Wedding Countdown Paper Chain!

Not long after we got engaged, I found an app for my phone that let me see right on my home screen how many days were left until our wedding. (And actually, I kept two widgets: one to count down to my wedding, and one to count down to my sister’s wedding. We both had them and exchanged a lot of amazed texts as the numbers have gotten lower and lower.) I like numbers and quantifying things, so seeing this every day has been both interesting and hard to believe. I’m not sure when I got the idea in my head to make a paper chain to count the days left, but once it lodged in my head, it was very hard to forget about.

But it was one of those crafts that seemed crazy, like, okay, you’re going to cut out more than a hundred strips of paper only to tear them off? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to wait until there’s a month or two to go? But reasonable isn’t always my prominent characteristic when it comes to projects, so in one of my random Target runs, I found myself buying a scrapbook paper pad. The cheap price was my excuse, but let’s face it: as soon as this idea planted, it was absolutely going to happen. So one Saturday afternoon when we were firmly entrenched with no plans (and Dan reeeeally wanted to spend the day playing Xbox, so I needed something to keep me busy anyway), I started calculating. How many strips would I need? How many of each color to keep it balanced? How many of the 8.5″ square sheets would I need if each strip was an inch wide? You know. And I set to work.

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Cutting the strips was a little tedious, but ultimately easy with the paper cutter. I used my tape runner to glue them all together, one by one, starting with 0: Wedding Day!!

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I made a special link for our wedding day and for one month to go using my chevron stamp and some washi tape. And I numbered the links to make sure I didn’t lose track of where I was (and so we’d know as we tear them off where we are).

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As the chain grew and grew and grew .. into the living room, Dan just kept giggling at me.

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I tried to keep the colors disbursed as evenly as possible, and using the scrapbook paper pad was fairly smart on my part, because at least all the colors coordinated without me having to think about it too much. (Because you know I’d over think that.)

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Dan helped me hang it up (trusty Command Christmas light hooks to the rescue yet again!) and it was fun to figure out how to drape it across our fireplace artfully. We’re already looking forward to re-hanging it as the links disappear. I took these photos when we had 169 days to go; as of this writing we have 160 remaining. We are both totally loving the visual representation of how far we have to go… it’s hard to believe, but pretty damn exciting all the while. And you know these 160 days are going to FLY.

Completed: Fall Minibook

I bought a fall minibook kit from Elise’s shop at the end of the summer, because I can’t ever resist fall colors mixed together that way. I kept notes and printed photos months ago, but somehow never got around to putting it together. But an afternoon of chatting minibooks and Project Life with Jodi and Kelly last weekend got my papercraft-inspiration-juices flowing, and I just sat down to make this book on a weeknight and finished it in a few days. And it felt really, really good. It’s simple, mostly photos and date stamps, but six months late is better than never, as far as I’m concerned.

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297.365 :: six months late

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(This also counts for week 47 of Handmade52!)

Completed: 30 Before 30 Minibook

So I turned 30 back in July, and meant to get this book done soon after. (Back when I finished my 27 Things Before I turned 27 list, I finished the book BY my birthday, which seems crazy looking back. The 28 Things While I’m 28 book was only shortly after my birthday.)

Things were a little crazy just after my birthday, what with moving a week after, and starting a new job a month and a half after that. I was busy, and honestly? I pretty much lost my crafty mojo there for a while. I have this awesome craft room now and haven’t really used it. But a few weeks ago, I finally got the room organized and tidied up so that I could actually get some crafts done in there. I haven’t always felt like working on this, now that it’s so far past my birthday and some things have changed even since the list, but I pushed through, knowing how much I wanted to have the book completed, mostly to be able to come back and see it in a few years. It’s not my favorite minibook, but that’s not to say that I don’t love it and the things it contains. This list was my favorite of all the birthday lists, and I think I got some pretty major things done this year thanks to it.

Completed: 30 Before 30 book
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#7: Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
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#22: Get a Tattoo
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30 Before 30 minibook

Week 37: Geometric Paintings

One of the things I wanted to get right in our new place was decorating, in the living room, especially. I had a lot of posters and things that I liked in my old place, and I wanted to keep them, but not necessarily in the same configuration, just so the new place felt like “our place” instead of just everything from my old place but with Dan now.

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So I knew I wanted to hang my Keep Calm and Carry On poster above the couch, but I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to hang with it. At first I thought I’d buy prints from etsy or somewhere, but that got overwhelming really fast. I have a bunch of frames that I like but never knew how to use, including two worn-in white frames from my parents’ old bathroom. And then I realized that I could just make something to put in those frames, duh, and that I could then make sure the colors coordinated but didn’t match too twee-lee.

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I bought a bunch of craft paint at AC Moore, and just used some extra white cardstock, cut down to 8×10 to fit into the frames. This was my first major hurricane project, done sitting on the floor next to the big glass doors out to our patio. Dan helped me pick the designs and the colors, so that made it feel much more “us” instead of just me.

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I painstakingly cut painters tape into strips, the chevron being WAY TOO FUSSY I should have just used washi tape instead of paint why did I think this would be so easy and straightforward? Ugh.

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Ahem. The stripes were easier, but I still cut the painters tape into narrow strips, trying to paint in a not-too perfect pattern.

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The cardstock became clearly the wrong paper for the painters tape (washi tape would probably have been better, even for the same purpose) as it ripped the paper in some spots when I pulled it up. I tried not to be too much of a perfectionist about it, trying to convince myself that the sort of fuzzy lines go with the weathered frames just fine.

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I finally hung them up this past weekend, in preparation for Dan’s parents coming over to see the new apartment for the first time, and added my old beer bottle cap wreath to balance it out. I’m so happy with how it looks now, and it’s such a nice sight to see as I come in to the apartment, and the colors obviously are super matchy with the afghan that I assume I’ll finish one day, and I couldn’t be happier. Except if the painters tape hadn’t torn the paper but… we’re not talking about that.

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Week 30: Moving Announcements

I don’t know what it says about my personality, but one of the things I was most excited about when it came to moving was picking out and sending out moving announcements. I like everything about sending mail, from picking out cute stamps to writing out my friends’ and family members’ addresses, to updating my address book (I always write addresses in pencil so I can update neatly!), to putting a giant pile of envelopes in the mail slot at the post office.

I mean, I had our moving announcement picked out and favorited before we even picked out our apartment.

I fell in love with a print-at-home announcement from nelliedesign’s etsy shop, not only because of the color scheme, which is pretty much exactly the colors we’re using in our new living room. She emailed me with the final high res version within hours of my order, and I printed them once we hooked up my printer in our new place.

oh craft room, you are so great

One of my goals with my birthday Paper Source trip was to get some red envelopes, and since the whole point of moving announcements is to reveal your new address, I just stamped our initials in place of a return address.

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And then covered the envelopes with washi tape. And bought the cutest stamps ever.

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It was fun, I got to use my new craft room and my paper cutter, I got to gather some new addresses, and I got to send mail. It was a good re-entry into the crafty world, since I haven’t been in that mindset for quite a while. So it’s super good.

Week Eight: Linoleum Prints

This particular crafty adventure has been in the works since way back in December when I revealed my linoleum-printed holiday cards. Pookie and Schnookie and I have been joking for a while about trying lots of new things until we stumble upon what will lead us to internet crafty millionaire-dom. They’ve been pondering all sorts of things and I love papercrafts, and we decided to plan a Craft Spectacular Day to start from the beginning and try linoleum printing together.

We settled on Presidents Day, because all three of us had off for the long weekend. We spent a while browsing online for supplies, and each of us bought a few linoleum blocks, a carving tool set, a roller, and some paint. I supplied the endless paper (I used this event as an excuse to buy a pound of scraps at the craft store last week, and boy was THAT a treat) and pencils and tracing paper.

The only hitch in the plan that day was that there was some sort of water main break at my apartment complex, so I hadn’t had water since the late morning. But we figured it would be back in a few hours and got started anyway.

I think the hardest part for all of us at the beginning (okay, well, all day) was trying to figure out what to carve. It’s hard to be very precise on the linoleum, so you’re trying to think of something that would be easy to carve but not boring at the same time. The basic method is to draw your design on tracing paper, flip the tracing paper over onto the linoleum block, and rub the back of the tracing paper so the pencil lines transfer (backwards) onto the linoleum. We then floundered a bit with whether we were carving the positive or negative image, too.

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The blocks are super hard, so you need a lot of pressure to carve out the designs. I was busy telling them about how my mom had warned me to be super careful while carving, because the carving tools are reeeeally sharp, and maybe she thought we should wear gloves on her left hand… and that’s right about when my right hand slipped and I jabbed the damn carving tool right into my left pointer finger. And my water was still off. And it was bleeding. And my mom TOLD ME SO.

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We all laughed heartily about that for a while, or I pretended to laugh heartily to disguise how much my hands were shaking, and how afraid I was to actually look at the wound, and Pookie and Schnookie looked at me shifty-eyed and asked if we needed to go get me stitches. Then they made me eat cookies. It turned out to be not too bad, other than the holy crap that hurts factor, and the I can’t believe I stabbed myself during crafts factor. But my dad had put together a pretty serious first aid kit when I moved into my first apartment, so I had lots of bandaging materials.

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At this point we had just started printing with our first blocks, and were pretty excited about the results. I, naturally, stuck with super boring stripes, but Pookie carved a masterful strawberry, and Schnookie made a spool of thread which was intense. And the prints? Especially on my array of colored paper? Are SO cool!

We did that for a while and then broke for the almost-as-important trip to Pete and Elda’s portion of the day. I also really, really needed to use the bathroom (still no water) and was concerned about not having really washed my wound yet. So we did all of that, and ate a surprisingly large amount of pizza and drank a bunch of beer (to fuel the crafts). And I thought, as I do every time I am there, that I need to set up some sort of rotation so that I can get myself to Pete and Elda’s on a more frequent basis.

that beer tasted SO good.

SERIOUS YUM

We then went back to my apartment and started carving new blocks, trying to be more creative or correct the mistakes that we made the first time around. (Or, you know, not stab oneself in the process). We also had some rubbery looking blocks (they looked and smelled like gigantic art erasers) that we used the second time around, and these were much easier to carve but seem to be a little more flimsy. So I think the idea is that you use the hard gray blocks if you want to keep the block and reuse it again and again, while you use the easier to carve blocks for more intricate designs that you don’t need to keep? (Going back to the gray blocks after the ez-carve ones was IMPOSSIBLE.)

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our masterpieces

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So we had a day of crafts, pizza, beer, and hilarity. And we made some really cool cards in the process. I think next time I carve linoleum, I will think a little more in advance about what I want to make in the end (which will, let’s face it, be stripes because I both cannot draw and am unoriginal). But really, this was just an awesome time all around. (And I didn’t need stitches.)

December Daily Book: Finished!

Well! The photos I ordered to put in my December Daily minibook arrived on Monday, and last night, I incorporated them into the already completed pages and finished the pages for the last few days of the year. It actually is probably weird to keep calling this December Daily, since it ended up going from the day before Thanksgiving through January 2. But that’s okay, because that’s how I define the holiday season, anyway. I had a bit of an almost-disaster last night when my tape runner ran out just as I was about to put a ton of photos back to back.. but the trusty ol’ glue stick filled in perfectly. I forgot how much more messy glue sticks are. (Even worse? I was at the craft store earlier in the evening and deliberately didn’t buy a refill because I figured I must have done that already.) Anyway! As I’ve said before, putting this together in this way meant that my dining room table was covered in paperscraps for the entire month+, but that’s what made it easy to keep updating it every few days. I’m not sure that I really prefer the whole adding photos at the end, but it did feel good to work on it more steadily over a longer period of time. Then again, the built-in holiday color scheme and limited supplies made that easier, too. I updated a few of the previous photos with updated shots now that I have added photos – you can see all of the pages over here. And here are the last few pages.

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december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book