Halloween Happiness (latest TV segment, WitchFest, and scrapbooking)

All month, I've been in a witchy way. I'm sure this has everything to do with the fact that I blog for Gardner Village and right now is their popular WitchFest event. If you live in Utah and haven't had a chance to visit, you definitely need to give it a go. That atmosphere is magical and there is so much to do!

Photographing witches for a living?! Doesn't get much more fun than this!

Witch Crafts

With the witch in mind, I had fun creating witchy crafts for my October Studio 5 TV segment. (Watch segment here.)

This witch banner came together thanks to a triangle chipboard banner set I purchased from Target's one spot for $1. I simply turned the triangles upside down and witch hats were practically made.

We witch shoe a merry Christmas... errr, happy Halloween!

From pointed hats to striped stockings. If you know me, you know I LOVE bubblegum. So when I was thinking of ways to add a colorful stripe to this to this "sock," gumballs popped into my head.

Double BUBBLE toil and trouble!

This sentiment would work with a bubble bath gift as well. You know, in case you're seeking a sweets-free option. :)

For the shoes, I used this free download, created by Needful Things. Isn't it fun? You can save it as an image by right clicking and then size it up and down to fit the needs of your project before you print it.

Magazine Time

The Fall issue of Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine is now available. In it, I shared this Halloween layout I made about last year's fun with my sweet Snow and little Dopey.

WitchFest at Gardner Village

In between all this crafting, we've had fun at Gardner Village this month. Thanks for joining us, Izzy and Ashley!

I hope you have the happiest of Halloweens, boo!


Introducing: Planner Pointers, NEW Planner Products, and a $20 Taylored Expressions Giveaway! woot!

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? Get to the good stuff? Save the best for... first?! The fine folks at Taylored Expressions are celebrating the launch of their new Clearly Planned line of stamps, dies, planners, and accessories. WOOT! How exciting!

I used a Taylored Expressions bow die and their yummy felt to create my planner clip. The center is a sequin from Little Things from Lucy's Cards.

And they're generously offering you, my blog chums, a chance at $20 to spend in their shop! Interested? Go ahead. Take a peek. I'll wait...      Yeah, I thought so. ;) I mean look at how ca-utte this Sneak a Peek set is! Huzzah!

Do you see how the owl is peeking in from the side of my calendar? (I colored his belly with colored pencils.)

I had such fun stamping with this! As well as Time Will Tell...

And Chit Chat...

Isn't this new line divine? And there a bunch more where these came from. There is a stamp order in my future. If you can say the same, you'll want to enter the:

Taylored Expression $20 Shopping Spree Giveaway (open to all!)

To enter, please do any (or all) of the following:
1. Comment on this post. I always love a hello from you. Even if I have to bribe one out of you. ;) Please include an email with your comment if you choose option 1. Thanks!

2. Comment on my coordinating Instagram post (the one mentioning the giveaway, posted on 8/19).
3. Comment on my coordinating FaceBook post (the one mentioning the giveaway, posted on 8/19).
4. Shoot me a quick email at meghoeppner@gmail.com with "TE Planner Giveaway" in the subject line.

You have until Monday, August 22 to enter. Good luck!

Introducing: Planner Pointers

I've had this idea for a blog series rolling around the ol' noggin since before I launched my planner line in 2015. I guess I've just lacked the proper, ahem, planning to make it a reality. Until now! Once a month, I'm going to share a look inside my planner and a pointer (or pointers) of some sort. Tips and tricks I like to apply to my planner. With Taylored Expressions launching their awesome new Clearly Planned collection, it seems the prime time to get this party started.

August Planner Pointer #1: Include Photos

There are so many ways this can be done. I'll share several, I'm sure. But I'll focus on this cute framed approach today.

These bitty frames (opening measures 1 5/16" x 1 5/16" [bitty!]) were die cut using the new Taylored Expressions Little Bits Mini Frame 1 die, which is measured to fit in the Simple Stories A5 Carpe Diem calendar boxes perfectly!

My glittered frames were cut from adhesive-backed glitter paper by Cosmo Cricket. This approach is awesome, because the cuts are instantly stickers, so even if you don't use them right away, you can cut a bunch, stash 'em in your planner, and use 'em as needed. Nice!

If you don't have this die but want to give this look a try, you can try cutting a rectangle to the size of your space to fill and then punching a square opener from there. With this die only costing $6, I'm all for going the easy route, but I didn't want to exclude those who may not have access to a die cutting machine.

Photo Prep

These pics are bitty. To prepare them, I used the photo collage function in my Project Life App on my phone to create an August sampling of images. One thing I can't tell you is why it all looks evenly spaced in my app but always saves and prints as shown below (not even). If you have any advice in this department, I'm all ears (eyes?). Thanks!

I then printed and added the frames to a few, intentionally spacing them throughout the calendar spread (instead of framing several days in a row). I like the balance this offers.

Planner Pointer #2: Planner Stamping

Not gonna lie. The idea scared me a bit. I mean, there's no going back on a stamp. Well... that's sort of true. You can always cover the crap. But if you don't consider yourself a stamp champ, try this quick tip:

Cut a piece of cardstock to fit your planner space, stamp on it, and adhere it to your calendar. Do this a few times until you're more comfortable with your stamps, ink, and stamping in general. Or use cute sticky notes that you can then stick in, like the new Sticky Situation Taylored Expressions notes. There are currently four styles to choose from. I went with this cutie (#3)!

If you do stamp directly on your calendar and, boo!, an impression doesn't fully apply, try touching it up with a pen. That's what I did on my Aug. 21 hearts. Instant drop shadow (is that what that's called?)!

And with stamping, it's important to embrace imperfection. If they look too perfect, they lose their "stamped" charm. And that charm is a very on-trend look in planners.

Finally, if you're using a new ink or stamp in your planner for the first time, find a scrap to do a test stamp on first. IMPORTANT: The scrap should be planner paper (an old page, a page in the back, an area you know you'll cover anyway). Stamps stamp differently, depending on the surface. This includes different paper weights and finishes. That's what's going on below--test stamping in the back of my planner. Which lead me to realize I prefer the stamped off look for my numbers.

Stamping Off: Ink stamp, stamp on scrap, DO NOT re-ink, and stamp again on finished project. It creates a lighter look.

Why stamp?

So many reasons. My favorite: uniformity. My handwriting is all over the place. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I... don't! Stamps don't change games on you mid process. Look how many times I was able to fit in ONE bitty box without the box feeling cluttered or messy! There's no way it would look this uniform if I had scratched chicken all over it. ;)

Think Ink

The difference between a meh and oh yeah! with stamping often comes down to two things--the quality of the stamp (you typically get what you pay for) and the quality of your ink. I can't say enough good things about the Taylored Expressions ink The Oreo black hybrid ink I used stamped cleanly every time (unless I made a bonehead move beyond the ink's control--I mean, it's not superhero ink).

Yes, Taylored Expressions is kindly throwing $20 your way, but this is not why I say this about their ink. They did send me the stamps and ink to use, but the post is not financially sponsored in any way. I just dig this ink (and not just because it's named Oreo!) and am happy to share. Plus, they come in bitty pads that I'm able to easily pack and take with me when planning/stamping on the go. Get me a glass of milk, and this deal is sealed!

That's it for my first Planner Pointers post. What did you think? Helpful? Too long? Too detailed? Not detailed enough? Stick to one pointer each post? I'm all for suggestions. This is a brand new endeavor for me, and I want to make it a good one. To do that I'd love your help. I have so many ideas I'm excited to share, but I want to go about it the right way. Think a video would help? As much as I hate to admit this, I am a bit on the thinned-skin side, so if this is a big fat thumb's down for you all together, perhaps you spare me the comment. But constructive feedback is absolutely appreciated. Thanks, friends. And happy planning!!



Three Trends in Paper Crafting, Part 2 (Watercolor)

In my last post, I shared three trends that I discussed on the TV show Studio 5 this month (watch segment here). Those trends: watercolor, foil, and plaid. Such a fun bunch of looks on the scene right now!

On the set of Studio 5, just after sharing this bunch of trendy fun on TV. Why I decided to hunch over in this odd fashion, I do not know. ;)

Well, I'm back to share a couple of projects I created from the watercolor trend. I used the Just Add Watercolor line from Julie Comstock of Cosmo Cricket to create a home decor item.

Like the name of this product line suggests, all i had to do was add watercolor to get this cool effect. The sheet was already die cut in this pretty way, with the resist areas (embossed areas that won't take color) and foil already added. I used a combination of watercolor crayons from Lulu's Boutique in Gardner Village and the awesome Swatch Sticks, also from Cosmo Cricket, to color my piece. (More on both products below.)

I love quick gift ideas, and this Just Add Watercolor Paper Cuts Deck is just the ticket! Buy a few inexpensive frames (thanks, IKEA), and you've got gifts for friends, Mom, coworkers, and more ready to rock! Here are the cuts that come in the set. You also get gold foil sheets and white cardstock sheets included, so you can take your pick on how you want to back your colored piece.

Image Credit: Cosmo Cricket

I also had fun playing with the Resist Pen from the Just Add Watercolor Cosmo Cricket line. It's a clear ink that, when dry, resists the watercolor, making it an excellent masking/resist option when you want a DIY look.

Image Credit: Cosmo Cricket

Here are a couple of tags I designed with this pen.

Watercolor Tools

I am slightly obsessed with watercolor mediums. I have several different paint options, including a traditional set of paints, watercolor pencils from Stampin' Up!, watercolor crayons from various companies, and now, Swatch Sticks from Cosmo Cricket. Here's a little about what I like about each of my options:

Traditional Watercolor Paint

* Easy to blend colors
* Light weight and thin case
* Many color options

* A bit fragile--you wouldn't want to drop them or you risk cracking the paint
* Bigger (not as travel friendly, but the case is thin [as mentioned above], which helps


Watercolor Crayons

* Easy to lift color directly from crayon using water brush (I like the Aqua Painters from Stampin' Up!)
* Can also color directly on paper and then blend
* Pretty portable

* Can also be fragile, but the ones shown here are pretty durable with their hard plastic case
* Not as easy to blend
* Can create harsh lines when used directly on paper (vs. pulling color from crayon using brush)

These particular crayons create a glittered finish, which is so pretty. I wish my camera would have picked it up better. I purchased these at Lulu's Boutique in Gardner Village.

These crayons were a gift from the Easter Bunny, so I tried them out in my sketch book. I wish the shimmer showed up here. It's so sparkly and pretty IRL.

Watercolor Pencils

* Can draw defined, fine lines and then blend
* Great for detail work
* Nice when practicing lettering or when you want smaller letters

* Fragile (but you can always sharpen the tips if they break)
* Not as easy to blend

Swatch Sticks

* Small and very travel friendly (can you tell I like to craft on the go?)
* Dual tips, so each stick has two colors in one
* Easy to store
* Saturated color
* Easy to pull color directly from tip using water brush
* Can be applied directly to project for coloring
* Blend beautifully

* Lids sometimes come off (store them in a sandwich bag when traveling)
* Some of the darker colors didn't blend as well when applied directly to paper, but lifting the color from the stick worked like a charm

These are just a few of my go-tos. I also love the various pigment powders, like the Pixie Paints from Cosmo Cricket (bottle shown above) and the Color Bursts from Ken Oliver. (You can watch my Studio 5 segment showing the Color Bursts here.) And Gelatos pigment sticks by Faber Castell are always a fun choice.

What is your favorite way to watercolor? I always love hearing of new ideas or approaches. The ones I've listed here are my current faves, but there are so many fantastic options available. I'm all for hearing how you create this soft look.


Essentials by Ellen June Pin-Sights Challenge

I'm always flattered when a craft-industry friend reaches out and asks if I'll participate in a guest blog post. I've known Ellen Hutson and Julie Ebersol since my early days at Paper Crafts magazine (some 9 years ago), so participating in this one for the Ellen Hutson store was an easy yes. 


What is the Pin-Sights Challenge? Once a month, the folks at Ellen Hutson create an inspiration board using images pulled from Pinterest, which crafters use it as a jumping off point to their creativity. This month's board is absolutely stunning! Check it out. 


I was sent the new and wonderful Mondo Magnolia Essentials by Ellen stamp set and die set, designed by one of the cutest card makers I know, Julie Ebersol. Don't you just love it?

So, with my stamps and dies in hand and my inspiration in place, I set to work. I was asked to do A CARD, but I couldn't help but do a bit more than that. I ended up creating two cards and a layout. 


The key to each of my projects was vellum, which I stamped, heat embossed (some of the pieces) and die cut. I love the soft look vellum adds, and this delicious assortment by Doodlebug Design worked perfectly with this inspiration board! 

For the cards, I also used my watercolor paints to add a soft background. The cards are made using watercolor paper. 

And a little machine stitching and sequins were added to complete my designs. 


Want to win a $50 gift card to the Ellen Hutson store? Enter by participating in this Pin-Sights Challenge on the Ellen CLASSroom blog. To be eligible, you must use an Essentials by Ellen product and this inspiration board. You'll find info on the Ellen CLASSroom blog about uploading your design. A random participant will be selected. Good luck!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this pretty inspiration piece and my projects have you inspired to create something sorbet-y sweet this summer. Hope to see you in the CLASSroom soon. :)