Monday, October 31, 2011

Mother Nature

We have had the gamut of wacky weather this year.  I am posting this from home during the day as we are experiencing our first unofficial "Snow Day"............ in OCTOBER!  The snow this weekend was so heavy and the poor trees that have not lost their leaves were no match for it.  Limbs and trees are down all over the place causing power outages all over, including our schools.  Yes, there is still a fair amount of the white stuff, but it's a brisky 43 degrees out and will be getting a tad warmer as the week goes on.  Unfortunately, the nights are dropping to the freezing mark and below so the roads will be hazardous. 

This was a picture of the backyard yesterday afternoon.  There is a branch down just past the steps to the left.  Our pin oak that is behind where we park our cars has numerous broken limbs that are not completely snapped off or are resting on others which makes it a pretty precarious situation.  We'll be parking the vehicles elsewhere for a while!

We had been at the condo during the storm and were witness to the tidal flooding and a bay that was wild with wind and waves but no snow.   Needless to say, we were tuned to the weather channel - that and the football game - in the company of our friends who helped make a dreary day go quickly.  We ventured out into the storm to meet another couple for dinner, but by that time the worst had passed.

Last weekend we had taken our bikes to one of the local county parks to try out the bike trail there.  It was a pleasant ride although a little cool for my ears.   Here's what the falls near the confluence of the North and South Branch Rivers looked like........

When I looked down at my feet I was pleasantly surprised by these freshwater clam shells..................

They are very small, not bigger than a quarter.  I have never seen shells like this near a river although I am told by our school custodian that there are also freshwater mussels that raccoons go nuts over that have the typical black shells. 

So looking ahead I'm kind of wondering what kind of winter Mother Nature has in store for us!

Catchin' Up

One of our staff members lost her father recently and although we send around a card for everyone to sign I wanted to send a personal one.  I guess these colors have been hanging around my work table along with the leaves that I had intended to use in another project that went by the wayside.  The base is Pear Pizzazz and the panel is Soft Suede.  I used the tree image from Thoughts and Prayers and stamped it minus the trunk on the top in VersaMark.  The lattice is Sahara Sand and I used the leftover pieces as the trim on the side of the suede panel.  The sentiment is from Teeny Tiny Wishes and the leaves from French Foliage. 

This next card is for the Teapot Queen who also has a thing for cowboys.  Not having a cowboy to wish her a happy birthday (LATE - my bad) I used this new stamp that I picked up at a garage sale this summer.  It was in a bunch of unmounted rubber stamps that were only a quarter a piece! 

She's stamped in Stazon and then I used my blender pen to add the color to her dress.  I masked her out to sponge on the background. 

Had to make her a blonde.  I think she fits for a Halloween posting also, don't you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bird Wreath Birthday

A quick card for a dear friend's birthday today.  Base of Pear Pizzazz with an embossed panel of Cajun Craze.  The wreath is die cut from Early Expresso and the leaves are stamped using French Foliage.  A scrap of Peach Parfait came in handy to punch out the bird.  Used a dauber to add Close to Cocoa ink to the bird. 

Added a little green punched doily behind the bird and the final touch was a bow of white taffetta.  I hope she liked the fall colors.  Happy Birthday!

Jingle Belles 43 (and 42)

Gently falling - softly falling
The silence of the snow
Softly falling - gently falling
The warmth we want to know
Gently falling - softly falling
The flakes fall from the skies
Softly falling - gently falling
It's magic to our eyes.
lmastalski 10.26.11

Our Jingle Belles theme this week is "Softly Falling Snow" brough to us by our guest hostess Noelle McAdams of paper & ICE.  Do you want to guess why her name could possibly be Noelle?  I'll let you think about that. 

We are to use something soft on our cards this week.  Could be felt, fabric, flocking, fibers, or, in this case - dryer lint.  Yes, you read it right.  Dryer lint.  (This would have been a good Thursday's Throwaways post if I were still inclined to do them!)

Here's the deal - I bought a couple of new beach towels at Costco this summer and, of course, I washed them before we used them - alone as it were, because you know how new towels can sometimes wreak havoc on old towels with the fuzz that they produce.  Well, in this case, when I went to clean out the lint screen from the dryer this is what I found and I, being the packrat creative person that I am, could not bear to throw it away.  It would have a purpose sometime in the next millenia, even if it were only an offering to the birds for nesting material in the spring.  Isn't it the prettiest shade of blue?

Oh, and that's not all I saved.  I saved the tags that were on the towels because they had a picture of the towel that I thought I could do something with....... someday.

So what does one do with dryer lint?  Believe me, there are more people out there that use this as a medium for their artwork - just google dryer lint art and you'll get a glimpse.

I thought that I'd like to try using the lint in the Big Shot with a flower die.  I wondered if it would hold together after it was die cut, and surprisingly it did as the process of making the die cut actually compressed the lint so that it almost has the appearance of a very thin felt.

I used the Birds and Blossoms die to make the flower.  The leaves and center of the flower were created with DMC Memory Thread.  The picture of the towel was used to make something else that in real life would be soft - a hat and a scarf.  (I hope you can tell that that's what you see as HWNSNBP did not get it.  His first guess was an igloo and he was not joking!)

The snowflakes on the Island Indigo card base were stamped in VersaMark ink and embossed with white EP using the SU set Northern Hearts.  The sentiment comes from The More the Merrier.  The hat is popped up and the scarf is only glued down where the scarf would be folded.  If nothing else, I certainly do like the colors of this.  Will the flower hold up?  Time will tell, but I certainly would not use something like that on a real hat! 

Before I go to check out the other "soft" creations, let me give you a glimpse of the card that I did make for last week's challenge - to be inspired by a holiday song.   I was really not in the mood for card-making so much last week as I was working on addressing the envelopes for my son and future daughter-in-law's Save The Dates, and as it was, I finished my card about five minutes to 6 last Wednesday, but by the time I got the picture loaded on the computer the clock read 6:01 and the link was closed - sigh! 

But what I managed to put together in about 20 minutes that night was this, uh, disaster.   

I found that JOY image already stamped and colored with Twinkling H2O's in some paperwork that I had been cleaning out earlier in the week and put it aside for this.  What I was going to do with it I couldn't remember, but when the clock is ticking (and I do have a ticking clock on my work table) you just start grabbing things.  I looked around and found a piece of copied sheet music, some sparkly ribbons, a little emerald green crepe paper and  here you have it.  Will I sent this out?  Don't know that I will or won't but it will go into the box just the same.  (Yeah, there should be a World on there someplace to fit in with the theme - maybe in the future.....)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sharing Their Creativity

My blogging friend Dana sent me this wonderful Fall card.  She's recently relocated to Florida and is reacquainting herself with her creative muse.  She creates all the papers that she uses on her computer.  I told her that I love those little scarecrows on the background paper. 

And look what else she did - Paper Tole.  She cut out those image elements and popped them up and then beautified them even further by adding some glassy glaze. 

Oh, but she didn't stop at the front of the card.  Just look what I found on the back......

A little acorn faux brad.  She is really putting that muse to good use!  Thank you Dana.  This was such a nice surprise to get. 

I was also the recipient of another teapot tickle this month.  This one came from Rosalia. 

Look at that pretty pooch getting all dolled up!  Thanks Rosalia.  This is an awesome card!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teapot Tuesday 168

Looks like we're going to a Birthday Tea Party this week.  What a sweet single serve teapot and teacup all in one.  That gingham cup is really cute.  Can you image opening this box and finding that set inside?  You know there is a story to go along with this and you can find it if you click here

I'm very behind on everything this week.  I actually had my card done on Monday night, just never got to posting it.  The changes at work have really zapped my energy and I've had projects that I promised to both of my children to work on which have kept me away from everything else.  I don't mind that because they still come first, just wish I didn't have to expend so much energy at work multi-tasking.  There are so many interruptions during the day that I have to shut down when I get home.  No tv, no phone, no noise.  These projects help to get me back to single-tasking.  When I finally do sit down at the computer the weariness really sets in and I can barely keep my eyes open. 

But anyway...... here's my card for this week.  I attempted to make my own "gingham" with the squares in two shades of pink and white.  The stripes in between are from a third shade of pink.  I embossed the white square as well as the icing on the punched cupcake (I think this is the very first time that I used that punch!)   I used the red glitter paper for the cherry and some striped dsp for the cupcake base.  The sentiment comes from the set of Occasional Quotes. 

A little close up.

Pay no attention to the crooked square in the lower left-hand corner - it's your imagination!

Okay - over to the gallery for some oohing and ahhing.  Click here to join me. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sorting Buttons

The buttons from the box I bought last weekend had some nice surprises.  There were all kinds - plastic, metal, wood, leather, glass, and I think even maybe some bakelite, but I'm not sure about that yet.

There were some very old and some very new ones in there which was also a nice surprise.

These Mother of Pearl ones were an example of new and old - the backs of the ones on the left showed considerable wear and expose the layers of color.  It was nice to find so many of the larger ones in the same size.  The larger ones were bigger than a quarter.

These glass buttons remind me of the buttons in my grandmother's button box that I used to play with as a child.  The one with the stones in it is plastic but the stones are very sparkly.

I love the pattern on these metal ones.  Again, a lot of the same size.

These are some more of the metal ones.  The buttons on the left look a little art deco to me.  Wonder how old they really are?

There was an interesting assortment of both wood and leather buttons.  Probably some of these were from old coats or maybe a kilt.

Then, of course there were the colored ones - these pink ones again reminding me of childhood.

It seems you always find a surprise tucked in with button collections.  For the most part I have found that there usually are metal findings in there like snaps and hook and eyes - maybe some pins and needles.  The surprise I found this time were these little cameos flat against the bottom of the container.  They were almost impossible to pick out of the box - had to dampen my finger so they would stick to it.  They would fit on the face of a penny. 

I have a couple of projects in mind for some of these.  When they come to fruition will be the big question.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teapot Tuesday 167

Is this not the coolest teapot?  I'm really liking this because the story is all about a referee and fish.  Sound familiar to anyone?  Well, my resident referee is also a somewhat avid fisherman so this teapot fits him to a "T"!  Please do check out the story that goes along with this here

Our destination is a gentleman who is having some health issues but he's also a football referee and though his medical problem will prohibit him from reffing this year, he'll be administering classes to those that are just learning the craft.  Hmmm, I wonder if football officials have a "Cheater's Club" like basketball officials do?  

So our direction this week was to make a masculine card with black and white vertical stripes and/or a masculine card with horizontal rainbow stripes, and/or a masculine card with a fishing theme.  

What I've added here is not a fish on the blue label, but a whistle.  An official official's whistle which I borrowed from my resident referee and traced adding the embossed areas to show where the holes are - though I'm not sure you can see that in the picture.  

The sentiment is from Very Punny and is the only stamped part of this card.  Those little rainbow fishes are brads.  So I think I've got most, if not all of the directions completed.  (Hmmm, maybe should have sponged the edges of that label a little - oh geez, this is a guy card, he'll never know the difference!)

Off to the gallery.  Join me by clicking here.  

Monday, October 10, 2011


Remember these?

These are gloves meant to be used to wash your car (or dust) and I got them at the Dollar Tree for a buck a piece. 

I folded in the thumbs on both of them, placed them palm to palm and pinned around the edges.  Then I whip stitched the two gloves together leaving a small space at the very top.

I thought about stuffing it at this point but it really wasn't necessary.  What I did instead was to fold up the cuff and stuffed them inside.

Next I got out a golf tee and used a brown Sharpie marker to give it some stripes.

Then I stuck the tee into the top of the gloves where I had left a little space.

Stood it up and here you have it.............

Oh, the snake is not real - just cleaning out a junk drawer this weekend and I found that when I was looking for...............these

Yeah, they may be a little big but you get the picture. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jingle Belles 41

Our theme this week - "I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas" (and a cure) - yes this challenge is hand-in-hand with Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Our cards should have some pink in them - a non-traditional color for Christmas, but I love it. 

The Medallion was stamped in VersaMark and then embossed with Whte EP.   I then took a sponge and sponged on some Regal Rose from the center outward and then Rose Red at the edges of the paper.  The trees from Patterned Pines were stamped in Regal Rose and in Wild Wasabi and cut out.  I torn some Whisper White cs for the hills and added the trees.  The pink ones in the background were completely glued down but the green ones in front were only glued at the bases so the tops come forward a little.  I added some glitter pen to the torn edge of the white cs.  The greeting from Four the Holidays was stamped in Rose Red using my stamp-a-ma-jig for placement.  The final touch was to add the whole thing to a base of Rose Red.

I'll be adding this to Pink Saturday.  You can follow the Jingle Belles contributions here.

Only $8 Minus the Boxman

Today was the fall yard/rummage/garage sale that I usually go to at the little reformed church nearby.  I was minus my boxman today as he was attending a fishing seminar.  He did call me to make sure I was up in enough time and boy was it chilly.  In the 50's here.  Knowing that the sale didn't start until 9 I got myself ready to go and left the house at about 10 of.  Of course, there were people already leaving with bags and boxes of stuff which always annoys me because I play by the rules when they say no early birds - not that I would ever fall into that category anyway!  But I did get lucky and find a parking space in the first slot.  Then as I walked down the sidewalk I could see that they had really spread things out this year, using a lot of tables and tarps on the lawn.  But with no boxman (and no boxes in sight anyway this time - curious) I started my search for bargains and the quest to see just how much I could hold in my hands. 

The first stop was the craft area - just because that's what was right at the end of the sidewalk - and this is what I found...... 

Some cute paper products for 25 cents each - two sticky notepads that say "Learning is Fun", another notepad with a picture of a watering can filled with flowers.  The checkerboard cat is a box full of book plate stickers, and the little Forget-me-not item is a little address book (marked $4.95 from Hallmark on the back).

Then I found these in another box - a bag of 11 tiny clay flower pots for 50 cents, the box of pearls for 10 cents, and the glass beads for a quarter.

This was on the bottom of the box and it was the thimble that caught my attention.

It's a sewing kit with silk thread and it was also a quarter, but I'm afraid to pop off that thimble because I don't want the plastic to crack.

This was a real bargain - 7 pkgs. of tassels which were all originally priced at $2.99 from the Rag Shop with a 50% mark-down which would have meant the original purchaser paid $1.49 a piece for them and I got all 7 pkgs. for 50 cents total.

And of course, I find it hard to not purchase buttons when I see them.  All of these bags were in a larger bag for $1. 

This container was intriguing.  "For In Vitro Diagnostic Use"  - "Human C4" (could that be a personal explosive?) - with mention of vials inside - the container dated 1977.  What could it be?

Aha!  Inside were some more button treats which I'll share close-ups of at another time.

The other craft purchase which I somehow forgot to photograph were two balls of cotton crochet thread - one brand new in the wrapper and the other partially used for ........ 25 cents.  Another steal!

And as I was looking through the glassware I noticed that there wasn't very much stuff with color, so either people are holding on to their colorful stuff nowadays or it was really picked through already.  But I did stop to look at this teapot and as I picked it up the woman next to me said "That's so you!"  I have accumulated a few white teapots over the years and this one just had to join the others.  It's very "fallish" with the leaves and acorn on one side and the pears and pomegranate on the other. It was a mere $1.50.

This, of course was the limit of what I could carry so I checked out racking up everything so far for $6.  Then I decided to visit the basket and frame area before I left for home and came across this picnic basket for 2 bucks.  Without the boxman I really should have headed there first!  Everything fits nicely inside.

Two dollars for a picnic basket is another bargain knowing what I've paid for the two Peterborough ones that I have bought from QVC over the years.  This one is destined for a paint job and relocation to the condo I think.

Not bad for 25 minutes of shopping on a cool October morn!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

I brought the better camera today and I was rewarded.  Of course, I'm sure they think I'm nuts.  It's not like I sit there staring out the window.  There's no time for that.  Plus, I can tell you that any daydreaming that I do would be shortlived with all the interruptions that go on during the course of the day. 

I did get to take a couple of steps further forward this time before he flew off, but aha, I saw where he went.  Almost right on top of me.  Right to the top of the flagpole!

That was the good.  Here comes the bad. 

A very little card I sent to a couple of co-workers who have been under a lot of pressure this last month since school opened.  Oh - it's been anything but paradise.  But I'll stop there or I might get myself in trouble.

This is the beautiful.  These came from the yard of one of our teachers and she put them on my counter so I get to enjoy them all day!