Wednesday, November 11, 2015

... counting the days

 An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas. Since the date of the first Sunday of Advent varies, falling between November 27 and December 3 inclusive, the Advent calendar usually begins on December 1, although many include the previous few days that are part of the season. Recently, in the 20th century, a popular theme has been to use the popular Christmas song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as the basis for a 12-count calendar.

Advent calendars range in theme, from sports to technology. Many Advent calendars take the form of a large rectangular card with 'windows,' of which there are usually 24: one for each deay of December leading up to and including Christmas Eve (December 24). Consecutive doors are opened every day leading up to Christmas, beginning on December 1. The calendar windows open to reveal an image, a poem, a portion of a story (such as the story of the Nativity of Jesus), or a small gift, such as a toy or a chocolate item. Often each window has a Bible verse and Christian prayer printed on it, which Christians incorporate as part of their daily Advent devotions. Advent calendars may also have puzzles and games printed on their reverse side.

Two of my favorite Advent calendars that I remember as a child were calendars with little drawers, such as the one I'm showing you here today. One had an empty stable printed in the center, and each drawer held a character from the Nativity story. By Christmas you had a complete scene of the Christmas story and on Christmas Eve, the Baby Jesus was in drawer #24 and finished the scene. The other calendar had a pine tree, and in each drawer there was a Christmas tree ornament. By Christmas you had a fully decorated tree, and on Christmas Eve, the final drawer held a star to be put on top.

The Advent calendar I made for Alpha Stamps begins with one of their wooden and chipboard kits which are available here...and right now they're on sale!

These are a breeze to put together and you can probably have the whole thing, including the 24 drawers completed in half an hour or less. It only needs a plain household white glue - I let mine sit overnight to get good and completely dried before I started decorating.

Even though it's no longer available, I decided that the Graphic 45 paper "Nutcracker Sweet" line that I had hoarded for a few years was the ideal paper for this project, so it's what I used. At this point it's out of print, highly collectible, and the pads that are available on eBay are going for quite a few dollars. I suggest using the beautiful "A Victorian Christmas Scrapbook Paper Set" from Alpha Stamps which is available here - also on sale right now! These papers would make a wonderful old world looking advent calendar! I suggest ordering two sets, just to ensure having enough to complete the project - and the paper is reasonable enough it won't break the bank!

I covered the fronts of the boxes with four each of six different designs from the paper pad. I chose to ignore the 'finger pull' cutout in the kit drawers and use large beads as drawer pulls instead. Check out the incredible array of beads at Alpha Stamps here  - lots and lots of choices!
The center of my shadow box I used the main illustration from my paper pad. I cut extras of Clara, the clock face and the title "Nutcracker Sweet" and popped them up with foam tape so they would create a little dimension. I also added a "real" toy nutcracker in front of the nutcracker printed on the paper. And check out the gorgeous beading fringe at Alpha Stamps. I used a pink, because it went with my scene, but the white and the black bead fringe are knock outs! See them here.
My Advent calendar shadow box is topped with a Christmas tree and a spread of goodies from Santa - in this case Alpha Stamps had to stand in for Santa and provide the beautiful miniatures!

I started with the smallest of the two trees in the "Woodlands Wreath and Tree Set" (here) and misted it a light pink. I used several of the beads available in the bead section at Alpha Stamps (here) to use as ornaments. I also used some Crystal Accents to give a tree a bit of a sugar-frosted look.

On one side of the tree, among the gifts is a delightful miniature wooden train and miniature wooden sled - both from Alpha Stamps. The small doll is from my stash of vintage toys.
On the other side of the tree, we see a miniature little red wagon carrying a delightful miniature jack-in-the-box. All of the miniatures are available from Alpha Stamps in the miniature section here - spend some time going through this section as you will find lots of things you will want to put under your tree! The small carousel is a miniature made from a vintage German magazine pattern and is unavailable.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my special Alpha Stamps Advent calendar - and that you're inspired to make one of your own - or one to give a special little person to calm some of their anticipation about the coming Big Day!

... now, go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan

Friday, October 16, 2015

Coq dans la Campagne Français

 A short film showing the interactive pages in this album.


When I found out the themes for the October Alpha Stamps design team kit were going to be Tea and French Hens, I immediately knew I wanted to make an album. And the kit was just filled with wonderful little treasures to make my album come alive! Starting with the front cover, Alpha Stamps has a huge selection of paper, silk and artificial flowers. I love these 'sugar coated' beauties from Petaloo!
The lift up photo mat on page one has a meticulously reproduced flatware setting in 'gold.' I think it makes a great embellishment for the advertisement for a country French inn! You can get your own here. The beautiful lace used to embellish the photo mat is available here.
As well as the top flap flipping up for a photo mat, the entire first page (the sunflowers) opens to reveal a nice large page for photos and a pocket with a photo mat inside it. (Though I have only put in one photo mat, there is room for several more.

Page two is side pocket pocket which also will hold many more photos and/or photo mats than the one I've put in.
The third page features a 'waterfall' photo display, which will hold up to 8 photos. The chickens at the top of that page is from the Alpha Stamps collage sheet "Roosters" and you can get it here. Also, the Graphic 45 Provençe chickens on the side pocket on page four is available in a generous 12"x12" size and is available here.

 The next two pages feature 'fussy cutting' images to create pockets and a fun page on the right which seems to just keep on flipping open and displaying more photo space

 This next spread features wallet sized photo mats on the left, as well as a fun rust-red rooster from Alpha Stamps ... you can get yours here.
The next two pages (one has a pocket with photo mat and a tag and the other has several flip open pages) both feature the Alpha Stamps lace trim sampler here. There are also some other lace trims on that same page which were used.

 I had just enough images, and a button and some burlap left over to make a little ATC (Artist
Trading Card). I really liked the way the stamped image on the transparency looked when layered over the burlap!

Now, it's your turn - go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan
The French Country Rooster album is available for sale 
in my Zibbet shop (here) or my Etsy shop (here).
I welcome commissions and special orders for album made for specific
photos and/or with requested themes and sizes.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Stepping My Toe Back Into the Warm Water of Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday is an idea that was dreamed up by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. I participated every week for almost a year - managing to collect more photos of pink stuff - from the giddy camp to the most luxe - but I stopped blogging for a while, and when I got started in again, I had rather ignored Pink Saturday as something that was fun from my blogging past.

Then I found these photos - and, as it happens to be Saturday - I decided to gently dip my toe back in the warm, calming pool that is Pink Saturday!

To see the amazing array of pink lusciousness that is in the world, visit here, where you will find the blogs which all participate in the phenomenon of Pink Saturday!

This is Sketch tearoom. 
I first discovered Sketch through Paris Hotel Boutique.
Conceived by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mazouz, it has attracted unprecedented media reaction for its myriad food, drink and entertainment styles since it opened in December 2002.
If you're going to be in London, and want to go to Sketch,
click the address link and you will go to a map.

... now go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan
 It's never too early to start planning Hallowe'en costumes!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Winner! WINNER! Chicken Dinner!

Using the Random Number Generator, the winner was Comment #10... 
Which means the winner is Teri of Papercrafts by Teri

Terri won the hand crafted Marie Antoinette 
Luggage Style Album
Terri, if you will email your mailing address to
I'll get your prize right out to you!

Thanks everybody for playing!

Try to get all your friends to become followers...we'll have an even bigger giveaway contest
when the membership level reaches 1000!

... now, go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It's Marie Antoinette and The Gilded Lily Day!

Today is Alpha Stamps celebration of all things Marie Antoinette and the fabulous "The Gilded Lily" paper and embellishment line from Graphic 45.

I have two projects to share with you, so I'll dive right in and not spend a lot of time twittering on! To view any photograph more closely, just click on it and a larger image will pop up.

I hope you enjoy seeing Marie Antoinette's carriage, which houses a lace storage album. Since it's a little hard to see what's actually happening with the operation of the carriage and it's album, here's a short video that will show you ...
If you'd like a closer look at parts of the carriage and lace storage album, here are some photos. You can click on each one to get a much larger image.

To make one for yourself, this is the list of supplies that I used - almost all are available from Alpha

Marie’s Carriage and Lace Storage Album – Supply List
Graphic 45 “Gilded Lily” 12”x12” Paper Pad

Graphic 45 “Gilded Lily” 8” x 8” Paper Pad

Medium Weight Chipboard  (available at most craft and art supply stores)

Brenda Walton Framelits w/Stamps 660254 (oval die used to cut portraits and frames)

8mx4mm Teardrop Pearl with Loop

Laura Carson Ornate Rococo Frame (used on front of album cover)

Textured Elements Jeweled Flowers – White

White Curly Petal Paper Flower Sprays

Vintage Velvet Pansies – White

White Foam Stamen

White Petaloo Leaves

1” Natural Cotton Lace

5/8 Inch White Zig Zag  CottonLace

Cotton Lace Sampler Set

Tim Holtz Lace Trimmings

3/8 Inch Looped Ivory Lace

7/8 Inch Fancy Fan  Ivory Lace

Tim Holtz  Worn Book Cover – Chronicle

Tim Holtz Ring Binder Large

The crown on top of the carriage, the wheels, and the birdcage on the porch are all items from my crafting stash.

The other item I wanted to share with you is a much smaller - and much less time consuming project! It's an altered Altoid tin which has been transformed into a Magic Potion shop - right in time for Hallowe'en.

 If you don't have an Altoid tin you can pick one up from Alpha Stamps here. I actually prefer using the tins from Alpha Stamps because they don't have the raised lettering embossed on them found on Altoid Tins. 

 All of the miniature bottles and flasks are from Alpha Stamps also. There is a huge variety here and here. All of the bottles I used, I filled with glitter and micro beads - and the bead flasks are small beads with miniature beads used as lids and/or stoppers. The other items are from my stash of crafting treasures!

The flowers that I used on the sides are available here. However, while you're there, check out the amazing array of paper flowers and fabric flowers Alpha Stamps keeps in stock.

So, that's today's Marie Antoinette and "A Gilded Lily" projects ... BUT - while you're here, be sure to check out my giveaway prize celebrating my 800th follower. You can enter to win the prize here.  Oh! I guess you would like to know what the prize is! It's one of my handmade photo albums with a Marie Antoinette theme. Good luck!
... and after you register to enter the giveaway contest, go make something beautiful!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´

(¸.•´♥ Tristan


Steampunk Gatefold Album - Part 2
I have finished my Steampunk Gatefold album and there are lots of pictures of the embellishments and techniques used on the Basically Bare Blog.

I hope you'll click over there and take a look ... and please leave a comment there so I know you visited ... all of your comments always mean so much to me!

... and then go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´
(¸.•´♥ Tristan
Ethel Barrymore (grand-aunt of actress Drew Barrymore) in "Clair de Lune"

Friday, September 11, 2015

Steampunk Gatefold Album - Part 1

Please visit the Basically Bare Blog and see my latest project there.

And be sure to leave a comment there - it's great to know you was there!
... and then go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´

(¸.•´♥ Tristan
Remember, there's still time to enter the giveaway contest. 
To enter your name, click here

Enjoy what's left of the summer!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hallowe'en Haunted Village Event! Bwa ha ha!

It's that time of year again - the annual Hallowe'en 'spooktacular' event by the clever and skilled artist Laura Carson at Artfully Musing! If you aren't familiar with the brilliant miniature treasures that Laura creates, this is the perfect time to get acquainted with her and her work!

Laura has long been one of my favorite and respected artists (my oft reiterated statement is that I'm going to be her when I grow up!)...and now I'm honored to serve on the Alpha Stamps design team with her - so I can pick her brain (figuratively, of course) as much as she will put up with!

This years haunted village is nothing short of amazing (after awhile you simply run out of superlatives to use!). Take time to enlarge every photo of each and every house in the haunted village - from The Happy Bat Tavern to Grizelda's House of Beauty - and enjoy every detail she has lovingly and skillfully created.

I promise you're going to want a nice cuppa to sit down and peruse the village leisurely and admiringly! 

Then, after you've painted the town orange-and-black, go to Alpha Stamps. Be sure you click on the "full newsletter" to get information about haunted house swaps, lots of the materials that are available there which Laura uses to create her haunted masterpiece - a haunted house kit! - and a great array of Hallowe'en crafting goodies which are part of the weekly Alpha Stamps giveaway!
Then, remember the day isn't complete...until you make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´
(¸.•´♥ Tristan