Category Archives: Crafty Secrets

Christmas Countdown Calendar

Christmas Countdown Calendar

Crafty Secrets November 2015 Linky Challenge and Blog Hop

Sneak Peek CS December 2015 LinkyHello, Friends!  Welcome to the Crafty Secrets November 2015 Linky Challenge and Blog Hop!  You should be coming here from the Crafty Secrets BLOG.  If so, you are right on track!  If you’d like to visit every stop along the way, I have the list posted below.  You don’t want to miss any of the wonderful inspiration from our design team.  Our theme this month is “Visions of Sugarplums” and the design team was challenged to make anything BUT a card.  What fun!  With that in mind, I set about to create a Christmas Countdown Calendar, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.  I’ll share all the details below, but first, here’s the blog hop list for this month.

Crafty Secrets Blog ♥ Kathy (you are here) ♥ GinnySheila MicheleDianeShantaie

When I was a girl, I loved Advent calendars!  There was something magical about counting down the days until Christmas.  I rummaged around in the Closet of Shame until I found a cute little chalkboard easel and a tiny wooden box that were patiently waiting to be altered.  These became the base for my Christmas Countdown Calendar.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets 01The chalkboard measures about 6.5″ x 8.25″ and has an easel on the back as well as a little tray on the front.  My sweet daughter-in-law found it for me at a local thrift store and scooped it up for me.  I wanted to jazz up the red base just a little, so I painted it randomly with  Picket Fence Distress Crackle Paint and set it aside to dry.  As it dried, the paint developed little hairline cracks that look like a frosty windowpane.  The chalkboard itself was spritzed with Dylusions White Linen Spray.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets 01aOnce the paint was dry, I added some Vintage Christmas Plaid Ribbon around the edges of the frame, holding it in place with 1/2″ Scor-Tape.  I twisted natural burlap string together to form a handy little “clothesline” for hanging my countdown tags and held it in place with two brass tacks on either side of the frame.  You can’t see them here because I covered them up with a truckload of Petaloo flowers!

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets15I started decorating the frame in the  upper left hand corner, placing a very full double layer bow on the bottom.  This was topped with a loopy string bow, tied with more natural burlap, a jeweled Petaloo flower and some holly leaves.  I found this sparkly red tassel in my stash and added it into the mix.  Then I began to layer on the flowers.

Sneak Peek CS December 2015 LinkyI just kept gluing them on until I was happy with the way they looked.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets16To decorate the tray portion of the chalkboard, I cut out the December tag from Crafty Secrets Seasonal Calendar Creative Scraps.  The edges were inked with Vintage Photo Distress ink.  The little sisal Christmas tree was plain green, so I painted it with more of the Picket Fence Distress Crackle and then sprinkled it with clear glitter and apple green glitter while the paint was still wet.  The tree,  red and green tinsel  and jingle bells were glued into place with a hot glue gun.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets 03It’s a little bit hard to see in this photo, but I cut a glittery white plastic snowflake in half and glued each half behind the easel frame.  Next, chipboard letters were painted with Picket Fence Crackle Paint and set aside to dry.  I added some rhinestones while the paint was still wet.  When the letter were dry, they were tapped with Hickory Smoke Distress stain.  This completed the decorating of the frame. Now for the countdown tags!

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets13I love this little box!  Found at  a yard sale, it was a sad little box, with a very bad stain job.  So I painted it red, then rubbed it with Picket Fence Distress Paint, HIckory Smoke Distress Stain and filled it to overflowing with Christmas Countdown tags.  The front was decorated with fussy cut images from our Merry Christmas Creative Scraps, some white tinsel and red berries.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets 07The top of the box is decorated with another greeting from the Merry Christmas Creative Scraps that I sewed onto beautiful red burlap.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets 06I kept the top simple, just adding a natural burlap string bow, some berries and a painted flower.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets 04Inside the cover, I used a piece of paper from our gorgeous Vintage Christmas Papers.  The Santa Collage is gorgeous, and so perfect for this project.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets 05I wanted to make the box so that the tags would be easy to keep together and quick to find.  How fun to pull a new tag of the box each day and then hang it on the line!

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets09The tags were topped with ribbons from the Christmas Satin with Metallic Edge Assortment.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets10Each tag also has a die cut number for each day of the month leading up to Christmas.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets11Christmas Eve Day gets a fancy gold punched medallion.

Kathy by Design December Countdown Chalkboard for Crafty Secrets12And Christmas Day gets a super sized tag with red glitter paper and gold foil.

This was not a hard project to make, but it did take a lot of time.  Still, how fun to pull this out every year and countdown the days til Christmas!  I definitely think it is worth the effort.

From here, you will hop on over to visit the always inspiring Ginny Nemchak to see what she cooked up for our Visions of Sugarplums extravaganza!  Once you’ve visited all the blogs, be sure to pick up this month’s free digital paper and image from the Crafty Secrets blog.  Then link your project up to the Crafty Secrets blog, where one lucky winner will receive a $25 digital shopping spree and have their blog featured on our Facebook page and Heartwarming Vintage Blog.

If you’d like to purchase this Christmas Countdown Calendar, it’s available in my ETSY shop.

Thanks for stopping by!






Pink and Black Girlfriend Card

Crafty Secrets: Pink and Black Girlfriend Card

Hello, Friends!  Happy Friday! Was this a long week or what?  Having the house on the market is like having another full time job.  Dale was kidding me the other day, saying that  if I didn’t back off a little on all the vacuuming, I’d wear the carpet out!  In between all the cleaning, I’ve been sneaking in some studio time.  This week I got out my Crafty Secrets scraps, and put together a quick pink and black girlfriend card.

Kathy by Design/Crafty Secrets Hello Girlfriend 01I was organizing my desk for a showing, and had these papers left over from the Forget Housework card that I shared with you a while ago.  Instead of cramming them into
“The Drawer of Forgetfulness” (aka the scrap bin) I sat down and put together this very girly pink and black card.

Crafty Secrets Hello Girlfriend 03It really didn’t take more than about 30 minutes, as I had already trimmed out a lot of the pieces for other projects and then decided not to use them.

These papers are from the Radiant Digital Kitt, the focal image is from the Girlfriends Images and Journal Notes Booklet, and the cute tag is from Girlfriends Creative Scraps.  The fancy edged calendar is trimmed out from our Seasonal Calendar Creative Scraps. The shape is so pretty,  I love to use these as layering elements, even if the dates are wrong.  I even used an extra piece of silver foil cardstock that I’d embossed for my most recent BMW project.   The Summer Rose Seam Binding was tied into a very frilly, girly bow.

Crafty Secrets Hello Girlfriend 04I left the inside blank, but added just a touch of the black lace paper from our Jumbo Vintage Halloween Download.  Love those papers!

Now the next time I need a quick note card, I’ll have one all ready to go!  Sweet!

Thanks for stopping by!




Forget Housework

Forget Housework: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Hello, Friends!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  We enjoyed classic fall weather with clear blue skies, a slight nip in the air and brilliant sunshine.  Saturday, I ran away from the rigors of having our house on the market and indulged in some “sister therapy”.  Susie and I had breakfast (pumpkin pancakes!) and then added a little retail therapy into the mix.  Since our son Joel and his dear wife Melody were in town for the weekend, we got to hang with them for while and play a few rousing games of Bananagrams.  Yesterday, we had to show the house, so we escaped to our oldest son’s home for Sunday brunch (cinnamon rolls!) and cuddles with the grand girls.  I feel like a new woman this morning!  Sometimes you just have to follow the advice on this fun card I made with Crafty Secrets goodies and FORGET HOUSEWORK!

Kathy by Design for Crafty Secrets: Forget HouseworkI love this sassy lady riding on her vacuum cleaner! And boy, can I relate to her desire to run away from housework!    In one of my rounds of cleaning up the studio, I ran across my scrap bin.  Some time ago, I started the habit of paper going through all my scraps about once a week and paper clipping bits and pieces that work together well into little bundles that could be used to make a quick card.  This way, I’m more likely to actually use the scraps I’ve held onto.

Forget Paris Crafty Secrets 01On this cute card, I have Black Lace Halloween Paper from our Creating with Vintage Halloween CD paired up with Pink Stripes and hot pink polka dot paper from our Radiant Digital Papers.  Isn’t it amazing how nicely these patterns play together?

Forget Paris Crafty Secrets 03The focal image here is from the Girl Time Homespun Cotton Scraps.  I just stitched this onto the pink glitter paper, and added the Eiffel Tower image from our Mini Vintage Creative Scraps behind it.  A die cut crown and fleur de lis add just the right amount of glitz and glam.  A loopy bow with White Iridescent Metallic String  and a vintage button add even more sparkle.

Forget Paris Crafty Secrets 04The inside uses an image from our Girlfriends’ Creative Scraps and a computer journaled sentiment.

I’m curious…what do you do with your scraps?  How do you store them?  I hate wasting paper, so this method works well for me.  Having the scraps in organized little bundles makes for a quick card…and a cute one, too, if I do say so myself!

If you’d like to purchase this card, you can find it in my ETSY shop.

Thanks for stopping by!



You’ve Been BOO-ed! Paper Witch Shoes

Crafty Secrets Paper Witch Shoes: You’ve Been BOO-ed!

Hello, Friends!

Halloween is creeping ever closer. In our area, there’s a new tradition where you fill up a decorative box or bag with Halloween goodies, insert a sign that says, “You’ve been BOO-ed” and leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep.  You ring the doorbell and then run and hide.  The recipient is supposed to re-fill the container and BOO someone else.  It’s kind of like Trick or Treat for grownups!   While trolling through my Crafty Secrets Creating with Vintage Illustrations CD, I found the cutest template for making paper shoes.  And my crazy brain got struck by lightning….Paper Witch Shoes…perfect for Halloween hijinks and home decor, too!

Kathy by Design/Witch shoes Crafty Secrets 02Dontcha just love these?  And they are a pretty easy project to make, too.  The template is all sized and ready to print on the CD.  I could have printed directly to my paper, but I wanted the shoes to be sturdy enough that I could fill them with candy.  So I printed two sets of the shoe template onto white cardstock, then cut them out, traced the parts onto my designer Halloween Paper from the Jumbo Halloween Digital Download.  The directions are simple to follow and there really is not a lot of cutting involved.  I kept chuckling to myself as I was making them, and Dale had to pop in and see what I was up to!

Witch shoes Crafty Secrets 07I trimmed my shoes with black tulle and some fancy fur yarn that I had in my stash.  The black trim was also in my stash, and really anchored the design.  I tied the tulle bows with my Zutter Bow-it-all tool and topped it with a ghostly grey trellis roses from the Mixed Earth Tone package.  I inked it with Hickory Smoke Distress Ink and tapped it with Diamond Stickles to add a little glam.

Witch shoes Crafty Secrets 04I found it helpful to use binder clips to hold the soles and the uppers together while the glue was drying.  And I rounded the back of the shoe with my bone folder before trying to glue it on.  But really, this is not a hard project.  I can’t wait to fill these up with candy!  But I wanted you to see the fancy lining, so I didn’t do that in the photos.

Thanks for stopping by!



Crafty Secrets October Challenge and Blog Hop

My Favorite Pumpkin Recipes: Crafty Secrets October Challenge and Blog Hop

Hello, Friends!  Welcome to the Crafty Secrets October Challenge and Blog Hop.  You should be coming here from the Crafty Secrets Heartwarming Vintage Blog. If so, you are right on track!

This month we are focusing on our blessings with a “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart!” theme. The design team was challenged to share ideas for Thanksgiving table decor, place cards, wall hangings, thank you notes, hostess gifts, gratitude journals, layouts, mixed media canvases…anything that has to do with counting our blessings, showing gratitude and being thankful.

I come from a long line of phenomenal cooks.  My earliest childhood memories are centered around family gatherings at my grandmother’s house.  Everyone brought a dish, my grandmother roasted the turkey and made dozens of pies…and let me tell you, those ladies could cook!  I am so thankful for these warm memories of  being surrounded by a loving family and good food that I decided to create a Thanksgiving  album, filled with my favorite pumpkin recipes.

Kathy by Design/Crafty Secrets Pumpkin Recipe AlbumI love these Wood Clipboard Albums from Crafty Secrets.  They can be altered in dozens of different ways and are such a unique presentation for mini albums.  Measuring 6″ x 9″ the size is just right, and they even come with little silver binding rings, sample photos, a star template, basic instructions and cut out pieces you can add to your album if you desire.

I decided to do a little mixed media cover on this particular album, and used Tea Dye, Wild Honey, and Ground Espresso Distress Stains directly on the cover.  I just “painted” the outer 1/2 inch of the album, as I knew I would be covering most of it with paper.  I spritzed the stains with a little water to blend the colors, then sponged on Walnut Brown Viva Decor 3-D Stamp Paint to add some shimmer.

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 02Next, I printed out my papers on 8.5″ x 11″ primitive white cardstock from My Favorite Things.  I wanted a really heavy duty cardstock for the pages, and the Primitive Cardstock adds a nice vintage base.  Here’s a list with product links for the papers I used in this album:

I added stickers and embellies from my stash along with Petaloo Royal Blue Sugared Blossoms and gorgeous Blue/Gold/Ivory Plaid Ribbon from Really Reasonable Ribbon. 

Kathy by Design/Crafty Secrets Pumpkin Recipe AlbumEach page was cut to measure 5 7/8″ x 8 1/8″.  Corners were rounded, edges were inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink and lightly distressed.  This gives the album the look and feel of a vintage treasure, and I like that a lot.  Stitching the Pie Kids paper to the Blue Paisley paper added a wonderful homespun touch.  Then I just layered on the other elements until I was happy.  This sounds so quick and easy, doesn’t it?  While it’s not hard, it does take me some time to make up my mind about what goes where.

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 04The inner pages are made from heavy weight teal cardstock, cut to be slightly smaller than the album covers.  When making an album like this, it’s important to remember two things:

  1. Leave a margin at the top of each page so you can punch your binding rings through without disturbing the images.
  2. Double check your pages to make sure you’re not gluing anything in upside down!  With a flip top album like this one, it’s easy to get top and bottom confused.  I always double check the page orientation before I glue anything down.  (And even then, I still sometimes glue upside down.  Sigh….)

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 06For the inside cover, I used the Thanksgiving hymn paper.  The illustration was colored with alcohol markers.  I’m not much of a colorist, but I felt the page looked too plain just cream and black.  The sticker was mounted on burlap to give it presence on the page.  You could also mount a Thanksgiving Day photo here, and it would fit right in.

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 07I cannot begin to tell you how much I love these vintage Recipe Note Cards from the Kitchen Memories Digital kit.  They look like they came right out of my Mom’s recipe file!  I downloaded a free vintage typewriter font from the internet.  After sizing my note card to measure 4.25″ wide, I used my text tool to type the recipes onto the cards, saved them, then printed them out.  The border was created with the Yellow Apples paper and mounted on the teal.  It just kind of defines the page,and also serves to strengthen the area where the binding rings are inserted.

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 08This pie lady paper is so beautiful.  I wrote the little poem on this page (really, I did!) and then just added some little leaves and a matted label from the Kitchen Memories Labels paper.  I have loads of ideas for these Kitchen memories papers running through my mind, and with any luck, I’ll get to make some of them soon.

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 12Are you familiar with Whoopie Pies?  They are small, moist, round cakes that are sandwiched together with frosting of some sort.  I make these every year for our daughter-in-law, as they are her favorites.  When the grand girls asked me why they are called whoopie pies, I told them, “Because they taste so good you’ll holler ‘Whoopie!’ when you taste them! ”  (And they did…in fact, we all did! )  For this page, I created a little pocket space where the cream cheese icing could be tucked in for safe keeping.

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 09Here I’ve cut out one of the cute vintage clips that comes with the album.  I just inked the edges and glued it down to the page.  I love the way it looks.

Crafty Secrets October 2015 Linky 10This page is actually the inside back cover. and I’ve used the Thanksgiving “Wheat” paper here.  The cute vintage ruler is a sticker from our Little Boy Sticker Sheet.  I used one on the cover, too because I like the rustic feel of it, and it creates a great border.

I love the idea of preserving cherished family recipes in an album like this.  I really should make one for each of our kids so they can carry on the tradition.

I hope you’ll join the fun at this month’s challenge and hop.  You don’t have to follow our theme (but it’s always fun if you do!)  Just create any project of your choice that uses Crafty Secrets goodies.  You can find all the rules, details and free downloads on the Crafty Secrets BLOG.

From here, you will hop over and visit Ginny at Polly’s Paper Studio.

Thanks for stopping by!  I am so thankful for each and every one of you!






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