Back to School Gift Ideas with AstroBrights Paper

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have your kiddos gone back to school yet? Our summer officially ended when my boys went back to school this past Friday. And although it stinks to say good-bye to summer, good-bye to the beach and pool and the late summer nights, WE are all excited about the new school year.


Being a former teacher myself, I love to show teacher appreciation and I’ve tried to pass this along to my boys. I l try as often as I can to make little gifts, treats or cards for the boys’ teachers to show my gratitude for all they do. And at the beginning of the year, I know they need supplies. So gift cards (Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, etc) are the best thing you can give them!

So I knew exactly what we were going to do with this lovely batch of AstroBrights sent to me int he mail.

I was going to create some cute gift card holders.

I found some darling “scholarly” designer paper to coordinate with the AstroBrights paper.

The first project with a little pocket on the front to hold the gift card.

 I used my Silhouette CAMEO to cut the pocket and the ticket.

The rest of the pieces are cut to fit and punched. The layout if very similar to my popsicle card.

The little pocket has preferrated edges that you fold which are glued to the surface of the card.

Here is the card once the pieces are secured. I found some coordinating bright turquoise blue baker’s twine to loop through the tag.

The gift card fits perfectly on the tag and right inside the pocket! {In case you are wondering, I’m not giving them an ITunes gift card! It’s the only one I had on hand.}

The next is a cute little gift card box. I can’t take credit for designing this one. We made it in Stamp Club and my demonstrator, Angie Guy, created it.

I started by cutting the faces of the box and the decorative flowers. These were all cut using Stampin Up! dies.

Next I had to create the box that holds the cards. You do this by cutting a sheet of  5 1/2″ x 6″ paper. Score the 6″ side at 1″ and 5″. Score the 5 1/2″ side at 2 1/2″ & 3 1/2″ Then cut slits as shown below.

Then the scored edges are folded and creased with a bone folder and glued together to make a box that is open at one end.

Large 4″ and 3.5″ scalloped circles were cut with my Silhouette CAMEO. I used the same color as the face of the box and the designer paper. I also added a rhinestone embellishment in the center of the small, layered flowers.

After gluing the two large scallop circles together, lay them over the top of the box and gently crease a mark for each of the box faces. After the creases have been made, use a bone folder to finish the folds. Attach the inner side of the scallops to the back side of the box.

Then you just attach the smaller flowers to the front of the box and use velcro with adhesive backing to hold the closed.

Check them out…

Fun and bright! What a great way to celebrate back to school!

Want your paper announcements and projects to get noticed? Want your newletters, flyers and brochures to stand out from the others in that pile of papers? AstroBrights paper is the solution!

AstroBrights papers come in 23 brightly colored shades sure to stand out in the “crowd” of paper stacks. 

And don’t miss your chance to enter the “Give a Brighter Year” sweepstakes

Enter your favorite elementary school to win $30,000 in supplies! And, if they win, lucky you will also get $500! Talk about a win-win situation!

AstroBrights is also hosting “Make Something Astrobright” design challenge.  This contest is designed to bring families together and encourage creativity. What will your family create with AstroBrights paper? There is a different challenge each week so be sure to check it out! You can enter both of these things by going to the AstroBrights paper Facebook page.


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Handmade Burp Cloths for Baby Brighton

One of my best friends Mary Beth, who I’ve known for over twenty years, just had her first baby. Andrew Brighton (called Brighton) was born on Wednesday.

Isn’t he the sweetest?!

So I made her some custom burp cloths. The first set of burp cloths I’ve ever made! I found a set of three white burp cloths at Hobby Lobby for only $9.99. I searched through my stash of fabric and found this fun orange polka dot fabric and some coordinating colored fabric.

I used Heat’n Bond iron on adhesive on the backside of each of the fabrics. You basically lay it on the fabric and run a hot iron over it for about 20-30 seconds.

Once the adhesive is attached, you just peel away the paper layer. Don’t forget this step. I do frequently and then have to start all over.

I cut the letter “B” out of one of my fabric pieces using my Silhouette CAMEO.

Then attached it to the burp cloth by holding a hot iron on it for 30 seconds, constantly moving the iron.

Then I added some decorative strips as well.

 I cut the strips with my Stampin Up Sizzix Tasteful Trims Die.

I also cut several other pieces using this die and arranged them on the other two burp cloths.

I was going to stop here but I started thinking about all the wear and tear these things go through.  So I decided to add stitching across each piece.

And here is what they looked like when they were finished!

Kinda cute, huh? I was pretty impressed with myself for my first try!

I hope baby Brighton likes them!

Congratulations Mary Beth & John!



Last Minute Teacher’s Gift

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw this photo I posted.

I was at Target last Wednesday, in search of a last-minute gifts for Parker Reese’s teachers, and, of course, was side-tracked by the Dollar Spot! It gets me every time! As I was ooohing and aaahing at all the fun summer stuff, I started getting an idea for the perfect gift! Thirty minutes and about $50 later (not all was for the teachers) this is what I came home with.

target dollar spot stationary

Yeah, I went a little crazy! I couldn’t help it! It was all so cute and fun!

target dollar spot stationary

By the time I returned from my impulse shopping, I only had about 20 minutes to get these gifts together before school was over! By the way, let me make it clear that teachers are worth way more than a quickly thrown together present, but my absent mind didn’t realize that it was the last day of school! DUH!

So I took the cute little buckets and personalized them by adding a vinyl monogram cut with my Silhouette CAMEO.

monogram bucket

I stuffed some tissue paper in the bottom of the buckets. I kinda wish I had some shredded paper, but tissue was all I could get so last minute.

gift wrap bucket

These polkadot clipboards are adorable, right? Well I grabbed some coordinating ribbon from my stash to jazz them up a little bit.

embellish clipboard

The clipboards had a little hole at the top to hang the clipboards on a nail or tack. I stacked the ribbon on top of each other, fed it through the hole, and tied it in a knot.

embellish clipboard ribbon

I stuck the clipboard in the bucket and used it as the backdrop for the rest of the items. Next I put this cute watermelon stationary with matching pen in one bucket. The other had some cute citrus stationary with a polkadot pen.

watermelon stationary

And that was it! Nothing super fancy. Not super expensive. But they were adorable and screamed summertime!

gift buckets

I hope the teachers liked them!
Don’t forget to thank your little one’s teachers for all their hard work!

Reinventing an Old Milk Can

I told you I had something to share today! I finally took a little break from the favor boxes lsat week to regain my sanity with some other type of creativity. Unfortunately that break {and my allergies} have now caused me to be way behind!

Anyway. . . I finally made good use of this old milk can. Actually, I’ve had it sitting in this spot since Christmas {I put long pine branches in it} but it wasn’t finished.

You might {or probably don’t since it was ages ago} remember on my trip to Cline’s Antiques Junk Yard I picked up this rusty old milk can. You might think it looks hideous, but I was in love! Not long before I had featured a blogger had painted her house number on a milk can for her front porch. So I was thrilled to have found one, no matter what condition it was in! Nonetheless, I think I only paid $8 for it.

Even though I like rust, this piece was a little too rusty for me. So I spray painted it with one of my favorite colors. Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze.

I used my Silhouette CAMEO to cut stencil vinyl {I’m sure regular vinyl would work fine}. I did “No. 4 “for the number of people in our family.

After cutting the vinyl, I peeled the outer piece away from the backing carefully, leaving the cut image behind.

Then stuck it on the milk can. Because the milk can surface was textured from the rust and spray paint there were some areas of the vinyl that didn’t quite stick. Plus the font was pretty intricate and I couldn’t quite get it placed right. So I had to modify my original idea of using a stencil blotter brush because I knew the paint would bleed through.

Instead I used a fine tip and painted carefully inside the stencil. Two good coats.

When I peeled off the vinyl, there was still a little bit of bleeding, but I went back with my fine tip and traced over the letters one more time which helped cover it up.

The final result! I tied a strip of burlap around the neck and filled it with long branches of greenery, cherry blossoms and my cute little sticks with lighted tips.

Oh how I love junk! And reinventing fabulousness from junk makes me happy! Now back to the favors! Have a great weekend y’all!

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Decorating with Plates {and Vinyl}

My sweet hubby bought me a new set of Pottery Barn everyday dinnerware for Christmas this year. Our dishes at the time were getting beat up and there was a few missing pieces. Well, they weren’t missing. They were thrown in the trash because they had been broken to pieces! Anyway, I really wanted some new ones.

I did still have all 12 of the dinner plates though. And I stacked them in the corner of the breakfast room hoping I could pass them down to someone. They have sat in that same corner from December 26 until today! Serious! Today I had an idea! I have this bare wall in my breakfast area {right above where these plates have been sitting} next to my my Ballard-inspired shelves. These plates were about to fill that empty space! I bought a large, vertical plate rack {I guess that’s what they are called} at Hobby Lobby and hung it on the wall.

I started by creating an image using Silhouette Studio and used the Silhouette to cut black vinyl. Once it was cut I used contact paper to remove the vinyl from the cutting mat.

Then I transferred it to the center of the plate and used my flat edge to smooth out the vinyl and contact paper. The vinyl stuck pretty easily to the plate. Sometimes getting the vinyl to stick to the surface rather than the contact paper is tricky.

Once the vinyl was stuck I slowly peeled away the contact paper.

And there is plate number 1!

I did the same thing with “est. 2004” on a different plate. This would turn into plate number 3! What about plate number 2?

Well, this is the fun part where I get to use the remaining 10 plates! Plate number two will change for the holidays and seasons! I am creating an individual plate for each season/holiday. This way I can just switch it out when I need to!

I’m skipping St. Patty’s decor this year. By the time I get around to putting it all up it will be time for Spring/Easter. So I’m just going to go ahead and get out my bunnies and eggs!

Stay tuned. I’ll show you the different plates I design for the different holidays! P.S. Easter is not finished yet! I’m waiting on my bright spring vinyl to come in the mail! I’m also working on my Easter shelves which I’ll share soon!

Dollar Store Bin Makeover

My creative space/office is beginning to look like an episode of Horders! You wonder why I haven’t shown you the full reveal yet? Because it’s never clean enough to take a photo! And the recent boom of my “Ready to Pop” favor boxes has turned my life and my organization upside down! NOT COMPLAINING! However, it’s one big fat piece of chaos in that room!

While trying to find items to help organize my “business,” I came across these bins at the Dollar Store. I looked at them briefly and kept walking. “I’ll get something cute at IKEA or HomeGoods, ” I thought.

But I immediately did a double-take when I realized that I could make these boxes cute! And so I did. . .

The total cost of this project was probably under $10 (for all three). Three bucks for the bins, $1.50 for the paper, and just a few dollars for the chalkboard vinyl (from Pick Your Plum).

I found some cute scrapbook paper at the craft store that matched perfectly with my craft room decor. I grabbed my bottle of Decoupage (same as Mod Podge but by Decoart. Both are great but I think it dries faster than MP which is perfect for an impatient person like me!) and a sponge brush.

First I cut the paper to fit the face of the box. Then I applied a good coat of Decoupage directly on the box and laid the paper on top. When it was dry I applied a heavy coat on top of the paper, smoothing out the bubbles with a flat edge {bone folders and old grocery cards are great for doing this}.

My original plan was to leave it like this and add the label. But after that second coat I had a different idea.

Screeeech!   {That’s the sound of me slamming on the brakes.} If you read my blog regularly, you know that I can’t leave anything along and that I often modify my idea mid-creation. It happens almost every time. This is probably because I really don’t know what I’m doing to begin with. I just have an idea and go with it, which often leads to new ideas. Anyway. . .

I decided to trim the edges a little so they didn’t completely cover the face.

Then I took one of my favorite things, sandpaper, and rubbed the edges of the paper to create a worn effect.

Next I used one of my other favorite things, Distress Ink. I brushed heavily around the edges and lightly across the face.

I brushed one last coat of Decoupage over the top, particularly around the edges.

I used chalkboard vinyl {if you can’t find sheets of chalkboard vinyl, you can use chalkboard spray paint on any regular vinyl} and cut out a pretty little label using my Silhouette CAMEO. I stuck it on the bin and labelled it!

And there you have it! For under $10 I created some pretty storage bins to help organize my mess!

These bins took care of the favor box chaos. Now what to do with the rest of it?

Whoop whoop! Partying here this week!

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The Stockings Were Hung. . .

I shared this tutorial over at Seamingly Smitten last week, but wanted to share it again just in case you missed it. After my post about my trip to Cline’s JunkyardI had a lot of questions about what I would do with these. . .

I had a handful of old rusty door knobs that I picked up along with some other rusty hardware. I didn’t really have a clue what I was going to do with them, but I knew I could use them for something. And I was right! So I started wit a piece of scrap wood from the garage {I have a huge pile of scrap wood in my garage. you name it, I got it!} and my four rusty old door knobs. 

This first step was fun. The wood was too perfect, so I took a hammer to it. What a great stress reliever! I just banged it up a bit to round the corners and rough up the surface. 

Next I used a dark stain in these crevices and around the edges. This is because I plan on distressing the paint I’m about to apply and the dark stain looks better than the light wood.

A light coat of primer spray paint and one heavy coat of white latex paint. 

While the paint dried I pulled out my brand spankin’ new Silhouette Cameo to use for the very first time. Sigh, it’s amazing! You gotta get one of these! I used red vinyl for this project.

If you are not familiar with the Silhouette or any other digital cutting tool, you create an image on your computer and then let the machine do the rest. 

The best way to transfer vinyl is to use contact paper. Once the image is cut, place the sticky side of the contact paper on top of the vinyl while it is still on the mat. Peel the contact paper away from the sheet of vinyl and only your cut letters should stick to the contact paper. (Unfortunately the insides of the letters also stuck. I removed them with a tweezers after I adhered it to the wood.)

When the paint was dry I used some low grit sandpaper to give it a distressed finish.

My sweet hubby drilled holes in the wood to just large enough to fit the knobs.
And then he squeezed them in. I thought we would have to use wood glue to hold them, but they stayed just fine without it.
And because I can’t leave anything alone, I used my distress ink to make it look more worn. To do this you just take the ink pad and brush it across the edges and corners and in small spots along the surface.

Now back to the vinyl. Place the contact paper gently on the board. Once it’s in place, where you want it, you can press down on it to keep it in place. Use a scraper or other flat edge to smooth over the vinyl, eliminating any wrinkles or bubbles. Then peel back the contact paper slowly.
The contact paper removed some of the paint, but was okay with me! I love a distressed look!

I wrapped and tied a fat grosgrain ribbon on one side and then hung our stockings. I’m thinking about either adding an initial to the knobs or writing our names in black just above the knobs. But that will be another day. Like I said, I can’t leave anything alone!

But for now it’s perfect! You know I love to brag about how little I spend on my projects so. . .
This one cost about two bucks! Actually, it was free for me to make that day since everything I used, I already had lying around. But if you want to count the purchase of the knobs, this project cost me only $2! Even if you don’t have a digital cutting machine, you can use a stencil to paint the letters. Inexpensive hooks can be purchased in place of the door knobs if rusty junk isn’t your style.

How can Christmas be in just ten days? The stockings may be hung, but I’m not sure Santa has what is supposed to go in them!

Todays Creative Blog

Wicked Witch Pumpkin

Don’t miss the bloggy birthday bash giveaways going on now to celebrate S&S first birthday!

Can you believe that Halloween is in less than a week?! In case you are looking for some last-minute Halloween decorating ideas I’m going to share with you my “Wicked Witch Pumpkin.”

If you’ve been here before, you know that I make weekly trips to the crafts stores to pick up some items to get my creative fix. Sometimes (often times) it’s more than once a week. Anyway, I was at Michael’s one morning and came home with these.

Two black pumpkins and some wired ribbon. What did I have in mind to do with these? I hadn’t the faintest idea, I just knew I “needed” them. Once I got them home and started pondering, I decided that I wanted to decorate the pumpkin with a witch silhouette. 

I stopped by Pinterest to see if I could find any ideas there. Of couse I did! I decided to add “wicked” to my witch pumpkin. This is the image I created with my Silhouette SD.

If you don’t have one of these machines, you gotta get one! It’s fabulous! The possibilities with it are endless!

I cut the design out on outdoor vinyl. Black was the only color I had on hand which obviously wasn’t going to show up on a black pumpkin. What did I do?

I spray painted the vinyl orange before sticking it on the pumpkin! But I wasn’t quite finished. 

I added the ribbon to the top along with a candy corn pick that I had on hand.

Perfect! I decided one black pumpkin was enough for my front porch. I’m still trying to decide what to do with the other one I bought. Maybe I’ll just wait ’til next year!

Easy Peasy Monogrammed Water Bottles

It”s summer and HOT here in SC! We are always on the go and spend a lot of time at the YMCA and at the pool. I wanted some kind of container for the boys to carry water along wherever we go. Just something I could fill with lots of ice and water to keep it cool while on the run. I found these cute little water bottles at the Dollar Tree yesterday. 

Nothing wrong with them. But of course, you know me, I’ve got to add my own little touch.

I pulled out my newest toy, the Silhouette SD. {Love this thing!}
A couple weeks ago, Pick Your Plum had a special on outdoor vinyl. If you haven’t heard of PYP, you have to go visit. Each morning they offer spectacular deals on crafty and creative items. The catch is that they only have a certain number of the daily special and they tend to sell out fast! Anyway, I was lucky enough to get two sets of this outdoor vinyl. After I bought the bottles, I thought it might work well to label them with a decorative touch. And, since it is meant to withstand the outdoor weather, I figured it would hold up well in the sink. 
So I cut out the letters and stuck them on the bottles! It took about five minutes! Easy peasy! 
And even though the boys picked out the color they wanted and know which bottle is theirs. . . 
the monogram makes them just a little cuter! 
This week I’m linking up to these fabulous parties:

Todays Creative Blog


Exciting News, Tattoos and a Promo!

Psssst, guess what? Today {and ever third Tuesday of the month} I’m going to be a contributor over at Somewhat Simple! Eeeeek, I know! I am a huge fan of Somewhat Simple and was thrilled when Stephanie asked me to be a Home Decor/DIY contributor for her blog. So come by and visit today! And don’t forget, I’ll be there the third Tuesday of every month!

Guess what else? My boys got tattoos! Don’t worry! They are removable! About a month ago I won a Silhouette SD digital craft cutting machine over at Today’s Creative Blog. I couldn’t believe it! Seriously the second best day of my {blogging} life. The best being the day Kim featured my blog, of course. 

The day it arrived on my doorstep, I immediately ripped it out of the box, took a picture of it and then waited for hubby to get home to teach me how to use it. You see, I’m stubborn, and I refuse to read directions. Okay, I guess it’s called lazy. 
Anyway, my boys LOVE tattoos and Silhouette makes this Temporary Tattoo Paper. I’ve been using it for several days as a bribery tool {I once was a girl who swore she would never use bribery with her kids – until I had them}. When it finally came down to making the tattoos, I’m not sure who was more excited. . .

{Little Man #1 and daddy}
or me.
Even Little Man #2 was talking up a storm, trying to name his tattoos. And this is unusual because he doesn’t talk much! Okay, ready to see what they stamped all over their body? You’ll never guess it. Nope, it’s not Lightning McQueen, Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman or any other character idolized by most young boys. 

 Little Man #1 obsesses about the solar system and Mars Rover. Fascinating, I know {chuckle, chuckle}. And because #1 loves it, so does #2, even though he is clueless what any of it is. So we had tattoos of Mars Rover, the planets and space shuttles {blast off as they call them}. Oh, I love my boys. Never a dull moment. What’s great about the Silhouette is that you can go to the Silhouette Online Store and download just about any image you can think of. Even better, you can use just about any image on your computer.

Where else could you find Mars Rover tattoos?

Okay, on to more interesting stuff, like how easy it is to make the tattoos! {And, wait for it, even better news at the end!}

You print them out on the special paper using your computer printer, add the clear sticky paper then use the Silhouette to cut around your designs.
Like any other temp tattoo you remove the clear plastic, place the image where you want it, wet it well with a washcloth, and remove the paper backing.

Viola! Tattoos of just about anything you can think of! {Someone needs a haircut!}
Okay, here are just a few of the tats we made this week. 
Guess what? I have something special for you! You can get

1 Silhouette SD and 2 packages Temporary Tattoo Paper for just $199 {US only}!

Than’s $120 in savings! 

Plus, you can get 25% off anything from the Silhouette Shop {excluding gift cards and download codes}.
But hurry, because this offer is only available today {June 21} through June 29. Just enter the promo code SPATULA at checkout.