Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Last Day of the Year in Pictures

It was a gorgeous day for December.  Fifty-five degrees and after a brief spell of clouds this morning, turned out to be a lovely day.  We even managed a bike ride, although a short one! 

We'll be celebrating with friends this evening as we usually do. 

Hoping you and yours have a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

Divine Intervention?

Some bargain after-Christmas-shopping yielded me a Christmas tree for the condo.  Mind you, that was not my intention to ever have a tree for the condo, but Target was having a 70% off all Christmas paraphernalia and this tree caught my eye.  Actually, the tree that caught my eye was part of the ornament display, but the salesperson wasn't really interested that I was interested in that one.  My shopping buddy however, found the very same tree in a box and after we checked the price, I decided that it would be going home with me. 

I was not going to put it up as it is New Year's Eve, but I wanted to make sure that all the parts were there and secretly I also wanted HWNSNBP to see it so as I was cleaning the downstairs this morning, I took a break and put it together.  It is very sparkly, which you can't really tell from the pictures and the box says it's Apple Green.  Well, the tinsel branches are two shades of green.  And it's really skinny as you can see. 

After I had it up I was racking my brain to try to figure out if we had anything down here to decorate it with.  First I came up with this blue and white clothesline that was a dollar store find and currently not being used.  That made a nice garland.  Then I came across a bag of shells and things from the Christmas Tree Shop that had 5 resin starfish in it (the sand dollars were too big I thought).  And lastly I remembered that I had a couple of fat quarters of sea themed fabric I had picked up to see which I might like for pillows.  Since they weren't being used, I took one of them and tore it into 1" strips and made bows for the tree.  One of the others was used to wrap around the tree stand.

I am quite smitten with how this turned out and feel that it was meant to be, but that, however, is not the divine intervention I referred to in the title of this post.

As I had been distracted from the vacuuming, after I finished the decorating, I went back to finish and when I turned the switch on the vacuum cleaner there was a pop and it went dead.  I checked out the receptacle that it had been plugged into and it was still working so I was trying to determine if it was the plug on the cord, which had already been replaced once.  I plugged that into another receptacle and nothing happened.  Wiggled the cord again and tried another receptacle (yes, I should have given up before this - I did not know why I was compelled to do so).  This time when I plugged it in, it made a loud POP and sparked and I knew that I was done fooling around.

As I sat down to call HWNSNBP to see if he could pick up a replacement cord on his errand run I just finished the call and noticed some smoke coming from over my shoulder.  I thought that the receptacle was on fire, but upon further inspection I saw that the smoke was coming from the bag that I carry my cameras and chargers in.  I took it over to the tile landing and dumped it out still seeing a wisp of smoke coming from it.  What crossed my mind was that the plug had thrown a spark, but that was not the case.  One of the rechargeable batteries had become engaged in the charger and had overheated - without being plugged in - and the battery was charred and super hot and the charger's plastic casing was melted. 

I shudder to think that if I hadn't stopped to decorate the tree - if the vacuum cleaner hadn't shorted out - if I hadn't decided to sit down and call HWNSNBP, I would have been otherwise involved in something like my next task of taking a shower, when that charger started smoking and, well, things would definitely not have worked out to my (our) advantage. 

I will be toasting my Guardian Angel tonight!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Jingle Belles JB12:01

No Time Like the Present(s) is our first theme of the year.  I bet if you are a paper fanatic like myself that you probably have some of your favorite wrapping paper from this year, or any year for that matter, stashed for putting to "some good use" in the future.  Well, let that future be now - the present!

"Make a holiday card that incorporates GIFT WRAP:

as a background, as an accent, or using motifs cut from your favorite wrapping paper


Make a holiday card with an image of present(s) on it!"

If you've never heard me say it, IKEA happens to be one of my favorite places to go, and not just for the meatballs!  I really love checking out their holiday decorations and papers and, case in point, I used some of the gift wrap that I had picked up there last year. 

Aren't these Gnomes with Clogs just too cute! 

These motifs came from two sets of bags that they had.  One with the snowflakes which had a coordinating striped bag, and the other with the gnomes.  As you can see from the strip across the top of the gnomes, the bags had pinked edges on top and I decided to keep that pinked edge as part of my card.  The bottom is scalloped by hand so I didn't have to cut through the hats of the gnomes below. 

I punched an additional snowflake out of the back side of the bag and edged it with a red glitter pen and then mounted it on a Real Red circle.  The button has a bow of linen thread and the holds the tag - the only stamped part of this card - on the Very Vanilla cs.

I also added some glitter pen to the outside of the snowflake layer though it's barely visible in the photo.  Three shades of red were used in this card - Poppy Parade, Real Red, and Cherry Cobbler. 

If you don't have any paper leftover it's not too late to score some in the After Holidays Clearance Sales.  As a matter of fact, this very afternoon I picked up some very pretty gift bags at Target that I definitely will be using in cards.  At $.60 a bag it's cheaper than scrapbook paper and just as, if not prettier than!

So, this year there will be a Jingle Belles Challenge every two weeks and that may mean you will see more than one card being made by me for each challenge, but don't hold me to it! 

Okay, are you ready to check out the designs of the week?  I am happy to let you know that I was asked to help start things off this year with a card in the preview.  You can join me by clicking here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Fun

This is Kirby hanging out on the writing portion of my computer stand.  Although he might look like he's adding the star to that tree, he's actually nibbling at it as he did the paper you will see near his feet.  When he went after the cord with his beak he was returned to his cage home.  That little tree is hooked up via USB port to my laptop and it changes color.  It was a cute little find that I found out about from my hairdresser.  She mentioned that CVS had these little trees you could just plug into your computer and later that day I sent HWNSNBP to find one at the local CVS. 

Unfortunately, they either never had them or were all sold out because he said that the "kids" behind the counter did not know what he was talking about making me, of course, a bit of a dope for sending him there.  However, I called the next nearest store - a bigger store - and they did have them and agreed to hold two for me until the next day.  So off went HWNSNBP the next morning on his round of errands for the day (self-imposed most of them!) and he picked one up for me and the other I gave to my office mate.   Luckily I had asked them to put them on hold for me because they were the last two by the time he got there. 

So we both had these trees hooked up to our computers in the school office the last week before Christmas and several people that saw them also wanted them, but no local stores had any more.  It was funny how a simple passing comment by my hairdresser turned this into the hot item of the day!  Scouting around other CVS stores in the area we were able to find some snowmen and a couple of other trees which became gifts for my daughter and her roommate and a couple of friends.  

And speaking of fun gifts, here are a couple of fun scarves that I made out of some colorful t-shirts that belonged to my father.   I made two of each and Rachel got one of the more "earth toned" ones and I kept a red/green one for myself.  The other two became presents.  They are strictly fun items as they provide very little warmth, but they were fun and easy to make.  If you check this link you can find the directions.

And speaking of Rachel, while she was here there was the usual vie for control of the TV between her and her dad.  He wanted to watch "The Sound of Music" on Christmas night and won out - if only during airtime - commercial time became time to surf and she happened upon the one scene in "The Music Man" that always makes us laugh......

Click Here

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Christmas Elf Strikes Again

My fellow administrative assistants in the district each received one of these tealight snowmen from the "Christmas Elf".  The Elf says "Easy Peasy if you have the right tools!"  That would be a Big Shot or Cuttlebug, some circle dies, a 1 1/2" circle punch, 1" square punch, snowflake punch, word window punch, oh, and a heart punch - sounds like the Elf got a little punchy - heh, heh!

You also need....... a battery operated tealight (1 1/2" in diameter which is probably standard size, but the Elf wasn't sure about that.), some ribbon for a scarf, a little floss for the hat band and a couple of Sharpie markers.

The Elf used an orange Sharpie on the flame of the tealight first so that the tealight would appear orange when unlit as well as lit.  A 1/8" strip of cs was added to the bottom edge of the tealight with sticky tape to make a little lip.  Then the circles were die cut and the edges sponged with Marina Mist ink. 

The twig arms were made from pieces of the snowflake punch and were adhered to the underside of the smaller circle with dimensionals so the layers of the snowman would have some dimension.  Holding the two circles together, the Elf used the circle punch to make room for the tealight and then slipped them on resting right on the lip.  The ribbon scarf was tied around the tealight and trimmed. 

The hat was simply made with the 1" square and word window punches with a little bit of red floss wrapped around for the band, then adhered to the top of the tealight.  The eyes, mouth, and buttons were added with the black Sharpie.  The finishing touch is the punched heart.

This is half the crew below.

The Christmas Elf also brought some sweetness to the 75 staff members at school.  Left them in the mailboxes.

A Twizzler wrapped around a Lindor Truffle with a tag that read.....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Punched Embossed Bird Pins

Things you will need:

Scrap cardstock or postcard weight junk mail
Bird Punch
Glue or Xyron Sticker Maker
Embossing Folder
Aluminum Tape
Big Shot or Cuttlebug
Pin Back

For each pin you will need to punch out 6 birds and 12 wings.   Using your adhesive of choice (I used my Xyron) glue 6 layers together making one bird and two wings. 

The aluminum tape is peel and stick, however, you don't want to peel it until you cut it first leaving a slight border around the sides so you can cover the edges when you remove the backing.  You will need to cover both sides and using your fingernail, make sure that the tape is adhered on all sides.

Choose an embossing folder to emboss your birds and wings with.  Make sure you take the thickness of the punches into consideration when making your sandwich.   You may need to remove one of the plates like I did so you don't break the roller.

When you do the wings make sure that they are all facing the same direction as the birds or your embossing will not match.  After you've embossed them you might need to run your fingernail over the edges again to make sure that they are smooth.

Adhere the front wing with a dab of E6000 and then do the same with the pin back on the reverse side.  The second wing can be glued over the base of the pin back and slightly higher on the bird  so that both wings can be seen. 

Of course you will want to make sure that these birds do not go through the laundry!  

Edited 8/19/12 to add:  I'm happy that this little project has been pinned/repinned so many times on Pinterest.  I had a question about the aluminum tape and where I got it.  I found the tape at Home Depot but I don't remember what section of the store it was in.  I'm sure if you ask at Customer Service there or at any hardware store they can point you in the right direction.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jingle Belles Wrap Up

See this box?  This box is the very box that held all my Jingle Belle cards for 2011.  It also held any other Christmas card that I happened to put together during that time. 

Look at the top of the box .  This angel kept guard over my creations up until a couple of weeks ago.

I had all my cards done - 48 in all (some where multiples from a particular week which made up for some challenges that I missed). 

There were so many that I could not get them all into one picture.

And the lighting wasn't the greatest - sorry!

But you see them here before I sat down to add the sentiment to the inside and made sure that I had an envelope that would fit each one.

There were a couple of them that needed special sized envies so I am making a note to myself to try to keep within standard card sizes for 2012.  I'm also noting, to myself, that I should add the sentiment and set aside the envelope as I go along so as to save even more time when getting ready to mail them out.

The selection, signing, and addressing of the envelopes were all jobs that I passed on to HWNSNBP.  I had taken some time during the past month to sit down and notate the Challenge week number on the back of each card (another thing that I'll do as I complete them next time) and I made up a little slip of paper that explained a little about the Jingle Belles challenge and a "fill in the blank" for him to include the week number along with a link to the searched list of Jingle Belle challenges in case the recipients wanted to see the rest of the cards.  It was noted on the slip that the cards were chosen at random, which they were for the most part except for the ones that had been previously requested or specially made. 

I'm so glad that I found the Jingle Belles Blog last December because this was fun to work on a Christmas card almost every week and a relief to have all those cards done by this December.  There will be another challenge this year with a little bit of a difference to it, but for the most part, we will be Taking Back December once again.

Merry Christmas 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

18 Days - Oh NO!

I heard an advertisement today that sent my head spinning.  Some chick was standing in front of a perfectly decorated holiday scene and exclaimed that she couldn't believe she had to wait another 18 days for Christmas to arrive.  Huh!  I, on the other hand feel, as usual, that I can use another 18 days plus!  I keep racking up projects to complete (or in some instances, start) and there just aren't enough hours in the day.  And just think that I already have my cards done!  I wish I could lose weight as easily as I lose time!

I may get to the Teapot Challenge later this week - it's a fun one and I will get to use it myself. But for now, I will quickly post some bluebird pictures which I was fortunate to snap on Sunday in our backyard and a card that I created for the mail lady at work.  Keep in mind that these bird pictures were shot through the kitchen window - which was crystal clear a week ago, but doesn't look it now.

There were four or five birds that came from the east side of the garden, checked out the nesting box while chasing each around and then left almost as quickly to the west.  I've noticed that the box at school has similar behavior going on.  I even checked inside that one last week because the birds kept going in and out and it was unseasonably warm here and there were pine needles in the bottom. 

I had been experimenting last month with some punched flowers, wetting the paper and scrunching it up and then leaving it to dry overnight.  I really like how they turned out so I decided to use this pink one on a card that I gave to our mail lady for her birthday this week.  Her favorite color is yellow so I knew that I wanted to have yellow on the card.  The large pink flower was sitting there and there were these little punched pink ones leftover from a previous project that I thought I could use.  I added the black to give it some more punch.

Okay, back to business.