Paper House Luminaries with

CH_JSIM_BL_House_Buttons_07In my most recent Inspired Barn workshop, attendees crafted and embellished lovely paper house luminaries that I designed similar to those I taught at last year’s Spellbound Event. However this time we decorated our houses with spectacular glass and crystal buttons and buckles sponsored by Blumenthal Lansing’s previous workshops students were asked to gather and bring an assortment of vintage rhinestone, crystal and glass jewelry pieces to add sparkle to their luminaries. I also brought along a large assortment for sale that had taken months of searching, shopping, bidding and buying. So to have easy access online and in so many local stores for similarly beautiful new pieces can not only make gathering easier, the wide range of Blumenthal Lansing brands allows for so many gorgeous choices. And unlike most scrapbook embellishements, these buttons and buckles are of much higher quality for creating lasting heirloom pieces.CH_JSIM_BL_House_Buttons_02The ladies in both recent workshops used the buttons and buckles in many creative ways. CH_JSIM_BL_House_Buttons_03Buckles were slipped onto ribbon, or with bars snipped, used as sparkly window frames. CH_JSIM_BL_House_Buttons_04We used wire cutters to remove button shanks before gluing to the houses, or punched a small hole into the paper and slipped the shank into it, gluing in place to secure.CH_JSIM_BL_House_Buttons_05 Some students used flower shaped paper punches were used to cut out shapes that were glittered and buttons attached for additional bling effect. We decorated other sections of our houses with the glitter and finely ground mica flakes. Everyone made a set of three little luminaries and each was simply stunning!CH_JSIM_BL_House_Buttons_10Blumenthal Lansing has an enormous assortment of buttons and buckles besides the more formal ones we used, in fact they even carry many fun items on  that are not buttons such as Boutique Appliques, Buckles and Closures, Button Art Kits, Buttons and Beads, Button Storage, Handbag Handles, Love Labels, and Photo Fabric. To find a store near you, click here for their retail partners. Visit’s blog, community project gallery, Facebook page, and Instagram feed for a constant supply of inspiration and product promotions.

The Paper House Luminaries Kit is Now Available on Etsy for Instant Download!

CH_IB_Etsy_House_LuminariesIf you’d like to make these lovely Paper House Luminaries yourself, you can find the full Paper House Luminaries kit with photo instructions, and image & template printables for instant download in my Etsy store for only $10.

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Vintage Winter Photo Labels: FREE Printables

WL-CH-Winter-Photo-Labels_04 I’ve teamed up with my favorite label company again to bring you free wintertime printables designed from my collection of vintage photos. There are lots uses for these and I share a few in my post over at the blog. This set prints to full sheet label stock for trimming out individual labels.WL-CH-Winter-Photo-Labels_01 Head over to’s blog to see more and grab up the free digital download. And while you’re there, please share it with your friends, leave a comment, and start stuffing yourself a nice fat file folder full of the many, many fantastic free printable downloads designed by some pretty talented designers available only on the WL blog.

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Shutterfly Holiday, Gift, and “Craft” Products

I was invited to join ten other bloggers at a Shutterfly Gift Wrapping Party party held at the popular MakeShop by Brit+Co in San Francisco last Tuesday. Prior to the event we were given shopping credit on Shutterfly to order some pretty cool product. I’ve only ever ordered custom Christmas cards from Shutterfly so I was excited to see the quality of their other offerings.Shutterfly-logo Rather than just ordering custom gifts with family photos, I uploaded several high-resolution images from my scanned collection of vintage ephemera and was able to create some pieces that came out beautifully. I ordered an 8″ x 10″ Wood Wall Art with an image I composited in Photoshop and I love the effect of it printed to wood. The bloggers who ordered family photos on wood were just as pleased. The skin colors turned out surprisingly perfect. Even whites were pretty true-white. I don’t know how they do that but they were so impressive. As you can see on my wood wall art the colors are very vibrant, though you can still see the nice wood grain through them.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_08 I also ordered a set of glass magnets. WOW! I was so impressed with these. Fat, chunky, and dramatic. Some of the bloggers pulled shots from their instagram feed for their magnets, so perfect. I used a recent photo taken of Jeff and me on my iPhone to order a 2014 Christmas tree ornament, and one more ornament for the studio to hang shown displayed here on my sweet little handmade feather tree, a gift from my friend, artist Dennis Haynes of Runamuck Studios.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_10I also ordered this 5″ x 5″ acrylic photo block with our picture, we have lots of shots of the kids but none of us around the house except our wedding photo from 24 years ago. I sure love this non-framed dimensional piece.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_01I designed my own Inspired Barn custom gift wrap using their Shutterfly Collage Gallery format. Their website is not only easy to navigate, but uploading photos and arranging them into the many templates available is super easy and quick. Look how fantastic it turned out. I think I was the only one at the party that didn’t actually wrap a gift. I plan to use mine more as decorative craft paper. I’m not sure what I’ll make first with it but I’m pretty excited to have it and look forward to using it soon.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_07When ordering the wood wall art, I had intentions to craft with the final piece in some sort of collage/mixed media/assemblage fashion. I was recently sent a nice selection of wood pallet canvases by 48 by 40 to try out and decided to pair a 14″ x 14″ canvas with my new Shutterfly piece. I started by stenciling the pallet canvas with one of my custom stencils. Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_17I added some gold foil Dresden trim along the top of the wood wall art after painting with white acrylic paint then rubbing it off for a patina effect.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_14At the bottom I added a vintage brass tag, drilling pilot holes first then attaching with brass screws.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_09Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_12I attached the Shutterfly piece to the wood pallet with Beacon’s 527 adhesive and further embellished the whole piece with goodies in my studio. Here is the finished piece:Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_06I enlarged and photocopied a stamp and glued it to the canvas with matte medium, distressed with fine grit sandpaper, and cancelled it with my custom Petaluma postmark rubber stamp.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_05Here is a close-up of the stenciling. I love the effect on the wood with nails and all.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_04I attached a brass ID plate covered with a strip of paper copied from a vintage farmer’s almanac, and an old brass double coat hook. I used a toothpick to paint brown and black acrylic paint into the grooves of all of the very shiny new brass screws I used that needed grunging, smudging a bit more across the surfaces.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_16 This strip of paper is from a vintage roll of transit tickets, distressed with sandpaper and finished with a numbering stamp.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_13 I gave my art an award made from vintage prize ribbon rosette components, a milk bottle cap piece and one of my Shutterfly glass photo magnets.Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_15The finished piece now hangs from the side of a cupboard at the entrance of my barn studio to serve as a coat rack and displays old lumber bib aprons. Cathe_Holden_Shutterbug_Holiday_11Shutterfly’s products and photo imaging process is such high quality, and I think any of their many products would make the very best gifts for the holidays or any occasion. But I hope you’ll consider Shutterfly as well for creating your own custom art pieces!

You can find some behind the scenes of the gift wrap event and lots of other nice custom pieces on Instagram using the hashtag #ShutterflyHoliday. For even more inspiration, be sure to follow Shutterfly on Facebook. And for more wood pallet canvas ideas, be sure to check out 48 by 40!

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