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Sep 14, 2015

Celebrating Cath + Technique Tuesday Blog Hop

It makes my heart happy when good things happen to good people. I've known Cath Edvalson for many, many years while working with Paper Crafts Magazine & she's truly one of the best. I am so excited today to be able to celebrate her & showcase some of her new products!

Please join me in this blog hop to see many more inspirational posts featuring Cath's beautiful designs. If you started from the beginning (the Technique Tuesday blog) then you should have arrived here from Laura Bassen's blog. Please read on to find out how you can win an awesome prize pack of your own!

Cath makes the most beautiful paper cuts & those designs inspired her new collection of stamps & metal dies. While these products will definitely be perfect to use on handmade cards & layouts... I've decided to go a different route. I've been obsessed with fabric lately & have been busy working on new tote bags & other products for my Etsy shop.

My recent tote bag was just crying out for some decorative details & Cath's metal dies allowed me to do just that.  I used her new Garden Flowers & Garden Leaves dies along with fabric to dress up my design.  I found that it's best to iron Heat'n Bond to your fabric & then die cut your elements. This allows you to create fabric pieces that can easily be ironed onto your project for a permanent bond.
 I flipped the leaf die for the second die cut to create a mirrored image.
 These dies cut so precisely & I love how my bag embellishment coordinates perfectly with the inside lining.
 I added a coordinating button & made a tag using the Heartfelt Thanks stamp set.
You can find the "Catherine Tote Bag" in my Etsy shop!
Technique Tuesday is going to give away three prizes!!! One person will win a package consisting of all 5 of Cath's new products. Technique Tuesday will also give away two $25 gift certificates.
The three winners will be chosen at random from all the comments left during the hop on all the blog stops. To be eligible to win, blog hoppers need to just leave a comment any of the blog hop stops. The more comments they leave during the hop,  the more chances they have to win.
You have through midnight PST on Sept. 16th, 2015, to leave comments. The three winners will be announced on the Technique Tuesday blog on Sept. 18th, 2015. *I approve all comments before they'll show up on my blog, so don't be alarmed if your comment doesn't show up right away.

From here, hop over to Lisa Adametz' blog!

Sep 1, 2015

My Week in the Life Album 2015 + Video

I just finished my first Week In The Life album - actually my first ever album - and wanted to share a little about my process & what the project meant to me. I have a video at the end of my post that goes through every page in my book & some of the stories of our week. I've started mini albums in the past, but I've never completed them, so I felt like I needed to give myself a big round of applause when I finished my last page.

If you're not familiar with the Week In The Life  project, it's a concept originated by Ali Edwards with the purpose of capturing a week of time of your life in photos & words. I like to think of it as a time capsule of my life right now.

I've been thinking about memory keeping in a new light lately. Story centered memory keeping just makes sense to me & it's like a light bulb finally went off in my head & I understand why people scrapbook and how meaningful it can be. For me, it's not about adding another creative outlet to my day or playing with pretty paper or artful techniques. It's about telling the stories of your life and allowing the paper & products to come alongside & tell a visual story that sometimes words alone can't express. Don't get me wrong - I love the scrapbooking *stuff* just as much as the next person, but because my focus has changed, the purpose for using those products has changed & my thirst for storytelling is in full force.
I purchased the Week in the Life kit off of Ali's site & I'm so glad I did. Not only did it come with the perfect sized album, but the prompts & products included were a great jumping off point.  I also purchased these Memory Keeping Doodle Prompt Printables from Brandi Kinkade's shop & they really helped me to get things organized and documented... and to top it off, they're super cute! Another great resource are the Daily Sheets which are free on Ali's website.  I talk about all of these resources in my video, but wanted to give you links just in case you wanted to check them out for yourself.
I found that Post-it notes were my best friends. I worked on a day or two at a time & jotted down stories that I wanted to tell & photos (with sizes listed) that I wanted to print out.
Throughout the week, I collected as much ephemera as I could. It's just another visual reminder of what life was like this week for me. Some people's albums are very sleek, clean, & modern & I think they look amazing... but I really wanted to let my personality shine through in this album, so it's full of mismatched pages, lots of color, texture, & what I like to call "fresh vintage" details.

The great thing about this project is - there are no rules! Capture what's meaningful to you in a way that speaks to your heart. Make it as simple or complex as you like it. I am a person who likes to add a lot of details. It just makes me happy & being happy motivates me to keep going. I smile every time I flip through my album & see this shop tag. It immediately reminds me of the happy mail that I received that day & gives me such a clear visual of that moment. (I mentioned Christine Herrin's shop a few times in my video & this Happy Mail printable was a free download that she sent to her newsletter recipients.)
I'm not a great photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn't allow that to be a road block for me. All of my photos were taken with my iPhone & to me, they're good enough. They serve the purpose & I love them even if the lighting was bad or the composition wasn't perfect. I printed out all of my photos at Walgreens because I could upload them from home & by the time I reached the store, they were ready for me to pick up. Again, not the highest quality prints, but it worked, it was very inexpensive, & it allowed me to get my album finished... and that's what my top priority was.
So... without further ado, here is my completed Week In The Life album:

Aug 10, 2015

Hazel Makes {My New Etsy Shop}

I've always been a "maker" and love everything from paper to fabric to paint.  One day I'm making a set of handmade cards & the next, I'm making a quilt. I collect fabric like I do patterned paper & recently I decided that it was time to give my collection a life of its own & turn it into something with purpose.

I created a new Etsy shop called Hazel Makes. When I started thinking about a name for my shop, I knew it would probably be filled with an eclectic mix of things. I've never been one to fixate on one project and make the same thing day in & day out. I wanted a name that would allow me to make whatever was on my heart & not feel like I had to be boxed into one product for the rest of my days.
So why Hazel Makes? When I was younger, I use to hate that my eyes were a mixture of colors. My friends all had either bright blue or dark brown shades & I wanted to be able to assign a label to my own. One day they were green & the next they were gray. Sometimes they looked blue and other times they had hints of gold. When I was a teenager, I thought colored contacts would be the solution to my color conundrum, but after trying out every shade imaginable, I suddenly realized that I liked the color I was born with the most.  And now that I'm older, I realize that my ever changing eye color fits my personality to a T. 

Over the past month, I've been stitching up some of my favorite designer fabrics into little zipper pouches.

This one was inspired by my favorite Liberty of London coffee mug:
 ...and I love anything with the Swiss cross icon. I think this one would be so cute filled with bandages & first aid supplies. :)
Each of my bags are unique and one-of-a-kind. They're perfect for keeping all of your little things in life organized, such as pencils, makeup, money, etc.  You can find my current listings here:

Be sure to check back soon & see what new project is in the works!

Jul 29, 2015

Marketing for Creatives online class

I wanted to pop in & tell you about one of the newest online classes at Studio Calico. Marketing for Creatives is a unique educational opportunity & I personally could use a lot of direction in this area.  I started a small creative business locally and I think this class is going to be just what I need to branch out and grow.
Here's a little more information about the class:

- Go from hobbyist to professional
- Gather inspiration for design and branding of your online presence
- Establish a marketing strategy where your creative blog is the home base for your complete online presence
- Develop great content and community that will keep fans coming back for more
- The basics of monetizing, partnerships, collaborations, and contributors
- Overview and ideas for using major social channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and newcomers, Snapchat and Periscope (Hint: You don't have to do it all!)

- 4 weeks of lessons and videos from Amber sharing expert advice from her 10 years of blogging and her professional marketing experience
- Features from guest bloggers and creatives who will let you in on their secrets and give you tips and resources to either get started or take your online presence to a new level
- Weekly assignments and action plans to get it done
- Live, group Q & A chat
- Access to a class message board and gallery, where you can share and learn with your teacher and fellow students
- Printable blog planner sheets from Hello Forever, including a content calendar, post planner, and a monthly check-in sheet to help you track your stats and set goal

If this sounds like something you'd like to check out, you can visit Studio Calico to learn more. The class starts in September & registration ends on September 1st.

Jun 10, 2015

Take a Peek at Postmarked 02 - My Newest Class from Big Picture Classes!

I'm excited to share a peek into Postmarked 02, my latest online class in the Postmarked series from Big Picture Classes!

BPC is an amazing online source for creative education.  You'll find classes on card making, scrapbooking, photography, DIY, and more!  The site is a membership, meaning - you pay a small fee each month & have access to the full library of classes.

For a short time, you can take my class FOR FREE!  Find out more below.
I really think you're going to love what's in store for Postmarked 02!

In this class, I'll show you how to make a customized stationery set that's full of color!  Learn how to revitalize supplies you have on hand with a dye bath and create beautiful cards that have been dip dyed.

The class comes with free templates to make handmade envelopes & a stationery box.  These sets are just gorgeous and make perfect gifts!  The templates come in both pdf & .studio files for the Silhouette Cameo.

I'll also show you techniques for creating monogrammed cards through dry embossing & hand embroidery.

One of my favorite things about this class is that you can use whatever supplies you have on hand!  It's a great way to revitalize your stash & create projects that fit your own unique style.

So, are you ready to check out Postmarked 02?  For a limited time, you can take my class & any class at BPC FOR FREE!

Use the code: BPCJULIE to get a free one month trial membership to the site.

*Free month trial promotion ends August 22nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST. First month free offer valid only on new memberships and is not valid for current or previous members. Click the “Start Your Free Trial” button and follow the steps to begin your free trial.  Enter promo code in promo box and continue checkout process. Not valid on previous purchases. Must enter promo code at checkout. Refunds will not be issued for misused or non-entered codes. 

I hope to see you in class!

Jun 8, 2015

Traveler's Notebook Inserts

As soon as I finished making my Traveler's Notebook cover, I was itching to put it to use!  (You can find the tutorial here.)  I love the basic kraft Moleskine journals that are available... but I didn't want to invest a lot of money into a simple notebook, so I decided to make my own.
I have so many beautiful pieces of patterned paper that I've been hoarding from my Studio Calico scrapbooking kits & it was time to put them to use!

It's so easy to make your own notebook inserts!
  1. Cut a piece of patterned paper & fold it in the middle.  This is now the cover of your notebook.
  2. Fold several sheets (I used ~10) of loose leaf notebook paper or grid paper in half.  Don't worry about cutting them to size quite yet.
  3. Place the paper inside of the notebook cover, lining up the center crease.
  4. Use a long reach stapler to secure paper together.  You can also hand-stitch or machine stitch the crease.
  5. Fold the notebook and trim away the paper that extends beyond the journal cover.  You can use a heavy duty paper trimmer or a straight edge ruler/blade.
If you want to secure more than two journals inside of your Traveler's Notebook, you'll need to add an extra elastic loop around the middle page of your notebook and the spine.  I used leftover elastic cord, but you can also use large rubber bands.  Once you have this loop in place, you can slip a second journal onto the elastic that's on the outside spine of the first journal.  Now both journals can slide under the elastic that's part of the leather cover. (This sounds tricky, but it's super simple.  If you need a visual, there are a lot of videos available on YouTube.)

Now that I've completed a few journals, I think I might make some modifications for next time.  Instead of stapling the inside paper onto the {hoarded} paper cover, I think I'll staple just the paper and then place the cover around the bound pages.  The elastic will hold the cover & paper together & when my pages are full, I can simply remove them and insert a new set of pages without having to discard my pretty covers.
My first notebook will be used for menu planning & grocery lists.  The second is for jotting down notes & the third will be an expense/mileage tracker.

These planners can be used in so many different ways & I love how they can be customized so easily.   

Jun 7, 2015

DIY Midori-Style Traveler's Notebook Tutorial

 I've been looking for ways to better organize my life, especially with the launch of my new business this summer.  I need a simple way to keep track of expenses, organize receipts, create shopping lists, jot down new ideas, etc. and I think a Traveler's Notebook is going to be a perfect fit!

If you're not familiar with a Traveler's Notebook, it's basically a leather cover with elastic bands that you can fill with multiple notebooks, journals, folders, etc.  The original cover is called a Midori & other versions are sometimes referred to as a Fauxdori or Traveler's Notebook (TN.)

Studio Calico just announced a new online workshop called Everyday Traveler that explains the process & provides several unique ideas for utilizing this type of organizer.  The class kit also comes with a free stamp set (while supplies last) & they have several new products in the shop that work well in these types of planners.  There are even printable journal inserts made specifically for these notebooks.  Don't forget to use the coupon code below!  Registration is open until June 30th and class begins on July 6th.
Some people use the Traveler's Notebook to document their travels (hence the name) but these organizers can be used for almost anything.  As I mentioned earlier, my first TN is going to be used to help me keep track of my business, but I'm planning on making a second one to use alongside my Illustrated Faith bible journaling (separate notebooks for a prayer journal, favorite verses, sermon notes, etc.)

After researching Midoris & Traveler's Notebooks, the only thing holding me back was the price.  Most covers retail for $35+ and knowing that I wanted to have at least a couple organizers, I decided to make my own.
 I purchased an 8-1/2" x 11" piece of tooling leather and decided to keep the size exactly as it came.  The actual Midori organizers are just a hair smaller, but I wanted the extra room to accommodate several notebooks and tabs if I chose to use them.
 You can keep the corners "as is" or if you have a Corner Chomper, you can round the corners really easily.
I like color & decided to bring in a little more personalization with fabric. (This fabric is Joel Dewberry's Bungalow.)  I cut (2) 8-1/2" x 5" pieces and applied Heat n Bond. (This is basically double sided adhesive for fabric that you apply with an iron.)
 Follow the package directions & iron the fabric onto the inside of the notebook.  I left some space in the middle because I didn't want my fabric to accidentally buckle/ripple when I closed the organizer.
 Find the center of the back flap of your organizer and create a hole through the leather using an awl or nail.  Starting from the inside, thread a piece of elastic cord through the leather & back to create a loop. (I left a long tail and stretched the elastic around my organizer to determine the appropriate length.)  Tie a knot and trim the ends of the elastic. *Elastic cord is very inexpensive (mine was $1.99) & can be found in any craft & hobby shop.
Using a ruler, measure and mark two holes on each end of your organizer.  (Mine were 1/4" & 3/4" on the center.)
 Punch holes to create the placement for the elastic bands in the center of your organizer.  I used a rotary punch, but you could also use an awl/nail again.  I do think the punch works really well & gives the TN a very professional appearance.  If you're going to make several of these, it might be worth the investment.
 Thread elastic cord through the top hole starting from the front of your TN and then through the bottom hole.
 Come back up through the remaining hole on the bottom and through the remaining hole on the top.
The ends of your cord should be coming out the top front of your TN.  You'll want to pull the cord somewhat snug until the leather just starts to curve upward.  (It will straighten out once closed, but this will allow your journals to be held in place.)

 You can tie off your elastic now & call it a day... or you can add some customization.  I decided to paint some wooden beads to coordinate with my fabric.  (I used a combination of Studio Calico's Color Theory paint, Liquitex heavy body, & Bear latex paint for these.)  Just use whatever you have on hand... but if you happen to have Liquitex paints, they are definitely my favorite!
I tied my beads in place and kept my elastic long in case I wanted to use it as a placeholder later.
If you feel like your organizer is a little stiff or isn't folding as well as you'd like, just spritz the entire cover with a little water & let it absorb.  This makes your leather much more pliable.  Just fold & place a heavy object on it for about 10 minutes.  I love how my TN turned out.  It feels very sturdy, yet soft to the touch.
 After I was finished with my organizer, I decided that I wanted to personalize it a bit.  I had some leather labels from this Inspirational Stamp Set (metal stamps that leave impressions in leather) and used Melody Ross' metal alphabet stamps to add my name.  I love it when I have things like this on hand!  It adds so much without adding any cost to the project.

I did have to untie my center elastic so that I could thread my name label onto it, so if you want to add anything onto your center cord, you might want to plan ahead and save yourself a step. ;)
 When using metal stamps, make sure to wet your leather first & let the leather soak in the water for a couple of seconds.  This will allow the leather to accept the impressions much more easily.
I couldn't be happier with how my traveler's notebook turned out & I hope you give it a try!

In my next blog post, I'll show you how to make your own notebook inserts to fill up your organizer.

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