Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dear Lizzy Neapolitan Collection + Shaker Card Tutorial

I LOVE 6x6 paper pads.  I just love to thumb through them and envision the possibilities.  I wanted to share some imaginations come to life with the Dear Lizzy Neapolitan 6x6 paper pad by American Crafts.

*American Crafts Dear Lizzy NEOPOLITAN 6 x 6 Paper Pad

Pearl Gateway - February Cards 001

This card showcases a wide variety of the paper pack.  Some happy balloons to celebrate a birthday, complete with baker’s twine strings.  Pure pastel loveliness.

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OH MAN.  How I adore little ice cream cone stamps by My Cute Stamps.  I used copics to color them to match the paper.  They are fussy cut and popped up on foam dots.  The Sentiment is Hero Arts.

Pearl Gateway - February Cards 004

How to make a quick shaker card – first you need some supplies!

- Clear acetate, Judikins sells these, or you can reuse some old packaging you might have.

- Foam strips, use the strips instead of dots or squares, because you will need to line the whole side to pop up the window so the items inside have room to shake around.

- Items to shake around, here I used small flower punched paper pieces, beads, and a scoop of loose glitter.

- Staz On ink if you plan on stamping your sentiment on the acetate.


I didn’t take photos of the process, but it is really simple with a stunning result.  First cut your outside frame, I think this one with the pretty flowers might be about 4x4 when measured on the outside, with a 3/4 inch border or so.  Next cut the acetate sheet, and adhere it to your frame – I used Tombow Mono Liquid Glue.  Glossy Accents would also work well. 

While that is drying, punch little shapes to put inside.  You want them to be pretty flat because they need to shake around.  If they are to thick they won’t move.  Now put the foam strips on the inside of the frame (my floral piece as you see here).  MAKE 100% sure that the foam strips go around the whole thing, and that there are NO GAPS.  Your items will escape if there is any way for them to do so!  For extra precaution, I also layered some Tombow Mono Liquid Glue on top and in between the foam strips.

On your background piece that is already on the card (the yellow polka dots here), dump your pile of shaking items.  Make sure they stay in the center.  If you are stamping a sentiment on the acetate, do that now.  Staz On will dry immediately allowing you to move on quickly.  Now set your frame – foam tape side down obivously – down around the items.  Press lightly and make sure everything is lined up nicely.  Then give ‘er a shake!

Your items may get stuck on the inside where the foam tape is facing the inner part of the card.  You can see this in action in the photo above.  This doesn’t bother me (I actually like the suspension of the items), but if it bothers you, you could try adhering very thin strips of paper to the foam strips.

Hope this helps – let me know if you have questions!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Envirotex Lite Mosaics Tea Tray Tutorial

If you’ve been around awhile, you might remember this post on using Envirotex Lite.  If not, just follow along, I did some more mosaics and will showcase my tutorial here.  It is LONG so PIN NOW and read LATER!

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As with any tutorial, you need to start out with some supplies.  Here’s what you need:

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A wooden tea tray – these can be found at all major craft stores.  Hobby Lobby often has theirs for 30-50% off.

Paint – I use acrylic most of the time, but have used latex and spray paint as well.  I like the Delta Ceramcoat brand, it is high quality and they have a great color selection.

Items to fill your tray – I will show you several examples here using aquarium/vase filler gems, stones/shells, broken china (actual broken china, don’t put your Tim Holtz Distress Ink in there).  You could also use coins, beads, game pieces, whatever.  Paper can be used to but you’ll want to seal it first (think Mod Podge)

Glue for your items.  Depending on what you’re using, you will want to use Mod Podge (paper/photos), hot glue gun (faux flowers/leaves), or Weldbond (gems/stones/shells/heavier objects).

Grout – Optional.  The advantage to using grout is so you don’t have to use so much EL which is expensive.

Envirotex Lite – be sure to use a coupon, and get more than you think you need.

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First you need to paint your tray.  I typically paint the sides inside and out with my main color.  If I’m selling it I’ll paint the bottom too.  If I am not grouting I will paint the bottom white usually.

Once your paint dries you will now be putting your items in your tray.  I recommend using items as flat as possible, and as close together as possible because Envirotex Lite is not the cheapest craft supply out there, even with a 40% off coupon.  Lay out your pattern, then once you are pleased with the design start gluing down your items.  Wait for them to dry.  Here are some examples:

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Love the shape of these.

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This one is more obvious in person, it’s a rainbow coming out of a cloud

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These nesting ones are great, would make a good homemade gift.

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This set has stones from Michigan rivers on the left, shells from the Great Lakes state in the middle, and shells from the ocean on the right.  Another great set concept.

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This one has broken china.  Fun to arrange all the pieces!

If you want to grout first, here is the look you will get:

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 007

I use this pretty tray as a backdrop – I can’t stand to sell it – and every time I do a show people want to buy it. 


Okay, now on to the Envirotex Lite part.   What is Envirotex Lite you ask?

It is a two part resin and hardener that can be poured on top of surfaces to provide a smooth, glossy finish.  Note:  it is different from Envirotex Easy Cast, in that it is meant for a thinner coating.  Please refer to their website for more on which product to use for your project.

Step 1: Read the instructions.  No really, I'm serious.  This is not a product you can fool around with.  I don't mean that in a "if you don't mix it exactly right it's going to blow up in your face and the world as we know it will end" kind of way, but more in a "do it right so your project doesn't suck" kind of way.

It is absolutely necessary that you understand them before moving on.

Step 2: Prep your area.  Make sure your table is covered with newspaper.  Set up your project on top of some cups, or some other material on top of the newspaper. 

Step 3. Prep your Envirotex Lite.  Okay this is where you start to get nervous.  Don't worry, it will come out fine!  Here's the supplies you need:

Box of Envrotex Lite which includes the hardener on the left and the clear bottle of resin on the right.  You will also need 2 clear cups with measuring marks on the side and a stirrer.

Pour EQUAL parts of resin and hardener into a plastic measured cup.  Mix VIGOROUSLY for 2 FULL minutes.  Make sure to scrape the sides frequently.  Don't worry about bubbles.  Then you are ready to pour, DON'T WAIT!

Secret: two things I did that did NOT follow the instructions!  I only used one cup, and mixed like mad, and also a spoon instead of a flat stirrer.  From my experience, if you mix like mad, you will be able to avoid the direction of "pouring the resin and hardener into one cup, mixing for one minute, then pouring that mixture into another cup".  Kind of a waste of time, but they tell you to do that so you won't have globs of unmixed resin.  If you have globs that are not 100% mixed, it will come out on your project and leave soft spots that you DO NOT WANT.  Also you are supposed to use a flat stirrer for the same reason.  OH WELL!

Step 4:  Get your pour on.  Pour over the surface of your project, around the edges first in a circular motion coming to the center.  This product spreads very well on its own, but you may need to use a credit card like object to smooth it out.

Step 5:  Blow gently on the surface.  Air bubbles will have risen to the top, so you want to pop them or they will stay there.  Exhale on your project so the carbon dioxide will pop the bubbles.  Very cool to watch.

Step 6:  Watch for drips.  You may want to coat the bottom of your project with masking tape to protect from drips.  In about 20-40 minutes while the drips are still fluid, wipe them off.  If they harden you will need to sand them off.  In the picture below there actually shouldn't be any drips but I mixed and poured a little too much resin so it overflowed out the handles.  Not the end of the world.

Step 7:  Leave it alone.  Don't touch for at least 8 hours.  Keep a cardboard box over your project to prevent dust, bugs, or pet hair from settling into your resin.

Here are some completed projects after using Envirotex Lite:

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 001

You will love how glossy it turns out.

 Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 002

Here’s a close up of the gems.  The bottom of the tray is painted white on this one, no grout.

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 003

I made this tray for my 15 seconds of fame on the local TV station for an autumn/Halloween segment.  I think this one is really cool even though I didn’t intend for it to turn out like this.  Sorry for the glare, hard to photograph.

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 004 Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 005

Can you see the error?  Not enough Envirotex Lite to cover the items!  The faux leaves stuck up really high, and I couldn’t pour more EL without it going out the sides where the handles are.  But in a weird way, it works!

Questions?  Let me know and I will try to answer them!  Thanks for sticking through this lengthy tutorial, more projects on the way as always so visit soon Smile

Monday, March 11, 2013

Go Fish Game/Deck of Cards Gift Idea + Tutorial

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Today's post is inspired from Infarrantly Creative's guest poster {The Crafty Chicks} as part of her Pennywise Presents series.  Ummm yes I know this was Christmas gets busy and then you forget your posts, so might as well do this NOW!  Plus this could easily be a birthday present anyway.  The concept is a home-made "Go Fish" game, using family photos instead of numbers in the card deck.  You can read their version, and here you can check out mine.  If you decide to make this, hopefully one of the versions will work for you!

I loved the concept and thought it would be perfect for my 2 1/2 year old niece (at the time of my original creation - she is now 3 1/2!).  It's one of those presents that can grow with her a little bit.  For example, for really young toddlers, you can turn the cards face up, for basic matching.  When they have that mastered, you can play "Memory", and turn the cards face down and have the child match the photos.  When they are a bit older, they can play Go Fish.  If it's been a decade or two since you played, check out Go Fish rules here

To make a Family Photo Deck of Cards for Go Fish (my version), you will need:

~ Double-sided scrapbook paper (I used 4 different colors)

~ Cardstock (4 different colors + white)

~ Stickles (4 different colors)

~ Paper Trimmer

~ Corner Punch

~Glue Stick

~ Mini stamps (4 different shapes)

~ Number stamps (2-10)

~ Alphabet stamps (A for Ace, J for Jack, Q for Queen, and K for King)

~ Stickles or other glitter glue (4 different colors) *optional, this does eliminate the ability to hot laminate as the heat will melt and possibly burn the glitter glue

~ Black Sharpie

~ Your Photos (I honestly found all of my pics from Facebook.  The link above suggests using school photos, which I think would be better.  But you have to work with what you got.  I also recommend finding photos where there is only one person per photo, but for me this just wasn't possible the whole time.  Lastly, make sure the photo was not taken with a cell phone; you need it to print clearly.  I printed my photos at


The best method I can suggest is to follow Henry Ford's lead - an assembly line is your friend!!  Do all of each step before moving on to the next, it will make the process much faster.

1. Gather your photos.  You will need 13 pictures of different family members.  Edit if you wish.

2. Print 4 copies of each photo.  I printed 4x6, but I’d do wallet size if I did it over again.

2. Cut photos to desired size. Mine measure 4x4, if I did it over again I’d go smaller. Round all corners if desired.

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3. Cut double-sided scrapbook paper.  Mine measures 4.125x4.125 (4 1/8x4 1/8).  It’d be best to have all cards be the same back like a regular deck of cards, but mine have 4 different colors (one for each suit).  I was able to get 4 cards out of each 12x12 page.  Round the corners if desired.  I used Amy Butler K & Company paper.

Craft Bond Extra-Strength Glue Stick

4. Adhere photos to scrapbook paper. I used Elmers Extra Strength Glue Stick which made this part quick.

5. Cut out labels for the names.  I used my pazzles for this, you could use a punch.  I used 4 different colors of AC Cardstock for this (one for each suit).

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7. Write the names on the labels with the Sharpie.  You could also print them, or use a label maker.  I was going for a real hand-made look so I wrote mine out.  You should have 4 labels per suit.  Then add Stickles or glitter glue on the side of the name labels. I used Lime Green, Turquoise, True Blue, and Silver Stickles.

Card Game (4) Card Game (5) Card Game (6) Card Game (7)

8. Punch out 52 circles from your white cardstock (mine are about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Stamp each shape 13 times (I used different colors of ink).  On top of the shapes, stamp A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K - 4x each.  My shapes are a flower, butterfly, heart, and star.  I used Peeled Paint, Tumbled Glass, Stormy Sky, and Pumice Stone Distress Inks.

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9. Adhere the name labels to the bottom of the photo, then the circles to the upper left on the photo.

Card Game (11)     Card Game (12)

10. Don’t forget the instruction card and a personal message if desired.

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11. Laminate the cards (recommended).  I went to Staples to see how much it would be to laminate, and had a couple of issues.  First, due to the size of my cards, the associate would only be able to fit 2 cards to a sheet (which as you can guess would be very expensive).  Also, he said that the photos might melt - and I really did not have the time or patience to see if it would melt or not.  Lastly, due to my additions of Stickles (I knew my glitter obsession would get me in trouble someday!), the laminate would not stick to the raised glittered areas.  I ended up 'cold laminating', that is to say manual laminating.  I bought a box of self laminate, about 50 sheets for $25 (um yes, still expensive).

12. Wrap with ribbon, or place in a decorated box or tin.  Give and play!

Here's the finished deck:

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Okay I'm not gonna lie to you guys, this took a LONG time to make.  Like I'm talking a whole day maybe more start to finish.  And regarding "Pennywise Presents", if you were to buy a deck of cards it would probably cost $1, where as this will cost at least $15 - maybe $8 for the photo printing, $2 for the box (on sale!), and potentially MUCH more if you don't already have the other supplies (I did in my craft room, so for me I'm not counting them).  But I think this is an AMAZING present!  My niece really liked it and it's even cooler now that I don't live near her anymore - hopefully she won't forget what I look like!  Sob! 

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Have you made any handmade gifts?  Would you try making something like this?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Floral Set

Day 2 of another fun card set, if you like florals I think you will like these!  All Stampendous! Jumbo Cling Stamps colored with Copics.

Pearl Gateway - February Cards 011

Naturally, let’s start off with a birthday card!  I love this stamp, it is so flexible.  I’ve used it before as a Stargazer Lily, and here it is featured as a Tiger Lily.

Pearl Gateway - February Cards 009

Sympathy cards are difficult, they are best to have on hand instead of picking one out when you need it.

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A poinsettia colored in an unusual color makes it usable during other parts of the year instead of just being limited to Christmastime.

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I threw some pretty cardinals in the mix, primarily because I don’t have 5 Jumbo Cling Stamps by Stampendous!, and it would drive me crazy if the set didn’t match.  Here’s another example of coloring to make a stamp useful for other parts of the year.  Cardinals are typically Christmas/winter images, but by coloring the berries blue instead of red, it is more reminiscent of springtime.

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I used photos on the internet to help me maintain accuracy with my coloring.  Love how this orchid turned out.

I put these cards in a nice clear box, here is an example of some clear card boxes (mine are larger because these are not A2 cards):  Clear card boxes

Have a happy Sunday friends!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Card Sets

Today and tomorrow I’m sharing some card sets I made for a friend of my mom.  It’s her birthday on Monday so I hope you will join me in a celebratory weekend!

Pearl Gateway - February Cards 012

Fun to stamp and fun to color but took way too long – I still have 9 cards to go!

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Kind of fun and different, some ink spray and butterflies – not sure how I didn’t end up with glitter all over this one.

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Sorry about the blurry photo, didn’t realize it was blurry until posting.  I love this one, makes me smile.

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I love this one too.  I used a new (to me) ink, Stampin Up!’s Island Indigo.  What a lovely teal shade.

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I liked that layout so thought I’d do another.  And who doesn’t love cupcakes - other than my weird friend Katie?  (seriously you guys, she hates cake and brownies – what a weirdo)

Thanks for the weekend visit, come back tomorrow for another set.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Picture Perfect

I cannot tell you how much fun I had with this project, inspiration thanks to the Camera Craze Challenge in the Moxie Fab World.  I hope you’re playing with this one, it’s a goodie!

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I started out with the camera stamp, inked in SU! River Rock.  I colored the top half with some Copics* to make it look like the Instagram camera app.  I cut a picture of me and hubby from a black and white print using a circle punch, and put it in the center.  I cut out the ring for around the lens, put some acetate sheet (which you probably can’t tell here) behind it and popped it up with foam dots.  I stamped the {picture perfect"} in SU! Soft Suede, and beneath it that date stamp that says Instagrammed May <3 1 2013 (which will be our 3 year anniversary).  LOVING that Studio Calico date stamp, what a good buy!  To finish, some on-trend wood veneer triangles, and a wood heart colored in the same Instagram colors to bring some balance to the design.

I really hope you enjoy this as much as I do, I FELT Moxie Fab with this one!  I’m also happy to already have my anniversary card done 2 months in advance! Winking smile

*R46 Strong Red, Y18 Lightning Yellow, G03 Meadow Green, B28 Royal Blue, E57 Light Walnut

Monday, March 4, 2013

Knox Rail Salvage

As a DIYer you have to have your basics like Home Depot and Lowe’s and a good paint store.  But if you’ve got a salvage warehouse/yard in your area you will want to to take note – there are some amazing deals to be had and a chance to give something a second chance before it ends up in a landfill.

Today’s post I’m sharing the Knox Rail Salvage, a huge warehouse that is in the heart of Knoxville, TN.  With Spring coming (not to mention my parents coming down to visit in April) I am definitely in the mood to talk DIY!  Here’s their own description, courtesy of their website:

“Knox Rail Salvage, est.1980, is a home improvement discount store with two locations in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.  We deliver savings by purchasing 1st quality overstock items, 1st quality imported products and manufacturer seconds across a wide range of product categories.”

If you are in Asheville/Atlanta/Lexington/Nashville/etc. it could totally be worth the drive if you find something amazing.  Let’s get started, I’d love to show you around! (pic heavy, don’t forget to grab a cuppa and enjoy)

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Here’s the view from outside.  They have a great loading zone to help make it easier to shove your newly found treasures into your vehicle.

Knox Rail Salvage (7)     Knox Rail Salvage (15)

View from inside right by the loading docks.  They offer load docking services and even delivery services.

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When you’re first in there are several options for laminate, hardwood, and ceramic tile in a range of price points.

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Decorative backsplash tiles and larger floor ceramic tiles

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Huge rolls of laminate and smaller rolls of wallpaper and borders

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The paint graveyard – if you have a small area that needs paint or are not afraid to mix some cans together to get a larger quantity you will not want to miss this.  Paint in all types – latex, oil, acrylics, stains and more.

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Even a section dedicated to spray paint – $1.49 a can!

Knox Rail Salvage (5)     Knox Rail Salvage (2)

Still on the first floor, lots of shelves dedicated to household chemicals and miscellaneous cleaning supplies.

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Heading upstairs.  Doors after doors after doors again in a range of prices.  The photo on the right gives an idea of the variety and sheer number they have.  They also have a great selection of windows too.

Knox Rail Salvage (13)     Knox Rail Salvage (10)

They have tons of cabinetry, vanities, sinks, lighting and even some art.  And while we’re still upstairs, this reminds me – try to go in the off season, aka NOT summer.  This is an industrial building and it is hot as hades up here and there’s not a whole lot they can do about it.  If you must go in summer go first thing in the morning so you don’t sweat your shorts off.

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Need some fixtures?  they have those too.

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Everybody loves a pallet, here’s some for your viewing pleasure.  And a final view of the building from the street (you can actually see it from the expressway I-40)

Here’s some more basic info you may need if you’re planning a visit:

Knox Rail Salvage*
200 E. Magnolia Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37917
Phone: 865.524.8000
Fax: 865.524.8022
Map & Directions

Old City Location
400 E. Jackson Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37917
Phone: 865.524.8242
Fax: 865.521.3944
Map & Directions


Mon-Fri: 8:00am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:00am - Noon
Sunday: Closed

*This is the main location where these photos are from


I hope you enjoyed the tour, it’s a fun place and has lots to offer. If you’re in the area you should look it up!