Thursday, December 7, 2017

Scraps + Stamps = GREAT tags!!! Gift tags & more tags!

Today I wanted to share a post that I have been "working" on all year long.  Now I might need to explain that a bit......
I keep my cardstock scraps.  I always check in my drawer unit for scraps when needing less than a full sheet of cardstock.  I will share my scrap cardstock storage soon.  This was a project that I did over the course of days.....lots of days. 
 This year I really wanted to make gift tags for the holiday times.  I work so hard on my gifts and often lose my mojo when it comes to wrapping them up.  This year, I promised myself I would create some tags, after all, I have all the crafting supplies to make them.  So I approached this project differently.  Every time I did some stamping, before I put away my stamps and supplies:  I stamped out a gift tag.  I added it to my "tag stash".  Now as the season of gift giving is approaching, I have a nice tag stash to chose from.  It only took a couple more minutes to stamp a tag after each project!  It was the perfect way to work on my goal this year.  
The first suggestion I would make is to get some nice tag dies.  Lots of companies carry them, pick up two or three on your next crafting order.  Keep them handy or be even MORE proactive, go ahead  and cut some blank tags to keep on hand to stamp after your next project is done.  I used a lot of crumb cake cardstock.  It's my favorite neutral cardstock and I think it matches most of the wrapping paper I have on hand. 


I wanted simple tags.  I love beautiful tags but I knew that spending a whole day making tags was probably unreal expectation for me.  But I could easily stamp some tags.  Most of these tags have slight coloring on them, nothing fancy or maybe some heat embossing.  Keeping the tags simple made them easy to do. 
These tags were made with some heat embossing.  (All ribbons will be added later when I am actually attaching them to the gift so I can match the ribbon to the gift wrap).

I will easily be able to attach these tags to gifts by using my hole punch if the tag doesn't already have a hole provided.


I even made some Halloween tags!  How cute are these!  All made from scraps of cardstock!
This is one of my favorite tag dies, I believe it is from Papertrey Ink.  (I will take a poker and push out the little paper holes more before I put it on the gift).  I love that with simple stamping, this was a beautiful tag. 
I also made some tag with white cardstock and more inking.
I have to say this was one of my favorite tags, it from a Catherine Pooler stamp set.  It was perfect for a tag and added such nice detail.  It was a lot of fun to make.  


I also made some all occasions tags.  Stamping an image on the front:
And a stamping a good To/From sentiment on the back of the tag.  I recommend a nice big To/From sentiment and also a small one of the same sentiment so you can stamp it on various sizes.  Check your stamp sets, these sentiments are sometimes included on stamp sets.  


How cute is this Llama??  Any stamp can be made into a tag! Play around!
How cute is this Lawn Fawn stamp set?   Made a cute tag!!!



Several tag dies are flip tags, those are fun and unique.  



If you don't have any tag dies, use what you have.  Even a regular square die can be used to cut out the tag....punch with a hole punch and you have a tag!

This is one of my favorite stamps.  I watch the History show Vikings, so I had to get this stamp.  Anyone watch that show?  It's pretty good!



This was the same tag as above, just showing the tag completely closed. 
How fun are these tags?  I am going to keep making tags throughout the year, since this project seemed to work well for me. I hope this inspires you to "get ahead" of the gift giving season.
Thanks for stopping by today, if you don't already FOLLOW ME...click the button to the right.  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Organizing Felt and some Felt tips for crafters

I was hoping to get this post out this morning but it has been crazy here.  As many readers know, I LOVE working with felt.  Love it!!!  I feel like working with felt stretches my crafting tools even more. I have cross stitched since I was little, and while I find cross stitching easy, felt stitching is even easier!  Hopefully, if any readers have been wanting to try felt, this post will give you some tips and tricks to working with felt.  My best advice....have fun with your felt!!!  Don't take it to serious, play with colors, try out any dies you have. I'll discuss dies and cutting later in the post.
A little information about felt:  I used wool felt.  The cheaper felt that you get in a craft store does not cut out nicely with dies.  My rule is the better the felt, the better the cut.  And when I say better felt...these are that expensive.  Felt can run from $4-6 a roll.  Not that bad in price.  There are lots of places to buy nice quality felt.  Some of my favorites are:
Papertrey ink

Taylored Expressions (they carry color collections of 3, nice to try out some new colors)

Benzie Design (their felt is a mixture but cuts like butter.  They have a lot of fun collections of felt colors)

The Felt Pod (this is where I buy the bulk of my felt and specialty felt)

Simon Says Stamp (make sure to get wool felt)

Felt is great to make embellishments, ornaments,  independent projects, banners, cute critters, and card elements.  Look for lots of felt projects to come on the blog.  I have lots to share but can't share some now until AFTER presents are delivered!!!  But I'll be sharing a lot with you in the future!

First I'd like to say, when I was doing this post, I realized I needed one more cabinet to store my felt.  So some of my pictures are before I got my second cabinet and some are after.  The way I store is the same, I just decided to break down some colors even more, and got the second cabinet.  I'll try to say if it was a before or after photo. 
(this photo is after- two cabinets!)
The way I organize my felt is by color.  All brands of felt are separately by color.  Simple reason is when I am making a project, I am looking for a certain color.  Any time I organize, I try to think: " how do I use this item?  What makes the most sense, to me, when I go to look for an item?".  And that's how my organization starts.  So before you organize anything, ask yourself those questions.  


(this is a before picture- one cabinet)
I store all my felt in an Ikea metal cabinet.  I have many of these in my craft room.  They fit nicely and work for a lot of organization.  The best part of these are that they have wheels on them.  Easy to move them around.  These are called Helmer Drawer unit on casters and they run $39.99 in the US.  I have lots of grey ones, that color doesn't seem to be offered now.  Now they have white, green or black or at least they did in my store last week.  
(before picture)
I sorted my felt my colors.  Some colors such as yellow and orange, are stored together.  I put Reds and pinks together.  I had neutral colors all together but realized I had a lot of neutrals and I didn't like the white felt up again other colors of felt.  Some felts, such as heathered felts seem to be more linty than others.  I wanted to keep my black heather felt from putting lint on my white felt. (if you get lint on your felt- use a microfiber cloth on your felt and it helps take some of the lint off)  So....that's why I got the second cabinet.  Now I can keep my white felt separate.  It also allowed me to store more neutral colored felt and made it easier to find.  


(before photo)








(before photo)
This drawer is a mixture of purple felt and speciality felt.  I now have the specialty felt in a drawer by itself.  This includes glitter felt.  I keep the glitter felt in the plastic baggies so it doesn't get everywhere.  I find even the best glitter felt or glitter paper will shed a little bit.  
So the next picture is a bit confusing.  This is how I used to store my felt...in a bin.  It worked....kinda.  The problem was when I went to look for a color, I'd have to dump the whole bin to find what I was looking for.  The cabinet has solved this.  BUT....I kept the bin to store my scraps and overstock of felt.  I currently have a big project that I am doing for my son's school.  I ordered 15 rolls of royal blue felt.  I obviously don't need 15 rolls of the same color in my cabinet, so I store the extra ones, in this bin along with my scrap bags.  I keep ALL pieces of felt.  I keep any scrap pieces big enough to cut out a button of belt on.  This is good for eyes on a pieces, accent pieces,  flowers,or letters.  More on that later.

(this is an after picture)
As you can see, the new cabinet holds my neutral felt colors.  I use my label maker to easily label the cabinets.  It is one of my favorite crafting tools!

I store my stitching dies on top of my cabinet divided by categories in a Stamp N Storage die holder.  I love these holders.  I hate to say stitching dies because a lot of "regular" dies will cut die and you can do some great projects with them.  These are stitching dies because they cut stitching holes into the felt the same time they cut the felt.  You don't have to use a stitching die, but they do make the projects such easy and there are so many cute ones.  You can easily take a Christmas tree die and cut out felt and stitch it together without stitching holes using a whip stitch.  So look through your dies that you already have to see what will work.  
I do love stitching dies.  Some are very detailed and fun to work with.  Some of my favorite ones are:
Papertrey Ink
Memory Box
Ellen Hudson (the new bear one is ADORABLE!!!)
Simon Says Stamp carries some: look under PLUSH.

This is my to-go felt bag.  I keep everything I need in this 31 Bag for felt stitching.  These are precut projects that I have ready to go. 
I had to show the side of my 31 bag!!!  ;)
These are my scrap bags of felt.  They are separated by color as well.  All grays are kept together.  All blues and so on.  This saves me a lot of money by keeping these scraps.  Almost all projects will have "accent" pieces on them.  These can easily be cut out using my scraps.  It save me from cutting small pieces off my felt rolls.

This picture shows how I can use scraps of felt to cut out pieces.  

You need a die cutting machine if you use dies to cut your felt.  My favorite one to use is my Vagabond 2.  On MOST felt pieces, I do two passes to cut out the felt.  I like nice clean cuts and two runs through my vagabond and I get good results with ALL dies.  Not all dies need two runs.  And not all felt needs two runs through.  Experiment with what works best for you.  I find Benzie Designs felt to cut easily with one pass.  But the Felt Pod felt is thicker and I like to run it through twice.  See what works for you.  Running it through twice seems like a lot of work, but its not.  The vagabond is electric: I send my sandwich through, and then reverse it, and send it back through so it "returns" to me.  Does that make sense?  I never lift up the sandwich, I just use the reverse button on the Vagabond 2 and send it back through which brings the sandwich back to the side it started out on.  
All die machines are different.  Follow your instructions to what sandwich you should make.  On my Vagabond, I use the platforms for thinlets.  
So the next question is what are some things I need when I cut felt. I use the Tonic pokey thing...yes, that is my official title of this poker.  LOL.  I like to keep this handy to poke out the holes of the stitching dies when they come out of the die cut machine.  The holes are cut, some of the plugs will remain.  I like to push those out with my pokey tool.  It keep my stitching area neater.  
I forgot to add this photo earlier.  These are my scrap bags of felt sorted by color.  

You also need thread or floss.  I have a lot of DMC floss that I use.  But you can use any floss you like.  I love to use variegated  floss on projects.  You can use different types of floss, play around.  
I love keep some felt glue handy.  Some people like to use hot glue.  I'll be honest....I am a MESS with hot glue.  Those strings of hot glue end up everywhere.  I think I need a hot gluing class.  Is there a way to make hot gluing less messy?  PLEASE leave me a message if there is.  Maybe I am using the wrong type of hot glue gun?  No idea!!  I like Beacon's glue for felt work.  It works well and isn't messy.  It does stiffen the felt a little bit but I like it to glue backings to my banners.  
Okay, so that's my post on organizing felt and probably more than you wanted to know about felt.  There are some really easy videos on stitching felt on youtube.  Erin Lincoln is a wonderful stitcher of felt: she designs for paper trey ink and has many videos of her stitching their dies together.  Check her out.  
If you have any questions, leave me a comment.  Share your favorite felt projects. What are your favorite dies to use?  Favorite felt?  
Thanks for stopping by!
Michelle

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