Friday, August 31, 2012

Round Robin and Keith's Birthday Card

My brother Keith's birthday is August 31st.  When he was a kid he would start a couple weeks before his birthday - going around the neighborhood reminding everyone that his birthday was approaching.  Everybody got a huge kick out of it!  We all need to be more like that and celebrate who we are.

Back then, one of the ways we used to keep in touch with my mom's side of the family was with a Round Robin.  It was a reel-to-reel tape that my Grandpa Hawkins set up with a splice half way through.  Grandma and Grandpa talked on the first fourth and sent it to my Uncle Ralph.  Then Ralph and his family talked about their lives on the next section and sent it to us.  We listened to everyone, then flipped it over and added our part and mailed it on to my mom's sister, Edith, who finished it off with her family.  It went round and round.  We often recorded our part at dinner or in the living room in the evening, but I do remember one specific Saturday morning.  It was just before Keith's 13th birthday and we were taping our section of the Round Robin while discussing what to do for his party.

Now you can imagine what a big deal Keith's party was since he looked forward to it with such enthusiasm.  All kinds of ideas were being tossed around: the zoo, the amusement park, the Adler Planetarium  but the one I remember was the movies.  I wish I could remember what film was playing (Grandpa kept copies of all the Round Robins, so someday I will listen to this again!!).  The horror was that children's tickets were 75 cents and adult tickets were $1.25.  Keith was turning 13 and was now an "adult" at the movie theater as were all of his friends!!

The other birthday party venue choices were probably all more expensive, I think it was the idea of spending THAT much money at the movies!!  It really makes me giggle.  : D

Keith's a "Car Guy," so I immediately got out the Cruisin' packet and started playing around.  I really like the Cruisin' sticker, but the camera flash has made it a little hard to see.  I embossed the car.  I thought about embossing the gas pump, but wanted the car to stand out, so I left it matte and was happy with just a bit of bling!

Cruisin' had these coordinating bottle caps that are really cool!
You can get them right now at a really reduced price*, but the paper is sold out.
Don't worry Keith - I paid full price for these!!!!

I always try to stamp something on the back of each card and on the envelope.
Often I forget to photograph it though!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KEITH!! Love You!!! XOXO, Yer Sis, Kare

*Cruisin' Bottle Caps and Stickers can be found on my shopping site.  Click on graphic at top right of this blog, then go to SHOP, then on left side -  all the way down to "While Supplies Last."  Have fun!
Contact me with any shopping questions and I will walk you through it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stamp Lingo

This is back to the basics.  My sister-in-law, Gail  - Hi Gail!  ; )  - is taking the plunge after being an avid follower of my blog these past couple of weeks and is going to start stamping!!  Gail is a very talented seamstress, quilter, cross-stitcher and smocker (I'm making up some of these words, but that doesn't diminish her skills!!)  She's done a lot of crafts including rubber stamping the "old way."  She just needs to learn about acrylic stamps and some of what has been happening lately.  Basically what I have been learning the past two years.

So here we go, Gail, and anyone else who is interested.

As with anything new, it's all about the lingo, so even though I catch myself saying rubber stamps - it's ACRYLIC these days - and what a difference that makes.  A see-through stamp on a see-through block.  What a concept.  It opens up a whole new world! (Cue music.)

If you were a collector of rubber stamps, they were bulky to store.  Acrylic stamps are thin. They peel off of their carrier sheets, as needed, and are placed on a clear block to be used.  Then after being cleaned they are returned to the carrier sheet - right back to their photo.

Getting started with my double stamp set - It"s Your Day
(available till September 30, 2012
for $5 with a $35 purchase)

 For my example, I am using 4 stamps together on one block as a small collage.  This would have been difficult to do with the old style rubber stamps.  Don't get me wrong.  I loved my rubber stamps, but this is better!!

An important thing to be aware of with acrylic stamps is that they don't have that little spongy part that exist in a rubber stamp between the wood and the rubber, so we take care of that with a sheet of spongy Styrofoam-like material.  This sheet comes with your stamp set and serves both as protection for your stamps in it's package as well as a work surface.  Place it under your scrap paper (a large sheet of blank newsprint works well.)

In the photo above I show the cushiony material on top of my scrap paper just so you can SEE that I am using it.  In all of the other photos on my blog - just know that it is there!!  I'll remind you occasionally.  ; )

The beauty of being able to see through the stamp and block is that you are able to line up your image and stamp it where you want it.  OK, so it's not perfect every time, but it's pretty close.   Take it from someone who did a lot of rubber stamping.  No matter how hard you concentrate, you CANNOT see through wood!

I wanted a bit of a zigzag border, so I  pieced this pattern together all around the edge.  I made some mistakes, but I don't think anyone would really look closely enough to notice.  I sure didn't at first!
Finished card complete with sparkles

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Butterflies Popping Up Everywhere

There's a special 2 stamp set that is available right now.  It looks like this:

FYI, it's $5 with a $35 purchase.  A great deal, but what to do with it?

I saw it and I really wanted to make those butterflies FLY!  I immediately remembered a trick I learned from someone when I was a Girl Scout leader (which I did for 14 years with my daughter).  It's a really neat trick with stickers and I learned it with butterflies.  You need 3 symmetrical stickers to make one butterfly pop.  The "hidden" two stickers are each folded in half with one half attached to the paper and the other half attached to the popping butterfly.  How do I show this to you?

I stamped 3 butterflies: 2 solids and 1 fancy to pop, fold each of them in half as shown.

FRONT                                 BACK
Using your double sided adhesive runner adhere half a solid butterfly wing to the back of each fancy butterfly wing so that if the solid butterflies were each folded in half they would each stay on their own half behind the fancy butterfly.  When opened and turned around, you will see the white paper half of each solid butterfly.  This will be adhered to your project.

In this photo you can see one of the "hidden" butterflies attached to each popping butterfly.  There is another one on the other side.

The solid butterflies are the hidden ones - meant to look like a shadow.

This view might help you to see how I had to stamp and cut out 3 butterfly pieces in order to make one popping butterfly.

Now for the other fun tip.  I used the solid butterfly stamp with Sunny Yellow (it's the only yellow I have), then I inked the mandala from the Beautiful Friendship B1400 in Pear (then Sunset, then Pacifica for the other two butterflies).

I pressed the solid yellow butterfly against the Pear mandala and transferred the green design to the butterfly.  When it was stamped both the yellow and the green show up.

This transfer technique is called kissing.  Awwww.

This shows the cut pieces that is takes to make 3 butterflies.  (I like to cut!)  Click on it to enlarge to see where I cut the butterfly's body off.  Don't worry, I put it back on in the end.

Extra stamped butterflies, one in each color, used to make liquid glass body.  I cut body out when dried.

Finally finished!!  Hope you like it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Anderson Gardens 3

Welcome back to the third installment of my Stdio J digital scrap book of our morning in Anderson Gardens, Rockford, Illinois.  I completed 4 of these 2-page layouts in one evening.  It was crazy fun and remarkably easy.  The printed copies arrived in the mail and they are beautiful.  The photos are very crisp.  See for yourself:

A bit of glare from the page protectors and the sunshine,
but I think you get the idea.
This is layout #3 of my series.  It's an artistic layout that worked well with my reflections theme.  It would have taken me a lot longer to have actually cut the side photos.  I just had to move them around until I liked the look.  The koi photo is actually flipped! - fish will do that.

Click to enlarge.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Avonlea Cards

I'm back in the swing of things after quite a lag there.  I had to recover from our trip to Indianapolis, which was full of family fun.  I think I mentioned that I was going to be crafting with the spouses at the conference.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  I made 3 cards. SERIOUSLY, THREE!

Introducing a brand new paper packet called Avonlea:

I used the Slate Epoxy Bubbles and the Grey Organdy Ribbon that came in the Avonlea Card Making Workshop on the Go Kit.  I don't think that they are available any other way yet.

There is actually a difference between the top two cards.  I forgot to put the stamped lace border on one of them!  I was going to fix it, but decided that I liked the more masculine look (to give to someone manly some day) and left it that way.  Sometimes I think we tend to go overboard just because we have so much coordinating materials that look wonderfully together - or maybe it's just that I like a more streamline look... probably because there's nothing streamline about my life!!  ; )  I'm pretty big into clutter.  I'd never find anything if I tried to put everything away.  I need it all out at my finger tips.

I wrote one of the Thank You cards and realized that I hadn't stamped anything on the envelope.  Between the Avonlea Workshop on the Go Card Making Kit stamps and the Avonlea Workshop on the Go Scrapbooking Kit stamps* that my daughter got when she became a consultant, I had many stamps to choose from in designing my envelope.  The colors were a bit trickier because there are some exclusive Avonlea colors!  I had the Chocolate and Slate, but had to fake it with Twilight and a second generation of Juniper.  I also used a retired color called Garden Green, but I think a second generation of Olive would have also worked well.

What is second generation?  Ink up your acrylic stamp really well, stamp it once gently on a piece of scrap paper, then stamp it on your project and you get a lighter version of your ink color.  Often you can successfully get a third generation as well.

Avonlea is the only set that has two Workshops on the Go Kits.  Normal people would choose Card Making or Scrapbooking, but having both really worked out well for me and I will continue to use all of these stamps together.  There is also a beautiful large stamp called Pirouette, and a Family Tree stamp set that I am really looking forward to getting as I have been working on our genealogy on and off since 1984. One sheet of Avonlee is printed with a pedigree chart, (see background of top photo).

*There was some mistake and the stamps aren't pictured in the Idea Book for the Avonlea Scrapbooking Workshop on the Go Kit.  This is what they look like:

Here you can see the notations for the Cricut Artiste cartridge.  I don't have that one yet, but when I get it rest assured I will show you these stamps on the coordinating shapes!!  ; )

To check out the Idea Book for yourself, click on the graphic at the Top Right corner of this blog, and go to PRODUCTS then Idea Book.  It's not just a catalog - it is full of inspiration!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kallixta's Card Challenge

This is my post that went missing.  I tried to get it to automatically upload when I was out of town, but there was a technical difficulty that resulted in me currently trying to remember what it was I had written.
Kallixta challenged me to use all of the sentiments from the Card Chatter - Birthday  D1475 stamp.  I remember being a bit snarky about it as Kallixta is family and deserved it at the time, but I must say, I encourage a challenge!!  

I had also challenged myself to remake the paper I had made in the "Stamping My Own Paper" post.  So instead of Sunset, Lagoon, Sky, Garden Green with a touch of Grey Wool, I tried: Smokey Plum, Goldenrod, Indian Corn Blue, Juniper with a touch of Outdoor Denim.  You will probably have to click on the photo to enlarge it to truly appreciate the color differences.  For those of you who like to play I Spy, can you spot the other difference*?

I used a new sentiment because of Kallixta's challenge!!

Inside of second card.

Odd photo of front, back, then inside of card.  Card kept popping open and needed to be weighed down, so this is what I came up with.  Didn't have any chewing gum.  ; )

I added this card for Kallixta's challenge as well.  It is different from the ones on "Bill's Birthday" post.  I love this font with the Dakota paper.  They were made for each other.  So, Kallixta, if you are counting (and I'm sure you are) that's 3 down and 4 to go!

*Answer to I Spy: I substituted Bitty Sparkles for the Bitty Pearls!

Consider Yourself Hugged - Wil Wheaton

I would like to welcome x_stei and Gail to my blog family!  I wanted to say something original, but the first thing that popped into my brain was, "You put the p's in happy!" "What?"  "What is that even supposed to mean?" and, "Ew."

Let me try that again...

I would like to welcome x_stei and Gail to my blog family!  This is my little corner where I try to organize my creativity.  It's a happy place here, except when it's not - in which case I turn to dog, and chocolate (but I try to keep the dog from getting the chocolate!!)

Before we left for GenCon (the gaming convention), I wanted a little swap that I could give out to people - a hold out from my years in Girl Scouting, I guess.  I made these little tickets that say: "Consider Yourself HUGGED."  The tickets were cut out on the Cricut.  If you look closely on the stamp sheet, you will see a fine line around the Consider Yourself HUGGED stamp, and 1".  This helps you know to set the Cricut at 1" so that the ticket shape will exactly fit this stamp.  Fool proof!

When I first put a layer of the Pearl Paint on the ticket it bent in a U-shape, so I started gluing the ticket shapes all down with repositionable adhesive tape before applying the paint, and  that worked really well.  I just spread the pearly paint on in a thin layer with my finger.  I can't do this enough.  It shimmers so beautifully and makes me all kids of girly happy!!!  When it dried I stamped the image with black pigment ink.

To add weight and solidity, I adhered the ticket to cereal box cardboard.  This can also be cut on the Cricut.

I used pigment ink so that it wouldn't mix with the liquid glass that I applied over the entire ticket to give it a cool glassy plastic look!  That was lousy sentence structure, but what I mean is water based ink would have been a bad choice in this case.  Luckily, Close to My Heart has just come out with mini pigment ink pads in all of the colors!

So, yes, you guessed it - I gave one to Wil Wheaton when we met him.

He has to make small talk with fans and he is excellent at it!!  Lisa and Tom know him from The Big Bang Theory and Leverage, as well as the time he interviewed Day 9 and Felicia Day on Table Top Games.  Drew and I know him from those and Star Trek the Next Generation. (Yes, Tom, I know you watched the pilot on Netflix too, but we watched it when it was on in the late '80s.)  Plus Drew remembered him in Stand By Me and used to read his article in The Dragon. Wil is a big gamer.  The sad thing was that our Will was off playing a game and missed out.

Consider Yourself HUGGED, Wil Wheaton.  You're a real Sweetheart!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Anderson Garden 2.1

Hi everyone!  While you are getting this I am in Indianapolis with my family at our first GenCon.  My husband and I met a Purdue playing Dungeons and Dragons.  (You would not believe how much mileage our kids get out of that little fact!)  Yeah, when I say I say I'm a geek, I really mean it.

I don't have much to say about this layout that I didn't say in the "Anderson Gardens" post.  It was crazy easy and fun.  The photo is of Will, but most of the photography was done by Tom.  It was such a magical day!

Lisa came up with the title for the layout.

Tom was playing around with capturing depth. The two photos on the bottom of the first page show the exact same thing but one focuses on the background and the other on the foreground. I love having the two side by side to compare.

Technical issues lost an entire blog!! *sob*  *sniff*  Will probably just have to recreate it back home as all of the photos are on the home computer.  Oh well, we had a great day anyway, even though we forgot that all of Indiana is on EST now and missed our seminar.  Darn. Too bad there wasn't some way we could have looked into that last night.  (Hmmmm.)

Gencon is pretty awesome!  May not get nearly as much crafting done as we imagined!!
Met Wil Wheaton today.  More on that tomorrow.  He's as clever as we had expected and so very amiable!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium

Oh, woe is me.  The best laid plans, etc., etc.  This is why there was no post yesterday!

My great idea was to spend every Tuesday  finally scrap booking my Belgian photos. After all, it's only been 33 years (this coming Sunday, August 19) that I left for my year abroad with AFS.
Really?  33 years??  That's not even funny!!  : 0    I'm kind of horrified now.  I may go into a decline...
Now you know why my mom used to call me Sarah Bernhardt.  If that reference means nothing to you, watch this and you'll know what my family had to put up with as I grew up.
I was a master of the double slam of my bedroom door!!  (But don't you think they didn't deserve it!!)


Back to my failed attempt at scrap booking my Belgian photos.  They're all faded!! Yup, we've all been warned about the need for acid-free paper, etc.  Well, this is the perfect horror story to underscore the need for all of that safe guarding.  My precious photos.  : (   Hopefully Will will be able to save something with PhotoShop, but for now the project is on hold.  *sigh*  There are also negatives, so hopefully all is not lost.

For those of you who don't know me, or don't live in my house where you hear the stories and know them by heart, I met a girl from Sweden my sophomore year in high school who was in the AFS program.  We had a class together and I really enjoyed getting to know her.  Actually, the story begins earlier than that.  When I was 10 my dad had a meeting in Paris through his work and my folks decided to take us with them.  Oh no, it starts two years earlier.  It was 1969, and my dad had a meeting in London and my mom decided that he was getting to do enough travelling - it was time she got in on this!  They made arrangements with Auntie Edith (Mom's sister), Uncle Dick and my mom's parents, for us three kids to fly to Minnesota and stay at the lake cottage with everyone for the duration.  I flew on my first big airplane with my 2 big brothers and I had Swiss cheese for the first time (because there was no alternative, so I figured why not try it.)  We got to spend time with our little cousins and watch the moon  landing with everyone.  My cousin Stephen was two and called everyone "dumb dumb head" when he was frustrated.  I still do that sometimes! My parents got to travel to London, Paris and Amsterdam, and realize that they would like to share such a trip with their children!!

So, now it's the Summer of 1971 and I'm 10.  Mom and I spent weeks pouring over travel information looking for the perfect tour that would have us in Paris for the correct 4 days for Dad's meeting.  We checked books out from the library.  I had my heart set on seeing the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, but it worked out that we could travel longer if I gave in on that one point.  We ended up with a 22 day tour that included London, Paris, Rome, Lucerne and Madrid.  Yes, in that order.  I always have to say it in that order.  After our itinerary was set, we checked out language tapes.  I think the only thing I remember besides ham and cheese in French, is "mi scusi" - excuse me in Italian!

Those photos are all slides.  A lot of them are of foreign cars because Keith had his own camera!  Some great photos though.  Iconic for our family!  There was a 9 year old girl on that tour and she became my first pen-pal!

So, how does this fit in with Belgium?  Oh, uhm, yeah, I lost my thread there, didn't I? So, I decided that I loved travelling to foreign lands and learning about different cultures, but that the next time that I went, I wanted to stay in one place long enough to learn my way around.  Now, I am directionally challenged, so it would have to be for a long time - like, say a year!  Well, I did go to France for a week on a high school trip and we did spend an evening and part of a day in Brussels.  Coincidentally, those photos were ruined as well, but that was due to my own error at the time.  I was new to 35mm cameras and didn't engage the film correctly.  Live and Learn.

Now, I'm a Junior in high school (1977-8) and have learned about this thing called AFS. Cool, but you have to be accepted - apply, pass interviews, etc.  First I joined the AFS club, then I talked my family into hosting a foreign student for my Senior year, then I got myself nominated president of the AFS club.  I wasn't taking any chances.  I wanted to be a foreign exchange student!

We hosted Cati, Kathy, the 1978-79 school year.  She came from Mexico City and was a beautiful bundle of energy.  That same year our high school had 3 other AFS students: Trish from Ghana, Jacques from France, and Marie who was French Canadian and living with my best friend.  I have so many memories from that year that they could fill pages!! But this was about Belgium...

I was accepted in to Purdue University, but when my AFS acceptance arrived, I immediately wrote to Purdue and deferred my enrollment.  This meant putting college off for a year.  Belgium wouldn't be counting for anything scholastically.  (My grades wouldn't count for anything.  ha ha!)  But what's a year?  This was worth so much more in the grand scheme of things!!

I studied Spanish in grades 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.  I took French in 10, 11 and 12.  In Belgium they speak both French and Dutch.  I was placed in the Dutch half.  Spanish and French are Romance languages, meaning that they are Latin based.  Dutch is Germanic.  I had a lot to learn.  I had a tutor; a friend of our neighbors was from the Netherlands.  She was a really big help.  As it turned out I was really glad that I was exposed to a new language.  It was a real challenge for me.  I was at a loss for the first month.  People knew enough English that they just spoke English with me until one day they ganged up on me and cut me off!!  ;)  I understood a surprising amount of Dutch by this time.  I had learned a lot from my tutor and had been listening for a month, but I was so embarrassed to open my mouth and begin to put words together.  Once over that hurdle (and some personalities don't have this problem at all - I'm just really shy at things like this), it got easier and easier and by the time the year was over my Dutch was really quite good.  I especially liked learning idioms.  The first one I learned was when I was in the hospital (yeah, that's a good story) for a week, and every night the nurses would come in and remove the flowers.  When Paula and Freddy (my host parents) came to visit me one night, I asked, "Why do the nurses put the flowers outside at night?"  They howled!!  This was the equivalent of asking, "Why do the nurses paint the town red?"

Well, It's Wednesday, so I guess we weren't supposed to be in Belgium anyway!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stamping My Own Paper

Oh my goodness!  I have three followers who are not my husband and kids!  Pam, Nancy and Terry, YOU ROCK!!  Everyone's been extremely supportive.  That reminds me, I have to go back and fix the spelling of Craisins!  There!  Another thing checked off my to do list!

No story today, sorry.  I don't know if I'd even call it a technique.  I take that back. There is a technique and it turned out quite well too!  My goal for today was to recreate this paper which came in a specialty pack called "Dotty For You."  It was a promotion that was only available for 6 weeks.  I love this paper, but I can't make it last forever and only 2 sheets of this pattern came in the package of 24. 

 Luckily, I have the stamp of this flower and the little leaf in a set called Card Word Puzzle C1494, and I have these ink colors too, of course, so:

In essence, I made my own paper.  I was actually going to print an entire sheet, but then decided to stamp right on the card and overlap on the back since I always like to add a little something on the back. :)

If you look at this photo closely, you will see that I cheated and set it up after the card was finished, mini pearls and all.  Ignore that part!  The important thing is the masking technique.  You just stamp the image on a cheap piece of scrap card stock and carefully cut it out.  Then use this mask  to keep your card clean while coloring the image with, in this case a sponge swiped over an ink pad.  I tried hard to vary the amount of ink for shading and highlighting individual petals. 

 I'm quite pleased with the overall effect.  The teeny tiny pearls are actually called bitty pearls!

The sentiment is from one of my favorite "word" sets called Card Chatter - Birthday D1475.  I just looked at the link for that stamp and it doesn't do it justice at all.  See below for the punchline!!

Now that's funny!  And so ME!!!!

Okay, this is what Card Chatter -Birthday  D1475 really looks like:

P.S.  I just had Will, my 21 year old, proofread this entry and he started singing "Interjections" from Schoolhouse Rock to me.  That was money well spent!!  Got the whole collection years ago at Sam's Club.  I'm still smiling!  :D

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Anderson Gardens

There are those perfect days when everything comes together and you are aware, even when you are in the middle of it, that memories are being made.  Now on these days, if you are extremely lucky, you are among your family, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and you have a good camera with a full battery.  Our trip to the Anderson Gardens in Rockford, Illinois was such a day.

We were taking a break from our long car ride (17 hours over 2 days - We had camped the night before, but have literally outgrown our tent!).  The garden visit was a spur of the moment decision.  I had had a migraine for most all, really, of our visit to my parents at their lake cottage, which had really put a damper on our vacation.  The migraine had finally lifted.  We'd visited the gardens before and loved it, but a second visit to a charming place rarely tops the first.  (In addition, it was less expensive than we had remembered -  a lot less.)  All of this combined to make a morning that we will all cherish.

My husband (aka, Dad) stayed in the car with the dogs and napped for the first part, then I had doggie time.  We had to keep the a/c on for them.  The rest of us embarked on our adventure armed with 2 cameras (Lisa's soon ran out of battery), a sketch book and much enthusiasm.

Now back home in Michigan, with so many great photos to choose from, I knew this was my time to rock Studio J.  Huh?
Studio J is the easiest level of scrap booking Close to my Heart has to offer.  It's a wonderful user-friendly digital scrap booking program on the web.  My consultant, Carolyn Johnston, who has been my art therapist these past 2 years (my name for her) took me through the program a year ago and it was very straight forward and sooo much fun.  But then, even though I had a membership, I didn't follow through and make my free layouts because I had to make a certain number each month.  I can't explain it, but I would look at the calendar and know that I only had a week or I would lose those layouts, and then the days would count down from there and it would be a new month.  It was a strange kind of pressure that just didn't work for me.  What was the best way to use those free layouts?  Which photos should go into them, another month gone. Crazy, right?  Now the program has been revamped and there is no time restraint.  So, now that I can just buy a 5 pack (5 layouts - 10 pages), or order any number with free .JPGs, or even order just the .JPGs, that pressure just disappeared.  I know, weird.  (Let me add that I got a year of Studio J membership when I became a consultant, so I wasn't really out any money, but I'm still weird!)

You can try this out at any time.  Just go to upload some photos and play.  You don't have to buy your finished layout.  Warning:  You are most certainly going to want your finished layout!!
Now, with the perfect project and no pressure, this is what I came up with for my very first layout:

Make sure you click on this and make it big!
You should see it on my 22" monitor!!
First I uploaded 20 photos and while they were loading  I chose the paper kit that had a bit of an Asian flair to it.  This one is a retired packet that I have never used before called Unforgettable.  (Funny, I had to go back and look up the name of the paper!) Then I chose a pattern from a load of sketches.  When I pressed the continue button it gave me 6 choices of my paper in that pattern.  Once I picked one, it came up huge and I started dropping my photos in the photo well, choosing ribbon colors and placing stickers.  It's like a Paint program for women!   I think I was done in 20 minutes and went on to do 4 more layouts!  Yup 8 pages in one evening and no mess!  Not that I mind a mess.  I thrive in a mess and love scraps, but, did you know, not everyone does?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bill's Birthday

It's my Father-in-Law's birthday and typical me: the card will be late!  Why do I always do this?  The truth of the matter is that it's the perfectionist in me that causes the procrastination.  It may seem contradictory, but it's true.  If I can't make it in just the way that I envision - or better - then it just doesn't get finished.  It's not a good system, I'm the first to admit it, and I'm continuously trying to "get over it", but it's a constant struggle against my true nature (bad habits, you say? maybe!).

The card was mailed yesterday and it looks a lot like one of these:  Hope you like it Dad!

This is one of the brand new My Reflection paper packet called Dakota.  It's always fun to work with new patterns and color combinations.  Lisa did the Cricut cutting for me again.  It's not that I can't do it.  It's just sort of our thing!  I love the way the finish card turned out.  I will definitely be making a lot more of these!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Inspiration from The Wiz's Dorothy

The same night I started this blog I watched The Wiz on NetFlix.  I hadn't seen the whole thing before and I really enjoyed young Micheal Jackson lighting up the screen. Diana Ross is Dorothy and at the end of the movie, when they have discovered The Wiz to be a fake, Glenda the Good Witch explains to Dorothy that she has to Believe in Herself.  Well, that is the entire point of the story really.  She starts out too shy to talk to anyone at the big family dinner, but then Dorothy learns so much that when The Wiz asks her, "Can you do something for me?"  She comes back with this gem:

"They've had what they were searching for all along.  I don't know what's in you.  You'll have to find that out for yourself.  But I do know one thing - you'll never find it in the safety of this room.  I tried that all my life.  It doesn't work.  There's a whole world out there and you have to begin by letting the world see who you really are."

I whipped this up on vacation.  I want to make more in a slightly larger size to accommodate the lighthouse image, but I was pleased with the simplicity of this card.  It's an example of "less is more."

These images all come from the Perfect Day C1499 set, and the paper is Pemberley - one of my all time favorites.  (I'm such a blue jeans girl!!)  When I make more cards in a larger size I will have room for the quote which is:

Never give up,
for that is just the place and time
that the tide will turn.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe

So you see, making cards is therapeutic for me, and receiving them can be uplifting as well.

Now I just have to remember to get them in the mail!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tags for Dad's Homemade Bread

You have to understand that my dad doesn't really cook.  One Thanksgiving, he held the bottle for me so that the last of the dark Karo syrup would dribble into the sauce pan and then he told everyone that he helped make the pecan pie.  I let him get away with it because it was the first time he had been that close to a hot stove in my memory.  He doesn't have to cook.  Mom's a great cook.  You know how some Dads become the grill master.  Yeah, that wasn't really my Dad's thing.  (Mom had a Jenn-Air grill in the kitchen.  They were covered.)  Dad was happier in the garage, but now he's the master of the bread machine!!  He is becoming famous for his Cinnamon Craisin Bread.  He is selling 3 loaves this Friday at their retirement community's bake sale, so I said that he needed tags and I had some. Well, I couldn't put my hands on them in time to add them to the box I was mailing today, which was just as well as they were store bought.   I know, what was I thinking??  (It was that Clearance thing. Another quick Mom-story.  Lisa was 3 and I was showing my husband something that I had bought and she asked me if I had bought it at Clarence.  It took some repeating for us to realize that she meant on clearance!)  So I whipped these up before going to the Post Office, hope you like them:

It's hard to tell, but that's colonial white card stock edged in cocoa, with sunset, tulip, olive and more cocoa.  The stamp set is a retired one called Spice of Life D1214.  It's all Close to My Heart, of course.

I think the measuring spoon stamp is positioned best on the bottom tag.  I made more and probably should have done a better quality control job before photographing them. The oven mitt tag is a small card that opens - see below for the inside view.

Lisa cut the tags on the Cricut (4") and Tommy helped me with PhotoShop and blogspot.  Oh, and Will helped Tom with PhotoShop - and he also drove me to the Post Office!  Thanks guys!

Anyway, for just a few minutes work they really fulfilled what I needed.  I would have been even more happy if I had had some coordinating Baker's Twine on hand.  Olive would have been perfect!  Next time.

P.S. I think Dad's still happiest in the garage.

Operation Smile Donation

Now on to what my daughter Lisa and I did Thursday and Friday of last week.  Firstly, Lisa is 24 and working with her is like having a second me - only better because she is Lisa, and secondly, we were working under some time pressure (duh!) as the object of our creative process was to be auctioned off for Operation Smile on Saturday. Thursday morning I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to make. ;)

The auction was at a unit meeting of great gals from Close To My Heart.  It was intimidating for me to make something that someone who is in the business of teaching others to make similar "somethings" would be willing to bid on, so I knew it had to be a little unique and the quality had to be fairly high. Close To My Heart is scrap booking and card making and so much more, but they never (as far as I have ever seen) in any of their books, show putting photos on cards.  My idea was to make frames on the cards to slide photos in.  Nothing mind-blowing, yet sort of a twist.  I loved the way they turned out and I hope you will too.

We made a decorated box containing 8 cards: 2 each of the 4 designs, plus matching envelopes.

Lisa stamped the flower and put it together.  I inked all of the edges because the stark white of the box didn't go at all with the effect we were going for, which was - 
Photo taken at Mud Festival in Boryeong, S. Korea, when Will visited Lisa at the end of her 6 months of teaching English to K - 6.

My Reflections Stella paper showing off my 3 kids and husband!  Just for You B 1398 stamp.  I love it!

We cut all of the frames on the Cricut using the CTMH Art Philosophy cartridge.
Thanks Megan!!  The elephant was a new addition to our trip and Tommy's wardrobe.  He's in DeForest, Wisconsin.

It was Lisa's idea to use the stamped petals from the flower cut into pennants - Brilliant!
I hand stitched the lines for the pennants with waxy flax.  I really had fun doing that.
The moose is in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  We visit him each July on our way to my parents cottage in Minnesota.

Tom and Rory on the pontoon boat in Minnesota.