He’s going to be SIX!

Ack, he’s going to be SIX next week… my oldest, that is. Last year when he was in preschool, I had plenty of time after it ended to get his birthday party organized. This year, his birthday is actually the day after school ends. He thinks that the last day of school is going to be one big party for him. So, anyway, my journey with A Muse started March last year (March 2007)…. all because of Boris and my son’s Mad Science party. Anyway, last year I was ahead of the game. This year, just barely sliding in under the wire.

I believe in home parties. You know, my kids, if they had one friend over or even their cousins, they would be in heaven. So, we have a rule in our house…. however old you will be, that’s how many friends you can have at your party. So, six is the magic number this year. Well, my oldest, being the clever one that he is… realized this at age 3… that he has 2 cousins in the area (one year older and one year younger) – and he says, I don’t want to invite them. Lovely. He figured that they counted towards his limit. So, we adjusted the rule to be friends. Family is always included, I told him. So, anyway, my DH this year says let’s have the party somewhere besides our house. Really? Why? He said having 6+the birthday boy+ his brother+ 2 BOY cousins + family + all the parents … in our house… really isn’t going to be that fun. Huh. Maybe he has a point.
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So, we belong to a gym… yes, the kind that you theoretically work out in… although they haven’t seen the likes of me in a few weeks (DOH!). The gym has 2 pools – 1 indoor and 1 outdoor. Both have slides and they do birthday parties there. PERFECT. The party has a time limit. It’s not at our house. And it’s a pool party… Perfect!

Now, the invitations…. I needed to get these out in a hurry! So, A Muse to the rescue! My son’s new favorite color is Green. His favorite color his entire life has been Red but he bumped that into 2nd place Dsc_1322_smallrecently. He wanted me to make green and red invites. Hmm…. I told him how those are Christmas colors. So, in the end, he got standard boy colors… green, blue, yellow… 🙂

I used MS Publisher (set your paper size to 4.25 by 8.5) for the invitation deta
ils on the inside. Type it all out and then just feed the paper in your printer! I’ve omitted all the personal information and my fingers that were holding it open! LOL.

All images, paper, card stock by A Muse.
Memento Bahama Blue ink
Copics: Lemon Yellow, Tahitian Blue
Foam Tape
SU! Circle Punches

Done, mailed. Now on to the cake… no, I’m not going to make it!

I still have more school gifts to share with you… just finishing them up! Stay tuned.
 

Gift Card Holder

I have a few cards showcased in this week’s A Muse newsletter. Do you get it? You can sign-up here toDsc_1063_small get it weekly in your inbox!

This particular card is going to come in handy here very soon. Not only did I make this card for Tisha’s pick of the Oldie but Goodie stamp "stack of books", but also to actually give it away. My next door neighbor takes my oldest to school every morning because even though the bus stops right on my driveway and  the school is only 3 mins away, it comes at 6:45 AM. There’s no way we are ready by then nor do I want him to hang out at school so long before he goes into the classroom. Anyway, for Christmas we gave her a spa gift certificate to get a pedicure and manicure. But I think this time we’ll give her a bookstore gift card and some movie tickets. She’s a mom of three very active kids (sports, etc) so she needs some DOWN TIME.
This card holder is one of my most favorite designs for gift cards. It’s just so EASY. I need easy in my life this time of year. I took an A Muse 4 bar Kitchen Note card and scored one end at about 1" to make the fold down part. Then I used red-line tape on the edges to make a pocket.  On the fold I used the Scallop Punch that Linda carries at the shop. I lined the inside part that shows out of the pocket with some green Kitchen notes scraps. Finally, I had a piece of white card stock that I used my nestabilities on to emboss the edge. I used this piece for my focal image… stack of books.

So, now that is done, I NEED to get the gift card! *Um, that’s my membership card in there ;).

Speed up trick: I don’t keep my Cuttlebug out on my desk. So, when I get it out, I emboss (that is the main reason I use the CB) a bunch of stuff and keep a stack of that on my workspace. So, when I need to make something, like this, I just grab a pre-embossed shape and size that will work for me!

Happy Saturday of a 3-day weekend (to all of you Americans!)! Thanks for coming by!

Preschool Teacher Gifts

You thought I was done with this series, didn’t you? HA! Not even close. In fact, I still have more things to make!

My son’s preschool class pitched in to get the two preschool teachers some gift cards. But I couldn’t just give them that, now could I?

Every year that we’ve been at this preschool (first son and now second), I’ve made some sort of scrapbook for the teachers. I try to make something small and meaningful to them but not too much since you know if they’ve taught for 20 years, they’d have 20 scrapbooks of other people’s children! That seems like a lot!

Back my son #1 was first at preschool, I researched and researched (of course, I did!) what teachers like as gifts. I did my research on Splitcoast and I asked a lot of my teacher friends. Apples, mugs, anything with apples on it, and #1 Teacher items were LOWEST on their lists. Hmm, really? 🙂 But the one thing that resounded from all of my inquiries was for them to receive a note from the parents. That’s it. Just a note saying thank you or how much they were appreciated. So, ever since then, I focus on that as part of the gift.Dsc_1058_small

This year, the parents in my son’s preschool class were awesome. They were so supportive. I made some 3×3 cards with each child’s name on it and sent them home with the kids. Then I put them in this coaster book. I decided while making the kindergarten books to just paint some extra ones for the preschool teachers.

These coaster books are 4×4 and contain 18 coasters each. I used my Bind-it-All to bind it together. Each child has a 2 page spread. One side is their picture and the other is the note from the parent. There is also a class picture in the back. One page is dedicated to my very favorite poem for teachers.

Forever
In Your Heart

Although you are not their mother
You care for them each day.
You cuddle, sing and read to them
And watch them as they play.
You see each new accomplishment
You help them grow and learn.
You understand their language,
You listen with concern.
They come to you for comfort,
And you kiss away their tears.
They proudly show their work to you,
You give the loudest cheers!
No, you are not their mother,
But your role is just as strong.
You nurture them and keep them safe,
Though maybe not for long.
You know someday the time will come,
When you will have to part.
But you know each child you cared for,
is forever in your heart!
-Author Unknown.

Dsc_1059_small_3And the last page holds the gift card!Dsc_1061_small

The teachers loved them, I think. It was fun and easy to put together since I didn’t use mod podge on these!

Are you enjoying this series? I’m hoping that it helps you make some creative stuff for your school people!

Thanks for stopping by!

Seven Years Ago…

Seven years ago, the amazing Linda Carnell started A Muse Artstamps. Today is the actual day that she launched this fabulous company. Happy Anniversary, Linda!

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I’m so very proud and honored to be part of this group. I would have never guessed that my passion for stamping had a family to call home.

In honor of today’s milestone, the A Muse Creative Team (check out everyone’s blogs – links on my sidebar!), are listing something to do with seven…

Seven things I’ve learned during my short time with A Muse:

  1. As Linda has said before, "do something creative everyday". I think Jenn Shurkus has that on her blog too. Some people do crossword puzzles, some read, some watch tv, me… I stamp or try to every night before I go to sleep. Some days, it doesn’t happen but I just walk into my studio and look around. It’s a calming, great feeling to be in there.
  2. To break out of the "have to put one more thing" on my creation mode. Lots of stuff on your card does not necessarily make it beautiful. Think Simple, Think A Muse.
  3. Techniques do not have to be hard. From my past experiences and teachings, I used to think that people wanted to know how to do the "in depth" techniques. Nah. That takes a lot of time, which most of us don’t have these days. There are clever and simple techniques out there!
  4. That it is possible to be part of a close-knit family that I’ve NEVER met in real life. Those gals are near and dear to my heart and yet, I have no idea how tall any of them are ;). I have made some great friendships with my fellow team members. And I do not doubt for a moment that anyone of them would be there for me in a pinch. How totally cool is that?
  5. How to express my opinions and ideas and actually be heard. This one is directed toward JulieHRR. When I started with A Muse last August, I was a bit intimidated to work with her. Come on, it’s THE Julie. You guys know what I’m talking about. But she’s been so helpful, honest, and overwhelmingly responsive to ideas, techniques, and just about anything. I thank my lucky stars that I’ve had the chance to work with her.
  6. Linda is the most amazing woman I know. Again, never met her in real life. But I just can’t believe how many things she does. She’s a wife, a mom, a daughter, a business owner, a teacher, a designer, a volunteer, a mom-taxi, a runner, a humanitarian, and I’m sure there are a 1000 more things on her list. She is still the one that picks up her girls from school. She takes them to after school stuff, etc. But you know what else? She RUNS A COMPANY. Yes, she has an AWESOME team to help her. But still. I admire all that she is. She always has plans for doing good things and I’m talking about long-term plans. I joked with her once… and said Linda, you’re amazing… do you know how to fly too? I think she’s secretly working on that…  🙂 I think she’s such a great role model for the young girls in our lives.
  7. Learned how to smile. I asked my DH for input for my 7th thing. And his first response was this. I said "really?" And then I thought about it some more. He’s absolutely right (shhh, don’t tell him I said so!). I have had so much fun this past year since I’ve found A Muse. Remember A*Muse*A*Palooza 2007? Oh my goodness… that was an adventure. AND from that, not only did I get on the A Muse Creative Team but I met the most FUN, good natured, sweet, happy A MUSE ADDICTS along the way. It’s so fun to belong to a group that loves something as much as I do. So, he’s right. I have learned to smile. And I smile often because of A Muse.

Happy SEVEN years to Linda and all of those gals that make it happen! What an accomplishment!

Not our teacher Teacher Gifts Preschool

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I wanted to make some gifts for some of the other people at the preschool… former teachers (4 of them), the director, and 2 other ladies on the staff. I usually make something for the Music teacher but this year there was a big campaign to get her a group gift, so I did that instead. Shocking, I know! Anyway, my older son went to this preschool for 3 years (since he was 2). His 2 year-old teachers are no longer there but his 3 and 4 year-old teachers are. And well, I really like them and I NEED them to stick around until my youngest gets to their classes! HA! One of the 3 year-old teachers is Scottish, with a thick accent, and has the best sense of humor… I told her this was bribery to get her to stay 2 more years… and she said <Insert accent here!> "Ah, well, note cards of course will make me stay!" Ok, so it was funnier in person and with the accent ;).

Being the INSANE AR (2nd word is retentive here, friends) person that I am, I timed myself from conception to packaging for this task. Why? Well, because not only am I AR… I’m a procrastinator, which most would think don’t go together. I have MASTERED their union! LOL! So, SUNDAY night… YES, SUNDAY as in the day before yesterday, as in the day before the LAST DAY of SCHOOL, I decided to make these 7 ladies something. It was 9:47pm. It took me 119 minutes…. yes, 1 minute shy of 2 hours! Think Simple, Think A Muse. Gotta love that.

Okay, so I made a little more detailed (and I’ll show this later) gifts for the auxiliary staff for my son’s kindergarten last week. And so I had the idea sorta in my head already. But nothing was cut nor did I know what stamps to use, colors to use, etc. I opted for simple and NOT personalized. Here’s why I didn’t personalize them… let me know what you think…

At preschool, all the teachers go by Ms. FIRST NAME. Ms. Jo Anne, Ms. Susie, etc. not Ms. Smith. So, it seemed ODD to put Ms. Susie on the note cards. I don’t go around calling myself Ms. Geeta. I do on occasion have to call myself by my last name… but usually it’s just "Geeta" but then I didn’t want just first name, because that’s not very complete for stationery. I dunno… For the elementary school, everyone is Ms. Last Name or Mr. Last Name so it works out better. That’s my theory at least.
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So, I did seven different packages of 8 cards each. They are A2 size postcard style with matching envelopes!

LESS THAN 2 hours start to finish! Oh and I had vellum tags already punched out from a long time ago (TIME SAVER… punch a bunch of tags and put them in a ziploc bag… punch different colors; then you’ll be ready to go when you need one!). I made a family stamp a couple of years ago through Stampin’ Up! (those ones you can make with anything on them) and it has our family name and then all of our names. It comes in SO handy!

So, there you go… one more preschool gift idea coming up soon. Then on to more kindergarten ones! Are you enjoying these ideas?

Thanks for stopping by!

ETA: I received some emails asking more about these. There are 2 layers: white and colored cardstock. The white layer is 4 x 5.25 inches and the colored is 4.25 x 5.5 inches (4 to an 8.5×11 sheet). Each package has 8 notecards (i.e. 2 full sheets of white, 2 full sheets of colored CS all cut) and envelopes are included. Envelopes were stamped with image in the left bottom corner of the front of the envelope. Hope this helps!

My dear friend, fellow A Muse lover, Jennie Moczan made some of these that were really the inspiration for mine.

Preschool Kid Gifts

Y’all are IN BIG trouble… BIG… by y’all, I mean all of you that have been reading my blog for a year or more, now… WHY? Um, remember this post? YOU were supposed to remind me not to do that again! LOL!

The good news is I only did it for the preschool class… 8 kids. Not too bad. Today was the last day of preschool for THREE AND A HALF MONTHS. Oh my….

Anyway, the parents loved them. We have one friend in there who has a sister that was in my oldest son’s preschool class every year since they were 2… so now both girls have matching personalized frames made by us! 🙂
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Now, you probably want to know about the frames and less about me doing them… they are the $1 frames from Michael’s (wood). I spray painted them with black matte paint. Then I stamped in white craft ink (SU!) and embossed with white embossing powder (SU!). Doesn’t it look like a chalkboard? That seems to be my theme this gift season ;). Polka Dot Alpha by A Muse!
Other images by Stampin’ Up! (Crayon Kids retired set)Dsc_1047_small

The boy’s frames have crayons and the girls frames have flowers and crayons.
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The frames are plain wood with a dowel for the stand in the back. And there is no glass or cover for the opening. I put acetate in there to give some kind of protection to the picture. The moms seemed to like them really well. And my friend that has 2 girls (oldest is my oldest’s age)… was happy to have matching frames 😀

I have more to show tomorrow! Come on back ‘ya hear! And you won’t be in trouble anymore…

Kindergarten Coaster Books

Here starts a new series. I seem to make A LOT of school gifts… for the kids, for the teachers, for the administration, whomever! So, I think I need a category called "School Gifts" so that I can find them all better. Sometimes I forget what I’ve done in the past and could use some inspiration. Why not use my own? For the next few days or so, I’ll try to post all the school gifts I’ve been working on. I hope you enjoy this series and maybe it will inspire you to make some gifts!

I can’t believe how fast school has flown by this year. Do you remember me just saying that I was crying that my oldest was going to kindergarten. And now, it’s almost over.

Michelle and I have been chatting about the end of school for awhile now. As you may know, she’s a kindergarten teacher in Georgia. So, it’s been a fun year for me, having her be on that side of theDsc_1051_small classroom and me be the room parent over here. She’s been incredibly helpful, insightful, and calming to a Fresh-Off-the-Boat Newbie Kindergarten Mom. 🙂 Thanks Michelle! So, one day we started talking about making some mini books. In fact, Michelle decided that the Step-it-Up challenge over on the A Muse Addicts should be about mini books this time around. She and I decided to make coaster books for our respective classes.

I finally got mine done. It was a process… and in it I learned something VERY valuable. I *HATE* Mod Podge. HATE IT. Throwing it all away. All of it. The process started with 66 4" square coasters and black sDsc_1052_small_4pray paint. I wanted them to look like c
halkboards. Oh, and I
cut them to 3.5×4 to get rid of the rounded edges so I wouldn’t have to worry about that with
ll of the pictures. Each child will get a book of 3 coasters each. I’m going to count them as 6 pages: Cover, inside cover (first of the year pictur 
e), page 3 – note from teacher, page 4 – end of the year picture, page 5 – class picture, and back cover. My son’s teacher was SO nice, she wrote a note for all the kids. I know she’s busy this time of year but she did it anyway and didn’t even grumble! Sorry for blurring out all the photos of the kids.  Anyway, in the end, I think they turned out great. IF (that’s a REALLY BIG IF) I ever do this type of thing again, I’m going to use Photo Spray Adhesive and Clear Acrylic SealDsc_1053_smaller instead of the Mod Podge. I ended up using that on all the class pictures and it worked great. I went back and sealed all of the "sticky" mod podge ones with the acrylic sealer and that seemed to stop the pages from sticking together. Sheesh. I’d love to hear your opinions of Mod Podge. I know there are other products out there. My problem is I don’t like messy. I’m a tape girl…not a glue girl. But the spray adhesive worked like a charm!

Thanks for stopping by. Check back in for another school gift idea tomorrow (I hope!).