Thursday, March 5, 2015

Photo Challenge - SIMPLE


My SIMPLE Snow Day Snack of fresh baked chocolate chip cookie (yes, only one) and mug of chai tea on my new-this-year plain white square everyday dishes.

Yes, we had another snow day today.  There's 5-6 inches out there already and it looks like it'll be snowing for another 2-3 hours more.  The temps are dropping and the Road Department sent out an e-blast that driving conditions are very hazardous so we're staying put for the evening.

When the kids were in school it was our tradition to bake chocolate chip cookies on snow days. There was even one time when I didn't have any eggs and it was pre-internet so I had to be inventive and used mayonnaise in place of the eggs and some of the shortening.  They didn't turn out too badly. 

Today, after I made HWNSNBP and myself omelets for lunch, I realized that I was down to one egg and the recipe on the bag of chips called for two.  I had inadvertently left the bag of chips on the counter next to my mini crockpot when it was on and melted half the bag of chips the day they came home from the grocery store.  I had thrown it into the refrigerator to solidify the melted chocolate and wound up with only about half the bag as usable chips.  So I halved the recipe and left out the nuts per his request.  I put that glob of solid chocolate aside to use for something else in the future.

So this is my little celebration for today.  I'll take the rest of the cookies to work with me tomorrow - if we have school.

Jingle Belles - A Very Vibrant Christmas Inspiration


Yowzers, that is vibrant but so pretty.  I think we actually have a wreath that I put together with some felt ornaments from the Christmas Tree Shop using these colors.  Sometimes it's so nice to get away from the traditional colors.  

Scouring my stash of papers, I was looking for those that had some of the hues in the picture above.  I found purple and pink cardstock, aqua dsp, and some green-mixed-with-blue glitter paper, as well as some ribbons in pink, green and aqua that had a silver stripe, so I decided to add the silver element.  


The silver paper is textured and I used it for both the trees and the die cut sentiment.  


I was concerned that the deer die might not fully cut through that glitter paper so I used a metal shim under it and had no problem.


I think you might be able to see from the picture below that I added Crystal Effects to the moon to give that some shine too which wasn't that easy because I was impatient and decided to do it after the trees were glued down instead of before and waiting for it to dry.  Thinking about it afterwards, since the moon was punched out of the dsp and the pink was behind the opening, I probably could just as well have inset a piece of window sheet/clear plastic to get the shine.  


Admittedly I wasn't too thrilled with this when I finished it two nights ago, but it looks much better in the daylight and the colors really appeal to HWNSNBP which could be good or bad because he's, um, color-challenged.  

I was having a hard time coming up with a second card for this challenge but I just noticed something in the inspiration picture that has.......given me some inspiration.  I'll be back with another one soon.

In the meantime, here is the link to the Jingle Belles blog where you can see all the other wonderful creations.  Click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WRINKLED


Not wanting to take pictures of myself or any part of me for this prompt I searched around the house for some inspiration. The roots of this orchid are very wrinkled.  Orchids actually have roots that are outside the pot which make them look even more exotic.  A few years back HWNSNBP and I went to an orchid show.  We had, at that time, maybe one or two orchid plants and were very new to the do's and don'ts of raising them.  For instance, were those roots supposed to be outside the pot? HWNSNBP asked one of the vendors if we should cut them off and her apalled response was "Noooooooo. Would you cut off one of your fingers?"  So there is no root cutting in this house.

Some softer wrinkles were found in this tissue paper that came in a gift bag.  It's the palest shade of blue and I'll smooth it out as much as I can with my hands, fold it, and it will be added to my stash of tissue paper. Because of course you know I save it.  I don't go as far as my cousin who irons it though. I've only recently gotten things like tissue paper, gift bags, and bubble wrap sorted and stored away in see-through containers in our front closet.  It will be a very long time before I need to actually purchase any of those things, but knowing my fondness for pretty paper things, I'm sure I will be adding new ones to the collection of new and used.


My celebration today was waiting for me on my desk when I got into work.  We had another delayed opening due to the weather and some of the teachers were in early anyway.  This comes from one of our 4th grade teacher's whose daughter just celebrated her birthday.  Can you tell what the theme of her party was?  Yesterday he showed us a picture of the cake their neighbor made for the party and he brought in the leftovers from the party for the staff.  This is always a good way to get rid of party leftovers - to leave them in the faculty room.  Someone is always hungry and it always goes!


We're awaiting another snow event this evening into late tomorrow.  We're in the 3-8" belt right now, but you know you can't count on the forecast.  I did my "spinning in my desk chair with my snow wands" thing today at work, consulted my crystal ball (thank you Rachel), and predicted a snow day tomorrow.  That would be good news.  I'm never at a loss for things to do at home.

I promised my Jingle Belle card today and it is actually done but I'm just feeling a little too tired to do another post this evening so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

What did you celebrate today?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DEEP


Today's prompt is DEEP.  You can see how deep the snow is around some of my totems.  I'm only sorry that they're so close to the chair because I couldn't crop it out.  HWNSNBP collected them from the landscaping to put away for the winter but as you probably can guess, he never got around to the putting away part.  They do look pretty in the snow though.

And as I promised, my February work calendar all filled in.  


It started snowing again this afternoon and now it's more of a rain on top of the snow.  The roads should be a mess in the morning so we'll see if school starts on time or not.  I would love another delayed opening and truth be told, I think we might not have school at all on Thursday based on the forecast.  Of course, we know the weathermen were wrong predicting the blizzard that wasn't in January, but this does look more promising.  Sadly, HWNSNBP broke the snowblower on Sunday. We share it with our neighbor and I'm sure they're not happy about it either.  But, alternate arrangements have been set for getting the driveway "plowed" this time, thankfully.

I'll be back with my first Jingle Belles for this fortnight challenge tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating a Delayed Opening and February Tangles

It was a nice treat today to be able to sleep in for an extra half hour.  We had a delayed opening due to more snow and ice overnight making the roads unnavigable this morning.  I got to put in a full 45 minutes on my bike and still managed to get to work earlier than necessary.  Our students started taking the PARCC test today which made the delayed opening even more chaotic.  Buses were late and schedules had to be changed, but things settled down fairly early.  

I put together some little stress relief packages for the testing staff which I'll show later this week, and while I was preparing them I wound up with a lot of cotton string scraps in various colors.  I grabbed the variegated blue scraps and headed up to the stamp cave after school to make this.


I took a piece of 1" wide double-sided tape and laid the strings over it leaving the ends all different lengths.  I used a butterfly embossing folder for the white panel and then added the string piece.  I searched my shelves for something to add to the top of the string piece and came up with a package of butterfly stickers that I got at the $ store awhile back.  The colors matched the strings.  Then I found a rolled paper flower to add to that and decided to add some white sequins too.

HWNSNBP asked what the card was for and I told him it could be for anything except maybe a sympathy card.  It's nice sometimes to just create something that is not earmarked for an current occasion just to have on hand.  


No good segue here between subjects.  Just going to show my tangles for the month of February.



I decided to add color to the Valentine's week tangles below and also discovered that I had inadvertently forgotten to tangle the 15th.  I'll have to go back to that later this week.




The tangle below on the 22nd is an original and was based on one of the props/posters that I saw during the Red Carpet event prior to the Oscars that night.  If you look carefully you might see the envelope which was done in gold on the poster.  I'm naming it Oscar Envy.




I'll have to come back tomorrow with my finished February work calendar.  I forgot to bring my little point and shoot with me today and the cell phone pics just did not work out.

If you want to know any of the tangle names, leave me a comment or drop me a line and I'd be glad to let you know.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Welcome March


This is a card by Dixie of Arranged Words that I won during the Grow Your Blog Event
Thank you Dixie!
It's March and I hear the wind blowing
Sometimes it whistles a tune.
It tells us cold weather is going
And Spring will be here very soon.  

Those are the words to a song I learned in elementary school eons ago.  Funny how there are those things that you take with you all your life for no particular reason.  We tease my youngest brother with the lines

 "Too bad, too bad.  
Not a blossom in time for Spring.  
Not a sign of life anywhere." 

from a school play he was part of when he was probably about 5 or 6.  All of us, my two sisters and other brother, were responsible for getting him to memorize his lines and we all knew them by heart. Funny thing is today we're the one's that remember them and he doesn't.  

But the theme of them both is Spring and oh, how I am looking forward to Spring.  There are many reasons - the re-awakening of Mother Nature, the warmer weather, the ability to get outside and walk without worrying about snow or ice.  

March is also a celebration month for me and I plan to celebrate every day in some way.  Today, Sunday the 1st as I am writing this before midnight, I celebrated National Pig Day (see my previous post).  I also started a photo-a-day challenge.  Today's prompt is YOUNG.  And tomorrow's is OLD. So I chose to compare the young and old stages of two African Violets that I currently have blooming.



There is so much promise in a youthful blossom, yet there is still beauty to be found in the old as it gives up it's splendor.  The circle of life - something to celebrate as we transition into a new season of growth. 

It's March and I hear the wind blowing........................

Happy Flying Pig Day


Remember - A Pig That Has Wings Does Impossible Things


I had to make a flying pig again and used the Curvy Keepsake die to make this one adding wings (also a die of a butterfly simply cut in half).  I only managed to put together a few of these so I could deliver some little gifties and candy to a few special people.

I did manage, however, to get more of these little cards done and hopefully got them posted in time for most of the recipients to have before March 1st.  


They are actually half the size of an A2 card - a little bigger than ATC size.  I tore some pages out of an old paperback dictionary and gave them a quick coat of gesso.  Then, not being able to get to my acrylics, got out my watercolors and added a blue wash.  The clouds and pig were stamped and fussy cut out and one cloud and the pig were popped up.


The cards were quite springy, thus the scissor on the corner below to hold it closed for a photo.


If you're new to my blog you may ask why the flying pigs.  Here are the links to my previous March 1st posts which should help explain the significance. 



Embrace the impossible and dream!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jingle Belles Washi Merry Monday Stars - Phew!


I knew that I wanted to use the leftover star die cuts from my star cards I made two weeks ago with some of my stash of blue washi tape for my second Jingle Belle challenge card.  It was just serendipity that the Merry Monday challenge this week was to feature stars in a Christmas card so why not pair them up.  And, the Technique Challenge on Splitcoast this week was to make a Pop-Up Diorama card which I almost did..... my star is in front of the opening so I don't think this would qualify as a diorama, but I liked the pop-up idea so I used the tutorial for that.  

On the front of the card, pictured above, I used four strips of washi tape for the background and added the stars to that popping them up.  The right side of the panel was punched with my star border punch.  

Inside I glued my silver embossed star over the 2" circle opening and embossed the sentiment with white EP.  


It's always so hard to photograph metallics - I don't know if you can see the effect below.


And I threw in an overhead view so you could see how this actually works.  The card collapses when you fold down the front and it is totally mailable.  


I think I'm going to have to use this tutorial again and this time do a real diorama scene inside.  

Okay, now I have to run and finish a couple of other projects that snuck up on me, but I'll be sure to visit both galleries for both challenges.  Won't you join me at the Jingle Belles and Merry Monday to see what other lovely creations have been shared there this week?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Craft Fails and A Save

Who out there saves toilet paper tubes?  I'm not ashamed to admit that I do.  I told my daughter that someday they were going to be obsolete and soon after that they came out with the commercial telling us how many tp tubes could fill the Empire State Building and some other statistics to further announce the new "tubeless" rolls that were coming out.  Now, we've yet to buy any of those tubeless rolls and since there's only HWNSNBP and I here at home (not counting Kirby who does not use tp but contributes to the collection of paper towel rolls as we use them to line his cage) so it's not like we're being overtaken by the cardboard tubes.  I do have a decent stash however, and when HWNSNBP recently asked me to make something to hang on the door to my mother-in-laws apartment I had a lightbulb moment trying to think of what I already had on hand that I could use. Why not try one of those tp roll projects I'd been seeing on Pinterest?


So, after inspecting the tubes that I had on hand, I sorted them out according to size and color (yes, they all seem to be slightly different in craftsmanship) and finding a wreath on Pinterest that seemed simple enough to start with I got to work.  (I was going to decorate it for winter.)

I started by collapsing the tubes flat and then cutting them into 1" pieces.  Then, not wanting a plain gray wreath, I thought I would paint them.  Shouldn't take that long I thought.  Well, I thought wrong.  It took me several hours to put 2 coats of white gesso on these babies and they still looked pretty yucky but after investing all that time I was determined to push on.  

Then I got out my trusty glue gun and started gluing them together and surprisingly this did not take a long time but it was pretty messy with all those glue strings.  (I planned on taking the hairdryer to it afterwards to get rid of those strings anyway.)  And as you see ABOVE it turned out okay..........but after hanging there for several hours, what you see BELOW is what happened.  

All right, maybe I was not generous enough with the glue I thought.  So I went back and reinforced all the connections yet again and rehung it.  Sadly, this did not do the trick either and actually came apart in two sections after hanging overnight.  Knowing that I had planned to have HWNSNBP hang this on the door in a common hallway I did not feel that it would ever be sturdy enough so for the last couple of weeks it had been sitting, in pieces, on the dining room table and I decided that despite all the time invested, it was time to toss it.  

Maybe it was the paint, maybe it was the glue, I don't know.  Needless to say, I only put a dent in my stash of tubes so I may try another design in the future but for now I certainly am classifying it as a fail.


Another failed recycling project I will share has to do with the plastic strapping that mail is bundled in.  Specifically, I had saved all the plastic bundling straps from the mail that we received in the school office for one year and what you see below is a portion of them.  What would I do with them?  How about a basket?  I looked and looked online and was not able to find anything so I set out to try on my own.


Don't let the picture below fool you.  I started by flat weaving what I was going to call the bottom thinking that I would just turn up the sides and continue to weave them vertically.  I had woven a berry basket before but the difference is that the caning I used for the berry basket and the plastic straps are not as equally strong.  The plastic, though sturdy on it's own, is still very pliable and I found it very difficult to work with.  So I thought I should have a mold to weave around like I saw in the Peterborough basket factory which they use to control the size and shape of their baskets.  

Problem was finding something to fit what I had already woven because I guess I was being lazy at the time and did not want to start over. So I took some cardboard and tried to put together a box.


But I should have taken it completely apart and started from scratch because the jury-rigged form that I made to try to fit what I had already done, did not prove sturdy enough to aid with the weaving.  So I put this aside for a very long time and finally, not wanting to look at it anymore, tossed it.

Needless to say, I am not saving any of those straps anymore unless I find some good instructions on something I can use them for.  If anyone has any suggestions I am open to give them a try.


Going back to the door project - I still needed to make something for her door and I had a coupon for AC Moore so I trekked out there and bought some "ingredients" to make a nice floral wreath. Something pink and purple for February and into spring I thought would be nice.  I purposely chose that oval-shaped grapevine wreath and had to laugh when the woman at the checkout took the time to point out to me that it wasn't round.  


So after snipping some stems and leaves and playing with placement - here's the finished wreath. (I decided it did not need the ribbon.)  And it does hang straighter on the wall, I just rushed taking pictures.


More often than not I am usually pretty satisfied with the outcome of my creative endeavors.  The hardest part of failing, I think, is not not having something nice to show for it, but rather all the time invested in doing it in the first place.  Yet, I would not stop trying things for just that reason. I just have to be a little more selective and maybe abort things earlier if they're not turning out.