Friday, December 28, 2007

News from the last week

I can't believe we're only a week away from heading home. This trip has just been flying by.

I returned late last night from attending my grandma's funeral. I wasn't going to go, with all the traveling around we've been doing, but it worked out for my brother and me to drive out with our dad and fly home together last night, so that's what we did. I'm so glad that I went. The funeral was a lovely testament to my grandmother's life and witness, and it was also a welcome chance to catch up with extended family. I couldn't tell you the last time all nine of us grandkids were all together, and my aunt and uncle who are currently on a mission term in Beirut were able to come, and I hadn't seen them in several years. I just kept looking around at the huge family that resulted from my grandparents' 70-year marriage, and thought that she couldn't have left a more wonderful legacy.

Today I had my first chance to go see my beautiful niece Hannah in the hospital. What a sweetie pie she is! I wish I could get the photos off my camera - she's so beautiful. I took Ben with me, and when we first got there she was awake and pretty calm, so I got to hold her for a bit - bliss. Ben was more interested in riding the "people mover" train that moves between the hospitals in the Riley complex, but he did seem to think Hannah is cute. She is going to be able to come home Sunday after her 5 pm meds, if all goes as scheduled and if she shows herself to be gaining weight over the next two days. Everyone is really ready to have her at home, even though there are sure to be adjustments, so my fingers and toes are crossed that all goes according to plan!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Next stop: Indianapolis

We're leaving Arkansas today and heading north to Indy - we should arrive by lunchtime tomorrow. It's been a good visit, even though all four of us were sick with a stomach bug that Ben picked up somewhere. We're all mostly recovered, though, so we're going to hit the road.

I think the highlight of our time here was taking the kids to Grandpa Jerry's farm. They both loved seeing the horses (two are Jerry's, one boards there) and his two tractors. They both got to sit up on them and help move the various parts up and down. At one point Sarah walked back over to one tractor and said, "Tractor! FUN!!" I took some cute photos but those will have to wait until we're home.

On a sad note, my grandma passed away yesterday afternoon. She was 92. She had a long and full life, and I will always remember how much she loved us all. I'm so grateful to God that I was able to say good-bye to her last Sunday morning. As my dad pointed out, she lives on in her namesake great-granddaughter, Hannah Grace. Their lives intersected on this earth for such a short time, and they never got to know each other, but the tie that binds us and our whole family is greater than we can know.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Road trip!

Greetings from Arkansas! We have spent the past three days driving to Little Rock to see my father-in-law. We'll be going from here (on Friday morning) to Indiana to see my family for the rest of 2007 and the first of 2008. I was pretty worried about how the kids would do with three days in the car - watching DVDs definitely helped, but they did get pretty stir crazy by the end. Overall they did really well, though. We were able to drive 3-4 hours at a time with little trouble. Today we ended up having less driving than we thought, so we spent a couple hours in Memphis having lunch and visiting a great store called Eclectica - mostly scrapbooking, but they did have some stamps. I only ended up with one stamp, since most of what they had didn't interest me or I could get at home, but oh the paper they had... beautiful stuff. I tried not to go *too* crazy since I already have such a stash of non-Stampin' Up! paper but I couldn't resist some new stuff to play with - maybe even on our trip, if I brought other supplies that happen to match!

Yesterday started off in a very emotional way for me. On Friday I'd talked to my dad while we were on the road, and he told me that my grandmother is dying and not expected to live more than a few days. The great irony here is that we were driving right through their town yesterday morning. We hadn't planned on stopping since we figured everyone would be busy with church, but when I got this news, and realized that it'd be impossible to get to the funeral, I knew we had to stop. I don't think it was a coincidence that we found out about her condition just in time - I'm grateful to God that he got that message through to me. My grandpa was so grateful that we wanted to stop in. He loved seeing the children since he hadn't seen Ben in 3 years and had never met Sarah.

When we got there my grandpa took us to my grandma's room... it was so sad seeing her like she was. Her eyes were closed and she just hardly looked real. In my memories of her she was always running around making food for the family (they have 6 kids, 9 grandkids and 15 great-grandkids) and just taking care of all of us. She had a stroke a few years ago and really hasn't been the same since. But my grandpa showed me a picture from just a couple weeks ago, where he was looking at a photo album with her and talking about family stories. I couldn't believe how quickly she had been transformed.

She did seem to know I was there, and to know who I was - my grandpa leaned in close to tell her that I was there and asked if she remembered me, and she said yes. When I said hello to her myself, she said something back that sounded like "hi." Other than that, she didn't show any sign of awareness but I was glad that she did seem to know we were there on some level.

It was so hard to say good-bye... Todd and I both cried. And I think I hugged my grandpa four or five times. I am so glad I had the opportunity to see my grandma one last time, to hold her hand and wish her peace on her next journey. Thank you, Grandma, for being such a wonderful woman, mom, and grandmother. We love you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Trying to catch up

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here! I'm hoping that after the holidays I can get back to more regular blogging. But we'll be leaving for an extended family visit on Dec. 15 and I won't be able to post any pictures, so I'm not sure how much posting I'll do while we're away.

In the meantime, let's see if I can catch you all up on everything that's been going on. Maybe it would be best to go by family member, so I'll start with Ben. Most recently he turned 4 on Monday! I just can't believe it. We celebrated on Saturday with a small party (mostly family) on an M&M theme. That was the request of the birthday boy. I made cupcakes, with some last-minute assistance from Aunt Karen:

The two with M&M's are for Ben, who doesn't like frosting on cake. Unfortunately the only way to make the M&M's stick was to use a teeny little bit of frosting, and here was Ben's face when he discovered what we had done:
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I also have to share two new things that Ben did recently: he had his first dentist visit, at which they gave him 4+ (out of 4) for being cooperative, and he has started going to school all day on Tuesdays. He has done this twice now. He has regular school till 11:30, then lunch and rest time, and from 1 to 3 he has an enrichment class. Right now the theme is Polar Express (the Christmas train story) and he is loving it. In January it will be African Safari. He stays for an extra hour afterward and plays while Sarah finishes her nap. It is really working out well so far - the afternoons are more challenging for me now that Ben doesn't really nap much. So this is one way we're handling it and we'll just play the other days by ear for now!

Sarah is doing just fine - 19 months now. She has learned how to count to 5 (although her favorite number is 4) and she is fascinated with the alphabet song right now. She likes to listen to me sing it while looking at the ABC quilt hanging in Ben's room, which we got from Aunt Christine when he was a baby. (Ben did the same thing!) Actually anytime she hears music she will say "song" and she also dances by standing in one spot and turning around in a circle. It's all just so cute! Here's a lovely photo that Grandpa Jerry took the day of Ben's party.

Todd is hard at work but eagerly looking forward to our holiday travel and a nice break from the lab. I'm just looking forward to seeing family, especially baby Hannah, who as of Sunday was off the ventilator and starting to improve at last. I think they are hoping she'll be moved to the cardiac center any day now, where she'll finish her recovery and then finally go home. I think it seems likely that she will be home in time for Christmas, which I know is going to make everyone rejoice.

As for me, I'm completely overcommitted and busy but having a great time, since most of the busy-ness comes from stamping. I had my second craft fair last weekend and cleared $85, so at least that was an improvement over the first one. I made a lot of projects that weren't cards, since I hardly sold cards at the first fair, and that seemed to be successful. I'm hoping to put up some tutorials for some of the projects where I tweaked something else I found online - if I have time before the holidays, I'll do my best. The most successful thing has actually been since the craft fair - I've sold nearly $200 worth of stuff to some of the moms in my online group, and Todd has also generated some interest by taking a few things to work. I have the possibility of a fair at a large company around Valentine's Day, and got another lead for something similar through the fair last Saturday. It seems as if this venture might actually take off, and I'm hopeful! The TMJ situation continues about the same. This week I'll be getting impressions made for a new night guard, and I'll get it next week before we leave town. I hope that will help. My singing voice hasn't really recovered from the horrible bout with laryngitis I had a few weeks ago, so I think I may have to investigate that if I'm still struggling with it after the holidays. It would be nice to know that if the TMJ situation permits, I'd actually be able to sing!

I think that's the update for now. Check back for those tutorials if you're interested, and otherwise, I'll try to post any other news that we have before the holidays!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Practicing my ABC's - the Tutorial series

In the stamping world ABC means "anything but a card." This was my challenge to myself for my second craft fair, to come up with some cute and easy non-card projects. It's been fun playing around with different ideas. I thought others might like some tutorials for some of my new projects so I'll see how many I can get done before the holidays.

First, here are some gift bags I made. They are a take-off on the genie bag tutorial from SCS. I think they are really cute, and they're pretty easy to do. I'm using plain white lunch bags that I got here, the large size (7 x 13 3/4 inches).

white lunch bag (7" x 13 3/4" here)
two sheets 12x12 patterned paper (note: I recommend a heavyweight paper, like Basic Gray or Stampin' Up!, because the lunch bags are thinner than commercial gift bags would be)
coordinating 5/8" and 1/4" grosgrain ribbon (I use two different colors)
sticky tape (I like 1/2")
paper trimmer
1/8" hole punch
supplies to make a coordinating 3x3 card (cardstock, matching papers, punches, etc.)
tissue paper, if desired

1. With the bag folded flat, trim the bag to the desired height. For the 7" width I use a 10" height.

2. Cut each sheet of paper to a 7.25" x 10" panel. If desired, you can keep the scraps and use them on your 3x3 card.

3. Cut two 12" lengths of the wider grosgrain ribbon and staple to make a handle. I use the inner side crease as a sight line - I like to place each end of ribbon about 2" in from the edge. Position the stapler so that the front of the staple shows on the inside of the bag, since the paper will cover the back of the staple that way.

4. Place sticky tape all around the outer edge on both sides of the bag.

5. Remove tape backing from one side and VERY CAREFULLY line up the top edges of the paper panel and bag, then smooth it down from top to bottom. The paper will extend just slightly past the side edges of the bag; if it protrudes too much you can trim it down. Make sure you have it where you want before you press down on the tape!

6. Make your 3x3 card as desired.

7. In the upper left corner of your card, punch a 1/8" hole and tie around the handle with the narrow ribbon.

8. I like to sell these with a couple sheets of tissue paper stuck in so that it's a complete package. Here are the rest of my finished bags:

Monday, November 19, 2007


Here is the latest on my TMJ. It's now been about 10 weeks since my first visit when I was put on the soft diet. The past few days I've been having more pain even with chewing soft things, and more general discomfort in my jaw. Probably about what I was normally used to dealing with, actually. But I suspected that I needed to go ahead and get a replacement splint (retainer) made since the one I have just doesn't feel right. The doctor agreed that it was making my lower jaw jut forward and that isn't what he wants. The earliest I could get in to have impressions (from which they make the new splint) is December 6, which makes me worried I won't get the new splint before we leave for the holidays (date TBD, but I was thinking around Dec. 20). I guess we'll have to wait to make any plans until I find out how long it'll take.

The part of the checkup that made my heart drop into my shoes was before we talked about making a new splint - the doctor said that the next step in treatment would be Botox injections. I guess it must make the muscles relax, since that is still where I have my pain. But ugh - not something I want to endure, presumably over and over and over again! I will cross my fingers that a new splint will take care of things, and if everyone reading could do the same... that would be wonderful.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One down, one to go

Had my first of two craft fairs today. I cleared $70 after paying for the table, so I'll take that. They said they had far fewer people today than usual because of some other fairs that were also happening today. My best sellers were snowman soup and little photo ornaments that I can personalize. What has me puzzled is that I only sold one single card and one set of cards. Those were by far the most popular thing at my open house. Here are a couple photos of my table. I think it needs a little work, but displaying cards is tough. And my signage is awful because my printer is acting up. I just about filled every inch of my 6' table. Glad I get 8' at the next one!
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I'm back from my weekend with my family and frantically working to get ready for the craft fair on Saturday. So much to do! I think I can safely say there will be no inspiration challenge for this week - sorry about that. I'm going crazy making cards and card sets from Stampin' Up! scrapbook kits. I cut all the pieces before my trip and took them along to work on - most notably in the airport when I had a 3+ hour layover coming home. I definitely attracted a lot of attention sitting and stamping in the food court! But I did get a lot of card fronts done. I can't turn them all into finished cards this week but I'll do what I can. I still need to make some candy boxes, snowman soup (cocoa mix with a few marshmallows, Hershey kisses, a candy cane and a cute poem), mini photo frame ornaments, and if possible Christmas gift bags and tags. Whew, I'm tired. I hope the craft fairs go well after all this work.

My visit with my niece Hannah was wonderful. She is just beautiful and hanging in there with her recovery. The doctors say she's really doing well, but she is becoming more aware of how many tubes she's on and it's been bothering her. I was there when she woke up on Sunday afternoon and was really glad that I got to see her with her eyes open, but it was harder to see her like that when we could tell she was realizing her discomfort. I think once she's off the ventilator she will be more comfortable. She will be in the hospital 2-4 more weeks, depending on how her recovery goes. I won't see her again until Christmas, and I know she'll have changed a lot by then! This photo of her is from Saturday, when the nurse for that day dressed her up with a bow and Disney stickers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Inspiration Challenge #4: Mermaid shirt

I managed to get a challenge done for you all - aren't you shocked?!? I chose this shirt from Coldwater Creek for this week's challenge. This is not something that I personally would wear... but I thought it had potential for cardmaking. I really loved the softness and the colors.

Here is my card - I need some sympathy cards and this seemed perfect. (All except the sentiment are Stampin' Up!) I took a sheet of sahara sand cardstock and scored lines a half inch apart to replicate the horizontal lines in the shirt. Then I stamped the linen background over the lines in garden green. I chose brocade and brilliant blue and really rust inks for the flowers based on the colors in the shirt, and used one of the two-step flowers from Heartfelt Thanks to make a bouquet on sand cardstock. I added stems by inking another stamp on the stem only with a blender pen dipped in the green ink. I cut the image out and mounted to a brocade blue panel with side edges distressed, and I stamped the sentiment on the bottom. (Sentiment by Inkadinkado.) I thought about adding more but decided to keep it simple and understated.

I hope you'll play along this week - and if you do, don't forget to leave a comment with a link to your card so everyone can see!

Another baby card

I am loving making baby cards this week! I need to get some girl cards, too, but here is today's little boy card. It started out to be for today's SCS sketch challenge but it just wasn't working so I simplified things. The bear (by Stampin' Up!) is done with SU! watercolor crayons. The paper is by Heidi Grace. I thought this was so sweet, I made three of them! This is my new strategy to get lots of cards for November 17 - as long as I have the stuff out, I'm going to make 2-4 of everything. Because with my trip to Indy this weekend, I'm just not going to have that much time!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Shameless copying

Here's the first creation of the day (actually I made two of these). I need to replenish my stash of baby cards after the open house because every last one sold. The idea came from the Caardvarks blog - I have done a few of the challenges since they are always coming up with cool ideas. A challenge they had recently was to use eyelets, which I don't, but I loved the winning card and just had to CASE it. I don't think mine is quite as pretty as the original but still pretty darn cute. Cardstock by Bazzill, striped paper by K & Company, stamps and ink by Stampin' Up! Also used Marvy corner rounder punch and SU! oval punches, and Offray satin ribbon.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend update

Well, the open house is behind me and maybe now I can get back to more frequent blogging! I'd say the event was a success, even though only 8 people came. I sold quite a few of my cards and card sets, and one person is going to order some stamps. I had prepared materials for everyone to make a couple Christmas cards (known as make and takes, or M&T's, in the stamping world) and people seemed to enjoy them - since I have extras and will be sending them out myself I will keep you guessing and not post them here! It was nice to see some friends and neighbors and be able to share stamping with them, and they even gave me some ideas about where I might sell some of my stuff. So I felt very good about it, and now I need to get busy replenishing my stock for the two craft fairs coming up.

It's been interesting to watch Ben in the past week or so - he seems to be coming out of his shell when it comes to new people. Someone I told this to had the comment, "Ben has a shell?!?" But he really has been quite shy when he was meeting someone unfamiliar, or playing with the neighbor kids, etc. A few days ago I took the kids to a park and Ben started playing with a girl there and talked all day about how he was playing with his new "friend." Last week the kids who live across from us were out playing with their mom and Ben said from the driveway, "Hi! How are you guys doing? Come on over!" And so they did, and they had fun having races across the yard and riding their trikes. I am just so pleased to see him opening up a little and hopefully he will start making some friends at school.

Sarah is constantly wanting to practice her words - every time we pick her up she has to name all the parts of our faces, and she is always pointing to things and naming them. If she doesn't know what something is called, she will ask, "Whazzat?" and then imitate the word after I tell her. A new word from yesterday: "uh-bulls" (vegetables). And last week she finally started saying a word that I expected to hear long ago: "Ben!" I can't believe she is 18 months old. She had her checkup at the pediatrician last Friday and she's doing great, although she is of course still petite. My friend Maria came to the open house with her 13-month-old who is just a little bigger than Sarah. But as long as she's healthy I'm happy!

I'm finally getting my voice back after a week of laryngitis. It was awful. I managed to talk through the open house yesterday but I definitely didn't sound 100% better. I need to keep myself well this week because this weekend I'm going to Indy to see my new niece, Hannah, who has her first surgery today. All reports have been that she's doing well and so they expect her to come through surgery fine, but the 48 hours afterward are the most critical. Brian and Christine got to hold Hannah for several hours yesterday and were just thrilled about that. I'm glad that I'll be able to go and help out for a couple days, and of course get to see this beautiful and special little girl.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or treat!

I'm taking a quick break from my stamping frenzy to give the Halloween report - and then it's back to work!

Halloween sort of started on Tuesday with Ben's school party and costume parade. All the kids paraded around in a circle - it was really cute. Ben didn't seem to want to march in line with the rest of the kids so one of the teachers had a close eye on him - always doing his own thing! Then they had a group photo and all the kids told what they were. Ben had decided to be an astronaut a long time ago so we partially reused his costume from two years ago. The helmet we got from a catalog, and it's really huge so he didn't wear it. Todd used it to carry a flashlight.

Sarah's Halloween costume was supposed to be a little green alien. We had a friend from my online moms' group make it custom. Unfortunately it is lost in the mail somewhere, so we had to improvise. We ended up making Sarah an astronaut as well. Todd wanted to turn the stroller into the lunar lander but we ran out of time.

We went trick or treating in our neighborhood for the first time, and joined up with several other young families who live right around us. It was a lot of fun, but would have been more fun for me if I didn't have a horrible case of laryngitis right now. Here is most of the bunch:

Back at home Ben checked out his candy and Sarah checked out everything else. We were hoping to take a bunch more photos but no one was being very cooperative.

Now we are navigating the Halloween candy mine field with Ben. He definitely has a sweet tooth (don't know where he would have gotten that from) and it's probably good that our neighborhood's houses are far apart and we didn't make it to very many. It'll be interesting to see what Ben thinks of some of his candy because sometimes he just picked the worst ones (do people actually like Almond Joy? ick) so we need to give him a better education on which ones are good. I absconded with his one Reese's peanut butter cup (my favorite, and the only candy soft enough for me to eat) and later Ben looked in the trash and said, "I think you ate one." He caught on fast! Today at lunch he had some M&M's, which are his favorite candy right now, and I was tickled to see him eating them by color. I know at least one grandparent out there who will appreciate that!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My apologies

I apologize to anyone out there who may have been looking for my inspiration challenge today - it's on hiatus for this week and possibly longer. I just have too much on my plate with my SU! open house and two craft fairs (yes, I'm doing a second one on Dec. 1) coming up. I'll pick it back up as soon as I'm able!

Here is what I have been working on, though... calendars. I think I'm about halfway done. Today's project was October. I will try to post the rest that are done when I have time!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin pictures!

Today was a gorgeous day so we went to get pumpkins (and mums) finally. Sarah had such a good time she didn't want to go home! We spent a bit of time in the actual pumpkin patch, but Sarah kept tripping over the vines. And hrmph, it looked like most of the pumpkins were just lying on the ground anyway. Since Todd's favorite holiday is Halloween, it took a while to find the perfect pumpkin, and we ended up with 52 pounds' worth! (Not all in one pumpkin.) Here are my favorite photos of the kids, and if you want to see more, click here.

Here are a couple more cute photos - I managed to snap one of Ben reading to Sarah. The second one is what Todd's lab room in the basement looked like after Ben put all the stuffed animals down there to "bed," under an assortment of table coverings.

Finally, some cute stories for you. We got Ben a toy cash register at Costco recently, since he has enjoyed doing pretend shopping for a while now. Today he was combining his telephone conversation play with the shopping and was overheard to say, "Bring me all the money." We wondered if he was playing grocery or bank robbery!
Later he said he was giving all the (play) money to our friend Rachel because "she's all out of money."

And Sarah... this one just blew us away. She was sitting in her high chair while I was getting dinner out, and I heard her hum a phrase that went "hm hm hm hmmm" and I thought, that sounds a lot like "Winnie the Pooh" (they like watching Pooh videos). I asked her if she was humming the Pooh song, and sang it, and then she hummed it again, said "Pooh!" and then "I sing!" And I have to add that she had the rhythm exactly right and the pitch was definitely in the relative neighborhood. We were floored and I must have been beaming!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Inspiration Challenge #3: Soap box

Whoops, I'm way late with this today! Life got in the way of posting any earlier. Without further ado, today's challenge is, yes, you read right, a box of soap. This came from National Geographic. When I saw it I really liked the colors, and I enjoy making Asian cards from time to time.

Here is my card. I'm not thrilled with it, and this really wasn't how I envisioned it, but I learned something in the process of working on this: if I'm struggling and struggling to make things work, then I'm probably trying to do too much. I had an image of a Chinese character I was trying to get on there, and when I gave up on that, it fell into place more easily. I still don't looooove it, but it's better than it was!

Technical details: Bazzill cardstock; Green Tea paper by A2Z; Garden Silhouettes from SU! for background, stamped in Versamark; Penny Black sentiment and crackle background Hampton Art, stamped in SU! chocolate chip; organdy ribbon I have no idea, gold cord from Michael's

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Some kid stuff

Here are some cute things the kids have been doing lately... sorry, no photos today!

Last night Ben read to Sarah at bedtime. They both sat in the rocking chair and Ben "read" two books he knows really well to her, and she listened to everything and it was just the cutest thing. Too bad the camera wasn't handy - I'll have to keep one close by in the future! They both love books so much - Sarah could bring us books to read all day long and never get tired of it.

Sarah continues to add new words to her vocabulary. Some of the things she's been heard saying in the past few days: "Help me," "hello" and "bye-bye," and "Stop it" (must surely have been directed at her big brother). We are still trying to impress on said big brother that if he screams "No! No! No!" then so will she. It's a process...

Ben seems to have developed a bit of an imaginary friend thing. It's a very particular imaginary friend, though - the characters on that old 70's TV show Land of the Lost. It was one of Todd's favorites and so he has the DVDs and Ben has watched it a lot. He is often heard talking to his Land of the Lost friends on the phone and telling them about his day, rescuing them in various situations, or putting them to bed (along with his stuffed animals). He has also been acting out preschool the past couple days - he has circle time and then sings "We had a great day" (to the tune of "Good Night, Ladies") which seems to be how they end each class. I'm so glad that he's doing it because it's the only way I really learn what goes on at school - if I ask him questions he just won't answer.

The only stamping of note I've done since my last post was to make my inspiration card for tomorrow, so stay tuned for that - I really need to get cooking on my stuff to sell so I'm sure the stamping room will be a busy place the next few weeks!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Things are just completely crazy. I decided to have a Stampin' Up! open house and craft sale, and now it seems that my craft fair aspirations may not come to anything so it seems even more important to do it. It'll be in 3-5 weeks (eek). So I'll be frantically making stuff to sell, demo cards for people to make at the open house, lots of signs and displays, etc., etc. I apologize in advance if I don't make it here very often!

I've made a couple cards since I last posted here: both are all Stampin' Up! products but I'm running out of options for making nice cards in the style to which I am accustomed. I need to pick up a bit of ribbon and other stuff. Sorry that I don't have time right now to post more about these... they are both in my SCS gallery if you're looking for the technical details!

Today I was working on dominos - lots of experimenting going on. I'll post some when they're all the way done - the finishing touches are the last thing I need to figure out.

Family news... well, I had my latest TMJ checkup this morning. The doctor sees some improvement but not enough to come off the soft diet. So two more weeks of that at least. He seemed to think that most of my pain is muscular, coming from clenching my teeth at night, so he prescribed a different muscle relaxant to see if it will work better for me. I'm so tired of eating squishy food... but if I can have a better quality of life when this is all done, then it will have been worth it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Black and red and inspired all over

While having lunch today I was browsing the day's catalogs looking for inspiration pieces, and found this dress:

I had to use it right away. I thought my new SU Garden Silhouettes stamp would be the perfect thing, and also decided it would look beautiful embossed. I stamped it with SU black craft ink and embossed with Ranger clear embossing powder. The sentiment is by Hero Arts and was embossed in the same way. The background is from SU's Itty Bitty Backgrounds and I embellished the corners with a Marvy corner punch. Cardstock by Bazzill. Ribbon by Offray.


Those letters stand for Stampin' Up! only - the keyword used on SCS for cards and projects that only use SU! products. That's not something that matters unless you are a demo; the best way to sell products is to display how you use them, so this is something that I need to spend more time thinking about. It's a challenge for me since I don't have much SU! stuff in some categories, like ribbon, so I guess my goal is to see how much I can do with what I do have before I go crazy buying everything in the catalog.

Here is my first attempt: I used the Close as a Memory flower stamp and a sentiment from Short and Sweet. The papers are from the Porcelain Prints set, which uses wild wasabi, blue bayou and river rock. I matted with the matching cardstock and finished with some paper piercing, distressing, and a bit of wild wasabi ribbon that my upline (the demo who signed me up to sell) gave me when I joined. I think it's pretty, and I'm planning to make a set to sell at the craft fair.

Oh, and speaking of the craft fair, the one I'd submitted my materials to already had enough stampers signed up, apparently, so they didn't accept my application. I'm not worried about finding another fair - there are several around. But this one was inexpensive to sell at, and close to home, and it sounded like a great venue to sell my kinds of things. Hopefully I'll find another one like it where I don't have to drive half an hour to get there.

It's a quiet day around here today - Todd took Ben over to Northampton MA to visit a cool kids' science/toy store. They've been gone since 10, since it's a bit of a drive, and are supposed to be back by dinner. I hope they're having a good time! Sarah and I had some play time and did some errands, and now she's napping so I'm off to stamp, I hope for a good while!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More calendar pages

I've been working on knocking out my calendars today, and it actually goes pretty fast once I decide what to do for each month! I've mostly finished January, February, and March. For February it was a pretty easy choice - and I realized I have very few Valentine's stamps! This heart is from Hero Arts, and the background is a partially inked stamp from SU!'s Greetings Galore set that I inked with a Tombow marker. The ink and cardstock are SU!'s pretty in pink and rose red.

March I had a harder time figuring out what theme to use. For now I went with something generic and pretty, a toile-inspired look; I may try to do some others with something like kites/wind or Easter (which is in March next year), but I'll have to find some more stamps first. The color scheme is an homage to how things usually are here in Massachusetts in March. The stamps are the Carte Postale set and the French Flair background from SU!; inks are SU! going gray and Versacolor charcoal. Cardstock by Bazzill.

Inspiration Challenge #2: Tiles

I know it's not Thursday yet but I'm afraid I won't have time to post this tomorrow morning so I'll just put it up now.

This week's challenge is some tile plaques that came from the Art Institute of Chicago catalog.

For my card I really wanted to make the gold gingko leaves the focal point. This is my first public display of my newfound interest in embossing, LOL. I've been playing around with it but for once it was successful enough to own up to (after several false starts with my Versamark). I used the Ranger princess gold powder for the embossing. I stamped three different backgrounds to mirror the different textures in the tiles: All Night Media wood grain (closest I had to stripes), Stampendous leaves, and Inkadinkado canvas (on Bazzill cardstock). The inks are SU! close to cocoa and bordering blue. I tore out panels and inked their edges with the same ink as the stamping, arranged them on the card, then added gold brads (sanded to make them less shiny) and the embossed sentiment (by Hero Arts). The card base is SU! sage shadow stamped with Itty Bitty Backgrounds.

I hope you'll come play along this week. Happy stamping!

Kid stories

I thought I'd write up a few cute things that have been going on lately with Sarah. She is just talking all the time now - she imitates just about any word you try to get her to say. The cutest ones from this week were when she was going around with a pink ribbon up to her face and saying "I pretty" and then putting a baseball cap on backwards and saying "I silly." She just makes us laugh and smile all the time. She is also getting better at standing up to her big brother. She has started telling him "NO!" if he's doing something she doesn't like. Good for her, I say, and maybe he'll decide to model a better kind of behavior for her.

Ben is in a bit of a tough phase right now. He usually doesn't like to answer my questions about school or anything else - he'll get a coy look on his face and say "Don't ask me about that" or something similar. Worse, he often tells me to stop talking to/messing with him if I'm trying to settle him down or get him to listen to something important or even change his diaper. He must be wanting more independence on some level, even though when it comes to daily life he doesn't indicate that too often. I have tried hard to encourage him to do more things for himself but usually he just refuses and I don't want to be battling all the time. We are both too stubborn to constantly be at loggerheads like that. Pick your battles, pick your battles... But he is definitely growing up. I think I've forgotten to mention that he's switched to mostly calling me and Todd Mom and Dad. It was a shock at first but I guess I've gotten used to it. I just didn't expect it to happen when he was 3! And now he's practically 4. Wow. They say that when one of your kids is being an angel the other one is being a monster... I guess we know which has been which around here lately, and I wonder when the changeover is going to happen! If they both are monsters at once, heaven help me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Stamped calendar tutorial

Yesterday I started a new project for the craft fair - a calendar based on one I saw in the Oct/Nov 07 Stamper's Sampler magazine, originally done by Cheryl Aldrich of Charlotte, NC. Someone on SCS asked how I did it, so I figured I'd make up a tutorial for anyone who's interested. This is my first time doing this, so please let me know if anything is confusing or if I've made any errors.

The first thing was to create the calendar. If you go to this thread on SCS my document is attached and you can save it to your own computer.

white 8 1/2" x 11" cardstock (for one calendar you will need 5 sheets)
two coordinating colors 8 1/2" x 11" cardstock for each month (1 sheet each, total 24 sheets)
ink, stamps, desired coloring tools, embellishments, etc.
paper trimmer
standard CD jewel case (not the slim kind)

(1) Print the calendar, as many copies as desired, on plain white cardstock. You will need three sheets for 1 calendar and five for 2.

(2) Choose your desired background color and layer color for each month. I used brocade blue and night of navy from SU! for the sample.

(3) Cut the background sheets into 4 5/8" x 5 7/16" panels, one from each color. (You may want to check your jewel case because I think sizes may differ slightly. This size fit perfectly into the ones I had.)

(4) Cut each layer color into one 3" x 4 1/4" panel and one 3 1/2" x 2" panel. (Exception [corrected]: for March, August and November 2008 the smaller panel needs to be 3 1/2" x 2 1/4" and you may need to trim down your stamped panel accordingly.)

(5) Cut a white sheet of cardstock by first positioning vertically on the trimmer and cutting the short side into two long pieces 4" wide, then turn the pieces and cut each into four 2 3/4" x 4" panels. Repeat as needed with second piece of cardstock. (If only making one calendar you will have some extra.)

(6) Trim the calendar squares to approximately 3 3/8" x 1 3/4" (3 3/8" x 2" for March/August) so that the calendar is centered in the panel and it fits appropriately onto the layer color.

(7) Stamp/embellish the backgrounds and plain white panels for each month as desired and mount as shown. (I used SU!'s whisper white craft/brocade blue/night of navy inks and The Snowflake Spot stamp set.) Note: I haven't tried this with lots of embellishments and layers for fear that it would be too heavy for the stand. If you try it and it works, let me know!

(8) Remove the inside black CD insert from the CD case. (It will pop out if you lift up one edge and gently pull.)

(9) Carefully remove the CD case cover, turn it over, and reattach it so that it opens the opposite way from what you would normally want. It will then open to form a stand.

I hope you have fun making these calendars and please ask if there are any questions!

Here is an added suggestion from some other SCSers: Make the calendar with only six cards, and put July on the back of January, August on the back of February, etc. This would probably work best with a more neutral background. I've already cut some of my colors so may try putting the two colors back to back to see how thick that would be. I think it's a great suggestion!

Labels: tutorials,

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Finally feels like fall

Maybe we've finally had the last of summer? Today there was a chill in the air that reminded me, yes, it really is fall, and winter really is coming. It was still nice enough to get outside and play after naptime today, and I took the opportunity to shoot some photos.

Sarah seems to have delusions of being a two-year-old lately. She has learned that all-important word... "NO!" And I write it that way to attempt to convey the dynamics, pitch, and timbre of her voice as she says it, usually as I'm trying to change her diaper. She has also learned to say "now" and can use it correctly. I think we're in for quite a ride with this one. But she has so many sweet moments - she has taken to hugging me around the neck, tightly (not in a bad way), and it just warms my heart. She also likes to hug her stuffed animals and hold them out for me and Ben to kiss.

I'm relishing my schedule right now because I have more free time for stamping. Things with my TMJ treatment are getting me down, because it's pretty demoralizing to have to eat nothing but squishy food, and I actually cried in church this morning from not being able to sing. It's tough. So having time to be creative is lifting my spirits. Today I did two cards (so far!) - the first is for the SCS featured stamper challenge, and was inspired by this card. I used SU! chocolate chip, blue bayou, and close to cocoa inks and some SU! stamp sets I just got (Looks Like Spring and Warm Words). It's a "dirty" card because the cocoa ink is sponged all over (mostly on the edges).

My second card I'm calling my "Easy Baby Card." It really was very fast. The key is using double-sided paper so that the two prints automatically match. The sentiment is also from Warm Words and the buggies are from Simple Somethings. I'll definitely be making more of these since I've heard baby cards sell well at craft fairs.