Craft Challenge Voting is up!

Hi all, just a quick note today. The craft challenge voting is up. Please take a second and go vote: http://www.christynelson.net/2010/06/june-craft-challenge-voting-2/
Mine was the Fireworks, but please vote for your favorite one.
Feel free to tell your friends and neighbors. :)
Thanks all!

Fireworks Centerpiece and Christy's Craft Challenge

The voting for the craft challenge is up, please go here: http://www.christynelson.net/2010/06/june-craft-challenge-voting-2/ and vote please!


This is my second month participating in the ChristyNelson.net craft challenge. It is so fun and a really big challenge to use everything in one craft. If you want to give your creative muscles a work out, you should definitely look into it. She is taking July off, but the August packet will have some items she picked up while in Europe recently. Oh la la!

Here is the finished project: A very patriotic centerpiece or mantel piece.


Now let me show you what I used and how I did it.


Supplies:
  • 2 pieces of glitter paper
  • 1 favor cup - I went and bought some more in the same size from Joanns so I could experiment or use multiples. I ended up using 2.
  • Raffia
  • Sculpey polymer clay
  • Pill bottle
Additional Supplies Used:
  • Spray Paint
  • Glitter
  • Skewers
  • Iridescent bows(Dollar Tree)
  • Metal planter (Dollar Spot at Target)
  • Styrofoam blocks - Dollar Tree
  • Paper Shred - Dollar Tree
  • Hemp Cord - Dollar Tree
  • Table Weight - Dollar Tree

First I made the fire cracker using the pill bottle. I wrapped the pill bottle in hemp cord I found at the Dollar Tree. The hemp is so thin I would put the tiniest amount of hot glue possible and then wrap around the bottle several times before gluing again.

No need to worry about the top of the bottle being uncovered, we will take care of that.



Align CenterI found this table weight at Dollar Tree and thought it would be perfect for the firecracker filling. I was able to disassemble the whole thing and use the red foil and the star garland. I inserted everything into the pill bottle and put small dabs of hot glue to make sure the foil paper stayed covering the top of the pill bottle. I mounted it on the skewer by piercing the bottle with an exacto knife.

Fireworks time! I took one of the favor cups and made lots of scissor cuts. The cup isn't made out of a circle piece of paper so when you cut it like that it fans out nicely and looks like a firework. I also ironed it flat once I cut all the rays.
Tip ALERT: I spray painted the cup and then immediately sprinkled on my glitter. The glitter stuck really well and it was so fast. The cups don't hold up well to much moisture so this was the perfect solution. These would be so cute as suns too!


To incorporate the clay I used it to attach the skewers onto the flowers.


The glitter paper fireworks are pretty similar to the favor cup fireworks. I cut a circle of paper and then went around and cut fringe all the way around. It doesn't come across very well in the pictures but I also bent some of the pieces to the front and back to give some dimension and try to help some additional white space come through.


I finished all the fireworks with these awesome "bows" I found at the Dollar Tree. They were in the gift wrap section and in my opinion totally made the whole project.

The skewers are all stuck into styrofoam and I covered all of that with blue paper shred. I finished it off by tying on a raffia bow.

Here is one last shot of the whole thing. I couldn't resist going totally over the top patriotic for some of the pictures.



Happy Independence Day!

If you haven't already done it, the voting for the craft challenge is up, please go here: http://www.christynelson.net/2010/06/june-craft-challenge-voting-2/ and vote please!

Mario Mosaic Tile

I am finally getting around to posting the Father's Day gift I made for the hubs. I wanted to keep it a surprise, so I couldn't post it beforehand. A while back when I made the Mosaic Tile Family Night Chart, the DH really thought it would be awesome to make an 8-bit Mario out of the tiles. I tried but I just didn't have enough of the right tiles and something large enough to fit something like that on.
I did file the idea away for Father's Day though!
First things first, you need a pattern. I was fortunate enough to find several different Mario characters laid out nicely in a grid over on Ms Premise-Conclusion. Talk about a time saver. I went with the classic Mario for this one.

I lucked out and found some small tiles in the perfect colors at Hobby Lobby. **Sigh** I LOVE Hobby Lobby! I had a 6.75" square MDF board at the Dollar Store a while back that I had been just keeping around for the perfect project.
You can see when I did a test layout that it is a perfect fit. I also turned the "button" tiles, to give a little bit of interest.

I followed all the steps in my previous tutorial on making mosaic tiles and here is the end result.

You can definitely see Mario but I was a little unhappy with the amount of space between tiles. Listen closely so you don't have to go through the same thing. These particular tiles were wider at the base than they were at the top. Sort of like this trapezoid below, although not so steep.


Having never used this type of tile before I didn't think through the fact that this meant there would be more grout between the tiles at the top than there was at the bottom. Consequently I placed my tiles too far apart. I should have put them right next to each other and then I would have ended up with about 1/2 as much grout between tiles.

The DH really loved it though. That is what counts. Maybe I'll even try a different character for his birthday! I am going to staple some ribbon to the back so he can hang it in his cubicle.

Recap: Arizona Bloggers Tour de Thrift

What an awesome day! The Tour de Thrift was so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet so many new people and hang out with some of my awesome friends. I feel like I made so many new friends too. I loved it! My dearest friend Monica came all the way from Ohio to visit her family just to come to the Tour! ;) We had 3 people come from Tucson, 1 from Prescott, and of course oodles from the Phoenix metro area.
Before I left in the morning my husband told me to make sure I good a time. Since I am prone to stressing over every little detail, I decided to take him to heart and just focus on having fun. This means I only took 3 pictures the whole morning! So I am going to be borrowing some pics from the other ladies. Thanks ladies!

We started out with brunch at Mimi's cafe. Right away everyone got to write their name on the Chalkboard name tags. We had Chalkboard markers to use but once everyone takes them home, they can be written on with regular chalk. That was my contribution to everyone. I'll be doing a post on them later.


Back to breakfast... I've never eaten anything from their breakfast menu before and it was delicious. Our servers were such troopers too. It wasn't easy serving so many people AND dealing with their computer systems being down.

Somewhat Simple, My Lil' Luna, Aly & Ash, and Cute as a Fox OR Steph, Kristyn, Jax, and Ashley at breakfast

At Mimi's Cafe, everyone received their swag bags. Jax and I spent an eternity a little while making eleventy billion fabric flowers to decorate each bag. I really think they made the bags extra special and crafty of course. {I'll be posting the tutorials we used, as well as a tutorial of my own for all the different flowers we made.}

Special Thanks to Behr Paint, Choose the Writing, the Crafty Chica, DISChangers.com, DoChara Photography, Goodwill of Central Arizona, Gorilla Glue, Krylon, and Mod Podge Rocks for stuffing our swag bags!

As everyone ate we did some drawings for door prizes. We had such great sponsors that donated some awesome prizes! They were SO generous that half of all the attendees were able to win a prize. Sweet! We added it up and the door prizes were worth just under $600. Whoa!

Next we were headed out to three different Goodwill stores, but not before we surprised everyone with the $5 gift cards that Goodwill provided for everyone! Thanks Goodwill of Central Arizona! I wish I had been able to record the shrieks of delight at the Goodwill gift card.

Here are a few shots of the fun! Be sure to check out the linky at the bottom to see all the coverage of the event.

Denise and Andrea at the back of the REALLY long line.

Camera war between Jax and Sharla. Donna and Shana get in on the fun too.

Edna and I shopping! That's Sharla doing the photo bombing in the back. :)

I had a total blast and I can't wait for second annual Arizona Bloggers Tour de Thrift! Next year I think I will be bringing along a photographer so I can still have a blast AND have pictures of everything.

I am including the link party on this post too! Please add your posts about the Tour de Thrift so we can all see!

Thanks for the pictures Aly & Ash and Lil' Luna.


Quickie: Tour de Thrift

The Arizona Bloggers Tour de Thrift was on Saturday and it was a huge success! I had a fantastic time and the feedback I am getting is that everyone else did too. In fact the most frequent comment I got was, "When is the next one?"

I would love to do a big long post and give you all the details, but I am saving that for another day this week. I am spending the next few days getting caught up on everything I neglected the last two weeks while I was getting ready for the tour.

I have a few crafts to show from the event too. Jax and I put a lot of work into making every last detail special, so there are some cute things to show for it.

Here is a link party for everyone to add their posts about the Tour de Thrift. I'd love to hear all about it and hope to see some pictures of your goodwill finds and all the goodies in your swag bags too! :)

I can't wait!

Tour Sneak Peek

Stuffed bags....

Door prizes galore...
that must mean the Tour is here!


I can't wait until the morning! Now to have some sweet dreams of bargain hunting...


The Tour is almost here!

Well the Tour de Thrift is this Saturday. Jax and I can't wait. We have been working day and night to get every last detail just perfect! I'm about to fall asleep at the computer during this 5 minute blogging break.

Have you thought about what you are going to look for on Saturday? Do you have any dream finds? I sure do! My 4 year old is growing out of his toddler bed so he will be moving to real big boy bed soon.(We would already have done it if we had a bed to him into.) I would love to find some bed sheets that I could either use or make awesome. Speaking of beds, check out this beauty I found while browsing for Joshua's new bed.



Sigh. I love it. I can see it now...robot knick knacks across the top of the headboard, books in the foot board, and a trundle for sleepovers. This would have been my dream bed as a kid(minus the robots of course.)
Man oh man, do I wish I could win the CSN stores door prize. A $40 gift certificate would certainly help me convince the hubs to get that bed! Alas, it doesn't go to me, but it will go to one of our lucky Arizona Bloggers Tour de Thrift attendees. It's good at any of CSN's 200+ stores.

There is still some time left to register for the Arizona Bloggers Tour de Thrift. You do need to hurry though. You can click on the banner at the top, or the button on the sidebar to register. Registration is required to attend. It's quick and painless though, so go and do it. :)

Hope to see you on Saturday! Don't live in AZ but want to still feel a part of the action? Go make your own Tour de Thrift this weekend. I'd love to see your thrift store finds!

Engraved Burlap Eiffel Tower

First of all, today is Jax's birthday over at http://alyandash.com. Head on over and tell her Happy Birthday!
Here is what I gave Jax for her birthday....
It is an Engraved burlap wall hanging. Yep, I said engraved! Crazy right?

I was trying to think of a cute little gift I could make for Jax and suddenly I remembered a conversation we had like 6 weeks ago. She came over to my house and saw I had covered a board with burlap. (6 weeks later and it is still just a board covered in burlap!) She said, "that looks cool. I would put the Eiffel Tower on it." Well Jax, I hope you meant that! ;)

I was going to try and freezer paper stencil the Eiffel Tower on. As I was preparing all of my stuff to cut the freezer paper on the laser engraver, I had a Eureka! moment. Wouldn't it be cool if I could get the laser to engrave on the burlap? With some luck it will turn dark brown and look painted, or stamped.
Lots of fiddling around with the settings later, I got it to work. I was a little worried because burlap is very flammable and the laser has caused a fire or two in it's time. Thankfully we were blaze free!! I am so excited with the way it turned out. I have lots of ideas rolling around for other things I could engrave on burlap.
Here is a close-up shot of the tower. It looks like the laser just sort of burned away some of the "fluff" in the fibers. When you compare engraved to not engraved, the weave looks much farther apart on the engraved.



I am going to skip a full tutorial but if you want to try freezer paper or stamping, here is generally what I did.

1. Spray paint a board or wood plaque. I used an ivory color, but white would have been just fine too!
2. Staple or hot glue the burlap onto the board. I used hot glue. Make sure you pull the burlap nice and tight so it isn't "baggy" on the front.

3. Stamp or freezer stencil away.
**Tip- I would use acrylic paint as opposed to fabric paint. I would also use an almost dry brush. You want the paint on the burlap and not necessarily all over the board underneath. Jax used this "dry paint" technique on her Rock Star shirt, if you want some more details. For stamping, I would see what happens if you used regular stamp ink.4. Attach something to hang it up with. I ended up using a 3M command strip on the back. I wanted to use one of those sawtooth hangers, but the nails were too long for this thin wood plaque of wood.

Happy Birthday Jax! I hope you love your present.

Post Edit: I have been getting some questions about my laser. Here is a previous post that has some pictures and explains a little bit better! http://cuteasafox.blogspot.com/2010/04/self-indulgance.html

Father's Day Mario Bros Printable!

I have a fun download for all the gaming Dad's out there{My hubs fits here} We are HUGE Mario fans around here, so what a fun way to celebrate all the gamers out there.
I started out with the intention of making a card, but I really want this to be a full page. So let's call it a Father's Day "certificate"

There are 2 options. I have it set that you just print out the image and give it as is.
Click on the image to get it full size and either save it or print. The full size image should fill a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet.
Option 2 is for those who are feeling a little adventurous. You can download a PSD file and customize the following:
  • Dad's Name
  • Dad's Birthday (Currently the date of Father's Day in there)
  • Number of Kids (Coins)
  • The year(In case you use this next year or beyond!)
Here is the version my kids will be giving their Daddy.
Here is what you need to do to customize your own:
Step 1: Download the font "Press Start" and install it - It is a must!!
Step 2: Download the PSD file for the Mario card
Step 3: Open in Photoshop(or GIMP)
Step 4: Select the text layer you want to change
Step 5: Using your Text Tool change the text to your desired text
Step 6: Print and enjoy!

Please email if you have any questions, cuteasafoxcreations@gmail.com
This is my first time offering an editable Photoshop file, so we can figure this out together. :)
I'd love to hear if you use it for the Father/husband in your life.

The original file I started out with can be found at Wall Paper Base:

Was that the door{prize}?

The Arizona Blogger's Tour de Thrift is in 8 days. Wow!! I can barely believe it is coming up so soon. We are hitting the home stretch and I am more than thrilled to announce that we have some new sponsors.

First up we have Simply Memzelle. Ultra chic headbands for adults and children.

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Shannon makes stuff is putting together a basket for us too!




Go check out the awesome clocks that Staci makes over at Craftify It. You just might see one of them as a door prize.


My favorite part about those three shops is that they are all run by local ladies. I love that Arizona business women are supporting Arizona bloggers.

We also have a few other heavy hitters to add to the list. Perhaps you may have heard of the Vintage Pearl?? Go and do some window shopping in case you win this great door prize.


Finally, we have csnstores.com They have been all over blogland and I was so thrilled when they agreed to step outside the box a little and offer a door prize.

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If I haven't already said it, I am so wishing I could win some of these prizes. We have the most generous and amazing sponsors. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Please go and give them some love for giving us some love.

Bunco Earrings!


Just a quick post for today! I wanted to show you these cute little earrings I made to wear to Bunco night. You can click on the word Bunco, if you have no idea what it is.

I found these cute little dice beads at Hobby Lobby and thought they would be just perfect. The pack was a mixture of red, white, and black. I made a pair for myself and one for my friend as a little thank you for something nice she did for me. I think that from a distance you can't really tell they are dice. They just look like cute little dangly earrings.

The INTENTION was that they would be awesome good luck charms and we would win the top prizes. I am sad to report that they had the opposite effect. Perhaps I missed a step in the making of a good luck charm. Suggestions? I joked that next month I'm coming back with 10 more pairs so everyone will be on a level playing field again!

I can write up some quick instructions if anyone needs them, but they are super simple!

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions for What the HTML?!? I am working on the next post. It is tougher than I thought to explain what things mean without writing a really long and boring post. I am determined to find the middle ground though!

Rock & Roll Shirt w/ Template

I am so excited I finally have this project ready to show you. I've had this idea percolating around my head for at least a month I just hadn't done it yet.


Front of Shirt w/ the shorts

About the time Jax posted this awesome Rock Star shirt, I found these adorable shorts at Kohls. Very rock and roll with the guitars, lightning bolts, and stars.

close-up of pattern on shorts

I wanted to come up with a rocking shirt to match the shorts. Freezer paper stenciling was my first thought because I love the amount of detail I can get with my laser engraving machine. Cricut users can do this too! (More on that below) I liked the look of the two guitars crossing. The font I used is an AC/DC style font called Squealer which can be found HERE


Close up of front of shirt (it didn't look blurry when I took it! Isn't that always the way?!?)

This go around I also tried something new with my Freezer Stencil painting. Usually I just use acrylic paints for their range of colors and affordability. Well the other day I saw this FolkArt Textile Medium. You mix two parts Textile Medium with one part FolkArt acrylic paint and suddenly you have fabric paint. Genius! I think the first time I added a little too much medium because it started to bleed just a touch under the freezer paper. It is not really noticeable but the lines aren't as crisp as usual. For the paint colors I used a black metallic and mixed in a little bit of a silver metallic to get a very dark gray color. The metallic is super subtle, but I love it!
By the time I got to the back of the shirt, I had the mix correct and no more seeping issues.

Speaking of the back of the shirt here it is...


Upper Center back of shirt
Who wouldn't love to smash a guitar like a Rock Star? I love that little silhouette guy, he cracks me up. The best part is that I found him in a Rock and Roll Wingding font. Here is the link so you can DOWNLOAD it yourself. The guitar pick was my second favorite out of that font. Too awesome.


Back of Shirt with the shorts

Now you can make it too! I have included SVG files for those with a Cricut machine. It is easy as pie. First head on over to Sure Cuts a Lot and buy the software if you don't already have it. This software makes it so you don't ever have to buy another cartridge if you don't want to. Once you have the software installed you can just click on the button that looks like a present and says "SVG" on it. Find your saved guitar files and import. Resize to whatever you would like and cut. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy! **Disclaimer** I am an affiliate of Sure Cuts a Lot, so I get a small percentage of sales from people that buy the software through my link. I like to think of it as a way for people to say thank you for posting these SVG files for everyone.



No Cricut? No problem! I have also included a PDF of the front and back. You can print this out and get cutting with your Xacto knife.
Rock & Roll Shirt Template(Front and Back) PDF

If you have problems or questions, let me know! I'd be happy to help you.

Should you want to make a rock and roll t-shirt but this one isn't quite your scene, go check out Jax at Aly & Ash. She has the tutorial I mentioned earlier as well as some additional guitar templates in her sidebar. I found the guitars I used in my template at http://all-free-download.com/

Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorials abound, so if you need a more detailed step by step, hit up Google.

Random Personal Fact: If you would like some insight to me you can go to YouTube and listen to the song 'Rock and Roll Lifestyle' by Cake. That song has been in my head the whole time I made the shirt and wrote this post. I am one of those people with a soundtrack to my life and songs related to the current situation pop in my head often and refuse to leave.

What the HTML?!? Part 1

Subtitle: Introduction and Not all web browsers are created equally
I have found myself recently helping out other bloggers with some code issues on their sites. Mostly buttons and sidebar issues. I love it! I'm a problem solver by nature, so I am always happy to be able to use my technical skills to help someone else fix their problems.

That is how I decided to do a series called "What the HTML?!?" I do also love a good play on words, so this has had me giggling all day long. I will do posts pretty much as often as I can think of a worthy topic or a get a specific question or issue that needs addressing.

For all my non-blogging readers, hang with me! New crafts are on the horizon.

Strangely enough part 1 in the series isn't directly about HTML. Go figure! Let's keep it short and sweet for today since I've been yammering on for several paragraphs now.

There are lots of different web browsers you can use to view web pages: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, plus who knows how many mobile applications. Did you know that the different browsers interpret the code that makes up your page a little differently? For the most part it is the same, but there are some differences which can change how things look or work on your blog.

No need to panic. I point this out so that you can check out your blog in different web browsers. When you are making changes to your layout or coding it is always a good idea to try a few browsers out to make sure things aren't looking crazy in one place or another. Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome are probably the big 3.
Should you be curious, we are Firefox users at my house, followed by Google Chrome, and on occasion we are forced to use Internet Explorer.

Let's end with a definition: WYSIWYG(wizzy-wig). It stands for What You See Is What You Get. It is also wicked fun to say. In Blogger, if you are using the Compose tab, that is a WYSIWYG editor. You can format your blog posts, similar to using Microsoft Word. What you are seeing in the editor, is what your post will look like when you publish it. In the background however all your formatting is being translated into HTML code so the web browser knows how to display your page.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end!
I would love some feedback. Am I going too basic? Is it too technical?
If you have a topic you would like me to address, please let me know. I have a few ideas, but I'd love to know what you all would find helpful.

Tour de Thrift Update and exciting Goodwill news!

It's that time again. Jax and I have gotten some wind in our sails and we are hustling to add even more sponsors for the Arizona Bloggers Tour de Thrift. Thanks to everyone who has registered already. We have some spots left, but if you are planning on coming, make sure you fill out the registration form ASAP.

We have added Door Prizes for the event. Everyone who comes will have their name entered into a drawing to win some awesome prizes from:

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sponsors
Crafty Chica



sponsor

mAde button

You should ever over to their sites right away and check out all their awesome shops. I am really getting jealous that my name won't be in that drawing.

Thank you sponsors! You are making this event the talk of the town. We love you!!

If you would like to sponsor our event by contributing something for a door prize, please email me at: cuteasafoxcreations@gmail.com

Now I have some really exciting news from Goodwill of Central Arizona. They are opening up a Redesign by Goodwill store in south Scottsdale. It will be a store that only carries furniture and home furnishings. How awesome is that? I LOVE the concept.

Saturday, June 12, 2010 they are having a grand opening with cupcakes and punch at 10am.
Here is the most exciting part, to celebrate the store opening they are having a "Redesign Your Room" contest for valley residents. You submit a picture of a room you would like to redesign and the winner will get $500 gift card to Goodwill and a one hour consultation with an Interior Designer. Whoa! I may be submitting my living room, a picture of my atrocious excuse for arched "curtains" might make me the hands down favorite. HERE is a link to the Goodwill website with all the information about the store and the contest.

Jax of Aly & Ash and I are planning to be at the grand opening, so hope to see you there. Call it a prequel to the Tour de Thrift on the 19th.