Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MMTPT239 - What Goes Around Comes Around

I wouldn't expect this to look familiar to many, if any, unless you've been around since 2008 and have been following my Teapot challenges.  Cindy posted this picture on her blog back in September of that year.  You can see what I did back then by clicking on this link.  Sometime after that Cindy sent this little tea set to me and I had it proudly displayed until I mailed it off to Sabrina in Ireland in December.  Cindy had dubbed us the "Sisterhood of the Traveling TeaParty" and thusly, I thought it was time for the little tea set to be enjoyed by someone else.  I did love having it  here and I'm sure that Sabrina will love it too.  

In that challenge I had used some little pink shells and I did again here but in a much different manner.   

It was a bittersweet moment when I realized that the little shop where I purchased these shells is no longer there because of Superstorm Sandy.  That particular section of the Jersey shore in Normandy Beach was hit very hard.  My father used to go to that bait and tackle store and my husband continued to do so even after my dad and later the owner passed away.  I never minded going in there because of all the shells they had.  Whether it was just to look or pick out something special.  Those are good memories.  And now, I think they make pretty flowers.

So you see how this week's theme of "What Goes Around, Comes Around" applies here in many ways.  

The only stamping on this card is the sentiment which is simply "friends" and it's from Tiny Tags.  I used my Memory Box grapevine wreath die and my Impression Obsession leaf die.  The embossing was done with the SU Vine Street folder.  There are two layers of SU ribbon.  

The shells were first glued to punched cardstock flowers.  I was finally able to find a new jar of Aleene's super tacky glue.  I really like to use that glue when I am gluing more than paper items together.  It definitely has to be in the jar (plastic) because it is so super tacky and I let it get even tackier by leaving the jar open for an hour or so when I first get it to have some more of the moisture evaporate.  I was able to hold the shells with my tweezers and just dab them in the glue since it was so close to the top of the jar, but had there been less in there a toothpick becomes the perfect applicator.  

It's a little late now but I'm trying to decide if I should have used a bolder shade of pink cardstock and ribbon.  Hmmmm, I've still got more shells so I might just give that a go. 

Here is the link to the challenge gallery - take a look at how the teapotter's have been inspired this time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birthday and Birds

Well, today is my son's birthday.  He's making me really feel old.  I actually addressed the envelope to Mr. this time and it felt kind of funny, but he is a Mr.   I've still got lots of paper left over from his wedding invitations so I thought I'd put it to some good use. 

Stipple Shells, Happy Moments (sentiment), Inkadinkado coral, Mike's Seahorses, By the Seashore, Rough Texture wheel - all the stamps used.  Bermuda Bay, Pool Party, Whisper White, Sahara Sand paper.  VersaMark, Bermuda Bay, Pool Party, Creamy Caramel ink.  White gel pen,blender pen, circle punch and sponges - the accessories used.   I fussy cut the seahorses and popped them up.

We managed a quick trip to the condo this weekend, thanks to the day off for President's Day yesterday.  (I'll post a picture of the project we completed with Rachel also over the weekend in Delaware later.)  It was wickedly windy on Sunday evening.  We normally have some movement inside since we're on pile-ons, but the ceiling fan was really swaying and the wind was really howling - still some on Monday morning.  But we were kind of determined to drive out to the lighthouse as there were reports of some harlequin ducks being seen in the inlet. 

Alas, no harlequins, but we did see the following and I only managed a few shots because the wind was biting and we were the only nuts out there to begin with. 

Red-Breasted Merganser top and on the left below.

Long-Tailed Duck - male - on the right above and below.

 Long-Tailed Duck female below.

Ice glazed rocks.  It looks like an icing glaze on donuts or cookies.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tube Diver

This bird feeder has a lid.  It has a lid that apparently is so easy to remove a squirrel can do it.  They must have been watching very carefully when HWNSNBP was filling the feeder to see how that tube got filled.  I saw the lid on the ground and we originally thought the wind had blown it off, so HWNSNBP put it back on and then went out to do some errands.  A little later I noticed the lid on the ground again and thought it was strange because there was no wind.  Then I looked up and saw this - the squirrel diving face first into the tube.  

Trying to get out was a little tricky.  Those feet were flailing around and the front paws were slipping as it tried to push itself out.  It was actually quite comical and the dark side of me was wishing that it got stuck.  But it managed to get out and the diving kept going on for quite some time.  I think HWNSNBP is feeling a little defeated with this feeder as he has temporarily stopped filling it.  It's a sad thing when you keep being outsmarted by a squirrel.

If they can observe and learn how to do something like this maybe we can teach them to read and will only have to put up a sign that says "For the Birds Only".  But then, they would probably accuse us of be prejudiced and take us to court.  We don't want to be branded anti-sciuridaeites.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

My card to HWNSNBP which I made after seeing the MIX2 challenge on Friday.  The background panel is done using the emboss resist technique.  The popped stamped image was stamped in Regal Rose and then I added some Rose Red highlights with the fine point end of my Rose Red marker.  A Cherry Cobbler embossed heart is the final touch.

This little guy below came from my daughter.  I can't tell you how it made me smile!!!  If you press his right hand, Cupig signs and dances.  

Check out the YouTube video below.

And HWNSNBP brought home a heart-shaped pizza for Ash Wednesday dinner last night.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Marshmallows

Sunday was Marshmallow Day.  It's not an official Wacky Holiday, it just happens to be the Sunday before Valentine's Day and also corresponds to the week of my semi-annual oncologist check-up.  On my winter visit it has become a tradition for me to bring the office staff some of my homemade cinnamon and vanilla marshmallows.   Since I do a batch of each I have enough to share with my friends and cohorts and this is how I packaged them this year.

The heart above was stamped using the set You Are Loved.  I inked the stamp with my markers, reactivating with my breath before I stamped it.  I then went over the design with the fine tip end of the markers to solidify the colors.   This set was in the mini catalog last year and I thought that I had missed out on it, but was very glad to see it in the big catalog this year.  

On the doily below I used a stamp from Just Believe, stamping several times in Rose Red ink without reinking to get the layers of color.  I cut the center out of another doily to make the mask.  The heart in Cherry Cobbler came from the hearts embosslit and is popped up.  

Inside each box (which were a clearance find at the Christmas Tree Shop a few years ago for $1 for a package of 6) I put three cinnamon and three vanilla marshmallows.  

All together I was able to fill 23 boxes (as well as a larger box of a dozen-and-a-half to the dr. office).  The one's with the heart proved to be a little time-consuming which is why I came up with the second design.   I'll be passing them out at work and to some friends over the next couple of days.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fat Friday and Birds After the Snow

Each Friday at work becomes "Fat Friday".  It's not a particularly endearing term but what it means is that treats are shared.  Two or three people sign up for a certain Friday and if you sign up for any Friday you can take part in the feast.  Friday it was our turn in the office.


Friday also was a single session day because of the impending blizzard warnings we were getting here in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, we did not know this on Thursday night.  On Thursday night it was a toss up whether we were going to have school at all, so it was a little hard to be fully prepared with the treats that I was bringing.  I didn't want to have a lot of "stuff" here at home should we not have school because it's only HWNSNBP and I.   But I did manage to pre-prepare some of it so I didn't have to wake up too early on Friday.

I had chosen one recipe that I had tried and two that I hadn't and one fun stand-by do-it-yourself treat.

Goldfinches in Winter Color
The recipe I had tried was for "Pink Fluff".  A simple concoction of Cool Whip, a box of Sugar Free Fat Free White Chocolate Pudding mix, a 20 oz. can of Lite Cherry Pie Filling, and an 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple.    I had been making this at home since I found the recipe about a month ago.  I even made it once with Sugar Free Cherry Pie Filling and it was just as good.   I made one batch on Thursday night figuring that I would just keep that for us should school be cancelled.   In the morning Friday I mixed up another batch and put them both in my trifle bowl.   If it seems like a lot, keep in mind that there are about 30 people that take part in this.  

Junco In Flight
The other two recipes I found on the internet while perusing Pinterest.  And, let me say that I learned a lesson with one of them.  I had decided to make Salted Caramel Shortbreads and I should have read the comments before I began because as some of the commenters noted, the caramel was much too soft and when I cut them into squares they completely lost their shape.  I did have papers to put them in, but even still, they were not very neat looking.  Tasted delicious, but a fail on presentation.  I had made them on Wednesday night and if I had had enough unsalted butter, I would have tossed the batch and made another, but I didn't.  Believe it or not, I still had a couple of ladies ask me for the recipe.  I did note on it that I would let the temp rise to 234ยบ though.  

Tufted Titmouse
The other Pinterest recipe is Sausage Stars and these were a big hit.  But again, pre-prep was the key here.  I was able to bake the wontons the night before and the filling the morning of.  I actually had more filling than I had cups prepared so I left the excess home thinking I would make them for us and I'm glad that I did because I didn't even get a chance to taste them at work.  I was also lucky in that HWNSNBP had decided to work from home on Friday and he was able to drive me to work to help me bring all this stuff in.  Thankfully I only live about 5 mins. from the school so the hot stuff stayed relatively hot.

Cardinal Pair
The stand-by was Smores.  I purchased Smores Makers for some friends and family for Christmas a couple of years ago and decided to bring that along with the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate.  You make your smore sandwich and put it in the maker and pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds - no campfire necessary.  This was a real hit with some of the teachers who said they were going online to find the Smores Maker for themselves.   

White-Throated Sparrow (with yellow eye patches)
I also had brought a large container of mixed nuts and some candies left over from the holidays.  There were bagels and donuts, chips and salsa, fresh fruit, and candy brought in by my co-workers.  

White-Throated Sparrow (without the yellow eye patches)

The birds have been hanging out at the feeders since it snowed.  I threw some seed onto the driveway a little closer to the house to try to get some closer pictures.   Some of them were interested and some were not.  The cardinal pictures were actually taken on Sunday.  They were still hiding out on Saturday.  

Getting ready for Valentine's Day this weekend also.  Made two batches of marshmallows today - Cinnamon and Vanilla.  I also tried another Pinterest recipe today - Microwave Potato Chips.  I finally used my mandolin.  That was an extravagance I had allowed myself over a year ago when someone at work was having one of those home party catalog get-togethers.  They turned out great but they're a little time consuming.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we only got about 4-5" of snow.  Still, it looked quite pretty.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zentangle Calendar

I bought a book calendar - one with pretty big boxes so I could add a tangle a day.  This is what I accomplished in January.  (If you click on the pictures they should get bigger so you can see more of the detail.)

I used the regular posts from Tangle Patterns and supplemented the days they didn't post with various other tangles found on the web.

I wrote the name of each tangle (or string) under the date along with the name of that particular tangle creator.

I plan to add some favorite quotes throughout.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Swans - Mixed Media

Try as I might I just could not get a good picture of this card.  I used a technique I kind of made up by combining something I had seen recently with the desire to create a certain effect.  I'm calling it Embedded Glitter Embossing.  

I've been searching for the last two days for the picture that inspired me, but the closest I came was to Monet's Swan which is actually a photo by Richard Nadeau.  Had I seen that picture originally I would have added the lighter colors at the top of the panel, but let me get on with this.

The picture that I saw had a swan or a pair of swans against a dark background that was completely glittered.  As I am not very fond of working with glitter this was a stretch for me.  I wanted a background that looked like sparkling water without the loose glitter.

So after having recently seen a video on Dreaming About Rubber Stamps detailing how to add glitter with embossing folders I thought this might work. (The link has the video.)  But since I was not using an embossing folder it didn't quite work out the way I wanted it initially.  

The first thing I did was to swipe my ink directly onto the paper.   I used Island Indigo, Baja Breeze, and Lucky Limeade making sure that there was no white visible.  Then I swiped the whole thing with my VersaMark pad.  I mixed my crystal glitter with clear EP and generously covered the entire panel.  I found that if you don't want your glitter flying off the paper, don't point the heat gun from above, hold the heat gun below the paper and watch the EP melt.  

The effect was nice, but the surface felt sandy and I did not want it to be textured.  I wanted the water smooth.  So I reinked with the VersaMark again and this time I used Extra Thick EP.  Again heating from below.  I got a smoother surface this time as the Extra Thick EP swallowed up the lumps and embedding the glitter.  

What you see in the upper right corner above is just a reflection from the light as I was trying to take the picture.  The swans from PictureShow Stamps are watercolored and the whole thing cut out and popped up on the background.

IRL it has a lot of sparkle.  Probably not as much as the original inspiration picture, but it's pretty close.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ombre Sky and a Finished WIP

This was not today - this was actually last Friday morning.  I don't remember exactly why I was up a little early, but I think it was because our neighbors' car alarm went off at around 5 a.m. and then again 20 minutes later and at that point I couldn't get back to sleep.   I'm not an early bird but I was glad that I was up a little early to catch this beautiful sky.  HWNSNBP thought I was a bit nuts to grab my coat over my pajamas to run outside in the cold to try to capture it, but it paid off.  He even had me send the picture to him to update his screen saver.  

I wish I had a better picture of what the evening looked like.   We had some extremely cold weather that came through with a quick snow.  I was turning in early (probably because I was up so early) and I got a text message from someone just as I was going up to bed.  That triggered me to turn on the outside light to see if it was still snowing and it was like someone had dumped a truckload of glitter.  I don't think I've ever seen such sparkly snow.  This time though, I didn't want to throw on my coat and go out and thusly, the pictures through the windows just didn't cut it.

Earlier that evening I finished a project that I had started about a year ago.  This skinny heart-motif scarf.  I found the pattern here.  I used a little less than two 1.75 oz. skeins of Martha Stewart Merino Wool in 501 Milk Glass Pink which I picked up at AC Moore in the clearance bin for about a dollar a skein.   

You crochet two halves and then join them in the center so the hearts appear right-side-up all the time.  

The pattern calls for only 12 motifs on each side but when I held it up to me, I decided that would be too short.  Don't know if it was because of the yarn, the gauge of my stitching, or the difference in my ample landscape and that of the model.  So I continued for 20 on each side.  And no, it's not too long, but since it took me so long to make it,  my stitching consistency was a little off and the sides don't exactly measure the same in length after I steam pressed it.  But unless someone is looking for the exact center around my neck it won't be noticeable.  

I'm hoping to get myself more on track with finishing some of the many projects that I have started or have bought the ingredients for.  That is my goal for the year.  And I gave HWNSNBP a goal also.  There are a few creative projects that I want him to finish and we're both aiming for one per month.  I don't think that's too unrealistic.  We'll see how it goes (he's already a month behind).