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.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Inspiration Challenge #1: Welcome!

I know I said yesterday that I'd probably start my challenges next week, but I finally had time to stamp today and realized that I had time to go ahead and kick it off today. So I hope you'll check back every Thursday for a new challenge! Here is today's inspiration piece, a Halloween throw from Coldwater Creek.

Now, I have to start with a disclaimer, because usually I'm pretty literal when it comes to ICs, and you may be scratching your head a little. I really did intend to make a Halloween card when I started, but nothing was coming together right. So I took a pumpkin stamp (yes, there are pumpkins on there!), and based on the shimmer in the throw, chose some Brilliance ink, and stamped the pumpkin multiple times, masking as needed. I wasn't sure what sentiment I'd end up using, but a Thanksgiving card seemed perfect since at least that's the next major holiday after Halloween! The color palette comes from the striped paper, which was also a choice inspired by the throw, and the green is hard to see in the original, but it's there. I sanded the edges of all the panels and mounted the pumpkins and sentiment with foam dots. Oh, and I also should mention that as I was making this I realized it was perfect for the SCS sketch challenge from yesterday, so that's where the layout came from.

So, if you're new to inspiration challenges, don't feel bound by any rules. Just be inspired by anything in the piece that catches your eye, and have fun! These are my favorite kinds of challenges and I hope you will enjoy playing along. Don't forget to post a link to your card with a comment so that everyone can see!

Technical details: Stamps from Stampin' Up! (Tag Time and Year-Round Cheer); Brilliance ink in ivy and rust; Bazzill cardstock; Die Cuts with a View paper from the fall mat stack; Creative Impressions brads; Lucky Squirrel sanding blocks; 3-D foam dots

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I'm still here

So sorry for falling off the face of the earth. It has been a crazy time the past few days, between a huge rush freelance job and starting some TMJ treatment (so far, at least, I'm not a surgical candidate, so that's good). I really think that things will have calmed down completely by the weekend and I hope I can get back to posting regularly. I also need to get back to stamping - I haven't done much the past couple weeks and I need to get back in the groove. I'm gearing up for some fun stuff - still planning on the November craft fair, assuming I get in, and I think I'll be starting the inspiration challenge on my blog next week, so stay tuned for that! Otherwise we are all fine, and I'm ready to get back to my normal (albeit still crazy) life.