Thursday, February 25, 2016

Baby Shower

On Valentine's Day we had a baby shower for my daughter-in-law.  It was a brunch held at her mother's house.  Her mom and sisters made a delicious variety of brunch foods, Rachel brought specialty desserts, and my role was to make the favors - definitely in my wheelhouse.  

Oh, and it also had a book theme.  So looking back on some of the things that I have done in the past, these little punched babies reading books was where I was headed again.  (Can you tell what she's having?)  

I did some searching and found a pattern for a little box that looked like a book here.  Luckily I had a bunch of this scrapbook paper that was perfect.  

Here is the book closed.

And then opened.  I added a two-page spread inside the cover that had a pictures of Michelle and Chris as babies on each side along with their birth dates and labeled "My Mom" and "My Dad" and then across the bottom of the two pages "Thank you for coming."

The box opens and inside 6 Hershey's nuggets fit perfectly.

I used the babies on magnetic bookmarks that I made from matching blue and green card stock and repurposed magnets.  I tied a thin grosgrain ribbon around each book box first and then slipped the magnetic bookmark over the ribbon.  Everyone seemed pleased with them.  

The food was delicious, and she was so overwhelmed by all the wonderful gifts that she received. Her mom made her a beautiful quilt (not the one in the picture), my mother had knitted them a baby afghan, and one of Michelle's friends crocheted a beautiful afghan with a sailboat motif.  They have a nautical theme in the baby's room.  This is the card that I made for them which I cased from here

She's feeling and looking great and has about 9 weeks to go now.  The excitement is building!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jingle Belles *TEXT* Me

Our mission this time is to "make a holiday card with the emphasis on the words".  So for my first card I chose to highlight this Memory Box die I cut from white glitter paper which really is very sparkly, just not in the picture.  I used a pine bough embossing folder for the background and layered the green on the red then the white card back.  I came across this ribbon in my stash and just had to add it somehow to this card pulling the colors and the embossing motif together.  I only regretted not using gold glitter paper for the sentiment afterwards which might have been a little better with the gold in the ribbon.  

I managed to get a second card done a little quicker.  I used some papers that I had picked up on clearance last Christmas.  The deer are already printed and glittered on the paper.  I cut the panel from a different sheet and knew that I wanted to add some jingle bells along the bottom.  When I first laid it out, the bells seemed to disappear so I took a portion of a kraft-colored doily to put beneath the bells so they might stand out more and I think it worked pretty well.  I'm thinking that maybe I should have darkened it with a little VersaMark first, but I'm keeping it the way it is.

Now it's time to check out all the other Jingle Belles and what they've been "texting" these last two weeks.  

Keeping Busy On The Weekend

We got a tease of spring this weekend.  Temps rose to just above 60º Saturday so HWNSNBP suggested a bike ride and I was up for it.  We headed out to the bike path at Duke Island Park which is on the Raritan River, just east of the confluence of the North Branch and South Branch rivers.  I only brought my cell with me this time, so when we saw all the geese standing in the rushing water I didn't get a very clear picture of them.  There were tons of them all along the river and lots of walkers on the path.  As pleasant as it was I was glad I had my gloves on and Arctic 180's under my bike helmet, though I know I wasn't there to make any fashion statements.

When we got back home I was going through some more "stuff" , in this case papers, from the stamp cave and came across this page I had torn out of an old sketch pad from years ago.  This was an oil pastel that I did while spending a week in Cape Cod with my mother and sister shortly after my other sister had passed away.  

I never noted the name of the structure, which I'm assuming is a lighthouse in the distance, and a quick search of the internet has proved useless because none of the real pictures of lighthouses that I found resemble what I drew, and I think that portion of land in the picture was much farther away than it appears in my drawing.  But I do remember we were able to walk right out the back door of the time share and sit on the beach any time we wanted.  And I learned that oil pastels blend well in the warm sun, but are a bit messy on the hands.  

It's very easy to get lost in the "mess" when going through my craft room.  But after I did some purging I did sit down to do a couple of cards for my Jingle Belles challenge which will be in a separate post.  I guess I felt a little energized from all the fresh air.

On Sunday it was a little cooler but still close to 60º so we did go for another ride though we cut it short because of the wind.  That outing seemed to work quite the opposite for me.  We did some quick errands which tired me out even more but on the way home we detoured for.........

a Shamrock Shake at McDonald's!

It was just the refreshing SWEET treat I needed before my New Action Plan (NAP).  Things seem to be moving along so fast.  Hard to believe that we're more than half way through February already and thinking about St. Patrick's Day.  Or better yet, Daylight Savings Time which comes in less than three weeks.  Something to look forward to.

If you'd like to check out some other SWEET things from Our Beautiful World click here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Just a "Little" Journaling

A few days ago, in my news feed on Facebook, one of the weather sites that I follow posted this image of an impending storm.  This is a windflow map (not sure if that's an official name, but it indicates the flow of the winds).  I really thought it was so pretty and it inspired me to do the drawing below in my little art journal.  

Feb 7: Sunday Night Observations:
Image from

I used some of my new colored Micron pens.  (There are certain perks from working in a school office and getting e-mails from vendors, especially art supply vendors that I can order from outside of school and still get the coupons and sales.)

One of the tangles that I recently added to my tangle calendar was Tamisolo by Hanny Nura.  I liked it a lot and thought that it would look pretty cool with color in those tips.  I had recently gotten some new pencils (Caran D'Ache Pablo permanent color pencils) and wanted to give them a try. The top one with all the colors looks a little milky because I did go over the colored areas with the white pencil in the set in an attempt to use it as a blender.  It did blend, but the downside was the milkiness of the colors afterwards. 

On the second one I stuck with a certain pallet, one combination for all the tangles that went left and another for the tangles that went right.  

This is a 3.5 x 5 inch journal with 100 lb. weight paper which makes it good for wet media and a little toothy for dry.  The pencils do well on the pages with blending but I think it's a bit to toothy for the Micron pens, but that probably won't stop me for doing more work with the pens in it.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Last Saturday

Hot air balloons in February!  Who would have believed it.  Our son stopped by before going to his refereeing job last Saturday as I was just getting up.  He said there were balloons outside and I thought I was hearing things but there they were.  He had seen 5 on his way here, but by the time I got outside only 4 were visible.  Such a pretty sight on a brisk morning.  

Just a little while later, the tree service was due to arrive.  This was the view before their visit.

And this is it after.  I was and still am sad about losing that tree.  Even the squirrels seemed confused.

The wood shavings from the chain saws littered the snow covered lawn.  

Some of it still remains frozen to the ground.  

Edited to add link to Our Beautiful World - this week's theme is UP.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jingle Belles Bling on the Holidays

Blinging it up for this Jingle Belles challenge.  I have glitter paper, metallic paper, rhinestone stickers, metallic ribbon and more.  I decided, going through my papers, to stick with silver and white, with a touch of blue for my color pallet.  The hardest part about this was the picture taking. It's pretty hard to see all the sparkle, but it's there.

Add caption
You can barely see the light blue stones in the top-most ornament.  I took some of the extra stones from the sentiment which originally said "joy to you" and added the darker blue stones to the snowflake.  Thank heavens for tweezers!  The large ornament paper came with the glitter swirls already on it.  And the bottom ornament is silver textured metallic paper.  

This card is a little larger than I normally do so I could fit all those ornaments on.  It's 5 x 7, which is still a standard size though.  I like larger cards, I just don't have a large selection of envelopes to go along with larger sizes.  

So, all you card makers out there - tell me what you do when you accidentally get something stuck to the back of your card and try pulling it off but manage to pull off a layer of paper too?  I think this card front is going to need a new backing!  

I've got to go check out the Jingle Belles gallery now - join me by clicking here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Our Beautiful World - Bird is the Word

Looking at my first couple of photos one might think that we suddenly sprung ahead to mid-spring, but that is not the case.  The word of the week for Our Beautiful World is BIRD and I have a plethora of bird pictures to choose from, but I will keep it to only a few of my favorites.

I just loved being able to get close enough to get a picture of one of our bluebird visitors at the nest box while the clematis was blooming.  Sadly, the plant died and this past summer the blues bypassed our yard, but I still hold out hope that they will return again this summer.  We think this might have something to do with the multitude of nest boxes that our neighbor installed on their property last spring and the fact that we were not able to prepare the garden appropriately enough for our visitors to be comfortable there.  The bluebirds like to nest in open areas and unfortunately, because of my back issues and HWNSNBP's busy schedule, the garden got away from us this year and looked more like a field of waist-high weeds. 

We hope that with some concerted effort we might be able to clear out the offending area and be lucky enough to get more pictures like the one below.  Those open mouths remind me of spring crocuses.

I promised only a couple of bird photos so I am just going to add this photo that I took last week (and posted last week already) as it inspired me to do the little watercolor below it this week.

I'm kind of bummed today because we had to have one of our beautiful maple trees from the backyard removed today.  We noticed that the tree was wet last weekend during a dry, warm day meaning that the trunk probably had been damaged/cracked.  Being only about 15' from the house, there was too much of a risk of it cracking further and damaging the house or harming someone so we opted to have it removed.  It was one of the trees that we hung our bird feeders in so now we will have to find new hang-outs for the feeders.  Hopefully, not too far from the house so we can still enjoy looking at the birds that have become accustomed to their 3-squares here.  

The tree not only provided a place for the birds to eat, but it provided shade for our kitchen area and back of the house - that will be missed dearly in the summer.  I shall have to get used to the new landscape.  

Please take a look at all the other bird photos from around the world that have been posted at Our Beautiful World this week.  

Oh, and if you would like to see more of my bird pictures, please click on the Bird, or Bluebird links on my sidebar.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January Tangles

I'm starting my Tangle calendar again for 2016.  Here are the tangles that I worked on this month. Listed by date, name of tangle, and name of the tangles originator.

Jan. 1 - Win-Zetta/Lorreta West
Jan. 2 - Gotcha/Karin Godyns
Jan. 3 - Layse - Sandra Strait

Jan. 4 - Contacted/Allyn Mae Johnston
Jan. 5 - Marnie/Chrissie Frampton
Jan. 6 - Hua/Damy(Mei Hua Teng)

Jan. 7 - Oybay/Antonine Koval
Jan. 8 - Puchong/Michelle Linn
Jan. 9 - Plop/Beth Snoderly
Jan. 10 - BALA/Damy Teng

Jan. 11 - Autumnal/Daniel Lamothe
Jan. 12 - 2-S/Mina Hsiao(Ping-Min Hsiao)
Jan. 13 - Calix/Judy Murphy

Jan. 14 - Fe-Ba/Lisa Chang
Jan. 15 - Sand/Adele Bruno
Jan. 16 - Wedge/Rosemary Turpin
Jan. 17 - Jasmin/Simone Bishoff

Jan. 18 - Organic/Sayantika Ray
Jan. 19 - Damya/Hsin-Ya Hsu
Jan. 20 - Subline/Diane Tai

Jan. 21 - Caught/Christine Reyes
Jan. 22 - Pineple/Mei Hua Teng
Jan. 23 - O'Brien/ME - Inspired by Sabrina's Photo
Jan. 24 - Unnamed/ME - Inspired by a stitched card I saw on Pinterest, lost link

Jan. 25 - Croissant/Yu Ru Chen
Jan. 26 - 2SS2/Mina Hsiao
Jan. 27 - Planateen/Sandra Strait

Jan. 28 - 25 Castle Street/Neil Burley
Jan. 29 - Snowflower/Cynthia Gannon
Jan. 30 - Drifts/Chris Gerstner
Jan. 31 - Tamisolo/Hanny Nura

I'll post some of the tiles I worked on at a later date.