2011 calendar sneak peek

I dragged my feet long enough with next year's calendar. It almost got to the point that I thought I wasn't going to design a new one. But inspiration finally hit and I couldn't be any happier. I'll be unveiling the whole thing on Monday.

2011 calendar sneak peek

Friday Tidbit
For those of you that haven't seen them... Head on over to the Decor8 and Oh So Beautiful Paper for great calendar round ups. It's one of the things I look forward to every year. There are so, so many great designs.

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Thank you for all your sweet comments on my latest The Basics post. Sometimes I wonder if I should continue the series, because it may be too basic, but I guess some of you are getting some use out of it. That makes it all worth it for me. I'll keep the posts coming.

Have a great weekend everyone!

the basics - envelope sizes

the basics - envelopes

I've been working with stationery for a long time but for some reason I still have the need to check and double check envelope sizes—they simply don't stick in my mind. I made this little sheet and I thought that it may be a good one to share. It can be printed and left as is, or cut out and kept in a handy spot. It's self-explanatory but if you have any questions, be sure to let me know.

Download the sheet here.

I apologize to those of you that use the metric system. I didn't include that information here because I don't normally work with it and I'd be worried about passing on the wrong information. In all honesty I wish we did use the metric system here. It just makes so much more sense!

the basics - envelopes

black & white

For the past three or four years I've been designing the invitation for the kids' school Casino Night fundraiser. The Black & White theme and white origami cranes that will be used for decorations inspired the invitation illustration. If you'll take a close look you'll notice that I used some hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs as leaves for tree. See them?


I'll be working on a large tiered chandelier that I've never attempted before so I hope it goes well. If the project is successful I'll be sure to post a how-to and some photos. Wish me luck!


I'm back! Last week I was really busy getting things ready for a short absence. I was busy catching with some work and because I have a thing about leaving everything spic-and-span when I leave town (alone or with the family) . I can't leave in peace if I know I'll be coming back to a mess.


On Thursday, I left for a four day retreat. I was part of the team that organized the women's retreat for our church. To say that the weekend was wonderful is a huge understatement. I was surrounded by 80 amazing women and on a gorgeous property full of lush gardens.

I did miss my Mr. and two angels a lot, but there's a lot to be said about getting away from everything for a bit. If you ever have the opportunity to do something similar—do it!

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog posts...

Happy Monday!

it finally feels like fall

I don't know if I'm being encouraged by the change of season, but I'm finally getting around to reconnecting with friends and with my own house.

We will be going to a Halloween party and several families that we haven't seen in a long time will be there. The kids are thrilled because it's the first time they can 'officially' wear their costumes. I'm thrilled because adults don't need to dress up—I don't know why I'm not in the mood this year (not that I have been in quite some time). At least the bottle of wine we'll be taking is already dressed for the occasion. It's going to be great to see everyone again.

last halloween project

The glitter on the bat looks so much better in person—so much so, that I think I may be a glitter convert. If you're curious, it's Martha Stewart black glitter. I promise this is the last Halloween project to be seen this year. The holiday isn't here yet and I'm already over it!

i love making these

This is a card design that I came up with recently and I love putting it together. This one in particular will be going to a friend. I need to send her a very heartfelt thank you because she helped us big time this week. We owe her a lot.

I just realized that I miss the simple act of placing a stamp on an envelope and sticking an envelope in the mail box very much.

As far as the house is concerned, I just simply need to get to it. We've been going through the motions and I think I hear the walls calling out for help. Aside from the a couple of things in the kids' rooms and the kitchen, we have completely bare walls. So sad. I do have artwork and photos that I want to put up and I simply haven't gotten to it. Enough is enough already!

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Friday Tidbits
Speaking of fixing up the house, recently I purchased a few things, from very talented people, that will help me in that endeavor.

Crafterall - I've been wanting one of Marnie's pieces for a while and I finally got one which happened to be her 100th piece. Love that.

Mayamade - Read the front of it. Need I say more? I asked Maya a long time ago if she could keep an eye out for burlap from Colombia and she finally found it. I love her work.

Cicada Studio - I already have plans for next year's calendar but how can I pass this one up? My studio needs some color and Michelle's great design will surely help.

Whimy & Spice - Another little purchase because... well, no need for an excuse. Everything is just hands down delicious! Jenna and Mark have no idea how happy I make my husband when I order one of their boxes of goodies.

Have a great weekend!

words may fail me but paper never does

I taught some friends to make origami cranes this week. We are going to decorate the school fundraiser using this as inspiration. Contrary to popular belief this is the first time I try origami. How odd is that? If you've never made a crane and would like to give it a try, this is a very good how to video.

EDIT - Here is a site that would be great to use for kid-friendly origami. Thank you to Beatrix who recommended it on the ALH Facebook page.


And just for fun... I think these Let's Go boxes look cute. They are the same boxes I made here but I thought it would be nice to freshen up the look. Amazing what a bit of color can do. I'm excited about the new sets that I've designed in the last few days—I'll share soon.

let's go

I've been trying to blog for days and in all honesty the words are simply not coming. I think my blogging brain is taking a very deliberate break.

For now, more than anything, I just wanted to check in for a minute and wave hello.


I hope you're all doing well.

silhouette art - book review

book review: silhouette art

When Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio asked me if I'd like to review her book I jumped at the chance. I love her work, so getting an early peek of her first publication was a real treat. We just recently met via twitter and I have no idea how I hadn't come across her web site sooner. I love her bright and simple style.

book review: silhouette art

The first thing that struck me when I saw Silhouette Art, was that it wasn't just a collection of project ideas and tutorials. It's more of a kit that has a book and pad of assorted paper and illustrations. It's easy to select a project idea and start working on it right away.

book review: silhouette art

book review: silhouette art

This book would make a wonderful gift for anyone that is interested in creating DIY silhouette projects. The instructions in the book are very clear and simple enough for beginners to take on. I've already taken the profile photos of all four of us and am planning on framing them. The only thing is that my weird curly hair looks odd as a silhouette—I'll have to figure that one out.

book review: silhouette art

Just one more thing... As someone that enjoys good printing when I see it, I have to say that there is no surprise that Chronicle Books did another great job with the printing of this piece. It really looks great and all the photos and quality of paper is excellent.

Friday Tidbit
Here are all the links where you can learn more about Vana and her work:
Web Site, Blog, Etsy, Twitter, and Facebook.

Have a great weekend everyone!

the basics - cutting corners

the basics - cutting corners

When I'm working on a piece that I really want to be perfect, cutting out corners are my nemesis. Sometimes I cut too far or not far enough. I'd rather have the latter problem. Cutting too far on the other hand is something that bothers me to no end.

See the V-like cut at the tip of the triangle (exaggerated for this post)? That's what I'm talking about and it's a big pet peeve of mine.

the basics - cutting corners

The easiest way that I know of dealing with this, is to cut along the orange line first and get as close to the corners as I can. Then I cut along the blue lines toward the cut I've made first. The blue lines are larger here (so you can actually see them) but in reality the amount I cut is minimal—barely a couple of millimeters.

the basics - cutting corners

Sometimes I've been known to give the paper a little tug. The danger here is when you assume that you've but enough for the piece to come off easily. Oh the fury when I tear the paper!

the basics - cutting corners

By the way, if you happen to have a little V-cut that you just can't work around (ie. trimming the shape a bit more) you can always give the paper a little rub with your nail or a burnisher. With the rubbing, if the paper is thick, the fibers will move a bit and cover the cuts.

So how do you deal with corners? Any tips to share?

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If you have a certain question or issue that you'd like me to address in The Basics just let me know in the comments below or email me. I'm always on the hunt for new tips to spread!