Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saying Something Besides Thank You

Some friends came to visit one evening last week and we ordered Chinese food which HWNSNBP volunteered to go pick up so we could have more time to talk.  They brought me a gorgeous plant and we had a lot of laughs together while catching up on what's been going on in our lives.  

I wanted to thank them for the plant but more importantly, for the visit and sharing the laughter and memories.  So I perused my stamps and came up with these two sentiments for the front of the cards.  I'll add a handwritten note inside letting them know how much they lifted my spirits.

The other plus was using some products I had not yet gotten to.  

Okay, for the particulars.  The top card uses SU's Perfect Pennants stamp set, Fresh Prints DSP Pack, Real Red, Coastal Cabana, Whisper White, and Baked Brown Sugar CS.  I used Real Red ink, my banner dies, triangle punch, little flower punch, and the centers of the flowers were from the bird builder punch, with a little red and white baker's twine bow.

On the second card I used SU's Honeycomb Hello stamp set and the Hexagon Hive thinlit in Hello Honey cs.  The dsp is from the Moonlight stack and the card base is Blackberry Bliss.  The hexagons were stamped with Blackberry Bliss ink and then I used the thinlit to trace around them and cut them out by hand.  I have a hexagon punch, but the punches were too big for this.  I popped a few of those hexagons up with dimensionals.

Today we (I say we because I can't lift anything over 5 lbs. yet so I needed HWNSNBP's muscle) attempted to make peach butter.  I found the recipe on Pinterest about a week or so ago and serendipitously came upon the jars while on a little shopping excursion last weekend and since it is still peach season, though it's coming to and end soon, it looked simple enough to give it a try.  I haven't canned anything in at least 25 years, but I (he) was able to find the canning pot and insert.  

The jars are cooling on the counter and so far I've only heard 5 of the 8 make that popping sound, but I could have been elsewhere when the others did.  I'm not supposed to press on the lids to check until tomorrow when they're totally cool.  The recipe said it makes 10 jars, but I guess I cooked my peaches a little longer or started out with less than the 5 lbs.  My kitchen scale is a little dicey and could use a replacement.  Oh Santa - did you hear that?  Or maybe I won't wait until Christmas and use the remaining peaches to make another batch.  Of course I licked the spoon when the jars were all filled and sealed and it was pretty tasty.

And tomorrow, I'm going to attempt to make a buttermilk pie.  Why?  Well, yesterday on Good Morning America they mentioned a news story about a woman who made a buttermilk pie in a baking contest and was being called under scrutiny for using a store-bought pie crust.  The GMA panel hadn't heard of buttermilk pie before and neither had I, but I just so happened to have half a carton of buttermilk in the refrigerator leftover from some banana muffins I made two weeks ago, and it's still good, so we'll get to see what a buttermilk pie tastes like.  I'll be using this recipe and let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jingle Belles with a Dash of Festive Friday

Our Jingle Belles challenged us to make a card for a winter holiday not Christmas.  My go-to sentiment for a holiday card intended for someone you're not sure celebrates Christmas is "PEACE ON EARTH"  or just "PEACE".  Rachel always asks me to make her cards that can go to anyone.  I took my inspiration from the Festive Friday Challenge photo below.

I love this image from Comfort & Joy and embossed it and the sentiment with black EP.  I wanted a very crisp look to it.  

I added a silver foil snowflake under the sentiment to match the embossing in silver I did for the background using my Amuse Starry Night background stamp.  The ribbon was a last minute find at Michael's last week.  

I have been able to do a few little "shopping" trips but I'm finding shopping is a little tricky.  I get a cart because I shouldn't be carrying a basket in case it gets too heavy, but then I find that I can't get the items out of the cart if I put them in the basket part because I'm not allowed to bend yet.  So either I remember to use the kiddie seat for my items or, since I'm still not driving, text my driver to come in and help me check out (if they're not in the store with me already).  And then there's the items that are on the lower shelves.  I pretty much am ignoring them.  And heaven forbid that I have a case of fumble-fingers and drop something on the floor. I hate to be one of those customers that just walks away, but if no one is around I have no other choice.  But you learn to make your accommodations.  Now if I could just remember not to twist from side-to-side when looking at the shelves!  As my PT says "your nose points where your toes point"! 

Don't forget to visit the Jingle Belles and Festive Friday blogs to see what everyone else has cooked up this week.   

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Plethora of Thank You's

The first card above I actually tried to do for a Ways to Use It Challenge on Splitcoast.  The challenge was to spritz and I did use a paintbrush, my fingernail, and some watered-down Lucky Limeade ink on Crumb Cake cs.  I masked off the center and just did a frame on the base.  The spritzing at that point looked a little wanting, so I took a dauber and rubbed some more of the Lucky Limeade into the frame.  The spritzing is still visible but blends in so much better.  The Bashful Blue piece was a leftover piece that I had used the banner die on.  I embossed that with the Tiny Triangles EF and masked the frame of the card to add the chevron striping from Work of Art embossed with white EP.  I had picked up a pack of wooden arrows that was on clearance and used one of them in the center of the chevron banner, adding a Beautiful Wings embosslit butterfly and rhinestone to that.  I decided to add the strip of Lavender Lace on the side that I used my, oh geez, what are those scissors called!!  The sentiment is from Pretty Petites.

The card below was inspired by on of the DTGD challenges.  I had been pulling the labels off my blackberry containers, sticking them to a piece of lightweight paper, and then trimming them into strips.  I used the strips to make a frame.  I added clear glitter to the darkest of the blackberries and when the frame was place over the Thank You panel, I used some Martha Stewart purple glitter to outline the frame.  I don't know whatever possessed me to use glitter.  I don't have a particular fondness for the stuff and had to drag out the vacuum cleaner when I was done.  Thankfully I did this before my surgery, though I was a little concerned that I was going to have stray glitter somewhere on me for days.  

I thought those label strips would be great on Blackberry Bliss cs.

A one-layer sealife thank you on Crumb Cake cs below.  I colored those sand dollars with my aquapainter, though I don't believe they actually come in pink, these just had to be pink.

And lastly, a beach scene - one that I've missed this summer.  The image is a HouseMouse stamp and there should be two little mice acting silly with shells on their noses imitating the beak of the bird.  I masked out the mice and watercolored the scene with inks and markers.  I added highlights of sand and sea glass from Mud Puddles - something I picked up a few years ago in a scrapbooking shop and truthfully, I never used it and it's dried up quite a bit.  

These thank you's are for a bunch of friends who have helped me out before and after my surgery bringing by food, taking me to the doctor when HWNSNBP couldn't and even driving us to the emergency room.  I am so very thankful to all of them for their love and caring.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It Was a Wedding Weekend

Our daughter-in-law Michelle's sister married her beau this weekend.  They had a gorgeous day for an outdoor wedding.  The card above was ours to them, and the one below Rachel used.  

And since I couldn't go, Rachel took her dad as her date.

Congratulations Julie and Matt!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Oh No! First Pumpkin Spotted (and a Get Well Blossom)

Pulling out of the driveway, I was so surprised to see so many leaves had starting falling and I felt just a tad bit sad today spotting this pumpkin as it means that summer is coming to a close rather quickly and I've missed so much of it.  Pretty big pumpkin though, don't you think?  But it was just sitting there all alone at the farm stand we stopped at to get corn and peaches.......which will hopefully be around for a few more weeks.  

It reminded me of a card that I made for a co-worker recently who had some foot surgery.  She's recovering nicely and while she is, she is teaching herself to knit.  Last time I saw her she was concerned that she had a lot of dropped stitches but I told her that mistakes in art are just an opportunity for embellishment.  I can imagine her first scarf with pom-poms glued or stitched over those slipped stitch holes!  Wouldn't that be cute?  No one would ever know it wasn't meant to be.

I stamped the flower in Crumb Cake ink onto Crumb Cake CS and used my aquapainter to add the color.  I found that I had to go back over the stamped Crumb Cake ink with a marker of the same color because it was just too faded looking.  And I threw on that ribbon at the last minute because it just needed a little more pop!

Okay, has anyone else seen any pumpkins yet?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Change of Scenery and an August Birthday

Last Sunday I was really starting to get antsy being stuck at home not being able to withstand a drive in the car, but HWNSNBP coaxed me into a ride to the Great Swamp Nursery to look for some plants for a yard project that he had just completed.  I figured I could stick it out since we would be getting out of the car and walking around a bit when we got there.  As we were looking through the plants near the pond they have there I saw something move as HWNSNBP reached down to pick up a plant we were interested in.  I startled him when I told him not to move, not to move.  I think that he might have thought it was a snake, but then he saw what I saw.  The frog, or maybe it was a toad, that had jumped into an empty cell as we were futzing around in that area.  It's a cell phone picture, but on the road back through the swamp, I made HWNSNBP pull over by one of the bridges so I could take a picture of the Marshmallows that were blooming.  I was so thrilled to see the Cardinal Flower that was blooming there too.  And since I had gotten out of the car I just kept snapping away at the view.  Boy did I need that change of view.  

I had scheduled surgery for Wednesday of this week and it was really starting to play on my nerves so getting away, even for that little bit was calming.

So, keeping it brief, I had a laminal discectomy to remove some spinal lamina (bone) and the part of the disc that was bulging and pressing on my sciatic nerve.  Having had two trips to the emergency room since May and being out of work, not being able to sit even after attempted epidural injections, this was the route to go.  And, knock on wood, I can sit now without the pain in my leg and buttocks, but I will have a tenuous recovery period being very careful not to aggravate anything while healing.

I spent the last week doing some work from home and trying to catch up on cards that I would need for the month, took part in some Dare to Get Dirty Challenges on Splitcoast - in my Jack-in-the-Box mode.  Sitting until the pain got to be too much and then standing.  Of all the hobbies I have, stamping probably lent itself best to this as you can do a lot of stamping standing up.  

This card however, took a little more sitting.  The pink and orange folded paper you see here is actually 13 origami folding pieces of paper woven together.  Not too hard, but it had to be done with paper that was lighter in weight than regular cardstock so I fished around and found some brightly colored text-weight paper and gave it a go.  I happened to have that flower on my work table - it just needed a little glue to keep it wound up and threw on a bright green ribbon.

My sister's birthday is today and when she stopped by to drop something off on Wednesday while I was in the hospital the card was waiting for her.  When she called to check up on me yesterday she said she really liked the bright colors, so I'm guessing it was a hit!

Well, I've reached my 30 minute sitting allowance for now, so I'll be signing off, but I have a few more cards to post and some pictures of a new art challenge that I've started taking part in.  I figured I might as well keep myself busy during this recovery!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Box of Blossoms

I had a couple of packages of these felt flowers that had been in the $1 bin at Mike's a while back and decided to plant them in this box card.  I used some vellum cardstock that I swiped with my Wild Wasabi ink pad and a Memory Box die for the foliage.  The flowers are being held up by some sturdy acetate which gives them the appearance of free-flowering.  

This "card" will collapse down flat and is mailable.  The back of the box - the tall panel - has my message to the recipient.  I was even able to use another one of the felt flowers on a large paper clip (sorry, not pictured) so I could clip a gift card to the back of the card for mailing.  I used one of those large postcard advertisements as a protective sleeve for the card before I put it into the envelope for mailing.  That made it just a little bit smoother for mailing purposes.  

These box cards are really fun to make and not all that hard.  (I think I've mentioned that before.) And one thing that I like to do is to shorten the panels that fall down when you pop it open so you can see more of the design or designer paper that's used on the base.  

I thought the Melon Mambo and Daffodil Delight papers were quite cheery and matched the felt flowers to a T.


Tangent - one of those words with multiple definitions.

It could mean

"a :  meeting a curve or surface in a single point if a sufficiently small interval is considered tangent
to a curve>
(1) :  having a common tangent line at a point <tangentcurves> 
(2) :  having a common tangent plane at a point<tangent surfaces>"


":  diverging from an original purpose or course :  irrelevant<tangent remarks>"

Let's start with the first and consider a little art project.  Daisy Yellow is doing a weekly series on Tangents and Tactics and I tried the first one.  Starting with a common point - the center - adding radiating lines, then color, then design, then color, then more design, etc.  I picked up a small set of gouache and had a very cheap set of watercolors and this is my endeavor at week one's project.

Yes, it's a bit of a mess.  I think impatience played a large roll in that. (And also the fact that I still can't sit without pain.) And when I said a cheap set of watercolors, well, they feel like dust when they dry and they also rub off on your fingers, which is what led me to order a hopefully better set online today.  I remember my first set of watercolors that was a Christmas gift as a child and even those, all those years ago were of better quality than the one's used here.  But it all can't be blamed on the quality of your materials because I've seen some pretty darn good art created with pretty bad ingredients so let's just say I've learned a bit about what not to use and what not to do with what I do have the next time.  This is an art exercise (which seems to be all the exercise I am getting of late also).  

Will I continue with the series?  Not sure.  I've checked the materials list and some of the things I know I don't have and don't know when I'd get a chance to get them.  So maybe I'm destined to do this one over and over again.  We'll certainly see.

But on to the other tangents.

You know what next week is?  Shark Week!  And apparently my daughter and my daughter-in-law really enjoy this week of watching sharks on TV.  So, to keep myself occupied whilst standing the other day I created these

Something I saw on Pinterest that has absolutely no use other than to be cute, if you can call it cute.  Enjoy the horror ladies!

And another tangent that had me in horror was when I picked up my somewhat expensive camera to take a picture of this lovely plant outside the kitchen window with the sunlight shining on it (I would tell you the name, but somehow in the last 10 minutes the name has escaped me - it must be on a tangent of it's own)

and as I went to focus in on it I kept getting a error message in the viewfinder and the camera would not let me take a picture.  I was already in a horrified mood that morning as I had woken up with a line of spider bites up my left arm so I pulled all the bed linens off the bed to be washed, threw the first load in and then promptly couldn't find my cell phone.  I thought for sure that it somehow got added to that first load of wash that was already swishing away in the washing machine. But after wearing myself out clomping up and downstairs several times, I found my shorts pocket......... but not the one I normally would carry it in.   And now back to the camera tangent......I tried taking a picture again and this time on the screen it said something on the order of memory card malfunction.  So I popped out the memory card and then put it back in and thankfully, it worked.  I must have not had it set properly.  But there I stood, now trying to focus on something to take a picture of........

The owl and mouse on the window ledge in the corner of the living room.  Don't they look happy there?

Streptocarpus - that's the name of the plant.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

So What Do You Do All Day When You Can't Sit?

Well, I don't do this all day, but I can color........ in snippets of time.........standing and sometimes sitting until I can't anymore and then I jump up like a Jack-in-the-box and walk around and come back in a little while.

My friend Sabrina gifted me this beautiful stamp and actually, I have been working on coloring several of them for a while now.  No sense just doing one and I'll keep one image for myself so I know what colors I used.  The image that came with the stamp used more muted colors, but I guess I just went crazy picking out my pallette.  

By the way, this is all colored with Prismacolor pencils and a blending pencil - no chemical blending this time. The seagulls are from a set of IO dies and I futzed around with some twine to give it a nautical look, but not too lumpy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Girl Baby, Boy Baby

A couple of our staff members have added to their families lately.  One new little girl joins her older brother and

one new little boy joins his older sister.

Congratulations all around!

Both babies and sentiments are from the new SU set Bundled Baby.  I also used Chalk Lines and Geometrical on the boy card, as well as the Tiny Triangles EF which I brayered over with Marina Mist ink.  I know it looks a little heavy in places but boys are rugged.

The background paper on the baby girl card is some All Abloom DSP.  I added some MS punched eyelet and a strip embossed with a new Sizzix EF called Psychedelic Dreams.  The card backing is in Strawberry slush.  The sentiment was punched out with the word window punch and tied on with some pink cotton crochet thread.

I was a little proactive and colored two more baby images to have on hand as there are a couple more babies on the way.  

If you belong to the Fan Club over at Splitcoast Stampers you can take part in their Dare to Get Dirty Challenges this week.  I'm not sure I'll be able to pull off 42 cards this week, but it will keep me busy and I can stamp standing!  Here's my first two cards, but I have to keep the challenge a secret.

Friday, August 1, 2014

ICAD 2014 - To the End

July 26 - Turquoise.   I had a card that had been swiped with turquoise acrylic paint waiting to be used.  I used Bermuda Bay ink on the stamped images and found that when I stamped full strength it really bled into the acrylic.  That is why I then took a micron pen and overwrote the sentiment and the largest dandelion blossom and blown seeds.   

July 27 - Carousel.  So I took a little creative liberty with this and turned it into Carowl Sel and her story.

July 28 - Zebra.  An art poster I pulled out of a school catalog along with some samples of zebra striping which I just extended.

July 29 -  I didn't want a drawn angel but rather looked for a quote that could speak to all the angel friends that I've had at late wishing me well through this Pain in My Ass summer.  I said that I didn't want this injury to define my summer but it doesn't seem to be working out that way.  We still have a way to go I guess. 

July 30 - Astronaut.  Meet the crew from Pigasus 3.  They have just taken off on their astronautical mission to boldly go where no pig has gone before.

July 31 - Thread.  I received a package in the mail today from Poland.  It was something little that I had ordered from Etsy but the stamps were so pretty and the box inside was wrapped with some brown twine I just had to use that for today's wrap up.  I layered a couple of pieces of tea bag paper on the index card first - whip stitching them in place then added all the other stitching and stamps.

I thought those stamps were pretty cool although I have no idea what they're representative of.  

So, all in all, I think this was a pretty good experience.  I've tried some things I'd not tried before, including products and techniques.  I'm also pretty proud that I got it done on time despite the physical challenges that I've had.  

Time to find something else to explore my creativity with.  Anyone know of any good challenges out there?