photo and letter collage with video tutorial

hey guys! i’m super excited to share a little project with you today!

i created this photo and letter collage to wrap up 2013 and after receiving so many requests for a tutorial, i decided to do my very first video tutorial. eeeeeeeek!!!


using photoshop elements 9, i created this 12×12 photo that i plan to place at the end of my 2013 project life album.

before i get to the video, i have a few disclaimers:
one // i’m super nervous so please be kind. 🙂
two // i’m using free software and the mic that’s built-in to my laptop. it’s not the greatest quality so let me know if there’s anything you don’t understand. thinking i will need to use a better mic if you guys dig these videos and i end up making more.
three // being a teacher was never an aspiration of mine. therefore, sometimes i don’t always explain things carefully or clearly. so if you need a bit more detail for this project, let me know. you can comment here or on instagram or at my facebook page. 🙂

okay, without further adiue….here’s how to make this cool photo project.

have fun and if you create one for yourself, post it to instagram and tag me so i can enjoy yours!!

have a great day!


christmas embroidery // a craft + template

when you think of christmas songs, which is your favorite?
mine? hands down, baby it’s cold outside by dean martin

i realize it doesn’t have anything to do with christmas, but it has everything to do with winter weather and a time gone by when people had class and morals with regard to relationships. the back and forth conversation is just fun and amusing.

obviously the title has been used a million times but it doesn’t lose it’s luster for me. i knew i wanted to display the sentiment in the house for this holiday.

with the cooler weather nearing, the thoughts of christmas are heavy. we’ve had a long and warm summer and i’m ready for some cold outside. embroidery came to mind and this project began to take shape.

christmas stitches

i designed the template on my iPad, using the rhonna farrer photo app. i saved it and then printed it the size i wanted by inserting the picture into word and enlarging it. i used the cluster of stars only because i liked the placement, even though i ended up stitching little asterisks to look for like snow. feel free to save the photo for yourself and make your very own!


this was my first time stitching on black fabric. i still used the same technique as i normally do but had to use a white pen to trace onto the fabric. (if you’re new to embroidery, i made a tutorial a while back).

since my colors this year are black/white/gold/red, i opted for an easy two color design. at this point, the white is done and i’m ready for stitches

the gold is done, i’m adding little stars for stitches

i used a small dowel and black embroidery floss to hang it. christmas stitches

because i was having so much fun, i also stitched another one. i found this printable on pinterest.

christmas stitches

christmas stitches

thanks for reading!

until the next time we chat, have a great week!


a little change is always good

howdy and happy thursday!

are you reading this post on your phone? an email? come over to the blog and check out the changes i made.

…i’ll wait……

you’re back? cool.

well, what do you think? i feel more comfortable with the fresh springy colors. it’s just more me. makes me happy. peppy. like sunshine.

while there are still some other tweeks i’m working on, i think it’s pretty solid start and i couldn’t wait to share.

so here’s to a spring and summer filled with creativity and craftiness.

Bursting with big, life-changing, brilliant ideas

to exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.  ~henri bergson


flashback friday: christmas cards through the years

ahhh the obligatory christmas card. i have always liked making my own. obviously i’m a designer so it’s an excuse to make something cute. also, the store bought ones just ain’t muh thang.

some years we’ve been broke and we didn’t send cards. last year i only emailed my digital card and posted it to facebook. the year before, i actually addressed envelopes and adhered stamps and snail-mailed those bad boys.

regardless, i always seem to make one. and i spend hours of my “free time” getting inspired. but once i make my decision on what i want…i do it.

so check out the last few years of cards:


i picked a design from samsclub’s online photo center, imported a couple pics and had them printed. they come with the envelopes as you know, but hand addressing them was NOT fun.


saw this picture idea somewhere and it took me some practice shots before i pulled the family in for the shot. i edited the color a bit to add vibrance and i added my own sentiment all within photoshop.


i am patting myself on the back for this one. i found a free digital add-on kit at twopeas and knew at first sight, that i’d use it for this years’ card. the pic was taken at thanksgiving and i edited it to add contrast and glow.

lots of awesome colors and fonts make this one my favorite of ALL TIME. makes ya sing the song, right?

how do you say MERRY CHRISTMAS to your friends and family?

you’re the ice {free printable}

have i mentioned that i like coke? coca-cola that is. maybe once or twice? okay well just to reiterate that point, i whipped up a little printable that i was inspired by on the wonderful world of pinterest.

{oh hey, if you’re not on pinterest, request an invite from me by emailing me at retrohipmama AT sbcglobal DOT net and you can join. if you are already addicted, come follow me and i’ll follow you back!}

you see, i’m not a coffee drinker, but i love to post things like this on my hubby’s facebook wall.

dishtowel by house8810

and since i’m a graphic designer by nature…i thought to myself…hey self…you can make one and it can be coke related. i could profess my love for both my hubby and my favorite drink at the same time. right? i think so. and who drinks coke without ice? i mean seriously?

so go ahead, if you’re also a coke lover, tell the one you love how you really feel….about coke him! just right click on the image and save as.

I’m all linked up:

     Today's Creative Blog  Thirty Hand Made Days  Tidy Mom  Photobucket Sumo Sweet StuffAnything Related  Weekend Bloggy Reading

handmade gift exchange is complete! + free template

i’ve been dying to get this post published! but since we’ve been sworn to secrecy until our gift has been received it has had to wait. but were done with the waiting because i mailed it off last week and it was received on friday!


they say it is better to give than to receive. i agree. especially when you are giving something as special as a handmade gift for a new friend.

thanks to Linda over at Craftaholics Anonymous, Kristan and I got hooked up as exchange partners in this season of

so i made her this:

after checking out her really awesome etsy store, devouring her Pinterest photos and checking out her personal photos on facebook, i felt like i could pull from so many different things. let’s just say i was completely inspired. enter photoshop, brusheezy and shutterstock.

honestly, as a graphic design and typography girl, the design process was amazingly fulfilling. pulling different elements and selecting colors and making it all work together…mmm…i love this stuff.

and since this is an original design, i thought i’d share the template with you if you wanted to make one for yourself.

alright alright…i’ll get on with it…if you’re a first timer, here’s is my non professional tutorial


embroidery hoop
embroidery floss
embroidery needle

pick your color theme and cut fabric to fit about 2 inches larger than the hoop size.

tape it up securely to a sunny well lit window and get your trace on.

secure into your hoop and tighten the screw.

i used a simple back stitch for everything.
3 strands for the text
all 6 strands for the thick parts of the branch, and progressing to less strands as the branches got smaller.

remove finished piece from the hoop and cut a piece of batting the size of the fabric and re-attach to the hoop. trim along the back so no batting or fabric sticks out.

ya dig? cool, then grab your free download by clicking on the image below, then saving the image to your computer and printing it to the size you want.

I’m all linked up:
     Today's Creative Blog  Thirty Hand Made Days  Tidy Mom  Photobucket Sumo Sweet StuffAnything Related  Weekend Bloggy Reading

a sweet little ad i did [for my sweet sister]

my sister wants to stay home with her new baby girl and is trying to start up an in home daycare to earn the lost income of quitting her job. so we met up at our parent’s house to hang out and come up with some ideas for her business card.

we spent the morning watching the kids play and catching up. i, of course, was snapping away at all the antics and when little alyssa finally woke up i kept on snapping while my dad held her.

after a bbq lunch, we started shooting around names and concepts (appealing to the mom’s and not the kids) and i suggested (after deciding she wanted more of a flyer to hang up in local businesses) that we use a simple picture of a baby and avoid all the typical blocks and primary colors of most daycare outfits. my sis really liked the idea so i though hmmm…i just shot some cute pics of alyssa, let’s look at them and see if any work.  this is the one we picked since we wanted the baby to look “generic”. i think it worked…don’t you? a cute title and basic info (obviously i removed her city and phone number) and we’ve got an ad that screams clean and sweet.

we sized it 5×7 so she can print them as photos at costco. when my sis puts these around her little town, they’re sure to catch the eye of a few moms who might need her services.

putting it in God’s hands now. praying my sis can find a good family to help out in order to keep her home with alyssa.

a better bulletin board

I’ve been tired of our blah bulletin board for a while now and thanks to Mason’s Roost…I was inspired to give it a makeover. I didn’t take a before picture, but it was this bulletin board, with the black frame, and the cork was painted white. VERY unattractive. And it just hung there, all alone.

But just look at it now! And it cost me $1.

The HI alphabet is from Sprik Space and so are the red chevron printables. I bought the frame at the dollar store and spray painted it red.
The black circle was a wooden piece I picked up a few years ago. I glued a few scrapbooking elements to the face and  used two pieces of ribbon from my stash to hang it up.
I had the embroidery hoops and used a piece of scrap fabric and ribbon I already had.
The i HEART u card from from my hubby for a our 7th wedding anniversary.
And the coffee cup printable is from In His Grace.


 It makes me happy to look at this wall now.

Thanks for checking it out!