Sunday, May 30, 2010

Recent Birthdays

I cased myself with this birthday card.  Her favorite color is purple - can you tell?

To a fellow blogger and bird lover.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dream Night 3-D Swaps

Some more pics of our Dream Night 3-D swaps.  (The little jar was full of M&M's as was the milk carton - guess what happened to them?) 

I'll have the last couple next week.  Aren't they a talented bunch!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring Surprises

Look who's back!
HWNSNBP declared war on the groundhog after he found his dahlias decimated!  They were up on the pool deck so we know it wasn't the deer this time.  Time for the Have-a-Heart trap!
Taken at dusk - before full bloom the inside color of this peony is apricot - blooming it turns white. 
This rose bush was leafless by late summer last year and thought to be a goner.  Here you see it from inside the garden......
and two days later from outside.
The roses are in the garden which is quite a distance from the house.  One reason is because of my fragrance sensitivity.  This one happens to be particularly pungent (even HWNSNBP said so) but gorgeous.
Found this on the way to the Great Swamp plant shopping.  I want one!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Teapot Tuesday 95

Fran (aka Philsmom) is our hostess this week.  She found this stinkin' cute fish teapot.....

She also provided a great story in the form of a poem.  Check it out here.  

Now I'm not sure that I followed the story too well, and my fish stamps are really limited, so here's what I came up with (BTW, I did use the colors from today's color challenge - Kraft, Bermuda Bay, and Real Red).

I think it's a little too simple, but I do love this color combination!   (I admit I was in a hurry to watch the Dancing With the Stars Finale!) 

The shells were stamped in White Craft and then embossed with clear EP.  The fish and the sentiment are from SU's Very Punny (retired) set.  Yep, he's my stand-by fish. 

It's Best Fishes to you Trish Lafish!  I hope you make your graduation!  Now, let's go check out the Teapot Gallery. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Black Magic

Yesterday I needed to take a break from gardening.  We've been trying to get as much of the bed prepared as possible and finally on Sunday we were able to put in some plants.  There's still a way to go, but I felt like channeling my energy elsewhere. 

What I should have been doing was starting to move my stamping supplies so I can paint and put up more shelves in my "stamp castle", but instead I sat down at my workspace and decided to do this.....

I actually did start cleaning when I found this frame in a bag behind the door and thought I'd incorporate it into Monday's Technique Lover's Challenge.  We got to use the Black Magic technique.  Stamp in white craft on a dark cardstock, heat set and then color the white image with colored pencils and highlight with a white gel pen.

The frame was from the dollar bin at Mike's and I used Bermuda Bay cs as my background paper.  I stamped the image from Elements of Style in white craft ink and heat set it.  Then I got out my watercolor pencils and colored over the white ink.  I colored the lighter colors first and then added the darker highlights and then went over it again with the lighter color to blend the colors.  The dots were added with my gel pen. 

The hummingbird is also from that set and I colored directly to the stamp with my SU markers and stamped it on Whisper White cs.  After I carefully cut it out I covered it with Crystal Effects.  Then I left it to dry and when I came back to check on it an hour or so later, it appeared that the inks had blended together, but I like the effect.  It kind of looks like it's enameled.  The bow (of Melon Mambo) and hummingbird are attached with glue dots (as is the half pearl on the bow).

This might be a nice little pick-me-up for my desk at work or a quick gift.  Now I regret not having purchased more of those frames!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finally Finished

I started this project a couple of weeks ago.  Had I not misplaced the back of the frame it would have been done sooner, but I've been driving myself nuts trying to figure out what I did with it. I finally found it yesterday.  It had slipped between some notebooks I had in a container near my work table. 

This started with a frame I picked up at $Tree.  The frame was a dark, unappealing color so I decided to lighten it up by giving it a couple of coats of acrylic paint.  I used Delta Ceramcoat Light Ivory - 2 coats - and then stippled on some Ivory with my paintbrush.  Then I took my Very Vintage SU Wheel and two inks - Creamy Caramel and Old Olive - and added the patterning.  The herb images were stamped on Confetti White cs and I used my SU markers to color them.  No watercoloring this time, just straight to paper, using a darker marker and simple lines to add the shading. 

The finishing touch was the Old Olive striped grosgrain ribbon in the corner tied with some OO taffeta and a silver watering can charm. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dream Night Make & Takes

It was a Tropical Party - or it will be with the ideas that we got at Dream Night using the Tropical Party stamp set and products that go with it.  Check these out.........

A set of 3x3's and holder and a goody bag holder. (This one had Swedish fish in it - perfect to go with the theme!)

A card (perhaps a Thank You) and a decorated favor box.  Two magnets to go in the favor box.  Don't know if you can tell by the picture but I used my friend Kim's idea to pop up the leaves of the palm tree - thanks Kim.  I also wrapped some linen thread around the image.   The magnets need some Crystal Effects to complete them.  I added a So Saffron fringed circle to the flower for the center.  Gave it a little pizzazz. 
A pocket card and envelope.  Do you like the striped straws?
A scrapbook for 2010 (not 21!)  We also got a bunch of 6 x 6 papers for the inside!
The invitation, including a response card and the floral belly band that holds it together.
A nifty little scrapbook that holds a lot....
....opens up once, twice,
..... and more.  This will hold 8 photos. 

I just found time last night to put finishing touches on these projects.  We worked to get the majority of the project done that night and left little things to finish at home like adding buttons, trims, and coloring of the little drink umbrellas.  Next step will be to actually add pictures to the albums. 

We got all the ingredients for making these projects plus the Tropical Party clear stamp set and a clear block.  We also got a scallop border punch, snail, and a craft keeper to put it all in. 

It was a great evening - I always enjoy stamping with my INK friends. 

I'll have more pictures of our 3-D swap in a day or so. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Sadness of It All

This picture was taken Friday and you can see four healthy little baby bluebirds.

Sadly, on Sunday morning we determined that Mr. & Mrs. Blue had abandoned the nest and I won't show you the picture that we saw.  We don't know why they were abandoned - we haven't seen the parents so they may have fallen prey to a hawk or some other predator.  Or they could have been spooked off by another bird - there has been a catbird making a lot of noise in the garden.  Or mom and pop simply did not expect it to get as cold as it did those last couple of nights and the babies succumbed to the cold. 

We'll never know. 

The nest and babies have been removed from the box and hopefully we'll get another pair interested in making our garden their home.  We went to Backyard Birds on Monday and got a new mealworm feeder and mealworms in the hope of making it as appealing as possible. 

Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teapot Tuesday 94

We have a guest hostess for the Tea Party this week - Barbara20.  Barbara brings us this nautical wonder.............

I couldn't resist getting out one of my lighthouse stamps that I've had for a while and haven't used yet.  It seemed perfect for this challenge.  It's got a lighthouse and a boat. 

Barbara asked us to make a card of encouragement or thanks.  I thought the sentiment that I chose "Life's a Breeze" when paired inside with "with friends like you" would make a good thank you card.

You have to check out Barbara's card in the gallery.  She used the direct to paper technique for her background and it really rocks.  She inspired me to give it a try although I was not trying to give mine the motion, just the blending of the colors.  I added the motion with some cut out waves in various shades of blue.  I first used a 3/4" circle punch to make some scallops and then carefully echoed the punches with my scissors.  I ran my waves through the Xyron to make them into stickers so I didn't have to try to glue down those narrow pieces. 

HWNSNBP actually liked this one.  Hope you do too!   Now go and check out the rest of the gallery.  I'll get there eventually. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream Night

This past Tuesday I attended a SU event at the Short Hills Hilton hosted by Dawn Rapsas one of SU's demonstrators who earned a Workshop of a Lifetime with Shelli Gardner.  Dream Night was an opportunity for demos as well as customers to come together, swap, do make and takes, swap, eat dessert, speak with Shelli, eat dessert, speak with Dawn, do make and takes, and generally have a great time. 

Take a look at this cake....... 

This cake was made out of fabric and paper.  The fabric rolls you see unrolled into a lovely little bag.  The butterflies were beautiful embellishments for the cake made from card stock, vellum and glitter.  

Isn't it totally cool?  Some of us got Shelli to autograph it on the bottom!  It is made using the Scallop Square die in the Big Shot.  It even has pockets on each end.  Both Shelli and Dawn had pajamas made from the very same fabric.  (We were supposed to wear pajamas if we wanted to.) 

Speaking of cake - I didn't do any card swaps, but I did participate in an Anything But a Card Swap among the 8 people we had in our group.  I chose to make my Zero Calorie Cake and  a little box to put it in. 

I was really pleased with the way these came out although they took longer than expected.  You just can't create by the clock all the time!  

Over the next couple of days I'll be sharing more pictures from Dream Night with you. You'll also get to see the swaps that I received.   These ladies are really talented and we really had a great time together. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thanks Judi

My sweet blogging friend Judi Rose has honored me with a Beautiful Blogger award.  She has a wonderful blog called Paper Rose Petals and she does some awesome cardmaking ladies and gents.  You should visit her blog if you get a chance.  She's got bluebirds too!!!

Now I'm supposed to share some things about me that you don't already know.  Hmmm, that's not easy because I'm sure there'll be some of you who know some of these things already.

I love mysteries and doing sudoku puzzles and I'm currently listening to Andrea Bocelli's Vivere whenever I can.  My new favorite treat to eat is Häagen Dazs Cranberry Blueberry Sorbet.   When I was a child my favorite color was green until a cousin of mine told me I couldn't have green because that was her favorite.  So, playing by her rules, I chose blue as my favorite which has suited me better in the long run.  I have a collection of 20+ bowling balls in my basement.  I started repurposing them as yard ornaments several years ago but I haven't done any lately and I'm hoping to get some inspiration to do some more this summer.  I'm a good cook and a better baker, but I don't like cleaning up and I'm still trying to drop another 20 pounds so I've been refraining from trying any new cookie recipes although I still add them to my recipe box.  I am very good at procrastinating. So much so that it has taken me several days to post this!

I will pass this on to two blogging friends with the understanding that they should feel free to accept or decline as they see fit, and whether they do or they don't I will still consider them Beautiful Bloggers.  Please visit my friend Sabrina at My Miscellany.  She is a multi-talented lady who inspires me with her photographs and her creative genious on an almost daily basis.  And drop by to visit my friend Kim at Stamp, Scrap, & Get Kreative.  She will make you smile with her wonderful projects and her sense of excitement.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Teapot Tuesday 93

Whew!  I knew I would be late to this one.  I was attending a special stamping event yesterday and didn't get back home until about 1 a.m.   I'll have more about that later this week, but suffice it to say I needed a nap today when I got home from work.  That certainly helped refresh me.........a little. 

Our teapot hostess Cindy has a thing for Batman and she chose this solid black teapot for our inspiration and gave us another one of her creative stories to work with.  Here's the teapot..............

Even though, according to the story, Aunt Felicia doesn't like the color black, I couldn't resist the texture that was on the teapot and I added some to my card.  I had previously cut up an embossing folder - SU's Finial Press - and thought that the waves and points of it might resemble batwings (if you really stretched your imagination).   Then I took my Watercolor Trio stamp set and my Melon Mambo and Garden Green markers and added some pink honeysuckle around the entrance to the cave.  The pink flowers were so intense that it attracted a hummingbird.  The elusive Bat Hummer with pink pearl eyes.  I just hope that hummer doesn't get sucked into the bat cave. 

Do you ever have those moments when you're sitting and creating and you just get lost in thought?

I had two strong memories while creating this card.  The first was in regard to Batman.  When I was much younger, my sisters and I took dancing lessons and my parents would have to drive us there as they were held in a different town than where we lived.  My father would leave my two younger brothers with my grandparents and he would drop us off - my mother, my two sisters and I - at the dance studio.  Sometimes when he came to pick us up the boys would be with him.  Batman, the 60's TV series was very popular then and one of my brothers' favorites.  On the way home one night my youngest brother Michael found the Batman insignia as we passed an office building.  The way that the lights were focused on the building created a perfect Batsign over the front entrance with the shadows.  We were all amazed and had a great giggle when he started singing the theme song from the show.  He had to be all of about 2- or 3-years old at the time.  I don't remember ever passing that building again without thinking about that moment (or singing the song to myself in my head!). 

The other memory had to do with the honeysuckle.  As a youngster, one of my closest friends was a girl named.......... Cindy.  She is the one who taught me how to gently pull the honey out of the honeysuckle and eat it.  What a sweet treat!  Of course that honeysuckle was the common yellow variety that we can still sometimes find in the wild if the deer haven't devoured it.  I've always wanted the pink variety but we never got any and that was probably for the better. 

Okay, now I'm off to the gallery to take a look at the other Teapot cards for this week.  Why don't you take a peak with me?

Monday, May 10, 2010

After the Rain

Saturday morning HWNSNBP and I went to the Master Gardener's plant sale and managed to put a significant dent in the flower budget.   The sky was very threatening so we quickly paid up and took our plants home just as it started raining.  We were going to visit the Great Swamp Nursery again to pick up a Mother's Day plant for my mom.  They have gorgeous hanging baskets there - pricey, but the prettiest I've seen around and worth it.  I forgot to get a picture of it, but I chose a basket full of "Tiny Tunias" in all different colors.  They were cascading out of the planter and will flower continuously provided she waters it. 

Before we went to the Great Swamp though we had to make a quick stop at the Arboretum in Morristown so HWNSNBP could pick up his chrysantemum cuttings.  While he was doing that, I took out my little pocket camera and snapped some pictures........

Pansies and I think it was lettuce. You can still see the raindrops on most of the flowers.

These tulips stood above the pansies and lettuce and was a striking contrast to the colors below.

Mr. Robin I think was looking for some worms that might have been relocating after the storm.

The pansies seemed to hold onto the raindrops more readily than the other flowers.

This is Tradescantia Sweet Kate.  Another lime green/deep blue combination that was very striking.

There'll be more pictures later this week.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sunshine Award

It's so nice to receive awards don't you think!  This week I was the recipient of the Sunshine Award, given to me by Patti Lee.  You have to go check out her blog Creations By Patti.  She has some wonderful ideas and I can't wait to try some of them myself.  Thanks Patti! 

Now if you've signed up to be a follower of my blog I pass this on to you as you certainly bring sunshine into my life each and every time you visit!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Surprise - First Chick

Surprise it was today.  The first chick hatched and I was able to get a photo.  (click on it to make it bigger)

Bluebirds are meticulous when it comes to keeping a clean nest.  They remove all of the shell and take it away from the nest cavity/box so as not to attract predators.  They will also remove the fecal sacks that the chicks will produce to keep the nest clean. 

I'm going to let them be for a couple of days until all the eggs hatch.  We're expecting rain tomorrow and much colder temps on Sunday and I don't want to spook Mrs. Blue into leaving them unprotected and cold.  I'd worry too much. 

Flowers of May

Sorry, I don't have a Thursday's Throw Aways today - I may get to it over the weekend.  I had a few errands to do after work today and have been trying to catch up on a few other things around the house.   Yesterday I took a walk up to the garden and did get a few pictures I'd like to share.....

This is the first rose of the season.  I don't know the name, only that it is a climber.

The picture above is from a broom plant.  This one is huge, but so pretty when it's in bloom with it's popcorn-colored blossoms.  And here are a series of columbine photos..................

The first picture was taken from underneath.  I just aimed my camera up and got lucky!  The last one must be a volunteer because it's different in color than the rest.  I love the starbust of the blossoms on the inside. 

What I'm not going to show you is a picture of a pile of leaves that was found outside our back door.  HWNSNBP drove up to the house this evening and chased a hawk away that had it's beak full of bird and the feathers were all over.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Teapot Tuesday 92

My afterschool plans got changed yesterday so I put off my teapot card until today.  Here's the teapot Cindy gave us to work with this week along with her story.....

"Bring a card, any card, the sky's the limit, but in your commentary, you have to inform us of what was magically removed from it! What you made disappear, what was once there but is no longer!"

You see my gardening hat below well I went into the garden and started picking flowers that matched the ribbon.  I had planted rows of them and they were at their peak of bloom.  So I was very surprised when all I could gather was one little handful of those pretty coral flowers.  What could have made those flowers disappear?  Could it possibly have been the "magic" of the bunny that was seen in the vicinity?  Obviously the bunny doesn't like the lovely lilac colored flowers.  Hmmmmm.  Or maybe they were going to be for dessert!

I have to admit that I was a bit stumped on this one this week, but things kind of came together when I looked at the Color Challenge and of course, the stamps I had.  The hat comes from Garden From the Heart which I hadn't used yet and thought it would be a good alternative for the top hat.  Then I found the rabbit in a set of All Night Media stamps I got at a garage sale years ago and again, hadn't used yet.  That left flowers.  I tried to find something that would be about the same size as the flowers on the hat and came up with the lavendar from Herb Expressions.  And then the colors fell into place.  The color challenge was to use Lovely Lilac, Gable Green and Cameo Coral, with neutrals of choice and a dessert option of something clear (that would be the clear embossing of the flowers on the Cameo Coral corner).  I even added some embossed vellum butterflies which would count for Monday's technique challenge to emboss vellum.

Yes, and somewhere in those challenges was extra hoorays for making a Mother's Day card.  Got that covered too!  

I used a mask after I stamped the hat and bunny in Basic Gray.  Then I sponged on Gable Green, which isn't so scary if you use it sparingly (or watered down like the leaves on the plants).  The plant stems and leaves were watercolored with ink and my aquapainter.  The flowers were colored with my SU markers.  I added some grass stems with my SU Gable Green marker.  Here's a close up of the embossed flowers...........

After having no idea where to go with this one I have to say I'm pretty pleased with it.  Now to choose which mom gets it???

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Embossed Vellum

The technique challenge today involved embossing vellum.  You could dry emboss or use images and embossing powder.  I chose to dry emboss.

I first used my new Watercolor Trio stamp set to stamp the flower image on plain white cardstock.  The stamp was colored with markers and then stamped off once and then onto the white several times to give varying degrees of intensity. 

My vellum piece was punched on one edge with the open scallop border punch and I used my bone folder and Score Pal to emboss the diagonal lines.

The vellum piecewas adhered  to the background with red line tape at the top and the bottom, thus the ribbon at the top to hide that, and the punched flowers at the bottom.  The sentiment is from the same set and punched out with the fancy label punch.  The flowers and leaves were leftover from a previous project. 

I must admit I'm not crazy about the ribbon.  What do you think?