My Favorite Non-Crafty Things + GIVEAWAY

During My Favorite Crafty Things series, several people asked if I would be doing a list of favorite non-crafty things. I have wanted to do this for awhile (I have an on-going list of what I wanted to share) and thought it was time. Most of my things are pretty practical and all about making life easier… so maybe you will find something helpful here, too!

COOKING & EATING

I will be honest – I am not a fan of having a billion gadgets in my kitchen. (Who has the room or money anyway?) But there a few key things that help me a lot.

  1. Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (Crockpot) – This guy has changed our lives. In fact, we even have two of them. A couple times a week, we create TWO batches of healthy crockpot meals at once. One crockpot holds our dinner for that evening and the other holds a meal we will put in the freezer for another time. The price is great and I love that you can program it so you don’t have to worry about a thing. I can’t recommend enough.
  2. Aroma Digital Rice Cooker – This is another “program and forget” kitchen device we couldn’t live without. It is great to have along with the crockpots. (We normally use basmati rice.)
  3. Skinnytaste – Most of the healthy crockpot meals we make are from the Skinnytaste recipe site. Our favorites? Santa Fe Chicken and Sesame Honey Chicken (with added broccoli). Both are tasty and reheat well.
  4. Egg Cooker – This seems so very silly but is so very awesome. In minutes you have perfectly cooked, easy-to-peel eggs. We use this a lot.
  5. Fruit Infusion Pitcher - I know many people struggle to drink a lot of water. When I find myself getting tired of plain water, I break out this guy. Add any fruit or cucumbers and you will be amazed how good it is. I drink at least two pitchers a day.
  6. Shakeology – Almost every day I have a Shakeology shake. These are tasty (and I am picky when it comes to shakes) and nutritious and help keep my tummy settled and happy. I know a lot of people who have lost a lot of weight with these. (I instead use it as a healthy snack. It has completely eliminated my sweet tooth.) My favorite is the Chocolate Shakeology with a couple tablespoons of PB2 Powder (healthy peanut butter) and water or almond milk. (It tastes like a Reese Cup shake. For real.) I also love the Vanilla Shakeology with a handful of frozen fruit, half a banana and water. These shakes have been awesome for me. If you are interested in finding out more, you can contact my non-pushy and encouraging friend, Amy HERE.
  7. Soft Cookies – So we are pretty strict about cooking and eating healthy meals at home. However, I also like to treat my family to homemade treats now and then. My kiddos love soft cookies. Wanna know an easy trick I learned from my Grandma? Put a few pieces of bread in the cookie jar. The cookies will stay amazingly soft. You’re welcome. :)
  8. PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag – Our family takes packed lunches to school. This lunch bag is great as you freeze the whole thing and it keeps the food cold for a long time. So very cool.
  9. Nalgene Water Bottles – Finally! I finally found a water bottle that doesn’t leak. Perfect for the kid’s lunches.
  10. Sistema Containers – You may have seen that I use these in my craft room for many things, but I also have more-than-I-care-to-count for kid’s lunches. They are the perfect size and easy to open.

ORGANIZING

Not every part of my home is organized, but I do have some parts figured out. :)

  1. OXO Containers – I adore the OXO Containers for our dry goods in our cabinet. It is nice to get away from lots of half-empty boxes and be able to load several boxes into one container. (Note: I only use plastic containers for dry foods and never put them in the microwave.)
  2. Brother Label Maker – Ah… my partner in organizing. I can’t recommend this guy enough. Be sure to check out THIS video where I show how to conserve the amount of tape you use. Also, be sure to get THIS adapter to save on battery use.
  3. Erin Condren Planner – I have shared my love for this planner many times, including in THIS post and video. I keep it practical and useful and it has completely improved my productivity, happiness and stress-level. It simply makes me happier. I like many things about this particular planner, but I know there are many great ones out there.
  4. Cordless Pivot Vac – I am very impressed by this little cordless vacuum. I use it in my craft room and kitchen and car and more. It holds power well, empties easily, and doesn’t break the bank. I am impressed.
  5. Zipper Pouches – So I will admit – I have more of these in my house than I care to tell you. :) I use them for craft kits, kid’s toys, errand-running-stuff, my planner, school paperwork, kid’s art stuff – - everything. They are handy and durable. (The price on Amazon varies a lot. Sometimes they are only $2.00 and sometimes they are higher. May want to keep an eye on them and buy a bunch when the price is low.)

OTHER

Just have a few other random things you may like…

  1. Ad Block – If you like surfing the web, visiting blogs, peeking in on Facebook, etc. and are tired of ads, try installing Ad Block. I love it. I never have to see an ad… watch ads on YouTube (YES!) or anything. Can’t recommend it enough. It is like magic.
  2. Bouqs – If you ever send flowers to loved ones that are far away, I recommend checking out The Bouqs. Their flowers are so “real” – not a cheesy, sad arrangement that sometimes you get with big online flower sites. Unique, lovely flowers. There are no hidden service charges and ordering is simple. (Use THIS link and get a free bouquet – worth $40 – with purchase.)
  3. Happy Instagram – If you are like me and find Facebook a bit discouraging (somewhat full of complaining, depressing, political stuff) and instead want to find a happy place that uplifts, I would recommend Instagram. There is one account on Instagram in particular that is so very happy – the photos of Harlow and Sage. Just trust me – it is worth a visit to see these happy dogs who love each other so very much. (You can find me on Instagram, too.)
  4. Kapok Pillow – My physical therapist recommended this pillow as a great one – good for your neck. The price is good and there aren’t the nasty chemicals you find in other pillows. You can also take out part of the stuffing to make it lighter if you want. I have been thrilled with it.
  5. Oils – First, let me start by saying that I was a HUGE skeptic of oils. HUGE. But after the suggestion of many and out of complete desperation, I decided to try them. Thanks to the oils, I no longer have allergy problems. I quit allergy shots… which I had been getting 3 every week or so for 29 years. All I do is diffuse the oils into the air once a day and I am good. Not sure if they will work for you, but they worked for me. OH – and my family doesn’t get nearly as sick as we used to since diffusing Thieves. That stuff is amazing. If you want to know more about all this stuff, my friend Kristina is the one to ask. She can help you with anything.

So there are a few products I love outside of the crafty world. I would love to hear what you are finding helpful in your life these days.

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will get a $50 gift certificate to Amazon! For your chance, just leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 12/21/14 telling me about something you have found that is non-crafty that you love. Good luck! (Winners will be posted on my “Winners page” after the giveaway closes.)

Note: I have many winners to pick from the giveaways in My Favorite Crafty Things series. This takes me a lot of time to do this, so I will be slowly picking and contacting winners over the next several days. I will be posting all winner info on the Winners page. Thanks for your patience.

VIDEO: Three Masking Alternatives + Giveaway

Hello!

Masking is a powerful stamping technique. However, sometimes images are just too difficult to create fussy-cut masks for. Today’s video shows a peek at THREE masking alternatives that you may like.

[All supplies are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post. To watch the video in HD on YouTube, click HERE.]

In this video, I show three masking alternatives – - ways to mask when using a fussy-cut paper-mask just doesn’t make sense. Here they are:

Masking Alternative #1: Glossy Accents

I have a very strong love affair with Glossy Accents. And another great use for this product? Masking. Just stamp and color your stamped image and cover it with Glossy Accents. Once it is dry, you can apply dye inks, pigment inks and mists for a fun background… all while your stamped images are protected.

For my example, I colored the adorable Mama Elephant panda images with Copic Markers. After adding the Glossy Accents, I used an Ink Blending Tool to apply the colorful background with Distress Ink. Oh – and on all of these cards, I layered those awesome rectangle die cuts from Avery Elle. I love the finished edge these dies offer!

To mask around the edge of the die cut, I used my new favorite tape – Micropore tape. You can get this in 3-packs or 12-packs.

A nice perk of using Glossy Accents? You end up with a fun, dimensional clear coat on your stamping.

Masking Alternative #2: Clear Embossing Powder

If you are looking to mask a very intricate stamped image with elaborate outlines, I would recommend my second method – using clear embossing powder. After stamping and coloring my images, I use a VersaMark Pen to draw over it and then clear heat embossed. The embossing will resist any dye ink, pigment ink or mist you put on top.

For this example, I again started with the deco-edge Avery Elle rectangle die cuts. After masking the edge, I stamped and colored the Celebrating You Clearly Besotted flower images. I traced over the flowers with my VersaMark Pen and then added clear embossing powder. After heating it, I applied Distress Ink with my Ink Blending Tool. The embossing resists the added ink… successfully masking my images. Oh – and the sentiment is a favorite of mine from Hero Arts.

This technique also results in images with a shiny finish, but with less dimension. If you wanted to, you could remove the embossing powder with the iron-off embossing techniques I show HERE.

Again, I think this second technique is best for images with lots of details like these flowers.

Masking Alternative #3: Rubber Cement

Of the three masking techniques I share today, this third one is definitely my favorite. Why? Because you end up with a smooth, non-shiny image when you are done. And it uses rubber cement… a product I remember using as a kid!

After stamping and coloring the adorable My Favorite Things You’re Super girl, I used an old paint brush to “paint” rubber cement over the entire image. After it dried, I applied Distress Ink, mists and water for a dark, inky background. Once that dried also, I used a cloth to rub away the rubber cement… revealing the perfectly clean image below. LOVE IT.

Rubber cement is inexpensive and works great. One big tip: Don’t leave the bottle open as you work. It dries up quickly.

Fun, huh? I promise I will use these techniques more in the future.

SPLITCOAST STAMPERS

This video was a guest tutorial over on Splitcoast Stampers. They have technique videos often – you can find mine HERE.

GIVEAWAY

I have a giveaway for a lucky winner! The winner will get THREE stamp sets – one from Clearly Besotted, My Favorite Things and Hero Arts. For your chance, leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 11/29/14. (Winners will be posted on my “Winners page” after the giveaway closes.)

SUPPLIES

Below are the products featured above. Click on the letters below each picture to go to a favorite store: Simon Says Stamp (SSS), Ellen Hutson (EH), and Amazon (AZ).

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

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( SSS | EH )

 

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( SSS | EH )

 

 

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CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | MFT )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
(SSS | EH | AZ)

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | AZ )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | AZ )

 

 

2 Videos: Marker Watercolor + Release Close-Up + GIVEAWAY

Hello! Today I have TWO videos. The first has three cards… all showing more of the easy shimmer marker watercolor technique that I shared a few days ago. The second is a “product release close-up video” give you a close look at the newest and very awesome My Favorite Things release.

[All supplies are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post. To watch the video in HD on YouTube, click HERE.]

I started off by die-cutting some square, oval, and rectangle Stitched Stax dies from My Favorite Things out of some Tim Holtz Watercolor Cardstock and stamped some adorable new MFT Jingle All The Way images in the center of them using Hero Arts Black Ink. This is a great ink to use when using watercolor because it is a permanent ink.

Want an easy way to get a shimmer watercolor look? Try using your Wink of Stella pen for watercolor instead of water. To color the image, I started by laying some color down to the outer edge of my image using some Tombow markers. Then I use my Wink of Stella marker to pull color to the center of the image. I like to work in small areas drying in between with my heat gun. I also find that tracing around the image with a black marker really makes the image pop and gives it a finished look.

Another fun element I used on this happy Santa image is an Action Wobbler. It is a spring with adhesive on both sides that can make your images come to life with movement.

Here’s a cool tip: I found that you can reactivate your Wink of Stella marker when the liquid of the marker runs out by adding water to the shimmer that is still inside. Woot! Perfect for this watercolor technique.

Oh – and you don’t damage your Wink of Stella by getting color on it. You can easily just scribble it off.

For the frames around my stamped pieces, I nestled the Stitched Stax die together like a puzzle and ran it through my die-cut machine. I find this really draws attention to the stamping.

Don’t have Tombow Markers? No worries. You can always use Distress Markers or any other watercolor marker. You can also substitute the Wink of Stella with plain water and a paintbrush. (All the products for these cards are listed at the end of this post.)

PRODUCT RELEASE CLOSE-UP VIDEO

Since this newest My Favorite Things release is so good, I decided to do another “product release close-up” video… sharing a close look at the product. I only do these videos if I like a release a lot. (Please note that I was not asked to do this video, nor paid to.)

[Click HERE to watch on YouTube in HD.]

Remember – if you shop HERE at My Favorite Things and spend more than $60, you get a free gift – the Christmas Tree Cut-Out die set.

GIVEAWAY

I have a great giveaway for you today! One lucky winner will get TWO stamp sets and TWO die sets from My Favorite Things! For your chance, leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 10/26/14 telling me your favorite product in this release.

SUPPLIES

Below are the products featured above. Click on the letters below each picture to go to a favorite store: Simon Says Stamp (SSS), Ellen Hutson (EH), My Favorite Things (MFT), and Amazon (AZ).

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | AZ )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
(SSS | EH | AZ)

 

CLICK A SHOP:
(SSS | EH | AZ)

 

CLICK A SHOP:
(SSS | EH | AZ)

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | AMZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
(SSS | EH | AZ)

 

VIDEO: Die Cutting Felt + Discount Code + Giveaway

Hello! Today’s video shares some tips for die cutting felt. I also have a giveaway and discount code for My Favorite Things!

[All supplies are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post. To watch the video in HD on YouTube, click HERE.]

Ahhhh… yes. I have fallen back in love with felt and stitching. I am hoping it makes a huge comeback! One of the best lines of felt for cardmaking is from My Favorite Things. It comes in lovely colors (not like the icky colors at the big craft stores) and a nice thickness that works great for die cutting. I found that when die cutting felt with intricate dies, it was best to adhere the felt to a piece of paper first…. giving the die cuts a paper backing. This gives it stability and makes it easier to work with. For this card, I die cut My Favorite Things felt with their Fresh Cut Flowers and “thank you” dies

I added all the die cut felt pieces with Matte Multi Medium to a background cut with a faux-stitched frame die. For a nice finishing touch, I added hand-stitching with my new favorite silver thread. (This thread rocks and is inexpensive… and also comes in gold and light gold.)

SHOPPING DISCOUNT

Good news! I have a discount code that is exclusive for my readers. Just use the code JMFRIENDS between 9/24/14 and 9/27/14 for a 15% discount at My Favorite Things. Spend over $60 and you will get the great Many Thanks die for FREE! (One coupon code per order. For the free die, the total must be $60 after the discount and before shipping.)

If you want a close look at the newest release of My Favorite Things products, be sure to check out THIS video.

GIVEAWAY

Want to win a few My Favorite Things stamps and dies? For your chance, leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 9/30/14. Good luck.

SUPPLIES

Below are the products featured above. Click on the letters below each picture to go to a favorite store: My Favorite Things (MFT), Simon Says Stamp (SSS), Ellen Hutson (EH), and Amazon (AZ).

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT )

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT )

 

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

Video: Cupcake Holders + Stamped Tags + Recipe

Hello! I have teamed up with my dear friend Melanie Bauer from Melanie Makes for another special treat. Melanie came up with a scrumptious Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins recipe… and I came up with a simple yet cute packaging for it. Check out my video to see how to use a paper or plastic cup for a fun muffin or cupcake holder.

[All supplies are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post. To watch the video in HD on YouTube, click HERE.]


Here I go again… spoiling our teachers. :) But this treat could be for just about anyone! The video shows how to take a paper or plastic cut and turn it into a fun cupcake or muffin holder. So easy.

I also share some tips for making quick and colorful tags. For all the tags, I used the rounded rectangle die from the My Favorite Things Luncbox die set. (It is the perfect size and shape.) I then stamped an image with My Favorite Things Black Licorice Hybrid Ink and did some two-color and three-color Copic blending. (Totally inspired by the amazing techniques over in our Copic class.) That first tag is my favorite… there is just something awesome about that pile of books from the MFT Class Act set.

By the way, those gold touches on the books? I did that with the Pilot Gold Marker. This gives nice and thick coverage and is perfect for quick, bold shine.

The adorable raccoon on the next tag is from the MFT Cute Critters set. And by the way, I die cut the little heart window from each tag with the MFT Mason Jar die set. Isn’t he cute?

The last one is the I-am-running-out-of-time-so-let’s-make-this-simple tag. I again used the MFT Class Act stamp set.

On each tag, I wrote the message on the red tag behind the stamped one. This would work with any tag die shape… even a circle.

RECIPE

So the talented Melanie Bauer of Melanie Makes has created the perfect Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins recipe to go with these gift boxes and tags. Be sure to head HERE for the recipe she created for this collaboration. (And also check out her other incredible recipes and food photography!)

GOOD NEWS

Do you like these My Favorite Things products? Be sure to stop by my blog tomorrow for a great discount…

Also, in the video, I mentioned the Copic Markers for Card Makers. Class has started (but you can easily join in anytime – now or 10 years from now) and people seem to really be happy! You can find info HERE.

SUPPLIES

Below are the products featured above. Click on the letters below each picture to go to a favorite store: Simon Says Stamp (SSS), Ellen Hutson (EH), My Favorite Things (MFT), and Amazon (AZ).

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
(SSS | EH | AZ)

 

CLICK A SHOP:
(SSS | EH | AZ)

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | EH )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( AZ )

 

Product Release Close-Up Video: My Favorite Things + GIVEAWAY

It’s time for another “product release close-up” video… sharing a close look at the newest My Favorite Things release and ideas on how to use the products. I only do these videos if I like a release a lot, and this one is a great one with a lot of variety. (I warned you there are a lot of great products coming out these days. Wow.) I also have a giveaway.

[Click HERE to watch on YouTube in HD.]

I will have several videos coming up with these products. Stay tuned.

GIVEAWAY

I have a great giveaway for you today! One lucky winner will get TWO stamp sets and TWO die sets from My Favorite Things! For your chance, leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 9/26/14 telling me your favorite product in this release.

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

Remember – if you shop HERE at My Favorite Things and spend more than $60, you get a free gift – the Many Thanks die set!

Here are links to the products I featured in the video. Click a favorite store to find out more: My Favorite Things (MFT) or Simon Says Stamp (SSS).

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS | MFT )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

 

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )

 

CLICK A SHOP:
( MFT | SSS )