Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Daily Craft - Fun with washi tape

Not sure if you've heard of washi tape, but it seems to have exploded out of nowhere.  For a little while I've been wondering about it and when I saw some in the clearance section at Target, I had to buy it.  (Does anybody else cruise the end caps for random clearance items that you didn't know you needed, or is that just me?)

Last weekend, I had a vow renewal to attend for some good friends of ours and, in that I did forget to buy them a card at Target, I decided to play with the newly acquired washi tape and make my own.  I embellished "Congrats" using some stickers (also from Target).  The heart was made using a trick I'd spotted online - to cover a piece of paper the necessary size with the tape, then cut out the shape.  I also added some tape to the envelope to tie both pieces together.  I think it's simple, but cute!

The other card I made is for a friend's baby shower.  I used the washi tape as a background for the 3D stickers, then hand wrote the "congratulations" message.  I'll admit that hand-writing makes me nervous as, while I do have good cursive, it can be too easy to be critical of how the end result looks.  An alternative would be to print or stamp the message, but that's for next time! 

My favorite thing about washi tape has to be that it's completely re-positionable so, if you mess up, you can pull it off and start again.  There are so many cute tape designs out there and I can see how many potential uses it has.  Really, you could put this stuff on just about anything! 

Have you tried it?  I would love to know your favorite uses if you have.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Daily Craft - Edible finger painting

Since it's been so hot recently, I've been hesitant to take the wee one to the park for fear of burning his butt on the plastic bucket swings.  This means I've been searching for indoor activities and finger painting seemed like a great idea.  Owen still puts everything in his mouth so I needed edible paint and, with this paint recipe from Growing A Jeweled Rose (who is a wealth of handy info for baby and toddler activities in general), I figured I'd give it a shot and make some potato paint.  When I first shared my plan with Husband, he laughed at me and wished me good luck, but I was determined.  I armed myself with some sketch paper and potato flakes from the dollar store, stripped off the baby, laid a towel on his high chair to try and contain the mess, and made paints in red, yellow, green, and blue.

He wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first and needed some gentle encouragement, but was happy smearing the potato flakes around for a little bit.  He definitely tried to eat some, which I was anticipating.  Although I'm not quite sure he got the concept, he seemed to be curious nonetheless.  It pained me a little bit to admit that I probably spent more time cleaning up than actually painting, but I think we still had fun and I have a pretty neat (albeit lumpy) picture to show for it.  

If you are curious about clean up, the food coloring was sufficiently sucked into the potato flakes that it didn't make a mess and wiped up nicely.  The only bit that didn't wash off immediately was the couple of drops I got on myself when making the potato paint in the first place.  Overall, a success!  What are your favorite indoor activities?  We're always open to suggestion.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Daily Travels - Chicago Photobook

I posted about my baby shower photo book a couple posts ago.  It arrived, looked adorable, then I popped it into the bookshelf without remembering to review my thoughts on it.  As it happens, I had another free coupon code, so decided to make a book for our trip to Chicago.  It was the last big trip that we took before Owen's arrival and it was 3 days of good eats, tons of walking, and beautiful architecture.  It's actually a city that both Husband and I felt like we could live in, except for the ridiculous weather.  We happened to be there at a beautiful time of year (end of May) but even then, the last day was crazy humid to the point of not really wanting to go anywhere and getting bug bitten to hell down by Lake Michigan.  From a photography perspective, it was a dream.  I wasn't actually sure that twenty 8x8 pages would do it justice, especially given how many pictures I actually took, but it certainly got the message across for the fantastic time we had.

As for the Shutterfly books themselves?  I think it is a testament to the Shutterfly Custom Path software that I was able to put this book together in about 3 hours.  I used preset pages through the template I chose, but could tweak those to look exactly as I wanted as each template has a good number of embellishments to play with.  There's a range of photo layouts to use if you want to create each page from scratch and my only complaint in that area is that there's no option to just draw your own photo box where you want on the page.  Instead, you have to decide how many photos you want and move the photo spots around accordingly.  Not great if you suddenly decide to add a photo to the page late in the game! 

I don't really have other books to compare to, but I found the quality of the book to be nice.  The hard cover with title on the spine gives it a nice, professional finish, and I very much like being able to customize both front and back covers.  The inside pages feel heavy enough and the printing is clear.  There's also an extra protective page at the beginning and end, which I actually feel is a nice touch when opening the book.  I do love the look of a beautiful, glossy photo in a scrapbook; however, I know my limitations and that I would never get around to actually scrap-booking by hand (and it certainly couldn't be done in 3 hours!)  No matter what, better than the photos sitting on my computer.

My grand plans would be to create a photo book for each major vacation, and a more general "family yearbook" each year.  I love how easy Shutterfly makes this.  While I will possibly test out some other services for future books (Winkflash, Blurb, Costco), at least I know what to expect from Shutterfly and will definitely order again.  

What's your preferred method of scrap-booking family photos?