Friday, November 30, 2012

Juice Carton Wallet

We had to purge the contents of 3 refrigerators after the storm.  We had tried in vain to keep the main refrigerator going with the generator we had, but we gave up on that when it got too cold to stay here.  Aside from the cold packs we keep in the freezer, I did not trust to keep anything else.  

Thankfully we had removed all bait (dead fish) from the freezer at the condo the weekend before the storm because that would have been most unpleasant to come back to.  One of the things that was in there was this carton of lemonade.  We don't usually don't buy drinks in this size carton at home and I had remembered seeing a project that I wanted to try with it, so I brought it back.  

As I sat in the kitchen here, trying to keep myself occupied and warm, I started going through some of the Gooseberry Patch Christmas books that I have which has nothing to do with this project except for the fact that I had printed up the pattern from the internet at some point and found it in one of the books.  That was a stroke of luck because I would not have been able to print anything from the internet without power.  So it was meant to be.  A Juice Carton Wallet.  You can find the directions and pattern here (click on the word "template" in the #1 direction not the one in the supply list).

I found I had to enlarge the hole slightly.  If you try it, be careful and do this a little at a time, otherwise the cap will not keep it closed.

So, I would probably use this to hold gift cards or business cards if I had them.  

There was another "recycling" project I started during that time I'll be sharing in a bit.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teapot Inspiration - MMTPT226

My friend Sabrina is hostessing the Teapot Challenge this week and she showed us this lovely Japanese teapot that was given to her by a friend who got it from a "sea-captain uncle of an old family friend" many years ago.  It is old and authentic and the inspiration for our tea party this week.  Isn't that China blue with the gold leaf beautiful!  I know this must be a very special treasure for her.  

We were challenged to make an Asian-influenced card and there were a few new "toys" that I  thought I could put to good use on this.  First and foremost was the new bamboo embossing folder.  I played with inks and sponges and my brayer, and then added some metallic pencil and shimmer paint.

Don't mind the schmutz too much between the bamboo stalks.  Just consider it some natural shadowing.  I inked the raised side of the embossing folder with Pear Pizzazz and embossed it on a panel of Marina Mist.  I really love the blue in the teapot and was trying to bring that out in this card.  The bamboo needed some extra braying after running it through the Big Shot and that's when the shadowing appeared.   I tried this a couple more times and believe it or not, this was the best.  I'm thinking that next time I will try gluing down the panel to a flat sheet of paper first because the embossing naturally puffs the paper out.  

This one wasn't too bad so I continued on and took a Prismacolor gold pencil and filled in the "stripes" on the stalks.  Needing just a little more reflection, I decided to go over the pencil with my gold shimmer paint.  When that dried I added the gold foil tape to the perimeter.  I think below you can see a little more of the shine.

The image from Asian Artistry was stamped in black Staz-on and then watercolored.  I used a gold gel pen on the edges of that panel.  The finishing accent was a gold metallic piece that has some dragons on it, to which I added some red thread.   The card base is Basic Black.

Since I had done some experimenting with the embossing folder I decided to use another one of the pieces to create the card below along with another new "toy" - my Memory Box bird die.  

This time It was just blue on blue with white accents but this time the blue went on the debossed side.  The bird, as you can see is in red, and I found another experiment on my table - the die cut doily, or part of it, which I added the red string to also.  This doily isn't too frilly so I think it fits okay with the theme.  

I haven't been to a Tea Party in a while and I enjoyed doing this this week though I may not get this posted in the forum.  I have to get down to business with my Christmas cards which I have fallen behind on.  I'll still be sending handmade cards out this year, but some of them are going to be duplicates.  

We had about 2-3 inches of snow today which didn't start until right around rush hour this morning.  Had it started at 3 a.m. as predicted we might have had a delayed opening, but I was glad that they didn't decide to have an early dismissal because that's a nightmare for us in the office.  I was thinking that I could use a snow day to catch up on some things - with power of course!

One more thing - do you think this embossing folder could pass for birch trees?  May have to try that too.  

Edited to add - After looking again at Sabrina's blog, I realized that this last card had been inspired by her lovely creation.  She is quite a talented lady!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Candy Acorns

Candy Kisses
Mini Vanilla Wafer Cookies
Peanut Butter or Chocolate Chips
Peanut Butter (used to "glue" the pieces together)

With a little stretch of the imagination you have Candy Acorns that you can put out with your dessert for Thanksgiving or just as a fall treat. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Birds, Bag, and Tag


We wanted to say thank you to a few people who helped us out during our wait for power and I had colored these leaf images with the bird that I thought would be perfect for a fall thank you.  I used the Top Note die to create a gift card holder.   It is really easy. You start with a sheet of 8.5 x 11 sheet of cs and trim it to 5.5" longways.   Then score that in the middle at 5.5 and again at the 3.5 and 7 inch marks.  Fold it so the pocket will be on the inside and carefully place the piece onto the die so that the top will be straight across.  Once die cut, use a punch or a die to make an opening in the pocket portion and then some red tape to keep the top seam closed.  

And I promised to show you the goody bags that I added my punched pumpkins to.......

The bag included a small can of orange soda, a snack size bag of microwave popcorn, a pumpkin spice tea bay and some candy that I managed no to eat during our power outage.  Oh, and the punched pumpkins too.

Those tags were kind of a last minute addition.  I had just planned on tying them at the top, but they needed just a little bit more.  I stamped the fall bird wreath in VersaMark on orange cs and embossed with espresso ep.  Did the same on Daffodil cs but punched out the center bird and then popped that up on the wreath.  I daubered the edge with some more Early Espresso.  Not wanting to just punch a hole in the top of that I die cut some of the smaller tags from Two Tags in Cajun Craze.  Then I really wanted to add some texture but would you believe I do not have any burlap hanging around here!  So I took a piece of Crumb Cake and embossed it and tore the edge.  

I was really pleased with these and since this stamp set has a wreath for each of the four seasons you can bet that I will be doing this for them all.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Punched Embossed Pumpkins

You might think these look like some funny asterisks from the top.  But focused in the right direction you can see what they are (although I do apologize for the crummy photos - lights and photo tent were not available at the time).

I have spent much time perusing Pinterest and pinning things that are interesting and I think I could possibly create.  The thing is is that you fall into a hole of sorts.  At least I do.  I keep perusing and pinning and perusing and pinning and before you know it, that little bit of time that I have for "creating" has been spent in this gathering process.  

Not having power kept me from this process so I thought I would take advantage of the time and actually try some of the things that I had seen there.  I did use my iphone sparingly to check my Pinterest boards to find some of the things that I had pinned that would 1) require little electricity, 2) that used things that I had on hand, and 3) that would keep me busy.  

I had seen these little pumpkins on Pink Buckaroo Designs and thought that they would be perfect for Halloween and/or Thanksgiving as I was putting together some little goody bags which I thought I would be able to disperse on Halloween.  Of course we know that Mother Nature nixed that and they became Thanksgiving bags.  

If you clicked on the link to the blog I referenced you will see that she used hers for placecards and they are a bit different.  I simplified mine in that I used my 2 3/4" punch to punch out 8 circles for each pumpkin, my little leaf sizzlet and a strip of brown cs for the stem.  I ran the circles through the Big Shot using the wallpaper embossing folder and then daubered them to highlight the embossing.   I didn't score my circles, I gently folded them in half and lightly pinched the fold because I find the embossing leaves the cs a little fragile.  The circles were glued together with Tombow Multi which is quick adhering and made that process go pretty quickly.  

I rolled the brown strip around a toothpick that I had snapped in half and used red line tape to secure that.  I put a glob of glue on the exposed end of the toothpick and slid that and the leaves into the center of the glued circles.  They look pretty simple compared to the placecard holders that inspired me but I think they are still pretty cute.   

When I am doing multiples of things I like to work in an assembly line manner doing each step to each piece before I move to the next.  I feel that this makes the process go faster although that could all be in my head because I've never really taken the time to actually time it.  

How do you do projects with multiples?  Do you do them one at a time or assembly line?  

I'll be posting pictures of the finished bags soon.  I handed them out yesterday when our school had it's "low key" Halloween celebration.  Trick or Treating had been cancelled in NJ on Halloween and postponed to Nov. 5, but our town was still having issues with downed wires and dangerous broken trees and limbs so they cancelled it all together here.   Our school decided that the children could have their parties and get dressed for them since the homeroom parents had spent money on classroom craft projects and whatnot for the parties that were supposed to be held on Halloween.  It was a screwy day with all the traffic in the office - parents dropping off party treats and costumes and various other forgotten things.  But the kids were happy and the homeroom parents were happy that now they could "put Halloween away" and get on with the next holiday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Getting Back to Normal

One could ask if there is such a thing as normal.  After a catastrophic event things change.  You may be extremely affected by it or mildly affected by it, but don't kid yourself and think that you are not affected by it at all.  Just like that butterfly that beats it's wings in the jungle and starts the hurricane the ripples keep spreading outward.

Many of us here in our town were without power as a result of the high winds from Super Storm Sandy.   Most of our block's power was restored on Tuesday - the eight day mark.  There were two exceptions, us and our neighbor.  We were unfortunate enough to have had to wait until the 12th day.

School had been cancelled for 6 days and during that time I was able to keep some warmth in the house by boiling water on our gas stove top and powering a little heater with the generator that we had the refrigerator hooked up to.  I had taken three large smooth rocks from outside and was heating them atop the heater and I would alternately put them in the pouch of my sweatshirt to keep my hands warm.  You could only feel the heat from the heater if you were within two feet of it, but the rocks on top really got hot.  When we shut the generator down, I took the three of them to bed with me.  They got shoved to the floor when they lost their heat.

In order to run the line from the generator into to the house meant keeping a door or window opened a crack.  We decided that it would be easier to close the gap in a door rather than one of our casement windows.  Strange as it seems, we had four brand new pool noodles in the laundry room so I took two of them to help with this.  I used a serrated knife to make a slit down the length of one plus a little more of another noodle and then coaxed the slit part over the edge of the sliding glass door.  We pushed the door as closed as we could get it.  I then took the leftover noodle and sliced that up into quarters and stuck it into the gap where the doors overlapped.  We have a board that I decorated years ago that we keep in the channel to prevent break-ins and this is what served as a lock for that door.

HWNSNBP was determined that we would stick this out and though we were offered hospitality by several of our friends who regained their power before we did, we only took them up on warm showers.  After school resumed, and with the evening temperatures dropping into the 30's it became too difficult to try to heat the kitchen.  And, if you can believe it, it became painful, at least for me, to sleep.  It wasn't trying to keep warm, it was trying to move under the weight of all the covers.  On good days I have to be careful with my hip rolling over.  So, when the kitchen temperature became the temperature that they said was safe for the inside of your refrigerator I told HWNSNBP that we needed to leave.  We headed to the condo in Barnegat where power and cable service had been restored earlier in the week.  HWNSNBP could telecommute from there.  

I have posted pictures in the past of the public dock that is across the street from us there similar to this.

The figure on the right is HWNSNBP fishing.  There will be no fishing at the dock now.

There is my fisherman standing along side the bulkhead and you can see some remnants of the dock.  Most of it was heaved by the water and a lot of it wound up on and around the condo property.  

The picture above is the back of the condo property and midway up on the right side you can see a section of the dock that got washed over.  You can also see a lot of the debris that was accumulated there.  Under our unit the water had rushed with such force that the tall grass was flattened.  Standing upstairs in our unit, when I look out over the refuge there are large areas where the grass was flattened and there are large pieces of homes and belongings strewn about.  It is not really safe to go out and try to retrieve them because of what is under the grass, or rather what you don't know is under the grass.  Boards with nails or ditches could cause injury, so we were careful not to venture too far into that area.  

From upstairs we saw this blue heron standing in a patch of that flattened grass.  I can imagine that he's thinking that he doesn't know this place.

As he flew off you can see the scattered debris in the immediate distance.

We were down there the first Saturday after the storm with some of the other residents to clean up the property.  At the time we were still without power.  If you looked out the front towards the dock you would see the debris being piled up in the parking lot.  When we got their on Friday the pile was even bigger and the machines were constantly moving. 

The dumpsters were lined up and as they were filled the dozer would slide them across the parking lot.  Oh, it was noisy but necessary.  You see that tree near the water below?  The dockmasters shed used to be between that tree and the boat ramp.  They have no idea where it ended up.  It could have broken up and be behind us or it could have been sucked back into the bay by the wind.     

That blob above and to the left of the tree is a boat that must have broken free from some marina and came to rest on that island.

My friend J and I took a walk down the street towards the bay beach around the corner.  The condos that were on the water there were very seriously damaged.  This is a view of the boat slips in the back.  There used to be a boardwalkway there.  We don't know where all the boats are.  They could have been pulled out of the water by the owners before the storm, floated away or sank.  We just don't know.

These units on the street side had damage also.  And in this picture you can see where their built-in pool was heaved right out of the ground.  And the shed was ripped apart.

There was a private fishing pier there also.  Not any more.

The thing (I don't know what you call this wooden wall in the water) that the birds like to perch on didn't appear to have much damage.

But as we continued down the road we stopped at the bay beach because there was a wire down in a puddle and even though there was no power, we didn't feel it was safe to continue.  You can see the shed that rammed into the little gazebo which was pitched up itself.  Further down the road you could see things that had been dumped by the water in the refuge.  In fact, this Saturday we noticed a complete shed had been transported there.  

It was so sad to see all the possessions out on the curb and houses that had holes in them or were missing parts of their roofs.  We lost our pool fence and the cover was ripped.  There was some damage to the pool shed, but all in all, we got off pretty well.

We have learned that we are not prepared enough for a disaster like this at home.  Even though pre-storm warnings said power outages could be in the 7-10 day range we never thought that it would be that long and look how much longer we actually did have to wait.  We McGyvered some things but need to make a storm kit.  We did not have enough batteries, a battery operated radio, nor did we have enough gas cans to make HWNSNBP rest easy.  (Did I mention that 12 counties in the State of NJ were on an odd/even gas rationing program which was just lifted this morning.)  We do not have a safe way to hook up the generator to our furnace or well and this has to be taken care of soon.  We had bottled water for drinking and cooking and used buckets of water from our above-ground pool for "flushing".

I would have loved to have had 6 days off from work with optimum working conditions at home, but the sun didn't cooperate with enough light or heat to make it comfortable enough for me to work in the stamp cave.  Whatever I worked on had to be brought to the kitchen table.  I'll show you pictures of what I worked on soon.

Trust me when I tell you that what you see in my pictures is mild compared to what has happened elsewhere.  You have to be a resident of the areas that were hardest hit and to be quite honest, anything that I have seen, I have seen through facebook postings as my iphone was my only connection to the world without power.  I can tell you that the place where my son got married last month is still stands but the dune that was the backdrop for their ceremony is gone and the whole first floor including the reception room and all of the hotel rooms were underwater.  Our childhood haunts at the Jersey Shore have been devastated by water, wind, and fire.  It is truly heartbreaking to see.

We are lucky to have only been inconvenienced 12 days.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We Have Power Back

Just a quick note to say that after 12 days we have our power back.  We've emptied the refrigerator and cleaned the bathrooms, turned the heat up and retrieved our bird Kirby from his exile to my mother's house.  I'll have pictures to share soon of both the storm damage and of what I did manage to work on during our "indoor camping trip from hell".   I am going through the photos that I have taken as well as trying to catch up with the news and it is taking me a little longer than I anticipated.  We have laundry that's piled up and the refrigerator needs to be restocked.  The recycling container is quite full of empty jars and bottles.  

So to my blogging buddies, I hope to catch up with you all very soon.  I've missed you all.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Still Without Power

We visited the condo today and worked with our neighbors to clean up the debris the storm deposited on and around the property.  I'll have pictures when I get power back which hopefully will be soon because this is very frustrating.

There was a benefit concert last night that we were able to listen to on a radio powered by generator and I found myself so close to tears just listening to the dialogue of people who have it far worse than we do.  We weren't able to see the pictures that went along with it but just to hear their voices and they're sorrow was heartbreaking.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pinterest Inspired - Macaron Purse

Have you seen those little macaron purses that keep on being pinned on Pinterest?  Well, I saw them a while ago, pinned them, and finally got all the supplies together to make them.

Fabric, ribbon, 2" circle template, 2 3/4" circle template pictured.  I used some metal buttons that were 1 1/2" instead of metal covered button blanks.  You just pry the front off the back carefully and remove the plastic pattern and just use the metal front and back - discard the pin or save it for another project.  Also not pictured is a 7" white zipper which was cropped to 5", a piece of batting about 5" x 5", and a needle and thread.  You will also need some tacky glue to glue the batting to the metal tops. 

Follow the directions at the link above - these are good directions and in English.  I've seen others that were not in English so be careful.

And here is the finished product which isn't quite as lop-sided as it appears in the picture.

And from the side...............

Inside the little purse isn't much room, and if I did this again I probably would not use the metal bottom and just use a fabric circle on some interfacing to give it more room inside.    I'm also thinking that a larger pin back button would make the purse itself a little larger, just have to figure out the correct size of the zipper.  

Shall I tell you that it took me a little over an hour start to finish.  This is all handsewn, but it's pretty simple and I think it came out pretty cute.  Wish I had another zipper right now.