Sunday, August 31, 2008

INKredible Color Challenge 8/25 (oops!)

Better late than never - so the saying goes. Actually, I think I could have done a little better with the sentiment. Stamping on the ribbon with regular ink maybe was not the right choice because it did bleed a little making it a little hard to decipher. I think had I used Stazon it would have been much better. Oh well, we live and we learn. (Enough of the cliches now!!!)

The colors for this past week were Brocade Blue, Bravo Burgundy and Night of Navy. I just got the Snow Swirled set and was itching to use it. There is a beautiful tree in this set and once I get a little caught up, I'm going to try these colors again with a silver-embossed tree. I think that will be quite nice also.

The scalloped square is actually 4 scalloped squares put together to make a larger square. The snowflake circle is punched out with the new 1 3/4" circle punch. Both the square and the circle are popped up on dimensionals to add some interest. I used a round ice brad for the center of the main snowflake.

I know there are other entries for this week from Stasia, Colleen, and Kelly. Please check them out also. Great job ladies!!!

Lamp Olympics

Look at that form. She manages to keep her arms level while eyeing the entry point.

The follow through to the end with both hands firmly planted on either side. Equal distribution of the shade is achieved.

Did she get screwed by the judges - oh no, it's the second lamp getting screwed.

And here we have the final comment by the Lamp Olympian. Personally, I would have preferred "Thanks Mom" but I know from where the sentiment comes and the sarcasm that is inherited.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Moving Weekend and the Contest Entry

I'm sorry I have been MIA for most of the week. This is the last week before school starts and it has been a crazy one both at work and at home because it is also the weekend that my daughter Rachel is moving. She won't be permanently in Delaware until they find someone to replace her in her teaching position here in NJ. They are being sticklers and holding her to her 60 days notice - they really don't have to do that, I know we don't hold teachers in our district who are moving out of state. Well, at least it gives us a little more time together during the week.

But anyway, today was the trip to DE to get her settled into her apartment. We started out at 9:30 picking up a mattress and boxspring for her at the home of one of the teachers from my school. Then we caravanned to DE, got her moved in, ate some lunch, set up what we could, said good-bye and then hit the road to come home. I would absolutely be murdered if I told you any bridge stories so I won't go there, but I will say that it took us 45 mins. to get out of DE - a 10 mile trip on Rt. 95 to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, with me driving and a pile of cardboard in the back of the van obscuring my view. The passenger of the car (HWNSNBP) was intermittently turning on the radio to hear the score of the Yankee game (even though I asked him not to do that because the traffic pattern had changed since we had last been through there and I was annoyed that I couldn't see out the rear window to switch lanes on my own). Do you have any idea what an AM station sounds like two states away - LIKE A GNAT BUZZING AROUND MY EARS IN STOP AND GO TRAFFIC!!! Okay, I'll calm down now. We switched drivers as soon as we crossed the bridge and I attempted to "nap" with the buzzing.

I may post a picture tomorrow or Monday of the fledgling in her new digs, but until then I will entertain you with a picture of something that I entered into a Stampin' Up! contest last month. The theme was 3-D Trick or Treat. This is actually mechanical. When you pull the string on either end, the three medallions spin (the one in the middle goes in the opposite direction of the other two). It is based on a frame from $Tree and the "wheels" that help the medallions spin are actually recycled from the plastic wheels inside used snail tape cartridges. Someday in the near future I will do another project similar to this and take pictures of the stages. I was in too much of a hurry to get this done and in on time and forgot to document it, but at least I did get a picture of the finished product.

BTW, I didn't win the contest (boohoo for me!) but I still think it's pretty cool.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Teapot Tuesday #9

Admittedly this is not a true teapot, however, it is a little teapot tea light holder!!! Cute, huh! I have lot's of flower stamps, but not a true rose and since this is not a true teapot I decided for a faux flower instead. My flower is made of torn cardstock. The petals are Pink Pirouette and the leaves are Sage Shadow. The Creamy Caramel background was run through the cuttlebug. The card base is Apricot Appeal. I used the word window punch for the side pieces - they were sponged with Pink Pirouette and the center designs are made from the slit punch and have pink fire brads.

I wanted to use this card as a thank you, so I got out my All Holidays set for the sentiment which was stamped in Sage Shadow on Apricot Appeal and sponged on the edges again with Pink Pirouette. What else - let's see - the file tab punch in Sage Shadow with a Pink grosgrain knot in the corner.

I really look forward to this challenge each week. Cindy's teapots are very inspirational and the cards that she makes are just out of this world. Please make sure to take a trip to her glob (her word) and check it out. You'll be in for a real treat!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Teapot Tuesday 8 is Late

Last Tuesday I was away on a lovely vacation with HWNSNBP. Unlike in the past, I decided not to pack up lots of craft supplies to bring with me. Instead I chose to bring one project and a selection of the books that I have had piling up to be read. So this is why I am behind on the Teapot Tuesday challenges. Here is the pretty teapot that Cindy chose last week. Be sure to check out her glob for her gorgeous card.

And here is my card for the challenge. I did add a little color with the background (and I have been told by my very astute daughter that I should have used blue instead of yellow because the yellow reminds her of, I won't say what). I did pick up the ribbon at Michael's while I was away, but I didn't want to make a traditional bow with it. Instead, I gathered one edge and pulled it just enough to leave a little room for the diameter of the button so the button wouldn't hide the ribbon too much. I left a loop in the top of the ribbon (maybe you might think it's a teapot handle???, I know it's a stretch again).

The black and white background was created by using a cuttlebug embossing folder on Whisper White cardstock, then inking up my brayer with Basic Black ink and running it gently over the raised areas. So, although you can't see it that well in the picture, the background is very textured. '

I mounted that on Kiwi Kiss and then on Summer Sun (the Summer Sun is only one layer, the Kiwi Kiss is the card). The sentiment is from the new Wow Flowers stamp set and backed with Basic Black cs. They are both popped up. Oh, and I almost forgot that I used the All Scallops border set and the scallop border punch for the scalloped design on the right.

Maybe she's right - it would be better on blue. What do you think?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tea and Button Heaven

We ventured to Millville yesterday. Basically, we were going for tea. Yes, HWNSNBP accompanies me to tea once a year. It's not as frou-frou as you think. Most places serve a regular lunch menu in addition to serving Afternoon Tea. Millville is in south Jersey about an hour from where we are staying in Barnegat. It would be a much longer drive from home were we to begin there which is why I chose to take advantage of my once-a-year endeavor this week.
The name of the tea room in Millville is The Vintage Rose. I did have the Afternoon Tea which was very delightfully served on a four-tier server in beautiful pink plates. The scones were delicious - nutmeg currant and blueberry, and served with fresh lemon curd and clotted cream. The next tier had 5 "finger" sandwiches - a mini-croissant with chicken salad, a cucumber and mint on white bread, a pastry cup of crab salad, egg salad on marble rye in the shape of a flower, and a toasted cheese on crostini with tomato and basil. The sweets were excellent - a small fruit cheesecake tart, a walnut bar, assorted fresh fruits (some cut out in heart shapes) and a rose shaped mini chocolate cake and teapot sugar cookie. HWNSNBP had an egg salad on marble rye sandwich and a slice of their fresh zucchini quiche. He had raspberry ice tea and I had a pot of Peach Ginger tea. It was a great meal and I know that I am so lucky that he treats me to this.

When we were done with tea there was a group of little shops down the road and I found this little shop called Earth Gatherings - Findings for the Embellisher. Do I need to tell you that I was in Button Heaven. You must enlarge the photos above to see all the wonderful buttons and findings that I took pictures of - and remember that this was only a fraction of what was there. I picked and collected in a little wooden drawer a bunch of buttons and charms.

I shared a memory with the woman who owned the store, telling her about the tins of buttons that belonged to my grandmother who lived downstairs from us, and how my sisters and I would play with the buttons in those tins, sorting and stacking them for what seemed like hours at a time especially on rainy days in the summer. My grandmother worked at a sewing factory and she had quite a stash of buttons. I've always been attracted to bottles and tins of buttons at flea markets and garage sales, but to actually find a store that had all these wonderful embellishments, well, like I said, it was like heaven for me.

From there we went over to WheatonArts and visited some of the shops there. We did not get to see any of the glass making demonstrations - maybe another time.

I have to say that we both needed to use the rest room by the time we got there (remember he had a carafe of iced tea and I had a 4-cup pot of tea). Why am I telling you this - just a little rant. I want to know who the genius is that invented the TP dispenser that only lets you roll out 3 sheets at a time. Am I missing something? Who only needs to use 3 sheets? I like to make my visits to public restrooms as quick as possible. This is hardly possible when you're only allowed to roll off 3 sheets of TP at a time!

BTW, the lady in the button shop has an Etsy store. In addition to embellishments, she also sells beautiful handmade handbags and hats, and other vintage things. Check it out!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Faux Suede Mirror/Pincushion

Years ago I used to work at the Rag Shop teaching children's craft classes. This was a long time ago when they were new to the area and the only real inexpensive craft and fabric store around. Needless to say, even when I stopped working there it was still a favorite place to go. Sadly, they are out-of-business now. With the exception of Wal-Mart, there are no other places to purchase inexpensive fabric within 20 miles of my home. Now I know that some of you reading might have even farther to travel for your fabric, but I'm sure that you would be sad if one of your sources dried up, no matter how far you had to go.
One of the last fabric purchases that I made there was this pretty blue faux suede. I don't remember how much per yard it was, I only know that when I saw it I knew that I had to have some and do something with it and this is what I came up with. I made about a 1/2 dozen of these as Christmas gifts for some very close friends, and family a couple of years ago.

Since I was going in vacation this week, I decided to take a break from paper crafts (mainly because I would have to lug an awful lot of stuff with me), and to grab something that I had ready to go. I had a box with all the supplies for 3 more of these babies which I thought that I'd share with you.
Maybe you might be inclined to give something like this a try for yourself using a fabric find of your own.

You will need:

Your fabric choice

Single-side bias tape in a matching or contrasting color

3" round mirror

Quilt batting

Embroidery floss and beads for your decoration

Beading and Regular sewing needle

I started by making a pattern for a circle 4 1/2" in diameter - trace this onto the wrong side of your fabric and cut out.

I used poly batting doubled for my project. I cut the circles of batting about 1/4" bigger than the mirror.

I sewed the bias tape onto the right side of the suede circle on my sewing machine, then folded it over to the inside and stitched that by hand. So now you have a place to insert a length of embroidery floss through. Layer the suede circle face down, the polyfil, and then the mirror face up. Draw the ends of the floss together and tie in a knot. (This is like a drawstring on sweatpants.) Trim and hide the ends of your drawstring. You now have the basic mirror completed. From here you can add your beads and/or embroidery as you so choose.

I gave these to my friends/family in purchased organza bags so they could keep them in their purse if they wanted to. Me - I use mine as a pincushion and leave it out on my work table.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunset, Moonrise, Dear Santa

I had to share these pics. This is a sunset over the lagoon in Barnegat and a moonrise over LBI from the public dock in Barnegat. The moon is that pink ball almost center.
Dear Santa,

I would very much like a tripod for my camera(s) for Christmas. I have been very good, well okay, a good girl this year.

More details to follow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

INKredible Color Challenge 8-18

The colors this week were Bordering Blue, Brocade Blue, and Barely Banana - all double-B's!

My background paper is Bordering Blue CS, I used the Canvas background stamp in Brocade Blue first, then added the solid flowers from A Beautiful Thing. The squares are punched out of Brocade, Banana, and White, and the flowers were all stamped in Brocade on the various colors. The sentiment is also stamped in Brocade and punched out with the Key Tag punch. I softened the edges of that piece by sponging some Banana on it. The flowers are popped up to give the card some dimension.

Although I made this card very, very late at night, I really like the way it turned out. Hope you like it!
I've added a (CC) next to the names of the ladies who participate in this challenge with me. You can find them in the left column under Friends and Neighbors. Please check out their blogs for their wonderful creations.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's a Shower

The daughter of our good friends B&K will be getting married in October. Her shower is this Sunday but I won't be able to attend. I have put together this card with a pocket inside for a gift card. The little gems on the hearts and the dot on the i in Cherish are actually nail art jewels from the $store. The half pearls in the corner are from SU's Pretties Kit. I used the Always stamp set for the hearts - I just love these hearts. They are both stamped in Pale Plum, though it may look a little different as they are on different background papers. The sentiment Cherish is from Baroque Motifs. I used my polka dot embossing folder on the Perfect Plum background. I had some scraps of Enchante DSP which went along with the color palette. The ribbon is Vanilla Taffeta and the card base is Very Vanilla. The darker heart and the corner motif are popped up.

What you don't see inside is the pocket made with another piece of DSP and bordered with some Pale Plum CS as a scallop border using the new border scallop punch.

I hope she likes it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Holiday Bookmark

If you're thinking of giving a book/cookbook for a holiday gift this year, why not give a handmade bookmark as a neat little addition. This was made using SU's Wishing You Cheers stamp set. The snowman and the tree in the top image are two separate stamps. I used the masking technique here to overlap them. Yes, those tiny little images are a bugger to cut out, but remember, if you stamp on the sticky part of a post-it note, you can easily position the mask and it can be used over and over again.

I added a little Dazzling Diamonds in the snow line to make it sparkle a little. The little snowflake on the sentiment panel at the bottom is from the Punch Pals Set. Just for a little interest, and to break up the length of the red panel, I used the matt pack and my needle tool to add the detail in the center.

Old Olive, Real Red, River Rock and Whisper White cardstock were used. I stamped the main image with Basic Gray before using my aquapainter to add the colored details.

This also makes a nice alternative to a Christmas card. You can add the date and sign the back and it will fit in a regular business size envelope.
If you click on the picture you can see more of the detail.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Teapot Tuesday Challenge 7

Well if you like ice cream and you like chocolate this teapot is right up your alley. I know it made my mouth water.

Here is what I cooked up. I'm calling it Chocolate and Cherries. I had this cute little cherry charm that I added. What do you think? Are you craving a brownie sundae right about now?

Visit Cindy's glob to see her most delicious creation. Thank goodness these are calorie free!

Monday, August 11, 2008

INKredible Color Challenge 8-11

This week's colors are Brocade Blue, Ruby Red, and Summer Sun. I don't know why, but those colors say back to school to me. I was picturing yellow pencils with red erasers and blue jeans. Of course, those things have nothing to do with card that I made.

I decided to use Boho Backgrounds for this card. I started with a 5" x 5" card base and after I stamped the design on it with Brocade Blue I cut an X in the center of it. I then cut a Ruby Red and Summer Sun square a little larger than the area of the X and did the same. I rolled up the cardstock from the inside points created by the X's with the smooth end of a crochet hook (I don't have any knitting needles or I would have used one of those). Then I layered them. The center image is different punches or cuts from the same stamped image in different colors. I popped up the layers of that as you can see in the second photo. I added the white dots to the centers of the flowers with gel pen. The grosgrain ribbon was attached with sticky tape and the faux brads were again punched from the medallion stamp. I think I would definitely have to add some bubble wrap on the inside of the envelope to mail this one.

Here's the recipe:

Stamps: Boho Backgrounds
Paper: Brocade Blue, Ruby Red, Summer Sun, Whisper White
Ink: Brocade Blue, Ruby Red, Summer Sun
Accessories: 1/4" white grosgrain, dimensionals, sticky tape, 1/4", 1/2", 1 1/4" circle, and scallop punches.
Please take a look at the beautiful challenge creations of Debbie, Stasia, and Colleen. Sorry if I've missed anyone.

I Got A Card

My blogging friend Dana sent me this beautiful card. Look at the detail she put into all the curves and how precisely she cut out the center piece. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Thanks Dana. And thank you for the wonderful words on my post a couple of nights ago. Please visit Dana's blog if you can. You won't regret it.

The Wrens

Here you see pictures of the 5 wren babies on the dates as follows: 8/2, 8/5, 8/8, 8/8, 8/11, and 8/11.
Late this afternoon I went up to pick some blackberries and take a picture of the wrens. I really figured that they would be gone by now because 2 days ago they were jumping around in the box when I opened it. Well, no sooner did I close the lid when the first little guy decided to fly out. He was quickly followed by 3 siblings. The last little one was a little unsure - and by this time could hear mom and dad squawking up a storm. He eventually flew out and hit the fence. Rest assured, he was okay. He ran back into the garden and was hiding among the goose neck.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Asian Ladybug

Yesterday we dropped our van off for an oil change at the Ford Dealership - we had a coupon. Today and $800 later we have our van back. Expensive oil change, no! Of course they called this morning to say that there was a safety issue with the brakes and the serpentine belt was cracking and the air filter needed to be changed and they wanted to change the air in the tires for nitrogen (this is not a blonde joke - apparently nitrogen in the tires is supposed to be better on gas mileage but we opted not to do it). We're going on vacation in a couple of weeks so the car has to be in tip top shape.

Anyway, the story behind the card does involve the car. You see as I was waiting in the truck while HWNSNBP was dropping off the keys inside the dealership, I saw this woman standing at the counter next to him. She had on a red blouse with some black flowers and a muted background I couldn't make out through the window. She also had black pants on. I thought she looked like a giant ladybug!
So, she became the inspiration for this card. If you imagine this behind a sheet of plateglass maybe you'll see a ladybug too!
BTW - this has got to have been the hardest card to photograph that I've made. I tried my best.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Believe It or Not

Believe it or not it's 1 a.m. and I just got back from a Board of Education meeting.

Believe it or not we thought we had a bear in the garden today.

Believe it or not my daughter is moving to Delaware.

Believe it or not I can't find the word(s) to describe this summer. I would say it sucks, but not all of it. And there are four weeks left before school starts, one of which will have us on vacation and away from it all.

I could write a couple of pages about what's been going on with our BOE here in Branchburg. But I won't. Enough of it has been published in newspapers and been on the radio and it truly amazes me what people can do with a little misinformation. But it angers me nonetheless. Why? Well because I work for the school district of the town that I live in. Accusations have been made against the administrators in the district involving mismanagement of funds. I am a taxpayer here. I work in a school office. I know the rules that we have on the use of school funds and our office follows them. So I feel that these people who are making the accusations against the administration are also challenging my ethics. Would I, as a taxpayer, stand idly by and watch money being spent illegally and not say anything? I want to scream at these people and tell them they are wrong, but I can't. While my personal ethics are being challenged by these people in a roundabout way, my professional ethics prohibit me from giving out confidential information even if it would put some of these rumors to rest. It's so effin frustrating. I wish it would all just go away.

Now the bear - here is our garden looking up the hill from the house. See that angel in the middle of the picture? She is on a 3 ft. pole. Look carefully behind her. I had to work from home today because they shut off all the power in the school today to do some electrical work and Rachel and I were in the kitchen talking when we both looked out the window and I said "what the hell is that?" and she said "is that a bear?" She grabbed the binoculars and I grabbed the camera.
It appears we have the most clever ground hog. This one is an acrobat. He has climbed up a tomato cage and is eating or knocking off THE TOMATOES!!!! You know, it wasn't worth running out there to scare the stupid thing away. I guess he knows about Jersey tomatoes!!!!
And here's the biggest sucky part of my summer so far. My daughter is moving - OUT OF STATE. She has applied for and been offered a job as a Special Ed teacher in Delaware. She is a graduate of the university there and even though she graduated in 05, her friends are there and she wants her life to be there. Do I need to say that I am sad? I'm just being purely selfish I know. We've talked and we've cried and we've talked and I've cried later. And I've cried. And I've tried not to cry so much. And this is all happening too fast for me.
Sorry to blabber on. You see these challenges and projects that I have been doing are all therapy and I didn't get to have my therapy tonight because I went to that epic meeting. I better work on something pretty involved tomorrow, um later today, to find my happy place again. Good night!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Polka Dot Pin Cushion

If you've visited Polka Dot Pineapple you will see that Arlette has a wonderful tutorial for this pincushion. I have been admiring the one that she posted and finally decided to give it a go as it is a very good tutorial.

This Sunday, I convinced HWNSNBP to take a ride to the Christmas Tree Shop to buy some sheets they had on sale. Although I did manage to spend some $, I was feeling a little dizzy so we didn't stay as long as we normally do (it is about a 50 min. ride and I am usually in the store for more than an hour, but I think I set a record for the fastest visit!). Anyway, you're probably saying "what has this got to do with the pincushion?" Be patient, I'll get there.

On the way to the Christmas Tree Shop we go through a little town that has a quilt store that I've always wanted to stop at - the Pennington Quilt Works. I had told HWNSNBP on the way down that I would like to stop at the shop if it was opened on the way back. I think he thought that since I was dozing in the car, that he was probably homefree, but I could tell when we left the main (straight) highway and were nearing the store. He didn't put up a stink - bonus points for that** - but he did leave the car running while I went inside to "browse" around. I have to say that my dizziness was a little enhanced by all the patterns and colors that were everywhere in this shop so I too wanted to make it a short trip.

Now, let me say that I have a considerable stash of fabric here at home. It's one of those things that are so pretty and easy to accumulate if you don't use them right away - much like scrapbook paper. But I kind of knew that I wanted to try the pincushion and I had a color palette in mind. I have to say that this is the least amount of money that I have probably ever spent in a fabric store!!!

The project calls for a golf tee and though HWNSNBP is not a golfer, I had a bag of them for some other planned craft project which I have forgotten by now. I searched and found the tees and got started on my new pincushion. Don't you think it's cute!!!

BTW, I managed to get my 30-yr-old-Kenmore-sewing machine-that-I-have-been-told-cannot-be-fixed working so I didn't have to sew the petals by hand. But I have to say that I was pretty pissed off that the people in the shop I took it to changed the stitch settings and the tension was all
screwed up. If you're a sewer, you'll know that screwed up tension is not fun.

So, in closing, I wanted to say thanks Lettie for a fantastic tutorial, a cute project, and providing me with a little diversionary creativity.

Teapot Tuesday Challenge 6

This little witch teapot is darling. Unfortunately, I don't have any SU witches, but luckily I had picked up these Halloween stamps in the dollar bin at Michael's last year. If you can't make it out, it says "The Witch is In" on top of the little maze game. I really had fun with this one! Please check out Cindy's glob for her wonderful card. Thanks for letting me play Cindy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

INKredible Color Challenge 8-4

I love, love, love this stamp set. What you don't see from this piece is the other stamps that come with the set. There is a bird on a branch, a solitary acorn, and a branch with a plum-type fruit on it. This stamp set is retiring as of 8-11 (but I'll still be using mine!!!!).

Our colors for this week are Perfect and/or Pale Plum, Sahara Sand, and Always Artichoke. I'm not traditionally a purple-user, but I thought that this set would lend itself well to those colors.

I stamped the images in Basic Gray on Confetti White paper. I hope that this is okay since these colors are not included in the challenge, but I wanted to watercolor and I like using Basic Gray ink as it does not bleed with the water and it is subtler than black. I used my aquapainter and the ink on the lids of the stamp pads to color the images. You can see that I did use both of the plums so that the flower (and the butterfly) would have some interest
The Sahara Sand piece of cardstock was scrunched up to give it more interest. I toyed with the idea of splitting the paper to make it look like suede but decided that I liked it this way. The images were glued onto the SS piece with Tombow Multi adhesive to get it to stick better to the lumpy surface. Then I added a layer of Always Artichoke, stamped Pale Plum ferns on the background and the sentiment in Perfect Plum. Lastly, I added the Aged Copper Hodgepodge Hardware as accents.

This card will fit in a regular business size envelope which I stamped with the fern stamp in Always Artichoke.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Balloon Inspiration

The stages of a balloon flower opening.

Did you ever see a floating strawberry? I did. Last week we did some balloon chasing on the Saturday morning of the local balloon fest. You can see more pictures of the balloons in the post below - there's a slide show for ya!

Anyway, I was inspired to make the card below by the floating strawberry. I used my Tart & Tangy strawberry, masked it to then add the clouds and sky with a sponge and a scallop punch using Soft Sky and Baja Breeze. I drew in the basket in Creamy Caramel and added the ropes and lines (and the heads of the people). Then I used the fern from the Touch of Nature set to add trees in Old Olive and Always Artichoke.