Sunday, January 25, 2015

i'm a finalist!

So thrilled to share that I'm a finalist in the 2015 Craftsy Blogger Awards for the paper craft instructor category. It's an honor to be a part of the Craftsy community, and to be included with these finalists.

Visit the Craftsy blog HERE to find out who the other finalists are and vote for your favorite! Vote by Wednesday, 1/30 at 11:59 pm MT for your vote to count.

And, to celebrate I'm offering a 50% off discount for my class, Celebrating Everyday Moments: Playful Scrapbook Layouts. If you'd like to register for half price, CLICK HERE!

Friday, January 23, 2015

doily heart valentine

Now that the holidays are over and we’ve begun a new year, it’s time to turn my thoughts to a very special holiday that my family loves to celebrate—Valentine’s Day! Among other things, we like to make it a special day for each other by making valentines. Here’s an idea for a handmade valentine using the beautiful Lucky In Love Collection Kit and Designer Stamps.

I used the Designer Stamps in some fun ways to create texture and to alter some stickers from the collection. First I created an embossed heart doily by covering the doily stamp with some watermark ink, and then stamping the image onto plain white cardstock.

Next I sprinkled some gold embossing powder over the stamped image, making sure to cover the entire image. I carefully poured the excess powder back into the container. Then I used my heat gun to emboss the image. (Be sure to allow the embossed image to cool before handling.) I love the rich texture that the embossed gold heart doily adds to the card!

Visit the Echo Park Paper blog HERE to learn a cool stamping tip I used on my card.

How about you? Do you like to make handmade valentines to celebrate with you loved ones?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

pinwheel bouquet

I've had so much fun lately using my favorite We R tools to create some decor pieces for my craft room! Last week I shared how I used the Triangle Score Guide to make the paper gem garland I hung in my newly re-organized space (if you missed that post you can catch it HERE). Today I'm going to show you how I made the pinwheel bouquet that sits on the little shelf underneath that garland.

Pinwheel Bouquet by Aly Dosdall 1

The pinwheels I created for this simple bouquet are double pinwheels, meaning that I layered two sheets of paper together to add twice as many vanes to my pinwheels. I love the fullness of the double pinwheels!

Pinwheel Bouquet by Aly Dosdall 2

I made these using my Pinwheel Punch Board. The punch board allows you to make several different styles of pinwheels--simple ones, double ones (like mine), layered simple, layered double, etc. You can make them as basic or as elaborate as you'd like!

Pinwheel Bouquet by Aly Dosdall 3

To learn how to create these basic double pinwheels, visit the We R Memory Keepers blog HERE.

Making pinwheels with the Pinwheel Punch Board is so easy, and the possibilities are endless. Pinwheels are great for any paper craft project--cards, gift wrapping, home decor, and more!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

paper gem garland

I recently re-organized most of my craft room (see the posts HERE), and as part of that I re-did some of my decor. I love the paper gem trend right now, so I decided to create a paper gem garland to dress up a small wall-mounted shelf in one corner of my room.

I chose the navy and aqua papers from the It Factor collection since they coordinate well with the colors in my space. I alternated octahedron and decahedron shapes in my garland, making them all the 3 inch size.

I followed the instructions in the booklet that comes with the Triangle Score Guide, and it was a blast making these paper gems! For full instructions and supplies, visit the We R Memory Keepers blog HERE. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

bitty desk calendar {free printable}

I love quick and easy projects, don't you? The thrill of completing an awesome project in 15 or 20 minutes is oh-so-sweet! Visit the We R Memory Keepers blog to snag my free 3x4 printable 2015 desk calendar. While your there, find out how easy it was to make this using my 3x4 Card Punch and The Cinch. This took me minutes, and it's such a cute little calendar--perfect for a gift, or to keep for yourself.

CLICK HERE to snag the free printable and to learn how to make one for yourself. Happy 2015!

Monday, January 19, 2015

craft room clean out: final reveal!!

Before I reveal the photos of my newly re-organized space, I want to share some tips with you that I've picked up over the years about PLACEMENT of supplies in your craft space. This is just an idea, and it doesn't always work out perfectly since sometimes spaces present limitations, but the basic premise it to try to place items that you use most frequently in closer proximity to your workspace, and in an easily accessible container.

For example, I have a canvas caddy on my work surface that contains the adhesives, scissors, rulers, journaling pens, craft knifes, tweezers, paper piercers, and other small tools that I use very frequently. I save myself time and effort by keeping those items within arms reach while I'm creating. About once every quarter I re-evaluate the exact items I keep in that caddy and change them (if I need to) based on my creative habits. I also keep my main paper trimmer (the one I use most frequently) out on my work surface.

As I mentioned in my last installment of this series, I keep other larger tools (paper trimmers, score boards, circle cutters, etc) in drawers within arms reach of my work station because I use them frequently as well.

Of course, I can't keep every item I use frequently within arms reach of my work surface because that's not how my room is set up. But, I've tried over the years when organizing my room to think about that as I place items in my space.

My suggestion for you is to sit down and mentally go through your creative process.Take a look at your last 10 projects, and determine what supplies they all have in common. Think about how you can rearrange your space so that some of those most frequently used items are as close to your workspace as possible. You'll be glad you did!

Now, on to the final photos of my space! I'll start with a group of photos taken as I turned a 360 in my space, and then I'll share some detail photos.

The first photo starts from the left side of my space (as you enter) and the photos that follow were taken as I turned to the right.

This is the corner where I keep most of my supplies in my new Ikea Kallax shelving unit. The table you see with the sewing machine is used mostly for my youngest daughter to draw and paint with me while I work in my space, but I also use it for sewing and cutting items larger than 12 inches.

Next to the sewing table is the closet where I keep my scrapbook albums, a few generic paper craft supplies (colored cardstock, generic hard and soft embellishments), some family history documents and journals, and some other basic craft supplies (floral, sewing, fabric, etc).

Immediately to the right of the closet is a small shelf to display some of my completed projects. Below that is my hubby's little office space (don't tell him, but I'm secretly eyeing his space for a cutting/trimming station). He mostly works out on the couch with his laptop watching our favorite TiVo playlist, so he doesn't need much room. =)

To the right of that is my main workspace--a corner unit placed directly in front of my only window so I can work with as much natural light as possible. I keep my glass cutting mat and CutterPillar out on my desk since I use them for every project.

Along the right wall of my space I have a wall mounted shelf where I keep a few Anna Griffin card kits and stamps, all of my mini albums, completed cards that I keep for giving away, and a library card photo display. I also have a couple of Grip Strips to display some of my most recent (and favorite) layouts.

Here are a few detail shots...

Completed projects

Washi tape storage

Punch storage

Quick note about the Ikea Kallax shelves: They don't fit the Cropper Hoppers I have (which are a few years old), so I decided to use some utility scissors and cut off about 3/4" from the top of each. The inside measurements of the cubbies are 13". Just FYI so you don't end up with the same problem I had. =)

Embellishment and tool storage

This last shot is my pocket  page (Albums Made Easy, Project Life) storage. The top drawers contain all my 4x6 and 3x4 cards, and the bottom section contains all of my page protectors. I also keep a magnetic display board next to it to display some of my favorite recent cards.

Overall I'm really happy with the way things are, though there are a few minor things I'm sure I'll tweek over the next few months to get things just right. I think that's one important thing to remember about organization--it's a continual process, not a one time event. Happy organizing!

P.S. if you have any questions about my space or about organization in general, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

new year, new craft!

A new year is always a good time to set goals, self-evaluate, and strive for growth and improvement. A great goal to set is to try to learn, or improve upon, a new skill. I know many of you scrapbookers and paper crafters also enjoy other crafts, so I thought I'd let you in on a great deal going on right now over at

If you've ever wanted to give sewing a try, or cross stitch, or cooking, or cake decorating, or knitting, or crochet, or photography, or painting (the list goes on...) now's your chance! Today and tomorrow only you can get 50% off of Craftsy's most popular classes. That's a smokin' deal, and the instructors at Craftsy are the best in their respective crafts. If you'd like to see which classes are for sale, or if you'd like to learn more about Craftsy in general CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

you are loved layout

The Through The Year collection is so versatile! You can easily create seasonal or themed projects, but there are also plenty of generic prints and accents for everyday pages. It was easy for me to create this non-themed page using some of the monthly kit and collection kit papers.

I made the top border of the layout with the adorable File Tab Designer Die Set. Since the dies are only 5 inches long, I used one of the dies with the tab at the far end to make my file tab border longer. For a full tutorial on how to create file tabs longer than the dies you can visit the Echo Park Paper blog HERE.

Once I finished cutting all four of my tab borders, I rounded the corners to get more of a file folder look. Then I layered them at the top of my photo mat. To embellish my page I added some tags I cut from journaling cards, some die cut hearts, element stickers, twine, and washi tape.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

craft room clean out 2014: part 3

Once I finished purging my shelves and getting rid of unwanted items, I moved on to the SORT and ORGANIZE phase of cleaning out my craft room. This sorting is different than sorting out unwanted items. This sorting is putting items into groups that make sense to you depending on your creative process. The organize part of this phase is placing the sorted items into containers that not only fit the items and look cute, but that are properly accessible depending on how often you use them.

I've already sorted most of my items into a system that works pretty well for me (yes, I've done this before multiple times) so there wasn't a lot I needed to change in the way of how I sort my products. Since I work for a couple of manufacturers, that's how I sort the majority of my products--by manufacturer. Then I sort them by collection, keeping most of the coordinating embellishments together with the papers in vertical paper storage containers (Cropper Hopper). So that means stickers, chipboard, brads, journaling cards, die cuts, etc are all in the Cropper Hopper with the matching paper. That makes it easy for me to create when I have an assignment because I'm usually supposed to use all those elements together on a project.

Embellishments that do not coordinate with a specific collection are kept separately and sorted mostly by item and then by  color--spools of twine in a basket, washi tape hanging on a shutter, small hard bits (or hardware) in color-sorted bead containers (brads, buttons, eyelets, gems, etc), and soft embellishments (ribbon, tags, flowers, etc.) in color-sorted small shallow bins.

Now, I said I've got my items pretty well sorted, but there were a couple of places where I wanted to make a change.

1) Go-To Embellishments

There are certain generic embellishments (not matching a specific collection) that I find myself using over and over again--sequins, cotton and jute twine, enamel dots and shapes, wood veneer shapes--that I felt could be sorted and organized in a more efficient way. They were all basically sitting out on a shelf in my closet because I used them so often that I didn't want to put them away and get them out again for every project. solution was to store them all together in the same container--one that is portable and easy to get out and put back. I decided on this darling Amy Butler fabric caddy that wasn't being used. It's perfect because it has lots of pockets to put little packages in and it also has a bigger center compartment that isn't too deep and is easy to sort through to find items. I've got all the items in small ziploc bags to keep them separate.

Now all I have to do when creating is get that caddy out and keep it on my work surface when it's time to embellish. I've got all my go-to embellishments in an easy to access, nicely organized portable container. Score!

2) Go-To Tool, Die Cutting, and Embossing Station

For quite a while I've kept a rolling plastic drawer unit under my work surface. This unit houses my most commonly used larger tools (score board, circle cutter, small trimmer, dies, embossing folders, genius platform, etc). It's been overflowing and not very well organized so I wanted to make a change there as well.

My space is also a home office so there are two small filing cabinets--one that houses all our important papers, documents, and receipts (it also holds the printer), and one that I had filled years ago with patterns, images, pamphlets, and ideas on everything from home preschool, to teaching young children music, to gardening, to food storage, to crafts. Well, guess what peeps? I haven't touched those files in the last four years! Why? Because of the internet and good ol' Pinterest! I have no need to keep files of hard copies with ideas anymore because I store them all online. Good buy papers!!

Once I emptied out that two-drawer cabinet, I placed my most commonly used tools in there and then saved the rolling plastic drawer for only die cutting and embossing.

I've got three drawers in there--one for my We R dies and die cutting accessories, one for my We R embossing folders and letterpress supplies, and one for my dies, cartridges, and accessories from all other manufacturers. I keep my larger dies in plastic ziploc bags, and my smaller ones in magnetic folders. Some of my embossing folders are kept in plastic bags, and some in kitchen drawer utensil bins. Plus, my Cricut E2 sits on top with my vinyl and mats standing in between the cabinet and drawers. Perfect!

After I sorted and organized all of my supplies into their respective containers, it was time to place them all in their proper space. There's a bit of a trick to PLACEMENT when organizing a space, and I'll share those tips in my final installment of this series. I'll also reveal some photos of my finished craft room, so stay tuned!

Monday, January 12, 2015

free printable project sheet

If you'd like a free printable project sheet with full instructions and supplies to create this January Snow scrapbook layout I made using the Through The Year collection, visit the Echo Park Paper website HERE.

Here are some detail shots of the layout.

There's also a free printable project sheet to create a darling card using the same collection which you can download HERE. Enjoy!