Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Trotters & Family

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is Thanksgiving #2 for us. A small-scale version of yesterday with my in-laws. Yesterday was the Wolf Family day at my brother's house. Our day started off with the Turkey Trot 5K right in our beautiful Suntree community. I've run this for four years now, and Paul has for three, Jamie for two. We love this on Thanksgiving Day because we get that morning work-out in, then we can pig out on the feast! Jamie was feeling very independent this year and asked if she could run on her own in the 5K. The original plan was for her to run with Dad again like last year, but she wanted to do it solo. I was SO proud that she hung in there and ran it in even better time than last year: 33.20, I think. Paul was always about 150 yards ahead of me and no matter what I did, I couldn't catch him. So he finished well in his age group: 25.25, and I finished in 26.40. Not terrible for an old lady of 45, but I had hoped to beat my time from last year which was 25.40. There were close to 500 runners this year and the morning started off rainy and chilly, but cleared up as soon as the race began. It's such an exhilarating feeling to run in that big crowd! And the best part is the entry fees go toward the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Here's the Wolf pack from Thanksgiving dinner. My sister-in-law Brenda outdid herself this year with SO many delicious creations, one of them being a yellow squash casserole that was outstanding! My nephew Derek and his girlfriend Kristen (taking the photo) made a unique cranberry sauce with pineapple, oranges and pecans in it that I loved. My brother Steve smoked a turkey outside all night the night before, setting his alarm every two hours to get up and do whatever it is you do when you smoke a bird (stoke it? add more liquid?) Anyway, that smoked turkey was perfect! My sister-in-law roasted another turkey in the oven the traditional way and it was excellent. I brought a sweet potato casserole that seemed to impress (Cooking Light, Nov. 2009) complete with maple syrup, mini-marshmallows, and pecans on top. Yum!

We spent the non-feasting time watching football, playing pool, talking, laughing and drinking. Just like it should be. I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mojo Monday #114

Happy Thanksgiving to all you blog followers out there! Since I've been making so many Thanks- giving/Fall cards lately, I went for Christmas this time with the Mojo Monday sketch. Here's the sketch and here's my card. I used some older Daisy D's paper, a Making Memories poinsietta, and all the rest is from Close To My Heart, including the leaves which are from Just Blooms Summer Posies. The stamp set is "Holiday Joy", the textured card stocks are Desert Sand, Chocolate and Colonial White. The red velvet ribbon is from the Cranberry Collection Ribbon Rounds, and the bitty brads are Antique Copper. I added a little platinum Stickles here and there, and the punch is from Martha Stewart.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wreath Making

My heavily-loaded schedule has finally ended and I am truly relishing the simple pleasures of every day. Friday was "New Moon" with Jamie. What fun! She loved the movie and I enjoyed taking time in the middle of a week day to be with her doing ANYthing. Saturday we had the best time with my gal pal Lisa Russell and her daughter Alivia at an arts & crafts fair in Titusville. Lots of laughs and a beautiful Florida day for an outdoor venue. I have practically been stalking this jewelry artisan, Michele Nesworthy. She does some amazing things with vintage watch pieces, metals, and findings such as vintage thimbles, spoons, and more. When you get an opportunity, check her out at In the evening it was such a pleasure to put on my jammies and simply watch TV all night with my family. It's been more than a month since I've been able to do that. Each night after working all day, I usually would eat dinner, then head back to my studio to work some more until everyone went to bed, finally getting myself to sleep around 11:00/11:30 which is a REALLY late night for me. It's been a very tiring month, but a lot of fun and filled with creativity.

At the craft fair we saw some beautiful wreathes and, while I was tempted to purchase one, my pal Lisa urged me not to, convincing me that I could make my own. So we stopped at Michael's on the way home and she helped me pick out little pretty things for a wreath. Jamie got excited about the idea and wanted to make her own wreath too, so she picked out a few things to match her bedroom. We came home, put on the Christmas music and got to the wreath making. What a simple and enjoyable project to do together! And I can't even tell you the last time I pulled out the hot-glue gun. I forgot how much I love that sucker. While the wreathes, I think, turned out pretty nice, I loved even more the time Jamie and I spent together making them. With a creative craft in progress, we talked easily about things, making jokes and acting silly. It was the greatest. These are the times that I am so thankful for a daughter. I am a very lucky mom to have such a pleasure of a child and little friend. I will try very hard to remember these times when she is being the devil tomorrow. (I wrote that because she just walked in and was reading over my shoulder.) Okay, she's gone... she's the best!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Altered Photo Clip Cube

Better late than never, I wanted to share the cards our Cards@9 group made together last week. They were all so beautiful and fun to make! Pictured here from left to right are cards by Charmin, Tiffany, Lin, Joann and myself. As you can see, we use product from all over, not just Close To My Heart, although many of the stamp sets used in these particular cards are CTMH this time.

This little cube is something I've been playing with the last few days. It's a photo/note holder cube. I thought it would be cute to show off different holiday cards I receive this year, switching out the card each day with a different one. Then Jamie can leave a note for "Santa" (as she now refers to him with air-quotes) on Christmas Eve. The cube itself comes from Oriental Trading Company and the papers are from CTMH's Jingle Level 2 pack. I incorporated some Twinkle Brads, and used the Christmas Melodies stamp set, plus a flower image from the Gratitude stamp set on the top. Cranberry velvet ribbon, plus some White Daisy ribbons finish it off.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cards, Festival, Workshop & Mojo

Wow! What a packed weekend. I am exhausted, but have been having a lot of fun. Friday was one of my favorite days of the month because it's a get-together of friends to make and exchange one of each other's handmade card creations. I've nicknamed it Cards@9 because we get together at 9:00 a.m. and make cards, then have a nice lunch. It's my favorite also because it's MY chance to sit and create something that someone ELSE has designed and pre-cut. Everyone's cards were SO pretty, I will have to share them with you tomorrow when I have more time. For now, here's us girls. . . from left is Joann, Tiffany, Lin, Charmin and me.

Saturday was my daughter's school's annual Fall Festival where she got to run around with her friends and have fun, and I got to be a vendor in the Marketplace section of the festival. It was a big success because I made some new contacts and got a few new sign-ups for an upcoming holiday album workshop. I was restricted to a rather small table (only 5 feet) so I figured if I couldn't spread out, I'd better go UP. This is my display... two cheap shelvy things from WalMart and one plank of closet shelving across the top from Home Depot that hubby cut down for me. It worked out perfectly and I have a feeling next year I'll be seeing more vendors doing the same based on the comments I received all day.

Sunday was the first day of my Annual Holiday Workshop. 12 attended and 6 more are coming Tuesday night. All guests made five Christmas cards, two Fall cards, 15 Christmas tags, one altered travel mug, and an altered wooden box. I haven't taken photos yet, but hope to post those soon. It was a big hit with everyone, so I was pleased. This workshop is a lot of work for me, but well worth it when I hear good feedback.

And finally MOJO MONDAY. Here's the Mojo sketch #113 for this week.
And here is the card I came up with. I used Close To My Heart's November stamp of the month, "Around the Block" which is very fun to play with because the stamp set has different doors, windows, shutters, roofs, and a bunch of other cute stuff. The combinations are endless! I also used the Sweet Home papers and a QuicKutz die for the sentiment. The ribbon is CTMH natural twill.

Now it's time for bed!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thrilled to be Published Again!

Oh my gosh. This one took me by surprise! I went out to the mailbox today and got a complimentary issue of Stamper's Sampler Take Ten Winter 2010 issue. The address label said ArtComp above my name. Last time I was published (my first time) the magazine sent me an e-mail congratulating me. This time, I didn't know until the pub showed up in the mailbox. I was so excited I whooped out a big "Woo-hoo!" only to realize that four of my neighbors were also outside.

This time I actually took a photo of the card before I sent it in for the design challenge. Everything is from Close To My Heart: Aspen papers, Twilight, Creme Brulee and Outdoor Denim cardstock, White Daisy Sassy Strands, snowflakes (retired), and Winter Fun stamp set.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Burger

No school today. What are two girls to do? Well, I worked on some fun things that I'll show you tomorrow and Jamie worked on illustrations for an upcoming art festival. By lunchtime we needed a little break so we splurged and went to Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Holly cow those burgers are fantastic! And the fries are to die for. I love how they leave some of the potato skin on them. Almost feels healthy with that little bit of roughage going on. If you've never been, you need to find a Five Guys near you. I mean, look at this burger!

Doesn't this look like the face of a happy burger-meister? She's literally got grease dripping down her chin!
So while we were indulging in this sinful delight, we began to talk about Veteran's Day. I wanted to make sure she understood that it didn't just mean a day off from school, you know? We discussed the members of our family who have served: Grandpa Andy, who served in the Korean War and WWII, Paul, my brother Steve, and my niece Heather, plus many other friends' family members. We agreed that we're proud of all of them. The discussion didn't carry on for terribly long, but I was just glad that we recognized the day for what it's intended. To remember.

Back to the burgers and enjoying an afternoon together.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mojo Monday Sketch #112

Monday got right past me this week. How does that happen! The weekend was certainly full. Thursday night card gathering, Saturday my all-day crop, Sunday another card gathering, then a great time with our long-time friends, the Hendersons, in the evening Sunday. Did I take a single photo of any of this? No. And I'm still asking myself why not. To me, this is when it gets disturbing to be so busy. You simply forget to savor those moments. All it would have taken was a quick minute to capture them on my camera. I even had it in my purse the whole weekend! I have no excuse. You'll forgive me won't you? I won't, but maybe you will.

So here's my Mojo Monday sketch card for this week. I used CTMH's Evensong papers, Colonial White satin-edged organdy ribbon and a big Cranberry brad. And with a little help from QuicKutz, I made my scalloped circles and that cute little reindeer guy, finishing him off with a Cranberry sparkle. It's simple and fun, and I think I'll have to incorporate this card into my Holiday Workshop this Sunday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

There's always time to say "Thanks"

Oh, if I could just rattle off my schedule to you the past two weeks and the next two coming. It's crazy! It's like this every Fall and I have finally come to expect it and enjoy it. Between crops, classes, workshops, school festivals, blogging and life in general, it's insane. But somehow when it's time to show appreciation to someone else, don't you find there's always time to fit that into your day? I know I do.

I am extremely fortunate to have met so many terrific people through my Close To My Heart business. And I don't mean customers, I mean friends. My downline of girls are absolutely the BEST and we are like this little family now, which I love. Many of my customers have become very good friends of mine. I so enjoy sharing my life with friends who have the same love and passion for papercrafting as me.

So with Thanksgiving coming up, I am all about thankfulness. I'll be sharing ideas with you in the coming weeks and through December for special little ways to say Thank You to the people in your life. The jar above is for my friend Kristie who is hosting a home gathering this Sunday.

Here's a fun card I made the other day with our "Give a Hoot" (C1362) stamp set. I simply love those owls. The eyes just needed something, so I added some Antique Copper bitty brads. (Z1217) See the close-up. How fun! Stay tuned for more thankfulness soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Paper Piecing the Mojo Monday sketch

I've got the Mojo going again. I love this simple sketch. And I loved using my new "Ms. Holiday Cheer" stamp set from Close To My Heart. (D1374) The set is super cute and includes three different views of the little Ms. in her holiday spirit, plus whimsical images such as a gift box, ornaments, holly and ivy, swirls and more. As always, you can order this stamp set from me on my CTMH website.

The focus for this card is paper piecing and I thought I'd share how it's done. Notice I didn't say how simply it's done. It's not difficult, just time consuming, but I think it's worth the effort in the end.

I started with black ink and Juniper B&T star print from the Jingle Level 2 Paper Pack (X7115B) to stamp the image. I was focused on the Christmas tree only for now.

With Tulip ink, I stamped the image again onto White Daisy cardstock. My focus here was the girl's dress.

For the bow, I stamped on the pink side of the same B&T paper I used before (Juniper) using black ink.

The tree skirt was stamped on the same pink B&T paper using black. Notice how I placed the stamp so that I get the best use of the printed paper?

Yep, you guessed it, I had to cut out all those little pieces. A bit tedious, but not too difficult.

On a square piece of White Daisy cardstock, I stamped my girl once again in black. This time I needed the whole image and it needed to be centered.

I adhered all the pieces to the stamped base image, then colored in the star and the trunk with markers (Creme Brulee) and inserted our new Twinkle brads "Jolly" (Z1220) over the stamped ornaments. I also did a little paper piecing on the ornaments in the circle accent. For the girl's hat I used Liquid Glass and Prisma Glitter. The ribbon is from the Cranberry ribbon rounds collection (Z1209). All items can be found on my website.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Cookies = Hugs

I know it's past Halloween now, but remember I was without my beloved Mac for a week. While it was a very freeing experience, I am extremely happy to be back in the cyber world again. A week is sure a long time in the blogging arena. I've missed out on so much! Meanwhile, my daughter and I decided to make cookies for her class this Halloween. As we began Thursday evening, we remembered her Horizons class meets on Fridays also, so that meant more cookies to be made. 38 to be exact. Here's how it went . . .

First, it takes two people who really like each other. That would be me with my lack of make-up, hair pulled back showing off my neglected grays, and a big smile on my face meanwhile thinking, "I am about to make cookies that will take me all night to finish." And that cutie next to me is my almost-twelve-year-old Jamie who just got her braces on the bottom teeth the day before. Still working on her smile and thinking, "this is going to be fun, but I hope it doesn't take too long because I want to play my DSI before bed."

Basic sugar cookie dough recipe (Martha Stewart) and a tombstone cookie cutter from WalMart get the process rolling. Jamie is fully involved and having fun.

While the cut cookies are chilling in the 'fridge, Jamie mixes the black food coloring into white royal icing to make a medium gray. Perfect for tombstones.

Jamie has punched out for the night, a little sooner than expected. The many batches of cookies are rotating into the oven and onto the cooling racks where they wait for their base coat of gray icing. A spoonful of icing is dropped onto the cookie center, then I take a plastic knive and smooth it out to the edges. It's getting late, but this part is fun.

Back during the royal icing stage, we reserved some plain white icing for the kids' names, and made a very dark gray icing for the RIP. Both of these went into piping bags with fine tips. It's approaching 11 p.m. but this part is even more fun. Once I wash up the pans and clean up the kitchen it's midnight.

Once they dried really well overnight, Jamie and I bagged them up and tied orange and black ribbon around each. I get little sleep, but I do get big hugs and a happy child. The kids at school loved them and the teachers were impressed. Pumpkin carving the next night, then a fun-filled Halloween. Hope yours was horribly happy!