Create*Bloom*Grow

Growing through life creatively…


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Olympics are almost here – Go Team USA!

I LOVE the Olympics.  I get so excited about cheering for the good ol’ Team USA.  This past week, I decided to use some of my left over scrapbook paper to make a Team USA Banner with my Cricut.  I’m going to give you a quick overview of products & techniques I used to make it.

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I had used the BoBunny “Liberty” papers to do a scrapbook of our Washington DC trip a few years ago.  I had a bunch of different patterned papers and the solid Dark Denim & Paprika “Double Dot” papers.

I made rosettes in contrasting color to the background of each pennant.  There are a bunch of different ways that you can make the rosettes.  I have always found it best to use hot glue as it is really strong and dries quickly.

I used a banner from the “Pretty Pennants” Cricut cartridge to make the base and the letters are from “Storybook”.

I used silver glitter craft foam cut on my Sizzix Bigshot for the stars.  At first I was going to put the stars in the middle of each rosette.  Then I decided to mix it up for the rosettes with letters and keep only the solid star rosettes symmetrical.

I finished it up by punching holes with my slot punch and stringing ribbon through the whole thing.  I figure that I will also be able to use this banner again at the 4th of July, but just taking off the TEAM part.  Double duty!

It is hanging right under my TV and once I get my Olympic flag up out front (and maybe my red, white and blue bunting if I am feeling really crazy), we are all ready to watch the Opening Ceremonies!  Go TEAM USA!

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Create that which you wish existed…

Happy New Year!  Hope everyone enjoyed a great time with friends and family.

I’d like to share one of my favorite projects I did for the holidays.  It was inspired by the quote, “Create that which you wish existed” after a little trip to Home Depot back in October for some Halloween costume supplies.  As soon as I walked in, I saw this…

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I am a huge Eiffel Tower fan (we went to Paris for our honeymoon).  What I am not a fan of at my own house (although I love visiting other extravagant displays ) are Christmas lights.  Seriously, we have the old school big bulbs out on our house and that is it!  But I saw this and wondered if I was crazy thinking that I HAD TO have it.  I texted a few friends this photo and they agreed that I did.  They asked how big it was and I casually replied 4 or 5 feet.

I ended up having to order it from Home Depot online.  Apparently there were other people that had to have this too (really?!?!?!).  I was quite excited when it arrived, but put it aside until after Thanksgiving.  Not being familiar with assembling outdoor yard lighting, let’s just say that this ended up being a labor of love and a strong argument to keep this an only child.  AND, it was a little taller than I thought – nearly 7 feet!

I was a little concerned that it might be slightly out of place on my porch.  How can I make a 6’8″ Eiffel Tower look like it belongs on my porch for Christmas?

It was at that point I realized I needed to go with French Christmas theme and coordinate it with the wreaths on my door.  I am pretty sure that involves needing a glittery “Joyeux Noel”.  You can find nearly every other glittery holiday word/phrase imaginable, but not that one.  Time to take, “Create that which you wish existed” to heart and make my own.

Project List

  • Black corrugated board (I thought this would be more durable than anything paper outside that would get damp)
  • White vinyl
  • Cricut and Gypsy
  • Box cutter
  • Mod Podge
  • Silver Glitter
  • Paint Brush

I started by selecting a script font (Gypsy Font) and welding the letters together on my Gypsy.  I then attached the vinyl to the corrugated board.

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The next step was the most tedious of all as I used the box cutter to trim around the vinyl so that my words were free standing.

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I figured that it did not have to be prefect around the edges as it was going to be covered with glitter.

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Then I went outside and covered up my work surface to minimize the mess.  I used the same technique of mixing glitter into the Mod Podge, painting it on and pouring additional glitter onto the item that I used for the tennis shoes I covered with red glitter.

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I was especially impressed with the idea I came up with to hold my words off the work surface, so they don’t end up stuck to it and I can get a little more of the sides covered.  I cut off water bottles at the same length to use as risers.

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I did not end up worrying about covering the sides too much as I figured it would blend in against the greenery of the wreaths.

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I patiently let it dry before I used wire to attach it to the wreaths.  This was another reason the corrugated plastic was a GREAT idea because I would run the wire through the “tunnels” in between the layers of plastic and not have to have my wire show on the front of the words.  I added some crazy metallic bows, and was pretty happy with how it all came out!

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Special Delivery

Part of my cookie baking madness happens so that I can give homemade cookies to my kids’ teachers.  My Mom always went overboard with teacher’s gifts and I certainly feel it is important to follow suit as teacher’s deserve to be appreciated!

In the early years of trying to figure out how to package the cookies for the teachers I stumbled across the idea of plain pizza boxes and this is now my signature presentation.  I order them from my favorite website – Papermart.  I add a bow and a tag or label and I am good to go…

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I love them for a number of reasons:

  • It is a totally unique presentation.  You should see people’s faces when you hand them a pizza box!
  • The cookies are contained and covered (and will not be slipping off the side of the plate as I drive them to their destination).
  • The flat boxes make them easy to transport.  Even with the bow, you can stack them up.
  • I don’t have to fight with the Saran Wrap.

Inside the box, I arrange an assortment of cookies (trying to separate like colors).  Here is a quick shot of what the teachers got yesterday.  I still have not hit the point in my cookie baking this year where I am decorating the cookies, so they are slightly less colorful than some years.

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It is easy to put together the boxes then add to them assembly-line style.

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Once they are loaded and the bows/tags have been added, I throw them in my handy bag (who doesn’t love their 31 Gifts Organizing Utility Tote?!??!) and head to school to play Santa.

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Halloween/Christmas….Holiday Swap

Well, I originally made the following project as part of a Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz Halloween costume (more my costume creations later because I ROCKED my son’s first ever request for a homemade costume) for my daughter, but they didn’t end up getting used and now they are Mommy’s holiday fun shoe!

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This was my first foray into Modge Podge and glitter and I have to say I was HOOKED!

Supply List

  • Canvas shoes (I found these at Michael’s)
  • Mod Podge
  • Glitter
  • Tape
  • Paper to protect your work surface
  • Paintbrush
  • 2 Bowls

I started by covering my counter with paper so that it would not end up glittered and clean up would be easy.  I used tape to mask the areas of the shoe that I did not want to cover with glitter.  I used clear tape which made it a little tricky to see exactly what I did, but you can use your imagination…

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Then I mixed up some Mod Podge, a little water and a bunch of glitter in a bowl.  Adding glitter to the Mod Podge gives you better coverage in the long run.

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Then you just start “painting” your shoe with that mixture.  After I would paint a small section, I would hold the shoe over the other bowl and pour more glitter on it.

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Keep going until the whole thing is covered.  Let it dry and remove the tape.  Enjoy your cute new shoes.

Disclaimer – the glitter can be scratchy around the top, so you might want to make sure you have socks between the shoe and your skin.  This was PART of the reason my daughter refused to wear them on Halloween. We originally thought these would be better for trick-or-treating.  The truth is that she is 10 and I’d also purchased sequin heels for her Dorothy costume.  She would have slept in those if she’d had the opportunity…


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Confessions of an Obsessive Compulsive Christmas Cookie Baker

There are many creative avenues I love to pursue, but most don’t make me quite as OCD as baking Christmas cookies.  It all started one year when I was single, living in San Francisco and working a stressful corporate finance job.  One weekend in December, seeking a creative outlet, I started baking Christmas cookies and just DID NOT STOP.  At the end of the weekend, I looked around my sugar spattered kitchen and wondered what on earth I was going to do with them all.  I decided to have a “Cookie Party” which was to be an Open House where friends and family stop by to enjoy some cookies and holiday cheer.  What fun that was!

Fast forward 15+ years, a husband, 2 kids, a move (or 2 or 3) to the suburbs, I still continue this fun tradition.  It sometimes gets a little out of hand – both the baking and the party (we once had more than 150 people stop by)!  Luckily, my family enjoys it and my husband is great about washing the mounds of dishes required to make so many cookies.  I have done it almost every year with just a few exceptions.  Last year I took a year off, so this year I really need to turn it up.  Having a new double-oven will make it even more fun.

Here is a quick shot of one of the tables from 2011.

Cookie Party

Recipes have been gathered from a variety of sources.  I always start of with Chocolate Krinkles because my Mom made these cookies the morning I was born (after mopping the floors on her hands and knees and before making it to her 11am doctors appointment, but I digress) and I just think it is a good way to kick things off.  Next inspiration came from Southern Living at Home’s Christmas Cookies book.

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This is actually the 2nd copy of this book I have owned as the first one nearly disintegrated.  I honor that 1st Cookie Party, but making a few of the same recipes that I have made every year (Peppermint Swirls, Coffee Crisps & Oreo Cookie Balls).

My second source of recipes is Better Homes and Garden’s annual Christmas Cookies issue.  This magazine comes out around September 1st (I am not going to lie when I say I start “stalking” the news stands not long after that date) and can be found a most craft stores and sometimes even the supermarket.  I have these dating back to 1998.  I just got the bright idea last week to look for older issues on EBay (duh!).  “Viola!” several issues are already on their way to me!

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I usually make about 30 different kinds of cookies and nearly 2,000 individual cookies.  Because this much crazy baking would involve a thousand trips to the store if I didn’t plan ahead, I do create a spreadsheet to list which recipes I plan to do, where I can find the recipe and what ingredients they require.  I do sometimes get inspired by new things along the way or decide to make multiple batches of my favorites, but this gives me an idea of where to start.  How else would I know that I needed 40 cups of flour, 31 eggs and 13 cups of butter?

I guess it is time to stop procrastinating and get baking!  I will keep you posted on how it is going this year and maybe share a few of my favorite recipes…