Sunday, September 29, 2013

Halloween Wreath

This has been quite the crafting weekend for me.  I made three cards and this wreath.  The wreath was inspired by Angie from My Chic 'n Scratch.  She made a great YouTube video demonstrating the whole process of creating it.  I didn't have the Stampin' Up paper Angie used so I  improvised.  I've been trying to use up a Halloween stack from K & Company / Tim Coffey for years.  It's getting low but not used up yet.  I think it may be time to donate it to a school!

I started with a 12" styrofoam wreath from Michaels.  I then selected several coordinating patterns from the Halloween stack.  You can use any size wreath - just adjust the paper requirements accordingly.  Cut the paper into 12" x 1/2" strips.  Curl them using the edge of your scissors or bone folder and attach them to the wreath using straight pins.  It will take about six 12" x 12" sheets of paper to fill the 12" wreath.  (I left the back side empty.)   Use your ribbon of choice to either tie a bow on the wreath or as a hanger above the wreath as Angie did.  I suspended a decoration in the center using black hemp.  I think it came out cute.  I'm thinking about making a larger wreath for Christmas using Graphic 45 papers.

Angie estimated that it would take two full hours to complete the wreath.  It took me over four!  I wasn't really surprised by this fact as I'm generally slower than the average bear when it comes to crafting.  Do you like it?

Operation Write Home Challenge - Sketch 192

It's Sunday!  That means a new card sketch challenge at Operation Write Home.  Here was today's sketch:

I had purchased "Birthday4Cookie" from Stephanie Barnard at a convention a couple of years ago.  Cookie bears a strong resemblance to my Bailey.  Since I was intimidated with cutting her out, Cookie had never been inked up.  Stephanie very recently introduced dies to match Bithday4Cookie and I was on it!  So I introduce you to my inaugural stamping of Cookie aka Bailey:

I'm so pleased with how this came out. I need to practice using my Copics - this was a pretty easy image to start with.  Boy do I need practice! The card base is made with my favorite Close To My Heart Colonial White Cardstock.  The decorative papers are all Anna Griffin.  The patterned papers are from her Fifi and Fido Collection.   And of course, the stamps are all from Birthday4Cookie by Stephanie Barnard for Stamps of Life.  What do you think?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cards For Him, Too!

I ordered the Anna Grffin  Cards For Him, Too kit from HSN recently.  It's a great kit - vintage with a masculine feel or should I say masculine with a vintage feel!  It just so happened that I needed to make a get well card shortly after the kit arrived  This is what I came up with.  I had to supplement the kit with the green layer paper and the cream bow - also from Anna Griffin.  I embossed the brown layer with one of the Cricut Cuttlebug folders from the Fabric Swatches Set.  I really like this petite pattern.  The dog is my favorite part of the whole card, of course.  What do you think?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Babycakes Diaper Card

I had a new Close To My Heart customer order the Cricut Artiste cartridge in order to make this diaper card.  She said she was new to the whole Cricut experience so I thought I'd customize her thank you card a bit.  The card base is made from Whisper cardstock.  All the other patterned paper is from the Babycakes Collection.  I made the bow from white satin ribbon from Ellen Hutson.  The white paper is Smooth Bazzill that I buy in bulk from HSN.

The diaper card is on page 64 of the Artiste cartridge booklet.  Leave the proportions as linked and cut the base at a height of 5.26 inches and the card inserts at 5.10 inches and 4.85 inches. The diaper pins are cut at .75 inches.  (All of these sizes are the heights.) The little giraffe accent was made using various size punches I had available.  The diaper sides fold in and fit into slits that are part of the cut.  No adhesive is needed to hold it together.  There are also two teenie tiny cuts made as markers for each of the fold lines.  Sometimes they're hard to spot.  The completed card just makes it into a standard 5"x7" envelope.

I thought it came out pretty cute!  What do you think?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mothers and Daughters

The mother / daughter relationship has to be one of the most complex relationships there is.  My mom and I were always close when I was young.  She was my best friend.  Then Mom came to live with me after my father died in 1997.  This means that Mom has now been living with me for 16 years as of this writing. 

We had a massive fight this morning which has made me very sad.  She expects so much of me and I do what I'm able.  But often it's a never ending stream of demands.  At what point do I get to live my life?  Mom's going to be 88 in November so I realize that she needs a great deal of assistance.  I shouldn't even get mad at her.  But I'm so very tired of trying to please someone who will never be pleased.  She sucks the life right out of me.  I think perhaps she would be better off living in a facility with other people around her.  Unfortunately, our finances don't allow for much.  And at times, she's made me promise not to put her in a nursing home.  I then think about having someone come to our home.  Mom won't go for that as she doesn't want anyone to come into our house as "dirty" as it looks with all my crafting supplies around.  Which all means that we continue this dance of loving and hurting each other until something drastic happens.  This seems to be the curse of the baby-boomer generation. 

Thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Polar Pals Card Kit

One of the items that caught my eye in the Autumn / Winter 2013 Close to My Heart Idea Book was the My Originals Polar Pals Card Kit.  I got my set in the mail last week and put it all together last night while watching (or listening to) a movie.  They are so fun and cheerful!  The main icons are a penguin, a polar bear and a snowman.  The set comes with adhesive springs which make these icons come to life!  There are materials to make 12 cards - including a base, insert, shaker bubble, spring, icon, sentiment, envelope and accents for each card.  There is also an area to write a personalized message.  I'd really recommend this set more to hold gift cards than photos as the cards fold down to 4" x 4".  I think they'd be great for kids to give a little gift to their friends, or for big kids to let their coffee buddies or teammates know they're thinking of them.
Here's how I did mine.  If you want to see more ideas, check out page 128 of your Idea Book or click here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Operation Write Home Challenge - Sketch #190

I have two completely different styles of cards for you today.  Here's today's sketch for Operation Write home:

I didn't follow the sketch very closely since my stamped image needed more of a rectangular focal point.  But here's what I came up with:

This will be an "Any Hero" card.  The card looks simple and it is.  But you'd think a tornado had passed through my house.  I must have dragged out every tool I own for this.  One of the most difficult parts was the mitering of the corners on the washi tape around the sentiment.  Then the part that really caused me problems was getting everything stuck down.  I had originally used a polka dot embossing folder for the background.  Nothing would stick.  Glue was seeping out everywhere!  So the polka dot went into the trash and I turned to my beloved ATG gun for some bonding time.

I used my Cricut Artbooking cartridge, chevron embossing folder, Tim Holtz embossing folder (cracked glass maybe?), star washi tape, Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments (CL582 - OWH Fundraiser), silver brads, Spellbinders rectangle dies, Cats Eye Lipstick Red chalk ink and Stampin' Up Night of Navy ink spot.  The card base is from Papertrey Ink.

I also made a sympathy card this weekend for a dear friend who lost her brother.  He'd been ill for quite a while.  Still, I don't think you're ever prepared for the death of a loved one.  My thoughts and prayers are with her.

This card was made almost entirely of Anna Griffin product.  The exception is the gunmetal grey textured metallic paper in the middle layer (DCWV).  I embossed this paper with Anna's Circle Grid folder.  It came out great!  I almost hated to cover it with the top layer. (I have Melody Lane to thank for this idea.)  I also used Stampin' Up pearls and corner punch.  I think my friend liked it.  What do you think?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Poppy Stamps Dies!

I happened upon the Poppy Stamps Blog Blitz last weekend and fell in love with their new dies.  I've long been a fan of their dies but have been a bit afraid to use them.  As it worked out, my new Sizzix magnetic platform arrived the same day as my new dies.  It appeared to be kismet, so away I went.  I just made a few cuts on scrap paper at first.  They were beautiful!  My little brain was whirling away designing a card.  This is the result.  I've also included a close up so you get a better look at these exquisite dies. 

I used the Diamond Background, Brittany Ornament, Eddington Ornament and the Pine Sprigs dies.  The "Joy" is cut from the Anna Griffin Winter Wonderland Cricut cartridge.  The paper is SEI Christmas paper I found in my stash.  The collection was called Holly Lane.  The tiny pearls are from Stampin' Up.  And of course, I used my beloved Sakura Stardust pen. 
I cut two sets of the pine sprigs.  I glued two of each together in the center only.  That way I could "fluff" the branches to give it more dimension.   I was going for a more subtle card with a good bit of tone on tone.  I think the ornament should have had a bolder color for its base.  The ornament and sentiment seem to be in competition to be the focal point.  I'll shrink the sentiment down for the next card - although I'm afraid my cut won't be as clean.  Any suggestions for a new color scheme?  The Poppy Stamps web site has a turquoise and green combo that is gorgeous. 
I'd love to see your creations with these great dies.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Operation Write Home Challenge - Sketch #189

Today's card is for Operation Write Home's Sketch Challenge #189.  I love this sentiment from the Close To My Heart's National Stamping Month promo set, You Are My Happy.  It's only $10 with a $50 purchase and includes a full alphabet, a set of icons and a set of sentiments.  I used Anna Griffin papers except for the brown cardstock which is Bazzill.  I embossed the strip of Bazzill with Anna Griffin's Circular Grid embossing border folder.  The epoxy accent is also Anna's.  I thought this would make a nice card from a mom or dad to their teenage daughter.  I'm pleased with this card but think I got a little heavy-handed with the distressing.

 I LOVE my Sakura Stardust pen and use it all the time.  It was only after I finished the card that I wondered if this may violate the "NO GLITTER" rule.  Here's what the Sakura website says about the pen:  

Gelly Roll Stardust is a pigment-based archival quality ink and is indicated in each color name with the suffix "-STAR". Features include:
  • A roller ball pen that is easy and comfortable to write with
  • Archival quality ink – chemically stable, waterproof, and fade resistant. ( Except black sparkle. )
  • No smears, feathers, or bleed-through on most papers and
  • The glittery 'dust' is an inert, cosmetic grade, finely ground ingredient – which produces the reflective brilliance
In case you're not familiar with Operation Write Home's rule on glitter - it's actually visible with night vision goggles and can put the soldiers in harm's way.  I don't think I'll take a chance on it but won't make this mistake again.  I'm sorry, OWH!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Operation Write Home Challenge - Sketch #187

Wow, I made four cards today.  That's an achievement for me - the Queen of Slow Card Making. 

I entered another Operation Write Home challenge.  This is for Sketch #187.  The paper was printed on my Cricut Imagine with the Christmas Wish cartridge.  The sentiment is from the new Stamps of Life set, Lights4Christmas.  I even broke out my ancient Creative Memories corner rounder for this one!  What do you think?

I also attended a Stampin' Up Stamp Camp today hosted by Tracy Ray.  She designed three wonderful projects for us.  I'm partial to the "Thankful" card.  Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Laughing Lola Thanks You

I made some thank you cards for the wonderful people who placed Closed To My Heart (CTMH) orders with me this month.  These are my first customers and I'm so grateful for them.  I used the Laughing Lola paper and compliments (chipboard pieces).  The card bases were done with Colonial White cardstock. 

I love the tiny bows on these cards.  They are so simple to make with the CTMH Artiste Cricut Cartridge (see photos below).  They are made from one cut made at 1 inch.  Find the cut on page 55 of the Artiste booklet.  The sentiment is cut with the CTMH Art Philosophy circle 3 image on page 41 (cut at 2 inches and stamped using one of the accompanying stamps).  CTMH also has two great specials for September.  There's the Stamp of the Month and a National Stamping Month special.  A $50 purchase qualifies you for both items.  Click on my shopping cart if you're interested in any of these products. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Operation Write Home Challenge - Sketch #188

Operation Write Home is having a virtual card making party for Labor Day weekend.  One of the challenges was THIS sketch challenge.  I recently became a Close To My Heart Independent Consultant.  The Laughing Lola Workshops On The Go (WOTG) was part of my membership package.  I love the rich jewel tones but wasn't sure about all the patterns.  What do you think?  Too busy?  Thanks to Seongsook Duncan for the great sketch.

Happy Labor Day 2013 - A Salute to My Dad

You may get the impression that Labor Day is a political or military holiday.  The U.S. Department of Labor provides this bit of historical background:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

So Labor Day is actually a celebration of the average working American - that's me!  And here's Rosie the Riveter, an icon of the American working spirit.

I can't help but think about my Dad on Labor Day.  Dad only had an eighth-grade education but was an intelligent man.  He grew up on a farm in Iowa where there was never a shortage of work to be done.  After his service in WWII, he held odd jobs until he went to work at Olin Chemicals - Blockson Works and worked there over 33 years.  He told me he once that he never made over $8.50 an hour.  Volunteering for overtime is what helped to make ends meet.  And imagine, my mom didn't work outside the home until after I graduated from High School.  Dad didn't believe in credit cards either.  But we had a nice, if modest, home and all the normal "things" needed at that time.

My parents always stressed the importance of education in my life.  They insisted that I take "business" classes such as typing and shorthand so I'd have a means of supporting myself.  I decided that accounting was what I wanted to do for my career after taking one such class.  My dad saw me graduate high school and college.  He was also there as I went on to earn an MBA, pass the CPA exam and get firmly established in the working world.

All those years of laboring in a chemical factory caught up with Dad in late 1996 when he was found to have advanced lung cancer that had spread to his brain.  He died just four months later.  So I can't help but salute him on this labor day, 16 years later.   Thanks, Dad.