Packin’ Heat

…with a Martha Stewart Crafts heat gun.

I have started the wrap-a-thon, and this year I and am having a go at heat embossing with the powders.  Never done it before, so the crafty set might sport a big yawn here.

Every year, I like to pick a look or aesthetic and wrap all my packages that way.  One year, it was all faux bois papers, another it was plain white with pin-up girls that doubled as tags.  Last year, I lamely phoned it in and got some patterned paper at Target…I’d only had a working kitchen for a few weeks, I was still unpacking boxes and I was grumpy and tired.  That said, I hated my packages.  They weren’t cute, clever or personal.  They were ordinary.

On the whole, I don’t do bows, although I’m not against ribbon.  Bows are fine for a single gift event.  During the holidays, I need stackability and you can’t stack shit on top of a bow now, can you?  This year, my preference is no ribbon, no bow, but an embossed graphic on solid paper.  I picked up my supplies at Michael’s, plus a smattering of solid color papers, and even tried using some kraft shipping paper again this year.  (It’s always a winner…thick enough to create nice edges, and plain enough for cool graphics to shine.)

The embossing WORKS best on the kraft paper, but LOOKS best on the glossy gift wrap.  The problem I’m having is that the glossy papers create a static cling with the embossing powders making it harder to keep a clean image.  I’m using a dry brush to try and clean it up around the edges.  I’m also finding that Martha’s embossing powders work better than the other brands I’ve tried.

The key is making sure the stamp has enough ink and is perfectly flat. No ink…no emboss.  It works best to stamp/emboss the paper BEFORE you wrap it unless your package is totally solid.  Any give in the box will cause a missed spot on your stamp/ink.  You see at the bottom how it looks when the image doesn’t quite make it due to stamper error…Oops.

powder gun and stamp

humingbird emboss

bag graphic detail

gift bag

getting started on kraft paper

I also bought a set of sans serif letters and numbers so I can personalize the packages without ribbon and tags, although I am making a bunch of tags to have throughout the year while I’ve got this mess going.

I imagine my last packages will be the best, but if anyone else wants to try it, I figured I’d better get it posted now.  I’m getting the hang of it, and having fun picking which family member gets which image or scene. I know it’s a complete shock that I’m using birds and deer.

Holiday Slices

It’s officially Holiday time…the boxes have come down from the attic.  No tree yet, but we’ll be ready when we bring it home.

I had commented over at Happy Mundane on his post about agate slice ornaments since I have made these in the past.  It got me thinking that I’d like to make some more to revamp my trusty, white feather tabletop tree this year.  Smaller in scale than the ones I made for the big tree, I got these pre-drilled in natural from Northern Stones on ebay.  12 for $22.

When I first made these, it was because I loved the ones I’d seen in the Viva Terra catalog a few years back.  The new ones from Crate and Barrel are far more reasonably priced – $20 for 4 instead of $42 for six.  That said, I still like doing my own…so I did..and did again.  I used wire cutters to snip through the fishing line since it will ruin a good pair of scissors.

I draped some strands of Kukui nut I use in my jewelry making to jazz up the bottom of the tree.  It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the light shines beautifully through the slices.  Despite having less natural light, I decided the tree needed to live against the black walls of the dining room.  It was getting lost against the white walls in the entry.

the xmas boxes

Trusty Martha Feather Tree

fishing line and agate slices

Old ones…and new ones.

agate ornaments, older ones and this years

tree with agate

agate in light

tree in DR

Six Dollars

For Halloween, Day of the Dead, or just Tuesday…This $6 purchase won’t disappoint the wee ones in your life.

The sheer joy and wonder that a bag of dry ice can bring never ceases to amaze me.  Every corner our house was eerily smoking through the evening.  We even played “Earth’s atmosphere” with the world map placemat.

Now that’s what I call a bargain.

smoke and candles

spider in the mist

stair rats

earth's atmosphere/cloud cover

Year of the Ox

Monday, January 26th is the Lunar New Year and for those, like myself, who relish joining in the celebration, finding your party supplies or other such items can be tough if you like a “less is more” modern style.  Being a bit crafty, I do like simple things that can be made to my taste such as the plum blossoms that I found on Kaboose this year, but with my own modifications. I used real branches instead of chenille stems.   Group 2 or 3 of these in a nice vessel with some moss around the bases will look festive yet minimal. Gong Hei Fat Choi!