FREEBIE: Silhouette Mint Designs & Valentines

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! I swear it was just Thanksgiving. This time of year just flies right on by. I’m teaming up with Silhouette (my favorite, as you know) to provide you with some fun printables in time for Valentine’s Day!

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The Silhouette Mint is one of my favorite new gadgets of all time. I can create a stamp in minutes. Literally. If you haven’t seen my youtube video on the process check it out here. It’s super slick, which makes card making, gift giving and label making so much more fun and customized. I wrote out a few little sayings and drew up a little banner. All these things are available to download free at the bottom of this post. If you don’t have a Mint, no problems. Feel free to use the graphics for personal use.

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This Wednesday, we had an intimate gathering to learn calligraphy and make Valentines. I wanted to allow these awesome people to use their freshly gained calligraphy skills, but also give them the opportunity to put calligraphy on something if they didn’t feel comfortable writing something out. Each guest got a calligraphy kit and a card making kit with card stock (Thanks to my favorite My Mind’s Eye peeps! We used the dark grey from this line.) and piles and piles of stickers, washi tape and stamps for everyone to deck out their cards to the gills. Because a gaudy valentine is an awesome valentine. Totally channeling my inner Schin Loong.

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These little stamps are so fun to use. See below for what size stamps I used for each design.

  • banner: 90×45 mm
  • Be Mine: 30×30 mm (on the diagonal)
  • You’re Hot: 30×30 mm
  • I Freaking Love You: 15×60 mm

If you’re interested in purchasing the Mint. Use code: MELISSA for $20 off a Mint machine! Wouldn’t it be so darling to have your kid design their own Valentine’s card? So adorable. Click the link to read more about the workshop and download the free artwork.

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    1. Kristie says:

      So cute. I love the lettering. And I never realized how cheap those oversized close pins are. Thanks for the tip!

    Food: Best Freaking Tomato Sauce

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    In the very first cooking class I attended from Tom (he’s the best!) he taught us how to make a rustic tomato sauce. It’s my go-to. I don’t buy store bought anymore. Best of all, no can opener required. I’ve never been a huge fan of the overly-acidic, dump-all-your-food-storage-into-a-pot sauces. They don’t taste like a real tomato grown on a vine. This sauce does. And you don’t have to make it at the height of growing season, either. I can make mine in the middle of winter with 72″ of snow piling in our front yard.

    The secret is in the type of tomatoes. Regular cherry tomatoes work fabulously. If you happen to find yourself near a Trader Joe’s, stock up on ALL of their mini tomatoes, especially their Villagio Marzano tomatoes! OMG, so good just plain.
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    This recipe may feel like it’s more work than the typical recipe that calls for cans and Italian seasoning, but this gets more of a rustic, home-grown tomato taste rather than a canned taste. It’s just so. much. better.

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    RUSTIC TOMATO SAUCE

    Adapted from Food Made By Tom | Makes 2-3 cups
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 2 tbs salted butter
    • 1/3 cup coarsely sliced onion
    • 2 cartons grape tomatoes*
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
    • kosher salt to taste

    Peel garlic and coarsely chop. Turn on the stove to medium high heat. Add butter, garlic and onion.

    While the onion and garlic are simmering, slice all of your tomatoes in half. Dump tomatoes into the pot once the onions and garlic is aromatic (until onion goes clear, you can go until it browns a little if you’d like). Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes. Check in on it and stir about once every 5 minutes.

    You’ll want the bottom of the medium sauce pan to burn just slightly so you get a roasted flavor in there. Timing depends upon how juicy your tomatoes are. Add salt and pepper. Add broth. I eyeball it. Uncover the sauce and reduce at medium-high heat.

    At this point you could just remove from heat and put on pizza dough as a rustic pizza sauce. My kids don’t much care for the larger skins, so I’ll allow the mixture to cool and blend it with my immersion blender or I’ll put it in the blender and puree. Garnish with fresh basil.

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    The above image is when it’s about half-way done. You’ll want a soupier consistency. It’ll start bubbling and burning slightly on the bottom. The charred bottom adds a lot of flavor, as if you roasted the tomatoes in an oven. You can add broth or stock to the sauce or leave as-is. It just depends upon how thick you want your sauce to be and how much time you have to let it reduce. If I have time, I’ll add broth and let it reduce a couple of times so the flavor is concentrated. My best batches tend to be the ones I forget about because I get caught up with the drama of after-school studies or who gets the iPad. It’s best to cook at medium to medium/high heat. I tend to go medium/high heat because we’re at altitude. Things take FOREVER to cook otherwise.

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    So this may not be a hard-and-fast recipe, it’s more recipe theory and based on “Looks”, so I hope it’ll be as good for you as it has been for our family.

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    1. Kristin H says:

      That looks amazeballs. My hubby actually prefers the pantry type, complete with ground beef. It’s a struggle to be the only foodie in the house…

      • Melissa says:

        Hahah! That would be a struggle. Currently we’re trying to brainwash Penelope that she’s a foodie. It’s sixes right now on if it’s actually working or not.

    2. Heidi says:

      This looks like the perfect recipe to wake up January tastebuds!

    Valentine Brush Calligraphy Workshop

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    How are we looking at Valentine’s plans already? EEP? Where has the time gone? I keep meaning to do a calligraphy workshop IN PERSON, and it just never happens. That’s probably why Alix and I started planning this workshop back in October. I’m so looking forward to partying, hopefully you can be there! If not, there’s always my online class. It’s pretty fun, too.

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    Alix and I have planned an awesome night out with lovely letters, good food, a photobooth (naturally) and great company. We’re going to learn the basics behind pointed brush calligraphy (or brush lettering as most people call it) and we’re going to make some fun little valentines.

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    CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

    February 3, 2016 | Lehi, Utah | 6-9 pm | $140

    Fee includes: food, photobooth, valentine-making craft supplies, the above calligraphy kit (9 markers, pad of paper, exemplar book, pencil, glitter pen & zippered pouch). The class is limited, so it will be an intimate workshop with lots of hands-on help.

    I look forward to seeing you there! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

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    Will you be my valentine?

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    1. Amber Walron says:

      id love to come to your class, I don’t see where the fee is listed. Do you have room for me?

    2. Taylor says:

      Is this a beginner class?

    DIY: Having Fun with Plain Wrapping Paper

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    I don’t have giant stashes of gorgeous wrapping paper. I have rolls of white, black and kraft butcher paper. And the occasional roll of gift wrap. But it doesn’t always match my mood or occasion, so here’s a fun little DIY I did to dress up my gifts this year.

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    Santa doesn’t have this much creativity when it comes to his gift wrap. That would take him way too long.

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    The key to this whole operation is in the marker. Some time ago Sakura sent me their Pigma Professional brush series. I use them for everything. Heck, they’re even in our brush lettering kits that I send out to all of my beginning brush students. These brushes come in 3 sizes: fine, medium and BOLD. I use the fine brush for small detailed work and little illustrations. I’ll use the medium in cases where my x-height letters are about 3/4″ tall. The bold I’ll use for everything else.

    The bold brush is pretty stiff so you still get very fine hairlines even though you can get a ton of drama out of the side of the marker.

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    And when mine dry out, I’ll use them on textured paper for a more organic look (like above). Want to learn how to make these easy-peasy holly berries? Watch the video below.

    Supplies

    • Pigma Professional BB Brush
    • Large sheet of white or kraft paper
    • Sakura Koi red marker (optional)

    I love the BB brush, but you can get similar results from even a crayola marker. Granted, if you want this kind of drama to scale, you’ll need to make smaller holly berries and leaves.

    Basic jist: get a piece of paper and spread it out on the floor or table. Draw out the berries first in random clusters of 3. Then draw in the center of the leaves, coming out from the berries with a light touch. A fine line helps. Then fill in the remainder of the leaves with two mountains and meeting just beyond the tip of the center line of the leaf. Fill in any awkward blank spaces with leaves. Messy is usually better in this case.

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    If you want to go for a more ornamental approach, draw out a berry grouping on cardstock. Watercolor paper is going to give your cluster more texture and depth. Punch a hole near the cluster of berries.

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    With your scissors, cut around the cluster leaving a 1/4″-1/2″ border. Thread through ribbon or string and use as a decoration on your gift.

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    Easy? Brainless? Awesome? Yes to all three. Happy last-minute gift-giving and wrapping!!

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    DIY: 3 Ways to Add Gold to Your Envelopes

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    This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. They provide excellent quality printing and amazing printing options to make your holiday cards stand out this year.

    Gold is such a classic element to add to holiday greetings, but how? What materials do you use? I’ve got a little bit of experience with that and I know just the things to help you make your holiday cards a hit this year.

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    Oh, and I should mention, these tips require no calligraphy experience whatsoever. Neat handwriting helps, and here’s a post to help you with that. Want to learn calligraphy? I do that, too. Sign up for my class right here. Just gonna toot my own horn a bit about the class: it’s hands-on with personal feedback from me and my co-calligrapher (Erika! She’s the raddest!).  Get supplies mailed to your door, personal attention and loads of lifetime content for less than it costs for most in-person modern workshops. Aw, yeah.

    This post may contain affiliate links. These are products I’m using constantly. I get a little bit of a kick-back from any  purchases made through these links. Affiliate sales help feed my crafting addiction and supplies used for blog posts. So thank you for your support.

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    Gold Striping

    It looks like Finetec Gold is a favorite of mine. It’s looking like it’s out of stock at Paper & Ink arts – you might have luck at John Neal Bookseller or a local art supply store. I love this palette because you can add gold and shimmer to just about anything.

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    Get a large hard-bound book or a block of wood that’s longer than your envelope. Place it an inch below the desired line.

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    Instead of using a ruler and getting the underside all gunky from running ink, rest the bottom of your hand along the edge of the book or block and pull your arm towards you (see above). You’ll get a nice straight line without even trying hard.

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    Wait for the gold to dry, then letter the address with the recipient’s name above the line and the address below. I like using the lettermate when doing print addresses. It keeps my lines straight and my leading even. If you choose to use a lettermate or something similar, you’ll want to put the gold line inside one of the lines so that the spacing is even. If you put it between two lines, the top two address lines will look inconsistently spaced. I’ll use a white gelly roll or a gold shadow gelly roll. If you’re using a white envelope, you may want to opt for the black gold or the pink gold. Here I used the lavender gold.

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    Foil Gems

    I’ve got a little secret in my  arsenal and I’m about to share it with you. EEP!! I’m loving this thing. I’ve had it for about a year, and it’s the perfect way to add gold sparkle to something without waiting for glitter glue to dry. I bought this cheap hot foil pen on New Egg some time ago, so it looks like it’s no longer available. The closest thing in price is the WRM keepers one. At $15 it’s totally an impulse purchase. I’ve seen them around on other sites. Just make sure that when you’re looking for yours you look for “hot foil pen”. That’s pretty much it. Scrapbooking suppliers are going to be your best bet.

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    First, you’ll letter your address. I like to switch up styles with print and script.

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    When you’re done, you’ll heat up the foil pen and do little dots in the negative spaces. You can do single dots or groupings of 3. If you’re doing groupings of 3, you can add little green leaves for holly! Or keep them plain. I opted to go plain.

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    Justified Glitter

    • Glitter
    • Sticky thumb or double-stick tape
    • White gelly roll

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    Mark up your paper with sticky thumb. You can use a glue stick for a more organic line.

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    Sprinkle glitter (mix colors for a fun effect) over the envelope. This is a great activity to do in big batches in a bath tub or large casserole dish.

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    With your finger, rub in the glitter so it sticks. You’ll see that glitter will settle and stop coming off. Shake off excess.

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    Write out the address. If you’re doing the lettermate and a script style of penmanship, you may want to write out everything without the descending strokes (like the ‘y’, ‘g’, ‘f’, ‘z’ etc) and fill those in afterward. Add postage and you’re done!

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    I’m slowly knocking out my list this week and next. So my cards will be more like New Year’s cards, but late is always better than never in my opinion!

     

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    Be sure to check out my Instagram for details on how to win a $200 gift card to Tiny Prints and a bunch of goodies to help you address your envelopes this year (including a custom-calligraphed return address designed by yours truly!).

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    1. Mary says:

      Wish me luck! And love all these cute and easy ideas

    2. Diana says:

      This is absolutely beautiful! I love the ways you used gold! And YAY! for giveaways! Thank you! :)

    3. Angela Y says:

      Gold makes everything pretty, especially against a red backing. I wish they still sold the foil pen that you have. I’ve been searching some I saw it in your brush calligraphy lesson.

    4. Ashley says:

      Brilliant! Metallic touches are such an easy and fun way to spruce up a rather plain envelope. Thanks for the tips and the free stuff!

    5. I love these ideas! The gold really gives it a little something special :)

    6. Kristin H says:

      Dude, I meed a lettermate amd the Finetec Gold. Gild all the things!

    7. Arianne says:

      This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try some of these out myself :)

    8. Natalia says:

      So easy and so wonderful!

    9. Melissa dlH says:

      So much fun! I love all you’re doing. So beautiful.

    10. kaye says:

      Clever ideas!

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