Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

My gift for you today is the pictures of my tree and village. The village is no where any way how I want it but at least I got to unpack it and play this year. I had 2 stores and the Mayor's Mansion I couldn't fit in. Next year I'll have a full 4x8 sheet of plywood to actually construct side streets, put up the gazebo and large center-of-town Christmas tree. A few things were broken but E6000 glue is wonderful stuff.

So first, the tree:

I didn't think when I bought the lights last year that I'd purchased solid color strings instead of multi-colored and how interesting it would be trying to put them on the tree. I still managed to wrap each individual limbs but I have vertical rows of color. It's still pretty.

Then there's the village. This isn't the best shot of the village but the only way to get it all in. I have 2 book stores, quilt shop, pie shop, Dollar General, pub, Duffy's Tavern, Chinese restaurant, Lighthouse and pub, 2 toy stores (one is musical), school, church, train depot, Guns and Ammo shop and a Mountain View Lumber. We found the lumber store at Menards in Peoria the year we bought the house. Had to have it because we'd been purchasing remodeling items from Mountain View Lumber in our nearest main shopping town - Mountain View MO.

As you'll see in this next picture, there is a sledding hill. Every town should have one, right? What these kids don't know is that when the town is quiet at night, Santa's elves come down through the timber to collect the bags and bags of mail shipped into the train depot from all over the world. They trudge back through the snow with their parcels to the North Pole where Santa
waits to check the list.

Mrs. Claus directs the activities from Gingerbread Headquarters and elves spend hours in the Confectionery baking yummy treats to fill the stockings.

I hope you'll come back next year to see how the village expands.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Holiday Hiatus... sort of.

How is everyone doing? Are you ready for Christmas? I'm done shopping. Now if I were just done decorating. I was talking to a blogger friend a few minutes ago and realized why I'm dragging my feet with this tree. I really don't like change. This is the first year for this tree in this house, new lights, new placement. I'm having to refigure everything and it's just sucking the creativity right out of me like an ornamental vampire.

Well, despite the fact I've been up since 4 a.m. (no clue why) and really want a nap, I'm determined the lights are going on this tree today. Thus, no card posting. If I break for one more thing, this tree will be a dark albatross in the middle of the dining room till time to pack it away.

Other than the tree and final decorations, I'm not planning on any other postings the last two weeks of this year. I want to get things in line so I can be ready to stay consistent with my postings beginning with the new year.

So bear with me.. there WILL be a tree AND a village by the end of this week if I do nothing else :-)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Amazon Order

I have to say, that with the holidays approaching, the Amazon sellers I've been dealing with lately have been... FABULOUS! I ordered 2 books and a DVD last week. Everything arrived this week. The first item was a book that is part of a trilogy. I'd been unable to find the book locally so ordered it. I want to read it then share the entire collection with a friend as a Christmas gift. She doesn't mind 'used gifts'. We're good that way. LOL The DVD was to replace my husband's VHS of the John Travolta movie classic, Pulp Fiction. Sorry, I don't see the appeal of this particular movie but hubby likes it and has been searching for a replacement for months. If it will make him smile, that's good enough for me.

The Art Journal Workshop

The third item I ordered was The ART JOURNAL WORKSHOP by Traci Bunkers. It comes with a Live Time-Lapse Video of the projects being created. Pretty cool. I know... I don't NEED another art journal workshop book but I love looking at different takes on the same techniques. Every artist brings their own vision to the table.

Now when you order from someone on Amazon, it's a good thing to notice the SELLER RATING. Ideally, you want to work with someone who has 4-Star or higher, or 98% Success rate. HOWLING FOREVER BOOKS has a 5-STAR rating. And with good reason.

The art journal book was well packaged - maybe too well. It had been packaged so tightly - within bubble wrap, mind you, that the CD in the inside front cover cracked.

The first thing I did was take a picture of the cracked CD, still in the plastic sleeve inside the book cover. Then I emailed the seller at amazon, explaining that although I had already given them a 5-star rating I have since noticed the broken CD. When I checked mail the very nex morning I had a response from Howling Forever (via Amazon) and they had already refunded my purchase price. The felt the CD was an integral part of the book and wanted me to have the funds to purchase a new copy of the book locally that would have a workable CD. Wow! They didn't ask for the book back (that would probably cost more in postage than it was worth). They simply said Merry Christmas!

Granted, it wasn't their fault the USPS has to stomp on our packages, but Alex and his team did the right thing! And that's all the counts. I will work with Howling Forever Books and I hope when you're shopping at Amazon, you'll check their store front and know what you're ordering will be handled with professionalism.

Now.. to make time to play with Traci's book!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Free Holiday Images!

For you mixed media artists, I encourage you to check out Lisa Vollrath's site at Ten Two Studios . For just about every holiday, Lisa offers up some of her favorite images for download. The catch... to get them free, she only releases one per day for the duration of the offer. Her images are always vintage and beautiful to work with. Her Christmas images began December 1st. So you can go in now and download each one up to present. Just remember to check back every day until Christmas to get them all!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Magazine Monday!

I took a break from decorating over the weekend to play over at the VSN (Virtual Stamp Night) at SCS. The hostesses for those events come up with some amazing challenges to coordinate with that particular VSN theme. This time it was Winter Wonderland. So with my mindset in the Christmas groove, I made a batch of cards for each challenge. By the time I've completed all of the challenges I will have my Christmas cards for the CCC12 (Christmas Card Challenge 2012) complete BEFORE January! LOL

The first challenge was to create a card based on what gives us Warm Fuzzies during the holidays. We could take the 'warm fuzzies' literal and go with furry pets, warm gloves, etc. Or whatever gives us that 'comfortable' feeling.

For me, Christmas is my baking season.Nothing says comfort like great smells from the kitchen. Growing up, my (step) mom introduced me to baking around the age of 9. I fell in love with the kitchen and have been baking/ cooking ever since. I don't bake a lot during the year because if I did, Bob and I would weigh a ton x3 between us. We like our home baked goodies and know if they're in the house, they're going to be eaten. So instead, I save my massive baking for the holidays when I can divide it all into treat boxes for friends and businesses who've served us well throughout the year.

Since our daughter's favorite cookie is my gingerbread men, I pulled out my Martha Stewart Gingerbread set from Christmas 2009, along with the coordinating paper. Then I went to one of the many Christmas issued stamping magazines packing my shelf. I chose the December 2007 issue of Scrap and Stamp Arts. I found a simple, yet great card from artist Grace Tolman called Merry Christmas. Sometimes a card is fine the way it is. The layout, right down to the pierced scalloped edge is the same with three exceptions. Grace's tag was more centered on the card front, bearing a Christmas tree withe the saying Merry Christmas, her candy stripe paper also had shades of green and she used white ribbon where I used green and white yarn.

I chose to separate the two. I stamped the gingerbread man on the tag and scooted the tag to the left. This left room for the sentiment on a separate tag on the bottom.

I used SU Garden Green and Cherry Cobbler CS. I decorated my gingerbread man with gold stickles and a black glaze pen.

Ten of my family/ friends will receive this card for Christmas next year. Maybe you'll be one of them!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Decorating Day 2

Yep, I'm one of THOSE people. At least that's what a lady in JoAnn's Fabric accused me of one day (several years ago). I was purchasing fabric for Halloween curtains for my kitchen. She asked what I was going to use it for. When I told her she said 'Oh, you're one of those people'. LOL Okay..

If one of those people is the type of person who loves to decorate for the holidays and make my curtains coordinate with everything else in the room, than I plead guilty- with pleasure. As I said yesterday, I've determined it all relates back to color. I love colored lights - or tons of lights in general (like looking out over a city from the 16th floor of a hotel), colors portrayed in fabrics, ornaments, embellishments. Just give me color and I'm a happy girl. If I were one of those people (sorry, no offense intended - just couldn't resist), I'd have Color My World playing on here to greet you every time you visited.

I began decorating with the gingerbread theme in my kitchen several years ago. It started with this adorable fabric I found by Marcus Textiles. I can't remember for sure but I think it was suppose to be for a tree skirt. I saw valance. At the time I had 2 very wide windows and the fabric called to me. I wound up not only making valances but also an apron. Coordinating fabrics in the line were the images you'll see on the table centerpiece and the fabric covering the canisters. There was the all-over gingerbread baking images as well as panel fabrics with the small gingerbread boy/ girl/ heart and the larger image I've turned into pot holders. Little by little I've added other things to the kitchen but this is the first year I've been able to bring it all together. In fact, I spent yesterday making the canister covers, pot holders, condiment basket liner and the embellishments for the front of the glass jar canisters.

So let's take a walk around my kitchen.

Our dining room table normally doesn't sit in the kitchen. When I show you the Christmas tree on Sunday, you'll understand why it's in here for a few weeks. I made place mats and the hot pads yesterday to dress it up a bit. I painted the little plate several years ago for a county fair entry.

This picture is of my favorite 'alcove'. The counter gets totally cleared off when I do my Christmas baking. It is my rolling / cutting station. The baking supplies are in the cabinets above, measuring spoons/ cups, parchment paper and baking-only spices in the drawers. The cabinets below house all of my jumbo mixing bowls, cooling racks and baking pans as well as my prized kitchen aid mixer. I have puck lights underneath the upper cabinets for a nice work-light.

My other favorite spot to be is at the stove. I love to cook and bake. The microwave oven is a bit high for me but it makes a nice display shelf for my candy jars and the little peppermint candy tree. To the left are the canisters and the condiment basket. A picture of the 'naked canister' is below so you can see how just a little time and fabric can really change the appearance.

Of course, I was designing the pattern yesterday so it took awhile. But now that I have that part done, I can see these covered for other holidays as well. The condiment basket is a pint canning jar box! I like being able to move the entire box of bottles to clean rather than shifting them one at a time. It will also help keep the counter clean of drips. I can just remove the liner and toss it in the laundry. Yep, definitely making more of these! Because I have yet to get hubby to install the puck lights under these cabinets, I ran a 20-light string of Christmas lights to brighten the corner.

What's left in here? Eventually I'd like to make chair pad covers for the chairs and add woven/ braided/ or crocheted rag rugs in a deep brick red and hunter green. I have a hunter green/ white checkered fabric already cut into rolls of long strips. I'm on the hunt for a solid brick red of the same weight so that might take awhile.

I'm taking tomorrow off the blog to work on the dining room and the Christmas tree. I'll be away to a writers meeting on Saturday. So my hope is to have pics of the tree/ dining room for you on Sunday. After that, the only thing left for this year is my village. My poor houses/ stores haven't seen the light of day in over five years. I've missed them. Just not sure where they're going to go. LOL But I'll have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to figure it out while you look at cards.

Sweet Treats!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Decorating!

I LOVE to decorate for Christmas. And this year I finally figured out why. Yeah, it's a lot of work but it all reverts back to my love of color. Colored lights, colored ornaments, shapes, sizes, textures... Decorating is an ART!

I do miss decorating the 200 yr old, 11-room Victorian I lived in up in Illinois. And there are so many things I just couldn't give up when we moved to a much smaller single story ranch house here in Missouri. There are days I wish I could put that Victorian on this 25 acre secluded lot. But that's not going to happen so I work with what I we bought all because we loved the location LOL

My favorite room in this house is my bathroom. The kitchen comes a close second and I'll share it tomorrow. I finally got the bathroom I've always wanted. Linen storage, a nice vanity, a big window for light and fresh air and a bubble tub.

The wall board we used is a creamy white with what looks like brush strokes of color in a sea foam green. But if you put blues with it, then you get more of a bluish tone than a green from the sea foam. So for Christmas I went with powder blues, white, snowmen and snowflakes.

With the linen closets flanking the vanity and a huge mirror to fill the space, I went simple accents. You can't see them actually in the picture but hanging from the light fixture at the top of the mirror, there are three of these snowballs spaced evenly across. The center snowball hangs a bit lower than the 2 outside. I still want to make a snowman cover for the hand soap pump.

The snowball candle holder in the top right of the vanity and again on the back of the potty is actually an antique glass potting jar. It's textured like a snowball. I've placed a jar vanilla candle in each one.

I also collect Pooh Bear... well, bears in general.. but these two Pooh Bears from the Disney store dressed as snowmen found their way in here. I didn't even think about placement when I put them on the potty tank. Honest!

And then there's my favorite spot in the whole room. The BUBBLE TUB! I've surrounded it with snowmen. The white lights hanging down either side of the window also work as a place to hang beaded icicle ornaments. All of the beaded snowflakes and icicle ornaments are from swaps I used to do with a Christmas Notebook group I belong to. There's still room for more snowmen at the opposite end of the tub and I'm always on the look out on after-Christmas sales.

Tomorrow I'll have pictures of my kitchen. The kitchen is all about what else... GINGERBREAD!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tea Pot Tuesday

We're taking the month of December off from destinations, but MotherMark is still giving us challenges to play with if we have the time. You can read about this week's challenge HERE .

I used Dasher, minus the antlers (since leopards don't have antlers) and gave him a leopard look. Dasher is stamped in SU Daffodil Delight then the spots are created with Black Perma Marker.
Because the teapot is actually a Santa, I gave the base of the card that Santa 'look' by adding a strip of SU Black CS run through a pop can top ring for a belt/ buckle. The corner looked bare so I added the sentiment from SnowGlobe and turned the Vintage Labels punch vertical. A final touch rounding two of the corners on the image mat reflected the 'roundness' of the Jolly man.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Magazine Monday!

This week, I'm getting a jump on Christmas 2012. I was part of a Christmas Card Challenge at Splitcoaststampers this year. Aside from pledging to do X-#of Christmas cards every month, I mailed out a prize envelope to one lucky stamper who made their personal goal each month. This year I am co-moderator. My co-conspirator, VikkiJo, works out of town part of the week and doesn't always have internet access. So we decided to team up this year so no one got lost in the daily postings. To set a good example, I'm going to try and have my card posted by the 1st day of the month.

I'm still playing in the Volume 4 of Take Ten. The card I chose this week is by Sylvia Yu. I couldn't find a link for her. I hate CASing a card without giving credit back. I can tell you my card is very close to Sylvia's. Sometimes you just like a layout the way it is. Where I used GP White CS, Sylvia chose a pearlescent vanilla CS. She also used actual ribbon for the vertical strip, and punched small holes in her silver-embossed tree so the 'red balls' would show through when she matted it on the red CS. Her tree and border were from Art Impressions.

How is mine different? I used SU Real Red CS and Ink, Lovely As A Tree, and Sculpted Style. I also cut the front flap of the card back 1" and stamped the Sculpted Style border on the right edge of the 'inside' of the card. I added the sentiment mat using the Nauveu label shape (Cricut) at 1.25" and the shadow. I added dimension by popping up the tree and sentiment mats.

So... 6 cards done for 2012 and 46 to go. Now to get this year's mailed!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Magazine Monday!

I'm squeezing this in as we prepare to get on the road for 3 days in Nashville. Adrian turns 4 tomorrow! Hard to believe. So instead of a typical Magazine Monday, I'm showing off the Birthday Card I made for her as well as the cake.

When I was little, I remember getting a birthday card. I think there was a clown on it. But I remember him holding balloons. Each balloon had a slit in the center to form a pocket big enough to hold a coin. There were different sizes for quarters, dimes and nickles.

Since I was creating multiple pages to this card, I decided to update the technique a bit and use glue dots to place the Chuck E Cheese tokens on each balloon. They'll come off the token easy when we're ready to use them tomorrow. This kid loves to go to the 'mouse'!

I didn't have a mouse stamp but she also likes Pooh Bear and Pooh Bear loves balloons so I thought it was a good match.

I used 2 long cards and put them together to form a fold out. Then I dusted the pages with pastel inks. The 4 is heat embossed in multiple layers of Purple Scepter powder.

I started with one balloon on the front then added a balloon to each page until we got to a total of 4 on a page.

When I saw the cake, I knew it would be one I could create here in MO and transport easily to TN. Because of the 5 hour drive, I chose to leave it in the baking pan and only decorate the top.

I found this cake in the 2012 Wilton Year Book. They have a new product out called Sugar Sheets. You can PUNCH any shape from these thin sheets of sugar. They kind of remind me of the old flat pieces of bubble gum found in baseball card packages. The sheets are 8x11 and come in a wide variety of primary and pastel colors, white, black or colored alphabets, as well as designs like stripes, zebra and hearts. These had to have been created by a someone who scrapbooks... or at the very least pays attention to the crafting industry. Aside from the sheets, you can purchase a punch set and individual cutting inserts. There are 6 basic shapes, then hearts, circles, scalloped circle and star each come in 3 layering sizes. Add 6 different border punches and there is no end to what you can do with these. You can get an idea of what is available and what you can do with them HERE.

The only things I wish I'd done differently were purchase the alphabet sheet (I used my Fiskars ABC template and an Xacto knife) and not glittered the letters of her name as it doesn't allow them to stand out. But I was going for bling! LOL This was the first time playing with this technique. I'll definitely use it again but now when I can't find something to use my 40% on at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, I'll pick up a new punch... for cake decorating!

So I'm closing down and packing the truck. No TeaPot Tuesday or What's only my Work surface Wednesday. I'm going to be enjoying my family for a few days.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Teapot Tuesday Plus

Sorry I didn't get these posted yesterday. I just felt icky most of the day. Didn't do much of anythig except sit on the couch. Really getting tired of this every other day thing. LOL

If you don't 'get' what Teapot Tuesday is, you can check out this LINK on Splitcoast.

A couple of weeks ago, you saw the sympathy card I did for Katie Renz's family. You can see her story HERE, on the blog she journaled about her cancer journey. The most recent posts have been made by her husband, Kevin as he continues to work through his own grief just the way Katie would have had the fate been reversed.

Katie's twin boys turn 6 this week. We teapotters know this is going to be the beginning of many 'firsts' for this family so we wanted to make sure we helped them celebrate their birthday the way Katie would have.

Will and Nate are typical six-year-old boys. They love cars and trucks. We were asked to keep this theme in mind when creating matching cards for the boys. I went with a sketch challenge (SC39) from Splitcoast and used the same papers but did one in blue and one in red.

I hope these cards bring a smile and they understand how much we care about them.

It's also WOWW. Well, today as I planned to sit and work, I had extra help.

Spirit decided if he couldn't have the chair I planned to sit in, he'd just make himself comfy on the desk. He is such a pest and can be a real cry baby. But I adore him and will be lost without him in the very long-distant future. I trained him to be a sociable cat but there are days I ask myself 'what was I thinking?' LOL

Not sure I'll get in again before Sunday. Bob gets home tonight and we have company coming in on Friday. I must get this house presentable. Hopefully I'll have a picture of Adrian's birthday cake to post Sunday night. We leave for Nashville on Monday. Can't believe my grandtoddler is going to be 4!

Creative Blessings!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Magazine Monday

Bet you thought I'd be a no-show today, huh.

Well, we had unseasonably warm temperatures of 80 degrees in southcentral MO. I took the opportunity to get the storage shed straightened up, moved all 6 of the tubs of clothes Adrian has outgrown (each tub holds a different size from 12 mo. - 4T) to the shed as well as the Halloween decorations tub. Oh yeah, and a load of laundry on the line to beat dry in the gusty winds.

It was only after dark when I could sit down and make a card. I had one in que but then I remembered it's just like last week's card but with different papers so decided you needed something different.

Our SCS card kit swap group is still going strong. Sadly, as my freelance writing has picked up I've not had the time to play as much as I'd like. But when I began seeing what everyone was doing with this adorable scarecrow image by Whiff of Joy, I couldn't wait to play with him. My friend Maggie was this months packet person and she stuffed the envelope with all kinds of goodies. Check out her blog to see what a creative person she is!

I used my Derwent Watercolor pencils for the image and combined two of the papers Maggie provided. They are from the SU Autumn Vine DP collection. I added the paper twine, Jesse James corn stock button and the orange brads. To bring the stark white oval up a bit, I inked the edge with More Mustard.

I think this little scarecrow is just the cutest image!

Tomorrow I'll have a special Birthday card to share with you on Tea Pot Tuesday.
Creative Blessings!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Piece Valley Quilt Shop Hop

A week ago today I started off on what despite a couple of bumps, turned out to be the weekend I’d envisioned. FUN!

Piece Valley Quilters held their annual Fall Shop Hop November 3, 4, 5. I’d been on a couple of scrapbooking shop hops and I’m always playing in the on-line blog hops for authors, stamp companies, etc. But this was my first Quilt Shop Hop and I was looking forward to covering the 10 stores in a minimum of 2 days. I was initially shooting for doing them all on Thursday, thus freeing up the rest of my weekend for NanoWrimo but a flat tire on my truck early that first morning changed the scope of the whole weekend. But it was an enjoyable three days despite drizzly weather on Thursday.

The plan was to visit all ten quilt shops, purchase something at every one (though not mandatory for the grand prize) and get my passport stamped at each destination. If the passport was validated at all the shops, then my name went into the drawing for a $50 gift certificate (one given by each store) and the Viking Sapphire 850 by Husgvarna Viking. My spending goal was to attempt to keep it under $20 at each shop, with the balance of my $200 being spent at my LQS.

The first day, I covered over 300 miles, hitting the stores at the opposite farthest ends of the list. My first stops were the two shops in Van Buren, MO. The Pin Cushion where I found these adorable garden fabrics. I’m thinking a small lap quilt perfect for when I’m sitting in a chair on the porch (still to be built) of my garden shed (existing) while I thumb through garden magazines and enjoy the peace of my twenty-five acres. I spent $17.43

Next was Carol’s Country Quilts where I spotted the pretty fall-hued stripe fabric. I picked up coordinating fabrics. Not sure what I’ll use it for, but I loved the patterns. Total cost: $12.32

Then it was on to Mt. View MO and Calico Cupboard. This is one of the first quilt shops I found when we moved down here. He has a beautiful collection of old sewing machines and hard to find patterns. Because I knew I’d be purchasing floursack reproduction fabrics from my Local Quilt Store (LQS) last on the hop, I picked up coordinating reproduction fabrics from Grandpas Garden and Grandma’s Treasures collections. $18.47

After a quick cup of coffee at the local diner, I headed out of town for Ava MO and the Dogwood Quilting. Found some lovely red fabrics and the brown dot. My first thought was chocolate covered cherries. I’ll add from my stash for a Valentine’s style quilt. $13.69. Despite the weather, I enjoyed the drive to Ava. Good thing, because I’ll be going back soon to spend my $50 Gift Certificate! Thank you Connie!

For my last stop of the day, I had just enough time to drive to the opposite end of the hop, to Thayer MO. Coffee Cup Quilts was a neat little shop and I adored ‘Bat’, the shop owner. We had a great visit. I found this pebble-looking fabric that is so not me. But it just jumped off the shelf and put me on the hunt for the coordinating fabrics. This is the only shop where I purchased more than a ½ yard of any one print fabric. I was so excited I purchased two yards. $20.99

After dealing with getting my tire replaced on Friday, I headed for Willow Springs and The Stitchin’ Post (I forgot to stop there on my way to Ava the day before!) I found a dark green fabric that would be the perfect ‘dark’ for the garden quilt. Total: $7.27

With only 4 shops left to go, I drove to West Plains. Sew Connection is a great ‘sewing’ shop outside of West Plains. The beautiful drive took me to a well-lit shop with a friendly staff. I spotted more reds for the Valentine quilt and a paisley I’m not sure what I’ll do with, but I liked it. LOL $11.89

Back in town, I stopped at Gammill Sewing Center. They’re not a huge fabric store, but if you need something for your machine, they’ll have it. I wasn’t sure which size needle I wanted to purchase as I keep breaking my #14. We determined it might be the brand I’ve been buying so I am going to try a new one. $4 and change.

Last on my list for the day was Ozark Sampler Quilts. I’ve been in their store a number of times as they are in the same shopping center as my favorite coffeehouse – Heroes Coffee. I found an additional fabric for the reproduction quilt then headed for fluffy coffee and Internet visiting. $7 and change.

Saturday morning took me to my final stop. Hide Away Quilt shop is my LQS owned by Jean and Jim Asberry. They are super people and some of the first friends I made when we began the move down here. I knew Jean had a 12-bolt collection of Floursack fabrics. I picked out ten plus enough white broadcloth for the background squares to use with them. I’ve decided to do an appliqued 1930’s butterfly garden quilt. No two butterflies will be identical. I also found a quilting stencil for the magickal quilt I’m working on next and a large star stencil, which put my mind on track for a new quilting book. $73 even.

I had a great time seeing how each of the stores was different both in atmosphere and selection. I didn’t win the sewing machine but I already know what I’m looking for with that GC from Dogwood Quilts. My grand total for the ten shops was $186.06 I’m already planning to attend the spring hop. Would you like to go with me?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


As you can see, my desk is a bit of a mess. The candy items you see should be gone first thing. They are for goody bags that go out to participants on my Cauldron Café thread over at National Novel Writing Month. I always send little ‘survival’ bags at the beginning of the challenge.

If you’re not familiar with National Novel Writing Month – NanoWriMo for short – it is a month long endeavor to write a 50,000 word novel (approx. the size of Moby Dick for you visual artists) in 30 days. This is my 9th year as a participant and the 4th year I’ve hosted the Cauldron Café chat thread.

Once the goody bag stuff is gone, I need to see where I stand on my 2011 Christmas Cards. I’ve already begun co-hostessing the 2012 Christmas Card Challenge (CCC12) at SplitcoastStampers so I need my cards done for 2011 ASAP. Well, that and I try to mail the Monday following Thanksgiving at the latest.

Part of my co-hostessing duties is to send out goody packets every month. For every person who meets their personal monthly goal and posts a link to the card in their gallery, their name goes into a drawing for a goody envelope full of stamped images, designer paper (DP) and cardstock (CS) mats. My co-conspirator, Vikki Jo, draws around the 2nd of the following month and I like to have the envies all done up for the year. All I have to do is put the address she PMs me on the envie and pop it in the mail. It’s worked well this year.

To add to my artistically chaotic life, Splitcoast has a Virtual Stamp Night (VSN) beginning on Friday the 11th. So somewhere between clearing off my table and writing the next best seller, I plan to play with stamps just for FUN! LOL

Oh and if you don’t think my work table is a mess, take a look at my quilting table and you’ll wonder where I plan to work on all that fabric I’m going to show you tomorrow!

Creative Blessings!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TeaPot Tuesday

What a fun card!
I looked at the challenge last night and by the time my eyes opened this morning I knew I wanted to do a black and hot pink card for John and Jane. I mean really, aren't those the colors that come to mind when you hear the word DIVA?

The Diva Cats are what John and Jane lovingly call their two very spoiled kitties. Diva also means bling so I made sure their collars were all decked out!

John is in Stage 4 of lung cancer. Through it all, John and his wife have remained the same upbeat, fun couple their family and friends know they are. You can read more about their story HERE at our Teapot Tuesday Destination Station post on Splitcoast Stampers.

Although it doesn't show up well in the pic, the black panel is run through the Swiss Dot CB folder. I layered the black ric-rack over a hot pink sparkly ribbon. The jewels on the color are set with clear glaze. Don't want those girls losing those precious stones in shipping!

The cat is a stamp I got on a freebie sheet in a Paper Crafts. I think she is so elegant and perfect for this destination.

Because John and Jane have 2 Divas, I had to make sure there were two on their card. Animals are like kids and you don't dare leave one or the other out of anything. I'm speaking from personal experience. I also know they are sometimes best separated so I placed one of them inside out of claws way.

I hope this card brings as much pleasure to John and Jane as I had making it.

Tomorrow... you get to see the tornado that hit my work table (and my quilting table). Well, not really, but it sure looks like it!

Creative Blessings!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Magazine Monday

I love fall. It is my absolute favorite time of the year. Warm days (usually), followed by cool, crisp nights perfect for sleeping. It also brings to mind yummy comfort foods such as turkey, pumpkin pie, and apple crisp. I found these things listed on a pattern paper from a Fall holiday slab.

I hope I have the right Heidi Erickson. In the Take Ten Vol. 4, she is listed as living in Mosinee WI. As you’ll see in the link above, that Heidi

has a shop in Schofield WI. I’ve heard from Heidi and because she’s submitted so many over the years, without seeing the actual card she can’t be sure it’s her either. Hehe I’m linking to her studio anyway. If they’re two separate artists, both are very talented and inspiring!

Okay, the LO this week again features the long, narrow card. Heidi’s card is a simple one perfectly adapted to any occasion. She did a Happy Birthday patterned paper for the main focus. Her image is a slice of birthday cake stamped over a shadow square (both from A Muse). She used monochromatic shades of greens in both her CS and her ink.

I chose to pull the colors from my patterned paper, too. I used Stampin' Up Cajun Craze and Old Olive. The green ribbon wasn’t exactly the shade I wanted but what I had on hand. I also felt it needed some hardware so added the 4 brads.

Next week I'll have another Fall card showing the versatility of this LO.
Creative Blessings!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TeaPot Tuesday

Yep, I'm a day late with this one. I was hoping to at least get it posted last night but I got caught up in working on my current novel-in-progress and didn't get back here.

I had a quick card in mind yesterday morning and it went together in about 20 minutes. But then I got this bright idea to cover it with glaze so that meant drying time - all day. ::: sigh ::: That said, I do like the way the card turned out. This is my first paper flower and I know I need to fine-tune my technique but they are uber ea
sy to do with an awesome vintage effect.

This week's Destination Station is fellow teapotter, Kathy. She recently lost her sister, Joanne, to cancer. We were asked to do a mosaic. Because Kathy's mother, aunt and two younger sisters all battle breast cancer I knew I needed to showcase the pink ribbon. You can read about Kathy and her sister Here.

I selected words like friend, remember, believe, soul, as well as a butterfly and a scroll border. I stamped them on Pretty in Pink, cut them out and arranged them mosaic-style to fill in the GP white ribbon. The flower is punched from pages of a book of poems about love and support. I dusted them with Pretty In Pink ink and added a Memories brad for bling. Gotta have bling!

I hope this card reminds Kathy she is not alone in this struggle and that she is loved.

Creative Blessings

Monday, October 31, 2011

Magazine Monday

Today’s card is a play on the production ‘Wicked’. I love the frog stamp. Don’t you think he’s cute?

My inspiration came from a card by Diane Jackson in the Take Ten Volume 4 called CELEBRATE. Each Take Ten issue has a challenge LO. This one called for a 6x3.25 card. I chose to use a 9x3.25 to accommodate a business-size envelope. It also meant I had a bit more room to work with. The first card was a challenge for me because I don’t work with this size as a rule so it took adjusting my creative brain to the new format. Once I did, I had fun creating cards – as you’ll see over the next 3 weeks. (yep, my cards are done and ready to post!)

I like to include links to the original artist’s page whenever possible. However, I could not find one for this Diane Jackson (Ponte Vedre Beach FL). If you know her, please let her know I thank her for her inspiration.

Diane used a black base with a purple print panel. Then a smaller white panel and a grape vine/ word patterned paper. Where I have WICKED, she spelled out CELEBRATE on white. My adorable frog replaces her cluster of grapes. I loved her card but needed something for my Halloween post.

My papers are from an old holiday slab, ValuCS neon green and SU Vintage Violet ink (letters) Tuxedo Memento Black for the frog

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tea Pot Tuesday

It was nice to go down to the studio before the sunrise this morning and work. I'd love to spend the whole day there but panic calls from my daughter have begun so who knows how long I have.

For now, I have a card for Chip. Chip has had some serious foot issues resulting in adjustments to his life and passions. You can read Chip's story HERE .

One thing Chip does enjoy is fishing. So I created a small lake with a 'no limit' option. Chip can relax and enjoy a long day of drowning worms.

I used the masking technique to create a bank and lake full of fish. I chose the pine tree background from Noble Deer (retired SU), LePlume markers in green tones. The sky and lake colors were created using SU chalks. Those little fish swimming just below the surface are actually small fish buttons from Jesse James themed buttons. It looks like Chip's already snagged a big fish (Mike's $1). I used an actual fishing hook and line.

Here's wishing Chip a speedy and full recovery so he's home with his family soon!

Creative Blessings

Monday, October 10, 2011

Magazine Monday

This week’s card covers Magazine Monday and the September challenge from the Paper Bloggers Unite! Thread at SU.

I chose Elizabeth Allen’s card from Crafts n Things Oct. 2009. You can see another of her cards at Penny Black. I also hope you’ll take time to check out their website and browse their catalog. I liked Elizabeth’s LO, though I did eliminate 1 layer from hers to create mine. Where I have black stickles, she used black brads.

I used SU Very Vanilla and Old Olive and ValuCS Orange. The SU Seasons of Thanks images were stamped in Memento Rich Cocoa. Back to watercoloring with Derwent watercolor pencils and Crayola colored pencils. I used a rich chocolate velvet ribbon for some texture.

I'm still waiting on the call from my daughter. So as of now, we'll cross fingers I get to make the Teapot Tuesday post tomorrow. :-)

Creative Blessings!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teapot Tuesday!

Yep... I'm on the ball today.

This week's card destination is to a lady in Painsville OH (so appropriate at the moment) who has several foot surgeries and is unable to travel to Arizona to see her granddaughters. It sounds as if it is something she was doing on a regular basis until this whole foot thing started.

Sharon loves Purple and Hydrengias. I had plenty of purple on hand but the prettiest flower (other than my favorite Stipple Rose) I had to work with was this Iris I got from a recent image swap.

My inspiration came from artist AJ Otto's card in the Fall 2011 issue of Paper Creations Magazine (pg 55). AJ did a Halloween themed card but I really liked the layout. Where I've used the strip of DP, AJ had used some black scroll work tucked under the top left corner of her image mat. She also did not mat her sentiment and I added the pearls.

I used Lavender Lace as a base and matted the flower and sentiment with ValuCS deep purple. The sentiment is stamped in Lovely Lilac. Derwent Water color pencils were used to color the image and a white ribbon, pleated, softens the look.

I'm about done crafting for the next couple weeks. I have cards done up so that wherever I am, I hope to be able to upload and keep on track.

Creative Blessings

Monday, October 3, 2011

Magazine Monday


It seems like it's taken me forever to get to this point. And, granted it's Monday evening before I'm getting the card up... let's just say life still isn't slowing down. I'm like an expectant father every time my phone rings or I get a text message I fear it's my daughter telling me to head for Nashville. Yep, we're still waiting on the granddaughter. But technically she isn't due to make an appearance til around the 14th, so we have some time.

This week's card was inspired by Michelle Boyer. Rather than go back to an old magazine, I decided to periodically pick up a new one and showcase a current artist or technique. She is in the Fall 2011 issue of Paper Creations (pg. 33). My copy pretty much fell open to this page. Combined with the fact I had the perfect image from

an kit swap I'm in at SCS, it just seemed to fall together. Oh yeah, and my challenge on the Stamp2Spend thread at SCS this week was to incorporate APPLES and CINNAMON... but the cinnamon had to be done in such a way that it scented the card - like a scratch n sniff.

So here's the card I came up with:

I think it's the energy-saving bulb that gave this a yellow cast. It really is Very Vanilla.
The image is from The Greeting Farm as are the apples. I water-colored the image with Derwent watercolor pencils. I colored the apples red and embossed them with a mix of Red Tinsel embossing powder and ground cinnamon. The image and the apple paper in the upper-left corner were from the kit swap, everything else came from my stash. The only thing I did different from Michele is where I have the all green background, she used 2 different DP papers in a top half, bottom half LO. She also used a vanilla strip where I have the polka dot and the sentiment was stamped directly onto it. I raised the image, vintage label and the apple in the upper corner with pop dots.

Creative Blessings!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm back!

It was not an easy journey. The HughesNet guy, Trevor, was really sweet. He had 3 modems on his truck 'new' from the company. It took the 3rd one to get one that worked. I also learned that I shouldn't have to shut my modem down. It sounds like HughesNet was hoping to extend the life of my modem until the warranty ran out and then I'd have to replace it. LOL I love their connection - just not their customer service.

On a more creative note, I'm scrambling to finish up 2 sistah packets to be mailed tomorrow. My daughter called this morning to ask how I felt about becoming a grandma NEXT WEEK! Ummm... if Abigail says that's when she wants grandma there, I guess it will have to work. LOL So I'm trying to get all of my deadline stuff out of the way by Monday - just in case.

So Monday, I will have a Magazine Monday card for you, at least 1 Teapot Tuesday card and then from there it's whatever I can accomplish while I wait to hear from my daughter.

Creative Blessings

Friday, September 23, 2011


Just a quick pit-stop to let you know the root of my recent internet issues has been found. My Hughes Net modem died this morning. I drove into town to update everyone and let you know I won't be back on-line until middle of next week.

In the mean time, keep being creative!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I'll post my Tea Pot Tuesday Destination card tomorrow. I just don't have it in me to cut and glue another piece of CS tonight. I've been working on the finalizing of this mini album for almost 11 hours. I'm beat. The good news is - the album is DONE!

Yep. My photos for the More Outstanding Mini Albums - Call for submissions have been uploaded into Jessica Acs capable hands. I won't know for a few weeks if Adrian's To-Do List made the cut.

But however it works out, I have a 'first reader' type of mini album for my tootsie pop! The book is centered around all the things she has to do when she comes for a visit. I've done the journaling in simple words and phrases so she'll gradually be able to read it on her own. Hopefully it will be something she'll treasure as she gets older. Her mom isn't the type to 'collect' keepsakes. She hates clutter. So I guess the album will be an Adrian and Grandma thing until she's maybe graduating from High School. What a kick that would be for her to look back on 16 years from now!

And if I know Adrian, she'll love reading the book as much as I've enjoyed making it for her.

Sorry, I can't share more than that. If it's chosen for publication, it can not be previously published anywhere.

Here's hoping you'll get to see it in print!

Creative Blessings!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Magazine Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!

There isn't going to be a new card for today. I'm on the final touches of the mini-album for the More Outstanding Mini Albums submission deadline. Which is tomorrow!

So for today, I'd like to suggest that you click on the I've been featured in Outstanding Mini Albums button to the right and see the new mini albums that Jessica has showcased in the past couple of weeks. The people who submit to her are so very talented. I hope I can produce what she's looking for. I don't want to compete - just fit in.

Creative Blessings!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Teapot Tuesday

Yep... a day late. I had a card yesterday but the more I looked at it the more I just didn't like it for the challenge. So I made a new one today and I'm much more pleased with the results.

I pulled the idea from a card by Mary Ayers in PaperWorks June 2004. Mary does lovely work and one of her signatures I've noticed in her cards is stitching. I made her card minus the stitching. Instead I added lace and pearls. Otherwise, the cards are very similar. I used lace where she used a torn paper strip beneath the narrow accent strip. She backed her sentiment tags with the same paper. She also put eyelets on the left hand side of each tag in the upper and lower corners and used those to thread twine through then tied them around the accent strip.

I wanted a bit more elegance for this challenge. For Tea Pot Tuesday this week, our destination is a creative lady in WI who in the past year has had the rug pulled out from under her in a variety of ways, forcing her to start her life over. Our mission this week was to send her blessings and cheers as she moves forward on her journey.

Although it looks vintage here, the background of the pattern is white. I used the pearls as 'bullet points' and pop dots to add dimension to the tags and butterflies. Those butterflies are cut from the same 12x12 sheet of paper as the background.

DCWV The Four Season - Spring butterflies
SU - Baja Breeze CS and Ink
Recollections - Pearls
Vintage lace trip

I also took a tip from my dear friend, Carla, and added embellishment to the inside using more of the same 12x12 sheet and one of the butterflies. If you've not been to her blog, I highly recommend it. Her work is just AWESOME! and ever so ELEGANT.

My desk looks pretty much the same as last week except I have the laptop in my work area. I need to let it take over the dining room table for the next couple of weeks while I put a lot of time actually designing/ creating in the studio.

Creative Blessings!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Magazine Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!

Yep, I have a card and on time this week. I could say miracles happen but truth be told, I needed a card for my oldest sister's birthday last week so decided it was a good time to try and stay ahead of the game.

I'm still pulling from the 2005 issue of Take Ten Studios Volume 4. My card is done almost identical to Kathy Skinner's God Bless America (pg 70-71) She used a stripe stencil as her template to roll the stars and stripe wheel over to create image-stamped stripes on her white background. Would never have thought of that. (I'll have to do a card using that in the near future) She cut her red panel ribbon from CS, sponged the edges of a Stars and Stripes image (SU) and matted it on blue as her focal image. It was very striking and I thought the layout would play well with other images.

I chose to dry emboss my Very Vanilla base with the Happy Birthday folder, I made the ribbon from Anna Griffin DP and stamped the flower basket (Memories of the Heart - SU) I love working with my Derwent water color pencils. For the flowers I chose Light Violet, Deep Cadmium, Copper Beach, Sap Green and Pink Madder Lake.

Bob leaves for his 3 weeks in Chicago tomorrow. My plan is to do the Tea Pot Tuesday before I outline the rest of my very long To Do list.

Creative Blessings!