we saw the Orthopedist on Monday. Yes, I'm awesome. *ahem* (in her eyes, anyway) She repeatedly told me several times each day "thank you for doing a good splint mommy." Each time the stress of it all melted away a little more.

We won't talk about the drama of my infusion July 3, in which I had a the medication and had to have an excess of IV Benadryl and steriods. The one that was supposed to take 30 minutes, but ended up more toward the 3-hour mark. The one where I was pretty much dead to the world for the past week from exhaustion. Yeah, we won't talk about that.

So where does that put us? Right. That brings us to the next Monday--July 8. We arrive at the Children's Hospital Orthopedist office---which is a zoo---get checked in and wait our turn. The whole while I'm saying prayers of thanksgiving that it's just her pinky and not her entire leg or arm...or both.

After being brought back to the exam room, we wait some more because they don't have our x-rays or any history from any of our Urgent Care visits. Hello!?! Look in the computer, people. That's why we stick with the same network of facilities so we don't have to worry about this kind of stuff. After this being our fourth visit for this pinky finger my patience meter is pretty much depleted.

The nurse removes the splint, and leaves the room. Just looking at the bruising, Emma starts to panic and is afraid she's going to "toss her cookies." She's definitely not a fan of blood or injuries. This of course, sends Ashlyn into a sensory tailspin (remember her aversion to seeing/hearing/talking about someone about to get sick?). It wasn't long before we were greeted by a resident with a medical student tag-a-long. This isn't new to us since we've spent much time at Children's over the years and are very familiar with the fact that it's a teaching hospital. They both look it over, tell us it's broken in one place (hello, did the two other breaks miraculously heal overnight?) and tell us they'll either re-splint it or cast it, the doctor would make the final call. So we wait.

The doctor comes in, says they'll re-splint it for a week along with a what will come next, except mid-sentence he stops, opens the air-conditioning controls and adjusts the temperature and gripes about it being too warm and leaves the room. He was in our room for less than 2 minutes. The patient care tech then comes in with splint materials and starts measuring and cutting the metal splint down to size with giant scissors. He may know more than me about those scissors, but with each of the five cuts he made metal was fly across the room. I was praying a piece wouldn't hit one of us.

Once the splint was done, I was concerned with the minimal wrap that was on it and the fact that it wasn't supporting the proximal knuckle joint at all. I was also concerned the unwrapped portion would catch on clothing or a blanket and be ripped off affecting the fracture even more. He was much displeased with my questioning and rather rudely started to usher us back into the room to re-do it just to make me happy.

Within seconds, the doctor was back in the room asking what the problem was and then rudely told me the finger was only broken at the medial joint. I let him know that's odd because of what we'd be told the three other visits we've had for this same finger. I left feeling incredibly inferior at the whole experience of that visit and still wasn't convinced.....I mean how hard is it to look at the radiology report? Three doctors all looking at the same report telling me three different things? How can that happen?

Before leaving the tech who splinted it made it known that he's been doing this a long time and it will be just fine, it won't fall off, and he'd see us back next Monday.

We go home, I check out of life for the evening and remind myself it could be worse.

Tuesday morning, 7am, I'm sound asleep as she throws herself on my bed, sobbing the kind of sob you only hear when something is terribly wrong. Bleary eyed, I get up and calm her down enough to understand what she has to say and realize.......the splint fell off.........AGAIN! Are you freaking kidding me?

At this point, I'm cautious around every turn because surely this is a set-up that the whole world is in on, except me, including the producers and cast of Punk'd. If they are ever looking for good material, the last week and a half would certainly be in the running.

We all get ready, I look up the hours of operation for the Orthopedist, and make it there the minute they open. I walked in the door without an appointment and calmly asked for a Patient Advocate. Within minutes I was ushered back into an exam room while the girls went to a private family restroom. Minutes later they both get to the room and are sobbing. Turns out they turned the handle to get out of the bathroom and it fell off in their hand, keeping them locked on the inside with no way to get out. *sigh* Once they calmed down we then proceeded to tell the advocate and the hand-specialist nurse the whole run-down of our experience with this finger starting from the visit to the first Urgent Care.

To make this crazy, almost-unbelievable situation I'm recounting a bit shorter, they decided to start at square one and do brand new x-rays. After x-rays, THREE breaks were no miraculous healing....and a new doctor decided that it needed a hard plaster cast for 3 weeks. Surely the first thought that comes to a momma's mind when hearing the words 'hard.plaster.cast.' isn't 'Hallelujah!', but HALLELUJAH! LOL.

Surely a hard plaster cast cannot and will not fall off and we can finally be done with this drama.

She ended up with a 'waterproof' cast. Instead of the normal cotton material on the inside, she was wrapped with a water wicking material that keeps sweat and water away from the skin. She can shower with it and get it wet in the swimming pool for up to 30-40 minutes a day.

She chose pink, which didn't surprise me at all, and is rather pleased with how it looks. She only had minimal pain while it was being set because of the way they had to form the bend in the cast to shape it.

She was instructed to let the cast set for 24 hours before letting anyone sign it. The 24-hour wait about killed her. LOL. Afterall, she is my social butterfly and she even worried about there not being enough room for all her friends and family to sign. Too cute.

This morning, once again at 6am she was throwing herself on top of me while I was peacefully sleeping, but this time she was eager with anticipation of making it to summer camp for her friends to sign her cast. She wanted me to know she was awake and got herself dressed. She was worried about her outfit matching and excitedly told me she got baker's twine from my studio and tied up the lid of her Sharpie marker to it so she could wear it as a necklace all day.

Gosh, this kid. She's cute.

I'm pleased to say that she is happy as a lark, the cast hasn't slowed her down and has a sweet smile back on her face now that she doesn't have to worry when the next time a splint will fall off.  She came home after just a few hours at summer camp with nearly every spot on that cast covered with well-wishes and friends' names on it.

I'm thankful for her sweet disposition. I'm also thankful that it shines through so much in these photos I've taken throughout the whole ordeal that others notice it too. But even more thankful that she's resilient and in a short while won't even remember medical inconvenience.

All I have left to say is that never in my life, more than right now, have I wanted one of those random "Tell Us About Your Visit" surveys to land in my mailbox.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Creating a Disney Scrapbook

seven months ago my family was having a blast on a week-long Disney vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. you might have noticed that i haven't shared a single thing about that vacation.

why? well, the truth is......i'm overwhelmed with how exactly to record the magical-ness of it. (if magical-ness isn't a word, it is now.)

do you ever get that way with your photos and/or memories. frozen for fear of 'messing' it up? silly, isn't it?

i took thousands of photos on that trip. eeeps! we also took advantage of the Photopass system and purchased the CD of images which gave me another 600 or so photos.

gobs and gobs of photos.

this layout is the very first layout i've made that displays photos from our trip....i hope that there are many more to follow, like, real soon!

there are SO many stories to be told from this many. i can't wait to see them all unfold in the pages of my scrapbooks.

this layout in particular was created using some new products released at CHA from Little Yellow Bicycle's Just Because and Naturals collections. i've also used quite a few Fiskars tools in the mix too!

this layout also appears today on a few other blogs.  in one place i'm talking about tips for putting the layout together and in the other talking about recording vacation memories as a whole. click on over to the Little Yellow Bicycle blog and to the Fiskateers blog for more of the story.  there are also links to products and tools at the respective blogs. 

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