Monday, February 24, 2014

My BEST Giveaway to Date!

You all know I love my craft gadgets! Well my latest purchase is by for sure my BEST so far! On Black Friday I bought myself  a SILHOUETTE Portrait ™. (Well, my husband actually bought it but he didn’t know it)

Now most of my blog followers are beady ladies so for their benefit, let me explain.

A Silhouette is an electronic cutting machine. It is used mainly for cutting paper shapes. In the olden days, LOL, we had to rely on scissors to do all our intricate cutting. Then we moved on to punches. Next was the invention of the die-cutting machine -  Big Shot, Cricut and the like. Those use either metal plates or cartridges. With the Silhouette you aren’t limited by what dies and cartridges you have in your stash (which cost a pretty penny and need storage space to boot!) just connect it to your computer and printer and you are ready to go!

The included software makes it possible to create and cut your own designs and use any font you already have in your computer. Pretty much any image you have, whether you found it on the internet or scanned it into your computer, you can use! This is my favorite feature! In addition to those images you can access cutting files from the Silhouette store at very reasonable prices (under 99 cents). They have a FREE file you can download every week, plus really great sales!  Search the internet, there are also gazillions of free printables and cut files out there

But all the fun doesn’t even stop there –

The Silhouette has many other uses in addition to die-cutting paper. It can cut a variety of materials including fabric, vinyl, heat transfer material, stencils, and more. In addition you can use it to etch glass, create and set rhinestone designs, make temporary tattoos, PLUS a favorite of mine – you can create your own cling stamps!

So, you may be asking yourself – how does she use all the cutouts she creates? Well right now I am working on designing product packaging which I plan to list in my etsy shop,  but also I do things just for fun and personal use, like these....
I KNOW, all this information is well and good but if you don’t have a Silhouette what good does it do YOU, huh? 

Well here’s the GOOD NEWS!  I am sponsoring a GIVEAWAY!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway starts right now and is open until 11:59 PM EST on February 28th. The winner of this giveaway will be notified via email and announced on March 3rd in the Rafflecopter widget above.   

The more of the ladies you follow, the better your chances to win. You can tweet daily for even more entries!

Leave me a comment and tell me what YOU would do with the Silhouette, if you should win!  GOOD LUCK!

Visit ALL of the prize sponsors for plenty of great ideas!

Disclaimer: The ladies who are sponsoring this giveaway have generously done so with their own funds. Facebook, Twitter and the like are NOT involved. We aren't being paid by a vendor, we are just love our followers and want them to be able to join in on our fun!


UPDATE: Congrats to our Silhouette Portrait giveaway winner, Jessie Wynn Cook ,please join us in congratulating her!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Artist Trading Card: Hearts, Hearts, Hearts!!

With Valentine's Day being right around the corner there are loads of swaps and challenges out there with LOVE as their theme. I recently took part in one over at Swap-Bot. It was an ATC (artist trading card) swap called "Hearts, Hearts, Hearts". 

Here is my ATC:

I really love creating ATC's. I can use up so many of my scraps from other projects - I hate throwing anything away!

I started out with some left over patterned papers and a snippet of rick-rack. 

I also had a few  love-related cutouts 
I made with my Silhouette machine. I LOVE my Silhouette. I can do soooo many things with it!  

Punched out lots of small hearts from the scrap paper too.

I took a standard ATC-sized piece of white cardboard (2.5" x 3.5") and went over the edges with a pink stamp pad and then did a little fill in with the pad too.

Threw the "I Heart You" cutout into the Xyron machine - so much easier than trying to glue it down!'Love my Xyron too!

Next I went to the sewing machine and stitched the rick-rack and heart cutouts into place. I love the look and texture of stitching! 

After stitching I "fluffed" up the top layer on the hearts for extra dimension. I love lots of layers, textures and dimension! 
I used Glossy Accents to embellish a couple of the hearts, as well as tack down the tiny heart punches. I love dimension (did I say that already?!) 

OH, here's a little tip: I find everytime I go to use the Glossy Accents the spout is clogged. Now I leave a pin in the spout and screw the cap on to store it. When ready to use again, just give a little "up and down" with the pin and you are ready to go!

So, that's the first of my Valentine's Day projects, more to come so stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Packing and Shipping for the Frugal Crafter!

I do loads of swaps and love to include my international buddies. Shipping cost have gone up so much lately that I JUST had to find a way to be able to continue swapping with them and still eat! Although I spent over $90 in postage last month - the goodies, smiles and friendships I received made it TOTALLY worth it. Of course as a plus I do get to exercise my creative muscles, AND my husband is making friends at the Post Office! LOL

This morning I had to send off a destash item to a new friend in the UK. First thing I do before selling is to look into shipping costs. I use my little postage meter and® software from USPS.  I am able to print out ALL my labels, add insurance plus get free tracking information.  (No, I don't work for them but my father was a postmaster.)

I found out that the cheapest way to send swaps international is as a large envelope . 
The question I always have is - when is my item considered an envelope, and when is it a package?  I went over to USPS to do some research. I created a little cheat sheet with the answers I found.  You can download it for yourself:

For those of you without the software you can calculate shipping costs at

Okay, according to my cheat sheet a large envelope has to be between 1/4" and 3/4" thick, maximum. So, how can I manage that?

The Graham Tartan
I am always trying to find the cheapest way to get things done. I've been told it's my Scottish genes that cause me to do this. 
Hmmm...I think that might have been an insult, but since it was my sister who told me I can overlook it!)

So I will call on my ancestors for help and put on my Scottish thinking cap....

Here's what I came up with. I decided in order to keep my package less than 3/4" thick I would need to get all the air out of it first. I tried squishing it but it still had puffiness. Not much but you know some of those postal clerks can be sooo anal. (Love them, but it's true!)

Those that know me know I don't cook. I will clean up the kitchen but that's about it. But you also know I love gadgets! Guess what I have? A Seal-a-Meal! AND I know how to use it! 

So I did a little experiment.

Here are the goodies I want to send.

Once they are bagged up they looked like this.

Too thick!

I put the bag in the Seal-a-Meal, over the sealing strip and fed the bag opening in the vaccum channel...

closed the lid, locked it and pushed vacuum and seal!

See the seal at the top? I just trimmed it down a bit.

Here's how it looks after all the airs been sucked out of it.

DEFINITELY less than 3/4" thick now!

GENIUS, right? LOL!

Do you have any clever ideas for keeping shipping costs down? Please share below!

~ xxoOh! Shelley

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February Photo-a-Day Challenge: Create

For the month of February I am taking part in "the girl creative" Photo-a-Day challenge.

Today's prompt is CREATE 
(okay, okay it isn't today's prompt. I am a bit behind but give a CREATIVE girl a break. You just on with your month, I'll catch up with you!)

So I went by my daughter's home and saw this beautiful creativity on the wall...yes, the WALL!

See the PROUD artist? It's my granddaughter, Tori Sophia.

Please don't mind her hair, first thing in morning
and Mommy at work!
But see how PROUD she is of her work?! 

Guess my daughter isn't gonna fight her creativity, just dedicated the whole wall to her. Good idea too,  because she'd probably lose this battle!

CREATE on little one...but not on Grandma's walls!

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for another Photo-a-Day.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: Winner of My Giveaway!

I had a giveaway to celebrate my 100th blog post, offering two prizes to the winner: 

Notecards will be SIMILAR but with a different design/palette

Winner will receive these exact beads

And the winner is....

Congratulations Nicole (Bead Swap-USA)
I will be sending your prizes soon!

Thank you for all my friends who took the time to enter.


 Mailed out your prizes but forgot the little something I had for Logan! You probably wouldn't let him have it anyway...
   #sneakinginsugar  #G-Ma'sUnited

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February Photo-a-Day Challenge: Happy

For the month of February I am taking part in "the girl creative" Photo-a-Day challenge.

Today's prompt is HAPPY!

This my daughter Alycia (LeeLee) dancing on the roof of her SUV on the day she made her LAST car payment! If you know LeeLee and how she feels about her money, you KNOW she was HAPPY!  

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for another Photo-a-Day.

February Photo-a-Day Challenge: Kids

Oops...I am behind!!

For the month of February I am taking part in "the girl creative" Photo-a-Day challenge.

Today's prompt is KIDS! I HAVE any photos of kids? Hmmmmm....ya think?

I could post ALL my grandkids but I think this time I am going to show MY kids. My three beautiful daughters!

Here are some of my favorite photos throughout the years.

Alycia, Melanie and Jackie - Circa 1989

Alycia, Jordyn, Melanie and Jackie - Circa 2003
Yup, a grandkid snuck into this pic.

Alycia, Melanie and Jackie -  2013

All grown up, BUT still Mommy's babies.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for another Photo-a-Day.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Photo-a-Day Challenge: Shadow

For the month of February I am taking part in "the girl creative" Photo-a-Day challenge.

Today's prompt is SHADOW  

This is my favorite SHADOW photo.  It's a photo of my grandson Terrence's first day on a beach. It was taken in Virginia Beach, VA. 

Virginia Beach 2012

      And one of Mel and I.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for another Photo-a-Day.

February Photo-a-Day Challenge: HEART

For the month of February I am taking part in "the girlcreative" Photo-a-Day challenge.

Today's prompt is HEART  

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
                                                              - Donna Roberts

Monday, February 3, 2014

Last Minute Baby Shower ....and I DO mean last minute!

This is a LONG post so if you get tired reading be SURE to scroll to the bottom for TWO very exciting announcements!

My youngest daughter, Alycia, has a close friend who is having a baby! Alycia is going to be the Godmother - she is sooo excited. Well we all know that one of the GM's duties is to host a baby shower. Since this was her first she elicited my help.

The theme she picked out was zoo animals, with a blue and green color palette. We started out by buying a digital package online from a favorite vendor - . This collection included both papers and elements. Using my new Silhouette Portrait it was really easy to throw together a few things.  Good thing too; she only gave me a couple days to get it done. 

We started with the invitations -  

I used several different techniques including window cutouts, embellishing with glitter and Glossy Accents, and of course, machine stitching. (I've said it before, and I will say it again - I LOVE dimension!)

Next she needed some decor, so I made some pinwheels to use along with the balloons as centerpieces on the tabletops. While I was at it, I decided to whip out a small banner too!

Alycia even tried her hand at diaper creations! Aren't they cute?

Lastly, I made a few party favors. Just little pouches which we filled with M&M's. 

The party was yesterday and guess what happened this morning

Godmother Alycia with Nehemiah

Nehemiah was born at 8:40am. He weighs 6 lbs 12 oz and he is 20.5 inches long. 

Congratulations Ty!

In addition to a new baby it's also
 my 100th post so I am having a 

The prize is a set of beautiful handmade notecards with a Spring theme. Made by me, of course!  
Notecards will be SIMILAR but with a different design/palette

PLUS for my beady friends I have decided to add a small collection of TORI SOPHIA beads too! 

Winner will receive these exact beads

Contest runs through midnight, February 7th with the winner being announced on Saturday, February 8. Enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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