Christmas in February

Hello! Remember all those wonderful things I promised for December? Well… Life got in the way, as it tends to do. Happy Almost March! Here’s a belated Christmas post:

Every year for Christmas, I get together with a group of friends from college for dinner or some similar event. We usually have some debate over whether we’re going to have a white elephant gift exchange, which is one of my personal pet peeves (ever since I received a half-empty box of tissues during an exchange in my sorority). We nixed the idea this year, thank goodness, so I decided to do something fun and crafty which I’d never tried before: homemade hot cocoa mix. In jars! Oh, it’s just so Martha.

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There’s something so wonderfully rustic about glass jars, and I couldn’t wait to decorate these. I had purchased some fantastic Christmas-themed stamps from The Greeting Farm that I was dying to use on something, and I found that a healthy dose of Martha Stewart fine glitter and some snowy white flocking gave them that extra holiday magic. The stamps were cut out using my indispensable Fiskars Fingertip Swivel Craft Knife, and put on the front side of tags that had the instructions for making the hot cocoa on the back.

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I use Copic markers to color my stamped images, and on these sweet stamps I also added some white flocking on her dress and shawl, and some tiny red rhinestones in the holly in her hair, as well as one as a clasp on her shawl. These are close friends, so I don’t mind putting in the time and extra embellishments to make sure they have something special to take home. The stamps would have been cute simply colored, I just love the “ooh” factor when things sparkle.

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I went absolutely insane with the glitter on the Santa stamps! Her entire hat and dress are solid glitter (colored red underneath just in case I missed a spot), and she has white flocking on every bit of white you see. That’s a tricky process: not getting glitter in the flocking, or flocking in the glitter, especially when you’re not patient enough to wait for either to dry. I seemed to have more success flocking first, then glittering… in the opposite order, the flocking seemed to stick to the rougher texture of the glitter, and it’s hard to remove without brushing off large quantities of glitter.

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix


4 cups powdered milk

1 1/3 cups nestle cocoa powder

2/3 cup hershey special dark cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

11 candy canes

1/2 bag Hershey special dark chocolate chips


Use food processor to grind candy canes into powder

Add in rest of ingredients, blend

Mix in chips by hand

Split into jars

Crush one candy cane for each jar (put in ziplock bag, smash with side of mallet), add 5 chocolate chips for decor on top


Mix 3 tbsps mix with 1 cup hot water

The cocoa mix recipe started, like most things, with a basic recipe which I blatantly ignored, added to, re-mixed, tested, and changed again. By the time we settled on a peppermint hot cocoa (which tastes deliciously like creamy peppermint bark), the kitchen was covered in a fine layer of cocoa powder, and we had to go back to the grocery store for more candy canes. In purchasing a few too many ingredients, we ended up with extras, so my team at work also benefited from cute, smaller versions of the cocoa jars:

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All in all, a little bit messy, but an absolutely adorable handmade gift when you’re “not exchanging gifts” – because food definitely doesn’t count!


Thanksgiving Cards & A Giveaway!

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Welcome back to Tanoshii Crafts! Sorry for the long delay; this time of year really picks up at work, plus I just bought a new Nikon D3100 so my time off has been split between photography and attempting not to resemble the living dead. The photography has been relatively successful, at least, especially since autumn is officially here and the leaves have just started turning colors.

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The craft room has also been in a minor state of disarray lately. We’re making the final adjustments to perfect the furniture and the layout, and even added some more lighting today. Somehow, the process of getting organized always seems to result in more mess in the meantime, but it’s starting to look like we might survive the chaos after all. Mom got a new Silhouette Cameo for her birthday – it’s amazing, and sure to be featured in future posts – but I don’t think either of us knew just how much space two electronic cutters would take up!

Today, however, things have calmed down enough to clear up some workspace and give me a chance to create. I have to admit, I’m not very good about sending cards. I have the best intentions, but I’ve only managed to send Christmas cards two or three years, and I’m even worse about birthdays… the fact that some people even manage to send cards for holidays like Thanksgiving is amazing to me. But when I saw these stamps at Technique Tuesday, the negative-space stamp was far too unusual and appealing to pass up.

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The first card I created is pretty true to my style – clean lines and bold colors. The papers came from what is currently my second-favorite paper pack, Simply Autumn by Recollections – the same pack I used for my Boo Bags. (In case you’re wondering, my favorite pack is Cherry Limeade by DCWV. I might have purchased three packs recently, just to make sure I would never run out, but you didn’t hear that from me.)

The leaves on this card are actually from the same paper pack, on a page that has an all-over leaf pattern. Rule number one when choosing papers: not every paper is going to make a fantastic background, but embellishments are lurking around every corner. I picked out a piece of the paper that had some nice, sparkly leaves – because glitter is always good – and used my Fiskars fingertip swivel knife to cut around the edges of my bottom piece, and then cut out a whole leaf for the top corner as well.

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I knew I liked the tab shape of the stamp I was using, and I decided to highlight it by adding it as a tab to the top of my card. When I stamped my sentiment, I used the back of a scrap of my striped paper, because it was going to stick up and show on the inside as well. I stamped high enough to give myself a place to put my adhesive, and just cut around the edges of the stamp to make sure it was rounded on the corners. The picture above demonstrates how much my projects morph while I’m working – the green ink I ended up using was definitely not the first direction I tried.

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The paper I cut the leaves out of also had cute glittery acorns. I didn’t want to add anything else to my well-balanced cover, so I added it to the inside of the card. It looks super cute with the hint of stripes from the front, as well.

Just to challenge myself, I decided to also make a Thanksgiving card using papers I wouldn’t necessarily work with. I chose a slightly distressed purple K&Company paper for the base of this one:

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The sentiment here is from the same Ali Edwards set, but it has a more distressed look to it. I forgot that embossing powders will stick to regular stamp ink, so I also used a Perfect Pearls pen to add some extra ink. It was unnecessary, but I’m not unhappy with the way it turned out, probably just a little thicker than it would have had I not used the pen. The embossing powders I used were gold and copper, and once they had been heat set they looked like a foil paper. Absolutely beautiful effect, I’ll have to remember that one for later. I stamped the sentiment on a strip of cream linen card stock, but it was too harsh on this organic paper, so I softened it with a couple of different techniques. I used a Martha Stewart border punch along the top, and a ribbon punch along the bottom, which I then threaded with a purple satin ribbon because it was soft and pulled in the shiny purple from the main paper. The bow was added later to balance the off-center ribbon along the bottom – I hate symmetry, but I also don’t like when things feel unbalanced, so it’s a constant balancing act when I’m crafting.

The leaf and the acorn on this card were punched from sparkly copper papers using die-cuts from Cheery Lynn Designs. They work in my Sizzix Big Shot on the thickest cutting platform. It took me ages to figure out how to lay out the leaf and the acorn, but I like the way they ended up, like leaves on the ground in the fall.

Since both cards used sentiments from Ali Edwards’ October Studio AE set, I’m excited to let you know that you have an opportunity to get the same set as your very own!

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Technique Tuesday offers a membership for Studio AE, and as a member you get a limited edition stamp set every month from Ali Edwards. I adore Ali’s handwriting sentiment stamps, so I signed up this month. A shipping error resulted in me having an extra set of October’s stamp set, and when I contacted the company about it, they said I could share it. So, to win this set of autumn-themed stamps, leave a comment on this post with a contact email by Monday, November 14th. I’ll randomly choose a winner from the comments and they’ll have some beautiful new stamps just in time for Thanksgiving cards, place settings, decorations, or whatever else you may come up with.

As always, I hope this blog has been inspirational, educational, and fun. If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, feel free to subscribe using the email form on the right-hand side of the page. Hope to hear from you soon, and good luck!

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