26 days of making

On May 26th I will be celebrating my 6yr of blogging. Can you believe that? I reread that and it doesn't seem real.

My blog anniversaries typically sneak up on me. This time I've decided to do something a bit different—it has been 6yrs after all! Instead of waiting for that day to arrive and celebrate, I'm going to start on May 1st by making something every day until the 26th. My goal is to put myself under the gun to see what will happen (I've never done this before) and more importantly to offer all of you, my lovely readers, a chance to grab a few ideas for yourselves.

It will be a mixed bag of projects. I'm going to work on several personal ones (ideas for our home and gifts), rework older ideas and start other random projects that I've started thinking about. Some will be very simple and others more involved. The photo above inspired the way I framed my first project.

I think this is going to be fun!—says the woman who may be full of regret when she's run out of ideas by day 15!

Here we go...


we are surrounded by trees

We are surrounded by them.

just leaves

So, many times, I end up either drawing trees or their leaves.

just leaves

Last night it was just leaves.

My bad move? Not sleeping at all last night. Terrible for daytime awareness, but at least I was up for the royal wedding.

Loved the dress, the happy couple and yes... the trees!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

pods lattice - new svg files

pods lattice - svg

When I'm working on something that I'm getting such enjoyment out of, time just flies by. If I could do this all day I would. I've been engrossed in designing projects that have been growing my SVG library. They still aren't in the shop simply because I haven't photographed them. It's always more work than I remember.

For now this is Pods Lattice and a couple of ideas on how to use it (aside from card making and scrapbooking) which will have stationery and tea light cover sets that match. I'm loving it all!

There really is nothing better than doing what you love.

Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working. — Pablo Picasso

pods lattice - svg

For those of you that emailed or asked me about being on Facebook—I've decided that the response I received was enough to warrant reactivating my A Little Hut page. Thank you so much for your messages and encouragement. My personal account, on the other hand, will still remain inactive. I look forward to chatting with some of you there!
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So who's going to get up early to watch the royal wedding? I am! I still remember when my Mom woke me up to watch Diana walk down the aisle. The thing I'm really curious about is the dress. Can you imagine the mixed feelings of stress and pride of the designer? Yikes.

I need to teach more often

digital die cutting

For a few hours of the past two Saturdays I've had the opportunity to teach. It has been really, really fun. It's amazing how something as simple as some paper crafting can bring people together so easily. On the 16th, I made some trees with the class—and we made a terrific mess!

This past Saturday, I finally made good on my silent auction item, of teaching a class of how to use the Cricut cutting machine. The funny thing is that the class was supposed to last 2 hours and I think it ended up being twice as long. We just kept talking and making, talking and making. I really could go on forever.

digital die cutting

These gift tags/small note cards are one of the projects that I made for the class (using shape No. 8 in the Accent Essentials cartridge). My intention was to show that even though the Cricut is mostly used for 2-dimensional projects there is no reason why you shouldn't give your projects some volume—it's so easy to do. I also wanted to show how you can get more milage from the cartridges. [The non-existent limitations of SVG files, that are used with other digital cutters, is what makes me so fond of them.]

These star-type shapes are cut in increments of 1/4" and all stacked one on top of another. That's it! Can you imagine a bigger one of these on top of a gift or as wall art inside a box frame?

digital die cutting

I still thoroughly enjoy paper cutting by hand, but digital cutters are definitely a lot of fun to work with. At first I thought I was cheating by using them, but they are just a tool. The creativity that goes along with the use of that tool is what counts—just how a graphic designer uses a computer.

For those of you that don't have a digital cutter, the lesson you can draw from this project is that repetition and symmetry go hand in hand. If you cut out any symmetrical shape in different sizes and overlap them, the effects can be really interesting. Even hand cut elements can have a great impact as you saw in last week's flowers.

Like I said it's all in your hands—not in the tools that you have.

Have a great Monday!

digital die cutting

how to make a flower (earth day style)

earth day style

Happy Earth Day!

I'm so glad that you enjoyed my flower project. Thank you so much for your kind comments!

In honor of today's celebration, I decided to make the same flower, but showing you that you really don't need craft store bought materials and tools to make one. This is as simple and as eco-friendly as I could make the project.

- Thin cardboard (for the flower petals and to replace the use of the cutting mat)
- Pencil
- Scissors
- The dull side of a table knife (instead of the bone folder)
- Scissors
- Clothespins (optional)

To make this flower I followed the same steps as in yesterday's tutorial. To get a bit of color in the center, I made sure that the two largest stars where cut out of cardboard that had a lot of color on the reverse side. I used the color side (face up) for those two stars and the plain cardboard side for the two smallest stars.

The cardboard color is obviously not as striking as the red paper. The solution is to add paint to the petals, before putting the flower together, or to make the flower out of pages of an old book or a magazine. To be honest paper would probably be a better idea than the cardboard—it's flexibility makes it easier to create a graceful petal and the scoring marks are more visible.

• • •

If you're in search of more recycling projects here are some sites with a variety of ideas:
- Craft - [thank you Craft for yesterday's feature!]

Have a great weekend & Happy Easter!

earth day style

how to make a paper flower

paper flower tutorial

This is a flower that I put together for a series of projects that I've been working on for the shop. I was going to include it with the Petal Collection, but I decided that this was one worth sharing. It doesn't require any fancy equipment at all!

- Red card stock paper (less than a letter-sized sheet)
- Brown card stock paper
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Bone folder
- Cutting mat
- Glue
- Clothespins (optional)

Step 1
Cut out 8 petals that are similar to a heart shape but with a flat bottom. Notice how my petals aren't exactly symmetrical—they don't need to be. Six should be about 2" (5cm) tall and 2" (5cm) at it widest point. Cut 2 petals that are smaller—about 1.5" (4cm) in height and the same at their widest point. Cut out one circle that is 1" (2.5cm). wide.

Cut the center of each petal about 1/2" (13mm) vertically, as shown by the white lines in the photo below.

Score each petal vertically (following the curve of the outer edges), several times until the entire petal is marked. Do the scoring on a cutting mat. The soft surface helps the bone folder sink into the paper and protects your table!

paper flower tutorial

Step 2
Slightly overlap and glue the two bottom tabs that are formed by the split petal base. Use the clothespins to hold the petals together until they are dry.

paper flower tutorial

Step 3
Glue 3 large petals to the circle base. Add the 3 remaining large petals in the center of the flower. Attach the 2 smaller petals last.

paper flower tutorial

Step 4
Cut out 2 brown star shapes and 2 larger red star shapes. They don't need to be exact, as you can see by my crooked versions. Just make sure that the brown ones fit inside the red ones. Glue them all together, fold the spikes vertically and attach them to the center of the flower.

paper flower tutorial

Step 5
The final step is to fold the edges of the flower petals outward. Done!

paper flower tutorial

To make the center for the yellow flower use a quilling technique similar to what you see here.

My favorite thing about this flower is the scoring of the card stock. The added texture gives the flower a little more personality. The fact that the scoring isn't evenly spaced out makes it even better. Just make sure that you press the paper hard enough but without tearing it.

Easy right? This would be perfect to use as a gift topper, on a favor box, on napkin rings, on spring wreath, etc.

Now go have some fun making some or forward this tutorial to anyone that may need a flower in their life—who doesn't?

Have a great day!

this is what I call research


When time is of the essence you try to do as many things as you can in one place. When we went with D to our local hardware store to get materials we needed for his school science project, I did just that. The nursery, which is right next door, was buzzing with customers and pretty blooming flowers. It was too tempting not to go in a take a peek.


I pulled out my iPhone and started snapping left and right. My D, who is used to me going on a tangent, asked what I was looking for and decided to help once I told him that it was a bit of research for a project. I really wasn't after specific flowers per se, I was after interesting shapes. He got the idea and started pointing out what he thought would work. Funny how the word "helper" can work it's magic!

Remember this flower? I saw these leaves a few days after making it. I had to smile when I saw it. I'm sure it was something that may have lingered subconsciously from a previous visit.


So that's how part of last weeks' Petals Collection came to be. I always say that bookstores, libraries and walks in the neighborhood are good to clear the mind. I'll have to add nurseries to the list too.


Oh and a cup of coffee in hand also does the trick!
How about you? What helps you light the spark for new ideas?

Psst! Come back to tomorrow for a tutorial on how to make that flower I mentioned!

petals collection - svg & pdf files

petals collection

It's finally here. I felt like I needed just one more flower. Just one more. I didn't get the inspiration until yesterday.

Surrender is the word that sparked the thought of the last flower design (the red and white one). I was in the car listening to an interview with Shriley McClaine. At one point of the interview she said that one of the biggest lessons she's learned in life, is to surrender. It took me a moment to ponder that and then boom... the flower came to mind. I have no idea why. About 60 seconds later the design was complete in my head. I couldn't wait for the kids to be in bed so I could work on it.

You just never know when inspiration will hit and what will trigger it. Just surrender—I'll need to remember that one.

The flowers are a lot of fun to make! I didn't want to shoot for life like flowers—there are enough of those everywhere in the paper craft world. I wanted to just try my own thing. You know me... I'm all about solid colored paper, but these would also look great with patterns and maybe buttons in the center of each. The possibilities of customization are really endless!

The PDF and SVG files are now available in the shop.

new recycling projects

recycling - coaster & trivet

More projects! That's why I've been so quiet—and I can't even show you the majority of what I've been working on. I've dipped my hand alternatively into handmade and design work all week—so that makes me happy, but very busy.

The two that I can show you, are recycling projects that are perfect for Earth Month. They are ideas that I had in the back of my mind for a while and I decided to post them as my entries for the Green Is Universal contest.

Here are my two entries:
1. A coaster and trivet set made out of cereal boxes (top photo)
2. A hurricane cover made out of paper towel cardboard tubes

recycling - hurricane cover

This is going to be a month of a lot of behind the scenes work. I'm loving what I've accomplished so far. As I'm able to I'll share. I promise!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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EDIT - Voting is open but only if you create an account using the Login button at the top right. Thank you so much to those of you that have voted! :)

I will be at paper source this month

paper source class projects

I will be teaching a class at the Highland Village Paper Source in Houston on April 16th and here are the projects we will work on. These are the basic pieces that we'll start with. The class will learn a little more about how to embellish them.

I can't wait! What can be more fun than working on paper surrounded by paper heaven and working with paper lovers? I'm really looking forward to this class and to meeting new people.

Please contact the PS store for further details. I hope to see some of you there!

paper source class project

These samples are my latest handiwork. I keep trying to get to my pending A Little Hut spring projects, but the last couple of weeks, my design life has consumed me completely. It's hard to work on interesting designs at the cost of my ALH projects that are near and dear to me too. I tell you, it's a constant juggling act! I'm thinking that I need to reread my own crafty time post and practice what I preach. I really need to make more room for my handmade work.

The good news is that when the work takes over my little ones take care of me. Yesterday, I took a very rare nap in the afternoon (I was about to past out) and when I woke up they brought me a breakfast tray with some goodies—banana, tangerines, cheese, yogurt and crackers—and a note thanking me for helping them with their homework! Ummm... ok, wow! That totally made my week... no month!