Monday, December 27, 2010

Birthday Spotlights (the scrapbooker's way)

Both my boys have December birthdays, and both their teachers recommended bringing in about "About Me" poster for their spotlight on their special day.  But with the craziness of December in general and still trying to keep our house spotless at all times for showings, I could not wrap my brain around making a big poster and then trying to figure out what to do with it afterwards.  My solution?  Make a scrapbook page instead!  I used my favorite pics from our recent family photo shoot and interviewed each boy about their current vital information.  I took them to their classes, where they were much admired by students and teachers alike, and now I can tuck them away in their scrapbooks while patting myself on the back for killing two birds with one stone.  (Spotlight poster?  Done!  Birthday milestone scrapbook page?  Done!  Now I'll probably just print off snapshots from their actual birthdays and put them in pocket pages with these in their scrapbooks.)

This is Joshy's:

Materials:  PP -- Basic Grey; Letter Stickers -- Cosmo Cricket; Die cuts -- Cricut Lyrical Letters (letters), Paper Doll Dress Up (rocket ship), Christmas Cheer (swirls) and George (star) cartridges; green strap -- Lil Davis Designs
And here is Sam's:

I was pretty proud of myself on Sam's especially.  I'm a lazy scrapper, and I really like to buy paper in collections so I don't have to stress about coordinating things.  But this layout combines paper from no less than 4 different manufacturers!  Ironically, it came together faster than just about any layout I've made.  Go figure!  Also, I challenged myself to make a boy layout with no stars for accents, because looking back through their pages I realized that had become my go-to shape for boys.  So I made these cute little accordian flowers with the pencil paper and they turned out so cool!  I also added a bottle cap, which is special because Sam LOVES collecting them.  He even made a bottlecap necklace for his cute little best friend at school.

Materials:  PP -- Autumn Leaves (cursive paper), Making Memories (green polka dot and brown houndstooth in the bottlecap), Scenic Route (green paper for the 7), and Cosmo Cricket (pencil/ledger paper -- actually the same paper): Letter stickers -- Cosmo Cricket; Scrabble tile sticker -- EK Success; Distressing -- Cat's Eye chalk ink; Die cuts -- Cricut Billionaire (letters) and Printing Press (7) cartridges

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Easy Nativity Centerpiece

We all know how crazy schedules can be during the holidays, so I really love a timesaver -- especially something that is quick and easy but still looks fantastic.  The ladies in our church congregation were getting together for a lovely Christmas dinner and asked for volunteers to decorate and set the tables, and I wanted to put together something that was classy and elegant, but not too hard to transport.  Solution?  The Christmas Village cartridge from!

I love nativity scenes -- just a sweet reminder to keep Christ as the reason for the season, right?  I cut the Baby Jesus at 5 1/2", Mary at 6", and Joseph at 8".  Then I gathered up some Christmas decorations from elsewhere in the house to put together the rest of the centerpiece -- an amaryliss, an apothecary jar full of ornaments, and a silver-colored charger with spanish moss to serve as a base for my nativity figures.  The red fabric is actually a twin sheet artfully folded, and the striped fabric is just a long strip of material.  The green runner I got on clearance at IKEA for 99 cents. 

Making this little centerpiece set my wheels turning about all sorts of handy reasons you might need a really portable nativity scene.  Do you have a loved one in the military or maybe away at college?  Maybe you're not in a position to buy a fancy nativity scene or you just don't have any room to store decorations through the year?  These pretty figures can be tucked into an envelope until next year, or you could just cut more out next year.

Many blessings to all this beautiful Christmas season! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do something amazing tonight! (Or tomorrow... but soon!)

I feel so incredibly, immeasurably blessed.  I feel like God has given me so much more than I ever could have asked for.  Sometimes, when I see the suffering of so many around the world, I feel overwhelmed with a desire to help and overcome by frustration because I don't even know where to begin.

I know many of you feel the same way, so here is a very good place to start.

Julie at Joy's Hope (which, by the way, is a very inspirational and funny blog) is part of a group called Project 320, which is a lot of lovely bloggers raising money to build wells in Africa.  What is more basic to life than clean water?  What would it mean to you to be able to give that to your children?

So, Project 320 is running an awesome fundraiser right now, where for every $10 you donate, you get to enter one of the blogger's amazing giveaways.  We're talking seriously good stuff, too.  When you go to the giveaway page, you can see all the different prize packs being offered (and get all the details on how to donate and how to enter).

My only sadness is that I didn't find out about this until tonight, and the fundraiser closes tomorrow at midnight.  (Well, the giveaways do -- I have a feeling that the Project 320 girls or the people in Africa without clean water wouldn't turn away your donation even after tomorrow.)  So I thought I would spread the word any way I can.  I hope you'll take a moment to go check it out!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My "grown-up" Christmas trees...

When I saw this tutorial on Shanty2Chic (via Infarrantly Creative), I knew I had to make my own ASAP.

See, I had these paper mache trees that I bought years ago from Oriental Trading.  I always intended to do something cute and whimsical with them, but they just sat, unloved and uncrafted, in their box in the top of the closet.  Until now!  I've been loving all the natural, vintage-y Christmas decorations out in blogland this year, so I decided I was going to make myself some Christmas trees just for me!  Pretty much all our Christmas decor is the fun, bright, whimsical variety, which I love, but you gotta switch things up sometimes, right?

For the tallest tree, I cut 2" wide lengths of linen (I think it was 45"), folded them in half, and pressed them.  Then I sewed a basting stitched down the non-folded edge, then gathered each strip, just a little.  Starting at the bottom of the cone, I hot-glued each strip around and around the tree.  I think the big tree took 3 strips.  The star on top is a kraft paper-mache ornament from the craft store.  I was going to do something fancy with it, but I decided it was very happy staying kraft paper.

For the middle tree, I used a border punch to create 1 1/2" strips of paper.  I cut V-shaped slits every few inches so that I could fit the paper to cone as I wrapped it around.  I crinkled up the paper before hot-gluing it on, just to give it more texture.  This one took about 1 1/4 pieces of kraft paper.  After the cone was covered, I hot glue pearl bead "ornaments" to the tree.

For the littlest tree, I used the same technique as the big tree, but instead of fabric I used one of those cheap bolts of lace from Joann's.  I think the whole bolt was a dollar at most, and I only used about half of it.

Now, my intention when I started was to use the little pot bases that came with the trees, but they just didn't have the elegant vintage touch I was looking for.  Luckily I had already scheduled a trip to Star Mill in American Fork.  It's an amazing antique/junk shop, and it is my new happy place.  I found this PERFECT spindle for $1.50, just begging to be turned into tree trunks.  Well, I've never been one to crush the life dreams of inanimate objects, so of course I had to take it home and cut it into three fun tree trunks, which I then hot-glued to the cones.

But then, alas, the trees were so top-heavy they could not stand on their own.  I thought about gluing them all down to a plank of wood, but I wanted to be able to arrange them independently.  I hunted around my craft room for ideas... CD's covered with kraft paper?  Too flat and too boring and not vintage enough.  Empty ribbon spools?  Too much work to unspool ribbon and find it a new home, and then still not super stable.  And so on... Finally, inspiration!  One of my little hobbies is designing and cutting snowflake ornaments out of wood with a laser cutter, and I happened to have a little stack of unpainted snowflakes that worked perfectly as bases for my trees.   

(Happy sigh...)  Don't you just love it when something you've envisioned turns out even better in real life?  These make me happy every time I go through my entryway!

I hope you are all having a delightful Christmas with your families and giving yourself time to create something beautiful!


P.S.  I'm entering this in the Kraft Journal's Holiday Challenge -- if you love kraft paper like I do, you should go check it out!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mega Giveaway on Single Dad Laughing!

Have you guys heard of the blog Single Dad Laughing?  SDL is a hugely popular parenting/life blog written by the amazingly talented Dan, who just happens to be my little brother.  :)  It is a really funny and thought-provoking blog, which is reason enough to check it out, but right now he's doing a HUGE giveaway with over 150 prizes, one of which is a Cricut. There's also an i-Rock tool from Imaginisce and a lot of other really great prizes! The last day to enter is Monday, so check it out! Here's the link:

Tomi Ann

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our 'Muy Fabulosa' Wedding...

If you're a long-time follower, you may have noticed that my postings have not been what anyone would call frequent over the past couple of months... but there's a very good reason, I promise!  My wonderful little sister Emily got married last month, and I was working like a crazy person on all sorts of decorations and goodies for her big day.  It turned out so beautifully -- it was worth every minute!

In the beginning, Em & Luis had chosen to use a damask pattern as the theme for the wedding decor, with the colors black and white with a little red thrown in.  I used that inspiration to create their wedding invitation:

And this is how the wedding reception looked!  (Everyone say "Ooooooooh!" together now!)

We did the reception at Highland Gardens Reception Center in Highand, Utah, which was just gorgeous to start out with. Emily's new hubby Luis' family is from several Latin American countries, so we took a few of those traditions as a jumping off point for our decor.  My sister-in-law Caitlyn's mom Jeralee was the visionary behind all this, and I was so happy I could help make it all come to life.  My mom and Jeralee got these damask table toppers and borrowed all sorts of silver pitchers and containers from generous family and friends and filled them with roses to make these gorgeous centerpieces.

We made approximately a gazillion of those tissue paper pom-poms to hang around the reception area, which was truly a labor of love by several family members and friends who are NOT crafters but pitched in awesomely.

My biggest contribution was the white paper papel picado banners hanging above the tables.  They are traditionally cut by hand out of tissue paper, but I wanted to customize them, make them a little sturdier, and give them a cleaner, more modern feel to match the damask theme of the wedding, so I designed 8 custom banners and then cut each one with my Cricut (using SCAL).  I cut over 200 of these babies, so my Cricut was smokin' by the end.  Here's a closeup:

And, just because I can't help beating a dead horse, here's what the designs look like without background distraction...

I was also in charge of hair accessories for the bride and bridal party.  I made red satin flowers for all us bridesmaids and our sisters-in-law with this tutorial from Stuff & Bits.  This is my beautiful sister Amy and me:

And of course we couldn't leave the little girlies out!  I made these rolled rosette hair pretties for my daughter Eliza (on the left) and my niece Amelia out of the same fabric:

Here's a closer up picture of Eliza with my Dad where you can see the flowers better.  (This is when she found him and asked him to dance -- oh, the cuteness!):

But my favorite was this enormous flower I created for the bride herself, using a technique I actually figured out myself (I know, don't fall over dead...).

 As a fun little photo prop, I made this fun-shaped chalkboard.  They took some pictures with "Just Married" written on it, and then I changed it to "Thank You" so we could use those pictures to print custom thank you cards for them to send out.  (This is not the picture we'll use -- my amazing photographer brothers took "real" pictures for that...)

 Now, I didn't have anything to do with these next couple of photos, but I couldn't go without showing y'all the cakes.  This was their wedding cake, created by my aunt's sister Dorcas Woodward.  She cut out all of that intricate damask patter by hand out fondant.  That is love, people.  And isn't it amazing?

My sister Amy made this AWESOME sombrero grooms cake, also completely by hand:

I also made them a pretty sign-in scrapbook, but my pictures of that didn't turn out AT ALL, so I will have to steal it from them and show you another time.

Whew!  Just looking at these pictures makes me tired, but so very happy.  Thanks for letting me be part of the fun, Em and Luis!  Love you guys!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sing Joyful Tidings --

Looking for the Blog Hop?  Scroll down!

For the month of December, sent me the Christmas Village cartridge, and what drew my eye first were the fabulous vintage caroler silhouettes!  I have a secret ambition to dress up like that some day and go caroling, but don't tell my husband -- he already thinks I'm waaaay to crazy about Christmas...

I have a few vintage Christmas songbooks that I stole inherited from my grandmother, so I scanned in "The First Noel" and printed it out to use as my background.  Then I cut the caroler at 4" and adhered her to this vintage kraft tag my mom got for me at an antique fair in England -- ah, she knows me so well.  It needed a little somethin', but luckily I had also received some Christmas-colored Stickles in my package, so I added a nice big wreath with just a little bit of sparkle.  I distressed everything with chalk ink.  So fun and festive, but still with that elegant vintage feel.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Advent -- Christmas Blog Hop!

Welcome to old and new friends -- it's time for the Design Team Blog Hop!  We wanted to spread some Christmas cheer with a bunch of very fun projects AND give you a chance to win your choice of Cricut cartridges!  Full details below my project -- on to the good stuff!

If you've been here before, you may remember my Halloween countdown calendar project.  I got several requests for a tutorial, so I thought it would make a perfect project for our Christmas blog hop!  Once you see how easy this is, you'll definitely want to make one for your own kids.  (Or just for yourself... I'm not judging...)

Step 1:  Get a muffin tin.  I chose a 12-muffin version, but I've also seen super cute ones done with the 24-mini-muffin tins.  I'm just too lazy to do that one...  The only thing to keep in mind is that, if you want to punch holes for hanging ribbon, you need to get a tin without a big lip on it, as shown here.

Step 2: Punch holes at the top of the tin and set eyelets.  I did mine with a Cropodile, but you could probably also use a drill.  Seriously, though, if you don't have a Cropodile, it's worth the investment.  If you don't want to put holes in your tin, you could always display it on an easel.

Step 3:  Choose a few sheets of paper.  I always use a coordinating set that is double-sided, which takes care of a lot of the work.  Cut 12 squares at 3 1/4" each.  Use a corner-rounder on the corners.  Alternately, you could cut rounded squares with your Cricut.

Step 4:  Lay out your squares on your muffin tin to make sure you like the order and placement of the various patterns.  If you're like me, though, you'll still end up switching them around a little (as you'll see if you compare this pic with the finished product).

Step 5:  Decorate each square with die cuts, trim, and bits and bobs from your stash.  I know we're all suckers for Christmas embellishments, and this is a great project to use them.  I love the fun, whimsical artwork from the Christmas Cheer cartridge, and I always think it's fun to add little touches to tie it into the patterned paper (like the black pen outline on the die cuts).  And of course you have to add some glitter when it's Christmas!  Also, I used my Gypsy to plan everything out before I cut, which made things a LOT easier.*

Voila!  A fun 12-days-of-Christmas advent calendar!  I fill each tin with little goodies from the dollar store, like pencils, stickers, socks, and a few treats.  If the item is too big for the space, I leave a note inside telling what it is.  My kids LOVED the one for Halloween, and when they saw me making this one they were practically beside themselves.  What can I say?  I have them well-trained. :)

Oops, I forgot Step 6 -- Adhere little magnets on the backs of the corners of each square so they'll stick to the muffin tin.  After the holiday is over, you can just put all 12 into a little envelope and keep them safe til next year. :)

Materials:  Die cuts -- Cricut Mini-Monograms (scallop circles), Winter Woodland (numbers), and Christmas Cheer (everything else) cartridges; Patterned paper -- SEI; Felt shapes and ricrac -- Fancy Pants; Letter stickers and jewels -- Queen & Co.; Baker's twine -- Martha Stewart; Metal tag -- DCWV; Glitter glue -- Stickles; Distressing ink -- Clearsnap Cat's Eye chalk ink

Okay, so now I'll tell you how to win a cartridge...

Here's how to play:
Start at the blog, become a follower.  Visit each of the design team blogs below and leave a comment on their blog in their post regarding the blog hop.  When you've done this on all the blogs, go to the blog, leave a comment stating that you have completed the hop.  You can also become a follower of each of the designer's blogs but it is not a requirement to win.  

ScrapbookPal Blog (
Jamie Cripps (
Rowena Valentine (
Crystal Butler (
Amy Crockett (
Tammy White (
Leah Cornelius(
You are here!  ----->Tomi Ann Hill (
Cheryl Walker (
ScrapbookPal Blog (

Happy hopping and Merry Christmas!

*P.S.  If you'd like the Gypsy file that has everything I did for this whole project, please let me know.  I'm not at home right now because our furnace died and it's super cold so we took refuge at my parents' house, but I'd be happy to post a link when we get home!