Sunday, January 26, 2014

Year of the Horse Cookie Boxes

Friday is Chinese New Years, the official start of the Year of the Horse so Chinatown was bustling with activity this weekend. To celebrate the start of the New Year, I put together these Year of the Horse boxes filled with almond cookies for sharing with our family.
I used the same octagonal box cutfile (from My Scrap Chick) that I used to make the Hello Kitty boxes I posted earlier. I chose an octagonal box since it's considered to be lucky because of it's eight sides...the number eight being a lucky number to the Chinese. Figured our aunts wouldn't be too keen about Hello Kitty so this time around I went with a more traditional horse image and stuck to the lucky red and gold color scheme instead to decorate their boxes. The horse image was purchased from GL Stock Images and traced into a cutfile using MTC. I used metallic gold cardstock to cut it out and placed it together with the Chinese character for "horse" onto a background embossed with a folder from Cuttlebug's Asian bundle.
Finished size of the box is about 4-1/2 inches wide with a depth of 3 inches; large enough to hold a dozen cookies. As a finishing touch, I wrapped the boxes in cellophane bags tied with a glittered tulle bow. Hubby kept calling this "the firecracker box" because the shape of it reminded him of the octagonal "bomb" that's commonly seen attached to the top of long strings of Chinese firecrackers. LOL....that might actually be kind of a fun thing to recreate in paper...a box with strings of paper firecrackers hanging from it....maybe next year.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hello Kitty Rides In with the Year of the Horse

Totally driven and inspired by blogging friends Karen (Have A Scrap Happy Day) who made close to a hundred coaster calendars to include with her Christmas cards, and Lynn (Lynn's Craft Blog) who made easel calendars to be sent out as her holiday thank you notes, I decided it was high time for me to actually use the Vippies calendars I buy every year but never ever use.
I think part of my problem is that in the past I've always tried to use a traditional Chinese papercut style image to dress up my calendar but have never been satisfied with the outcome, resulting in me giving up before I even got started. This year I decided to change and go with "cutesy" instead of traditional. Searched all over for an image of Hello Kitty with a horse but the only one I could find that I liked was a photo of some Hello Kitty fabric.
I ended up tracing the image from the photo by hand, trying to simplify and redraw it on my own to get an image that MTC could render into a cutfile.
 Placed Hello Kitty and her horsey on some cloud/sakura patterned paper from My Little Shoebox and added the kanji for "horse" or "uma" to make a bunch of easel calendars which I plan to send as my holiday thank you notes. These were fun and surprisingly quick to put together and though I wanted to do more, I ran out of calendars. So I resized the cutfile to a slightly smaller size... make a few matching octagon shaped boxes...
The cutfile for the boxes is called "Creepy Crawlers Trio" from My Scrap Chick, and I have to admit, they were a bit of a challenge to put together. But after doing several, I think I finally got it figured out. I'll be baking batches of almond cookies this weekend to fill these boxes for giving at Chinese New Years. And hopefully, even after the cookies have been eaten, these boxes will be cute enough to be repurposed...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Treasured Birthday Keepsake

This post is long overdue...I've been wanting to share this fabulous birthday gift I received from my best blogging pal Patti of Creations by Patti for the longest time, but the holidays got in the way. Now that all the holidays are over, I'm so excited to share this with you. Actually "fabulous" is an understatement for this....come take a closer look and you'll see what I mean!
What you see here is actually a box with a depth of about an inch. Love the gatefold shoji paneling on this with the translucent vellum and  pretty sakura blossoms on the front.
Center front is a circular magnetic closure with a glittered blossom. And to the bottom right of the box, you'll see a small metal crank...slowly turn the crank and voila! Hear the sweet tinkling sounds from a music box hidden inside playing a Happy Birthday tune!!! How wild is that!
Now open up the shoji doors and inside is this amazing shadowbox scene with Lala Land's Marci beautifully colored in her glittery red kimono and parasol. This is a real shadow box, with everything inside layered for dimension and sealed with a sheet of acetate. WOW, right?
What's really unique about this shadowbox is that it is built up from several layers of foam core with sheets of acetate sandwiched in between. The "elements" inside (the bridge, grass, pagoda, sakura, and Marci) were adhered to different layers of acetate to give that fabulous "floating" dimension inside this box. Super duper COOL, huh! Ummm....excuse me, can someone please pick me off the ground?!!! I'm afraid my photos don't do this really gotta see this irl! Better yet, head on over to Patti's blog now to read about and see all the deets on how she put this amazing, knock-your-socks-off project together!
I am truly blessed to have this incredibly talented and creative lady for a special friend. Thank you, are the BEST!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One More Holiday Treat!

It's always hard to have to return to work after the holidays, but finding these sweet little surprises waiting for me in my locker certainly made it a lot easier! Created by none other than my dear friend Lorna, her lovingly handcrafted treats washed away my after holiday blues.
Lorna's clever holiday card features an adorable stamped and colored image from Sister Stamps in a beautiful glittered snowglobe card. Love the embossed swirly background and snowflakes! Covered with clear acetate, it has the look of a real snowglobe.
Awww...nothing better to warm your heart than a sweet little pink "gingerbread" house filled with treats. Wow, love the lattice cut on the rooftop and lace bordered eaves...notice the holly sequins on the corners? So much love, time and attention to detail went into putting this together!
And to top it all off, this clever candy cane card..."Merry Christmas from the heart!" Thank you, made my heart smile!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Gallops in like a Horse!

Happy New Year! Or as the Japanese say, "Akemashite Shinnen Omedeto!" Hope everyone had a good time welcoming in the New Year of the Horse. Every year we celebrate New Years Day with friends and family at a huge potluck style lunch, a tradition which the Japanese believe assures our ties will continue to remain strong throughout the New Year.
These are jars of treats I decorated for each family to take home after lunch. I used washi paper to wrap around the jars and created a medallion to stick onto the front.
Found the image of the Chinese papercut horse after doing a Google image search for "Year of the Horse" and the Japanese pine or "matsu" icon was purchased from GL Stock Images. Using the MTC program, the two images were rendered into cutfiles. I used the shadow feature to create shadows of each and welded them into an open circle. Everything came together pretty quickly, which was a good thing because I had less than a week to put 12 of these together. I think I need a New Years resolution to start planning sooner! Well now, Chinese New Years is just around the corner at the end of January...guess I need to hurry and start thinking of something new soon!