Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful & Start of A Banner Year

It's been a rough week for BabyM (and us!). Her doctor warned us that her peak fussy time would be 6-8 weeks. BabyM is usually pretty mellow and sleepy, but in the past several days has had a really hard time falling asleep and won't, unless she's sleeping ON someone. Which is a little difficult at say, 1am, when I just really want to go back to bed after feeding her.  But TJ has often "taken one for the team" and let her sleep on him while they watch movies late into the night.

Despite all this, I'm so excited to have completed a whole crafty project from start to finish this week.  I made a new banner for our mantel.  I have a bit of an obsession with making banners.  I've made them for T's 1st 2 birthdays, one for the board where we display her artwork, and one for our mantel about a year ago with some of her baby pictures.  

Last Saturday, BabyM and I went to the CKC scrapbooking convention and wandered around the hall doing a little shopping.  One of the booths had tons of cute banners decorating it, and that inspired me to make a fall banner of my own.  Click for a larger view.

This came together pretty easily, thanks to my trusty Silhouette SD die cutting machine.  I'm currently taking a class online on how to get more out of it, and it's been great.  I'm really glad I bought it, though it's taken me a few years to use it regularly.

Lessons learned and quick tips:

  • Measure the total space before cutting out the banner shapes (duh).  I randomly picked a size, and realized that I'd need to put more nails in our mantel, and even then it just barely fits.
  • Wood veneer shapes look great when colored with Copic markers, or slathered in Stickles glitter glue. (I love sparkle!)
  • Use the "Offset" feature in the Silhouette software to make the "shadows" for the letters and to make the inner/outer shapes for the pennants themselves.
  • Use the 'Double Cut' setting in the Silhouette software to get nice clean cuts that peel off the mat like buttah.
  • Cut a similar piece of paper you don't love to "test" the blade and speed settings, before cutting into that special paper.  I had only one sheet of the metallic gold vellum, so I used another vellum sheet first to cut out the hearts as a test.
  • Don't adhere anything with permanent adhesive until you've figured out where *everything* goes.  (this is a problem for me!)
  • It's easier to use the Silhouette to put pre-cut holes in each pennant than try to punch them manually (and evenly!) later.  (This I learned the hard way.)
  • Tapestry needles work great for handsewing with thick thread like embroidery floss - they're easy to thread and handle.

I had a LOT of fun with this.  And then I thought, why stop there? It's part of a new bigger project I'm starting called "A Banner Year".  I will make a new decorative banner for our mantel each month through Oct 2013.  If I pack them carefully, I should be able to reuse them for many years to come, until I get sick of them and want to replace them.

I love the idea of decorating our house with things I've made.  Now I just need more time!


  1. Very nice indeed - you did rock your cameo!

  2. Fabulous banner, love the fall colors!

  3. Love the banner! Violet is 13 months now and I'm already missing her baby self. Thanks for the reminder that with cuteness comes pain! Violet is our last and it is bitter-sweet. I'm looking forward to spending more time on my other roles besides Mommy, but I'm also looking backward and thinking fondly of those sweet baby moments.

    1. I know! The bad stuff seems to be interminable, but really, the whole thing is so short.

  4. super cute! i love that the letters are layered on brown! :)

  5. I love your craftiness. :) I inherited a Cricut, but generally have no vision when it comes to these sorts of things, so at the moment, it's a big ass paperweight. Cuz it gets awfully windy in my house, you know.

    1. Planning any trips to Seattle? We can totally figure out your Cricut together! :) And seriously, I'm not artistic at all, just good at assembling things and using tools!


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