Monday, December 23, 2013

Mail Tag #1

I am new to penpalling and wanted to put in good effort in the correspondence that I send. I have seen different variations on Mail Tag.  I decided that I wanted to create my own series of Mail Tags that I will send to each of my penpals.  

I generally prefer simple and bold designs.  For the sake of efficiency, I did not want to create a new Mail Tag design every time I sent a letter out.  I am also curious to see how my penpals respond to the same questions.  

I do not plan to post all incoming and outgoing mail here on my blog.  Those photos can be found on my Instagram @linhcreates.  I hope my Mail Tags give you ideas  for your penpal correspondence! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Penpal Information Journaling Cards

I created an Instagram account dedicated just to crafty things @linhcreates.  I befriended some awesome ladies through my account.  I became inspired by their creations and started picking up some penpals.  

One of my penpals was creating an album for her many penpals. I have the need to organize things and decided that I also needed to create an album to contain information on my lovely penpals. I wanted to start some sort of system before things got out of hand.  

I chose a Basic Grey 6"x9" album with pocket inserts that can accommodate typical 3"x"4 and 4"x6" journaling cards. I designed these cards for my penpals to provide basic information.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Event: Butterfly 1st Birthday Party

This past summer was super busy for me!  So I'm just now getting to this post.  This setup was for my goddaughter's first birthday.  Teaching summer school and two week long vacations only allowed time for a simple snack bar setup.  

I used my BossKut Gazelle to create the banner.  Each letter has two color layers on top of a scalloped circle.  I also cut butterflies with single and double layers.  I hung sheer patterned curtains for the backdrop.  

I used some of the extra die cut butterflies to dress up the paper straws. I used a standard sized hand hole punch to punch two holes to insert the straws.  Some of the remaining butterflies were scattered on the table.  

I bagged some gummy worms and gummy butterflies for the favor bags.  I hand stamped the "thank you" sentiment on hand cut banner tag.  I hand punched the yellow circles and used a simple staple to seal the treat bags.  


Monday, August 5, 2013

Event: "April Rain Showers" Baby Shower

I hosted an intimate baby shower for a friend with about 15 guests.  Another girlfriend helped assist me in hosting the party.  I came up with the "April Rain Showers" theme and incorporated rain clouds and umbrellas.  This set up was in the entry way of the clubhouse.  

Favors included candy packaged in paper bags.  I hand stamped the tags with a yellow umbrella and blue "thanks" sentiment and attached it to the bag with a staple.  

To extend the "April Rain Showers" theme, it was easy to incorporate flowers into the theme.  I wanted to use potted flowers instead of cut flowers to be more eco friendly. The potted flowers were used as centerpieces for the dining tables and to decorate other tables.  

I used wrapping paper that was cut into large squares to cover each of the dining tables.  I also used it to cover the long table with the food spread to add some color to it. 

We played, "Pin the Sperm on the Egg."  The girls really enjoyed this game!  

We also played the following games:

-Diaper Cake Guess: Guests had to guess how many diapers it took to make the diaper cake.
-Fertilized Egg:  One Easter egg had a "Positive" note in it and the rest of the eggs had "Negative" notes.  Each egg had a candy treat in it and were hidden throughout the clubhouse.  
-Flower Word Scramble: Guests had to unscramble 20 flowers.  To maximize the paper usage, I included a word search of the flowers just for fun.  

FREE Printables:
Word Scramble PDF
Word Search PDF

Friday, June 28, 2013

Condiment Labels

I wanted to share a quick post from my husband's graduation party.  I was planning an easy burger bar for the party with different condiments.  

I handstamped each popsicle stick and stuck them into large baby food jars.  I finally found a way to use the tiny alphabet set that has been collecting dust in my craft room!  

Thanks to Pinterest, I can give the proper credit of inspiration very easily.  The site is in French, but the pictures are great!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Invitation 0005 (Baby Shower)

A friend and I decided to host a baby shower in April for our friend that is due in July.  I thought it would be cute to do a "April Rain Showers" theme. 

I tested my hand at creating a digital invitation.  I carried the rain theme through to the decorations at the baby shower.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Birthday Card 0001

I love buttons!  I found this super cute patterned paper and I wanted to make birthday cards with it.  

The "Happy Birthday!" tag was hand stamped and hand punched.  The flower and paper button were hand punched and tied together with string.  

  • Circle, oval, flower and button punches
  • Stamp and ink 
  • String

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tutorial: Diaper Cake

  • 108 – Size 3 Diapers (LUVS)
  • Wood board: 14" x 12" 
  • Wrapping paper cardboard tube
  • Curling ribbon
  • Ribbon of various widths: 2″ and 2 1/2″
  • Wrapping paper
  • Safety pins

I had a wood board laying around in the garage.  It was the perfect size and sturdiness for a large diaper cake.  I used the wrapping paper that is incorporated with the baby shower theme to wrap the board.  

STEP 1:  I used the curling ribbon to create a circle with a 12" diameter.  I started to fill the circle with diapers in a circular pattern.  

I'm not fond of the rolled diaper cakes. It seems much more tedious to roll diapers individually.  I cannot even imagine what the new mother thinks when she has to undo each one.  

STEP 2:  Once I was almost done filling in the first layer, I placed the cardboard tube into the center of the diaper cake.  

STEP 3:  Repeat STEP 1 with a smaller circle of curling ribbon.  FILL! FILL! FILL!  

Repeat STEP 1 for each tier that you want to create.  I was happy with four tiers and I reached the top of my cardboard tube.  

STEP 4:  I wrapped each tier with 3" white ribbon and 2" and 2 1/2" colored ribbon.  I used a safety pin to keep the ribbons in place without pinning them to the diapers.  

STEP 5:  Decorate!  I had the yellow daffodils on hand and just created some bows. I created small clusters of daffodils and tucked them into the existing safety pins.  I pinned the bows to the ribbons to hide the existing safety pins.  I did not secure the diaper cake topper because I knew that it would not move around a lot.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Upcycled Stamp Pad Storage

This is one of my favorite finds from a thrift store.  It is an all metal old cassette tape rack.  I thought it would be perfect to store my stamp pads.  

It is fairly wide, but not too deep. It goes on  the back of my shelf and leaves me plenty of workable space in front of it.  

I just won't know what to do when it gets filled up! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Event: My First Craft Fair!

I found my first craft fair to be a success.  The high school that I send my junior high students off to has an annual craft fair to raise funds for a safe and sober grad night.  The event was called, "A Fair of the Heart" at Irvington High School in Fremont, California.  

I found out about the fair the week that the application was due!  I quickly sent out a text to my girlfriends to see if anyone was available to keep me company during the fair.  Luckily, I was able to find three friends to come cover different "shifts."  One friend was able to meet me at 7:30 AM and another two around 12:30 PM.  

I was able to unload my car on my own.  But I needed lots of help to set up the canopy.  I borrowed the canopy from my brother's friend.  It turned out to be Raiders canopy.  Although, I am a Raiders fan, I went to the thrift store to find a king sized sheet to cover the top.  I used clothespins to secure the sheet to the regular canopy cover.  

I received many compliments on my displays and products.  I wanted to have a welcoming appearance to invite people into my little shop. I tried to establish a layout that encouraged browsing and conversation.  My Card Making Kits were supposed to be my hot ticket item, so I placed them in the back closer to me.  Midday,  I moved a basket of the kits towards the front of my booth in my attempt to attract more customers.  

I used a very neutral color palette with pops of orange, which is my favorite color.  A majority of my display props and linens were thrifted or items that I found around the house.  Since it was my first show, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the displays.  

I already have my ideas for improvement in future shows.  If I am outdoors again, I may rethink my large boards on the easels.  The wind was not too friendly to them.  I also think that the board in the front of my booth was not as effective as I hoped for.  I initially wanted that board to display some of my best pieces, but found that it made it less inviting since it was so large.  

All of my inventory fit into one large plastic storage bin.  I had a total of five other bins just for storing my display props and linens.  I need to work on finding more efficient ways to display more product.  That seemed excessive! 

Overall, I had a great time at my first craft fair!  I barely broke even for the booth fee. I met great people and hopefully, future customers.  More excitingly, I was invited to two upcoming local craft fairs.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thank You Card 0002

I like bold and bright patterned paper.  I found several colors of gingham patterned paper and wanted to make thank you cards.  I wanted to limited the colors that were incorporated.  I like cards with bold contrasts without a lot of fuss. 

The "thank you" sentiment was hand stamped in blue ink with khaki matting underneath.  I picked a coordinating khaki button to finish off the card.  

  • patterned paper
  • stamp and ink 
  • button 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Invitation 0004 (Child's Birthday)

I hosted a card party in December (2012) and my cousin asked if I could help her create invitations for her daughter's birthday.  I was more than happy to help.  

She was planning a jungle theme since her daughter likes, "Go Diego! Go!"  

I had some animal stamps from a zoo set.  We stamped the animals and vines.  Super easy and cute invitation.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Valentine's Day Cards 2013

I was lagging in setting up an Etsy Shop.  I decided to make Valentine's Day cards and sell them at work to see how well my cards do.  

I did fairly well and the sales boosted my confidence to open up my Etsy Shop.  

The best selling cards had this design.  I hand stamped and hand cut all of the bunting.  I used a small hole punch to thread the string through.  

The sentiments were printed on my color laser printer using coordinating colors.  

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tutorial: Upcycled Cardboard Boxes

I found a metal wire rack a long time ago to organize the bathroom counter.  I searched far and wide for bins or baskets that fit each section perfectly.  I never found them. I finally decided to make my own.  

After I collect some cardboard boxes, I cut them open along their seams.  I measured and cut them to fit the sections of the metal rack.  

I taped of the edges with painter's tape and formed the box.  I made four of the exact same boxes. 

I covered each box with white scrap paper since the boxes had bright prints on them.  I brushed on a thick layer of my modge podge then added the paper.  Then I brushed on another layer on the white paper.  I let it dry over night.  

Most online bloggers create their modge podge solution with 50% water and 50% white liquid glue.  I bought my glue from the dollar store, so it had more water than glue to begin with.  I think that's why my boxes look warped.  I add more glue to my solution to about 65% glue to 35% water.  

I picked a light teal colored pattern paper that matched the decor in my bathroom. I covered the boxes with the improved glue solution, added the paper and then brushed on the final sealing coat of glue.  

The final outcome wasn't too bad.  The boxes fit the rack perfectly.  Once I filled the containers, the warped edges weren't as noticeable.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ribbon Wrapped Gift

I recently made some hand poured soy candles as gifts for my cousin's birthday.  During Christmas time, I made lavender scented soy candles.  I felt that I was successful, so I ordered some more soy wax flakes and essential oils.  Sorry, no pictures! It has been hectic!
For my cousin, I made soy candles with the following scents: lavender (lavender ribbon), eucalyptus + peppermint (mint ribbon), and lemon + peppermint (yellow ribbon).   I wrapped each jar inside with the ribbons.  Then I weaved the ribbon around the kraft paper for a simple, but bright contrasting effect.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Event: Cute as a Button Baby Shower

I have been crazy busy since I threw a baby shower for my sister in law in December 2012.  I created her invitations which can be found here... Cute as a Button Invitation.  It took me forever to sit down to edit the pics, so this will be a rather large post from me.  

I teamed up with another friend to throw the shower.  I took care of the stationary, decorations, food and favors.  My friend was in charge of the games and prizes that went along with them.  My contributions seemed easy, right? Not so much.  According to my husband I, "do too much" and I'm "over the top."  He won't let me throw parties for him.  Knowing myself, I started on the decorations in September.  

Since this was baby #3, we decided to have a small, ladies only event.  We had 13 ladies at the event and it was very nice and intimate.  Intimate enough where everyone knew each other and were comfortable enough to play the game, "Porno Face or Labor Face?".  

I apologize in advance for the crappy pictures.  A lot of running around finishing up things prevented me from taking really nice photos.  I am also the level before Beginner in Photoshop.  


Bunting is very popular and I decided to create a banner incorporating this style.  Unfortunately, my picture doesn't do this banner justice.  The font that I use was a "stitched" style that went with the button/sewing theme that says, "welcome baby."

I printed out the letters individually and used my large circle cutter to cut them out.  I used a large hand punch for the yellow buttons on the ends.  Then I used a hole punch to do the button holes.  The orange circular flowers on the ends were made of tissue.  I hole punched the corners of each flag and threaded string through to hang.  


I made paper accordion circles and tissue flowers way in advance.  I sketched out my idea before I made them so that I could figure out the spacing.  When I first started this project, I knew I didn't want to use pink or purple and I knew that my SIL would be ok with it.  I found cute coordinating polka dot and plaid wrapping paper.  I used it in the stationary and for all of the decorations.  Saved me tons of money and trips to the store to buy paper.  I still have a little bit of each roll left! 

My sister made red velvet cupcakes and I made chocolate covered Oreos.  I bought regular, peanut butter, mint,  and chocolate Oreos.  Each one had a different top color.  I used a polka dot and stripe mold for them.  I gave up on trying to individually color in the polka dots and stripes. I just filled the mold 1/3 full with the color I wanted, placed the cookie in and put regular chocolate afterwards.  This created a two-tone effect.  


I decided on easy appetizer type foods.  This was probably the best event I planned with accurate food proportions where I didn't have food left over.  Below are some straightforward recipes and directions.  

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon:
-Cook bacon
-Slice brussel sprouts in half
-Thinly slice onions, garlic cloves, carrots
-Blanch brussel sprouts and carrots (~ 5 mins.)
-Saute onions in olive oil
-Toss in blanched veggies (~ 3 mins.)
-Slice bacon (easiest with kitchen shears)
-Add bacon and stir (~ 2 mins.) 
-Add salt and pepper to taste
Shrimp Spinach Salad:
-Devein shrimp
-Saute shrimp in olive oil and add salt and pepper
-Thinly slice fuji apples
-Layer baby spinach in bowl
-Add shrimp and apple slices
-Add feta cheese
-Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette on top of salad                    

Babies in a Blanket:
-Cut puff pastry into ~ 2" squares
-Place little wieners at a diagonal to the corners
-Fold opposite flaps over and press to seal
-Bake at 350 degrees (~15-20 mins.)

*This time I placed the little wieners in the puff pastry without cooking it first.  Technically, they're already cooked.  But I noticed that the juices from the meat deflated my puff pastry.  Next time, I'll heat up the little wieners first to get rid of the excess liquid.                      

Cucumber Sandwiches:
-Thinly slice cucumbers and mint leaves
-Mix mint leaves with cream cheese
-Mash avocados
-Cut bread with circle cookie cutter
-Spread cream cheese mixture on slice of bread
-Spread avocado on another slice of bread
-Layer cucumber slices on one slice of bread
-Top with the other slice of bread

*I was unable to find a smaller circle cookie cutter.  These were a little bit bigger than the size of my palm.  I was hoping to find biscuit cutters or something similar to make sandwiches half the size.  Next time smaller for sure!

Pepperoni Pizza:
-Floured work area, hands and rolling pin
-Roll out dough into small discs
-Spread tomato paste onto dough
-Sprinkle on dried basil
-Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese
-Add two slices of pepperoni
-Bake at 350 degrees (~10 mins.)

*To save time, I par baked the dough with the tomato paste the night before.  No, I did not make the flour from scratch.  My friends at Trader Joe's made a good batch of herbed pizza dough for me to pick up.  

BBQ Meatballs:
-Heat BBQ sauce in pot (~2 mins.)
-Add meatballs and stir (~10 mins.)

*This must have been the hardest thing to make! HA!


Since we had an intimate group of ladies, we had a baby pool.  My SIL was scheduled to have another C-Section, so we were unable to guess the date of the birth.  We had guesses for weight and length.  Each guess was $2.  Person with closest overall guesses is the winner and takes the pot.  Some generous ladies decided that if they won, to give the winnings to the mommy.  

I found a huge neutral colored picture frame with its glass still intact from the local thrift store for about $10.  I removed the backing and took out the picture.  I cut a sheet of velum to fit inside the frame and put the backing on again.  

I decorated the frame with bunting that said, "baby Gonzalez." Again I used the wrapping paper to decorate!  The picture frame became a large cute and new whiteboard.  I used a dry erase marker to write the categories, "Name, Weight, and Length."  Guests entered their info at their leisure.  


All of the guests left with a favor bag filled with each flavor of chocolate covered Oreos.  

I had small paper bags and used a decorative edge punch for the top.  I printed out the tag with, "thank you sew much for coming" and then I used a circle punch. I used a button embossing punch to layer on top.  Finally, I used a hole punch through all of the materials and threaded string through the package.  

After working on a wedding in November 2012 and this baby shower, I vowed no more working on events until it is one for me.  That didn't last very long.  Starting to plan a baby shower for another friend coming up at the end of April.  I'm working with a friend for this event and I won't take so much on my plate.  This time around I'll ask for help!