Valentine’s For Teachers

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 13, 2007 in Crafts

I realized after my last post that I had nothing special to give the teachers for Valentine’s Day! Luckily, I remembered 3 mugs that I had picked up at AC Moore for $1 each (I KNEW these would come in handy!).

I filled them with hard candy and made a little tag to tie to the top with ribbon – simple, quick and easy…


Tales of a Room-Mom on Valentine’s Day

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 13, 2007 in Crafts

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I have my hands full! I am the room mom (or is it ‘room parent’ or ‘room coordinator’ to be politically correct – don’t want to offend anyone) for my son’s second grade class and I am also responsible for the Valentine’s Day party for my daughter’s 4 year old preschool class. So I needed some QUICK, EASY craft ideas – as fast as possible!

I scoured the web and came up with a few – thought I’d share them with you so that a) if you are a room parent, I can help to easy your panic and b) so that next year when I am in the same panic, I can look back and remember what I did last year.

Here are the goody bags for my daughter’s class:

These are just really simple Chinese food containers from Michaels. I was going to stamp on them, but then I realized that I would have to take them apart and since I’m short on time (and slightly lazy) – I didn’t want to do that. So…after I filled and assembled the boxes, I just took my heat gun to some sheets of craft foam and pressed a heart stamp into it while it was still hot. The result was an embossed heart that I cut out and on which I stamped a little saying:

I tied them with some fun fur in pink, purple and red. The purple hearts are for the boys and the pink ones are for the girls.

As a craft for the 4 year old class, I decided to do a variation on a project I did last year at a church fundraiser. We just took those plain, red heart boxes that were available at Target last year and I let the kids decorate them with doilies, gems, foam hearts, buttons, stickers, marabou feathers…whatever they’d like. Here’s an example (not my finest craft work, but think like a 4 year old):

What I thought we could do is have the kids make a box of chocolates for their parents or another someone special. We’ll take some Hershey Nuggets and cover them with some pre-stamped address labels. I figured the kids will be able to peel and attach the labels after decorating their boxes. Quick and easy, right?

Speaking of which, here are two more really quick craft ideas for that age group.

The first is a simple pencil topper. Just take a pipe cleaner (now known as a ‘chenille stem’) and stick one end through a foam heart (about an inch – these go through really easily – no need to punch a hole). Wrap it around itself then take the other end and wrap it around a pencil. Pull it up so that the heart sticks out above the pencil and that’s it:

The kids could also decorate the heart if they want. You thought that was easy – this one’s even easier…

Take a pipe cleaner and put both ends through a foam heart. Put it over your finger and twist both ends behind. Trim off any excess and you have a super-easy ring!

I didn’t decorate mine because I think I have enough crafts and won’t need this one, but the kids could certainly jazz it up a bit and decorate it. How easy is that!

Another easy craft that I found is a little gum guy. These have been around for a while – it’s such a simple and inexpensive little craft – and I think they are cute too!

Take two sticks of gum (still in the wrappers) and put 2 pipe cleaners between them to be the arms and legs. Stick the gum sticks together with double sided tape and you have the body. Bend the arms and legs however you’d like . Then I took a little wooden heart shape and used some self-stick googly eyes and drew on a mouth. Then the kids can decorate the body (I just attached two more wooden hearts)…

You could also add some hair or buttons or a hat…I just kept the sample simple (again, not my best craft work, but pretend you’re 4 or 7 and work with me here…).

I think I’m going to use that craft for both classes – it’s cute and simple.

The 7 year olds are also going to decorate a bag to hold their valentines. I bought some plain red, pink and white bags and will let the kids use marabou feathers, yarn, foam hearts, stickers, doilies…whatever they’d like.

Simple and easy, right?

One other craft idea I found but don’t think I’m going to use is a little clothespin doll magnet.

You’re supposed to draw a face and shoes and add a heart to the front and some yarn for hair on the top. Then you put a magnet on the back…

I can’t help but think she looks like a little flasher, naked behind the heart! Maybe someone else can come up with a variation that looks better, but I’m all out of ideas for now and don’t need another craft this year.

In fact, for my son’s class, I actually bought pre-printed little plastic goody bags – GASP! And I also am using STORE-BOUGHT cookies and cupcakes – my oven is still on the fritz (and I’m not in a hurry to get it fixed, either).

And…even worse – I’m ashamed to say – I didn’t hand-make the Valentines for my kids to exchange this year. I bought some from Friendly’s that benefit the Easter Seals – each is good for a free ice-cream cone. Sorry, but I figured since I have two parties plus a stamp club meeting (where we’re doing a shoebox swap) on Valentine’s Day, I have certainly done enough creative thinking… :)

And on a ‘menopausal moment’ note…I planned on playing a game with the kids where we use conversation hearts flipped upside down and then the kids try to find the matches by turning them over. I bought about 6 small boxes of conversation hearts at AC Moore, but realized that I might need more to find enough that match. So I rushed into Target, grabbed eight more boxes and checked out. So…I’m sitting here trying to find colors and sayings that match and I can find very few in the first 6 boxes. So I grabbed the others and dumped them out. I kept looking at the words thinking that they really didn’t look right…that’s because they are in SPANISH! I bought Spanish conversation hearts! Oh well – I’m sure they’ll taste the same…but there goes that great idea for a game…


Kissing 101

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 10, 2007 in Crafts

Well…I did it. I broke down and finally ordered an Ott-Lite. The lighting in my house is so bad…and when I hold classes, some spots at my dining room table are just SO dark. And my fabulous $9.99 Ikea floor lamp has broken off its base after being hauled back and forth to and from my craft room so many times (what do you expect for a lamp under 10 bucks?).

So those who take my classes…you now have good lighting to look forward to!

Speaking of classes – tomorrow I’m teaching one in a series of stamping technique classes. We’re covering some basic and advanced stamping techniques 3 or 4 at a time in a really quick 1-hour-or-less class on Sunday afternoons. All the techniques are put onto tags and go onto a key ring (given at the first class attended) so they’ll be a quick and easy reference when we’re all done the classes.

So tomorrow, we’re learning about ‘kissing’ – appropriate right before Valentine’s Day, don’t you think? I thought I’d share some of the samples here to show the basics of kissing – and to convince you to take more of my classes in the future. :)

Basic kissing involves taking a large, inked stamp with a small pattern and using it as an ‘ink pad’ for a smaller stamp with a solid image. Here, I’ve used the solid flower from Office Accoutrements (coming in the Spring Mini – just a teaser here!) and kissed it onto Canvas which had been inked with Vintage Violet ink.

The result is at the bottom – a flower with a canvas pattern. Here is the same flower stamp kissed in the same way to various backgrounds:

Clockwise from top left, that’s Paisley, Fine Lace, French Script and the diamond pattern stamp from Looks Like Spring (the stamp doesn’t have to be a large background stamp – it just needs to be larger than the solid stamp).

You’ll notice that the letters and words in the French Script sample are backwards. When you kiss, you get the mirror image of the background stamp you’re kissing to.

In case you’ve never noticed, Stampin’ Up! has solved this problem with two stamp sets made just for kissing – Letter Prints and Letter Patterns. If you look closely at these stamp sets, you’ll notice that the text is backwards – but when you kiss to them:

The text is correct. Here I’ve kissed “K” from Headline Alphabet to the text stamp from Letter Prints using Real Red ink. By the way, if you look at this stamp closely, you’ll notice that the text is the story of Stampin’ Up! – just a little trivia for ya’.

Kissing can also be used to remove ink from a inked, solid stamp in order to create a pattern such as this:

I inked Big Blossom with Vintage Violet ink then randomly stamped the little flower image from Springtime Stems on top of the inked stamp to remove the ink from those portions. The result is a very subtle image.

Finally, here’s a use for kissing that I wish I had used when I did my Love Letter Box (see my previous post). When I stamped the birds from Carte Postale, they both faced the same way. But there’s a way to fix that with mirror image kissing…

Stamp your first image (I used the bird from Carte Postale in this example) onto cardstock – you may want to stamp-off first so that the color is not as bright (the kissed image will be a little lighter).

Next, ink the bird stamp again and then stamp the image onto a large, solid stamp. In this case, I used the square stamp from Simple Shapes, but you can use any large, clean solid part of a stamp (I could have even used Big Blossom for this example). You’re using the solid stamp basically as a transfer method – and on another side note…a friend of mine picked up a stamp specifically for this technique at AC Moore the other day – it was basically just a big, solid rectangle stamp with no image. It was in the clearance bin – probably because people didn’t know exactly how to use it – but now YOU do…

So…next, stamp that solid stamp with the inked bird on it onto cardstock and voila:

The second bird faces the other way.

And you can see how very messy my Real Red ink pad is! I use it a lot, obviously…

Well, that’s it for Kissing 101. See – don’t you want to take one of my classes now? 😉


Love Letter Project

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 9, 2007 in Crafts

I decided to take today off after a busy week and late night last night (but hey – I actually won something at Basket Bingo last night – a Longerberger wine basket complete with a bottle of Merlot!).

So there I was…just innocently watching TV (catching up on all the shows I TiVo’ed) and saw an episode of Carol Duvall that had a GREAT project that I just HAD to try. And I thought I’d share it with you…

It’s just perfect for Valentine’s Day – the finished project looks like a stack of old love letters tied with a pretty ribbon…

But inside is a little secret…

The top is hinged and inside is a little compartment perfect for a small gift or treasure! I adapted the one from the show slightly to make this one.

So here’s how to make it – you’ll need:

  • Envelopes (I used 8 Stampin’ Up! medium Naturals Ivory envelopes for this stack plus one for the hinge, but you can use as many and whatever size you’d like)
  • Chipboard
  • Foamboard
  • Craft knife, ruler and cutting mat
  • One sheet of patterned paper (I used one 12X12 sheet of SU!’s Enchante paper)
  • Stipple brush and brown ink (I used Chocolate Chip from SU!)
  • Adhesive and double-sided tape
  • Stamps and embellishments of your choice

To begin, take each of your envelopes and stipple the edges with ink for an aged look:

Next, cut pieces of chipboard and foamboard to fit inside your envelopes. I had 8 envelopes and used 4 pieces of chipboard and 4 pieces of foamboard and alternated them when stacking them. If you’re using the medium sized (or invitation sized) envelopes, you’ll cut the pieces to 5 1/2 X 4 1/4 (same size as a standard card).

You’ll also want to cut a piece of chipboard to use as a template for the size of your little box inside (the bottom piece in this photo). For this one, I just traced the width of a ruler around all 4 sides and cut out the middle with my craft knife.

Another hint – to make the foamboard pieces more realistic inside the envelopes, trim the edges at an angle so there are no sharp edges.

Place the template over all but 3 of the stippled envelopes and cut out the middle sections. It looks nice if you vary the template slightly on each envelope to give the stacked appearance. Place the cardboard and foamboard pieces inside the envelopes and cut them out to match the holes in the envelopes:

Take another stippled envelope and cut across the diagonals of the template in an “X”. Completely cut the center out of a piece of cardboard to match where the template lined up and insert the cardboard inside. Fold the edges back and adhere with double-sided tape so that you get a nice, clean edge on the front. This will be the very top layer under the lid of the box (the photo shows the back side before the folds are taped down.

Next, stamp the front and back of the lid envelope and the back of the bottom envelope as desired. Insert the remaining foam board or chipboard pieces inside the lid and bottom envelopes.

Stack the envelopes with the cut-outs on top of the bottom envelope, lining up the cut sections and adhering each one to the layer below. Do not adhere the top layer (piece with the folded-back edges) yet:

Next we’ll create the lining for the inside of the box. Cut pieces of patterned paper to fit inside and cover the edges, then adhere to the top envelope:

Then place the top layer envelope with the folded edges on top. Cut two strips of ribbon, fold them around the bottom of the box and adhere under the top piece. Adhere the top piece in place:

Tie a ribbon around the lid envelope (like on a present):

Now create a hinge out of another blank envelope. Cut out the scored and folded piece the envelope:

And adhere this to the lid envelope and box with double-sided tape:

That’s it – when you attach the lid to both pieces, you’re done.

I thought it was a cute and original idea – hope you enjoy!


Cards, Cards and more Cards!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 8, 2007 in Cards, Crafts

After taking a few days off from all things crafty, I’m back to work again.  I took the last few days to get my house back under control as I posted previously.  We’ll see how long it lasts with three kids stuck indoors because of the freezing cold winter weather!

The only crafty diversion I took was on Tuesday when it was Papercrafting Day on QVC.  Some of my friends came over and we embellished a few mailboxes and had QVC on in the background.  I warned them not to leave me alone with QVC, Lisa Bearnson, Anna Griffin and a running computer, but no one listened – so I can blame all my purchases on them!  I’m not even sure of everything I bought – but my big purchase of the day was a Cricut machine!  It won’t ship until March, but I can’t wait to play!

Sidebar – the reason I don’t feel horribly guilty for buying a horribly expensive Cricut begins with the story of the Christmas shoes.  Not that sappy country music holiday song that is played just to make us cry – I have my own Christmas shoe story.

My dear husband Mike decided to surprise me with a pair of really nice Born sandals for Christmas (now – why he would buy me summer shoes in the middle of winter, I have yet to determine).  Unfortunately, he bought the wrong size.  Did he bother to go through my current shoes and see what size I currently wear?  No – he ordered shoes a half-size too small.  So he returned them and…NEVER GOT ME ANYTHING ELSE IN RETURN!  That’s right – I was without a Christmas gift.

Anyway, I recently called this to his attention and as a result – he had nothing to say about me buying myself a Cricut machine!

So enough about that – let’s get to the cards!  I was asked to make a prize basket for a silent auction for my daughter’s preschool fundraiser this weekend.  So I decided to embellish a paint can and fill it with stamping goodies:

In the can I put an unmounted “So Very” stamp set, a Cool Caribbean ink pad and ink refill, and 6 stamped cards using that stamp set and color.  I also covered the can with “Loves Me” paper and added a silk flower, Prima flowers and LOTS of ribbon – here’s a better shot of the can (the color look much nicer in person – they came out kind of weird in the picture):

I have a really easy way to cover paint cans – I use 3 patterns of 12X12 coordinating paper (the thicker, the better) and cut them to the following sizes:

  • 2 strips at 4 1/2 X 12″
  • 2 strips at 1 1/4 X 12″
  • 2 strips at 2 X 12″

Then I use a circle punch (1 inch or larger) to cut out a hole in the middle of the 2 inch strips – doesn’t matter if it’s exact – I just let the strips overlap (I’m not that much of a perfectionist – I just want a quick and easy way to do a project).  Punch the hole toward the bottom of the strip and leave the bottom of the hole open so that it will slip over the top of the handle knobs.

Use a thin layer of ModPodge on the back of the paper and adhere the largest strips right around the middle of the can, butting up against the handles.  Then put the smallest strips around the bottom and the 2 inch strips around the top, slipping the holes over the handles.  Apply another thin coat of ModPodge over the entire surface of the paper and then embellish as you’d like. 

I also cut a circle at about 5 1/2 inches in diameter and attach it to the top of the lid as well.

Here are the 6 cards I included:

I thought this is a good way to show what can be done with that stamp set and those colors (I also used a lot of the ‘Loves Me’ paper to make it easier on myself).

I also included the current Idea Book & Catalog and mini catalogs (just in case I get them hooked on stamping….).

I hope the can gets lots of bids!

Tonight I’m off to Basket Bingo night to support my son’s elementary school.   I never win anything, but at least I’ll have a good time hanging out with my craftin’ buddies…


No-Craft Weekend

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 4, 2007 in Uncategorized

I took the weekend off from all things craft-related to try to reclaim control over my home.

Since I’ve been so busy with so much other stuff lately, my house has become…let’s see…how can I put this…a total pit. There were toys, magazines, papers and kids everywhere! Well…I can’t do anything about the kids, but I did do a large purge yesterday on the toys. In fact, I have completely banished all toys from my living room and dining room. I have to have at least one area that is toy-free to keep my sanity, I decided.

So I spent all day going through each and every toy bin downstairs and sorting through it all…and throwing a lot of it away (by the way, if you ever decide to do this, try to schedule it for a time when your children are not home – they will want to keep each and every Happy Meal and Chuck E. Cheese toy, no matter how small and useless!).

Only problem is, I shoved a lot of the toys upstairs which was (and still is) in even worse shape than the downstairs. But I plan on cleaning the entire upstairs this week (MUST stay out of my craft room!).

I also managed to get out to my son Andrew’s basketball game yesterday afternoon. Here he is in action (number 13):

Now, ordinarily, basketball games should last no more than an hour – or so I’m told. But lucky me, this game ended in a tie. And do you know what happens when the game ends in a tie? They play for another 3 minute period. And do you know what happens when it ends in a tie again? I do. They play for ANOTHER 3 minutes. And I don’t mean 3 REAL minutes – I mean 3 ‘sports’ minutes where they stop the clock for every little thing. Here’s the proof:

That would be the 2nd overtime period – and it was still tied! The never-ending basketball game! At that point, I was – quite frankly – hoping that ANYBODY would score just to end it all.

Someone did – the other team scored and we lost. But Andrew managed to score 2 baskets (yay, Andrew!), so it was a good game anyway.

Here are my other two children, Matt and Emily, trying to be patient:

And speaking of kid’s sports (and I’ve been to a lot of them in my lifetime), I must say that at this particular crowd of parents and coaches was one of the rudest I’ve seen.

One of the parents of our team notice that the clock had not started and yelled it out. The coach turned to her and yelled, “If you don’t like how I’m doing my job, why don’t YOU come out here and do it!!!!” (and he had a VERY LOUD voice). It went back and forth a few more times before the coach came out and apologized to the parents. Even one of the referees commented that he doesn’t make enough money for any coach to talk to him that way.

Oh – and we had one other parent that decided to walk up and down the sidelines shouting comments. Not that it’s so bad to do that to encourage the kids, but she was shouting things like “TAKE HIM!!!!” and “JINX!!!” when our team was taking foul shots. Very interesting crowd all around…

This afternoon, we’re off to a Superbowl party hosted by one of our friends. There will be a TON of kids there – I hope they don’t wreck her house…


Photo Keychain

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 3, 2007 in Crafts

Good morning! Just thought I’d post a quick and simple gift idea that came to me last night as I was in a panic over which project to offer at our Scrapbooking Ministry this month.

I took a few laminate chips (free from home improvement stores – they are samples of countertop finishes):

Then covered them with patterned paper:

In this case, I didn’t use ModPodge – I was in a real hurry (this project took a total of about 10 minutes start-to-finish), so I just used my ATG gun to adhere the chips directly to the paper, then trimmed around them with scissors (as you can see from this photo, I still had a little more trimming to do on these).

Next, I took my kids’ photos from school and used a square punch to just punch out their faces. I adhere the photos and a little strip of paper to the bottom of the chips, then inked the edges.

I used my Xyron with the double-laminating cartridge to laminate them for durability, then punch holes and put them on a split ring. I added a little ribbon and voila! A cute little gift item in 10 minutes or less:

I kept this project VERY simple, but you could embellish them as much as you’d like. These are photos of my three children – I also stamped their monogram initials on the back of each chip.

I’m calling this project “People We Love Keychain” – our Scrapbooking Ministry’s theme for February is ‘love’ and I think this will fit in nicely as a quick, inexpensive project!


I’ve Been Tagged!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 2, 2007 in Uncategorized

So apparently, I’ve now been ‘tagged’ as a new member of the blog community by my friend Denise – thanks Denise – and I’m supposed to list 6 idiosyncrasies (if it’s spelled wrong it’s her fault ’cause I copied it right from HER blog) about myself.  The real question is, can I stop at just 6?

So let’s see…

  1. My blankets and sheets have to be neat and crisp when I go to bed at night – and if they get messed up while I’m sleeping, it will actually wake me up.  Then I can’t go back to sleep until they are perfectly folded again (and the top sheet has to be folded up the highest so that it’s the one that touches my face).
  2. I work in large spurts of energy – and while I’m doing so, I ignore absolutely everything else in my life.  For example, I painted my entire downstairs (4 rooms) in 2 weeks and worked non-stop (I only took a few hours to sleep each day) – the kids had to make their own dinners, I didn’t check my email, watch TV or go out of the house until I was completely done and cleaned up (that’s another one – I won’t start a project until I know I can finish it – I can’t stand to do things a little at a time – I just don’t work that way).  Then once I finished painting, I didn’t pick up a paint brush again for a very long time.  I used to work like that in my software career – I’d get an assignment and work it non-stop for however long it took (people would come into my office and I wouldn’t even stop to chat) – then I’d goof off on the internet for the next few weeks.  Crash and burn…that’s just how I work, paint, clean, cook…and make art.
  3. I can’t eat anything that is the texture of oatmeal – not tapioca pudding, grits, rice pudding…anything that reminds me of the texture of ‘vomit’.  There are other foods I just can’t force myself to like either – black licorice, cantaloupe, honeydew melon…I’ve tried to make myself eat them but I just can’t get past that taste…
  4. In the winter, I am SUCH a homebody!  When I get home and put on some comfy sweatpants, it is SO hard for me to leave the house again!  I hate the cold weather and going out in it just chills me to the bone.  Winter is about the only time I’ll turn down an invitation to go somewhere…just can’t leave my cozy home!
  5. I get VERY nervous when I watch my kids play sports.  Don’t know why – it just makes me nuts to see them under pressure.  When my son pitches at baseball games, I actually have to leave.  I’m the same way about taking my kids to the doctor’s office – I always make my husband take them.  Something about looking like a bad mother for having a sick kid, I guess…I don’t know.  Every time my son has had to go to the ER for his asthma, my husband has taken him.  The only time I will take them is when Mike’s on a business trip.
  6. I am a really bad procrastinator when it comes to things I don’t want to do like making phone calls, going grocery shopping, getting gas in the car…I’ll let it go until it absolutely can’t go any further.  I jump right on things I want to do (and again, work until I crash and burn), but when it comes to all those little things we have to do…I’ll put it off forever if I can.

Okay…now let’s see who I can tag…how about my husband?


Some New Ideas

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 1, 2007 in Cards, Crafts, Scrapbooks

Well…new to me anyway! :)

I promised that I would post some of the terrific new ideas I saw while in Cape May – tonight I’ll post 2 of them.

First, I took a class on how to make little mini-scrapbooks out of old record albums. Here’s the one I made in the class (I added the photos and titles when I got home):

I just LOVE this idea and plan on using it as a class in February! You start with an old album that folds in the middle – they’re the perfect size for 12X12 scrapbook paper!

Here’s the inside of that book:

I used my daughter Emily’s dance photos.

Now…the best part. Not only do you use the album cover, you use the old record too. You anchor it inside with a brad and…it spins! Then you can add journaling or photos to the album (cut a hole so they show through) – here’s a photo with the album spun to show some musical notes instead of a photo:

The only problem with taking that class is that the albums she gave us smell VERY much like mildew – yuck!

So…I decided to try to make one out of one of my own albums (yes, I still have old record albums laying around!) and use Stampin’ Up! stuff to make an album to show our summer camping trips.

Here’s the outside:

And here’s some of the inside (lousy photo, I know – the photo of my daughter in the cut-out circle seems to be glowing orange for some reason):

And here a close-up shot of the spinner part:

I used the Timeworn designer paper, the Happy Camper stamp set and the Coluzzle to cut the shapes. The journaling is a list of all of the camping trips we took last year – I managed to fit a LOT of photos on this one!

For my class, I will offer instructions on how to make the album and we will make one using the Recollection designer paper from Stampin’ Up!. We will not embellish it or add photos – but the price of the class ($20) will include an entire pack of the paper. Here’s what we’ll make:

And the spinner will look like this:

I think it’ll be a fun class!

Another item I learned in Cape May was what I’ll call a ‘Four-Room Card’. It may be similar to a ‘Star Book’ – I’m not really sure. I just saw one in a magazine and played with the paper until I figured out how they made it.

I made a simple prototype out of the birthday Simply Scrappin’ Kit:

I think I’m going to make this a class in March. Maybe I’ll post the instructions after the class…. 😉

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