Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pipsticks - monthly sticker subscription review

I just got my first Pipsticks envelope in the mail and I was swooning over the packaging right away. Everyone knows about my affinity for clear envelops since I professed my love last December.
fresh crafts blog - Pipsticks subscription review
Pipsticks came to my attention last December when an ad popped up in my Facebook feed. I clicked through and kept going back every few days...I couldn't get the idea of a sticker subscription out of my head. In grade school I had a sticker book and collected all the best glitter, fuzzy, puffy stickers the early 90s had to offer. I don't have that sticker book any more. But because I have been crafting for my entire adult life I clearly don't need any more stickers. See for yourself. This stack of 12" x 12" bins is half stickers...mostly ABC stickers from scrapbooking.
fresh crafts blog - Pipsticks subscription review
Eeek! I can't believe I showed that to everyone. Despite all those stickers sitting in a bin, I decided to try this out for just a month. I want to show you what I got in the January Pro Club Classic subscription kit from Pipsticks. This is not sponsored in any way, I just found something that I really like and wanted to share it.
fresh crafts blog - Pipsticks subscription review
These are all of my favorites from the kit this month. My daughter LOVES flamingos so I will do something special for her with those. And I loved the small size of most stickers so I can use them in my planner. There are lots of glitter and gold stickers (which match my gold striped planner). And I had already seen the one sheet with woodland animals on the Pipsticks website and loved it.
fresh crafts blog - Pipsticks subscription review
I received 15 sheets of stickers (ranging in size as you can see), 1 postcard (with a stamp!), 1 double-sided art card, and a newsletter. Out of all those things there were 4 sheets that I didn't care for (below). 
  • 2 sheets that I will never use and my daughter didn't want (large hipster animals and Japanese stylized animals)
  • 1 that I partially used and gave her the rest
  • and this 1 gold sheet that I want to love but the images aren't really my style

fresh crafts blog - Pipsticks subscription review
Since I like to make cards for all holidays, I would have loved to see more Valentine's stickers in this kit. There were 2 sheets of hearts and none of the rest are holiday or "love" themed. The kit is also supposed to include "reusable packaging", but the glassine envelope with Pipsticks name and a sticker closing it is kind of a stretch. Right? I have already used some of the stickers in my Heidi Swapp monthly planner (below). 
fresh crafts blog - Pipsticks subscription review
I'm planning to use them in there and by making a few postcards to send to friends using this Amy Tangerine postcard stamp by American Crafts.
fresh crafts blog - Pipsticks subscription review
Overall I would give this specific Pipsticks kit an 8.5/10. This takes everything I mentioned into account and also factors in that I got it using a coupon code. I paid $11.22 (that is 25% off the normal $14.95). I think I am going to try one more month (at full price) to see what I get. But unless my daughter and I start using them all up (it's so hard not to hoard the pretty ones!) I don't think I will stay on every month. Please let me know what you think or if you have any other craft subscriptions you can recommend.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

new year, new planner. happy 2017!

I have always had a wall calendar at home to track family birthdays and school schedules. I am so excited about the photo calendar I made using Shutterfly this year - Whimsical Florals style. It's a bit smaller than my normal wall calendar at 8" x 11" (so I have to write appointments really small), but I love the photo quality and how easy it was to customize. Since it is full of photos of my kids I chose not to share the final result here. Trust me - it looks fabulous!
fresh crafts blog - new year, new planner
I am also starting a paper planner this year that I plan to use for journaling and memory keeping. I picked up a Heidi Swapp Gold Stripe Monthly Planner (by American Crafts) last year. I'm hoping to add a few photos every month and business cards or other mementos from our adventures. It is also a great way to keep myself accountable for personal goals and to do lists. I love lists!
fresh crafts blog - new year, new planner
This was also the first chance I've taken to use my Fuse tool. The Heidi Swapp planner comes with one pocket page for each month and I want to alternate shaker pockets, photos, and matching Heidi Swapp gold foil cards. I botched the first attempt at using the Fuse and had to trim a thin slice off the top of the pocket page. That sucker was really hot and melted right through everything when I went too slow.
fresh crafts blog - new year, new planner
I have a bin full of planner "stuff" out on the table to keep things quick and easy. I know if I get more than a day or two behind it will be hard to ever catch up. And the whole point for me, is to capture the special little details every day that may slip my memory.
fresh crafts blog - new year, new planner
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope to capture all kind of happy memories and make lots of time for crafts in 2017.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

fresh christmas cards 2016

I'm done! I am so happy to have all of my Christmas cards in the mail and I love the way they turned out. I didn't have to buy any new materials (aside from the postage and photo prints) and got to use some supplies that I really love. Hooray! They were done on December 1st but it took me a few days to get photos. 
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
I wanted to use clear envelopes without mailing labels, so I needed to address the dark purple metallic paper that was the card backing. Originally, I tried using copper ink and pens to tie in with the copper metallic thread I used, but the white stood out much better.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
The return address was stamped with Hero Arts Unicorn White Pigment Ink and then embossed with WOW Super Fine White Embossing Powder. I had to learn the hard way that the white pigment ink never dried on the metallic paper.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
My Christmas cards evolved a bit from the sketch I made a few months back. After I started die-cutting all the layers and did a test version, I streamlined the process and was able to eliminate one layer by sewing along the bottom to hold the photo in place.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
There are three layers of paper sewn together using my trusty Janome sewing machine: metallic backing, vellum die cut with falling stars, and a kraft layer with the die cut deer family. The photo just slid in between the vellum and backing so you can see it in the clear envelope and the recipient can remove it at any time.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
I judged this project as a success because I managed to finish off an entire bottle of Stickles in the process. Merry Christmas to all!

Update 12.9.2016
I have had three cards returned to me, but lots of people saying they arrived just fine. The first two returned looked as if they had gotten stuck in the USPS equipmet. But the card today was perfectly fine and had gone all the way to California and then returned. Apparently the plastic envelopes are on the postal service's naughty list.

die cuts - Memory Box "Deer Trio" | Simon Says Stamp "Falling Stars"
paper - Stardream "Ruby" metallic paper | glitter vellum | Neenah "Desert Storm" paper | Basic Grey "Wreath" patterned paper
glitter - Stickles "Star Dust"
stamps - Lawn Fawn "Trim the Tree" | Martha Stewart "Serif" alphabet | custom return address from Etsy
ink - Hero Arts "Unicorn" | Memento "Cosmic Copper" | Memento "Tuxedo Black"
embossing - EK Success powder tool | WOW Super Fine White Embossing Powder
pens - white Sakura Gelly Roll | Copic marker (tree trunk)
other - Coats Metallic "Copper" thread | crystal clear envelope

Saturday, October 22, 2016

coloring with ZIG clean color real brush markers

fresh crafts blog: ZIG clean color real brush markers
I had some crafting time with my daughter a few days ago and I was able to stamp and die cut all the shapes from the Avery Elle "polar pals" stamp set. This morning I'm spending some time coloring and learning to love my ZIG Clean Color Real Brush markers.

I don't know if it is due to the marker colors in the 36 set or if it is a user error, but I am having some trouble blending the pinks. However this shows that I am getting better. Celebrate the small stuff!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

51 Christmas cards to make

This is the year I promised myself I would start making handmade Christmas cards again. And since it has been years since I have attempted it (4 years since I made these honeycomb Christmas tree cards) I have a really complicated idea for what I want to accomplish. It is a book style card, with layers and a pocket inside for a photo. I have it sketched out and have a month and a half to get all 51 cards finished up. So far, I have the Lawn Fawn trees stamped on Basic Grey paper (Copic colored trunks) and they are waiting to be fussy cut.
fresh crafts blog: christmas cards 2016
Ironically, I think it is going to be more difficult to get a good photo of my two kids to include than to finish all of these labor intensive cards. If you need me anytime soon, I'll be working on these! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I built a bed!

fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm alexa bed
I had this crazy idea to build a king size bed frame. We moved in 2014, but saved our own room as the last one to paint, decorate, and furnish. After sleeping in a deep, dark red room for two years my mom offered to paint it for us. That really got the ball rolling because I was in love with the room again once that dark red hue was gone and I was surrounded in serene Benjamin Moore "Misted Green" paint.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame
But once it came down to actually buying new furniture my budget got the best of me. I have expensive taste and limited secondhand furniture options because we live in a small town. I picked out this set of instructions for a DIY West Elm Alexa reclaimed wood bed frame.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame
My mom also agreed to help me out with the construction and teach me how to use some new to me power tools. It took me three weekends, and cost just about $260 for all the supplies needed - I had the wood stain and power tools, but needed to buy everything else including a Kreg jig.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame
There were a few mistakes along the way, and a steep learning curve on the Kreg jig because I misinterpreted the very vague instructions. But I finished it, pictured below at 95% complete (before the center rail and slats were installed), AND it hasn't fallen apart yet. It really is exactly the bed I would have purchased if I had unlimited decorating funds. Unfortunately I think that building a matching dresser is much too complicated, so I am on the hunt for a gently used dresser to refinish.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame

Monday, May 30, 2016

watercolor pineapple

I wanted to send cards to a couple family members that visited recently, and the Hero Arts paper layering pineapple die was the perfect thing to get me started.
fresh crafts blog: watercolor pineapple
To start, I outlined the die on watercolor paper and colored it in using ZIG Clean Color Real Brush pens (from the set of 36). When the watercolor was almost dry (because I am super impatient) I used the pineapple die, bent the layers back, and glued it onto a pre-made card.
fresh crafts blog: watercolor pineapple
I also used a die cut sentiment from Avery Elle's Stay Fresh set, and adhered it to the interior of the card. This also happened to be the perfect project for the Simon Says "Anything Goes" challenge this week.
fresh crafts blog: watercolor aloha card
die cuts - Hero Arts (paper layering pineapple), Avery Elle (stay fresh)
watercolor - ZIG Clean Color Real Brush Pens
watercolor paper - Loew Cornell
adhesive - Tombo Mono Multi liquid glue
card base - Michael's