an easy gift for the canner in your life

Canning season is on the horizon.  If you are a canner, or you know a canner… this is exciting.  Personally, I have canned only under the tutelage of experienced canners.  This year I have a goal of canning at least one something on my own.

I recently made some simple canning labels for my mother-in-law.  These labels were inexpensive and super easy to make.  If you know someone who likes to can, here is a tip… make these for them, maybe they will reward you with some of the fruits of their canning labor.


I started by creating a very simple graphic in Photoshop.  You could probably even put something together in Word or draw and scan, depending on what you have available to you.  I just wanted a simple border with a bit of personalization and space for writing.

Once you have your image ready, head over the  This is my go-to place for custom stamps.  Great prices, excellent work, so many choices.

For this project, I chose to make a custom wood stamp with no handle.  For the size, I knew I wanted the labels to be able to fit the regular mouthed jars so I found these round labels for a steal, and I made my stamp to be 2×2 for a perfect fit.

Then I just waited.


When it all arrived, I got to work.  Really difficult stuff here… I didn’t worry too much about having them perfectly centered, cause I always like a rougher look.  It would not be very hard to get them all perfectly centered if that’s your thing… just a little extra patience.  It was easiest to remove the backing before stamping so I could clearly see the edges I was working with.


I thought I would like the white ink the best…  But it turned out that the black looked pretty cool.  They reminded me of little pennies.



Afterward, I snipped each tag off, just into squares and stacked then in a canning jar with a coordinating ribbon tied around the neck.  And viola, you are all set to make your canning friends very happy people!

tis the season for giving

No, no, I am not misreading my calendar…

I am talking about Spring.  The season of weddings and showers and birthdays and graduates and mothers and fathers and wait… is that it??

Here is the simplest little homemade idea that can be easily personalized for whatever occasion.

shoe stationery gift idea

Ok, so, I get that not everyone loves stationery… I don’t understand it, but I get it.  So even if we are not sending snail mail these days… these flat cards would make great thank-you’s or even little jotters on your desk.  I have really taken to the flat card style lately, less paper, less commitment, plus, I think it is fun to showcase the our handwriting.  Whether it is neat or messy, we so seldom see it these days, for me… it is a welcome sight.


As you may have guessed these were created for a shoe lover, with a stamp set that I purchased at Paper Source.  I wanted to use some nice paper, so I dipped into my fancy stash and used again Paper Source’s Luxe White Cover Stock, but anything you have will do.   I found some fun colorful envelopes to brighten up the white and they were complete.


So simple, and yet personal and meaningful too.  Call me selfish – – but it’s really nice to be able to make something for the people in our lives, without feeling like we have to dedicate hours and hours to the task.

Do you like to give handmade gifts?   What are some of your go-to ideas?

Ready to do-this-yourself??  Here are some of my go-to suppliers for paper and stamps and the rest is up to you!!  The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy!!

paper source
cards and pockets
paper and more
impress rubber stamps
hero arts

Need help figuring out which image would be best for your babysitters birthday, or how to weed through to find the best stamp and paper for your project?  Contact me, this is just the kind of thing I love to do!!

Annual Report… a few months late, but a recap of year 2 and plans for year 3

It has been quiet here.  Well at least as far as the business is concerned.  I haven’t taken the time to write my 2 year post.  I was busy with something else.

She is just too much fun to look at.

This past August marked 2 years since Seven Layer Designs became a part of my life.  I can so clearly remember the moment it was born.  And since then, I have learned that starting a small business  (or rather… a micro business… a mom-work-from-home-craft-hobby-business), requires so much more than a lust for your craft.  Which, I guess I knew when I started, but I know it much more personally now.

Within months of picking a name, registering my domain and opening an etsy shop, aka, becoming an entrepreneur, it became clear, that making things was no longer my main objective, now I would become a web designer, an SEO expert, a sales and marketing rep, an accountant, a customer relations expert, a social media guru and a wizard.

Many are the plates to spin: with kids and dishes and laundry often taking the daily hours and energy.  The learning curve has been steep and I can honestly say that it has been more crazy good than just plain ol’crazy.  This is due in part to my wizardry skills.  But seriously, having someone choose to spend their money on your creation is a thrill…  an honor really, that I don’t take lightly.  I am so thankful to all who have made these last 2 years a possibility and believed in me and my work.

And now, year 3 is demanding a different stance.  It is calling for a new approach.  Seven Layer Designs is no longer staying in rapid fire… try this, now do this, and look over here, and finish up this project and figure out how to get more hits and design this invitation and get some new listings up and take some good photos.  Partially because it’s no longer all a foreign language to me, and with that comes clarity about my work and what needs to happen to get where I want to be.  And also because I like spending time with my kids.

If you are still with me… please enjoy some bullets:

Highlights of year 2

  • More custom work!!  With each new job, I am reminded how much I love working with clients to bring their ideas to life.  It is seriously my favorite part.  No kidding.
  • Getting found on Etsy.  This is a small thing I guess, but exciting none the less, and I can admit that I am small potatoes.   Most of my work has been word of mouth, but last year I had the pleasure of customizing some of my past designs for people all over the globe.
  • Subscriptions!  YAY!  I created and sent out little packages of joy each quarter… what fun!

Challenges and Plans for year 3

  • Social Media… I will master you yet!  (And by master I mean more that I won’t check things, constantly spiral into a lonely state of discontent)
  • “It is OK for my kids to play by themselves while I try to get some work done.”  Record and play on repeat.
  • Make Much Stuff.  I shall be spending most all of my Seven Layer Designs time making things.  My goal by the end of this year will be to have 10-15 new invitation designs among other new designs and crafty things.  As a result my shop might sit empty at times and the blog may go dormant… but there will be good things on the horizon!  If you are interested in custom work, feel free to contact me at any time… I am still in business, just not actively going after it.

SO that’s the annual report.  Not sure why I feel the need to do this each year, but I hope you enjoy it.  I do!
Take a look at last years lessons here and here and here.

welcome camille

I can’t believe it has been 2 months (wait–almost 3 months!?!) since I have been here.  I am having the hardest time knowing how to start back up… there is so much to say, so much that has happened.

But they say, the best way to start, is just to start… so here I am,  at a loss for words.

Well, at least a loss for which words.

Let me introduce our new darling, Camille Rose!

life with two babies

This perfect little creature has come into our world and turned it upside down.

There is a new pace to life.


We have been so blessed by glorious time with grandparents, lending us their extra hands and after 5 weeks of live-in help, I have slowly been dipping my toes back into real life.  Trying on chores and balancing demands.

Day by day things have been coming into focus.

There have been tears and tantrums and screaming and time outs  …and thankfully not too many of them have been mine.

I love my darlings immensely, wouldn’t trade my life with them for anything, but they can be demanding.  They are already working as a team, constantly scheming… attempting to throw me off my game.

Last night we went out for our 4th anniversary, and I have never.never.never appreciated the time out more in my life. seriously. never. It was bliss.

Today is the first day I have attempted to see how Seven Layer Designs will fit into this growing life. And as I sit trying to write this post, covered in spit-up, supporting a baby on one side while I unsuccessfully try to manage a two-year-old who is (successfully) trying to climb me and make her way onto the table, so she can quickly gouge it with my pen… I am still mystified.

But I will keep you updated and we’ll see how this goes. Because, now I can see what they all meant when they replied to my fears of life with 2, “I don’t know how it works, it just does.”

I haven’t taken many photos but these are by far my faves to date.

It’s good to be back!  …and to have a distressed table  …and to have an ergo

let’s go fly a kite…

Current circumstances over here at The House of Gus, have *sniff, sniff* ruled out any chance of making invites for Saida’s birthday.  This is fine, because (1) we are planning  a low key family gathering, (2) Ben and I are off for a get-a-way, thanks to his awesome parents who agreed to come in town early for Saida’s day, so we could get some time away! and (3) things have been wonderfully full with Seven Layer Designs.  I love the new invites I have been working on!  …but alas, I do love the papel, so, I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed that I was not able to see my vision through for my daughters bithday.  I am hoping I will get to them at some point, just to put in the shop.

Sweet Saida has a slight Mary Poppins obsession.  She has more recently been drawn to the “let’s go fly a kite” number at the end.  Where a Mary Poppins party requires way more time and effort than this party is going to recieve, I figured, I could throw a few kite themed elements into the mix and call it a party.

I am working on finishing up a banner…(fingers crossed), and I am thrilled to see how her cake comes together.  But the other night, while looking for something online…I, as I often do, followed a rabbit trail!

Take a look at some of these lovely kite themed parties.

Yellow red blue kids party kites

Cute little touches abound in this yellow and blue party, found over at

Take a look at this festive party photographed by Jackie over at

kite party

Love this sweet and simple color scheme... and take a look at that cake!! See more lovely shots at

Ours will look nothing like these, but the house will be full ofcousins and an auntie and uncle and grandparents that Saida holds dear, and Ben and I will have just returned from 3 days of coupleness, and we will celebrate the wonder that is a 2-year-old Saida…

…and it will be just as lovely.