Friday, February 25, 2011

Experiment 4 - New Baby Girl Card

A friend from work had a baby in January, and I found the perfect (totally impractical) gift for her. These shoes from pink2blue on Etsy are breathtakingly gorgeous in person.

I saw them long after BabyT was too big for them, so I was glad to have another person to buy them for. Those gorgeous shoes could only be presented with an equally cute card, so I worked hard on this one. It was a great project because I just sat down one evening and decided I was going to make it, and finished it in one sitting. That's what I love about making cards - they can be completed in a short time.



1. I cut strips of patterned and plain pink cardstock to fit the width of the card, in different heights, and used the decorative scissors on the piece at the bottom.

2. I stamped 'Welcome Baby' in brown pigment ink onto plain pink cardstock cut in a circle, then quickly poured on embossing powder and tapped to remove excess. I used a paintbrush to get rid of the stray bits (as well as I could), then hit it with the heat tool for a few minutes until the powder melted and became shiny.  It's a pretty dramatic change, so keep going if you don't see it happen.

3.  I mounted the embossed circle onto a dark pink patterned circle, and then mounted that onto a square of textured cardstock with 3 of the 4 corners rounded (I didn't want to be too symmetric!).

4.  Using the double-sided tape, I attached all of the paper strips to the front of the card, then the embossed piece.  I spelled out 'ELLA' using the cardstock stickers, and then used craft glue to stick the hydrangea cutouts to the card.

5.  The card didn't quite look "complete" so I added a row of faux brads along the top strip of paper.

I'm quite pleased with how this turned out.  I had to restrain myself from using a ton of different pink patterned papers (I've got quite a stash) and stuck with the very cool crown print from my friend Jenn's scrap pile, and then a very subtle dark pink floral for one of the circles under the 'Welcome Baby' stamp.

I obviously can use some practice embossing - there were still stray bits of powder that wouldn't come off, making the design look a little "fuzzy" after embossing.  I tried using a plastic tray to easily recover the leftover powder, but it was very sticky plastic so I ended up just throwing out a bunch of it.  Next time, a plain piece of paper might work better.

The inside of the card was too plain - I probably should have used a bit of the patterned paper to tie it together a bit more.  Also, I cut out all the pieces first so I could move them around to find the best layout.  It's hard for me, because I get anxious to just finish it, but it's really better to save the tape and glue for the last step so I can make last-minute design changes.

My friend J liked the card and the shoes, so it's all good.  Thoughts from the Peanut Gallery?  Was this too traditionally girly?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Supply Love: Atyou Spica Glitter Pens by Too

So, as you already know, I have a thing for pens.  When browsing around various scrapbooking and papercrafting suppliers, I saw all kinds of gel pens.  I'm not a huge fan of gel pens - they smear too easily for my liking, especially on coated surfaces, and I'm often just not patient enough to let them dry.   Next thing you know, I've got ink all over my fingers, the item, and my work table, and I feel like that messy 2nd grader who just couldn't get the hang of the cursive 'r'. 

And then I saw two sets of glitter gel pens, made by Too, the same Japanese company that makes the very popular Copic markers. (More on the Copic markers later, because my Xmas present to myself was a set of those.)

I am a sucker for a nicely packaged multicolor pen set, and if you tell me they're from Japan I'm even more interested. My dad used to travel regularly to Japan on business when I was a kid, and he would always bring back intriguing gifts of pens, chiyogami paper-covered pencils and shiny origami paper.

I waffled for a while. These are not inexpensive pens, at around $25 per set. And did I really need 24 glitter pens? What was I going to use them for? In the end, my pen and sparkle craving won, and I bought the brighter Set A. I found another site where I could buy individual pens, and bought the clear pen, which isn't included in either set, apparently, and the handful of pens I wanted from the pastel-heavy Set B.

And man, these are amazing pens. They dry really fast. The glitter is very fine glass, so it's really sparkly in the right light. It doesn't look like the usual sparkly pens you associate with tween girls. Writing with them is really, really smooth and satisfying. They really do "twinkle like stars" as the cute packaging says.

I've found it best to store them on their side rather than upright - when I first wrote with them after storing them in my nifty IKEA hanging buckets, they seemed sort of dry and scratchy. Turned out that was user error and the pens clearly have instructions to store them on their sides. When I do more rubber stamping, I think they'll be great for coloring in small details and adding a bit of sparkle.

I love using them to write my Thank You notes to my Etsy customers, and to address envelopes. Since they dry so quickly, I'm no longer sending out smeary messes. I also use them to write 'handmade by anandi' on the backs of my cards. The sparkle makes my computer-degraded handwriting look a little nicer :)

Do you have these pens? What do you think?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Experiment 3 - Congratulations Card for the New Mama-To-Be

We have all been sick here for the past couple of weeks, passing around the same cold that came from BabyT's daycare.  It came back for me with a vengeance yesterday and I'm only just awake enough to string a couple of words together for a post.  If it's totally incomprehensible, that's the Nyquil talking.

I've got a running list of folks for whom I need to make New Baby cards and it's growing.  I love having specific people to make cards for - it helps me narrow the design options down and tailor it just for them. 

This one was for my friend N, who is about to have her 4th child (a boy).   I got her a Starbucks card, remembering her love of coffee when we worked together, and figuring that she probably had enough stuff for the baby by now.  Sometimes the mama needs a present too!  I got inspiration from a 2010 Cards magazine example that had a pocket for a coffee card. I selected the patterned paper first, to guide the color palette for the rest of the card.

Card for mama-to-be of new baby boy




  1. Using the paper trimmer, I trimmed the gingham paper just smaller than the card base.   I used the trimmed piece to create a pocket for the gift card - cut to slightly smaller than the width of the card.  I stamped the pocket with the 'congratulations' stamp inked lightly with the Tsukineko ink and put aside to dry.

  2. I used the individual rub on letters to spell 'mama' on a circle cut from the olive cardstock then added the chipboard '4' sticker to the circle.

  3. Now it was time to glue - yippee!  I used my Scotch tape runner to tape the gingham piece to the front of the card. I ran the tape on the sides and bottom of the smaller piece and taped it to the inside of the card, to make a pocket for the gift card.

  4. I glued the 'mama' circle to the front of the card, slightly off center, and added a cork flower with an adhesive rhinestone to the edge. With the craft glue, I added four flower jewels to the bottom of the card in a random pattern.

  5. I wrote my message with my wonderful glitter pens (they deserve their own post later!), put the Starbucks gift card in the pocket, wrote 'handmade by anandi' on the back, then left the card to dry for 24 hours.


I was pretty happy with how this turned out, given that I had limited time to complete it.  I like that cards can be quick projects and once I decide on the basic color scheme, I just have to find a few embellishments to dress it up.   My fabulous husband suggested making the card in portrait orientation rather than landscape, when I found that it looked a little empty in landscape.  So hooray for getting a second set of eyes on it before gluing the bits together.

Cutting out the individual rub-on letters was a good idea, to get the right positioning.   I definitely did well by not gluing anything until I was happy with the placement.  Paperclips might be helpful to try out different layout ideas and not lose little pieces.

I stayed up too late working on this the first night, so I left it without gluing anything.  Coming back to it the second day was easier - I had some new ideas about placement and felt a little more inspired.  So taking a break can be a good thing, even with a deadline looming.  In my case, the "deadline" was lunch with N the next day.  At a certain point, one has to declare the project "done" - I could have messed with it longer, with only incremental improvements.  Cards are good for this too, since eventually you have to give it away to your recipient. 

Your thoughts?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Experiment 2 - Baby Birthday Party Banner

As part of BabyT's first birthday papercraft festivities, I wanted to create one of those cool birthday pennant banners.  But all the ones I've seen online were made from fabric, and I didn't have enough time to learn how to sew.  I thought there must be a way to make one from all of the cool scrapbook paper I had.

So I turned to my trusty friend, The Google, and did a little searching. Just entering 'birthday banner' yielded a bunch of shops with very cheapy-looking vinyl banners and some not very helpful websites with duplicated content. Then I got creative and searched on 'birthday banner tutorial paper' and found Katydid and Kid's most excellent tutorial.  Since she already has lovely pictures and step by step instructions, I'm keeping mine short.


  • Solid colored cardstock

  • Patterned scrapbook paper  (coordinating with each other and the cardstock, but different patterns)

  • White 8.5" x 11 printer paper

  • Curling ribbon



  1. I searched on to find a cute outline font that had upper and lowercase letters.  That site is truly addictive so set a timer, or you'll find yourself still looking at fonts three hours later.  

  2. I entered the text into Microsoft Word and increased the size so it would print two letters per page.  I cut out each letter. (Tedious!)

  3. Using the circle cutter, I cut 6" circles from the cardstock - one per letter plus a couple of extras,  and then cut slightly smaller circles from the patterned paper (5 inches-ish).  (Very tedious!)

  4. I glued the letters onto the patterned paper, then used double-sided tape to tape the patterned paper to the cardstock circles.

  5. I, and my friend Kim who volunteered to help, colored in the letters with the 96-pack of Crayola crayons I've been moving from house to house since college.  I was glad to finally use them for something!  I suppose BabyT will eventually inherit them, so it's all good.

  6. I punched two small holes in each circle, and used curling ribbon to tie them together.  I finally learned how to use a butter knife to make the ribbons curl, and was mildly successful in getting cute ribbon curls between each letter.

  7. I drafted the help of my fabulous husband to hang the banner in our living room, using thumbtacks and embroidery floss.  Everytime T saw it she would point and giggle.
Top and right photos by Kristi Lloyd Photography

This was another project that wasn't technically complex, but took me several days to complete it. Being a mama really cuts down on my uninterrupted crafting time!

  • This time I did use the 'assembly line' system and cut all letters, then all circles, then glued, etc. That made the process go a lot faster. I'd definitely spend less time browsing for fonts - I think I ended up back at one of the first ones I chose anyway.

  • I would have done a better job at coordinating the papers and the crayon colors with each other - I got too much of an eclectic mix of colors and patterns.  I was trying to avoid being too "matchy matchy", but as a result, it didn't come out very cohesive.  Maybe limiting it to a few colors would have been a good start.

  • Next time I might think about printing the letters in color, or using my fancypants Silhouette SD machine to cut the letters out of colored cardstock.  The coloring was fun, but unnecessary.

I've repurposed the banner so that the 'happy' part is hanging in my craft room, and I plan to hang up the 'Trillian' part in her room.  Is this something you might try making?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Stalking my mailbox for craft supplies

Another little known source of craft supplies is my mailbox!

Nah, I'm not talking about something as cool as repurposing junk mail, though I do that for backings on my GeekMagnets.

It's just that with a toddler, going to the craft store is not the relaxing, solitary pursuit it used to be.  Her new trick is to repeat "Mama, all done" when she's tired of whatever we're doing.  I heard it many times today at the grocery, the bookstore, and in the car.  It's cute, but also just a tiny bit stressful, because I can't tell if it's going to turn into a huge meltdown and then therapy when she's 30 because her mama dragged her all over town to find the best deal on patterned paper. 

 So now I order things online after Miss Baby goes to bed. On a side note, hooray for a baby that goes to bed willingly at 6:30pm, to allow mama more online shopping/supply stalking/crafting time!

[caption id="attachment_82" align="aligncenter" width="514" caption="Photos by and"]Lovely, gorgeous patterned paper for crafts[/caption]

So what am I waiting for now, with bated breath?  That's right, more paper.  Because a girl can always use more paper, right?  To be precise, I'm waiting for 550 sheets of paper, from two different shops on Etsy.  Again, it's an assortment, so I'm not sure what I'm getting, but I can't wait to go through it.

And my paper-lovin' friend Jenn will benefit from it too, because she often likes the stuff I don't for her scrapbooks.  So hooray for paper!  Of course, I'll post photos of the good stuff when it arrives. 

But right now, I'm being very diligent about checking the mail and following the USPS tracking website.  Is it here yet?  How about now?  Now?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Most Wonderful Elusive Pen in the World - Uniball Jetstream

(reposted, slightly updated from my personal blog at

When I was a kid, I LOVED back-to-school shopping – all those new writing implements, pristine notebooks, folders, planners, yay!

I would start out perfectly organized, using my best handwriting for my notes (this was in the Dark Ages, before laptops were common). In college, I even had a system of using multiple colored pens and highlighters to take lecture notes. And those were some pretty notes. It hurt to put them in the recycle bin after lugging them from house to house for 10 years.

I now have free access to (mediocre) office supplies at work so I don’t have any major occasions to shop for stationery or school supplies. But I crave them.

[caption id="attachment_76" align="alignleft" width="168" caption="photo from "]Uniball JetStream Pens[/caption]

I found a pen on my desk the day I returned from maternity leave and it was a Marvelous Pen. It was like the Pen Fairy had left me a present welcoming me back to work – the perfect combination of rollerball/gel pen, with a nice squashy grip and unbelievably smooth writing action. I loved that pen. Until my coworker Michelle saw it one day, and told me it was her lost pen. She knew it was a Marvelous Pen, and she wanted it back, so I grudgingly gave it back to her.

For months I sought that pen: Target, Office Depot, Staples. For some reason I never bought the right one – I knew the brand (Uniball Jet Stream RT), but every pack I bought wasn’t quite right.

The Target pens were too light and plasticky and were more traditional ballpoint than rollerball.

TJ bought one pack for me at Office Depot, but those were too inky and not “gel” enough.

I bought another set at Staples, but the point was far too fine. At that point, I had enough pens that we’d never need to buy more, but the quest still continued.

A few months ago, I bought what I thought was a set of 3 Marvelous Pens. Bold, rollerball, from Office Depot, with a nice weight to them. But sadly, these are not the droids (um, pens) I was looking for either. They are too ball-pointy, and don’t have the nice squishy grip.  They are the closest match, but still not quite right.  I feel like Goldilocks.

I thought I was destined not to ever find these pens, but I have one last place to try.  Another coworker introduced me to JetPens, a site that sells Japanese office supplies.  Their Uniball JetStream selection is different, so I'm hopeful.  I haven't placed the order yet, though, because I'm not ready to face the disappointment if they're not the right ones.  Soon, though.

Do you have a pen story?

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