Monday, August 29, 2011

{Sorting Paper Scraps}

As a stamper and scrapbook gal, I struggled for years with the best system for maintaining (while still using) my paper scraps. I looked for ideas everywhere, but really nothing I tried seemed to actually work for ME. I found that I saved them, but then never used them. A friend of mine once suggested just using ziploc bags, and as rudimentary as it sounds, I actually did that for a while. I tell you this because the ziploc bags then inspired me to step up a bit. I started doing this several years ago and it has been perfect for me!

I purchased this scrapbook paper organizer at Walmart a few years ago for $4.95. It's about 15" x 15" or so.
It came with little file tabs. I sorted my scraps into color groups, then...(and prepare yourself here)...
I went VERY high tech and took a permanent marker to some return address labels.
Can you tell how academic, precise, and creative this method was? ;)
These are sort-of the color groups I chose, although I actually ended up changing a few. Black, brown, and grey each have their own file, and there's one just for neutrals (tans, creams, and whites).
Then I took 10 seconds to painstakingly adhered my labels to the file tabs.
It created the perfect place for paper scraps of ALL sizes.

It sits below my table, to my right, within arm's reach. I go to it ALL the time to pull scraps. It's really never snapped shut, and I find that I actually USE my scraps with this system. It's been working for me for several years now....which is good, since it took me so long to put together. :)

Hope this helps you get your own paper scraps organized. Best $4.95 I've spent for my craft room!
Have a wonderful day!
I'm linking up!
 Somewhat Simple

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

{Play Money: The Way to Learn}

My 7 year old has had old scraps of handwritten makeshift play money for a long time, and although it works, it could be better. When she's playing store, or paying her vet bill, or shopping at the pet store, she really should be counting out something close to real money. You know...playing and learning. It's how we roll around here, so I can't believe I haven't made these earlier. I think I printed out some generic bills a few years ago on green cardstock, but let's just say....uck. Not the ideal.

So I did some searching and found these wonderful printables at Money Instructor. You can download $1's, $5's, $10's, and $20's. They look very real, but are smaller in size than the real thing.
$50 Bills-Play Money
 I printed several copies of each on white cardstock and cut them out.
(I use Georgia-Pacific cardstock from Wal-mart for general projects.)
Then I sealed them up with clear laminate (from a roll) for durability, and cut them out again. Rolling over the laminate with a brayer (or rolling pin) really helps get the bubbles out quickly.
 They are durable and very authentic...perfect for learning while playing.
  Wouldn't it be nice if these were real?
Have fun pretend shopping (and counting) with your kiddos!

Take care,
Linking up at:

Friday, August 19, 2011

{Birthdays & Anniversaries...on a Ring}

Hello there! Here's a little something I whipped up last Sunday afternoon and I love how it turned out. Now I have all the monthly big events in one place and at-a-glance.
These are super easy to make and take maybe 45 the most? 

You need: 
scrap cardboard (old food boxes)
die cut of your choice
scrapbook paper
ink and sponge (if you want to distress)
book ring

I went to my handy-dandy recycling bin and pulled out some large Apple Jacks boxes to be my free "chipboard". I cut them into 5"x5" squares to accomodate my Sizzix Stampin' Up Scallop Square Die, totaling 12. Then I cut coordinating scrapbook papers from my stash and glued those on the squares with glue stick.  I ran them through my Cuttlebug to get the scallop squares, then punched a hole in the corner of each with my Crop-a-Dile.
 I typed up a cover page and a page for each month that fits perfectly on the scallop square. Thscalloped square measures about 4 1/4" x 4 1/4", so if you have something similar, the month pages I made should work fine for you, too. You can download the pages I used over here: Master Monthly Birthday Printable .  
I printed those onto cardstock, distressed everything with chestnut brown ink, and adhered everything together. I added a book ring and a few pieces of ribbon from my scrap jar and voila! Super cuteness, no?
I have written the person's name and their date (in order) on the lines, and this is small enough that I can keep it at my "command station" for easy access without taking up space.
If you want to make your own and have any questions, please shoot me an email or comment and I'm happy to help.  
Have a great day!
Linking up to these parties:
 A Little Knick Knack

Friday, August 12, 2011

{Teacher Gift: First Day of First Grade!}

My baby is heading off to first grade in just a few days, and to say I'm beside myself is putting it lightly. I've been home for 7 years, centering my world around her, and it seems unreal that she is suddenly going to be in someone else's care for the entire day, every day. I was a teacher for several years, I always held myself to the highest standards in educating my students, but a seems absolutely ludicrous that we put all this energy, thought, and time into giving our kiddos the very best start in the early years..........all to just send them away, essentially with strangers, masses of influences that I have not pre-screened, and the stresses of a standardized education. Ugh. I know there are others who feel my pain. 

But on a positive note, we have an absolutely wonderful teacher this year, which is a relief to my heart needless to say. Her classroom reminds me of my own, and for that I'm grateful. Engaging, positive, and brain compatible. So we're going to soak up that joy this year and I know that my kiddo will grow in all aspects as a result.
So I wanted to share the "little something" I made for her teacher for the first day of school. Inexpensive, very simple, and a positive gesture. There are tons of super cute back-to-school ideas out there in blogland, that's for sure, but here's what we did!

You need:
a plastic container from your recycling bin (mine is a Hillshire Farms deli turkey tub)
scrapbook paper or card stock
supplies to fill your tub

Here's what we chose to give Mrs. B:
hand sanitizer, rubber bands, band-aids (kid-friendly of course), Chapstick, candy, sticky note pads, hand lotion, & Crystal Light To-Go lemonade packets

First you need to trace the inside of your lid. It took me a few tries to get it just right. I used heavier scrapbook paper. I considered using mod podge to adhere it to the lid, but honestly, it's recessed into the lid a bit and I just didn't see the need. I used Sticky Strip instead. Then embellish any way you want! I printed the sentiment on cardstock and distressed the edges, then die cut the scallop with my Nesties. (I used smiley monster for my font).
I added a small note card that we put on the inside.

Really cute and simple I think! 

I'm taking Kleenex donations for the first day of school (for ME, of course!). I just have to make it out the door without tears, then I plan to cry the entire day! (Us Mama's are like that, aren't we?)
For those of you in a milestone year, how will you be coping on the first day of school?

Have a good one, regardless!

The Shabby Nest

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

{Favorite Pet Bookmarks}

Our dogs are a huge part of our family, aren't yours? They are best friends to my kiddo, and truly they are members of the family. We don't know what we'd do without them!
On that note, my daughter is a giant bookworm and always has her nose stuck in a book. We spend one Saturday morning each month at the library, participating in their "Reading to Canines" program. VIPaws comes to the program room with 2-4 dogs each time, all gigantic sweethearts, and children can come and read to the dogs. It's a great way for new or struggling readers to build up some confidence while reading to an always-listening sweet dog that doesn't ever correct. :) We started doing it 2 years ago when my kiddo was just learning to read, and now we just do it to help feed her enormous love of dogs. For each reading, she gets to choose a bookmark of the dog she read to. She decided she wanted bookmarks of her own dogs, so we created these this morning. They are adorable!

All computer created...nothing fancy...super cute. :) I just created a text box in Word, inserted 2 favorite pics of our fur babies, and added details about each one. I printed them on cardstock, cut them out, and "laminated" them with clear contact paper. My kiddo thinks these are SO cool! How cute would these be with a ribbon at the top? My kiddo preferred them without, but I would go with a ribbon!
I would really like to try these Custom Pet Tees , too. They've been on my to-do list for a while. Maybe getting ready for back-to-school will get me motivated. They are adorable!

Thanks for dropping by!
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