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Aug 10, 2015

Hazel Makes {My New Etsy Shop}

I've always been a "maker" and love everything from paper to fabric to paint.  One day I'm making a set of handmade cards & the next, I'm making a quilt. I collect fabric like I do patterned paper & recently I decided that it was time to give my collection a life of its own & turn it into something with purpose.

I created a new Etsy shop called Hazel Makes. When I started thinking about a name for my shop, I knew it would probably be filled with an eclectic mix of things. I've never been one to fixate on one project and make the same thing day in & day out. I wanted a name that would allow me to make whatever was on my heart & not feel like I had to be boxed into one product for the rest of my days.
So why Hazel Makes? When I was younger, I use to hate that my eyes were a mixture of colors. My friends all had either bright blue or dark brown shades & I wanted to be able to assign a label to my own. One day they were green & the next they were gray. Sometimes they looked blue and other times they had hints of gold. When I was a teenager, I thought colored contacts would be the solution to my color conundrum, but after trying out every shade imaginable, I suddenly realized that I liked the color I was born with the most.  And now that I'm older, I realize that my ever changing eye color fits my personality to a T. 

Over the past month, I've been stitching up some of my favorite designer fabrics into little zipper pouches.

This one was inspired by my favorite Liberty of London coffee mug:
 ...and I love anything with the Swiss cross icon. I think this one would be so cute filled with bandages & first aid supplies. :)
Each of my bags are unique and one-of-a-kind. They're perfect for keeping all of your little things in life organized, such as pencils, makeup, money, etc.  You can find my current listings here:

Be sure to check back soon & see what new project is in the works!

Jul 29, 2015

Marketing for Creatives online class

I wanted to pop in & tell you about one of the newest online classes at Studio Calico. Marketing for Creatives is a unique educational opportunity & I personally could use a lot of direction in this area.  I started a small creative business locally and I think this class is going to be just what I need to branch out and grow.
Here's a little more information about the class:

- Go from hobbyist to professional
- Gather inspiration for design and branding of your online presence
- Establish a marketing strategy where your creative blog is the home base for your complete online presence
- Develop great content and community that will keep fans coming back for more
- The basics of monetizing, partnerships, collaborations, and contributors
- Overview and ideas for using major social channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and newcomers, Snapchat and Periscope (Hint: You don't have to do it all!)

- 4 weeks of lessons and videos from Amber sharing expert advice from her 10 years of blogging and her professional marketing experience
- Features from guest bloggers and creatives who will let you in on their secrets and give you tips and resources to either get started or take your online presence to a new level
- Weekly assignments and action plans to get it done
- Live, group Q & A chat
- Access to a class message board and gallery, where you can share and learn with your teacher and fellow students
- Printable blog planner sheets from Hello Forever, including a content calendar, post planner, and a monthly check-in sheet to help you track your stats and set goal

If this sounds like something you'd like to check out, you can visit Studio Calico to learn more. The class starts in September & registration ends on September 1st.

Jun 10, 2015

Take a Peek at Postmarked 02 - My Newest Class from Big Picture Classes!

I'm excited to share a peek into Postmarked 02, my latest online class in the Postmarked series from Big Picture Classes!

BPC is an amazing online source for creative education.  You'll find classes on card making, scrapbooking, photography, DIY, and more!  The site is a membership, meaning - you pay a small fee each month & have access to the full library of classes.

For a short time, you can take my class FOR FREE!  Find out more below.
I really think you're going to love what's in store for Postmarked 02!

In this class, I'll show you how to make a customized stationery set that's full of color!  Learn how to revitalize supplies you have on hand with a dye bath and create beautiful cards that have been dip dyed.

The class comes with free templates to make handmade envelopes & a stationery box.  These sets are just gorgeous and make perfect gifts!  The templates come in both pdf & .studio files for the Silhouette Cameo.

I'll also show you techniques for creating monogrammed cards through dry embossing & hand embroidery.

One of my favorite things about this class is that you can use whatever supplies you have on hand!  It's a great way to revitalize your stash & create projects that fit your own unique style.

So, are you ready to check out Postmarked 02?  For a limited time, you can take my class & any class at BPC FOR FREE!

Use the code: BPCJULIE to get a free one month trial membership to the site.

*Free month trial promotion ends August 22nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST. First month free offer valid only on new memberships and is not valid for current or previous members. Click the “Start Your Free Trial” button and follow the steps to begin your free trial.  Enter promo code in promo box and continue checkout process. Not valid on previous purchases. Must enter promo code at checkout. Refunds will not be issued for misused or non-entered codes. 

I hope to see you in class!

Jun 8, 2015

Traveler's Notebook Inserts

As soon as I finished making my Traveler's Notebook cover, I was itching to put it to use!  (You can find the tutorial here.)  I love the basic kraft Moleskine journals that are available... but I didn't want to invest a lot of money into a simple notebook, so I decided to make my own.
I have so many beautiful pieces of patterned paper that I've been hoarding from my Studio Calico scrapbooking kits & it was time to put them to use!

It's so easy to make your own notebook inserts!
  1. Cut a piece of patterned paper & fold it in the middle.  This is now the cover of your notebook.
  2. Fold several sheets (I used ~10) of loose leaf notebook paper or grid paper in half.  Don't worry about cutting them to size quite yet.
  3. Place the paper inside of the notebook cover, lining up the center crease.
  4. Use a long reach stapler to secure paper together.  You can also hand-stitch or machine stitch the crease.
  5. Fold the notebook and trim away the paper that extends beyond the journal cover.  You can use a heavy duty paper trimmer or a straight edge ruler/blade.
If you want to secure more than two journals inside of your Traveler's Notebook, you'll need to add an extra elastic loop around the middle page of your notebook and the spine.  I used leftover elastic cord, but you can also use large rubber bands.  Once you have this loop in place, you can slip a second journal onto the elastic that's on the outside spine of the first journal.  Now both journals can slide under the elastic that's part of the leather cover. (This sounds tricky, but it's super simple.  If you need a visual, there are a lot of videos available on YouTube.)

Now that I've completed a few journals, I think I might make some modifications for next time.  Instead of stapling the inside paper onto the {hoarded} paper cover, I think I'll staple just the paper and then place the cover around the bound pages.  The elastic will hold the cover & paper together & when my pages are full, I can simply remove them and insert a new set of pages without having to discard my pretty covers.
My first notebook will be used for menu planning & grocery lists.  The second is for jotting down notes & the third will be an expense/mileage tracker.

These planners can be used in so many different ways & I love how they can be customized so easily.   

Jun 7, 2015

DIY Midori-Style Traveler's Notebook Tutorial

 I've been looking for ways to better organize my life, especially with the launch of my new business this summer.  I need a simple way to keep track of expenses, organize receipts, create shopping lists, jot down new ideas, etc. and I think a Traveler's Notebook is going to be a perfect fit!

If you're not familiar with a Traveler's Notebook, it's basically a leather cover with elastic bands that you can fill with multiple notebooks, journals, folders, etc.  The original cover is called a Midori & other versions are sometimes referred to as a Fauxdori or Traveler's Notebook (TN.)

Studio Calico just announced a new online workshop called Everyday Traveler that explains the process & provides several unique ideas for utilizing this type of organizer.  The class kit also comes with a free stamp set (while supplies last) & they have several new products in the shop that work well in these types of planners.  There are even printable journal inserts made specifically for these notebooks.  Don't forget to use the coupon code below!  Registration is open until June 30th and class begins on July 6th.
Some people use the Traveler's Notebook to document their travels (hence the name) but these organizers can be used for almost anything.  As I mentioned earlier, my first TN is going to be used to help me keep track of my business, but I'm planning on making a second one to use alongside my Illustrated Faith bible journaling (separate notebooks for a prayer journal, favorite verses, sermon notes, etc.)

After researching Midoris & Traveler's Notebooks, the only thing holding me back was the price.  Most covers retail for $35+ and knowing that I wanted to have at least a couple organizers, I decided to make my own.
 I purchased an 8-1/2" x 11" piece of tooling leather and decided to keep the size exactly as it came.  The actual Midori organizers are just a hair smaller, but I wanted the extra room to accommodate several notebooks and tabs if I chose to use them.
 You can keep the corners "as is" or if you have a Corner Chomper, you can round the corners really easily.
I like color & decided to bring in a little more personalization with fabric. (This fabric is Joel Dewberry's Bungalow.)  I cut (2) 8-1/2" x 5" pieces and applied Heat n Bond. (This is basically double sided adhesive for fabric that you apply with an iron.)
 Follow the package directions & iron the fabric onto the inside of the notebook.  I left some space in the middle because I didn't want my fabric to accidentally buckle/ripple when I closed the organizer.
 Find the center of the back flap of your organizer and create a hole through the leather using an awl or nail.  Starting from the inside, thread a piece of elastic cord through the leather & back to create a loop. (I left a long tail and stretched the elastic around my organizer to determine the appropriate length.)  Tie a knot and trim the ends of the elastic. *Elastic cord is very inexpensive (mine was $1.99) & can be found in any craft & hobby shop.
Using a ruler, measure and mark two holes on each end of your organizer.  (Mine were 1/4" & 3/4" on the center.)
 Punch holes to create the placement for the elastic bands in the center of your organizer.  I used a rotary punch, but you could also use an awl/nail again.  I do think the punch works really well & gives the TN a very professional appearance.  If you're going to make several of these, it might be worth the investment.
 Thread elastic cord through the top hole starting from the front of your TN and then through the bottom hole.
 Come back up through the remaining hole on the bottom and through the remaining hole on the top.
The ends of your cord should be coming out the top front of your TN.  You'll want to pull the cord somewhat snug until the leather just starts to curve upward.  (It will straighten out once closed, but this will allow your journals to be held in place.)

 You can tie off your elastic now & call it a day... or you can add some customization.  I decided to paint some wooden beads to coordinate with my fabric.  (I used a combination of Studio Calico's Color Theory paint, Liquitex heavy body, & Bear latex paint for these.)  Just use whatever you have on hand... but if you happen to have Liquitex paints, they are definitely my favorite!
I tied my beads in place and kept my elastic long in case I wanted to use it as a placeholder later.
If you feel like your organizer is a little stiff or isn't folding as well as you'd like, just spritz the entire cover with a little water & let it absorb.  This makes your leather much more pliable.  Just fold & place a heavy object on it for about 10 minutes.  I love how my TN turned out.  It feels very sturdy, yet soft to the touch.
 After I was finished with my organizer, I decided that I wanted to personalize it a bit.  I had some leather labels from this Inspirational Stamp Set (metal stamps that leave impressions in leather) and used Melody Ross' metal alphabet stamps to add my name.  I love it when I have things like this on hand!  It adds so much without adding any cost to the project.

I did have to untie my center elastic so that I could thread my name label onto it, so if you want to add anything onto your center cord, you might want to plan ahead and save yourself a step. ;)
 When using metal stamps, make sure to wet your leather first & let the leather soak in the water for a couple of seconds.  This will allow the leather to accept the impressions much more easily.
I couldn't be happier with how my traveler's notebook turned out & I hope you give it a try!

In my next blog post, I'll show you how to make your own notebook inserts to fill up your organizer.

May 7, 2015

New Ventures - {Make it Meaningful}

I'm excited to finally be able to share a peek of my newest venture!  I love making - whether it's with paper & glue, fabric, or paint.  Being creative energizes my soul.  My brother, unlike me, is a whiz with wood.  We decided to join efforts & set up shop.
 I'm hoping to have shipping options soon, but for now - if you're in Indiana, we'd love to have you check out our shop!  We also like making custom projects.
 One of my favorite things is the Milk & Cream sign.  I salvaged some antique glass & white paint-chipped wood from an old barn & designed the lettering. 
 I also made some cute little dolls & dachshunds for the shop.  We have some unique antique pieces too!
If you're a fan of HGTV's Fixer Upper show, you might recognize the sign that inspired this design.  It was a labor of love, & now I'm tempted to keep it for my own kitchen. ;)
We're busy coming up with new designs & I'm loving this new path our lives are taking.  Thanks for checking it out!

Mar 26, 2015

Getting Started With Illustrated Faith

There are things in life that are great on their own, but when paired together, something magical happens.

peanut butter & jelly
coffee & donuts
Nutella & pretty much anything

(I just realized that I skipped breakfast.)

faith & creativity

And that pairing is what Illustrated Faith is all about.  My friend Shanna Noel started this movement that has merged the love of art with the love of God.

(Here's a pic of Shanna & me from the Illustrated Faith workshop I attended this past weekend. I think I was in need of a little siesta at this point.)
 You can read more about Illustrated Faith here... but here it is in its simplest form: Add art (paint, drawings, stamps, stickers, etc.) to the pages of a journaling Bible as a form of worship.  There are no rules & you don't have to be an artist.  Everyone's take on it is unique.  It's just expressing your faith & journey through color & words & images.

I just joined in recently, but I've followed Shanna's posts about Illustrated Faith from the very beginning.  I thought it was a unique idea, but honestly, I wasn't quite sure if it was for me.  I was reluctant to try it out for myself because many of the pages I saw posted were done by seasoned art journalers, full of paint techniques and things a little out of my comfort zone.  I thought it was great for them, but I wasn't sure if I would get the same fulfillment out of it.

But... I'm always game for trying out something new & I knew I needed something to help me feel more inspired to read my Bible.  I don't know how many times I've chastised myself for not reading the word more often.

I bought a journaling bible & it arrived all crisp & pristine... and stark black.  It just screamed, "don't mess me up!"  It was kind of intimidating.  So the first thing I did was cover the front.  I printed out text that was meaningful to me onto some scrapbooking paper (a vintage Studio Calico print that I've hoarded) and immediately, a piece of my fear crumbled away.
 I moved on to the second page & tried out an idea & it completely smeared all over the place.  And yes, I know that my journaling Bible is between me & God & I shouldn't care if it's a mess, but I also know me & I knew that it would bother me and become a stumbling block later down the road.

So, I went with plan B & covered the whole thing with patterned paper and it turned into something even better than my original plan.  Instantly I thought - what a metaphor for my life!  We come to God all imperfect and messy & he covers us and makes something beautiful.
I also designed some tabs for the side of my Bible & cut them out with my Silhouette.  (I used clear printable sticker sheets.)  I like being able to find what I'm looking for quickly & these were just the trick!

P.S. if you have the Silhouette, the PixScan is amazing & made this project so much easier!
 So then it was time to really dive in.  This was my first entry and the page that opened my eyes to what Illustrated Faith was really about.
I understood the idea behind Illustrated Faith in my mind & I understood the love of creativity in my heart... but when these two things blended together, something magical happened in my spirit.  And that, my friends, is why I am so excited about this movement.  I want everyone to experience what I experienced!

It's hard to explain, but when you read God's word & ponder it in your heart & then let your hands create, something big happens.
I can't tell you why something clicked in my spirit for sure.  Maybe it's because I'm spending more time being quiet & thinking about what I just read?  Or maybe it's because I'm a visual learner?  But then again, maybe it's because I'm finally being allowed to express my worship in a way that I was designed.
I just read the first entry in the Illustrated Faith "You Are Enough" devotional & it's all about understanding that there are so many parts to the body of Christ.  One person might be the head & another the hands.  We all have different strengths & weaknesses & we just need to be what we were designed to be.  We are enough.  And not only enough - we are beautiful & perfect in Him!

If you've thought about trying out a journaling bible, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so.  You don't have to be an artist.  You just have to be willing to give God what you have.  Use whatever "voice" that you have & make a joyful noise.  I truly believe that this can be an amazing & meaningful journey for you as you document your faith.

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