Kids Pencil Valentine Cards

IMG_8715_webThis week is the last one I’ll be releasing Valentine’s so I’m going out with a bang!  I also decided to double dip. These pencil cards are not only my final Valentine’s release but are also Felicity’s class gifts. She’s going to write on each of them, and I’m sure we’ll add a few quotes like “I’m write for you.”

You can find them in my Silhouette shop here.

TIP 1: When you are putting these together, I recommend putting your pencil through the slits FIRST and then gluing your pieces into place (see photo below).

There are several designs were two or more papers have slits that match up. Use the slits as your guides. Place the pencil through the slits first and then pull open the edges of the top paper to glue it into place.

TIP 2: I LOVE pop dots with these designs! And glitter. And stamping ink on the edges. I kept them all simple on purpose. So you can jazz them up or use them as a kid activity.

TIP 3: Add a printable. Simply use whatever word processing software you use and write up a cute phrase in a cute font. Print, cut and attach to these Valentine’s cards!


And in case you missed it (haha), I’ve been releasing Valentine’s for the last month. In fact, we have been releasing Valentine’s for both CGInc. and MiniLou for the past several weeks. You can check both shops here:

Carina Gardner Silhouette Shop

MiniLou Silhouette Shop


Happy crafting!


Playhouse to Clubhouse

We got a Costco playset in April, which has kept my kids outside most of the summer. I had this idea that I was going to make it more of a “clubhouse” by making curtains for it.

Fast forward to yesterday (aka 4 months later). I picked up Amanda’s red polka dot laminate at Riley Blake’s warehouse. I was so excited that I stayed up late into the night to pound grommets into the curtains (much harder than I anticipated). I’m hoping the laminate holds up okay outside. I’ll probably pull the curtains down before winter and bring them inside for a good washing.

I might have given in and decided it was time to just buy a drill (instead of borrowing the neighbor’s) to install the curtain rods. Maybe I was tired of digging in someone else’s garage. Or maybe I decided that a girl just needs a drill of her own. The three of us headed to Home Depot this afternoon to get some hardware for installing the Tacksam Curtain rod sets from Ikea ($3.99 a rod).


Now Siri can sell in her “shop” better than ever. Although she has informed me that they will still be making potions down there (but now they can close the curtains so that the non-witches will not steal the recipes).

It’s Beginning to Feel Alot Like Christmas

It’s not even Thanksgiving… and my house and studio are buzzing with all sorts of Christmas fun. We are getting ready for our 4th quarter newsletter, which should be out sometime next week. We might even have a wicked little goodie for you…so be sure and sign up so that you can get access to the newsletter the moment it goes out.

Want to see what kind of fun you are missing out on? Check out our first issue (3rd quarter) here.

Also wanted to be sure and mention One Dollar Wednesday and Hybrid Project Friday at my digital scrapbooking shop. To be totally fair with everyone, you’ll notice that I release only new products on One Dollar Wednesday and New Release Monday. That way, if you buy it on Monday, you won’t suddenly see it on One Dollar Wednesday (ya, that would suck).

There is a 6-12 month lag period on all my products ever hitting a $1 day (and many will never hit the $1 day). So to help you all out, I’ve instituted 25% off on all my new releases on Mondays for the rest of, well, forever. You’ll see this start in January (you’ll want to check out the site-wide sale in December at Jessica Sprague).

As for my new releases in December, can we say Christmas please? I have a new line (featured in this week’s Hybrid Project 4), Santa’s Sleigh that will hit next week.

Now, to buckle down and finish a few projects before Thanksgiving weekend…


How to Brighten a Skimpy Wreath

I love a white wreath on a black door and I found a really skimpy wreath marked down at my local craft store. Luckily there was also a few white flowers marked down. If you want a cheap wreath (and don’t want to create one from scratch), this is the best way to go!

IMG_3673Start with a wreath with the colors in it you want. I liked this wreath but I wanted something fuller.


I bought these big white flowers (2 bunched) on clearance and simply hot glued them to fill it in.


Easy, instant wreath! It’s different than anyone else’s and so much fuller!

How to Change a Skirt into a Dress

IMG_2549 copy

IMG_2509 copyI found these darling skirts at Gymboree clearanced out. So of course, the only sizes left were 9 and 10…a bit big for a 3 and 6 year old (and I wasn’t about to let these bad boys sit idly in a closet for a few years!). So I made these skirts into dresses.

With just a bit of ribbon and a giant flower (I got mine from The Lace Place), these skirts become dresses for my girls. Here’s what you’ll need to do a project like this:

+ 1/2 yard to 1 yard of ribbon that matches or contrasts your skirt (I went with the pink satin ribbon)

+ 1 yard of ribbon for a bow or silk flower

+ large safety pin

+ Fray check

+ small, squirmy child to try it all on

1. Fit the skirt to your child. Most likely you’ll need to bring it in a little. I’m not the kind to pick apart the whole thing and put it back together. I just turn it inside out and sew an inch (or whatever) into the seam. I don’t even sew the length of the dress! I just taper off after a couple of inches.

2. Cut the ribbon in 1/4 to 1/6 lengths and fit to your child ( you’ll need 2 lengths for each “sleeve”).

3. Sew the ribbon into the skirt wrong side out (You’ll do this four times…one at each point the skirt and ribbon connect). Sew at least two lines of stitches. Put fray check on the raw edges.IMG_2528 copy

4. Put the safety pin through the large flower or bow you’ve made. Then attach it to the dress. I like the safety pin because then you can take it off when you wash the dress or use it as an accessory on other clothing.

I think this project took me an hour from start to finish. Modeling for me is my darling niece Lola (I think my own kids have had it with me and the blog modeling!). She was actually excited about wearing Felicity’s dress (that’s a welcome change!).

Print on Fabric with Your InkJet Printer


Would you believe that that the fabric in that little shirt Siri is wearing was printed on my INK JET printer? Nuts, huh? I needed to make a mock-up of my fabric Love Nest™ which won’t come out until January 2011 so I decided to try this little trick. The shirt turned out beautifully and you would never know that I simply printed on my inkjet. All you have to do is buy fabric (I used white 100% cotton) and iron it onto Freezer Paper (which can be bought at your local grocery store).

IMG_1784The freezer paper makes the fabric stiff enough to go through the printer. You iron the freezer paper’s waxy-shiny side to the fabric. My printer is able to print 13″ x 19″ sheet, which really helped with the construction. I printed off 4 sheets in the pink paisley from Love Nest™ and 1 sheet in the red calico flower from Love Nest™. (BTW, pattern for that flower will be coming soon to this blog!).

I can’t imagine that the fabric is will hold  up to several washings (I’ve heard that you can wash it a few times before it starts having trouble), but I love the idea of instant fabric and will have to dream up some more uses for this little trick!

ABC Book Template


I’ve been working on this new hybrid ABC Book for a couple of days now. It’s a little present for my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day…shhhhh! Don’t tell! She even gave me a little time to work on it while she hauled my kids to the aquarium for a little “grammy” time yesterday. I had to share because I made this little book from MeadowLark™ and my new ABC Templates that will be out tomorrow at DHD. The mini illustrations are so sweet! Think Mother’s Day (or in my case, Grandma’s Day). The bonus? It’s pretty easy to make.

dhd_carinagardner_abc_sqPREVThe templates all fit on a 4 in x 4 in photo (I get 4″x6″ photos printed at Costco and leave the extra space blank). All I did was take my “ABC photos” and dropped the templates on top (the digital kit comes with both white and black versions-52 files in all).

Once they are printed, you only have the fun part left! This little book is 5 in. x 5 in. You could make your book any size though. When I make my photos 4″ x 6″, I tend to make a 5 in” x 7 in” book. I was loving the black and white papers because it made the photos really pop. I added red ink to all the paper edges as an accent and some fun MME rub on letters to the cover (the other elements on the cover come from the MeadowLark™ die cut accessory sheets).  Oh ya, and my favorite way to get things bound? A quick trip to OfficeMax to let them spiral bind it for me. I’m okay with the hand off on this part of it!


It’s a Project Day


Ahhhhh! I love a good project day! I’m off the computer designing for a day (after finishing up my new collection Daisy Jane™ for DHD last night) and getting paint on my face! I found a steal of a deal at Tai Pan the other day, and it’s been waiting for me to give it a fresh coat of paint. Of course, Felicity helped as only a toddler can (that’s her little hand painting in the photo!). I’m also hoping to get out those new MeadowLark™ papers to work on a little project. That’s this afternoon (with the girls…they love a good art project as much as I do).

elephant frontSpeaking of projects, I have to show off these amazing projects by one of DHD‘s new Hybrid Decorators: Jane Beljo (click on her name to see more). These cards use the Baby Mine kit (proceeds go to a good cause—see the post below!). You can see her helpful hints for making her cards at Design House Digital (her first post is here).

Oh ya, and I’ve been meaning to give a little shout out to Hi Mountain Drug Store in Kamas, Utah. Our little family stopped by to see DHD’s Digi guru Gennifer Bursett on our way back from a spring break vacation last week. It’s no wonder that the burger joint there has won so many awards! I inhaled that deleIMG_1075ctable philly burger with the refreshing limeade in a ridiculous amount of time. Yes, my mouth is salivating just thinking of it. Gen, watch out…I may be back sooner than you’d like!

Okay, backing away from the computer now :).

Valentine’s Day Card for Kids-Free Download

valentinesdaycard2010_cgI’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day. And while we are still three weeks away, I’ve got some great little projects put together for this very pink holiday. If you haven’t picked it up yet, the Love Nest glitter book is available at Hobby Lobby, and I’ll be doing a few projects with those papers and my new Affectionate papers at Design House Digital.

First up, getting my daughter’s Valentine’s Day Cards together. And you can download them too! These sweet little cards ar 3″ x 4″ and I’ve even already assembled them onto a 8.5″ x 11″ sizes paper for you. So all you have to do is print! I’ve made the boxes “chubby” for my kindergartner’s fat letters. We’ll cut them out and let her write on them in advanced.

You can also check out my Valentine’s Day Kiddie cards from 2009 (also a free download!) if you want lots of different cards (and birdies:). Those cards are also set up on a 8.5″ x 11″ paper so all you have to do is cut! Easy-peasy!


Craft Project-How to Make an Easy Octopus Costume

carinagardner_blog1Yes, my daughter wanted me to make her an octopus costume for her birthday. So how could I refuse? I kept it simple by buying a t-shirt (with the gems already on it) and women’s long socks. Add some filling, a t-shirt transfer kit and my sewing machine and I was set. The only problem? Once I made one for my oldest daughter, I had to make a second one for my youngest daughter. Thankfully, it’s project that can be done in a couple of hours.

Here’s the basic idea. Take a t-shirt and iron-on one of my adorable octopus stickers. Or skip this step entirely. Then stuff 6 women’s socks with filling and sew them to the ends of the t-shirt. Grab a beanie hat (add a flower for fun) and put on a pair of shorts and a final pair of socks (so there are 8 legs in all). Instant octopus!

Want the full instructions and photos? Just download this pdf with my instructions for creating this easy craft project!


Easy T-shirt Project-How to go from Digital Product to Iron-On


Creating great projects from digital products is easy! For example, my daughter’s birthday party was last week and we did an underwater theme. So my gifts to all the little guests were mermaid shirts with matching hair color for each girl. My daughter wanted to be an octopus, so I simply ironed-on an octopus illustration I made onto the simple costume I created for her (to see how to make the octopus costume, please visit the octopus costume post).


So here’s how I created this cute little gift idea.

blog21. I bought a package of Dark T-shirt transfers and a few t-shirts in blue and dark pink. I picked them all up at Target but many places would have these goods.

2. Choose an illustration from your favorite digital kit…stickers work best because they are png (no background). I used my Tiny Mermaid line for this project.

3. Print your illustration onto your Transfer Sheet (follow the instructions from the back of tha package.). I just used my inkjet printer at home and bought inkjet transfers. If you want to maximize space, create a 8.5″ x 11″ document in Photoshop and place several stickers to cut out.

4. Cut out your printed transfer VERY CAREFULLY. Because it is on a dark T-shirt, you will want to cut out all the white and get as close to the edge of your design. For example, on the octopus sticker, I had to cut out a couple of the legs seperately because they were seperate from the body and I didn’t want white to show up between the legs.

4. Follow you transfer paper instructions to iron on the design to the t-shirt. For mine, I laid down a pillow case on a hard surface and laid a sheet of paper (provided by the iron-on packet I bought) down over the t-shirt and ironed for 1-2 minutes.

And that’s it! I great project that my children adore and made Siri’s party special.

Christmas Calendar Cones—Free Download

IMG_8459I promised a Christmas goodie and here it is! An advent calendar that you simply clip to a line. Add treats to the cones so your little ones can take one out everyday. This is a LARGE download because all of the 8.5 inch x 11 inch files are PRINT READY (300 dpi).

All you need to do is print (I printed from my home printer) and cut out. Tape each piece into a cone shape and hang on a line by clipping with a laundry clip. I hung 4 strings in one of our front room windows and clipped 6 cones (and seven on the last one) across the string.

I’ve also included a Santa that you can stick in the cones to show your kids what day it is.

We’re getting in the Christmas spirit at our house: We’ve got our tree up and we are heading for the Heber Creeper (AKA The Polar Express) tomorrow for my birthday. I think the kids will love it (which means I will love it…there is nothing quite like the excitement of children at Christmas). Go ahead and download this goodie and it’s okay if you get it up a few days late…your kids will still love it!



Paint a Tree In Your Kid’s Bedroom-Free Download

paintedtree_pdfinstructionsI’ve been a busy girl. I’ve been working on my little girl’s bedroom since moving into our new house last month. It has been so satisfying to  finally be able to paint! While I don’t feel like it is fully finished, I still thought I’d share what I’ve done with you. And, if you are interested in making your own tree, I’ve provided the stencils I made for myself here for you.

The pdf shown here includes simple instructions and patterns for the flowers and leaves. Making your own tree won’t be hard as long as you have a little time. The process for making the tree takes about 3 days, not because it really takes that long, but because the parts of the tree have to dry before you can start a new color.

Here’s a helpful hint to create stencils: I used my Silhouette to cut these out. You could also cut them out by hand using an x-acto knife and still get the same effect.

Download the pdf stencils.

Want to see the rest of the room? First, I have to show you the BEFORE photo. The budget was tight so we decided to have the floors refinished a dark color, repainted everything, and replace the splinter-inducing pine trim as our “big budget” fixes. 5

And here’s the after. My favorite thing is probably the floors. Having them this dark really makes the light pink pop.


Spider’s Web Papers – Batty Wreath


IMG_7715_smHalloween is just a week away and I finally have finished my Spider’s Web Bat Wreath. I used my paper version (produced by My Mind’s Eye), but you can also pick it up digitally. I picked up this wreath from Michaels. These twig wreaths are relatively inexpensive ($4, I believe). I then had my silhouette machine cut out these bats for me. I few hot glue gun sticks later, and I was in business!

My kids are going to be a witch and a pumpkin this year (if I can convince her). We are in a new neighborhood, and I excited for the kids to trick-or-treat in this super kid-friendly street.

Hope you have a happy halloween!!!!!