Stuck on Xyron!

In The Studio

Hey there! Today I get to share one of my Imagine projects over here on my own blog because we’re having a little hop with Xyron!


Before we get into how I made this any-occasion countdown calendar, I’d just like to thank Xyron, not only for sending us product to work with, but for sticking around (hah!) all these years. Both the little 150 Sticker Maker and 500 Create-a-Sticker that I used in this project I’ve had for something like 15 years and even with all that time and the evolution of their product line, the refills still work in these older “machines” and for that I am sincerely grateful.

Okay, enough gushing, let’s get to the project du jour!

Any-Occasion Countdown Calendar

Are you ever shocked when that one friend (everyone has one) comes into the office or posts on Facebook, etc. “only XX days ’til Christmas”? Even though they come around at the same time every year, I’m always a little gob-smacked at the small number of days before a holiday or other event (and how generally unprepared I might be for them). So I thought a countdown calendar would be an excellent thing to have on hand, and even better if it worked for any holiday or occasion coming up!

To make this countdown calendar I used (more or less in order of use):

Wow, that looks like a lot of stuff and explains why my work table looks like a tornado hit it.

Step One: Emboss and Emboss

Step One: Emboss and Emboss

So I could have sworn I had a clock-patterned embossing folder but apparently I talked myself out of that one (why?!) but I will not be dissuaded. I used the gears embossing folder and inked up one side with the clear Versamark pad. Once it was embossed I sprinkled it with white embossing powder and heat set it. My coverage wasn’t perfect here, but that’s okay, since I really just needed two “perfect” gears.

Step 2: Prep for letters!

Step 2: Prep for letters!

There are many things you can use a Xyron for, but hands-down my go-to use is for letters. With the Create-a-Sticker I will do a larger piece I can run through the die cutter and boom, intantly adhesived letters. No fussing with adhesive all over the place, just so super simple. This time I did two layers (one white, one red) through the Sizzix at once, vastly cutting down the cutting time.

Step 3: We have a title!

Step 3: We have a title!

As you can see, I fussy-cut the gears and added some strips of black cardstock for arms, then I secured them with a brad. The ends of each arm are decorated with a homemade “enamel” dot made from StazOn Studio Glaze. I made a bunch of these on a lark and have a little box of them on my work table for whenever I want one. Basically, you just squeeze a little puddle out onto your craft mat and let it dry.Done.Apply with a tiny dab of white glue.

My title is made by offseting the red letters just a hair behind the white, and sticking them down directly to the dry erase board. The gear-clocks are popped up with a couple of ZapDots a piece.

What you won’t see (because I apparently forgot to grab the camera) is my cutting out a scalloped oval from a piece of white cardstock and blue fun foam. Why blue? It’s what I had. These were put together and attached to the board with some Tear It! Tape.

Step 4: Here's your sign!

Step 4: Here’s your sign!

Here’s where you get customized. I used a variety of stamps and inks, along with some hand lettering, to create little signs to go under the frame I made in the last step. These are just a few I’m starting with, but the beauty of this board is that you can make any occasion you need.

Step 5: Make mine a magnet, please!

Step 5: Make mine a magnet, please!

This magnet tape is really what inspired this project, let’s be honest. On the back of each occasion sign (which have been matted once or twice, each, for strength and prettiness) I placed a piece or two of the Xyron Magnet Tape. This is what makes the countdown any-occasion.

Step 6: Little Letters

Step 6: Little Letters

To finish my board, I cut tiny letters to decorate the bottom of the countdown frame and ran them through my little Xyron 150. Like I said, my favorite use for my Xyrons are letters and for tiny things the little X sticker maker is perfect.

Make good use of the extra space!

Make good use of the extra space!

Since my countdown calendar only takes up 2/3 of my dry erase board, I can use the remaining space to either hold some of the other signs, like in the first photo of the post, or I can use it as a to-do list for the upcoming event. Now I really have no excuse for holidays sneaking up on me.

What would your favorite countdown be?

The 9-Month To-Do List

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

To-Do List graphic

Long engagements seem to be out of favor, according to most popular wedding checklists.

Sure, some might have a to-do list that starts around the 1-year-out mark, but it’s mostly dreaming and broad sweeps at that point. But when you reach 9 months? Then things start to get interesting!

Just to catch us up, here’s what those in know say should be done before the end of the 9-month mark (paraphrased from Real Simple):

  • Get your tear-file ready: a binder, folder, or other place to keep magazine pages, brochures, and vendor info you collect along the way. A folder on your computer or special boards on Pinterest will also do just nicely. (definitely done)
  • Budget: construct one. Figure out who’s paying what and how much you/they can afford. (also done)
  • Decide on your attendants. (pretty easy: we’re not having any; done!)
  • Guest List: have one. (we’ve got a working list–could use some firming up–and it’s under our max occupancy at the Plantation, so we’re good there)
  • Hire a wedding planner/DOC. (came with the venue; done!)
  • Pick your date. (oh, we’re definitely done, there!)
  • Book the venue. (done!)
  • Book the officiant. (done–but I haven’t told you about that, yet)
  • Research other vendors–florals, food, music, and photo (not only researched, but 2 of the 4 booked and the other 2 not needed!)
  • Host an engagement party. (we opted out of this one; so lets consider it done, too!)

Hey, we’re in pretty good shape!

Of course, on our personal to-do list, there are plenty of things that do need working on. No matter how complete a published planner may try to be, the author has to write for as general a base as possible. Smaller weddings may not need as many of the bells and whistles that some larger ones do, and DIY weddings will have a lot more items to check off.

Without being too specific to our own list, here are some examples of items that might be on the DIY to-do list, up through the 9-month mark:

  • Collect items for centerpieces–be it wine bottles, milk glass, vintage books, mercury glass, little animal figures, or even Lego kits. You may not know exactly how many tables you need for centerpieces just yet, so err on the side of too many unless your materials are extremely costly.
  • Making paper flowers? Start yesterday. One of the big benefits of faux flowers–paper, fabric, clay, or anything else–is that they won’t wilt if you start them early, and even the potential hassle of storing the delicate items is worth not stressing out the closer you get to the wedding.
  • Start researching ceremony options if you’re writing your own or personalizing a more traditional ceremony to suit your needs.
  • Going the iPod (Spotify, etc.) DJ route? Start pulling together your play list, seeking out and purchasing or ripping digital copies of the songs you’ll need. And don’t forget a getting ready playlist while you’re at it! Also, look into renting any speakers you might need, depending on the space you’ve got to broadcast to.
  • Artists, start sketching your ideas for your paper goods–it’s coming up on time to send out save the dates and you don’t want to have to rush.
  • Now is a good time to start putting together your wedding website if you want one. There are plenty of free templates available on the big wedding planning sites, or you could get a free site from or

All of the above items are in-progress for us, but not yet settled. I suppose, since the traditional to-dos are taken care of, we might as well concentrate on those for the next month.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


How’s your planning coming along?
Anything I’ve forgotten at this stage?


And with that we’re back to our usual blogging schedule. Actually, better than usual if I manage to keep up with the schedule I’ve set for myself! The closer we get to The Day the more things I’ll have to talk about! Thank you for your patience while I was “away from keyboard” this last month–I managed to get quite a few back-end tasks off my to-do list and even spruce up TTB a bit in the process.

5 Years In, 1 Year Out

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Friday, November 2, was our 5 year dating anniversary and also brought us exactly 1 year until the wedding!

Suddenly my Inbox is full of countdown emails from various wedding websites and we can finally say we’re getting married in less than a year!

For our actual anniversary we went to the local Greek Food Festival but didn’t stay too long–last year we closed it down and then came home with friends to play cards until 3am–this time we were home in jammies before 10pm! Then, Saturday night we had a slightly more “proper” anniversary dinner at Buca di Beppo, which recently opened in the mall, followed by going into every jewelry shop for some impromptu wedding band shopping.

Todd went in thinking he wanted a brushed-and-shiny two-tone look, only to find he liked the look of highly polished Tungsten Carbide band.

Tungsten Carbine Band from Kay Jewelers

Tungsten Carbide Band via Kay Jewelers

And I’m still set on an open-work band with plenty of sparkle.

Sterling Silver & Diamond Band via Kay Jewelers

Sterling Silver & Diamond Band via Kay Jewelers

Not necessarily that ring, but something along those lines. We decided a while ago that, rather than getting a ring custom-made to fit around my engagement setting, I’d get stand-alone ring and wear my engagement ring on my right hand. At first I was against the idea, but then had so many problems with the setting that not wearing it every day seemed like a not bad thing. And, hey, it’s more shiny things for me and I’m not going to fight that!

Ring shopping was a nice way to walk-off dinner but it wasn’t all fun and games. We went into one of those all-but pawn shop jewelry stores, just on a lark, and I regretted it immediately. There was a very wrong feeling in that place and we made a polite circuit of the cases and got the hell out of there. Not that I really expected my dream ring to be in there, but a bride on a budget needs to examine all options.

One more thing I decided, with a year left to go, was to scrapbook this last year of wedding planning, Project Life-style. This will not only get me to take more photos of us and our wedding activities over the next year (something we’ve been really bad about, so far), it’ll also be nice to have a definite reason to scrapbook again. It’s a hobby from way-back for me, but now I do it digitally.

Title Page for our Project: Wedding scrapbook using the Becky Higgins Tourquoise Project Life Kit

The Cover page to our Project: Wedding Album!

T-2 Years and Counting!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Today, as we officially launch Third Time Bride, is the 4th anniversary of our first date.

It’s also exactly 2 years from our planned wedding, so kind of a pre-versary as well.

And it’s kind of an odd feeling.

I mean, I was always up front with Todd about wanting a long engagement and knowing that our best-case-scenario date was 2 years and a bit out seemed like a really good idea when we first started talking matrimony (and it still is, don’t misunderstand) but neither of my 2 previous weddings allowed for this much planning!

At 19 I think we planned everything in maybe 2 months–there was no time to celebrate pre-milestones when you’re trying to squeeze in a wedding before fall semester starts. At 26 it was a planned elopement (which only 1 other person–my roommate–knew about) so there was no build-up or anything at all.

So to have my handy little the ticker tell me that we’re 731 days away (there’s a leap year in there, hence the odd number) is a bit surreal.

But in the best possible way.

We have this luxury of time and I am so grateful for that. I know long engagements (which we’ll talk about more in theory, later) can be considered ridiculous–I used to think of them that way, “why wait?” I’d say when anyone asked what the hurry was. But, really? Why not wait? Why not take our time to choose what we want and discard what we don’t? Why not make the time work to our benefit rather than fighting the clock and the ever-present to-do list?

It’s not like we’ve put our lives on hold until the wedding happens: it’s just the next step for us. We spent almost 4 years and boyfriend-girlfriend and now we’ll spend 2 years as an engaged couple before spending however many years we’re granted as husband and wife. I think 2 years is just the right amount of time.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon

Did you (or do) have a long engagement and, if so, have you celebrated any “pre-versaries” leading up to the big day?