Sunday, January 31, 2010

My First BLOG HOP - February Stamp of the Month

Hey bloggers! I'm so excited since this is my first time participating in the Close To My Heart Blog Hop for the stamp of the month. I am on the permanent list now, so you can count on me to share with you my creations using the stamp of the month, plus you can hop, hop, HOP to all the other great consultants' blogs that are participating. You'll never say, "I don't know what I'd do with that stamp set" again. If you're already hopping, you came from Danielle's blog. Keep on reading to the end to see where to go to next.

My main card above using the February stamp of the month "Piece of Cake" (Boy do I love this set! D1407) also utilizes CTMH's Topstitch papers. I snuck a heart in there from the Heartfelt stamp set (B1297) and used some Colonial White grosgrain ribbon. The cake was colored in with markers and popped up with foam tape.

Here are two more ideas from my Stamp of the Month sample board. Thanks for looking. Now hop over to the beginning of the Blog Hop (since I'm the last one on the list) and check out Jena's artwork.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Love Clipboard

I have this thing about altering stuff. Who doesn't?! Whenever I am out and about, if I see something that could possibly be covered in paper, ribbons and stamping, I'm all over it! That was the case with this little clipboard. It's only about 5 x 7 inches and I found them at my local Dollar Tree about six months ago. I bought up a dozen on the spot. Finally this month at my Cards & More Club we created this altered clipboard using CTMH's paper pack "Notebook" one of my all time favorites because of its vintage feel. Everything, in fact, is Close To My Heart in this project from the ribbons, the flowers, the corderoy brad, the stamps and the chipboard. The only thing that isn't CTMH is the black acrylic paint that covers the clipboard. I finished the whole thing off with some White Daisy pigment ink for distressing. I only wish I had taken more time to take a prettier photo of the project rather than slapping it on my dirty work surface in my office.

Coming up February 1st, I am very excited to be part of the Close To My Heart Stamp of the Month BLOG HOP. I think there are about 70 consultants participating so that means you'll get 70 ideas for the current stamp of the month! Wahoo, I say!! So watch for that on Monday. I've got my card done and ready to share. I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fall in Love with Felicity - but hurry!

Just who is this Felicity I speak of, you ask? Well, Felicity is a collection which includes a gorgeous paper pack with a coordinating stamp set. And this isn't just any paper pack, this is a stunning mixture of 12 x 12 papers as well as decorative die-cut papers, and they're all double-sided, of course. The stamp set features some sweet birds, an argyle pattern, flowers, leaves, flourishes, and a full uppercase alphabet! This Felicity collection is a Constant Campaign item available only through the end of this month from Close To My Heart. If you've noticed, I have had the icon in the upper right corner of my blog for over a month now. It will link you to the official CTMH National Papercrafting Month blog where you can enter to win this collection and see loads of other projects with this kit!

Did I mention that the Felicity Collection will no longer be available after January 31st? So you need to act now!

There are other ways to get this collection for FREE too, or simply purchase it at retail, and once you do, I am offering you a FREE workshop to create the projects in the photo above, plus you'll go home with a whole lot of papers leftover from the collection that you can have fun with. Go to the Felicity link on my CTMH website to see the ways to get this collection for FREE before it's gone. If you're not local or unable to attend my FREE workshop, simply let me know and I'll send you the directions for the projects.

My workshop is Sunday, February 21 from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Please RSVP as soon as you know you'd like to come. Space will be limited. All you need to bring is your basic tool kit, including a paper trimmer, plus your Felicity collection. That will cover the basics. To complete the projects exactly as I show them, you will need some additional cardstock and embellishments. I will list them below in case you'd like to order them. Otherwise, bring what you have from home. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Materials used for the projects above:

• X5686 Basic Antique Cardstock Combo (I used X5747 textured cardstock combo)
(specifically: 4 sheets of Desert Sand cardstock, one sheet of Bambo cardstock, one sheet of Colonial White cardstock)

• Z2114 Cocoa stamp pad (not necessary to purchase if you don't mind waiting and sharing)
• Z2104 Barn Red stamp pad (not necessary to purchase if you don't mind waiting and sharing)
• Z2101 Autumn stamp pad (not necessary to purchase if you don't mind waiting and sharing)
• Z1217 Metal brad assortment (Antique Copper in particular)
• Z1104 Clear Sparkles
• Z1155 Clear Buttons
• Z1088 Chocolate Waxy Flax

OR order my mini-embellishment KIT directly through me for only $5.00 and you'll get the amount of buttons, sparkles, brads and waxy flax you'll need for the projects shown with no leftovers.

Like I said, this Felicity Collection will no longer be available after January 31st, so hurry and get yours before they're gone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mojo Monday Circle in a Square Card

This week's Mojo Monday sketch was a choice or either a circle or a square card. I really like circle cards, but don't like how they don't stand up nicely, so I incorporated the two concepts into one. Here's my version of this week's sketch.

It's a 4 x 4 card using Close To My Heart's Grace papers, "A Tweet" stamp set, "Noted Backgrounds" stamp set (on the card base), and a new flower from our Spring Blossom Just Blooms, plus a big corduroy brad from the Autumn Garden Mini Medley. I stamped the bird onto Bamboo textured cardstock and sanded a little away for effect. His little eye is an Antique Copper Bitty Brad. The scalloped circle is from my QuicKutz die: Nesting Flowers.

And now on to tonight's dinner! Many of you already know that I cook all day on Mondays for my in-laws who are on restricted diets. My father-in-law can't have potatoes at all. The problem here is that what I usually cook for them, I also prepare to cook for my own family each night which sometimes leaves out the things we like. I LOVE potatoes. So, occasionally I just decide that I will make something different for us, even if it means more cooking for me. I try my best to keep it as simple as possible and inexpensive too. This baked potato meal is a perfect example and we're having it tonight with a big plate of fruit for dessert. I'm sharing this simple recipe with you in hopes that you'll try it and share with me how you and your family liked it.

Baked Potatoes with Avocado, Tomato & Corn Salsa
(Quick Food, Laurel Glen)

4 large potatoes
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup corn
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Bake directly on oven rack for one hour. While potatoes are baking, put the tomatoes, corn, green onions, lime juice, and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Add the chopped avocado and cilantro. Season with a little salt and pepper to your liking.

When the potatoes are done, cut a cross in the top of each and gently squeeze from the bottom to open. Spoon the salsa into the potato and enjoy. You can add a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

This might not sound like a "meal" to some, but with the fatty (yet healthy) avocado and the vegetables, it's quite filling. Add a fruit plate and you'll be quite satisfied.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Raccoons & Non-Traditional Valentine

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you had a good week. And I surely hope you had a better week than my friend Sherry who has been battling raccoons in her attic all week. A group of fantastic ladies in my Cards & More Club met last night, creating projects together while telling stories, and Sherry's raccoon stories were the best! (And worst, poor thing.) But so funny. Imagine a family of raccoons who find your attic to be a cozy place to hang out and scurry about at night. Ewww! Then imagine trying to humanely trap those little guys and then retrieve them from the trap to get them out of there! Picture that scene from "Elf" when Will Farrell approaches the sweet little raccoon in the snow for a hug only to be attacked face first. (ooh, flashback to my cat memories) Of course this whole topic of conversation led to many more tales of animal infestation incidents that we've each encountered. Fortunately, Sherry seems to have the situation under control somewhat now.

There really is no graceful way to segue from that story to my non-traditional Valentine card here. (And by the way, segue is a weird word and I had to look up how to spell it in the dictionary... which is difficult to do when you don't know how to spell a word. Think about that. I've always been baffled by that one. I should invent a device in which you would speak the word into it and it gives you suggested spellings with definitions. If something like this already exists, you better TELL me!) Anyway, this card is something I whipped up last night around 11:00 p.m. after the club gals left. It's sort of a non-traditional style Valentine which is why I like it so much. Not a speck of pink, red or violet anywhere! Yellow and black - can you imagine?

I used Close To My Heart's Creative Basics Collection/Silhouette, one of my all-time faves in CTMH paper packs. Very classic. I incorporated some square clear sparkles, black ribbon and used the Soul Mates word puzzle stamp set. The yellow I snuck in there is patterned paper from Basic Grey's Origins. I picked up one of those little paper pads at the Scrappy Boutique in Orlando a few weeks back. The descriptive copy on the pad says, "Origins is a naturally unique blend of enticing colors that are basically, purely beautiful. (I like that.) The decorative paper clip matches the line of paper as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Easy Easel Card

As promised, I am providing the cutting instructions and some extra views for the easel card posted yesterday, so you too can give it a try with your stamps and paper. Send me your photos of what you created and I will share them with my blog followers! If you stick with MOSTLY Close To My Heart products, you will be entered into my drawing for a FREE stamp set: "Card Chatter Thank You."

This card is super simple. Decide first on your base cardstock. This will serve as your easel base and also your main card front. Of course, you could always select another color for your card front if you wish. Start with a 12 x 12 sheet. Here's how you will cut it...

See this diagram to see how the card will be constructed. I am showing my already assembled card, but I think you get it...

This view shows you the back side so you can understand how the main card front attaches to the scored and folded base. You'll notice that you only adhere the main card front to the upper 2 3/4 inch portion of the base. This will allow for the card to fold down flat.

To create a stopper for your easel card to stand up properly, you simply use some foam tape to pop up some sort of element (sentiment or image) to the base as shown. Other than the details of adding more paper, stamping and embellishments, this is it! And you can imagine how easy it would be to adjust the size and make all kinds of variations of this easel card. I encourage you to try it out. Here's another look at the card from the front. Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mojo Monday Vintage Valentine

This week's sketch is a nice classic one, but I had a vintage postcard idea in mind, so I took the sketch and turned it on its side this time. I've been seeing so many of those easel cards on the web lately that I finally had to try one. I was particularly inspired by my friend DiAnn's beautiful card that she made for me for my birthday recently. (See below, it's gorgeous!)

My card utilizes Close To My Hearts papers from "That's Amore" and a beautiful, yet retired, stamp set aptly named Vintage Valentine. I also used a lace stamp from the set "Lovely Lace" which is currently available. Instructions for an easel card are posted all over the web, but tomorrow when I have more time, I will give the dimensions and cutting instructions for the one I did here. It's surprisingly easy.

And here's DiAnn's beautiful card...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dogs are People Too

I'm not an extreme animal fanatic, but I do love dogs. I have to admit I really don't care for cats at all. It's not really ME who doesn't like THEM, it's them who don't like me. Example 1: my sister had a cat when we were growing up. I didn't mess with it. I tried to be nice to it. But that guy simply had something against me. I would come home from work in the afternoon and he would attack from out of nowhere by latching on to my feet! (no I didn't kick him, but really wanted to.) Another example: my friend had a cat, and while I waited for my friend to finish getting ready to go out, I sat with the cat on my lap. He put himself there, all on his own doing. I sort of massaged his scruff on the back of his neck (dogs always seem to like this) and all of sudden this cat sinks his teeth into my hand at the meatiest part of my thumb! I mean deep, too. I was bleeding out of these two fang holes when my friend emerged ready to go. Final example: My previous neighbor had two cats. She thought of those guys as her children. She would sometimes go out of town and ask me to CAT SIT!?!! (OMG, if she only knew.) I indeed did cat-sit for her a number of times over a year's span until one day when my then 3-year-old was playing outside and one of the cats came up to her. Jamie crouched down to pet him only to have this sweet little kitty launch at her FACE (yes, I said FACE) and proceed to bite her across the bridge of her nose! That was the last of cat-sitting for me. I'm not afraid of cats. I just don't like an animal that is so unpredictable. Now find me a cat who has no claws, no teeth, no attitude and will lay down when you tell it, then I'll reconsider my feelings.

Now dogs on the other hand are not animals in my opinion. They are simply people with tails. I absolutely love just about any dog out there. I look into their eyes and I see a person in there. A person who wants to be loved and to love back and will do just about anything to accomplish that. My dog Suki is no exception. She's not the best dog on the planet. She's very shy and sometimes stubborn, but she is a love. That's what her name means in Japanese: LOVE. I could go on and on about how much I love her, but instead I am sharing my scrapbook pages I did yesterday. They aren't completely finished yet. I'm waiting on my stamp set with all these cute stitches on it ("Togetherness") to add the final touches. I think that scrapbooking about your pet is just as important as scrapbooking about your family. They are a part of your family's history, and like small children, they grow up very fast. I realized as I created these pages and selected the photos that I had not really noticed the changes in her appearance that much on a daily basis. These photos really help us remember her first year's growth.

These are new CTMH papers called "Topstitch" and the layouts come from the Reflections book. The left page pattern is Sidebar – Balancing Act (with a few cutting adjustments by me) and the right page is from Main Frame – Quilt Blocks. The cute little pinwheels are actually soft suede embellishments. And the other embellishments are all from the new Colonial White Mini Medley accents. The title utilizes the new "Irresistables - Lots of Dots" alphabet stickers. These are really cool! They are plain white and have a tiny dot pattern that resists ink. So all you do is marker over them (or daub ink from a stamp pad) and they create these great patterned letters. (To see this detail up close you'll have to click on the photo.) All of these items are available through my CTMH website. And will be on display at my open house this weekend.

I apologize in advance to my cat-loving friends. Just hoping you'll understand where I'm coming from if I come over to your house and don't go ga-ga over your kitty.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Birdy Mojo

I've got my Mojo going once again after a two-week break for the holidays. This one's got a little bird theme with a new CTMH stamp called "Love Birds" and new papers from the Veranda Creative Basics pack. The ribbons are from the Creme Brulee collection. I added a Juniper brad on the bow, and the circle is a metal rimmed circle tag. I love the phrase that comes with this stamp set: Somebirdy Loves You. Cute.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Valentine Cards in the making

First off, I wanted to let my followers know that my doc called yesterday and let me know that all is well for now, but to come back in six months for another ultrasound. Same deal as always. Thank you for your comments and well-wishes.

As much as I love scrapbooking and all things paper-crafty, I have to say that card making is up there at the top of my list of favorite creative projects. Probably like most of you, my creative time is limited due to... getting in the way. So making a card is very rewarding because it doesn't take a bunch of time, but the rewards of the accomplishment are huge. Don't you agree?

I am loving all of Close To My Heart's new stamp sets and papers, so I had to dig in and start making some cards. These six are the cards that we'll be making in my monthly card class later this month. They all have a love theme. Four are Valentine cards, one is a Birthday card and the other is a Thank You. I've used several stamp sets but kept the paper focus mainly on the Topstitch paper pack B&T papers. These cards are fairly simple with not a bunch of embellishment, since the class is only $15 and guests only have 3 hours to complete them. I am always happy to hold this class because it means I have at least 6 handmade cards at my disposal every single month. I can't even tell you the last time I bought a greeting card from a store. (shudder!) I have this spinny rack in my studio filled with cards and when I need one, all I do is spin away! I love that.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mammogram thoughts

Oh joy. Not only did I have my annual mammogram in December, but then got the call-back, which I sometimes do. Dense breasts and all that. I usually have to go back in, get another mammo, then they still aren't sure so they do an ultrasound. That was the story today. And the worst part is, they don't tell you anything after the ultrasound. Instead, with a sweet smile, the technician says that my doctor will contact me in a day or two. I'm not worried, which should probably worry me. It's just been so many times of this same deal that I've become a little nonchalant about it all. But something back in my little brain warns me that's when something will turn up. I'm just glad I do my mammograms each year and I suppose I'm fortunate to get an ultrasound to make absolute sure of the situation. One way or another.

Today's fun included a few extra views in the smashometer that I have never had before. Three of them involved this cup shaped device they hooked up to the machine to not only flatten things out, but totally pinch the holy hell out of them as well. I don't know about you, but when I'm in that contraption all kinds of things are whirling through my head. Ironically they are usually funny thoughts, not worries like they probably should be. Here's an example: The poor gal who actually has the job of handling women's boobs all day like she's putting a sandwich on a plate, (mind you, my breasts are small so it is like a sandwich and not this huge water balloon like a lot of my gal pals) Then she has to crawl underneath me with one hand positioning my "sandwich" and the left foot pressing on the foot pedal all while in a crouching stance and trying not to get her hair caught up in the contraption. These are the things I'm thinking: "Wow, she's limber." or "I wonder is she's ever slipped and fallen while in that position. Did the patient fall down with her?" or "Does someone perform her mammo or can she play around with the machine by herself?" Can't you just picture a couple of those gals in there goofing around squeezing things in that machine? I can.

So, that's where my mind goes in those situations. It doesn't take long for me to snap back to reality though when I return to the waiting room where several other women wait for their news with somber faces, or wait for yet another check because "things don't look good." I've seen women crying, women walking back into the waiting room just given the news and putting on their best brave face, admitting to all of us total strangers that "it" has returned once again. Gosh, if that doesn't sober you up, nothing will.

It never ceases to amaze me though how once we sit in those thin gowns in that cold waiting area, watching Family Fued together on the TV, we can talk and share with one another like we've known each other a long time. It's this instant female bond, like we're all pulling for one another, and understand one another. I've reached over and squeezed the hand or shoulder of a few women on my way out several times over the years. Sadly it's one of the only places I do that to women I don't know.

Friday, January 1, 2010

12 Tags of Christmas/inspired by T!m

Okay, I know. Christmas is long over by now, but I really wanted to post my 12 tags of Christmas, inspired by Tim Holtz. (make sure to click on the photo to view the tags larger.) I just finished them yesterday, New Year's Eve, and what fun I had. I'm usually so caught up in the business of being a direct seller that I don't get a chance to put my hands on other products other than Close To My Heart very often. But life is a journey, right? And for me it's a creative journey. So that means stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying new things, new products, new techniques, all for the simple pleasure of doing so. I used so many things I never have when creating these tags: from grungeboard and metal findings to crackle paint and distress Stickles. I was so dirty every day, it was great! I made three tags per day until I finished and what a great feeling to finish last night. Now I have twelve gorgeous holiday tags (about 5 x 7 in size each) and will cherish them forever. I have a new-found respect and admiration for Tim Holtz and his style. He's truly an innovator when it comes to the vintage, grungy look, which is my new (secret) favorite style. Check him out sometime and see for yourself.