Saturday, January 31, 2009

Handmade Pretties

I have received many beautiful cards since my surgery and I wanted to share a couple of handmade cards that I received. The first one is from Dana and if you want some good reading, please go check out her blog Life is Good. The second one is from MariLynn. MariLynn is a fellow Teapot Challenge participant. You can view her gallery at Splitcoast.

Thank you ladies - you really brightened my day with your creativity. And thanks to all who sent cards with good wishes. I have them all displayed to remind me how lucky I am to have such caring friends and family.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Teapot Tuesday 31

I have been busier than it looks this week. I have made about 16 thank you cards which I won't be showing here because some of my readers will be getting them. I have a lot of people to thank for a lot of things lately including flowers, food, gifts, and favors. You can see that I have a wonderful network of friends and family that are helping me along with my healing.

Prior to the holidays we had moved most of my stamping paraphernalia upstairs into my sons old room with the intention of turning it into my stamping room. But, since the surgery, I have basically been staying downstairs (limited trips up and down were recommended) so I have retaken over the dining room table with my stuff. HWNSNBP has requested that it not get as "out of hand" as it was prior to the holidays and I have been trying to "keep it under control". I have paper and ink and some stamp sets and most of my major tools down here. But when you get the inspiration for something and don't have something you need on the same level - well that gives "challenge" a whole new meaning.

This week the lovely Cindy posted this beautiful Peter Rabbit teapot and as luck would have it, of course I did not have any rabbit stamps handy. So sitting down here doing a mental inventory of what I have - in between naps and laps - I finally remembered that I had a bunny in a basket stamp from SU's Serene Spring Hostess set from the last catty that I hadn't even inked yet. Now, if I could only remember to look for it upstairs the next day before I came downstairs.

I did remember, however, I wanted to finish putting together my TY's before I started on the teapot challenge this week which is why it's Friday already and I am just getting to it.

You see that embossed background - well it was my intention to highlight the embossing with my pastels but I have no idea where they are at this point. I used Orchid Opulence and Certainly Celery CS and colored the image with my SU markers and an aqua painter. I accidentally picked up a black marker instead of gray which is why the poor bunny looks so sad. But, I hope he's not too sad looking to send to my godmother for her birthday this week. What do you think?

You notice that my bunny does not have a book. Well, that's because I took so long making the card that he finished it and returned it to the library already!!!

Please visit Cindy's glob to see the cute bunny she has and take a little time to visit the rest of her creations. You'll be dazzled.

Friday CPR 1/30 - Snow Days - Walk Like a Penguin

To view my Friday CPR post for 1/30 - Snow Days - Walk Like a Penguin click here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Strange Birds

This is the view outside my kitchen window. There are bird feeders on that tree that HWNSNBP keeps filled as regularly as possible. Problem is, we not only have birds that visit the feeders, but the squirrels like to practice their acrobatics and routinely empty the contents of the feeders on the ground below.

Much to my surprise on Tuesday, I stood up and took a look outside and this is what I saw. You can count 9, but there were 10 deer clamoring for a lick of bird seed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday CPR 1/23 - Walkie Talkie 101

To view my Friday CPR post for 1/23 - Walkie Talkie 101 click here.

The Results Are In

Just wanted to say thanks to all who wished me well. I have gotten a clean bill of health from the oncologist - no spreading and no treatments needed. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Teapot Tuesday 30

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. It only took me two days to get this card done!This week Cindy posted this lovely monochromatic teapot. Please visit her glob to see the beautiful card that she created.
I knew that I had a new stamp set "Just Buzzin' By" that had the bees in it, but I was a little stumped about the hive pattern. Then I remembered that I had a chicken wire stamp that had the same shape as the honeycomb. So I stamped it on the back of the piece of cardstock and used a craft knife to cut out the openings. The card is done in Sahara Sand and Confetti White. The little bees are stamped in Basic Gray and colored with markers. Do you like the little pink cheeks? The layout that I used for the card is from Sketch Challenge 212 on Splitcoast this week. I think this may be the first sketch challenge that I've done.
The bow under the bee is moss taffeta. I was trying to keep with the monochromatic effect of the teapot. How do you think I did?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Creativity Still on Hold

Well I'm home but I'm not getting around too well yet. It was a complete hysterectomy and all looks good but results will be waiting till next week. Anyhoo, some of you were wondering so I thought I'd post an update and apologize to my blogging buds that I haven't forgotten about you. Just trying to get my concentration and whatnot back together. Thanks for caring!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creativity on Hold

Just wanted to let you know that I won't be creating or blogging for little while. I'm having some surgery tomorrow morning (Thursday) and if you get a chance, say a little prayer, I'm a little nervous. I'll be anxious to get back to sharing projects and catching up on other blogs! Wish me luck!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Real Random Act of Kindness

If you've visit here on a regular basis you may remember a while back that I won a blog giveaway from Polka Dot Pineapple in Hawaii. You can click here to see the original post.

Anyway, I thought that I would like to thank Lettie by sending her a few things - some that were made by me and some things from New Jersey.

I knew I would include a beaded mirror like you can find here and a paperweight seen in this post, and I was trying to think of things that were specific to New Jersey (she sent me some delicious macadamia nut candy from Hawaii!!) One thing came to mind when we were on our Great NJ Lighthouse Challenge (check archives for posts) - when we were in Cape May we always made a stop at Sunset Beach which is famous for it's Cape May diamonds. There is a little gift shop there and I was able to pick up a couple of raw ones to include in my package.

Then, while brainstorming with some co-workers, I remembered that there was a glass artist - Peggy Karr - that had a factory not too far from where I live. I looked at the site online and was immediately drawn to the goldfinch ornament that you see in the picture above. You see, I believe that one of the first posts that Lettie had commented on on this blog was one of my bluebird posts and she had said that she didn't realize that we had such colorful birds in New Jersey. Coming from Hawaii, where I can only imagine is a daily paradise, I could understand how someone would think that. I thought the goldfinch ornament would be perfect, not only because it was made in NJ but because it is also our state bird.

The goal now was to find one. This involved searches online and finally led me to print out a list of the stores within driving distance that carried Peggy Karr glass. The first three that I called were dead ends. The fourth call was made to International Pottery in Morristown - a place that I had never been to or even heard of before. When I called there I spoke with Janet who assured me that even if they did not have the item I wanted in stock, which they didn't, that she was almost positive that they could get it for me. She did ask me why I was looking for that particular item and I explained to her the best I could about the blog giveaway and the need for the state item, etc. She told me she would check her stock and call back.

I really thought that this too would be a dead end, however, 15 minutes later she called me back to tell me that she had been in touch with the factory outlet in Randolph and they had one finch ornament left. She then asked if I would like to pick it up at her store or the outlet. I explained that I didn't want her to lose credit for a sale, but I knew the area of the factory and would be glad to pick it up there to have her avoid making the trip. She said that was fine and told me to ask for Mary when I went there the next day.

The next morning HWNSNBP and I drove up to the outlet and he waited in the car while I ran into their outlet store. I asked for Mary and was told that she wasn't there and immediately was crushed. But, as luck would have it, I had printed out the picture of the ornament and had written the directions to the store on that paper which I had in my hand and the lady that helped me saw it and said "You must be here for the finch." When I said yes she went over to the cash register and got out an envelope with the finch ornament in it and came back to me and said "I was told to tell you Merry Christmas."

I was speechless. She was handing me the finch and not expecting anything in return for it. She only asked what the significance was and when I explained she said "that will be perfect." I can't begin to tell you the feeling that came over me during this experience. I was overwhelmed. I did shop a little in the store before I left and got a couple of Christmas gifts while I was there, but I was truly touched by this gesture. This random act of kindness.

My package to Lettie arrived in Hawaii over the holidays and I know that she is enjoying the contents and will be posting about it in the future. Having been the beneficiary of both the wonderful giveaway and the RAK, I hope to be able to pay it forward in many small ways this year.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Card Make-over

Michael's usually has a great selection of $ items, this being one of them. These cards come in a packet of 8 and there were many different patterns to choose from. I wasn't especially thrilled with the ornament in the center but I really liked the borders so I bought a pack with the intention of replacing or covering that center item.

I was writing out some thank you's recently to some students and staff. I had found a package from a while ago of some cute holiday postcards that I used for the student TY's that I'm mailing, but I needed something to put in an envelope for the staff members, so I scrounged around and found this packet of notecards. Then I put the gears to work - remember my resolution is to use up my cache. Taking into account the items that I presently had on my work table I came up with this. I used a Cuttlebug embossing folder and a die cut and voila! I wish you could see it up close because the red piece is embossed and raised and really looks cool.

So next time you're in Mike's take a second look at some of those notecards. You can add any kind of embellishment to them to give them more interest, like jewels, stickers, die cuts, even ribbons.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Teapot Tuesday 26 & 27

I'm finally getting to catch up with my Teapot Tuesday challenges. Christmas week was a hectic one - I know that I am not alone in saying that! Cindy's teapot for the week is a beautiful one with a cardinal and pinecones and berries.

I waited to post my challenge piece until after I delivered the last one yesterday. I used the "A Cardinal Christmas" stamp set, the SU holiday ribbon and cording, and a $store frame to create several of these for my friends and family. I know that it's a stretch to qualify for the challenge as there aren't any pinecones or pine boughs, but the cardinal is there with the berries and I think Cindy will grant some leeway to a fellow tea party participant. (Right Cindy???) Please go to her glob to see her wonderful cardinal card.

This week we left behind Christmas and jumped to Valentine's Day - which is a great change. Cindy's little pink and white teapot with hearts is so sweet. Once again she has a dazzling card to match it so please check out this link for Teapot Tuesday 27.

As luck would have it, we stopped in a Michael's while we were doing some pre-New Year's Eve Party shopping and I found the little string of hearts stamp in the $bin with the V'Day stuff they were setting up. My hearts aren't as fancy as those on the teapot but I like the way they turned out. The heart on the upper portion is punched with a new SU punch that actually has 3 different hearts on it. The new catalog will be coming out soon, so be on the look out for some cool new stuff!

I got out my Cuttlebug and used the Swiss Dot embossing folder for the pink and white panels and attempted to swipe them over the Regal Rose ink pad to color the raised dots without making too much of a mess. (Don't look too closely or you'll see where I goofed!!!)

The two panels with their string of hearts belt were looking a little forlorn on the Rose Red background so I added some white lacy borders using a Martha Stewart border punch. The pink taffeta ribbon "tied" the whole thing together. I have to say that these have to be some of my favorite colors to work with.

So, was it worth the wait?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Resolutions and a Toast

First a toast. In the words of T.S. Elliot:

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice
And to make an end is to make a beginning"

So as 2008 makes way for 2009 we start a new dialogue. I was surprised to see how my blog archives in the left column have collapsed down to "2008" and will begin again with the months of 2009. That's kind of a deflating experience. All those posts condensed into one line.

I will be celebrating my Blogoversary in February and will probably do something special then, but I thought it only fitting to include some New Year's Resolutions. Of course, like most people I have personal resolutions, some of which are what seems to be everlasting like losing weight, exercising more, being a nicer person, those type of things which I'm sure you don't want to hear about here on this "craft blog." So instead, I've come up with a couple of craft related resolutions.

1. I plan on using things that I've been hoarding. This includes scrapbooking papers, embellishments, ribbons, etc. This will also help me clean out some space if I actually start using the items that I have stockpiled. This would also include items that I have saved to "alter".

2. I plan on inking stamps that I have not inked yet. Needless to say, in the hurried holiday clean up of my workspace - which is my dining room table - it became ever more apparent of the amount of uninked rubber that I have. I can't say that I've impulsively bought stamps that I don't like, but the one thing that I do very well is procrastinate, which if it isn't already, should be one of the seven deadly sins. Procrastination is the root of all evil. Aha, but I think that should be a post for another day.

3. I plan on taking part in more challenges and be more timely with those that I am already taking part in. Just in case you haven't noticed (but I know some of you have) I haven't done my INKredible color challenges for most of December and I am really tardy with my Teapot Tuesday ones. I will be making a concious effort to remedy this and to participate in more of the SCS challenges.

4. I plan on mailing more cards. This will be easy to do if I keep true to #'s 1, 2 & 3. More challenges using more materials and more stamps = more cards. These will be for specific occasions as well as RAK's.

5. I plan on using more everyday, recyclable items in my crafting. I may even opt to make this a series on my blog. There is so much reuseable material out there - there are even internet sites dedicated to this type of thing. We all have access to all sorts of free stuff that have some wonderful possibilities.

Five craft-related resolutions seems a good place to start and with that in mind, I do have one "project" to share with you today. It does come along with a little story, so bear with me.

Each year on the day after Christmas, HWNSNBP and I take our annual trip to one of the bookstores to buy our calendars for the new year. This is done on this day for two reasons. The first being that I don't have (or make) time before Christmas to do calendar shopping and the second is that basically, we are, I won't say cheap, but thrifty, because calendars are usually 50% off the day after Christmas.

He normally goes for something nature-related and about New Jersey that he can hang in his "office" at work. I have a nice wooden calendar holder in the kitchen/dining area and I can go for any of the various themed calendars -with exception of dogs and cats and horses and tattoos and - well, lets say that it takes me a little while longer to pick something out. The choices this year were a bit limited in the size that I needed for the holder, but I did find something suitable.

I should also include here that it is a tradition or superstition, or maybe you would call it both, that we do not hang our calendars until January 1. So today I got out my new calendar and, and, and.... well, I thought it was the right size! It turns out it was about 1/2" too wide for the holder. Yes, I could have put the holder away for a year, or gone looking for another calendar that would fit, but I choose to trim the edges to make this one fit. It wasn't hard to do with an exacto knife and a straight edge and I took 1/4" off each side so it would be centered nicely.

When I was done I realized that I had these wonderful colorful strips of paper that I thought should be put to use instead of put in the garbage. So here is what became of them.

What this woven wonder will become will be determined in the near future.

So maybe you crafters and closet crafters out there will take a second look at some of the things that you're just tossing in the garbage or recycling pile and give it a new life as something appreciable. I know you can!!!