Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quick gratuitous cuteness

I am completely swamped with work today - no time for stamping, sniff - but I had to post a cute photo of Sarah. Her curls are getting longer and out of control, but I could never bear to cut them, so I picked up some bows - Sarah's first! I think it looks pretty adorable and makes her look (sniff) a lot older.

Sarah was also a doll at music class today. She decided to make friends with another mom who's been in our class with her little boy for I think 3 or 4 times. At some point in the middle of class she just decided to make herself comfy on this woman's lap! I knew she'd get over being shy. At the lullaby time, when the kids always cuddle with their moms, Sarah went back to her new friend - although it wasn't a popular idea with her son! I had to really work hard at keeping her to myself. That's my independent girl!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A wedding card

I haven't made too many wedding cards, but I'm thinking that I'll do some for the craft fair and I did one for today's sketch challenge. I'm very pleased with how it turned out - I had a hard time getting an accurate photo. I bought a whole bunch of this DCWV vellum for a custom order project but didn't end up using it, so I'll probably make more of these! The silhouette stamp is by Inkadinkado, and it's stamped in Versacolor sky gray and outlined in gelly roll glitter pen to make it stand out. I stamped the letters (My Sentiments Exactly) and outlined in the same way. This is my newest Marvy corner punch and I really think it's so elegant. Now that I'm looking at it, maybe the light gray panel needs a little somethin' ... I didn't want to draw attention away from the vellum but I'll try that next time.

Now a little something for the grandparents out there. Ben took us by surprise yesterday: when I came down to relieve the babysitter, Ben had lined up a whole row of these sewing cards that were mine when I was little. There must be 10 or 12 of these things lying around. He stood them up in one of the spaces between the floorboards. He told the sitter that he had to put them there as cards for all the people who did nice things for God. I thought that was pretty cute.

As for Sarah, here's a photo of her hugging Eeyore. She loves to hug her stuffed animals, and the way she says "Eeyore" is just so cute. Please pardon the goose egg she got from falling outside... She is just talking more and more all the time. Lots of times when she does something, like sit down, she announces what she just did: "I sit." This morning we heard a new one: she was playing with the tractor that came with Ben's Fisher-Price farm. It has a button under where the driver sits so if you push down it'll play "The Farmer in the Dell" but she just likes to push the button itself. Today after she pushed it, she looked up at me and said "I did it!" At first I wasn't convinced, but after hearing it several more times Todd and I both agreed that was what she was saying. Just amazing to watch this little girl growing up.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Stampin' Up! comes to town

I made a decision over the weekend to become a Stampin' Up! consultant. I'm thinking mostly it will just be to sell to myself - if I'm serious about doing craft fairs, I'm going to be needing lots of stuff. (Thinking positively here that I'll be able to sell what I make... right?) But if I do get some orders, then that's another source of a little income, and that never hurts. I can always advertise myself as a demo when I do craft fairs. So we'll see how it goes. I met with my upline (the consultant I signed up through) to fill out paperwork this morning and mailed it off, so it should be official within a few days. Wish me luck!

Here's the card I made today. The Dirty Dozen on SCS (the "official" expert stampers) have always posted a gallery of cards on the 15th of every month, but now they're going to have challenges to go along with it so everyone who's in the Fan Club can play. Woohoo! I combined the sketch challenge and the inspiration challenge, which was a cool Starbucks bag. I decided on a travel theme and picked up the colors from the bag. I went through several different tries and kept having to pare down because there was just too much going on. I'm not sure how I feel about the result... thoughts?
Stamps: Stampendous leaves, Inkadinkado suitcase and compass, Cat's Pajamas sentiment
Paper: Bazzill cardstock
Ink: SU certainly celery and wild wasabi, Vivid coffee bean, Versacolor paprika, Versamark
Accessories: deckle-edge scissors, dimensionals, brads, oval punch

I also thought I'd share the card I made for Saturday's SCS inspiration challenge. It was a frame shown here and I found it most definitely challenging. I used the purple and green color scheme, the semi-impressionistic feel, the nature theme, and the oval shape. I used my chalks to color the butterfly and accented the background swirls with glitter pen. This was also my first time using a cutting tool to make large ovals, which I think turned out nicely.
Stamps: Impression Obsession butterfly, Autumn Leaves swirl, Hero Arts sentiment
Paper: SU perfect plum, Bazzill cs
Ink: Color Box velvet, SU perfect plum
Accessories: curvy cutter, organdy and satin ribbon, Pebbles chalk, glitter pen

Since I love inspiration challenges so much, I have been thinking maybe I'd try offering up a weekly challenge on my blog. I have a long list of ideas for inspiration cards, and not only would it give me incentive to actually do them, but others could participate as well. If you're a stamper reading this I'd love your feedback - would you welcome this? It seems there are lots of challenge sites out in the blogosphere but not too many inspiration challenges, at least that I've seen.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Enquiring minds want to know...

Thanks to everyone who has given comments on my dominos in one form or another - it's been really helpful! One reader, who didn't leave a name, asked: "Beautiful dominoes! But how do you get the holes in without breaking them???" Well, that would be because I put my father-in-law on the challenge. He made some sort of template and drilled through the dominos while they were still stacked and wrapped very tightly in their original plastic. It worked really well. Of course now I'm wondering how I'm going to make it till March, the next time he's visiting, without being able to drill any more! Next time I think I'll have him do a years' supply, and I guess in the meantime if I run out of drilled ones, I'll just be making a lot of magnets.

No time to post much more right now as today is our anniversary and we have stuff to get done before the sitter comes at 5:30. We are going to go see In the Shadow of the Moon because we've just finished watching the 12-part HBO miniseries that followed the whole Apollo program (and it was very well done - to be honest I didn't think I would like it but it was fabulous). I told Todd I'd enjoy this documentary (where they talk to the surviving astronauts who walked on the moon, except for Neil Armstrong, who is apparently very private) more having just watched the miniseries because knowing me, all the details will be gone from my memory before too long! (Not Todd. He knows the whole thing by heart.) I've been doing some cardmaking this weekend, though, which has really felt good. I'll try to post some new creations tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2007

More dominos!

I worked hard on dominos last night and early this morning so I could finish some and get photos to send off with my craft fair application today. I hope they like them and I get a spot in the fair - the deadline is October 1 so I'm a bit close. Cross your fingers! Thought you might like to see the final versions I submitted. The marble key I just added the cord; the iris I filled in the stamp with a black Sharpie. The others are all new. I figured out my problem - I wasn't letting the alcohol backgrounds dry long enough. When I let them dry overnight I had no trouble stamping on them. The first four are necklaces and the next four are Christmas ornaments.

I know I haven't posted much about family goings-on this week, other than my TMJ crisis. I have an appointment with a TMJ specialist next Thursday so we'll see what he says. I'm feeling much more upbeat now that I have the craft fair to work toward, and just waiting to hear what the prognosis and treatment will be.

It was a pretty uneventful week otherwise. Ben is still liking his new school, and he seems to be learning new things already. Yesterday he was trying to draw on one of our magnetic drawing toys and was working at holding the "pencil" correctly. That's definitely not something we taught him! Sarah had her first music class without Ben yesterday. Ben has been going to Music Together since he was about Sarah's age, and this year his school conflicts with our regular class so he can't go. Sarah seemed shy at first but she clearly loved playing instruments of any kind. I think she will come out of her shell as she gets used to being there again, and without Ben, because she is normally a much more social creature than anyone else in the family! Fortunately Ben doesn't seem to be sad about not going. He was enthusiastic about listening to the new CD in the car. There will be a couple Thursdays where he won't have school and then he'll get to go.

Looking forward to the weekend... nothing major happening, so I'm going to do some of my freelance work, go back to making cards, which I haven't done in several days, and hopefully relax with Todd some. Sunday is our 7th anniversary and we're having our first date night in quite a while to celebrate. Can't wait!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


My project for the day is experimenting with dominos. I think I'm getting better - but not quite there yet. I'm throwing this out to all the SCS experts to tell me what you think - how am I doing with these? The top three have a sponged StazOn background and are also stamped in StazOn. The bottom ones are alcohol ink backgrounds, and clearly I'm doing something wrong in stamping with StazOn because it's not working. On the last one (it's a poinsettia, although it doesn't look much like it...) I tried regular ink and that doesn't seem right either. Please help! Any ideas, comments, suggestions, etc., will be most welcome!

(The blue one in the middle is a snowflake stamp - hard to see in the photo.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Branching out

It feels like having come through the crisis of deciding to pursue fixing my TMJ and taking a break from singing has allowed me to think about where else in my life I can find happiness - and I've realized that stamping is what is going to fill the void. I really want to make something of it, and so I've decided to apply to participate in my first craft show on November 17. I've been doing my research like the good little nerd I am, and it seems that although people do have luck selling cards (although not for what I'd like to charge for them, hrmph), they also do well selling other stamped items, which is something I don't have much experience with. So I'm trying some new things this week, which is really fun. Here's what I have so far.

One of the frequent items that people mentioned that sells well is sets of coasters. They're made from porous tiles from the home improvement store, so I went today and picked up a whole bunch. You can stamp on them with StazOn permanent solvent ink and they will be waterproof. I stamped these with a Hero Arts background stamp and an Artful Stamper pear stamp. The tag is from Stampin' Up.

Something else that people say sells well is food items - these are called nugget boxes because they're sized to hold the Hershey's nuggets. You can make them in a multitude of sizes; this one holds 8. I followed the directions on the SCS tutorial, using some really cute Christmas paper whose maker didn't put their name on their product! The sentiment comes from SU and the gift stamp is from A Muse.

I'm still trying to decide for sure what else I'm going to sell; certainly cards and sets of cards, and probably something else food-related. I'd like to try making some mini photo frames that could be ornaments or magnets. I'm also experimenting with stamping on dominos - the side without the pips, of course. This is proving a bit more of a challenge for me but I'll figure it out. I got Todd's dad to drill holes in a box of dominos while he was still here today. I will probably also try doing some as magnets and maybe necklaces. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 17, 2007

A sad day for me

As I was driving to choir tonight, trying to warm up and dealing yet again with awful jaw pain, I suddenly realized that I need to take a break. I really felt like the only thing I could do was go and talk to one of our presidents, turn in my music, and come back home. I'm feeling incredibly sad and I don't know how I will cope without much singing in my life. I also don't know what sort of treatment I'm going to need. But thanks to my voice teacher, I have the name of a trustworthy doctor who completely fixed terrible TMJ problems for a former student of hers, and hallelujah, he even takes my insurance, so I will be calling tomorrow and hoping for an appointment soon. It may mean surgery - I just don't know right now. I do know that I need my life back - not only can I not sing, I can't eat without pain, I can hardly talk, I have headaches all the time, and I'm just miserable. It's really time to put this behind me. I feel God's hand leading me and I take great comfort in that. The thought of not having to deal with this every day anymore makes me feel hopeful.

I'm sure I am going to throw all my energy (well, whatever is left after work and housework and kids) into cards now - that is something that is not affected by jaw pain, thank goodness! I think I'm going to sign up for my first craft fair, which is happening Nov. 17, and that makes me feel hopeful too.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

On the rebound

It's been a tough weekend for me. Yesterday was disappointing, I'm coming down with a cold and not feeling well, I've had headaches off and on, Todd is still working round the clock, I've been impatient with the kids, etc., etc. I wasn't sure what I would feel like doing this afternoon - I was debating between cleaning my stamping table, starting my new editing project, or making a card. I didn't have the energy for the first two, but stamping usually perks me up when I'm down so I decided to try a card. I hadn't done any SCS challenges since Wednesday, and the featured stamper today really inspired me. She makes beautiful cards, and I chose this one. I decided to do a Christmas card in green and brown. I stamped the pine cones in a couple shades of brown, stamping without reinking to get multiple shades. I did the same with the trees. All the images are accented with clear glitter pen. I had to change the corners from the original since this is my nice corner punch. I also decided to do the ribbon slightly differently and I left off the tabs because I don't have the word window punch. Instead of speckled dots I used a tiny snowflake stamp. I feel so much better having made something (a) pretty and (b) Christmasy and (c) not kid-related! I think I've done nothing but increased my determination to find somewhere to sell my cards. I really want this to be more than a hobby.

Stamps: Stampin' Up's Peaceful Wishes, Happy Winter; Hero Arts sentiment; Embossing Arts trees
Ink: SU forest foliage, Color Box chestnut roan and dark brown
Accessories: Michael's $1 ribbon, Sakura gelly roll clear glitter pen, Marvy corner punch, Making Memories brads

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weekly roundup

Well, I'm finally back after having spent the past week frantically making cards and getting ready for the big kid stuff sale today. I thought I'd try to summarize what we've been up to. I don't think I can possibly include everything that's happened, but I will do my best to recap the highlights!

Sunday, 9/9: Homecoming Sunday at our church. The church was basically on vacation for the summer, so it felt good to be back. Ben was thrilled to start back to Sunday school.

Monday, 9/10: I was supposed to have my first voice lesson of the fall but had to cancel due to some TMJ issues. I'm hoping things are going to get better soon. The choir I sing with started back up. We are smaller this year, which is definitely a concern. But we have a new rehearsal location - yippee! It's about 10 minutes closer and there is parking, so no more circling Harvard Square with all the rest of the parking sharks. I think I will enjoy the music, but unfortunately my jaw didn't permit me to sing as much as I wanted.

Tuesday, 9/11: Ben's first full day at his new preschool. He seems excited about the new school and settled right in at his orientation on the 6th. I'm hoping being in this setting will help him start to make some friends and be a bit more social since he definitely seems very shy.

The kids also "helped" me price things for the yard sale.

Wednesday, 9/12: The great diaper debacle of the week. I decided to take the kids to check out a bunch of new stores at a local mall, but on the way Ben had some "issues" and so we had to turn around. I will spare you any further gory details. I think he may be developing his daddy's sensitive tummy, because it's happened a couple times since, and each time as soon as he's, um, finished, he is instantly fine. But in the midst of these episodes he is not a happy camper.

Thursday, 9/13: Todd's dad, Jerry, arrived late in the evening to do some work in the house and attend Todd's lab open house on Saturday.

Friday, 9/14: Last blitz before the big sale on Saturday. I stayed up way too late finishing everything. The kids had fun watching Grandpa Jerry build some bookcases for Todd and playing outside.

Saturday, 9/15: The yard sale (which ended up being a school cafeteria sale because it poured rain) was pretty disappointing. I brought back a whole lot of what I took, and I didn't sell a single card. I think it was just the wrong venue, and it didn't help that baby stuff wasn't selling well so when people saw I didn't have what they wanted, they didn't even make it to where the cards were. I'm going to be thinking of other ways I might be able to seriously sell cards, so I'm all ears for suggestions. We enjoyed Todd's open house, but we got there fairly late because everything else took longer than expected, and the kids were not so patient. But at least Jerry got to finally see where Todd works.

Now we are just completely wiped out, but tomorrow Todd starts teaching a 7- or 8-week Sunday school class at church and he has another busy week at work ahead, so things will probably stay hectic for a while. I have a big freelance project that I need to get started on tomorrow, and I also need to clean my stamping space again - after the week I've had it's back to disaster-area status. Ugh.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Stuck on You

I took some time out from making kid cards to do the latest Caardvarks challenge, which was to make a card with stickers. I'd never done a sticker card and wasn't planning on participating, but then we were at Target and I saw these stickers that just called out to me, and I thought, "Those I could use." So here it is, without a lick of stamping. I CASEd my own layout of one of Rachel's cards and filled the diamond with as many flowers as would fit. The hardest part was choosing the paper and the layout, but I think it came together nicely. Stickers by Marcella for K&Co. Paper by K&Co (swirls) and Bo Bunny (floral). Cardstock by Bazzill. Ribbon is from a yard of something pretty that I picked up somewhere, no clue what it is, so sorry! Edges are inked with Ancient Page palm leaf.

This weekend, in addition to all the stuff going on at home, is a special weekend at SCS called Virtual Stamp Night. Between last night and tonight there will be 18 challenges posted. I've had a chance to do two so far, and we'll see what I can get done today - I should probably be spending time in other ways but I've been looking forward to this weekend for months, so I'm indulging myself a little. Hopefully some of the challenges will work as kid cards. I have a bunch of those to post but no time at the moment!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Apple picking

We made a date with our friends Abby and Ethan to go apple picking yesterday, which we've now done three years in a row. We had to go now because Abby is starting kindergarten so we won't be able to see quite so much of her. We had a fun time - the weather was lovely and the kids just had a ball. Ben, Abby, and Ethan did most of the picking. Sarah spent most of the time walking around with two apples in her hands. We picked (according to Ben) "sooooo many apples!" and then played on the playground/petting zoo and had a treat of cider donuts, which Ben and Sarah both went nuts for. And who wouldn't? We must have worn the kids out because they both conked out on the drive home. It was a lovely pre-fall day. Hard to believe that the leaves are already turning and fall and winter are just around the corner.

I have to share a quick and hilarious Ben story. A couple nights ago we had omelets for dinner. The conversation of me hoping the kids would have some of the egg went like this:
Mommy: "Sarah, would you like some egg?"
Sarah: "Yaaaah!"
Mommy: "Ben, would you like some egg?"
Ben: "No, thank you. (pause) I'm not a person who likes eggs. (pause) God didn't make me that way."
Todd and I both lost it completely.

Oh, and I might as well add, Sarah answers questions all the time with "Yaaaah!" now. It is the cutest thing, and has the added benefit of really simplifying mealtime. If I don't get an answer then I know I haven't asked the right question. She is continuing to impress us daily with her verbal skills. I swear tonight she was trying to say "Oh dear" and "Let's see." And she is awfully cute with my stamping stuff - she can pick up a stamp or some adhesive or something else and mimick what she's seen me do with it. The last time I had the courage to take her to a scrapbooking store (she makes a mess of everything when I try it, having forgotten how it went the last time I tried) she was walking around picking stickers and things off of very low hooks on the wall, saying "Ooooooh!" to all the eye candy. That's my girl! I've been in the midst of a kid card frenzy but I don't have photos of all of them yet. Maybe when I have a whole bunch I'll post them all at once.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Okay, this just scares me

We moved this bookcase from the basement into Sarah's room last night. Ben occupied himself for quite a while arranging books and toys on the shelves, grouping things together and facing the toys the right way. Let me emphasize - he did all this himself. Todd only put the CD player on top. I'm truly frightened and scared of being the only clutteraholic in the family!

We've been really busy, so sorry for not posting anything in a few days. Todd is getting ready for the Sept. 15 Family Day at his lab, when people can come in and see the facilities for the first time in seven years. (It took them this long after 9/11 to get ready for another open house.) His dad is also coming for a visit soon so he's trying to finish some house projects before then. I've been working on some freelance projects and also frantically making kid cards for the tag sale (also on the 15th) and still have so much to do. Last night I cleaned up my stamping area because it seems like I spend as much time hunting for things to make the cards as I do making the cards. Let's see if I can keep things organized. But I haven't finished a card since Friday. For those who are curious, here are the three cards I made that day. Sorry I don't have time to post more details about them. These were my first ever Halloween cards, which I will put into the tag sale batch. The last one is called a tent topper card, and that was the first one of those I had made also. I thought it ended up looking like a quilt block on top - anyone know the name of that pattern? It wasn't intentional but I thought it was cool that it ended up that way!