Monday, January 31, 2011

Jingle Belles 05

We have a sketch challenge this week brought to us by Amy Tsuruta . I'm thinking it kind of looks like the sketch I used last week so instead of a rectangle card, I'll be using a square.

I used my SU snowflake embossing folder first and then added the paper-pierced edging.  One of these days I'm going to get around to checking out the sewing machine that was my sisters.  Right now it's sitting behind me in the case with no where to go.  My 30+year old machine succumbed to a cracked, unreplaceable gear - sigh!  Then the question was - what to put in that lower right-hand corner. 

I originally intended the green rick-rack that I picked up this summer at a garage sale to use as an edging but then I got a small brainstorm to make it into a tree.  Wanting the tallest tree I could get, I just barely had the layers overlapping which left gaps where the mountains and valleys didn't meet but I didn't want to see the green paper underneath. 

Just so happens that on one of those crazy nights before Christmas I had been surfing some blogs and someone mentioned a sale on buttons at Dick Blick and being in a holiday stupor (and probably still on some drugs from my biopsy) I ordered 7 lbs of buttons that got delivered on Christmas Eve and were still in the box somewhere.  I remember that HWNSNBP was a little incredulous when he found out there were 7 lbs. of buttons so I attempted to rationalize the fact that you had to spend $20 to get free shipping.  Well, I knew there had to be useful buttons in there for this project.

I emptied the seven bags into an old cookie tin (they just fit) which brought back some nice memories.  My grandmother was a seamstress at a local sewing factory and she and my mother did a lot of sewing at home.  They had a couple of tins of buttons that my sisters and I used to play with.  We would take the tin and dump it onto the carpet and then set about sorting and stacking and picking out our favorites for what seemed like hours.  The only drawback to that was the itchy elbows I got from laying on the wool rug.  My father cleared out my grandmothers closet after she died and we still haven't found out what he did with those tins!

As you can see, I got a little sidetracked and started going through and categorizing the buttons until I tore myself away to finish this project. 

But, with all that sorting I even managed to find a star button to use on the top.

Well, now that I've carried on about the buttons let me go and check out what all the other Jingle Belles created this week.  Take a look here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Surprise Birthday Lunch

My Godmother will be celebrating her 77th birthday next Friday.  On a whim, two of my cousins got together and quickly planned a surprise luncheon for her that I attended yesterday.  There were around 20 of us, her nieces and friends, and one nephew who attended.  She was totally surprised....

This is my Cioci Flo (Cioci is Polish for Aunt and I wish I could find the schwa symbol so I could tell you how to pronounce that) and she is actually my great-aunt as well as being my Godmother.  She was born after my mother which I think explains that.  My sisters and brothers and I are in a generation of our own as my mother's cousins are more our age than hers which has always been a little confusing.  Anyway, Cioci Flo didn't have children of her own for many years when we were little and she doted on us.  She was like a real fairy godmother doing things for us and taking us places (mainly my sisters and I) to give my parents a break now and then.  She gave me my first Barbie doll and taught me the Guardian Angel prayer when I slept over her house.  It was so nice to be able to surprise her in this way.

Here is the card that I struggled with yesterday morning.  I did it once and then stamped the sentiment directly on the front next to the flower and didn't like it so I started again and then used the wrong size oval to highlight the flower leaving so much white space I added those tabs on either side.  I stuck with this one as I was running out of time. 

Cardmakers, if you're interested in the deets - I used SU's Style Beautiful and Watercolor Trio stamp sets on Whisper White.  The Stamp-a-ma-jig helped me place those motifs in the corners which I then used a corner rounder punch on.  The oval was a stencil that I centered and then stamped the flower within. I daubered around the inside edges of the oval with Bashful Blue.  The rest is pretty much visible.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Icicles and More Snow

These icicles are hanging from the front porch. If you look closely at the next picture you can see the Christmas light icicles that we haven't had a chance to take down yet.

Below is a photo of the snow that blew onto the porch floor.  I loved the contrast between the wood and the snow crystals.  I think this would make a great background for a card.

Sunshine asked for more snow pictures - hope these will do for now.  Heading out to lunch with my Godmother and cousins today.  Will be back with another project later on. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Snow

(The view of the brook from Readington Road Thursday Morning)

Yesterday when I woke up it was just beginning to snow.  The forecast was for  a coating and then changing over to rain, but that's not how it happened.  It snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed all morning - so much so that the Superintedent decided to have an early dismissal from school.   When I heard that, I immediately felt the tension. 

Early dismissals are my worst nightmare.  We don't have to call all the parents, the PTO does that, but we have to take all the calls and make sure that every student knows where they're going or who's picking them up.  Surprisingly, or should I say, not surprisingly many of them do not know what to do.  As much as we encourage parents to have a plan for such emergencies, that's just not the case in all instances.

So almost immediately the phones began to ring and I had to start putting together parent pickup lists.  Oh, what a morning.  But, I can say that we got everyone home - there were no stragglers. 

When I got home there was already at least 4 inches of snow on the ground.  I managed to get up the driveway okay and parked the car.  I did some shoveling and then came in.  It was time for a New Action Plan.  When I got up from my NAP, I snapped these....

I was looking up the hill and saw these strange shapes.  It took a few seconds before I realized that the silhouetted images were deer - one sitting down and eating that evergreen and the other standing and doing the same.  (Those are supposed to be deer-proof by the way!)

This one decided to check out the bird feeder.

The snow stopped for a couple of hours and then started up and didn't quit until the wee hours of this morning (Thursday).  We got another 10". 

This is the view from the front of the house to the road.  Here is another deer just walking down the middle of the street.

They were having a hard time getting around, and probably a harder time finding something to eat although they've already defoliated everything 5 feet and under. 

Needless to say, we had a snow day today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pocket Calendar Redo

So it was time for a new pocket calendar and this time I got a 2-year one.  The cover was nice enough, but I decided to give it a little personal touch.

I'm trying to use up some of the multitude of dsp that I have in my stash and I had some of these papers out when trying to put together my last teapot card.  I was going for cheery colors as this winter weather is downright depressing.  More snow on the way today - possibly another 6 to 10 inches.  Yikes!

The polka-dot paper is punched out with the petal card punch and then I added some 1 1/8" circles of Ballet Blue cs to frame it.  The bird is stamped in Bashful Blue and then punched out with the bird punch.  The little flowers and leaves are also punched.  Sentiment comes from the SU set Style Beautiful.

The bird also has a rhinestone eye and the flowers are highlighted on the edges with markers of the same color. 

Hopefully the vinyl cover will last the two years!

Stay tuned for a weather update.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Chickadee

Today is my daughter Rachel's birthday.  She recently got a kitten from her boyfriend for Christmas.  The cat's name is Megatron and she likes to watch Top Chef (the cat, that is).  I just had to pick up this stamp to make a birthday card.

Happy Birthday Chickadee!  Lovya!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Teapot Tuesday 130

Babies!  Babies!  That's right babies.  Two of them.  Twins as a matter of fact.  A boy and a girl.  Fellow teapotter Patricia, aka Kokirose, is a grandma to two brandy new babies - Austin and Sydney.  Cindy found these two gorgeous teapot lamps as our inspiration and of course she penned a fantabulous story 

I'd love to have either one of them.  Don't you just love the chenille lampshades with the pompoms? 

So, babies need to be kept warm right?  And not with tea from these teapots, but maybe a quilt inspired by all the patterns.  (Oh, and we get extra points for doing two of something and extra, extra points for throwing in a monkey - you'll have to read the story to understand why.)

The two butterflies are first stamped with Punch Potpourri and then punched.  They have pearly bodies.  The sentiments come from Teeny Tiny Wishes, and the monkey is from Zoofari.  I used 6 different dsp patterns to make the quilt, first cutting 1" squares then running them through my Xyron to make them sticky enough to lay them down on a piece of copy paper to form my quilt.  After I added the Certain Celery faux quilting stitches, I ran this through the Big Shot with the Top Note die.  I trimmed the perforated edge away so I could make a Certainly Celery border.  The pink and blue strips were embossed with a woodgrain folder - it's supposed to look a little like the chenille lampshades.

I have a bunch more of the inch squares set aside for some baby cards I'm going to need later this spring, though not any more twins!

Let's go check out the teapot gallery and see what else is cooking.  Oh, and congratulations Patricia and God Bless your family!

Jingle Belles 04

I have to admit that I hit a bit of a wall with this challenge.  It is a color challenge - use light pink, dark pink, and lime green in your creation.  Well actually I have used this combination before for a couple of holiday cards, but not wanting to duplicate them was my real challenge. 

As luck would have it, I had just purchased some ribbon from Mike's in these very colors (plus a few more!).  It's glitter ribbon.  I must be getting like an old crow who's attracted to shiny things because I just couldn't resist buying this ribbon even though, as I've said before, I don't like working with glitter.   When I saw the challenge I knew I wanted to use the ribbons but just how was the question.

I played around with a few different backgrounds.  Some embossed, some not.  I even stamped Merry Christmas over and over again to try to make my own designer paper, but I didn't like that either.  So finally  said to my self "Self.  You've spent enough time on this."  And this is the final product. 

Now, if I could only figure out how to get a sentiment on this I think I might be happier with it.  Let me think on this a little more.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snow Day Surprise

We had another snow day on Friday and the best thing about it was being able to get the mail as soon as it was delivered because there was a very special envelope for me from overseas.  My blogging, stamping, teapotter friend Sabrina from Ireland sent me this super cute card....

And a wonderful little book that she created for me with pictures she has taken of birds in Ireland.  I can't tell you what joy I felt and still feel when I look at this.....

I love the way she's added the pictures to the booklet and embellished the pages. 

I am so lucky to have such a wonderfully talented friend who shares my love of birds and other things.  Thank you Sabrina. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Secret Mission - m&m's for Bertie

Secret Mission for the Teapotters

Eat some m&m’s.
Save your m&m wrapper.
Use your m&m wrapper to make a card for Bertie, aka Charlene who loves m&m’s, just retired, and is celebrating her birthday on January 22.
That would be a check, check, and check.

I ate a bag of coconut m&m's.  Okay, well maybe it was two bags.  I did save a bag for Charlene though.  And I used one of the bags to make a bow for my coconut m&m card.  The little green m&m girl comes from a box of m&m cookies that I got at the Christmas Tree Shop.  I did not eat any of them - I swear!

Happy Birthday Charlene and Happy Retirement! 

Wanna see what everyone else did with their m&m's?  Click here

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mystery Revealed - Lucky Me

A couple of weeks ago when I was visiting either Dollar Store Crafts or One Pretty Thing I came across a blog called Mich L. in L.A.  Among other things, Michelle makes jewelry out of found items and every once in a while she makes a contest of getting her readers to try to figure out what the object is that she is using.  Lucky for me that I started to follow her blog because on Monday, January 10 she ran another mystery contest.

Luckier for me was that I actually knew what the mystery item was and I was the first one to guess it because I won one of her beautiful creations.

It came all wrapped up nicely in this envelope with another surprise - this cute little bead charm clipped in the corner like a postage stamp.

Okay, if you've checked out the links you probably know what the mystery item is, but in case you haven't it's called screen spline.  I picked the butterfly bracelet because I think that's what jarred my memory and enabled me to identify the mystery item. 

In September we were working on the porch screens at the condo and that was the same day that I found the tree with all the butterflies on it.  See this post.

The funny thing is that HWNSNBP and our friend who was helping him were throwing away the scraps of screen and spline and I was snatching them up to use someday.  I did use the screen in a Halloween project, but hadn't done anything with the spline - yet.  And now I know what I can do with it!

Thanks Michelle.  It's fun visiting your blog and seeing your out-of-the-ordinary creations.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teapot Tuesday 129

Bad Dogs, Bad Dogs, Watcha Gonna Do?  Watcha Gonna Do When We Come For You?  Heh, heh, I've had that song going through my head since I saw the posting for this week's Teapot Challenge.   That's some face on that dog teapot.  Can't imagine what he's thinking, we then check out the challenge link above and read the story.  You'll get it.

Our destination this week is a young police officer in Florida who blew out his knee chasing a robber.  He's a little depressed about being sidelined after knee surgery.  I know all about that.  My son blew out his knee between his junior and senior year in high school and he couldn't play football his senior year.  He was very depressed.   It was a very hard thing to deal with, so I imagine this young police officer needs some cheering up which is what we're going to do.  My message - Hang In There.

My stamp came from Inkadinkado's Patterned Pets and the background dsp is Basic Gray.  I used Early Espresso, Daffodil Delight, and Confetti White cs.  The brads on the punched elements are faux, punched from a 1/4" circle punch and then coated in Crystal Effects.  Oh, and the sentiment comes from SU's retired Mini Mates. 

Now, on to the gallery to see the rest of the pack.

January Lighthouse

It didn't start out that way, but after we managed to visit the lighthouse last March, and April, and then May, June, July, and August, we made it a goal to visit each month thereafter.  We got there in October, November and December, and just yesterday we got in our January visit and let me tell you it was cold.  There were three cars in the parking lot and we passed a man and woman coming away from the lighthouse, but we didn't see anyone else and once we got around to the front of the building we knew why.  The wind was biting and bitterly cold.  So much so, that we got to the rail on the walkway and quickly turned around.   

At the opposite end of the parking lot there is a pathway to the beach area behind the lighthouse which is a little protected by trees so I thought I might get my picture there.  Well, if the wind weren't blowing directly at me it would have been nice to stay and try some more pictures, but these are the ones that I managed.

You can see how gray of a day it was.  I saw the bird on the rocks to the left of the lighthouse and zoomed in on it and when I was editing noticed the roof outline just past the dunes on the opposite side of the inlet.  I'd never been to or heard of there being any buildings so near the end of Island Beach State Park, but HWNSNBP informed me that he knew of them.  Of course.

Eleven down, one to go.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jingle Belles 03

If I gave you the inititials UPC what would come to mind?  Universal Product Code maybe?  Well, this week, we have another UPC to work with - Use, Practice, Create.  And what we're using is acrylic paint.  Our challenge comes from  guest designer Gina Cunningham.   

I have a large stash of acrylic paints mainly due to the fact that I used to do decorative painting.  My rubber stamping has kind of taken the place of that now and as I checked through my drawers of acrylics I could tell that most of them were full of what I call paint snot.  You know, when the paint turns to this jelly-like consistency.  It's just a matter of squeezing them carefully until the good paint comes out.  One of these days, I'll clean all that paint snot out of there, but for this project I picked out some colors that are not traditionally Christmas because I had used red and green for the last two challenges. 

I took some medium blue, leaf green, and white acrylic paint and went to town sponging them on some salvaged pieces of a bakery box.  Once again I did two cards, one with a light background and the second one with a darker background.  The triangular pieces were first sponged with leaf grean and then I added white over that to look like snow. 

I debated whether to put the ribbon behind the tree or not, and as you can see I decided to keep it to the front so you could see the sparkle more.  They're always talking about deconstructing recipes on Top Chef so this is my deconstructed Christmas tree -  you have the tree and the ornaments on the card, but they're not in the usual format.  (At least I think that's what deconstructed means.  Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.)

I ran a bead of glue around the edges of the square and dipped it into some SU chunky glitter.  I do not like working with glitter, but since there was glitter already on the ribbon I went for it.  The silver foil splats were punched from the bottom of another foil cupcake liner.

At the last minute (Ha!  Last minute!  Christmas is how many weeks away!) I decided to add the sentiment and the silver bow.  The acrylic panels are popped up on Melon Mambo CS. 

Should we take a vote on which one looks better - the dark or the light?

Make sure to check out the other contributions to our Jingle Belle Challenge this week here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow Day


It snowed Tuesday night.  I didn't have to wear my pajamas inside out, sleep with a spoon under my pillow or flush ice cubes down the toilet to assure a snow day.  The weather forecasters got this one right and school on Wednesday was canceled the night before.  I would say we got a little more than 6 inches and it stopped before we woke on Wednesday.  The roads were pretty much cleared by noon and HWNSNBP and I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  It would have been the best time to get your weekly shopping done as there weren't very many people out, probably because the stores are usually crazy with people the day before the storm.

We had many birds at the feeders and under. The blue jays above kept the cardinal below away however.  You can see him way at the top of the hill in the oak tree.  He ventured down to the suet feeder when the jays left. 

 On the way back from the grocery store I snapped this picture of the brook and bridge down the street from us. 

And here is the polar bear that has been inhabiting the backyard since the holidays.  Looks like he'll be there for a while.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teapot Tuesday 128

This is a very cute teapot.  I love the gold and the flowers and, well, that's what we're supposed to bring this week - gold and flowers.  Our destination is another stamper who unfortunately has Stage VI terminal stomach cancer.  Her name is Katie and right now there is a fundraiser going on here at Jak's blog.  This is a great cause and an opportunity to snag some digital images and possibly win a prize. 
Let's see, I've got the flowers and I've got the gold so I think this will do nicely.   I used some gold braid and gold ribbon, and even used some Brushed Gold cs as my card base.  The flowers came from two different stamp sets - the large one from Bella Blossoms an the smaller ones from Itty Bitty Buds.  The leaves are the same, the larger one from Bella Blossoms and the smaller from Itty Bitty Buds.  I got a piece of gold foil paper from our art teacher at school (Thank you Rocky!) for the gold leaf below the rose.

The little bows were sewn with a stitch and a gold seed bead instead of tying them.  I added pearls to the center of the blue flowers.  The leaves are flat against the Glossy White background (yes, it really is white - had a hard time photographing this one) and the flowers are popped up on dimensionals, the center one tilted forward.

I hope Katie will like this card.  Now, let's go see what everyone else has been up to.......

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Thank You Cards

This simple card was inspired by this card by Piali on SCS.  It was simple and quick. My snowflake comes from SU's Serene Snowflakes and it's stamped in Real Red on Whisper White.  I layered that on a piece of Real Red cs and added the little Thank You tag stamped from Tiny Tags.  I've used a faux brad as I needed to make quite a few of these (I work in a school office and it's nice that the staff and some of the students remember us at the holidays with thoughtful little gifts or homemade goodies.)  I used Naturals White cs as the base for the card. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Yesterday, January 8th, was my two-year Hysterversary.  For me it is a celebration of sorts.  I celebrate that I listened to my body and sought out a doctor's opinion and thankfully, it was early enough that they were able to remove the cancer and I needed no further treatment.  Until this upcoming visit, I have been meeting with my oncologist every 4 months.  At this two-year exam I will graduate to every 6 months for another 3 years until we reach the 5-year mark.  Another goal to shoot for! 

It has been a life-changing experience for me and I'm pretty sure for my family too.  There is so much uncertainty when you're diagnosed with a disease between the time of the diagnosis and waiting for the reports after the surgery is complete.  You live in a fog basically, hoping that everything will work out to your advantage, but also vowing to yourself that you will fight for your life if need be, and do whatever is necessary. 

I look back and see how this has changed me.  I have lost a significant amount of weight, although this holiday season has seen some of that returning so I just rejoined Weight Watchers to make sure I can get the maximum benefit from their new program.  I have tried not to be so "sedentary".  That's not always easy, and although it's not a consistent effort, I still try to be active as much as I can.  And one of the other ways that I've changed is to try to avoid stressful situations.  We are all good at creating them and getting caught up in them, but they really are not healthy so I've decidedly become more "like a duck" and have things roll off me like the rain.  Sometimes that just means giving in to someone or something but not necessarily giving up.   Something that is defintely easier said than done, and not always fully accomplished.

Yes, I still have stressful situations, like a breast biopsy last month that had me in quite a state of turmoil, and the uncertainty of retaining my job when the school budget gets defeated, but those are things I can't control.  They are brought on by outside forces.  The stress I can control is that which I put on myself, whether it be waiting until the last minute to do things, or just being disorganized.  These are the things that I've begun addressing in a more aggressive way. 

I've joined the Jingle Belles blog with their weekly Christmas Card Challenge which has already helped to relieve the stress of last minute card-making in December.  And this month, HWNSNBP and I will be working on getting my stamp castle organized - this being a major activity that will also help with the destressing.  I have a plaque that reads "I'd rather have creative clutter than idle neatness" and I live by that, but creative clutter and chaos are not the same and I need to alleviate the chaos to feel more relaxed.

I decided not to make New Year's resolutions this year.  Some of them would be the same as they've always been.  Instead, I'm just going to try to be as kind and thoughtful to myself as I am to others.  I don't think it's selfish to say I'm going to take care of me, because a happier me should be a healthier me, and a healthier me means I'll be around longer to be kind and thoughtful to others.  Let's hope!

Jingle Belles - 02

Our Jingle Belle challenge this week is based on the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and little is the operative word as we are to use inchies or twinchies on our cards this week. 

Technically speaking, inchies are 1" pieces of art, twinchies would be 2" pieces.  I've never specifically done anything with inchies before although they have intrigued me.  I went a little outside the box (literally) with this one and made my inchies 1" circles using one of the stamps from Bingo Bits.  But I did also stamp my sentiment onto a 1" square so I think this would qualify.

Like I said, the stamped image is from Bingo Bits - love that little cardinal.  I tried so hard yesterday to get a good picture of the cardinal that was visiting our bird feeder while it was snowing but they're very wary.  I think they can detect the light reflected in the camera lens because it seems as soon as I move the camera they fly off. 

The background paper is SU's Dasher (ret.).  I used my MS pine bough border punch on some Old Olive cs and then went over the punched motifs with my VersaMark pen to darken them just a little more so they would show up better.  The sentiment is hung on the Real Red corduroy button using some silver stretch cord.

I took the lead from a couple of the other Jingle Belles participants and while I was working with these papers and things made two cards instead of one.  Since I hung the sentiment on the button, if I don't decide to send both of these as Christmas cards, one of them can be a thank you.  In fact, I'm thinking I might use this layout again with some of the other Bingo Bits stamps as thank you's. 

Don't forget to stop by the Jingle Belles blog to take a look at all the other linked cards.  These ladies are awesome card makers.