Thursday, December 20, 2012

Letters to Santa

Hi everyone!  I hope you are holding up during the holiday rush.  I'm barely hanging on.  I thought you'd enjoy this article that I wrote that was just published on Scrapjazz.  It's all about what to do with those letters to Santa.  Merry Christmas!

Letters to Santa

by Jeanette Giancaspro (Dec 19, 2012)
My children don't write letters to Santa anymore.  Sad but true.  They are 18 and 13, so they haven't written to him for a while now.  I know they have to grow up, but like most other parents of teenagers, I wonder how the years could have passed so quickly.  And, of course, how they could have gotten so big, while I haven't aged at all!
One of the reasons that I scrapbook is to remember my children's younger years.  I don't want to forget all of those adorableHalloween costumes, the dozens of Easter eggs they've decorated, the birthdays we've celebrated together, and their childhood Christmases - especially their letters to Santa.
While looking through our scrapbooks recently, I came across this layout from 2004.  Although the papers have long since been discontinued (they were from BasicGrey), I noticed that the layout I made was one that could be easily re-created with newerpatterned papers and basic cardstock.
Although you can't see it in the photo above, the journaling for this layout is hidden behind the title panel.  It is attached to the page with hinges that open to reveal the story of Christmas 2004.  Here is a closer look at the opened panel.
Making this is a lot easier than it looks.  You don't even need to use hinges.  Simply fold a piece of cardstock so that it is the size that you want, and adhere the back piece to your page.  Place a cutting mat inside the page protector, and cut a slit around each of the sides that open.  This will create a flap in the page protector, so that the hidden journaling can be read when the panel is opened.  I clipped the page protector to the front of the panel with a shaped paper clip.  If you prefer to keep your journaling hidden, then you can eliminate this step and leave the page protector intact. 
The right page of my layout is where I housed the letters to Santa that my children wrote in 2004.   To make a pocket like this one, cut a piece of heavyweight patterned paper or cardstock to approximately 3" x 12".  You can adjust the height measurement as needed.  Apply a strong adhesive to the two side edges and bottom edge of your paper, and adhere it to the page.  It is important that you use heavyweight paper or cardstock and strong adhesive, because your pocket will probably get a lot of wear.  Although I used the original letters in my layout, if you're concerned with their safety, you can use copies.  I didn't cut a slit in my page protector, because I didn't want them to fall out of the pocket, but you certainly can if you wish.
I've also used these techniques on layouts for other occasions.  I've included Thanksgiving place cards, birthday cards, and other special memorabilia in pockets on those pages.  Sometimes I cut slits in the page protectors for easy access to the pockets' contents, and sometimes I don't.  It depends on the layout.  I've included hidden journaling in some of my children's baby layouts, because it is very private and intended for their eyes only (when they are older).
Whether you use these techniques to include letters to Santa, or you use them on other layouts for your special occasions and holidays, I hope you find these ideas useful and easy to replicate.  They are a fun way to add some interactive elements to your pages.  Happy Holidays, everyone!
Other supplies used on these pages include:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I'm taking 12 photos today - one every hour - from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Here's the first one.  It's my cat, Fiona, waiting for me to pour my morning coffee.

Mixed Media Christmas Tags

Hey everyone!  I hope you're enjoying my daily posts this holiday season.  Today I'd like to share with you my newest article over on Scrapjazz.  I hope you enjoy it!

Here are pictures of the tags I made:

Remember to stop by tomorrow for some more Christmas Cheer!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gift Card Holder

This is a wonderful video tutorial from Lawn Fawn.  It's adorable, and I'm planning to make some for Christmas gift cards that I'm giving this year.  Enjoy!

Gift Card Holder

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Using Fall Colors in Your Family Layouts

Brown, orange, and green are colors that are usually seen together on fall layouts and projects, but they aren't just for fall.  In working with my summer photos recently, I noticed that these colors coordinated very well with the colors in my family photos. 
At the beginning of this year, I decided to create a "One Little Word" book, a concept that Ali Edwards came up with back in 2006.  It involves choosing a word in January that you will reflect upon all year; and each month, you create a layout about how that word has impacted your life.  I chose the word "little," and in this layout, I reflect on how one "little guy" in the family brought us all together in June.

Since I'm using a mini album for this project, keeping the layouts simple and the color scheme unified is essential to me, and, as I said earlier, these colors just seem to work well with all of my photos.  The strips of brown and orange cardstock, plus a few scraps of patterned paper that I had in my stash, provided just the right background for these pages.  For embellishments, I used a mix of green buttons and punched borders that I made with my EK Success Chain Edger Punch .  (This is a great punch to use on masculine layouts!)  I typed my journaling for this layout, because I had a lot to say.  Otherwise I would have used my usual handwritten journaling.  As you will see in my next layout, adding white to this color combination brightened up the layouts.  When you are working with a dark color like brown, this can be very striking too.
Family layouts don't always need to include pictures of people.  Such is the case with the page below, which features some cupcake decorations that I made with my children using my Cricut Cake Machine.  The patterned paper circles, punched from scraps of coordinating paper, brightened up the dark brown background paper - as did the addition of some aqua paper.  I added a little Vintage Photo Distress Ink to the edges of my photo to make it pop a little.

Of course, let's not forget that you most certainly CAN use fall colors in your Thanksgiving layouts too.  For my Thanksgiving 2011 layout, I started with a kraft cardstock background.  Then I cut blocks of patterned paper, as well as decorative borders, and added them to the page.  The large leaf made a perfect spot for my subtitle, and smaller leaves that I had in my stash of punched pieces carried the leaf motif over to the right page.  This was also the first time that I tried wooden buttons, and I found that I like them a lot.  A few strips of coordinating Washi tape completed the design nicely.
Here is how to make the large leaf on the left page of my Thanksgiving layout:
  1. 1.  Adhere strips of paper to a piece of cardstock, making sure that none of the edges are sticking up.
  2. 2.  Using a Sizzix Big Shot, cut a large leaf shape from the layered piece of cardstock.
  3. 3.  Emboss circles/dots, using an embossing folder and your die-cut machine.
  4. 4.  Add a rub-on subtitle.

I hope I've given you some ideas for using fall colors in your family layouts this year, and I hope I've shown you how to use them not only with your fall photos, but also with other photos that you might be scrapbooking during the fall season.  It would be wonderful if you posted your work in the Scrapjazz Gallery, and I look forward to seeing your projects.

Additional supplies used in layouts:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Art Journal Page

I just thought I would share an art journal page that I made last night.  It was in response to a challenge on Two Peas in a Bucket, and it's also an expression of my gratitude for having come through Hurricane Sandy with only a 2-day power outage.  So many other folks didn't fare so well.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Packing List for Crops

Hi all!  I've been super busy with my new job (which I'm loving, by the way!), so I haven't been posting much.  I hope you find this list useful.  It took me awhile to make it, because I had to really think about what I usually need/want to have at the crops I attend.  This has pretty much everything I use, plus room for some extras.  Enjoy!

Scrapbooking Crop Checklist

Paper Trimmer and Blades


Xacto Knife





Journaling Spots


Corner Rounder


Letter Stickers/Chipboard Letters

Paper Piercer/Hole Punches



Applicators & Brushes
                                                  Page Kits                                                                                                                  Basic Supplies


         Die-Cut Machine                                                                                    


Notes/Extra Supplies

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Fall, Halloween, and Winter Items in My Etsy Shop!

Hope you can stop by and check them out!  Be on the look-out for a new video showing how to make one of these items yourself!  Thanks for visiting My Crafty Life, and remember to always be your crafty self.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back From Vacation

We had a great time, even though it rained a little. This is the view from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on our way home. It was beautiful, but it's nice to be home.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Please Join Me in Helping a Wonderful Cause

This month over at Splitcoast Stampers, the monthly Cards for a Cause challenge is to make cards for the Hospice for St. Francis.  All of the information can be found at Splitcoast by following the link above.  It sounds like a very worthwhile and important cause.  Thanks!

Here are some photos of the cards I sent. (Sorry the photo quality isn't so good.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I've Received a Liebster Award!

It's an award given for blogs that have less than 200 followers.  Thank you, Joy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Friendship Cards

I thought I'd share some cards that I made for an upcoming Scrapjazz article that I wrote recently.  All of these cards were made from scraps that I had made in classes or for scrapbook pages/cards.  By layering them together, I was able to create 4 cards and a tag.

Happy creating!

Friday, July 6, 2012

New Mixed Media Products at Wednesday's Dream

New products in my Etsy store:  Wednesday's Dream.  Thanks for checking them out!

Tip for Using Intricate Dies

Do you find it frustrating to poke all of those itty bitty pieces out of your intricate dies? I tried this today, and it worked really well. If you have a Cricut/Silhouette mat, stick the die to the mat. Burnish it well, being careful not to rip the die cut. Using a spatula tool or sharp craft knife, peel the die cut off the mat, again being very careful not to tear it. Of course, you'll have to scrape all of those pieces off your mat, but I found that to be much easier than trying to poke out all of those pieces out of my die. I only had to poke a few. This works best with a mat that isn't super-sticky, so hold on to those old mats.

If you don't have a die-cut machine, I think low-tack/masking tape will work just as well.

Have fun, and remember to be your crafty self!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Being a "Special" Mom

I've decided to keep an art journal.  That's where all the "stuff" that I don't want to include in my regular scrapbooks will be kept.  You know, the raw emotions and feelings that I don't necessarily care to share with everyone.  My first page is about being the mother of a special needs child:  our son, David.  This is what the journaling says:

What is it like to be the mother of a special needs child?  Well, for one thing, it's never boring.  It's unpredictable, to say the least.

When I wake up in the morning, I really don't know what to expect.  Will he have a tantrum today?  Or will it be a total meltdown?  Will he throw something, break something, scream and curse at me?  Will I get to the point where I just want to run away and never come back?

This might make me sound like a terrible mother, but there are days when I just don't want to be a Mom.  I just want to be Jeanette.  I want to do what I want to do, go where I want to go, be what I want to be.  Does that really make me a bad mother?  I don't know, but it's the best I can do some days.  Besides, I'm still here, right?  I can't be that bad.

There are other days, though.  Days when he remembers things that I had long forgotten, times we've spent together that were true happiness.  Or he tells a joke that has me shaking and crying with laughter instead of anger.  There are days when a simple "I love you, Mom" is all I need to make my day.

So, I'll tell you what it's like to be the mother of a special needs child.  It's like being on a roller coaster ride.  Sometimes you're speeding uphill, sometimes you're speeding downhill, and sometimes you're coasting along on level tracks.

I hope you decide to give art journaling a try.  It's very freeing and quite therapeutic.  And let's not forget how much fun it is to play with art supplies.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Making Beads with Air-Dry Clay

Here is the video I promised you showing how to make beads with air-dry clay.  Enjoy!  And thanks for visiting.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Jewelry in My Etsy Shop

Please visit my Etsy shop,, to see these and more of my jewelry creations.

I hope to be posting a video soon on how to make the air-dry clay beads that are in the top pair of earrings.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Public Service Announcement

When will all this rain stop?  I mean, if I wanted all this rain, I'd live in Seattle.  Seriously, though, I want to remind everyone of the importance of turning on your headlights while driving in the rain.  Many people think that, because they have daytime running lights, that is enough.  Not true.  Daytime running lights do NOT include TAILLIGHTS.  Those are on only when you turn your lights on, or if your headlights come on automatically when it's dark out.  It is very difficult for the car in back of you to see you if it's pouring and your taillights aren't on.  So PLEASE remember to turn on your lights in the rain.

I'll get off my soapbox now.  Thank you!  :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Hippie Party

My daughter would have been a wonderful flower child, had she been born in the sixties instead of 2000, so it was no surprise when she told me that she wanted a "hippie/groovy" theme for her eleventh birthday party. Like any good mother, I took her to the party store and bought the themed paper goods:  plates, napkins, cups, table cloth, etc.  We also thought an enjoyable and theme-appropriate activity would be to tie-dye bandannas.  Off to the craft store we went, in search of plain white bandannas and tie-dye materials.  On the invitations, we told the children to come in sixties-themed clothing.The kids had a great time, and the tie-dyeing wasn't as messy as we had thought it would be.   The tie-dyed peace-sign cake that my niece made was also a big hit.   I took a lot of pictures, and I made the two-page layout below with some of them.


I decided to use black cardstock by American Crafts as my base.  I knew that I was going to use very bright, vibrant colors in my patterned paper, and I wanted the colors to stand out.  For the title, I used various acrylic paints to embellish chipboard letters like these from We R Memory Keepers.  I cut the embellishments from the party bags using my Cricut Expression. To make them shiny, I applied a coat of Diamond Glaze by JudiKins.  A decorative border, punched with a Martha Stewart border punch, completed the funky look that I was trying to create.Try adding some "groovy" touches to your child's next birthday party.  You don't have to make the theme a "hippie" style.  You can incorporate colorful products to make any party lively and fun. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Sad News

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm no longer working at The Ink Pad.  I'm very upset about it, but I thought everyone should know that I won't be teaching there anymore either.  I do plan to teach at other stores, though, so I'll update my blog when I have the information.