Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday School: Beyond Borders (or how to get more from your border punches)

I was never a girl who liked lace and flowers.  When I was younger, I preferred brown corduroy and blue jeans.  Even as an adult, I still wasn’t into pink and frills, and even went so far as to say that I would “never dress my daughter in pastel pink.”  I even said this when I was pregnant.  Then...I had a girl.  And I had to eat my words. My sweet little girl came home from that hospital dressed in pink.  Ever since that day, the pinks seem so pretty, the purples, adorable, and I can’t get enough of the flowers.  I even like lace. And of course it’s starting to spill out of my daughter’s room and into my craft room.  Lately, I’ve been on the lookout for different ways to make my own flowers.

A few weeks ago, I found this tutorial by Patti Behan on YouTube that teaches you how to use a border punch to make flowers.  Since I have a few (or more) border punches, I really liked the idea, and look. They are quick and simple to make, a great way to use up some leftovers, and just plain cute to dress up everything from frames to cards to layouts.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Cut two strips of paper (I used one 1 ¼ “ by 12” strip and one 1 ½” by 12” strip). It’s easier to work with thinner papers, but you can also use cardstock. 

2.  Use a border punch to punch the design along the entire length of each of the strips. (I used Martha Stewart’s Floral Lace border punch, which you may (hint, hint) be seeing as a CraftySteal sometime soon.)

3. Clip one end of the wider strip in at an angle.  

4. Begin folding the paper, at an angle, so that it begins to form a circle.

5.  When you have folded enough of the strip so that the ends meet, trim enough so that the two end overlap each other slightly (keeping in the pattern if necessary).

6.  Add some liquid adhesive to attach the ends to shape the circle.

7. Repeat with the other, thinner strip.  At this point you can embellish the edges of the flower in other ways if you'd like - you can ink them to add dimension, or emboss them for more texture, even add some glitter or rhinestones for a little bling. 
8.  Make a backing for your flower (I used a 2" circle punch) and attach the larger flower to the base with some more liquid adhesive.
9. After larger flower is on, layer the smaller flower on top and attach with adhesive as well.

10.  Almost done! You just need to make your center.  You could use a brad, jewel, button, or other embellishment.  I chose to add a small 1" circle for simplicity's sake.

And here's the simple card I made with my flower:

 Enjoy your flower making and have a great Sunday!

* Writer's note: After writing this post earlier in the week, I finally got around to the stack of unread magazines in my car (I read in the carpool line) and saw that Scrapbooks, Etc. did a whole section on making paper flowers (including one very similar to the one I made above).  I guess great minds think alike! Check out their current issue if you want to learn some other cool techniques for making paper flowers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Introducting Feature You Fridays - a day for YOU to showcase your talents!

Good morning CraftyStealers!

Today we’re introducing a new weekly feature at the CraftySteals blog, called Feature You Fridays.

We want to be able to see your CraftySteals in action, and we want to be able to make the CraftySteals blog a place to share our talents with, and learn from, each other.  We would also LOVE to help you promote your business, website, blog or fabulous cause at the same time. So we’ve decided to have a day dedicated to you, our awesome CraftySteals customers and friends. 

Here’s how it is going to work:

1.  You choose a project (layout, altered item, card, shirt, wall art, accessory, etc.) that you want to show off – and have created using at least one CraftySteal.

2.  Email us a digital picture of your project to, along with your name, email address, and the name of the CraftySteal(s) you used in your project.

3.  If we choose your project, we’ll contact you and get more information (a short bio along with any business, blog or website information you’d like to share) and let you know when to look for your creation in the showcase!

This will be an ongoing feature, not a one time contest. So when you create something you are proud of, decide to start that etsy shop, or want more blog readers, send a picture in! If you don’t hear from us that first week, don’t fret! We’ll be choosing our featured project each week from our entire pool of submissions (not just the ones received that week).

And if you are a crafter who likes to play with yarn, scissors and fabric, we will be having "Feature You Friday" on the blog for our sister site, StitchSteals.   If you have a project that you have made using a StitchSteal, we'd love to see your stuff over there too! To submit to StitchSteals' Feature You Fridays, please email your photos to

We are so excited to be able to learn from you and see all of the amazing things you are creating with your CraftySteals!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scenic Route (and other things I miss) ... Sneak Peek at Thursday's Steal;)

Good morning Crafty Stealers!

About ten years ago, there was a show on tv called "Once and Again." It starred Sela Ward, Billy Campbell and some young up-and-coming actors like Evan Rachel Wood and Shane West, and was about the romance (and family life) of two single parents. I LOVED that show. My husband (then-boyfriend) even loved it. It was funny, endearing, and real. And of course, no one watched it. Well, enough people watched it to get three seasons out of it (the third of which was a result of fans petitioning the network not to cancel the show!). But, unfortunately, I felt like it ended before we got to see enough! This same thing has recurred over the years with other shows (October Road or Flash Forward, anyone?) and also with favorite products (I still miss Jell-O Pudding Pops and Jell-O 1-2-3).

Today's steal is another story of something dissapearing prematurely. Scenic Route was a paper company that had a great following, and was known for their gorgeous, quality paper, chipboard stickers, and original products (like scrap strips). When they decided to close their doors, a lot of paper crafters had heavy hearts. Fear not, Scenic Route fans. They live on at Crafty Steals! Before they closed, Crafty Steals made sure to save some of their products for posterity. Or really, just saved them for you!

Our Special Guest Designer, Carol Sheetz, played with these kits and came up with some really incredible projects to show all of you! Aside from a Tim Holtz die and a flower (on the Happy Birthday layout), this is ALL from Scenic Route. She had so much fun creating that she came up with a card and a kit for each line! Here's what Carol had to say about working with these kits:
Seriously awesome stuff, and there is SO MUCH!! Really, really full and fantastic kits! Love Scenic Route!! The double-sided papers are so fabulous, and I love all of the chipboard!!
These are the creations from the Scenic Route Sonoma Kit:

Working with the Scenic Route Suprise kit:

And last, but certainly not least, the Scenic Route Sumner kit:

Thanks again, to Carol Sheetz, for putting her crafty talents to work and giving us some great ways to use these Scenic Route kits in our own projects! Don't forget to visit her blog, Crazy for Crafting for more ideas and inspiration!

Crafty Stealers, get these Scenic Route steals while you can, because when they are gone, they are truly gone. And you will own a little piece of scrapbooking history!

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday School: Helping you get the most out of your photo printing budget!

A couple of years ago, I needed wallet sized photos for a project I was doing.  And I needed 16 different photos that were wallet-sized.  Well, apparently from your average photo developer, you can only order wallets in groups of four. Meaning I had 3 extra (wasted) wallet sized prints of each of my 16 pictures.  And I paid for that waste. (And since I feel guilty throwing out perfectly "good" pictures, I now have an envelope of little tiny pictures that I will NEVER use taking up space!).

A few years later, especially since I like to get as many photos onto a layout as I can, I’ve learned how to get those little pictures much more cheaply! All you need is photo editing software!  Since not everyone owns software like Photoshop, I’ll show you how to do this in Picasa (free from Google).

In Picasa:

1.  If you don’t already have it, download the free Picasa software at Install it according to Picasa’s directions. (It's also a great way to organize digital photos if you don't already have a system that you like).

2.  After Picasa has imported (or you have asked Picasa to import) your photos, select the photos you would like to print.  In my case, I chose two photos from my son’s 5th birthday.  

3.  Click on the “Create” tab on the top of the screen.  Choose “Picture Collage.”  This will bring up the Collage tab where you can create different collages. 

4.  For our purposes, we will choose the “Grid” option in the top drop down box. Make sure to slide the bar on Grid Spacing all the way to the left so it is on “none".

5.  Select “4 x 6: small print” from the Page Format drop-down box.  (You will see other choices, you can also have collages printed out on 5 x 7s or 8 x 10s among other sizes).  If you have two horizontal pictures, make sure that the “mountain” is selected.  If you have two vertical pictures, choose the “portrait” button.

6.  Click “Create Collage” at the bottom of the screen.

7.  Your 4 x 6 collage print has been made! At the bottom of the screen you will see an array of choices: Upload (to a Picasa album), Email, Print, Export,  Shop (you can directly order from many online photo printing stores),  or Blog this (sends directly to your Blogger blog).  You can also select the “File” tab to save elsewhere on your computer.

Now when you get your prints, you only have to pay for the pictures you’d like, and in the sizes you want! 

Happy printing!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We're taking you to school this Sunday!

Good morning Crafty Stealers!

We’ve decided to do something new on the Crafty Steals blog.  We’re going to start making every Sunday a time to learn.  Maybe we’ll post about a new project we’re working on, a tool we love to use, or a fun technique we’ve learned.  Beyond scrapping and paper-crafting, we’ll also talk about photography tips (sometimes learning lessons from professionals, organizing hints, and any other topics that we think (or you tell us!) you’d like to hear about.  So from now on, you are going to Sunday School!

First up is a project that I mentioned in the Super Bowl post last week: using freezer paper to make stencils for T-shirts.  It is so easy, and you can do it with or without special cutting tools.

Here’s how!

1.  If you don’t already have some in your pantry (I didn’t!), head to your grocery store and get some freezer paper. I found this roll of Reynold’s Freezer Paper in the aisle with the plastic wrap and foil.  Why freezer paper? The special thing about freezer paper, is that it has a light plastic coating on one side that, once ironed, sticks to fabric – without leaving a mess when removed (and removes very easily).

2.  Cut out your design on the freezer paper.  I used a Silhouette SD for my designs (the “Future Cowboy” is for my son, the football for my daughter).  You can also use a Cricut.  Just cut the freezer paper to a size that will fit on a cutting mat, and stick it to the mat shiny side down.  If you don’t have an electronic die-cutter you could draw or trace a design onto the paper and cut it out.  You could even use punches to make your desired design.

3.  Place the freezer paper, shiny side down, on your t-shirt in the desired location and iron the paper for a few seconds (use a heat setting that will work for the material). Make sure to remember the little pieces to complete letters (like O or B)!

4.  Use fabric paint to paint over the stencil.  Depending on the material, paint and how dark you want your color, you may need to do a second coat of paint.  I did two coats with my son’s shirt and only one with my daughter’s (to give it a little bit of a worn in look).

5. When the paint is finished drying, remove the stencil. It removes easily and cleanly!

6.  You can now add any embellishments you’d like as well – bling, flowers, ribbons, buttons, whatever you can think of! (I just HAD to bling my daughter’s football!)

It seems that the only limit to using freezer paper stencils is your imagination! You could make pillows, decorate canvas bags or shoes, hats, and so much more! If you are already an expert at this technique, let us know what you have done, or better yet, show us some pictures on our Crafty Steals Facebook page!

Hope you had a good morning at our Crafty Steals Sunday School.  Next week we’ll be learning a way to get more out of your photo prints using some free software and a few minutes of time!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And the winner's are...and a V-Day T-shirt

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who shared the "love", it is wonderful to have so many awesome supporters!

We used to generate our winners today and they are:

Martha Stewart Punch Giveaway:
Brandi Bills said...

Shared with all of my facebook friends!!

I couldn't share with mt friends individually so I posted it on my page. hope that counts.
Cathy Roberts

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Share the CraftySteals Love ...Win a Prize!

Hi CraftyStealers!

So this Valentine's day we want to share a little love to a couple special customers. We have 2 "lovely" prize packs that we can't wait to send out!

So here's how to enter:

It's simple just share the CraftySteals love! Tell your crafty bargain hunter friends... invite them to be our facebook friends, follow our blog or twitter or sign up for email alerts. Then come back and leave us a comment on how many crafty friends you "shared the love" with.

The winners will be chosen randomly on Thursday evening.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Are you ready for some football?

(photo from

Even with all of the snow, ice, (and more snow?) in the DFW Metroplex, the Super Bowl is still set for (hopefully sunny) Sunday in Arlington, Texas.  Love football, or hate it, watch it for the ads, or don't watch it all, who doesn't like a good ol' Super Bowl Party? Hey, if nothing else, it's the mark of the end of the football season for the ladies who are looking forward to getting their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers back on Sunday afternoons! 

Since Crafty Steals is located in Cowboy country, we thought we'd get into the spirit and share some tips for planning your own Super Bowl bashes.  Even if we weren't invited to Diddy's bash or the Black-Eyed Peas shindig, we still know how to throw a great party!

Simple Decor Ideas: 
  1. Buy a green plastic tablecloth and make "yard lines" with white duct tape (available at some hardware stores or even some Walgreens and WalMart/Targets).
  2. Use some cardstock or construction paper in the team colors and letter stickers to make banners (you can lay these banners on the table or hang them. You could even make generic banners using the American Crafts Junior papers and save them for another year (or sports themed birthday party!).
  3. Buy plastic cups/silverware/napkins in team colors.
  4. Use number stickers (like the Varsity Letterman Thickers) to mark "jersey" numbers on wine glasses instead of charms.
  5. Let your computer do the work! I saw these adorable "Game Day" printables at Bird's Party Blog and had to share.  There are some really adorable party ideas and printables on her blog.
  1. Invite your guests to wear jerseys or Ts from their fave NFL team. 
  2. If any of you have a Silhouette or a Cricut, you could whip up a t-shirt or hat for this very occasion using heat tranfer paper or rhinestones.
  3. Our friend and fellow CraftySteals customer, Shannon, shared with us a Packers shirt she made for her husband (above).  Cute! Visit her Facebook page to see more examples of the fun shirts she creates (many with her Silhouette!). She made this Packers shirt using freezer paper! If you like what you see, keep your eyes out for the tutorial I'll have for you soon (it can be done with or without a die-cutting machine).
Menu Ideas: (This is of course the most important category - if all else fails, have good food and the party will be a hit).  To pay homage to Dallas, I have to recommend that no football watching party would be complete without the following Tex-Mex staples:
  1. Gucamole.  It's so simple to make! fresh smashed avocados, diced red onion, diced jalapenos, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and cumin - all to taste!
  2. Queso.  I'm sure most of you know the Velveeta and Ro-Tel (diced tomatoes with green chiles) recipe.  Kick it up with some diced red onion, chopped cilantro, cooked chorizo (mexican sausage) or all three.  I guarantee your guests will ooh and ahhh over it.
  3. Salsa or Pico de Gallo.  Jarred salsa with work in a pinch, so will buying the "fresh" at the grocery store, but making your own pico is also VERY easy. Dice tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, garlic and combine with salt.  I like to add canned, drained black beans or chopped avocado to make it an even more hearty dip.
  4. Pigs in a blanket. No, we don't claim them to be Texan, and they definitely aren't TexMex, but people love 'em, and since they now make low-fat crescent rolls and turkey li'l smokies, I don't mind making them for my family. This is mostly because I know I will eat half of them.
  5. Packers fans, dye your lemonade or beer green.  Steelers fans, you get off lucky. Lemonade and beer are already yellow!
Crafts or other activities: (This is for the kids who aren't interested in sitting still for the game.  Have some crafts for them to do!)
  1. Make cheeseheads! If you are rooting for Green Bay of course. Color and cut a cheese wedge out of paper. Use thin strips of paper to make a headband. Attach the "cheese" to the headband.
  2. Make pennants with construction paper and color with markers.
  3. Coloring pages. Print out black and white logos for the Steelers and Packers and have kids color to their hearts content. 
  4. Decorate your own cupcakes. Have icing and decorations in team colors. Just make sure to give the kids their own individual knives - there's always more icing that goes directly into mouths as opposed to on the cupcakes!
  5. If all else fails, send the kids outside with a football of their own.  Even though we have snow on the ground today, it's supposed to be sunny and in the 50s by Sunday. Those of you in colder climates might have to make sure the Wii controllers are charged up!
How are you guys getting ready for the big game? Any party plans or decorations in the works? What's on your menu of must haves at a Super Bowl party? We'd love to hear your ideas!

Happy crafting and party planning!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And the Cricut Magazine goes to....

Good afternoon CraftyStealers! While my kindergartener (who is on "snow" day #3) is playing quietly with Play-Doh, and my 3-year-old is napping, I have a chance to do the random pick and let you guys know who will be getting my Cricut magazine!

Kristina MacKeen! It's all yours! Loved your layout.
Please send Stephanie an email with your address and we'll package this up for you!

Thanks to those of you who shared your winter layouts!  

The rest of you will be able to get your hands on a Cricut magazines as a Crafty Steal Past Steal soon! Steph will let everyone know when they come in :)

I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Want my Cricut Magazine?

Well, after finding out that Steph can't get any more inaugural editions of the Cricut magazine, I thought that I should give up my copy. I've looked through it, filed away some of those great ideas in my head, and it would just sit on my shelf. So.....why not let some fabulous Crafty Stealer win it?

So what do you have to do? Well, in honor of our sleet and snow here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (that has already wreaked havoc on our household - we will be on Snow Day #2 tomorrow), we want to see your snow/winter weather layouts. Load 'em up to our Crafty Steals Facebook page and we'll randomly pick a winner. I know many of you are housebound with kids - which makes it hard to get much done - so I'll give you until Thursday morning (lets draw the line at noon CST) to get them up.

Hope everyone who is getting the arctic blast stays warm and safe, and to those of you basking in the sun somewhere - can I come visit?

Have a great night, and happy crafting! Can't wait to see your layouts!