About Me

I am wife to my wonderful husband, mother to two adult children and Nana to one special granddaughter. I also share my heart and my home with several furbabies. Being creative doesn't come easily to me, but I love to try.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

~House Swap + Mini + more baubles!

Back in May, the lovely Diane on the Cricut message board started a House Swap.  I have never done a swap before and somehow I got talked into this one.  The timeframe was very generous (2 1/2 months!), so I figured I would have no problem with the commitment.  I apologize in advance for this very long post, but this was a labor intensive project and I need to 'splain.  There are pics below, I promise!

I was paired with Nanci and although she is not a message board member (yet!) we traded emails back and forth on the things that may interest us and I settled on a Dog theme for her since her furbabies are very special to her. 

One thing I learned during this process is that there are not many "dog" paper collections.  Fortunately, I still had a half of a DCVW Puppy Stack (retired) left from doing an album for the service dog my sister trained.  The only other collection I could find was by BoBunny, so I bought 2 pads to do this project.  I then proceeded to buy dog ribbon, dog fabric, dog charms, dog beads, a peeing dog....well, you get the idea!  lol

Our task was to decorate a medium size (or alternative) paper mache house from Hobby Lobby, create a mini album ORtag album with at least 5 pages and create EITHER a chunky charm OR 3 stick pins.  Well I did four of them.  The paper mache house was probably the hardest to do.  Cutting and fitting wall paper isn't my idea of fun, but I love the way it turned out.  I used balsa wood for the shingles and applied a light blue acrylic "wash" before cutting/adhering them.  I added faux bricks along the base of the house and around the chimney by cutting foam sheets and adhering to paper and then spraying with "stone" paint.  From factorydirectcraft.com, I got the door mat, the fire hydrant and the two puppies on the front porch.  I needed a porch bigger than the house had, so I mounted the whole thing on a sheet of acrylic.  I added green Celebrate It confetti using Glossy accents to the acrylic to mimic grass.   A couple of pine trees from Michaels' completed the outdoors.  Inside is a dog bed and some kind of painte'rs thing that looked like two dog bowls to me, so that's what they became.  I added some grape nut cereal for dog food and coated with glossy accents. There is also a picture of the poker playing dogs inside.  Outside I added a few cuts from Paper Pups.  We joked on the message board that this house was Rose Red.  That's because I kept adding to it everytime I thought it was done.  Finally I just mailed the darn thing or it might have gotten a basement or 3rd floor!

The House

Next up was the mini album.  I knew I wanted to do way more than 5 pages and JennyD posted some links to some tutorials by My Sisters Scrapper for a paper bag mini.  It looked fabulous, so that's what I set out to make.  Here again I used BoBunny paper and miscellaneous doggie themed embellies that I picked up in various places.  This mini used the medium sized Celebrate It paper bags from Michaels and A LOT of 2 sided tape!  I also attached my chunky charm to the spine.  This album will hold AT LEAST 30 pictures.  The picture shows yellow and blue ribbons on the spine, but I later changed these to blue/white before I mailed.  Just because.  I had a dog tag made for each of Nanci's 3 furbabies and attached to a medium dog collar (with paws!) that I picked up at Walmart.  This became the mini's closure.

My Mini

And finally, because Nanci chose stick pins over a chunky charm, I made these three for her.  The folder also use the DCWV puppy stack paper.  I added a few little charms to the center (main) stick pin.

The stick pins

I sure hope Nanci liked it all.  This was a really fun project and now maybe I won't be so nervous about getting involved in some of the message board swaps.  I sure learned a few things during this process, but I had a great time.  I can't WAIT to see what Nanci has made for me!  Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I've been waiting to see Rose Red -- and it was worth the wait! I love all the details in your house -- like the grape nuts for dog food and the poker playing dog picture!! You did an awesome job!! I also love the mini -- a dog collar makes the perfect closure!! Beautiful pins and chunky charm too!!

  2. Absolutely stunning - the details are so impressive - I loved seeing the shingles and bricks and dog accessories in real life! The album is wonderful and I love the chunky charm and all of the flaps and pockets! The dog collar, tags, all of it - AMAZING! An inspiring creation!

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  4. I am Francine's swap partner. When I opened the box and started looking at the house, the charms, and album my brain went into overload. Everything is so BEAUTIFUL. The house details,inside and outside, as well as the album are absolutely STUNNING! The dog collar album closure is so AWESOME!!!! The collar includes dog tags with the names of my fur babies (also known as my 4 legged children) -- so awesome. If you look closely at the picture of the dog near the fire hydrant you can see he has a lifted leg to pee (LoL) - wow! Inside the house the poker playing dogs painting, food bowl and doggie bed makes this a lived in house. My fur babies send a special WOOF WOOF WOOF thank you Francine -- they appreciate the organic sweet potato treats. I asked for stick pins and am soooo glad Francine added chunky charms. Thank you Francine for being a great swap partner. Love your creativity!

    1. So glad you enjoyed your gifts Nanci! I had a blast creating them for you. I completely forgot about the dog treats. Happy your babies enjoyed them. Can't wait to see what you have made for me!

  5. So, this is the famous Red Rose! Holy cow, Francine! You did such an amazing job! I can't believe how much creativity you squeezed into this....the grape nuts dog food is such a great touch...as well as the dog collar and personalized dog tags on your album. The chunky charm is beyond gorgeous and even beyond chunky. The entire package just blows me away. Your paper artistry is just amazing....and I can hear the excitement in Nanci's post. The peeing dog just cracks me up. What a great theme and an absolutely awesome swap package. You rocked it. I hope to see you in many more circle swaps....like all of them. ;) Thanks so much for joining!

  6. Simply amazing. I'm blown away by everything you made!

  7. Bow Wow Francine! Love it! You went all out! I like what you did on the roof-the shingles and peaks. The whole project is great! Nanci will love it!

  8. WOW I love every detail, you created some amazing projects, love the theme, just love all of it!

  9. Oh My! What an absolutely fabulous house! All the attention to details and embellishments, WOW! A truly wonderful work of art!


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