Monday, December 31, 2007

Another Card Kit Creation

Last night, as I stepped gingerly through the cramped space that should be my Craft Room, I spied a piece of patterned paper, and since I have nowhere else to put anything, it was, well, just sitting 'out', ya know? Being a Mom, I have the activated Mom Photographic Memory - the result of multitudes of queries like "Mom, where are my shoes?!?!" - so the paper's image and location were lodged in my memory for later retrieval.

Today is Monday, December 31st. That means it was a sloooow day at the office, so my mind wandered to what I'd create with these pre-cut card kits when I got home. That's when the Mom Memory kicked in! I remembered the card I made last night (see yesterday's post, below) had a piece of Close To Cocoa in it, and the Mom Memory recalled this piece of brown argyle-type print paper. PERFECT!

So when I got home I made this:

Recipe: Stamps - Lovely As A Tree, All Holiday; Paper - Ruby Red, Old Olive, Naturals White, Close To Cocoa, misc patterned paper; Ink - Choc Chip; Other - Close To Cocoa and Old Olive markers, Word Window punch, HPH, misc gingham ribbon.

This is the same set of card stock pieces I used yesterday, still minus the mystery 1/4 sheet of Ruby Red; I just added the patterned paper this time and layered the squares a little differently. I like this one a LOT better than the first one I made.

I think this Lovely As A Tree set will stand the test of time. I have had it forever, it is one of my go-to sets, and I plan to keep it, even long after SU retires it, if they ever do! (Oh, man, now that I put that in writing, it will probably retire in June. Sigh ... )

And by the way! For all you neat-nicks out there, if I had put that paper away I would have never seen it in passing, and this card would never have been created. Just think of all that beautiful paper I have filed away that I never see, so it never gets used. Soooo, my hypothesis is this: a messy craft room is more conducive to generating inspiration than an immaculate one. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!

(Somewhere, I am sure my HS teachers are cringing ... I used to know the difference between a hypothesis and a theory, but it is lost in the recesses of my mental storage files.)

Enough with the Ruby Red stacks. Next up I'll play with some of the purple stacks o'card stock. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A New Year, A New Challenge

I found myself with a few free moments on Saturday, so I decided to start going through the many boxes of 'things' in here and doing a little triage. One of the caches I found was a box (or two) of old workshop kits. Zip-top bags of card stock, all pre-cut for the workshop of the day. I've gotten smarter over time and now I cut the number of kits I need plus one, but in the past I usually rounded up to an even number...with 9 people coming I made 12. I had this dream that I'd make the extra cards myself ... some day. Well, some day never came, until now.

I have no recollection of the actual designs of these cards of workshops past, or even if I have the stamp sets any more. But I faithfully collected all the like stacks o'card stock and got rid of all the extra bags, etc. I have a huge (three years huge) collection of pre-cut card stock just ASKing to be formed into cards.

So my new self-challenge for the coming year is to use it all to make cards. A novel idea, I know, but just think about it: this stuff was paid for years ago, so anything I do with it will be FREE! Free is good! I decided to allow myself to use up embellishments from my stash, too, thus qualifying these as a stash-dive challenges, even though that is so "last year".

First up is this pile from one of my kits:

That's a 1/2 sheet of Ruby Red plus a 1/4 sheet of Ruby Red, a square of Close To Cocoa, a square of Naturals White and a square of Old Olive. I decided to give up on the 1/2 sheet of Ruby Red (I'll save it for later), but I used the rest of it to make this:

Recipe: Stamps: Garden Silhouettes, All Holidays; Card Stock - Ruby Red, Close To Cocoa, Naturals White, Old Olive; Ink - Choc Chip; Other - Old Olive and Ruby Red markers, Word Window punch, Vintage brads, Dimensionals, misc floral ribbon, misc brown gingham ribbon.

I figured since I almost always offer a pile o'scraps for my customers to use for sentiments or other small things for the cards, it would be okay for me to use a scrap for the sentiment. I added two pieces of Stash ribbon - done! A five-minute card! Ten minutes if you count the time it took me to hunt down the ribbon and retrieve the Word Window punch. If the rest of these go as well as this one, I might be done by March!

I'll keep working on these in between planning my projects for my January workshops and post as I get some more done. Off to create some more!

Friday, December 28, 2007

I had to share ...

I just experienced a way-back moment, and I had to share! I was in the kitchen, mixing up a new batch of Emeril's Essence, and desperately hunting through my spice cabinet for the ingredients. If you watch Emeril's shows, you will know he taunts the audience about the presumed shelf life of pre-ground spices, and it is not the "years" some people keep them - "and you know who you are!" Well, I am one of those guilty parties with decades-old spices on hand.

So imagine my amusement when I hunted for Thyme and found this:

Yep - and it was full! For the young-uns reading this post, this is a metal tin of spice, and they ALL used to come this way. I think the darkness of the container (not much light gets through metal) plus the tightness of the top kept these fresher for longer than today's plastic. Actually, I am not sure we HAD plastic back then...LOL! Kidding! Just not for our spices. And even in a metal tin, I am pretty sure this one has lost just a wee bit of its potency.

For some more way-backness, check out the top and bottom of the container:

Yes, you needed an instrument with strength, like a metal teaspoon to pry the lid off these things. On the right is the bottom of the tin with the price: 29 cents. We now take a moment to pause and reflect on the good ole' days .......................................

Okay, enough reminiscing! Back to cooking! BTW, this nice Jewish girl is making a ham. That is correct - a HAM. I have seen so many cooking programs with people making their own honey glazes that I had to try it. I also had to look up the recipes - like *I* would know how to cook a ham. Guess what I will be eating for a week. Mmmm...smells good in here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Do NOT Try This At Home!

Call me 'wet behind the ears', but I have a lot to learn about blogging! I do not normally have much free time to just surf, and I rarely read other people's blogs, at least not on a regular basis. If I have free time, I like to stamp!

But alas, I am still a bit burned out from my mad dash to make Holiday and Birthday cards the past few days, so I decided to take tonight off, especially since in a weak moment I turned on {shudder} Network TV and was just in time to see a commercial for The Grinch. YAY! So I am on the couch waiting for movie time and thought I'd check out some blogs.

Where to get started? I checked out the few blogs I have listed here (really my bookmarks so I can find them again), but then those are the few on which my reading is up-to-date, and they are all celebrating Christmas with their families, so there are no new updates. (Do not be sad for me! I do not celebrate Christmas, so tomorrow is just a day off for me!)

Anyway, I have seen the "next blog" link on the blogger page and thought, hmmmm, that would be a cool way to see other blogs without having to really look for them. This would be the "do not try this at home" part. Let me tell ya, there are some straaaange people out there, and a few of them have sites without naked women! The rest of them ARE ALL NAKED WOMEN! Some local, too! Who knew!?!

So no more of THAT, no sir! I think I'll go check out the SCS Bloggers site and do some safe surfing! But "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" just started, so I must curl up with the cat and watch those cute Who's in Whoville! G'nite!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

'Tis the Season, and I am Jolly!

Yep, I am jolly! I finally got the idea for my holiday card out of my head and onto paper. And the good news is I used a ton of stuff from my stash!

Among my hoarded stuff is a box of almost every color of A Muse cards, and just about all the ribbon I have ever grabbed from Mike's. My goal this week was to not only design a card, but to use some of my must-have-but-never-used stash, and I think I've done it!

First, my idea was to put the A Muse cards on an A2 base so they fit in a standard envelope. That way I do not need to pay extra postage for the non-rectangular envelope. Hopefully my embellishments will not push me over on postage anyway.

Here is my card:

Recipe: Snow Flurries (SU), Penguins (The Cat's Pajamas), sentiment by A Muse; Paper - Blue Bayou, Old Olive, Whisper White, A Muse note card; Other - SU markers, misc ribbon, Dazzling Diamonds (SU), glue pad.

Since I always hand-write a note to each person, there is no way I will get these done and mailed before Christmas, so I used a Winter theme instead. The challenge for me was to find a Stampin' Up! color that worked with the various A Muse card colors I wanted to use. I decided on Blue Bayou, and set about to find ribbon to tie it all together. I had several ribbons that worked, but I had to bend my self-imposed "must match" rules and learned to go with a "pretty close". A step outside of my comfort zone and a growing experience, to boot!

Here are two more of the ribbons I used:

And since non-SU ribbon spools tend to be so much shorter than the SU spools, I went through about 5 different spools from my stash. YAY!

Between now and the first of the year I will be working on my writer's cramp, but I will probably take a few breaks to work on next year's cards. That's the plan, anyway. ;-)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Better Late Than Never

I am finally getting around to working on my holiday cards for this year. I cannot bring myself to buy cards, and I have not for years, so it comes down to sending them late or not sending them at all. Last year I think I made my cards on Dec 24th, but since there are 12 days of Christmas, I was still okay, at least in my own mind! I have considered doing Happy New Year cards, but I decided that in the end, a seasonal-related card, like "Winter", would be the best all-around solution.

I have my non-SU card in the works now, still in design mode, but I just made these for my faithful SU Customers.

Recipe (all SU products): Stamps - Snowfall, Glad Tidings; Paper - Soft Sky, Always Artichoke, Whisper White, Wintergreen DS paper; Ink - Soft Sky, Always Artichoke; Other - Jumbo Eyelets Antique Brass, Vintage brads, Soft Sky double-stitched ribbon.

I decide to keep it simple. Yes, I had to cut out all those snowflakes, but in the end I really like the look of them! Now I am off to look up all the addresses and get these out!

Next up will be my other card. I am still working on the design, and may end up with several different ones. Having several would certainly eliminate the decision-making on which to use, and also cut down on the repetition of the assembly-line. ;-)

This is the only time of year I keep in touch with a lot of people in my life, so I do make the effort to communicate, and I include a hand-written note to each one. This is also why these may not go out until close to the New Year, which is ... yikes - less than 10 days away. Hard to believe. But I think that extra personal touch is worth the time for all the years these people have been in my life.

Enough sap - back to work!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Second Helping of Irreverence

After a tough week, followed by a tough weekend, by 3:00 pm Sunday I felt the need for a trip to the local stamp store. Hey, someone has to support the local economy, right?

I really went to look for more Figgy Pudding paper, but alas they had none. No problem! I found some stamps that just jumped into my basket, so what could I do but take them home? But I have this rule that I must use the new things I buy at least once, so I am pushing myself to do just that before I put them away.

First up is another Figgy Pudding card. I just loooove this paper!

Recipe:Stamps - Happy Everything (SU); Card Stock - Mellow Moss (SU), Figgy Pudding (Basic Grey); Ink - Choc Chip Craft (SU); Other - Clear EP, Choc Chip ribbon, 3/4 inch circle punch, brads, SU Ticket Corner punch.

I had this idea that the circles on this pattern from the 6x6 pack would fit the 3/4 inch circle punch, and they do! So I punched some out of another piece and popped them up on the main piece.

I originally had more circles on the bottom half of the card, but ended up with a less-is-more version that I prefer. And I also used Christmas paper for a non-Christmas card (pats self on back). ;-)

Next up is a card I made tonight for a co-worker.

Recipe: Stamps - A Muse; Paper - A Muse card base, SU Whisper White and Old Olive; Ink - Black StazOn; Other - Marvy Punches, SU markers, Sakura red glitter pen, ribbon (Really Reasonable Ribbon).

I have been eyeing this A Muse stamp for a while, and it was one of those mentioned above that found their way into my basket. I also managed to use an A Muse card base from my stash as well as some new ribbon I had to get from Really Reasonable Ribbon.

The Olive square is mounted on Dimensionals to add some pop, and to make it easier for me to tie the ribbon. ;-)

And NOW for some irreverence! I felt a burning need to use these sentiments tonight, so I got lazy and used the same lady for all of them. She is by Art Impressions, and on their Web site her name is Jewel. I think she looks more like a Maude, or a Harriet, or maybe a Blanche. Hmmm ... maybe I'll offer a Blanche line next year. ;-)

Recipe: Stamps - bg by Cornish Heritage Farms, lady by Art Impressions, sentiment by River City Rubber Works; Paper - Naturals White, Basic Gray, Wild Wasabi, misc patterned paper; Ink - Wild Wasabi, Basic Black; Other - SU markers, Sakura glitter pens, gingham ribbon, dimensionals.

If you have read any of my other posts, you may recall that the more irreverent the saying, the more likely I am to purchase it!

I had seen the above sentiment online in the past and resisited purchasing it, but it was within arm's reach yesterday, so I got it. What else could I do? Hmmm ... Now that I see it is from River City Rubber Works, I wonder if I might not already have it. Ah, well, c'est la vie.

When I use this lady for a card, I stamp her twice - once on the layer for the card, and once on the patterned paper; then I cut her dress out in two pieces. It is a little work, but I think it looks great!

Side note: I went a bit nuts a little while ago looking through all of my Stampin' Up! DS papers. I was desperately seeking the Wild Wasabi that I was SURE would match her dress. I looked and looked and muttered some questionable words and looked some more. Finally, in utter frustration, I looked in my catalog where I marked which papers I'd bought and lo and behold - we do not offer the DS paper in Wild Wasabi! No wonder I could not find it! Sigh ...

Plan B - I stamped a Cornish Heritage Farms backgrounder stamp (that just happened to be on my work table - see how easy things are when you do not clean up immediately?!?!?) on a piece of Wild Wasabi card stock with Wild Wasabi ink to create the background.

Here she is again, same background, same everything, just a different sentiment. I just love her!!!

Recipe: Stamps - bg by Cornish Heritage Farms, lady by Art Impressions, sentiment by Repeat Impressions; Paper - Naturals White, Basic Gray, Wild Wasabi, misc patterned paper; Ink - Wild Wasabi, Basic Black; Other - SU markers, Sakura glitter pens, gingham ribbon, dimensionals.

And last, but not least, a Mustard version with yet another must-have sentiment.

Recipe: Stamps - lady by Art Impressions, sentiment by Repeat Impressions; Paper - Naturals White, Basic Gray, More Mustard DS Paper, misc patterned paper; Ink - Basic Black; Other - SU markers, Sakura glitter pens, gingham ribbon, dimensionals.

That's all I have in me for tonight. Of to sleepy-land so I can go to work in the morning, then come home and play some more!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Still trainable!

Apparently I am not too old to learn new tricks. Just this past week I finally figured out another secret of taming the beast that is Blogger. It took me a few months to get my uploaded photos to align without big gaps between them. Now, AT LAST, I have learned how to upload a photo so it can be viewed by the naked eye without having to enlarge it. Ta-da:

Recipe: Stamps - Canvas, Peaceful Wishes (SU); Paper - Figgy Pudding (Basic Grey), River Rock, Choc Chip, Naturals White (SU); Ink - River Rock, Close to Cocoa, Tempting Turquoise (SU), Versafine Sepia; Other - Choc gg ribbon, clear EP, misc brown brads, SU Ticket Corner punch, sponge dauber.

It was so easy I was floored! I have been so focussed on the Left/Right/Center option I never noticed that I had the size defaulted to Small. Well duuuuh. Once I checked Medium, voila!

First off, I have to say FIGGY PUDDING ROCKS! Since I am afraid to haunt the scrapbook stores in fear of falling victim to the ever-present "you must buy it all" tendency, I learn about new, cool stuff mostly through enabling threads on SCS. So when I saw people using the Figgy Pudding paper by Basic Grey, I had to go look it up. LOVE IT!

To save myself from myself, I ordered it online from Frantic Stamper. Believe it or not, I actually tend to order less online than I do walking into Recollections. [A moment of silence, as Recollections soon will be no more...;-(] My papers arrived today and I broke into them!

My workshops for this month are behind me, so I have a clean surface for a few days, and I set in to make a few Holiday cards for someone at work. They are supposed to be delivered tomorrow, so I kinda HAD to work on them tonight. Forget that I've had 2 week's notice - I have been busy, ya know?!

So ANYway, that first card above uses ... Figgy Pudding paper from the big pack. I wanted to do something asymetrical since it is opposite of how I normally work. I must have moved and re-layered the sentiment a dozen times before I decided on that layout.

This next card also uses ... Figgy Pudding papers, but these are from the 6x6 pack. I love that these are the same patterns but on a smaller scale, not just 6x6 pieces of the larger papers.

Recipe: Stamps - Supersize Snowflake, Glad Tidings (SU); Paper - Sahara Sand c/s (SU), Figgy Pudding 6x6 papers (Basic Grey); Ink - Versafine Sepia; Other - Clear EP, 1/2 inch circle punch, SU Pewter Build-A-Brad.

After I took the photo and uploaded it to the 'puter, I decided the card was lacking some oomph, so I went back and added a sentiment and a piece of ribbon.

Recipe: Same as above, plus Misc Wine gg ribbon, Glad Tidings sentiment (SU), Rose Red ink (for the sentiment).

So I am pretty happy with how these turned out! I hope they pass muster at work, cuz this is all I have in me for tonight.

I may have to get more of that Figgy Pudding paper ... I really like it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Rant Retraction

I was just a little off with my rant last night about the snow not sticking - durn it if it didn't accumulate, even on the roads. And yeah, I need to shovel my front walk (in the morning - I am already in my jammies tonight).

But that still does not excuse the mania that surrounds the mere mention of the 's' word in these parts! Thank goodness I took the car with gas in the tank today, because the other car is running on fumes; even though the gas station is only about 3 miles away, and right on the way to work, it took me so long to get that far this morning, I would have been just another news event on the radio, sitting in a backup caused by my empty tank!

So anyway, it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to work today (it runs 30-45 minutes on a typical travel day.) At that hour there was NO accumulation...the roads I traveled were merely wet. W-E-T! I got into work so late that I had to stay so late to make it up that by the time I hit the road there was virtually no traffic, but there was snow. I estimate two inches - tops!

Actually, I think I figured out the silliness of inclement weather and DC-area traffic: the proximity to DC! All that hot air must send out some sort of chemical that rises into the atmosphere where it co-mingles with the droplets that will become precipitation. This would explain why you automatically have to add 30 minutes to your commute time if it is raining, undoubtedly due to the release of this mystery chemical back into the air we breathe as we, crawl on the mis-named expressway. And we all know snow is just a firmer form of rain. Being firmer, it apparently contains a more concentrated amount of this mystery chemical, causing mass hysteria, nay: panic, in the minds of the commuting populace. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!

A Little Creative Jolt

And I do not mean 'jolt' like in caffeine or high-test soda! Did you ever start making a card and just get stuck? It happens to all of us, no matter how experienced you are. Maybe you are in a creative rut, or maybe you simply cannot decide between two versions of the same card.

Or have you ever posted something to a gallery and all the comments you get are 'Nice card'? Have you ever wanted someone to tell you what they really thought of your creation?

Fear not! Help is here! A new blog has been created to help people out of their ruts or 'stuck' places! Check it out at I signed up right away, since I am famous for getting half-way to a creation (sometimes as far as putting paper to card stock, and that's all!), and I just need somewhere to go to ask for an honest opinion.

So far we have had great feedback. We post the original card with questions, etc, and other members post honest feedback and suggestions. Then we go off to re-create and post the update.

This is a great place - check it out!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

OhMyGosh, it's begun ...

I grew up in the Midwest, including stints in Ohio, Michigan and the Chicago 'burbs. I know about Winter and snow and cold.

When I first moved to the DC area in '85, and the weather person predicted "frigid temperatures" followed by a forecast of {shudder} temperatures in the 20's...I almost spewed my beverage. 20?!?! Frigid?!?!!? Uh-uh. Frigid temps is when the wind chill is 60 below zero and your knees turn a bright pink, even under the long coat that covers them and half-way down your up-to-the-knees boots, then once you get into the building it takes about 2 hours for the color to fade to normal and sensation to return. THAT is frigid. Anything between zero and 32 is just "cold".

So after 22 years I am almost used to the silliness that is the DC-area weather, or should I say DC-area residents! If the forecast even mentions the word "snow", the stores are packed with people buying milk, bread and TP. (What's up with that, anyway? I do not recall that phenomenon in the looong Chicago Winters...) Oh yeah, and the little weather alerts will come on TV and squish your viewing area to a teeny tiny square so you can watch for ... drum-roll, please ... school closings! I swear! The schools have closed (that is, not opened) because there is a chance of snow around 2 pm.

I will admit there is some cause to be frightened around here when it does actually precipitate and the ground is cold enough for it to stick. We just do not get enough snow every year for people to remember how to drive in it. We'll get one or maybe two good coverings each year, usually in the January/February time frame. The first week of December? Nah - just talk.

And when the ground is very cold, and has been very cold for a long time, we do tend to get more ice than snow. I think the real concern is the school busses on side streets, but that is because we so rarely get snow, we do not spend our tax money on snow removal equipment, and it can take 3 days to get your street plowed if you live on a side street. A week if you live in DC, but I digress.

So today on the way home, the guy on the radio did allude to a chance of up to 2" over the next day or so ON THE GRASS. It has been in the 50's up until the past few days! It is not going to stick!!!! Yep - the stores were crowded.

I am sorry - it all just cracks me up.

Now that I am done ranting and whining, I think I'll go stamp something, like a project for this weekend's workshops! ;-)

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Rush is Almost Over

In today's episode, we stop to ponder our life's choices. I got started in stamping thinking I could make some money selling what I made. [HAHAHA - what was she smoking?!?!] No, seriously, I love to make cards, and as my Living Room filled up with all my creations, I thought I could make more than one of each and sell them, which I promptly started to do. The challenge is there is not a good profit margin on a card. So while I do make money on every card I sell, it ain't payin' the mortgage, if you get my drift. It sure is a good thing I like doing it so much or I'd have to rethink my life's decisions!

I had my last show of the season this past Saturday, and it feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It was actually a good show! Pretty well attended, I sold a good amount of cards (and not much else), and I got three new potential customers for my SU classes. YAY! I think I just get tired at this point every year, and I regroup and regenerate over the Winter months.

Lesson #1 learned: Start preparing for next year's Christmas shows before November! There really is something to the discipline of making Holiday cards starting in January.

Lesson #2 learned: Stop trying to be something you are not. I am a card-maker; I am not a paper crafter. I love all the other things we can do with our stash of stuff, but I found I really perfer to just make cards. I tried the paper crafting, and I think we all had a good time at my first Holiday Stamp Camp...I liked it, but I found myself asking, "But where's the stamping?"

So I left last Saturday's show and went straight to my storage unit (I told you this condo was teeny tiny!) and unloaded my craft show walls and tables into storage. Now I can see out the back window of my car, too!

Next up: I will triage the remaining items in my inventory, because technically (for taxes) I do not carry an inventory. This time every year I go through all my remaining cards and thin the herd. All the stuff I am either sick of looking at or is just plain not selling gets put into boxes and I ship them to people who make up care packages for the troops. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

This year I have the added pleasure of donating all my unsold ornaments to local charitable establishments or maybe some Senior Living facilities or Half-Way houses. I liked them, but apparently no one else did, so out they go.

Now I can focus on Stampin' Up! and my monthly classes/stamp camps/whatever they are. I love doing them, and now I feel I'll have the time to focus more, which is what I meant by "the rush is almost over". I have my workshops this next weekend, and I am so NOT prepared! Okay, I have 3 of the 5 projects made; I just need to think up 2 more and call it done! But first I need to go through my cards so I can get everyone IN here on Sunday. Off to triage!

Update, 9:00 pm EST:

Triage is done, and I am stunned. I started with 6 1/2 storage boxes (Container Store Sweater Boxes) of cards, and post-triage, where I did not take much time to decide "keep" versus "purge", I am down to less than 3, one of which is all Christmas and Chanukkah. I ended up with 5 flat-rate boxes stuffed with cards. Then I found a box in the other room I had forgotten about, so now I will load up a few bubble envelopes with the rest of those cards. This is all going to 3 organizations...I feel "cleansed".

Lesson #3 learned: Be a bit more discerning in what is created en masse for sale.

Over the years I have sold a few of my "one of a kind" cards - those made on the way to the final version that I cannot bear to just throw away, but probably not enough to justify keeping them around. I guess I'll have a bit more recycling next year. ;-)

I do have a box of other cards that I plan to drop off at my massage therapist's place. She has always had a small rack of my cards for sale, and now that I can include SU images in that collection I have a few more to add to the offerings. Mostly Christmas ones...I hope to actually SELL some of them! Yeesh.