Monday, May 31, 2010

June Stamp of the Month Blog Hop



Wow, am I loving this month's Stamp of the Month "Wonderful Friend" because it has that vintage look and it shows so much versatility. We all know that manly cards are sometimes a challenge, but this stamp set makes it easy for us. On the other hand, I can see making a really cool card for my daughter with that argyle pattern in there. (In her Manga world, argyle and plaid are all the rage.) As you can see though, this stamp set has Dad in mind. The word DAD and the tie, and the argyle, and that vintage time piece,... it's perfect!

Before I forget, this is a Stamp of the Month Blog Hop, so that means you might have come here from Jody Gustafson's blog. If you're starting here at mine, just keep on hopping and you'll make your way through over 60 consultants' sites for inspiration and great ideas for this stamp set!

For my card, I used deep colors of cardstock such as Barn Red, Brown Bag, and Bamboo. Stamping is done with Cocoa ink and the metal accents are Antique Copper. The ribbon is from CTMH's newest Cocoa ribbon collection.


The tag pretty much uses the same color scheme plus I worked in some pattern paper from our Passages Level 2 papers. A little natural twine running vertically alongside the stamped necktie works nicely with this manly theme.

Now keep on moving along this wonderful Blog Hop to see what Chris Shouse has designed for you.


Friday, May 28, 2010

My Creations Artboard™ - get yours cheap!


If you've got one of the Close To My Heart Summer Idea Books in your hot-little hands, you may have noticed that the My Creations Artboard price has been greatly reduced by almost half. This only tells me that perhaps it will soon be retired. This wonderful, generously-sized clipboard comes completely naked white. It's 14 1/2 x 12 1/2 and I wanted to share an idea of what you can do with this product.

The clipboard above was made using Emporium papers, chipboard letters, frames and borders, and of course some stamping. There is a little loop of ribbon above the photo frame so I can pull out the photo and change it from time to time. The photo is protected by a six by six page protector so I can display this clipboard without worry of dust or damage to the photo. The clipboard comes ready to hang on the wall. I like to put mine on a decorative easel stand on my foyer table for everyone to see when they walk in.

It's time for me to update that photo, so I think I'll go do that right now. Have a fabulous day, and watch for the June Stamp of the Month bloghop starting June 1, using the "Wonderful Friend" stamp set. It's one of my favorite stamps of the month this issue!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Clearly Different



I am loving these new Clear Cards from Close To My Heart. (Z1309) I had previously posted one in April (post titled Clearly Adorable). The package of clear cards comes with four scallop circle cards and four rounded-corner square cards, plus 8 clear adhesive-strip envelopes. This month's design is using the square card plus some papers from Splendor Level 2 pack (X7124B) along with Creme Brulee ribbon (Z1131) and Spring Blossom "Just Blooms" which includes butterflies (Z1266). The sentiment stamp set is TLC (C1364) and the circle stamp if from Connections (D1330). I pulled in a few buttons and snuck in the use of a Spellbinders flower die.


These clear cards are great for Close To My Heart papers since our pattern paper is double sided! Cuts the job in half. Our Bonding Memories Glue (1512) seems to work the best of all the options I tried on these cards.



Oh, and if you get some of these wonderful clear cards, don't forget that they come with a protective film that needs to be peeled off before you begin. This film keeps the nice clear card all shiny and scratch-free!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweet Summer!



There was a time when I would almost dread the summer time. Can you believe it? Well, for one thing, it gets so stinkin' hot here, but that's a given. But no, it was actually the dread of trying to figure out how to keep my little girl busy and happy all summer long. As an only child, she needs my help. But as she's grown older and found many interests and made many friends, and acquired many Wii games (and books too, I'm not that bad!) she has become more self-sufficient. And with her growth, our friendship grows as well, so she is extremely fun to be around (most of the time; she is a pre-teen after all so let's be honest here.) Today was a good day: After she got out of summer camp, we hit Target, ate lunch, and giggled about things in the car all the way there and home. And score her some big points, she surprised me this morning and made our king-size bed while I was in the shower. I almost passed out! Many hugs for that one, baby.

So Summer not only conjures up memories, but many other things like FRUIT! All those yummy, colorful fruits: cherries and pineapples, lemons for lemonade, and strawberries for homemade smoothies. We love our fruit around here. And I love Close To My Heart's new stamp sets for the summer season. Check out this little take-out box...


I used a Sizzix die for the box and You're Sweet stamp set (B1351) for the fruit. (I'll be making a video on stamping fruits for a dimensional look next week, so watch for that.) I added the wide grosgrain ribbon to the box from the Tulip Ribbon Collection (Z1209) and those papers are from the Cherry-O paper pack (X7123B). My current favorite! I plan on filling this up with bright colored hard candies with yummy fruity flavors.




Friday, May 21, 2010

The Graduate


Here's our not-so-little graduate with proud parents. (Notice me and my not-yet dried up tears.) A first of many milestones in her life, Jamie graduated from elementary school today. Seven years at Suntree Elementary; a wonderful, outstanding school! We will surely miss it.

What a fantastic ceremony they put on this morning. Two hours long, and enjoyable for me every second. I smiled through the entire thing (until the tears starting flowing) because of not only my child, but all the children Jamie has befriended and that I have come to know through Girl Scouts, volunteering in the classroom and chaperoning field trips. My favorite part was the slide show of random photos throughout the year of the 6th graders, set to the perfect music selection. Such a great year for Jamie. Probably her best yet. Excellent teachers, fun education, great friendships.

Here are a few shots snapped today...


Jamie walks in for the graduation march.


She was recognized for several art awards, club involvement, and grade excellence.




Jamie opening our graduation card.



So impressed with the handmade card, I don't think she noticed the money inside. Do you?



With best bud Natalie after the ceremony.



And finally, her with Mrs. Duschl, her beloved homeroom/Reading teacher whom she thanks for her newfound love for reading.

It was an excellent day and an excellent end to a wonderful year. Summer begins with relaxation, summer camp, and lots of girl time with my "baby."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Graduation Variation



Since we're giving away the other graduation card and I need another one for my daughter who is finishing 6th grade this Friday, I thought rather than copy the older card, I'd give it an updated, girly twist. Same stamp set, but the paper is from You Rock (7112B) using the backside of the pattern papers which are mostly all purples.



Jamie's not a pink and purple kind of girl, so instead I worked in some black. She'll like that. The star paper is from Game On like the card from yesterday. The pattern for making this card is from our "Originals" book (9032) once again, on page 58 and it's called "Scalloped Money Holder." The printable template is on the handy CD they include in the back of the book. I printed is right onto the cardstock and cut it out. The scoring and cuts are all included on the template. Nothing could be simpler!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Graduation Time



The kids will be out of school soon, if they aren't already in your area. In our county, this Friday is the last day. My pre-teen is filled with mixed emotions. Happy to be done with elementary school, excited & nervous for middle school, looking forward to the fun of summer camp, and sad to say good-bye to many of her friends she sees on a daily basis.

This graduation card was one I made last year and held on to so I could make more. You cardmakers know how that goes. Can't give up the precious original! Anyway, we have close friends whose daughter just graduated from Cocoa Beach High and will be headed on to UF next fall. She's a great kid and we'll be sending her this card today.


The stamp set used here is "You Did It" (C1351) and the papers are scraps from both Game On (black with stars) (X7097B) and Stardust (tan star print) (X7109B) paper packs. I added a chipboard star and some black brads as embellishment. I stamped with Black, Desert Sand, Bamboo, and Vineyard Berry. All products, of course, are from Close To My Heart.

This card design comes from the "Originals" book (9032) offered through CTMH, and is from page 62 "Presented to You" layout. I love both of our card making books Originals and our newest Wishes (9033) because they take the work out of designing cards. And the samples in the books are absolutely beautiful! I love showing customers how you can take a basic blueprint for a card and make something amazing from it. They are always so impressed!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Breathing again


Well, my album for the contest is complete and was shipped off on the final deadline day, barely. UPS said since it was Saturday, they'd have to postmark the box for Monday, the 17th. No can do, I said. It HAS to be postmarked for the 15th. So they did something in the computer to create a label with the 15th on it instead. Whew! Now I can breathe and relax. The album turned out as well as I would have hoped and I am very happy with it. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a treasure to my family and I hope to build and add on to it as the years pass.

It almost killed me, this thing! I mean, I literally didn't do anything but work on this album all day and late into the night until I finally couldn't see anymore. Six days straight, about 13 hours a day. And each spread took about the full 13 hours. Ridiculous! But the cool thing is the process one goes through when working on an album to this degree. I learned so much in researching our family, and I also reflected back on my own life. There were times when I would just stop and think how interesting life is, how two people come together, and how important it all is to generations down the road to have some documentation of it all. I'm sure you've figured out by now that my album has a family history theme to it. It doesn't go back far at all. I didn't dig up facts through Ancestry.com or anything like that. I spoke to family members and poured through photos and asked more questions and poured through even more photos and documents. It was quite enlightening for me and for the rest of the family too.

No photos for now. Once Convention is over (July 11) I'll post them. I promise. For now, I'll just share my little teaser photo at the top of this post. And this week, I'll be back to creating new stuff for you to see! Thanks for all the well-wishes and e-mails on the contest. You all are too good to me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dirty hermit works on contest entry


This week is a very special one for me because I am working on a contest entry for CTMH's convention this summer. I have until this Saturday to get a 12-page album in the mail, and I am working feverishly as many hours each day as my body can tolerate. I feel like a hermit. I don't go out, I don't put on make-up (Egad!), I didn't brush my teeth yesterday until after lunch, and - gross - I didn't even take a shower at all yesterday! Needless to say, my shower this morning felt supremely wonderful.

Of course, I cannot show you any pictures of what I'm working on. It's my little secret. But I will tell you that the theme for the album contest is simply "Picture This" and there are requirements we must meet for each two-page layout such as: More than 10 photos, Black & White/Sepia photos, one Studio J layout, etc. My album, no matter what comes of this contest, will be a treasure to me and my family when it is all complete, and that is what I promise to remember if I do not win.

What do winners get? First place wins every single new product in the Autumn/Winter Idea Book. This is a huge deal since the A/W issue is the big unveiling issue each year. New products galore! And I'm a huge Fall/Halloween/Christmas freak, so that makes the prize even more enticing. Second place wins every new stamp set, which is what I won two years ago at Convention. And that is a sweet reward, let me tell you! Third place wins all the new accessories. I will be thrilled just to be selected in the top 10, which will be on display for all consultants to also have a chance to vote on. It's as exciting as it is exhausting entering this contest. And on that note, I have to get back to work!

So who's the photo of, you ask? That's my sweet mother-in-law Saiko on Mother's Day. I didn't want to leave her out of the Mother's Day wishes. She'll be turning 89 next month. She has Parkinsons, but her mind is just as sharp as ever, and she smiles every single day. It was amazing that she let me take this photo of her, since she usually goes nuts if I get out the camera in her presence. She simply said, "Well, I can't get up, so go ahead and take the picture." I guess she would have run out of the room otherwise. That's what she used to do years ago.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Two occasions to celebrate

Happy Mother's Day to all you blogger moms out there. I hope you have a wonderful day. This is my mom and I long ago, probably around 1969. I love this photo of my mom because obviously she has the style of the times going strong, and also because she is so pretty. I love the look on her face and how her hand is resting sweetly on my knee. She looks so relaxed in her beauty, so happy and loving.

My mom was the classic. She stayed home with us kids, she baked, she cleaned, she celebrated life with neighborhood parties in our basement, she and Dad dressed up for Halloween. She didn't skip a beat when we went on family camping trips, having everything prepared with all the comforts we needed: Fun travel games and toys for the car ride, complete breakfasts at the morning picnic table. Holidays were always made special because of Mom. Traditions were built that have carried over into my life with my own daughter.

Now, Mom is my friend and we spend hours on the phone sometimes, even though she lives only a half hour away. We get together to have lunch or shop, but not as often as I'd like. And she still makes holidays so special, and works so hard to make sure everyone is happy and everything is perfect for everyone. She is still the classic Mom and I love her so much.


I can see that my relationship with my daughter is, in many ways, a lot like mine was with my mom. We enjoy each other so much, and laugh every single day together. I think because of my own mom, I always knew that I wanted to be a mother myself. There was never any doubt. It's definitely my favorite job! And I can't wait to "punch in" each and every day.


This morning I woke up much too early, thinking about the things on my to-d0 list this week. (It's gonna be a busy one, for sure.) But then it hit me that not only is it Mother's Day, it's also my 18-year wedding anniversary. I've known Paul, the love of my life, for over 25 years now. We dated forEVER before he finally took the leap. And it's been the happiest 18 years I could ever imagine. I guess this guy is a keeper. He's my best friend, my entertainer, my confidant, and my red hot lover! (Ewww, I know, don't gross out.) All I can say is "we still got it." And I can't wait to see what the next 18 years have in store for us.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Open House make-n-takes


I am working away over here, getting things ready for my Summer Idea Book Open House which is this Friday, May 7th. I thought I'd pop a few photos of the make and take projects I'm offering so you can get a peek at some of the newest papers and stamp sets. I am LOVING everything about this Summer selection! Can't wait to show you more.

Standard Card make-n-take
Papers: Cherry-O level 2 paper pack
Stamp: Bowl of Cherries


12 x 12 Layout make-n-take
Papers: Passages level 2 paper pack
Stamp: "Happy Journey" and May stamp of the month "Cherish the Moment"
Other: new Cocoa ribbon collection

Monday, May 3, 2010

The most delicious & quickest meal you'll make this week!


I am cooking, as we speak, for the in-laws for the week.


No, this is not the start of a very bad poem. That was just a happy little accident. I was so excited about how quickly and deliciously this recipe came together, I just had to drop everything and share it with you. It's Dijon Chicken Fettuccine. I've made it many times before and each time I make it, I'm thrilled at the ease of pulling it together. No excuses for you busy people out there. This takes no time at all.

If your kids aren't huge vegetable fans, it's likely they still like broccoli. Something about broccoli, my daughter has always loved since she was little. There isn't a ton of it in this recipe. It's mostly pasta and creamy dressing, plus chicken, so I think any kid would like this.

The whole meal came together in about 15 minutes from start to finish and I only dirtied a pot and a bowl, plus a big spoon. Everything is quick about this recipe! Check it out and give it a try. I think you'll really like it.


Dijon Chicken Fettuccine


Ingredients

  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fettuccine, uncooked (the photo doesn't show fettuccine, but use fettuccine!)
  • 1/2 (16-ounce) package fresh broccoli flowerets (4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup fat-free honey Dijon dressing
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 (10.11-ounce) package cooked chicken breast (such as Perdue roasted chicken), skinned and shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

1. Cut pasta in half before cooking. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli to pasta during last 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain well; place in a large bowl.

2. While pasta cooks, combine dressing and next 4 ingredients; stir well. Pour dressing mixture over pasta mixture. Add chicken, and toss gently. Sprinkle with pepper.

Nutritional Information

Calories:
162 (13% from fat)
Fat:
2.4g (sat 0.6g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g)
Protein:
12.5g
Carbohydrate:
22.9g
Fiber:
1.1g
Cholesterol:
54mg
Iron:
0.0mg
Sodium:
296mg
Calcium:
0.0mg