Make your own portable mini desktop easel with storage

A while back I bought a bunch of these  cute little wooden boxes .. the idea was to use them to A: decorate and B: for storing some of my loose pens.  Well .. as you do, it just suddenly hit me.  I had the perfect portable storage to take my pens anywhere, but of course being me.. I hate coloring flat.  I built a super simple desktop easel last year using an offcut spare bit of shelving and two of my sons triangular wood blocks from his building set LOL.
Fabulous little thing.. I use it all of the time… but it’s not exactly idea if you  want to work on odd surfaces like the park benches with the wire tops… but THIS.. now THIS would work. I have had my pens in this box for a few months now and it never even occurred to me till NOW  lol.  I have everything I needed to make a portable easel with storage for my pens.. all I had to do was throw a handle on it if desired and  build the easel portion.  Pff .. NO brainer lol.. TA DA !!! 5 minutes and one pack of popsicle sticks later and I have  my portable easel which could be multi-positional if desired.
Right now I have a flexible band across the top holding extra pens.. but you could store pencil sharpeners, pre printed images or any extras in there as needed by adding an insert with elastic loops, or plastic pockets   These boxes are plenty big enough for a 72 set of pencils and  more if you were to include the top section by adding a strap.  It can be done with any size box, but  this one was  already here and already filled so I chose to use this one for the project. It is approx 8.5×8.5 and  3/4 -1 inch deep at the bottom and 1/2- 3/4 inch deep at the top.
I cut 3 different lengths of Popsicle for different working angles and just stored them inside.. but if this were something you would use a lot you could easily add all 3 angles permanently by fixing them to the box with a nut and bolt and or use metal bars which you can find at the DIY store and just fold out the one you wanted ( think Swiss Army pocket knife lol )
I added a Popsicle to the top with a strip of commercial grade double sided tape to give the paper a resting place so I wouldn’t have to use pins on it to stop it sliding.  I might replace that with a cute little wooden ruler I have once I cut it to size.
Just be sure to seal your box top to protect your wood and /or decor if you decide to  fancy it up; and carry a spare piece of card or something to act as a barrier and give a little padding beneath your project.  There are lots of options for  decorating the top  including a frame with a permanent perspex window,  or a slide in .. hell if you wanted to get fancy .. you could  make a cut out…frame in a sheet of perspex and pop a  battery operated light inside..VOILA !!! portable light box included.
You can take this base project idea  which will knock you back about $5 for the box and  a couple of bucks for Popsicle sticks if you don’t have them…. and totally go to town and personalize your portable easel… make it as quick and simple or  hi-tech and permanent as you want.  Possibilities are endless.

….anywho.. maybe someone out there will have a need for a portable easel with storage and not want to spend a gazillion bucks on one… so .. here you go..something to think about next time you are aimlessly wandering the aisles, coupons in hand.

.. you are welcome   🙂

This is exactly the same kind of box I used in a previous project, with the big cockerel on it.. for anyone who saw that post

Vintage Cockerel Style Wooden Keepsake box.

Gina Marie Designs – Quilted and Holiday Sentiment dies

As promised.. here are the details for the new dies I mentioned on Facebook .. for those who are “curious” Merrie Jone …. LOL

I have been wanting this particular die for a while now and finally had some spare pennies to go on a a bit of a craft splurge.  It’s been a rough year and my last big splurge was probably back in March time… uggity haha.  But things are starting to settle a bit and  so I had a little splurge, unfortunately the “want” outweighed the “cents” so I had to spread around my pennies to as many different places as possible to cover  it all.. and then there were still quite a few things I had to make a “this or that” choice on…  that was a tough call.

I have been coveting a full set of Zig Kurecolors and a full set of chameleons for EVER .. and that was one of the choices I had to make.. more Zigs, or  the Chameleon expansion..*sigh

….and I don’t know if you have ever seen the Gina Marie Designs die range… but trust me..there was a  whole LOT of this? or that? going on LOL. I can’t keep up with all the awesome  new designs that keep coming out.. but I am gonna try hahaha

But anywho… that is a whole nother post.. DIES DIES DIES … here are the two Gina Marie Designs dies I just added to my collection.  The card was  just a quickie test piece… as the observant among you will notice… I stuck  the quilt panel on sideways by accident  oops LOL.  I tested it out with a sticky back patterned paper I had kicking around and some basic black Recollections card – from Michaels

It’s one of those dies you really need to pick the right papers for.. personally I think either a really small pattern, or a really big pattern would work best. And of course you can get some fab  effects by adding solid block colors too it too.

What I really like about this die is that you have so many options  PLUS.. maybe it’s just me, but this design reminds me of a Poinsetta the perfect die for a Christmas card.

The second die is the Happy Holidays sentiment, I have a  very small collection of sentiment dies and  that is something I need to fix … so I am trying to add in a few here and there to my collection.

I shall be giving these new dies a  work out over the coming week.. so expect to see more  projects featuring these two.


If you like this quilted die, there are more designs on the website  ..or you can just wait and see what I buy next time 🙂



Oversized HandStamped Autumn background Card

I LOVE this new stamp, it’s a bargain bin $1.50 seasonal stamp from Michaels.  The seasonal stamps they do, they are perfect for my lil guy who loves to stamp…and I get to borrow them too lol.

The image is by ArtbyMiran colored with Chameleons, Zig Kuercolor and some Isopropyl on Canson Mix Media.

Background is 7×10 Canson Mix Media Paper, stamped with one stamp from Michaels using  Craft Smart dye pads and colored with Chameleon and Zig Kurecolors.

Mounted on a card base made of 11×17 Neenah 110lb Index card  using Zig Photo Tape and trimmed to fit.

I will be compensated for purchases made through affiliate links on this page





Cheap dies and Shrinky Dink…. surprisingly pleasing to the eye.

When you are on a budget…and a very tight one…. sometimes you just have to give things a try and hope that cheap doesn’t always equate to “crap”.  Now don’t get me wrong, these imported dies are most often NOT of the same ilk as the big brand names you are used to… BUT for the price… they are pretty dang good.  They probably won’t last as long, but you should easily get your money’s worth out of them.  As you all know I am not a huge flowery cutesie kinda gal, so I’m not going to be using and abusing these as often as some people would.

I ran these through my Big Shot on regular card and on Shrinky dink without any problem… well I say no problem, my Big Shot ( was probably me lol ) accidentally realigned one of my dies over another and when I ran it through .. you could tell it had bent the back of the die … BUT I have to say in all fairness it still cuts perfectly.

Ok ..sooo here it is a very CAS test card with my new dies.  The flowers were cut on Shrinky Dink and shrunk, then colored with Chameleons and a rhinestone centered glued in place. If you want a smoother look to your coloring.. color THEN shrink.

The foliage was cut on 110lb scrap card stock and has embossing for veins… you just can’t see it in this photo.

Butterfly is a spare Gina Marie Designs cut from the “Butterfly & Beautiful Die set”  that I had and thought suited the 3D nature of this card.
ebay_dies_shrinky_wmd ebay_dies_wmd


See this sellers store for more dies

I will be compensated for purchases made through affiliate links on this page


artimpressionsstamps 193-cards-to-die-for

Smart Bargains – Ribbon steals and deals WOW !

If you love need to check this place out. I was pretty surprised…. and pleasantly so I might add, to discover  a couple of new companies hidden away in the depth of my available affiliate programs.  This one instantly caught  my attention with a $10 coupon and the awesome deals I found in their smart bargain section…they should have called it Panda HAUL.. every crafter loves a good haul.

“Smart Bargains are great deals on limited quantity jewelry-making supplies. Enjoy outlet store pricing on findings,gemstone beads, pearls, glass beads, tools and much more. Shop awesome assortments that are bargain priced to sell fast.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t have a huge selection of ribbons…. I buy a bit here and there as I can afford them  …. but this place.. crazy prices.. I saw ribbons as low as 8 cents a meter.



The other thing I noticed is they sell it by the meter, or full rolls  🙂  I really liked this one, it would be fab for the vintage travel and Paris stamps I have.  1″ BurlyWood Color Eiffel Tower Printed Grosgrain Ribbons

It’s limited quantity and is available in various colors… 20 cents a meter..or $15.96 for 100 yards.







pandahall_pink cross




…or how about this… 7 cents a meter, $3.40 for 100 yards.

Grosgrain Ribbon, DeepPink, 6mm






Shipping seems reasonable if you don’t mind waiting a bit for your bargains…

pandahall coupon


and I noticed this



Sign up and they email you a $10 off a $30 or more order…. so that would make your shopping spree even more fabtastic.  At bargain prices like these, that is a LOT of ribbon LOL.  But they do more than just ribbons, if you make jewelry, or like to add charms etc  to your craft projects… they have those too.  Or you can use that $10 off to grab some tools or extra goodies that aren’t on sale.

If you come to check this out later and can’t find this old post buried in the depth of the CC archive.. never fear.. I added them to my affiliate store list in the shopping  at the top of the page.  I think I might have to bust open the old piggy bank and see if I can shake up some pennies for this one.. There are some fab deal !

I will be compensated for purchases made through affiliate links on this page



Unity Stamps SALE +Free Kit offer

I already ordered a couple of stamps, I just couldn’t resist and scraped out the paypal piggy bank lol…so may cool stamps I must add to my wish list 🙂

I picked up these two stamps..and what a bargain too!

cherished windswept

Unity Stamps have an AMAZING sale going on right now.
-12 {New Releases}
-All Donna Downey Studios stamps on sale!
-All Phyllis Harris Designs stamps on sale!
-All ANGIEgirls by Angie Blom on sale!

And…. SPEND $50 or more and get this GORGEOUS kit sent to you as a GIFT.




ReallyColor….or Really Cool ?

I ran across these guys and my curiosity got the better of me… I think I might have to try this one out myself.  For $3.99 for a credit pack, I’m definitely up for giving this one a shot.

Now before we get into this.. let me state quite clearly A this is one of my new affiliates I signed up with, so YES I will be compensated if anyone tries this… and B.. I haven’t tried it YET myself, so I can’t vouch for the quality…. but it looks really cool. Like most of these type of services, it does  make a difference  in results, depending on the quality of images you send to them… so bear that in mind and pay attention to their recommendations.

The concept behind this is that you upload/send a photo to ReallyColor and they turn it into a line drawing/coloring page for you.  I have to say the prices are pretty impressive if  you can get the results you want from the pictures you choose.  Prices start at 29 cents an image.


One of the things I really like about this is:

Can I make small edits to my coloring page?

Yes. There is an editor built into the conversion tool. Spend as little or as much time on your final coloring page as you wish. You can make small improvements like delete lines under eyes, quickly click away unwanted spots, or spend time making everything perfect. The free drawing feature allows you to fill in lines in your coloring page, or “hand draw” text, stick figures, or whatever impressive free-style drawing you come up with yourself.”

That alone is a great incentive to give this a shot.. but then I read this too.. and I like the idea of my images not being stored, unless I want them to be.

Do you store my images and completed coloring pages?

No. Once you complete your coloring page, it will be available for download right there as well as be sent to the email address you give us for your own safekeeping. However, if you decide to share your coloring page on Facebook or other social media directly from the ReallyColor web site by clicking our SHARE button, that photo and coloring page will remain on our servers in order for your post to be able to successfully link back to the ReallyColor web site. If you simply share the image of your coloring page as an attached photo in a social media post, that coloring page will not be stored on our servers in any way.

“Who can see my photo?

Once your photos have been uploaded and you have downloaded and received your coloring pages, your content is removed from our servers. We do this for your privacy and security. However, if you decide to share your coloring page on Facebook or other social media directly from the ReallyColor web site by clicking our SHARE button, that photo and coloring page will be viewable by anybody who clicks on the link in your post. If you simply share the image of your coloring page as an attached photo in a social media post, that coloring page will not be stored on our servers in any way.”

I am not absolutely sure, but it sounds like you  get a guestimated result before you use the credit?  if anyone  tries this before I get a chance to…. please let me know if you get the chance to preview the image, or just get a score and can change your mind about which image to use….if the photo you chose isn’t producing the results you wanted.

“Can you tell us whether or not our original image will turn into a good coloring page?

Our conversion tool now offers a new, sophisticated scoring tool custom-built by our image science team. It will analyze your original photo when you upload it and assign to it a quality score between 1 and 100. This should set your expectations prior to continuing the conversion process. A score above 50 is usually pretty good.”

Blue Moon Scrapbooking Clearance Section Rocks!


ENABLER ALERT  … LOL..oops sorry girls

If you, like me found you were sadly lacking in Christmas themed dies last year  and wished you had more while you were crafting your little heart out.  THIS you need to check out 🙂   I ran across this place…  Bluemoon Scrapbooking.
Ok Ok.. so maybe I am, yet again.. the last one to know about these guys.. but heh! I was hooking up some new affiliates and updating some old ones.  So as I always do, I had a poke around… my motto is, if I don’t want to shop there why would anyone else.  I don’t add affiliates I am not personally interested in.

But their clearance section… just the first page made me say oh heck yeah !

I could spend a small fortune in just the clearance alone.  They have a tonne of clearance Christmas dies that I would love to get my hands on … checks these out….some of these dies are less than $3.  I would love to grab some of the Halloween ones too… oh boy!

If you are in need of some dies for your collection, seriously check these guys out.  They do way more than just dies,but that is what I was interested in and poking around at … so that’s what I’m mainly posting about  LOL.

There are over 1500 items in the clearance… oh dear me..I am sooo in trouble LOL.  If anyone purchases anything from here, please let me know what you grabbed in the comments and be sure to come back and  let me know what you think of them.  Obviously I will too, but I’m craft budget broke this month, so I won’t be shopping just yet..I really hope some of this stuff is still available when i have some spare cash….

Shipping is free on orders over $50

May apologies to my girls …ENABLER ALERT !!! lol,  I found another fab die place for us …happy shopping  !!!! haha


I will be compensated for purchases made through links on this page



Rubber stamp storage solution.. and cheap too

Finally found what I have been looking for.. a storage solution for the rubber stamp collection the lil man have and I have. This won’t hold the big stamps we have, but it is fab for the Michaels budget stamps they have in the $1.50 buckets.

organizationThe top 30 pockets will accommodate a 3 inch stamp and the bottom 3 will accommodate a 4.5 inch stamp. Each hanger holds 33 ++ stamps depending on how many you fit in each pocket. I managed to squeeze in a good 150-160 stamps without even trying 🙂

I picked these particular ones up at a store called $5 and below tonight in our local Mall… $5 each and I grabbed 4.

I will probably go back and grab a few more for the last of my stamps, and perhaps an extra one or two for the stamps yet to come lol. They are designed for organizing jewelry and I am so glad I didn’t get the bigger shoe pockets I was almost ready to buy.. they wouldn’t have been as good size-wise and I think I would have ended up with stamps on top of stamps which kind of defeats the object of the clear windows lol.

Super happy with this new organization … now I just need somewhere to hang them 🙂  I might pick up a couple extras for  the lace and flowers and embellishment bling too… clear out another canvas tote on my cart 🙂  These would probably work out for my embossing powders and alcohol inks and such too… hmm ok I might be  turning one of our obsolete coat closets into a hanging craft closet haha

Stitched Dies – ScrapbookOutlet & Lil Inker Designs

I may have mentioned I have been having a little shopping Spree this month…. *grin

shaker 3
One of the things I have been looking for is stitched dies to use with my shaker card windows. One of our ladies has these fab stitched dies Die-namics – My  Favorite Things which I have coveted for a while..and yes… I’ll be getting some of those too :).  So I went on a shopping expedition looking for some stitched dies.  I ran across a message board post that mentioned Scrapbook Outlet dies and they had a lot of nice things to say about them.. not only quality but the price too.

We all know stitched dies aren’t cheap… well guess what…

They aren’t the double stitched dies I had been looking at.. but I picked up a bunch of single stitch dies from Scrapbook Outlet  at a fab price and also a Die from another company Lil Inker Designs which is quite unique.  I am hoping that these work well in combo with each other and some dies I already have.. we shall see, they should be here early next week.  Just in time to use them for the February challenges over on the message board  and  of course the KennyK Group challenges twice a month 🙂


By the way for anyone interested,  there is a  Design Team Call over at Lil Inker Designs. I’d love to  try out for that, they have some great products…. but I’m not sure I could compete with all the fab card makers who would love that position.  I’ll be posting  Design Team Call information in another post shortly.


Anywho, back to the Dies… what really caught my eye on the Lil Inkers Die I bought was ..One ..the size and Two the design.  I am really hoping that their ratios match some of my other dies so I can mix and match for some unique designs of my own… we shall see. You know me..I like to experiment.

Check this Die range out, it’s pretty cool.  I know I’ll be back for some of the others myself, the thrifty crafters out there are going to love these because of the way they utilize the negative and positive…. we all love less paper waste and time saving..right!

“The largest die in this set cuts an A2 stitched rectangle- something that we’ve not yet featured in any of our rectangle sets. Now you have a stitched rectangle the exact size of your card base! The remaining three dies in this set feature our exclusive Dual Stitching on the inside and outside of the cut line which can be used in so many fun and creative ways!”


The other dies I bought are from Scrapbook Outlet.  Now these are  just single stitch dies, but you can’t beat the price on these and I read good things about the quality of these too. I think these will work nicely with other dies I have….. and intend to have *grin.

The Dies I got are in the  *** GINA MARIE DESIGNS *** range  on the site…and I couldn’t resist a few extras while I was there  lol.

gina sticthed circle


stitched rectangles gina


gina xstitched circle














I also picked up a Rectangle and Square set in the X stitch design , a “Welcome” Die,  a really cool key embossing folder which will be perfect for a project I am working on and a couple of clearance stamps.

I’m super excited  to get my hands on all these new goodies and get cracking on some challenge cards… so  expect to see a bunch of card projects towards the end of this month while I play catch up.



1 2