Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY | Christmas Countdown Blocks + FREEBIE Printable

Want to get a little DIY in over this Thanksgiving weekend? This is a simple little craft that will make counting down the days until Santa arrives a little more special. 
To make the process really simple you can download my Loo De Loop Christmas Countdown Blocks template for FREE until December 7, 2013. Just a little "Thank You" for reading my blog!

This was also my gift for the Craftaholics Anonymous 2013 Handmade Gift Exchange. It was so fun to craft for someone across the country and trying to figure out what her Holiday decorating style is and what she would appreciate. I hope she loves it as much as we love ours.


What you'll need:
  • 3   Printed pages of the LooDeLoop Christmas Block Printables
  • 2   3.5 inch square blocks of wood (use a 4" x 4" post)
  • 1   7 inch piece of a 2"x4" board (1.5" H, 3.5" W, 7" L)
  • sandpaper
  • paper trimmer or scissors
  • paint
  • paint brush
  • foam brush
  • Modge Podge

Random Lumber Trivia
Did you know that 2x4s are not actually 2 inches by 4 inches. Yeah, me either until starting this project. When the board is first rough sawn from the log, it is a true 2x4, but the drying process and planing of the board reduce it to the finished 1.5x3.5 size. 

When I went to the lumber yard to ask for a 3.5" x 3.5" block they looked at me like I was crazy. We quickly figured out that a 4X4 post is actually 3.5"x3.5". So I asked them nicely to cut the "4X4" post into 3.5" lengths leaving me with a 3.5" cube. I also asked them to slice a 7" length off of a 2X4 leaving me with a 7" x 1.5" x 3.5" hunk of wood.

Moving on.

    1.    Print off the Christmas Countdown Blocks pages (3 in all). I had mine printed at my local print shop on 60 lb. paper. You really get the best color saturation that way and the heavier paper allows you to Modge Podge over the top with minimal bubbling.
    2.    Sand all sides and edges of your 3 wooden pieces. Enlist help for this stage.
    3.    Trim all of the squares.
    4.    Round the corners if you're obsessed with those types of things like I am.

    5.    Paint all wood blocks with 2 coats and allow to dry overnight.
    6.    Modge Podge the "Days Until Christmas" to the 7"X1.5"X3.5" block.
    7.    Adhere numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 to the first block using Modge Podge.
    8.    Adhere numbers 1,2,3,7,8,0 to the second block in the same manner. 

    9.    Allow all pieces to dry overnight.
    10.    Stack the smaller cubes on top of the larger rectangle and let the countdown begin. Note that the 6 block will be used upside down as a 9 as well.

I wish you all a warm and Happy Thanksgiving  and hope you enjoy this FREEBIE!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Loo De Loop | The Final Push

I am in the final push of Advent Calendar Season. Today, November 22nd, is the last day to order an Advent Calendar to have it in your hands and on your mantles before December 1st. 

In an attempt to be truly present with my family during the holidays I will be paring down the Loo De Loop Etsy shop and selling only "ready to ship" items. The bad news? No custom orders will be taken until after January 1st. The good news? Anything you will see in the shop is ready to ship the same day that you order it. Meaning you will most likely have the item in hand in time to give for Christmas. 

Are you giving or getting a fancy DSLR camera this Christmas? Lucky you! Pick out a pretty little camera strap cover to dress it up. Having a "bunting emergency" over the holidays? Any of these items are ready to go!

I will be adding to the shop during December with items I have been meaning to list for ages, so keep an eye out for new goodies.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Project Life | LIVE!

Becky Higgins is killing it right now on CreativeLIVE with a 3 day (yes... 3 DAYS!) Project Life Course. Tune in now to see what this style of memory keeping is all about. 

Becky Higgins on CreativeLIVE

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Project Life | First Digital Layout

So, I purchased my first Project Life (PL) digital core kit back in the last spring having no idea how these things worked. I thought maybe you just print off the cards you want/need them and go from there. Turns out there is this whole world of digital scrapbooking. #duh I mean, I think I knew that, but I had no idea how to go about it.

Well, fast forward to this week. I am enrolled in a fabulous class put on by Big Picture Classes called "Process with Catherine Davis". I don't think I had any idea of what to expect with this class, but I have already learned so many techniques and tips. 

The class has also inspired me to actually start learning and using Photoshop. I edit 99% with Lightroom 5 (LR5) but have a subscription to Photoshop CC (PS). I do have a few Photoshop actions, but really feel most comfortable editing in LR5. It's useful for designing Facebook and Etsy ads. 

Photoshop + digital Project Life = a fun way to create layouts

So, here is my first all digital Project Life layout.
click photo for larger view
I cheated and pretended that I do weekly spread, when in actuality my 2013 PL album is a hot mess of thousands of pictures in chronological order. I liked having to choose a select few photos for a spread instead of all. of. the. pictures!

I used the Digital Project Life: Kraft Edition for this spread and lots of brushes that I had apparently been collecting in PS. Arrows, month stamps, day of the week brushes, cute little camera. Who knew that was all there waiting for me in Photoshop?

I can see this being a really fun way to "scrapbook" when I can't have all of my physical supplies with me, like over Thanksgiving weekend up at the Lake.  

Do you do digital scrapbooking? Which do you prefer: digital or paper? Let me know in the comments below. Or better yet, link to your favorite personal layouts.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Things I Love | Instagram Photo Frame

There's an important little corner in our kitchen. It's where all the coffee making supplies reside. This is a popular place around 5am (when my husband makes his coffee) and 7:30am (when I finally get around to making mine). It's also where my favorite picture frame resides. 
It's a rotating display of my favorite Instagram photos. I bought it from Pier 1 Imports a while back and just love it. It fits 4" x 4" Instagram photos perfectly. 

I print my IG pics via the Walgreens iPhone app. It's so simple and Walgreens almost always has a coupon code to use. I have yet to pay full price for prints from them. And they are usually printed on matte paper at my local Walgreens for some reason and that makes me happy, too. 

I usually display each photo for a few weeks then swap them out with fresh pics and use the old ones in my Project Life album. Nothing wasted!

Have you printed your Instagram photos? How do you like to display them? Leave a comment below!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Loo De Loop | Advent Calendars

 I am in the midst of Christmas Advent Calendar season. 
Or, as I hashtagged it on Instagram: #timetomaketheadvents 
Instagram Photos of @loopylis and @loodeloop
I pulled out all of the Christmas fabrics around the middle of September with the intention of completing all 30 Advent Calendars of the year by the end of October so that everything would be "Ready to Ship!" in the shop for the month of November. Well, it's now November 8th and while they are not all completely finished I have a good dent in the production and my current turnaround time is just 3-4 days from order to shipped. 

I started off tracking the number of hours it takes to complete one Advent Calendar from start to finish. After 75+ hours, I stopped tracking. Let's just say these are a complete labor of love for me. 

If you are looking for a fun way to fill your family with the holiday spirit, these Advent Calendars are just the thing. They aren't meant to load up with candy (although these golden chocolate coins fit in there nicely!), but to fill up with an activity card for each day leading up to Christmas. 
I like to plan out the month and place certain cards in certain days. For example, I know which days we will be going to visit Santa, have our family Christmas party, build gingerbread houses with friends. Then I fill in the other days with quick little activities like "have hot cocoa with marshmallows", watch "Charlie Brown Christmas", etc. I also try to fill it with several charitable activities, too. Picking out a toy for Toys for Tots, taking holiday treats to the neighbors, etc.

Loo De Loop Etsy links:

What kind of Advent Calendar do you have? What are some Holiday traditions you are looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mail Carrier Guilt

Sometimes I feel really guilty about the amount of mail I cram into my mailbox for our carrier to pickup. I mean, we've spoken and he says he's cool with it. In fact, he quickly learned that he should just park the truck right in front of our house every day. 

But today the guilt got to me a bit. And I came up with what I thought was a genius plan. 

I just filled up a Halloween goodie bag with some of our leftover candy. He gets a little afternoon candy pick-me-up and I get some more candy out of the house. Win win!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Camera Strap Cover GIVEAWAY

In celebration of the start of my blog I think a GIVEAWAY is in order! I mean, you like free stuff, right? I will be giving away one organic cotton herringbone camera strap cover in the color of the winner's choice. 

Camera strap covers were the first thing I sold in my Etsy shop beginning in March of 2012. They are such a fun way to dress up your camera and give it some extra padding, too. These fit most Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras covering the widest part of the strap. 

Entering is simple. Leave a blog comment and you're in! There are bonus entries available, too. A winner will be randomly chosen on November 14th. So, enter now and tell your friends!  
This contest has ended. Please check back for more giveaways in the future.

Congratulations, Heather M.! Please check your email for details on how to receive your Organic Camera Strap Cover. And thanks to all who entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 4, 2013

December Daily | Prep Work

So, I've jumped feet first into this December Daily project. This is a way to document all the little details of the holiday season. I purchased this December Daily 2013 kit from Studio Calico. It contains everything I need to create a beautiful album of the season.

My (rather lofty) goal is to complete my December Daily album by the end of the year. This is only going to happen if I do some prep work before December starts. I will also only be documenting 25 Days, not the entire month of December. 

Here is what I have completed so far:

December Daily | Overview

When I start something, I go all the way. I just started doing Project Life this year. I quickly became obsessed. I scoured the web, Instagram, Facebook for all the inspiration I could slurp up. And man, there are some creative people out there. It was in September when I saw people talking about this thing called a "December Daily" album. A scrapbook just for the month of December. I thought, "Well, that ridiculous. Who's got time for that?!" But then, of course... I caved. 

Ali Edwards and Studio Calico have teamed up to assemble this December Daily 2013 kit of all the goodies needed to create a beautiful December Daily album. It's virtually foolproof. Well, we'll see about that. 

Here is a peek at all the goodies included in the kit:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Why I use Project Life

I started Project Life as a way to get my photos off of my computer and to record our daily lives. Time passes so quickly with a child and I didn't want to forget a thing. I take photos of every little detail. And it adds up to roughly 10,000 photographs year. Ridiculous, I know. 

I don't want those photos just sitting on a hard drive somewhere. I want to see, touch, taste them... OK, not taste. Enter Project Life. A simple concept with a short list of supplies needed.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

And away we go!

Well, I've decided to join the world of blogging. I think I'm only like a decade late, right? So, why do I want to blog? I want a place to consolidate all of my passions. Photography, sewing, Etsy, cooking, Project Life and general craftiness. These are just a few of the things I will be writing about. 

And I may be over-thinking things but why is it so hard to write this first post?! I think I just need to click that little "Publish" button staring at me and get it over with. 3. 2. 1!