Tuesday, December 17, 2013

30 Days of Crafting! Embossed Candlelit Houses

xmas trickle lights on Make A Gif
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

Okay, so yeah... I love making little houses! I can't help it! These are super super easy and a quick way to add a special touch to a centerpiece, mantle or bookshelf. I used the super fun amber flickering battery candles, you can find these at any craft store. Now let's get to it!
You will need:
4- 6x6 Pieces of sheet music or book pages (use new-vintage will not emboss or fold well)
Xacto knife
Elmers Glue or Modge Podge
Small Paintbrush

Cut out and emboss 4 pages of sheet music I used Embossalicious Christmas Elegance by Crafter Companion

I used my Creatopia to emboss and this is my "sandwich"-follow instructions for your embosser

Next I used my Colorbox memory Essentials Stylus and my Colorbox Ink to brush out the highlights on the embossed paper

next "eyeball" fold over, overlapping about 1/4 inch

Like so!

Now, watch carefully-I then meet the two folds I just made in the middle, and press down again. There is NO adhesive yet-we are simply making folds so we know where to cut our windows

Grab a piece of scrap chipboard and cut out a window template-free hand it! You can do it!

Now on each of the 4 sides-trace out your window, varying the heights-but not too low or too high!
OPTION: before you fold up take your brush and glue and LIGHTLY spread some glue on the inside and sprinkle with glitter

Now we are ready for adhesive. Run a line down the "extra" edge

now fold it back up again

fold back out to for a square

Close up the top, like wrapping a present

grab your stapler-and close her up!

When you open it back up- you can use a pencil end to straighten up the sides- you can create different house shapes by simply pushing the folds up higher or leaving them low

Finished! Now just pop it over a batter operated tea light

Or on second thought- hopefully you saw my option above and already added a little glue and glitter- I used a paintbrush and just dabbed some glue in and spinkled my glitter in- I just found it glowed a little more sparkly that way!

Look how cute they all look together!
-Have fun and Happy House Building!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Heidi Swapp Color Shine Wreath- With Xyron

Okay so I LOVE making banners, and when Xyron Teamed up with Heidi Swapp this month and sent me some Color Magic Jumbo Pennants- all I could think of is how not to do the "obvious" banner! Well lo and behold these pennants make a great wreath too! I LOVE LOVE Heidi's Color Shine Bronzer- truly amazing I can't really explain it- but it sometimes looks gold, sometimes looks silver, and sometimes looks bronze. Just really beautiful depth in this spray. So let me take you a bit through this project to get you started, then you are on your own to embellish away!

{First I sprayed all of my pennants with Heidi Swapp Color Shine Spray in Bronzer- I used a sponge to spread it around}

{I used a paper plate for a template and cut out a piece of chipboard and then some of Heidis cardstock "Believe Santa Baby"  to cover it and attached using my Xyron Mega Runner

{After my Color Magic Jumbo Pennants dried I run them through my Xyron 5 Inch Creative Station with permanent adhesive}

{I then stick them to some heavy card stock- if you don't they will curl and not stand up to being hung vertically}

{I then inked all the edges with ColorBox Silver Pigment ink- there is NO BETTER metallic ink in the universe!}

I then used Aileens Tacky Glue to attach the pennants to my back piece. Why you ask? It needs to be super strong to hang vertically AND you have "play" time to get them arranged just right- no doing that with sticky back adhesive or hot glue}

{Okay so now you can embellish how you wish, but I will show you how I made my tree! Cut 4 to 5 4x6 Inch pieces of "Believe Peppermint Sticks" paper and then score longways at the center mark}

{Then trim from the top of your scoreline to the bottom corner to create the tree shape-trust me way easier to score first then fold-trying to fold the tree shape after you cut it is a pain!}

{Grab some of the awesome ColorBox ink and ink it up!}

{Run a bead of hot glue up the center line and just keep stacking them up!Then fan out to create your tree!I used Heidi's Color Magic Pressed Paper Frames sprayed with more Color Shine Bronzer and her "Believe Jingle All the Way" paper to finish off my design. Here is what I did:
{ I cut out some big letters and glittered them with recollections Fine Glitter in red and attached with Teresa Collins Foam Squares}

{Here is my tree and a few of Heidis Color Magic Flowers sprayed with Color Shine Gold and Bronzer- there's a little Petaloo one in there too!}

{here I just backed the Pressed Paper Frames with the Jingle All the Way paper.You can see in this picture how cool the Color Shine Bronzer Looks-gold and silver all together!}


{I love how the Pennants have Silver highlights- I just happened to be wearing an orange sweatshirt you can see glowing in the silver part!}

{Such a fun project and the colors you can do this in are limitless with Heidis Color Shine Sprays! How bad do I want THIS for Christmas!}
Happy Creating to you!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Grocery Store Holiday Survival Tips

So most of you who follow me know I manage a grocery store and have worked in one for more than half my life. I am used to working holidays, for me it just comes with the territory I have no bitterness. I actually enjoy the energy and excitement of the holidays at work, just not how exhausting it is! Last year each day leading up to Thanksgiving I posted some tips on my Facebook page and got lots of likes and comments- this year I am just going to pop them into a post for you. These are just my personal tips and can vary among regions but as a rule I think they are pretty universal.

When to shop- early in the morning, like when your store opens. Most things are fresh and full, all of the most experienced employees and department managers work mornings, if you have any questions they are there to help. Also the morning help has other people they can call to check if the lines back up. After 7-8 at night all of the "closers" are by themselves. Sometimes they are newer less experienced help and again are alone trying to get everything cleaned and ready for the next day. The store and assistant manager have gone home and the supervisor or night manager is busy closing registers- end result departments low on product and lines can back up. So you would think why not schedule your help when it's busiest? Well. Because you can't get any thing done with people pushing carts all around and asking you a bunch of questions!! It's a double edged sword.

What day to shop- the week before people! Get everything except your fresh vegetables way ahead of time. You will get the best selection and have less craziness. If your buying a fresh turkey- people tend to think that they need to get it a day before so it's the freshest. Fresh turkeys have a 6 to 10 day shelf life- most likely the turkeys on the shelf today will have the same code date as the ones we put out for the next 10 days, so just look at the code date and if it's before Thanksgiving just buy it. You need at least 3 days to fully defrost a turkey with out going to a lot of extra trouble-but many of you will be buying one Wed and asking us how to defrost it!

Too late for the week before? The week of Thanksgiving gets progressively busier, Monday- crazy busy especially around the 4-8pm hours, Tuesday-all the people who want everything fresh, but don't want to wait until last minute will be there. Wednesday- procrastinators will be there and all the Tuesday shoppers who forgot stuff they need - so more crazy. Wednesday is insanity all day long and we start to run out of things. Wednesday at a grocery store is hands down the busiest sales day of the entire year- but don't let that stop you, everyone else will be there too.

Take a list and go to the seasonal area first! That is the big barge like displays at the front entrances-usually. Okay people- the shelf only holds 8 cans of fried onion topping, everyone buys one, so only 8 customers get to buy off the shelf and bam it's out of stock! That's why we build gigantic seasonal displays- yet people still insist on going down each aisle to shop. Yes, those same aisles that have all of the cardboard displays getting in your way! Go to the huge displays on the perimeter of the store you will find most things you need, then you only have to go down the aisles for a few things- so much easier.

Speaking of aisles- now you know why we put all those annoying cardboard displays (shippers we call them) down the aisles- because the shelf will not hold all of the product we need for the holidays. So why drag your entire cart down the aisle??? Leave your cart at the end- keep your purse on you- and walk comfortable down the aisle to get your chocolate chips ( which by the way were probably on the seasonal display!)

Speaking of purses- I have worked in the richest and poorest of neighborhoods- I can tell you that wallet thieves love nice neighborhoods during the holidays- please people keep your purses on you and keep them shut!

Bakery/ Service Deli tips- if you are making a special order, do it 3 to 4 days in advance. No more than 6. Why? Well they have a clip system for orders that is one weeks worth. So if you are order over a week in advance there is a better chance it could accidentally get made early- then your order gets tossed away when you don't come for it. Or it could fall off the clip. Then you come for it and no order! It seems like it would be totally obvious but sometimes there are multiple people involved and not everyone is sharp enough during this busy season to notice-so don't order too far in advance or trouble could await you.

Spice advice- spices are usually divided by brand/sweet or savory/then alphabetical order. So find the brand you want, look for the savory or sweet, then look by name- super easy.

Can you check in the back? NO, I can not! We have a little saying in the grocery store, it doesn't sell from the back room. Almost all holiday grocery items will be out on the sales floor- so don't even ask to check the back, check the seasonal area or those annoying shippers! Or look above on the cap shelves sometimes extras are up there.
Here are some exceptions:
Soda and beer- holding power is small on some of these and vendors usually do have more stocked up in back
Spirits- we don't put a lot out because thieves love to steal them when it's busy- so we usually have extra locked up in back or at the service desk.
Wines- but only the popular ones- like Kendall Jackson Chardonnay if there is only one row of them on the self- they are usually not popular enough to have extra in the back so pick something else.

So what's in the back? It's our backstock which is usually half cases and loose items that didn't fit in shelf plus extra paper goods, 24 pack waters, soda and beer- looking for that one packet of obscure gravy is like looking for a needle in a haystack!

Staff- most grocery stores are closed shop unions. We can not just hire a bunch of seasonal help to take all of the hours of our union employees for the holidays. However that puts us in a tough situation. Even if I scheduled all of my help 40 hours a week- I still would not have enough help to cover all of the sales I do. Why don't they have more people in the deli? Well I do, but they are working around the clock right now, so this is all I have! Why don't they have enough baggers? Well they are all working, trying to keep up with double the carts, double the go backs, triple the questions (can you look in back for me?) and on top of that some of them know how to check- so they may even be in the check stand. A lot of the clerks are students or this is there second job or they are under 18 which legally limits their work schedule. That's where all the baggers are!

Calling the store- as noted above we are all pretty busy- can't get anyone in the deli on the phone? That's because they are helping customers at the counter. I wish I had someone to just answer the phone all day- but I don't. I try my best, but the number of calls jumps tenfold. If you have a special order make it when you are in the store in person. If you want to call and check if we are in stock try early in the morning- again all the managers, office clerks, department managers all work in the morning lots more help

Having mercy- as a rule most of you already know it's going to be crazy. So coming in with a lot of time and patience will help. Expect lines, expect busy aisles and expect grumpy employees (although we try to keep our spirits up! It can be hard after the 70th person asks you if you have any 20lb frozen butterballs left, when you have been out for three days and want to slit your wrists every time this is asked- are you sure, can you look in back? Lol!

I know a grocery store is not a perfect place, I know my employees and policies aggravate all of you. I got a taste of that when I was off work with my broken ankle. WHAT? I am out of milk? I HAVE to go to the STORE???? Arghhh, so I get it, it's a chore... I wish I could make it better and I do try- but hopefully this post gives you a little peek behind the curtain of a grocery store and makes it no so aggravating for you! In a nutshell-shop early, shop the seasonal display, don't drag your cart down the aisle, and relax and take your time!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Paper Christmas Village With Xyron Frosted Windows

xmas final final on Make A Gif
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif
Yay! Holy cow I made a an animated photo! I just really wanted to show the before and after of my adorable little paper houses! No template necessary just watch my video tutorial and I will show you how it's done! The Star of these little houses though is my Frosted Window Technique using my Xyron 5 Inch Creative Station! Seriously I actually impressed myself with one lol! So here is a little home tour of my houses I made with American Crafts- Bundeled UP and Peppermint Express Collections.
Here are all 4 sides of House 1 Made with American Crafts Crate Paper Bundled Up Collection

I used a Petaloo Pointsetta, made some icicles with some hot glue and added a few mirror snowflakes from Michaels. The Chevron Straws are from Queen & Co. and I got them at Hobby Lobby

The rooftop glitter is a mix of Martha Stewart Tinsel Glitter and Clearsnap Winters Frost

Snowflake and wood fence from Michaels
The Next House I made with American Crafts Peppermint Express

All you need is two sheets of card stock and one sheet of American Crafts Peppermint Express Remarks Stickers! Aren't they cute?

Just used some good ole fabric store trim

Now here is another one from Bundled Up. I love Pink for Christmas. I gave this one a little more of a vintage feel by Adding vintage book paper for the roof. I also shortened this one by chopping off 2 inches. This house pattern is easy-as long as you keep it 8.5 inches wide- you can really make it from 6 inches for a smaller house to 10 inches for a high rise.

I added some Prima Pebbles to each side and used the Bundled Up Standouts and Layered Stickers too.

So I wanted to give you a close up of the frosted windows. Too cool right?? Watch my Vid at the end and I show you how to do it!

I love how with just a little turn, you can create a whole new look!

So what are you waiting for! lets make a Village!