Thursday, July 31, 2008

Workin' On Scraps, and Some New Stuff, Too!

I tell ya, this domestic silliness is really encroaching on my stampin' time! My CSA veggies and fruits really needed to be addressed, so tonight I made a batch of tomatillo salsa. It calls for cooked tomatillos and onion, then you throw the whole mess into a blender with jalapenos, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. Of course, not one to follow a recipe as it is written, I added a bunch of what Farmer Mike calls "sweet peppers" (not!). Then once it was all blended nicely, I dumped it into its storage bowl and added in some cooked corn I made last night. It is soooooo good. But I'll have that tomorrow, since it is a bit garlic-y. I'll never learn that the fresh garlic is more potent than the garlic you get in the grocery store.

Okay, 'nuf whining...on to stampin'! The new stuff first. The other night I opened and cut into my new In Color card stock and DS paper, and also mounted my new stamp set. This is what I made up:

Recipe (all by SU): Stamps - Wow Flowers; Paper - Pink Pirouette, Riding Hood Red, Whisper White, Bella Rose DS paper; Ink - Versamark, Riding Hood Red, Kiwi Kiss; Other - 1 1/4" and 1 3/8" Circle punches, Heat Tool, Old Olive 5/8" grosgrain ribbon.

Totally simple, though I did manage to get some ribbon in there! I am always afraid to cut into all the new stuff, so I was still being careful when I made this. I love how the Old Olive ribbon is close enough to use with the Kiwi.

Oh, and I tried something I do not think I've tried before - embossing with Classic inks! It is so easy! First you ink up your stamp in Versamark, then you ink it up in the Classic ink and stamp it on your card stock. Then clean your stamp really, really well (I twisted it on my grid paper until it twisted off clean), then repeat. I stamped it 3 times, then embossed it with clear EP. Now, if I can get my customers to remember to clean the stamp between each image, I'll be good. Or maybe I'll pull out my older Versamark pads, since you just know at least one person will say, "Oops!" :-) I think they will love the idea of embossing with all the colors, so it may be worth the price of a new Versamark pad, ya know? :-) Okay, I'm over it.

Then tonight I decided to make a card that (1) used a sentiment I printed several months ago and have moved a dozen times but never used, and (2) used some of the paper left in this:

This is exactly what it says it is: a Dog scrapin' kit. It is 8x8 and has textured card stock, patterned papers, etc. I gave away all the vellum sayings, and I have used some of the papers before, so I mostly have just the papers and card stock left. I thought I'd use it with my A Muse book stack stamp, and this is what came out:

And another version, just with different paper:

It's kindof difficult to see, but the blue and tan card stock is textured, and I used my Nestabilities to cut the white piece around the books and also the blue piece behind it. I even embossed the white piece (pats self on back ...)

I added the brads (from my stash) to make it look finished, but the last thing I did was color the books. Until that point they both still looked nekked, especially the one with the paw prints, since it did not have any color in the patterned paper. Once I put some color on the books, though, the whole thing just came together, and I loved both versions!

And back to domesticity, I begged at work again and two of my co-workers came to my rescue, so I get to bake again this weekend. One of them asked specifically for the Yogurt-Marmalade Cake, so I caved. Sigh, right now I need to put that last load of laundry into the dryer and then go to bed. This domestic stuff is quite tiring...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It Had To Be Done

This card simply had to be made. I knew that when I bought the sentiment many months ago; I just had not gotten around to using it yet. Until now! What pushed me over the edge? This post. Yeah, she is a little out there, but as her by-line says: Offending Society one card at a time! We say it when you can't.

So here we go:

And I used scraps of DS paper that were just laying next to my paper cutter! Yay, me! Yes, those strips of DS paper are going in opposite directions on give it a little oomph! The bases are virgin Blue Bayou, but everything else was cut from scraps. I cut the strips of Natural White and Blue Bayou 3/4" wide and stuck the ends into a 1" punch to round just one end. I think the blue strip needs a little something - maybe some brads or gems or dew drops. But overall I am pretty happy with the outcome.

Credits: All supplies by SU except for the sentiment, which is by Viva Las Vegas Stamps.

Thanks for looking! I'm off to finish up some laundry and play with my new In Color papers and inks. I'll post some of those creations later this week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Argh! (mostly whining)

I think I have already established here that I am in a contant state of "hopelessly behind". I took today off of work to try and catch up with Life, having spent both Saturday and Sunday doing Farmers Markets and not much else, though I did finish making the color charts for my customers last night. That's one thing done.

So today I had several big tasks to accomplish, and, well, I am tired and sore and mostly done. Sorta.

I started by skipping my shower, so I was at a deficit from the get-go. I had planned to do back-to-back loads of laundry, so it made sense at the time to hold off on the shower. So far (as of 7 pm) I have done 1 1/2 loads of wash, and I have 1 1/2 to go. Not a good track record. I think I'll get my shower before I turn in tonight, and not much sooner.

Then I finally divvied up my last SU workshop order and got those boxes out of my Dining Room. One of my customers wants them, so I carefully broke them down and stowed them in a corner so they do not end up full of cat hair and claw marks.

Speaking of which:

This is a typical day in the life of my cat - lying in the sun beam. Looks rough, doesn't it? By the way, I have fuzzy vertical blinds. Oh, that's not normal? Really?!

Oh, look, she's moved! Sigh, what a life. She did awaken to throw up once, but then she had to go back to sleep. I am sure it was an exhausting day for her.

So most of my day was spent finishing up my Brother's 50th b'day book. Being the older Sister, I have free reign to really make him squirm, which would work if he wasn't such a cute kid! I have it all done (DONE!) except for one page that I hope to do tomorrow evening. I am very proud of it, and I hope he likes it.

In between scrappin' episodes with the book, I did other domestic things. You know how in order to do one thing you have to do something else first? I hate when that happens. Totally throws me off schedule. LOL!!! Like I have a schedule. Or a plan. Or a clue. Nope, just an endless mental list of things that eventually need to get done.

So I wanted to dig into my CSA haul to finish cleaning veggies and put them away, but the sink was full of dishes. So I needed to put them in the dishwasher, but that was full of clean dishes. Heavy sigh. Had to empty the dishwasher, then fill it up again, and then I started in on the veggies. I rewarded myself with two pieces of Rosemary bread (from the market) with fresh tomato slices topped with fresh basil. Yum! And that is less to put away, too!

I have a ton of basil Farmer Mike gave me because it would not survive until the next day, so I planned to make some pesto. I said I'd planned to make it. Not done yet.

Oh, the title of this post? The "aaaaaaargh!" ?? That is because I was stupid and selected an already-bound spiral book to use as a scrapbook, and it came out too fat. The book will not close! Look:

Sigh. I thought I was done. I could un-bind the whole thing and try to re-bind it with my Bind-It-All, but the chances of that actually succeeding are slim and none. I could wrap a huge ribbon around it to hold it closed. I thought about putting Jumbo Eyelets in the covers and tying it shut, and that might help a bit, but my biggest challenge will be figuring out how to ship the darn thing! At this point a bubble envelope does not look promising. Although, the bubble envelope would work if I laid the book open. I need to keep chewing on this. Double-sigh.

To reward myself for my few accomplishments today, I plan to go whip up something from the veggie pile for dinner and wash it down with some ice cream. Did I tell you the flavor of my market ice cream? Honey-Lavender. Yes, it is as good as it sounds!

I'll finish up this catch-up day with (hopefully) some stampin' in between the rest of the laundry. End of whine. Now back to your regularly scheduled blurfing, and thanks for stopping by!

Some Things To Think About

You know how I whine a lot? (Did I tell you I also sold my last two Whine Journals this weekend?) Well, to bring me right back down to planet Earth, I just found this through some blog-surfing, and it made me stop and think and to reassess my lot in life. So much so, that I needed to share.

The speaker died this past Friday, and that makes this all so much more poignant. I understand he also has a book with the same title.

Excuse me while I go cyber-hug my kids.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Pleasant Sunday

Do you remember the Monkees? Think 1960's and you'll do fine. "Another Pleasant Valley Sunday ..." Ahem.

Today's market was pretty good. I had okay sales, but one of those sales was to someone associated with the city, and he bought my last pack of City Cards and ordered two more packs for next time I am there. And depending on what his co-horts think about them, there may be more orders in my future. LOVE IT!!!

I spent most of the day spending the money I took in. It all started with an iced coffee. Then another iced coffee. Then the pleasant food smells coming from the omlette guy's tent had me ordering one of those. The cool thing is they deliver. ;-) Then I finally got to experience the pulled pork from the BBQ guy, and man, oh man, was it good! The pork is smoked, and with the BBQ sauce it was just heaven on a bun. THEN I had a limeade from the omlette guy (same operation) to wash that all down. And happily, the ice cream guys - the ones that ran off last week with my ice cream - were back, so I finally did get my goods.

I closed out the market by sitting on the asphalt with my pocket knife, digging beads out of the cracks. The poor woman behind me, who helps out with the market in addition to running her own booth, managed to pick up a box of beads that was not totally closed, and beads went everywhere. I was all packed up, so I helped her pack her van, then helped try to recover the beads. We must have been a sight - two women sitting on broken asphalt, both with pocket knives, digging in the cracks. She has a Girl Knife, but I have a Manly Knife (grunt, grunt), so between the two knives and some needle-nose pliers - and the farmer who offered to pour water on a troublesome spot to see if the bead would float (she did, it did not) - we got most of them. And yes, people were staring. Thus ended another weekend of markets.

On the way home, I decided why I like doing these markets, and why I will probably never be a cut-throat salesperson. I like markets because I like the types of people that sell there and the types of people that come to shop. I think we are a different breed, and that works for me. People rush to help each other set up and break down (I only have to take my tent out of its case and there are at least two people there helping me set it up); customers expect to pay cash (they are buying tomatoes from farmers who mostly take cash)...I do not think I have ever lost a sale because I do not take credit cards; customers appreciate hand-made items and will tell you that ("wow, that's a better card than I could ever get at Hallmark"); you interact with really nice people (today a woman told me I had inspired her to break out her own stuff and make a card for someone - that's TWO people I made happy); customers love to chat with the 'artists', and yes, we are artists; I could go on, but I do not think I need to ... you get the point. Oh, and the "I'll never be a cut-throat salesperson" part? I can talk someone out of buying anything! Once I start chatting with a customer and trying to help them find what they are looking for, if I realize I do not have it, I tell them it's okay. They mostly laugh with me, not at me, and I am really okay with the whole thing. I think I just love the whole experience!!

And just so you know that I have not been a total slug since I returned home this afternoon, here is a little something I am working on:

I put these charts together each year for my customers so they can see how the new In Colors from Stampin' Up! fit in with other colors we all know and love. This year I cheated and found that someone else had already done a chart, so I started with what she had and made it my own. No matter what people talk about, like how one color is "almost like" another one, as soon as I put one color next to the new one, I think it looks "just like" something else, so I add it to the mix. I have been known to run off the page before I stop myself. You can see I had to write in Taken With Teal, since I did not even think of it until I stuck the first set onto the page.

So anyway, this is what I came up with this year. I'll finish assembling these tonight and tomorrow. Yep, another Monday off to recover from my market weekend and catch up on things like laundry, cleaning, and stampin'! I found that the new Kiwi matches a scrap of paper in my scrap pile, so I might just have to use that tomorrow. ;-)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Market Update

The market was hoppin' today! It was a wonderfully busy market, with a steady stream of people, and they were buying, too! That's what happens when the farmers are overflowing with veggies and fruits, and the weather cooperates. It was glorious today - sunny, not too hot, a steady breeze - just beautiful.

I was still just setting up when one of our first visitors arrived - the man with his pretty bird. The bird sat on my hand for a minute, but he was not happy, so he went back on his owner's shoulder. He is such a conversation piece!

One of our new crafters is a woman who paints rocks. She actually buys rocks that 'speak' to her, like this one that said 'cat'.

Isn't that neat?

And the Dahlia Guy (aka: John) is back! He is here in the Spring selling Dahlia tubers during planting season, then he goes away and comes back later in the season with cut flowers. Check these out:

He has a whole tent full of them. By the way, these are now in my place. I get them every week until he stops coming later in the season, and I take them to work where I can look at them all day. Most people ask if they are real. Oh, yeah. No smell, but they are GORgeous!

I get mine in a vase (hey, he likes me!) and set them on my table for the duration of the market. People stop by and ask if they are for sale, and I direct them to John's tent. In exchange for the advertising, I get a few extra stems in my arrangement. ;-) One of the other vendors thinks I should sell mine for a hefty profit to people who show up after all John's flowers are gone. Heck no! These are mine!! Although, several people did ask how much I wanted for them. :-) I just tell them to come back earlier next Saturday.

Here they are in their new home:

And this is my favorite of the week:

Sometimes he has them as big as my head! I cannot wait to get one of those!

I got another monster cookie from the bread people (I really should learn their names ...), which by the way is just a sugar cookie, even though it is tri-colored, but it does taste a little like an almond cookie. I also got a loaf of Rosemary bread to have with my fresh tomatoes and basil. Yum!

And Farmer Mike had tomatillos, so I got some to make an incredible salsa recipe he got from one of his customers a few years ago. Don't you just love Summer?!?!?

Oh, and someone ordered two packs of my City Cards. Yay! And I did pretty well sales-wise, too. It's always nice when people don't just look, but actually buy. ;-) Though I know a lot of people will be back, and they know I am there every week, so that is a good thing, too.

Last, but certainly not least, is this bag:

Several customers have brought one to our market over the past few weeks, and I just fell in love with it. So even though I already have several of the canvas-type Whole Foods bags, I needed to get this one today. I was immediately inspired by the concept (plastic not in a land-fill), but today I noticed the colors. Don't you see Taken With Teal, Wild Wasabi (or Garden Green), Bashful Blue (or Soft Sky) and hmmm ... Gable Green? Or maybe the new Kiwi? Definitely worth pursuing.

I feel a nap coming on, and I need to make some cards for tomorrow's market, so I am off to create! Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Minor Disconnect (aka: Darn Cat!)

Well, she's done it this time! The little fur-ball sat on my laptop keyboard while the laptop was on. I'd innocently set it aside, and she sat right down on top of it. She has done this in the past with no ill effects, but this time - whoa! She managed to disable my wireless adapter and all sorts of other things, and I am just now (24 hours later) back amongst the cyber-folks. But just look at her, all nestled in my discarded SU packing paper...

Okay, it's a fuzzy shot, but I am not re-taking it. She totally rules this place. I wonder when I lost control of my own life? Hmmm ... I think it was the fateful day 9 years ago when she came to live with me. Yeah, that was it.

Moving on, I have been quite busy, but not really stamping. It's been more like scrappin' - working on my Brother's b'day book. I chose one of my still-in-the-wrapping SU On Board 5 x 5 Art Journals to use as the book. Just to show you I have actually done a few pages in it (stuck down - not just loose photos floating around), here are a few pages pre-snide comments. I plan to add those once everything is stuck down on ALL the pages. ;-)

This page is my nod to his house on 18+ largely-treed acres. As with most houses, it takes a lot of years and a lot of sweat to make it a home, and that is what they have done.

All the papers I am using as backgrounds are from this pack of card-stock weight, patterned, textured papers. All I can say is it is to DIE for. Get thee some, if you can!

This next page is all about his tractor. This is also the page that was the result of my practicing with The Lawn Ranger card the other day.

I decided to go with the tractor overlap onto the sky part, because I think it looks better than if the whole thing landed on the green. Green-on-green would get lost. I took advantage of the seam and decided to make it the part of the hood that lifts up to expose the engine for maintenance (like I'd know anything about that ...).

This next page is in tribute to their garden and general love of food. And the fresher the better!

This foody page is made up of so many parts-is-parts, it's taken me about 2 days just to get a layout I like. The lace on the table is from my Crafty Secrets Clear Art Stamps Kitchen Classics set. It is two layers thick because I originally did it on white, then changed it to cream, and it was stuck on so well I refused to take it off, so it is layered. And I decided I like it, so there!

The basket is a picture of one of the two Longaberger baskets I own. This is my Market Basket, and it did not matter if the light was flourescent and yellow, because I cut it out anyway. The striped "wallpaper" was dumb luck. I was looking in The Stash for a piece of red & white checked paper when I stumbled across the Blue section and this piece. Bingo! It became the perfect back-drop for all those veggies, which, by the way, are from my now non-existent stash (all gone!) of Jolee's veggies that I'd hoarded many years ago.

The forks and spoons I got online when I was looking for some tools charms that I used on another page. I got them, you know, to justify the shipping.

My favorite part of this page is the large expanse of red that I can use to write in some wicked big-sister comments. :-)

Okay, that is all I have to share from The Book. But to show you I did actually stamp something this week, here is my feeble attempt to CASE this card by June. Hey, I think I've just completed the loop: first, I referenced one of her cards, then she referenced one of mine, and now I am copying hers. Way to go!

So June is in a "using up the scraps" mode, and I decide to go for it this month myself, and I have been working out of my scrap pile for making some of my cards.

I had an open pack of origami papers in the scrap pile, and I loved this sheet (they are so "Leslie" colors). As you can see, even with my Ott lights, I managed to be very, very OFF with the colors.

When I first saw the light color in the background, I thought it was Apricot, and I originally layered the paper with Apricot. Then I decided I did not like it one bit, so I tried Creamy Caramel and then Kraft, and for the life of me I cannot remember which one I ended up with! Aaaaugh!

To totally screw it up, I chose the Marigold brads from my stash. I tried Khaki, but I thought the Marigold looked better. Well, I thought they looked better at that time, but looking at the photo, I think I was wrong.

This card will eventually go into the One of a Kind bin for my markets. But it was fun trying!

I think I'll go make a few cards for my Saturday market. No frozen towels this weekend. I'll report back on how I fare without them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Domestic Evening

Domesticity is just not my thing these days. Given the choice of cooking & cleaning versus stampin', guess where *I* am headed! :-)

But for some reason the cooking bug hit me this past weekend, so tonight I went to town. For starters I made this Yogurt Marmalade Cake, and it smells goooooood. I owe baked goods to some guys at work (I begged for help with the promise of homemade sweets, what can I say?), so I will bring this baby to work in the morning. Being the rebel that I am, I cannot leave a recipe alone, even the first time I make it. This one calls for grated lemon zest, so I added both lemon and lime. Call me crazy, but those little flecks of green are fab!

While that was in the oven, I made this Corn Casserole to use up the corn I got this past weekend with my CSA share. No room in the fridge, and after several days at room temp, it was time. I also messed with this recipe by adding some chopped green peppers and some green onions (both also from the CSA share), and stuck that into the oven next to the cake. I am sure I broke some cross-contamination rule there, but eh, so what?!

While all THAT was going on, I threw some laundry into the dryer and then set in to make my personal version of this dish. The original is a sandwich, but I skip the bread and just put it on a plate. I have also been known to eat it right out of the skillet. Yes, it is that good. I soup this one up by adding some green peppers in with the onions, then when the onions get added back in with the meat, I throw in some sliced mushrooms.

Everything was done at the same time (who said miracles do not happen?) and I just finished off a plate of steak & onions sans bread with a side of yummy fresh corn casserole.

And yes, I know, all the recipes are from the same site. She cooks these for her hubby and the other cowboys on the ranch, and they work it off. I, on the other hand, do not. In my many comments on her posts, I repeatedly tell her she is single-handedly responsible for the fattening of America. She has not banned me from posting, yet, so I still say it is the truth. But man, her stuff is goooooood.

As I was dishing up din-din, I kept hearing this whoooshing sound. That's never a good thing. I had visions of spewing water pipes, either mine or my upstairs neighbors', neither of which sounded like it would end happily. Then I looked out the front door and looked at the sky and it was ominous. Dark. Thick clouds. Rumbling in the distance. Trees blowing. Big wind (that would be the whooosh). It has been so Hazy, Hot & Humid lately, I was amazed at the cool breeze, so I treated that cat (and myself) to some open windows and some nice, cool fresh air. A rarity in these parts in late July!

Oh, well, the cat is meowing that it is time for bed (how does she know that?), and I have a second wave of dishes to do before I can retire. Sigh. This is the reason I do not cook - I also have to clean up. So unfair!!!

I got my SU workshop order tonight, and it is sitting untouched in my Dining Room. It is now almost 9:30 pm, and I have stamped nothing. NOTHING! Drat! But you know what? Tomorrow I have a massaaaage scheduled after work, and when I come home, I'll think about some stampin'. Or maybe I'll work on my Brother's almost-belated b'day gift. We'll see.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Fun Watch

I do not watch You Tube, but when I saw this, I wanted to share. I've heard about this guy, but I've never actually seen him until now. Yes, I lead a very sheltered existence.

So go ahead and watch it. Enjoy the beautiful music, see people from all over the world, and I dare you not to smile, and laugh at least once!

A Catch-Up Day

I took today off so I had a day to catch up on life after my crazy weekend. I have already asked for several days off all the way into September, and boy, am I glad I did. Man, don't get old.

Sunday's market went very well, though it was really, really hot! I'd bought a pint of Ice Cream from the guys across from me, and they were holding it in their cooler until the end of the market. They yelled over to me as we were packing up that they had not forgotten...then they left! They LEFT! WITH MY ICE CREAM! Grrrr. Now it will be some time next month before I get my paws on it. They only come every other week, and I only do the market two weekends a month. It was Lavender and something else, and the taste I had was sooo very yummy. Boo-hoo!

But my sales went well, and I came home and immediately broke one of my own rules. That rule is: You will not have the perfect card for everyone, so if someone asks you for something and you don't have it, oh well. Do NOT go home and make it, since you will probably carry it around with you forever.

So yesterday someone wanted a purple b'day card for an 80th birthday, as the intended female recipient loved purple. They ended up buying something close, but I immediately found myself thinking about all the PTI purple stash I have in a box, still un-opened, and started to ponder maybe, possibly using it. Then I actually got home, showered off the hot, and used my PTI purples. I made the same card I'd made in the past using some Basic Grey papers, only all, you know: purple:

The ribbon is not PTI, but from my stash. The oval punches are SU. I sure hope there are more purple lovers out there! ;-)

On another note, someone asked to see the books I made. Here are shots of the one I did in class last Thursday:

This is the cover, and yes, we all oooh'd and aaaaah'd over this paper. I think she said it is by Magenta. And no, I did not buy any! Shocking, I know! Trust me, I have plenty of parent sheets of my own I could use.

This is the spine of the book. You can see the results of my sewing it together with waxed linen. I have a bunch of that stuff in the stash, I just never knew what it was supposed to be used for!

The book is actually held together by that ribbon. It is stuck to the inside of the covers.

Here we have the pages of the book. It looks pretty real, doesn't it? I cannot believe I made this...

Finally we have the face page. This is what covers all the inside stuff so it looks nice and neat. Like I said: hard to believe I made this ... but then someone else did do all the cutting ...

Friday I decided to try it all on my own to see if I could do it unattended. I selected one of the parent sheets I have had for a year or so, carefully cut it for the front and back covers of the book, and decided on the top and bottom of the covers (read: direction of the pattern). Unfortunately, in the last step of assembly, I managed to put them on upside-down anyway. Sigh.

Here's the cover...

... and the spine ...

... and the face page. Not so bad, but I do not plan to make a lot of these. Too much work, and no STAMPING.

So I started off today, my precious day off, by waking up at 4:30 am. That is one whole hour earlier than I get up for work! I tried to go back to sleep, but it wasn't happening, so I got up. What a way to start the day, huh?

I had many errands to run, but not much was open at 5:00 am, so I spent the time scanning and printing some embarrassing and incriminating photos of my Brother in his early years so I can get to work on his almost-belated b'day gift.

Finally I got out of the house and ran some errands, which included getting myself to the PO to mail off the goods to the winners of my Milestone Challenge. Ladies - you should get those some time this week! They consist largely of stuff from my stash, and I thank you for the opportunity to unload it share it with you.

I came home dripping - darn Hazy, Hot & Humid! - and set to work on my Brother's gift. One of the things I want to include is something about his tractor, of which he is quite proud. There's also all the attachments for the tractor and the barn to hold those attachments, but right now I was focusing on the tractor.

A few years ago I saw a T-Shirt with a guy on a riding mower and the saying with it was "Lawn Ranger". I thought that would make a funny card, too, so I focused on that. I figured if I could get the card to work, I'll do a page in my Brother's book next.

Here's what I came up with:

The tractor and grass are by A Muse. I masked the grass on the left swatch so it looked cut, and made a "mower" from a piece of black scrap. I drew the lines to the tractor to make it look like it was attached. I stamped the tractor over the top of the green piece by mistake and it landed on the sky part (a photo I took) so I stamped another tractor on a scrap, cut out the top of it and stuck it on. I am not sure I like it, but it's okay for a first try. The sentiment was printed on my computer and punched out with the Word Window Punch. The sun is stamped in Yo-Yo Yellow (a much-ignored color in my house) using a part of my much-unused Perfect Petals set. The birds are hand-drawn, largely because I could, but also I thought the sky looked nekked.

Well, I'm off to do some more laundry and work on the Birthday Boy's book some more. I've got some really embarrassing shots to try and include. And I am really glad neither of my Brothers does this craft, or I'd be in big trouble.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Store Is Open!!!

I took that last Baby Step and opened the CardsByLeslie store today! Maybe it was the Hazy, Hot & Humid I sat through this weekend at my markets, or maybe it was the fact that I've SOLD OUT of these note cards...whatever, I took the plunge!

So I've decided to make it easy on myself (and this is all about ME, right?), and offer up cards I already make that can be easily customized. This is the perfect way for me to get the store started while still holding down that pesky Day Job.

So if you are one of my beloved 3 (maybe 4) readers, and you do not live anywhere near me (or even if you do!), here is a way for you to get your hands on something I make. And I promise to get them straight!!! Really, I do!!!

Edited to add: Here is the link to my store! (I'd forget my head sometimes if it weren't attached ...) The link is also in the right menu bar, for future reference.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Half-Way Through This Weekend ...

I titled this post the way I did because my weekends seem to be very long and exhausting. Oh, I love doing what I do (or I would not do it), but I seem to need more recovery time than I used to. So let's get the whining out of the way early, shall we?

Since I have so many repeat customers at my Saturday markets, I like to have new stuff every weekend, but this week it did not work out that way. All of last weekend was taken up with workshop prep, execution and cleanup. I do not think I finished taking the tables down before Tuesday evening. Then Thursday night I took a Beginning Bookbinding class at a local stamp store and did not get home until 9:45 pm, and with a 10:00 pm bedtime, I was totally wiped out.

Last night I made a book based on what I'd learned Thursday night, and I had a brief moment where I thought it might be fun to make some to sell, you know, as a higher-priced item than my cards. After I finished making it, I decided not to pursue this avenue after all. It is fun, but not for mass-production. I think I'll make them for special gifts, or maybe one now and then and try to sell them during my Holiday markets. I much prefer making irreverent cards!

On to today's market! It was supposed to be hot, hot, hot today, so I packed some frozen towels that I actually remembered to prep last night, but there was such a nice breeze, it was tolerable without them. The day was pretty slow sales-wise for me, right up until the end and I made two great sales in the last 15 minutes. Yay!

We have a new food vendor selling breads and cookies. Check out this puppy:

That is one cookie, and I set up a card next to it for perspective. That is (was) one monster cookie! I say "was" because I consumed it rapidly. :-)

And looky who stopped by again:

His owner managed to get the bird to agree to sit on my shoulder, if only for a few seconds. It was just long enough for someone to take my camera and snap this shot!

Next up we have Farmer Mike's sweet peppers.

Aren't they colorful? I am not so sure about the "sweet" part, though. Last year he had me bite into a sweet pepper, and we decided that "sweet" was a subjective term. He just laughs at me, a lot! But he asks me if I am feeling old, and I can get a Senior Discount out of him some days, so I am okay with the laughing part. ;-) Actually, most of the farmers have a good laugh with we citified folk. We pick through fruit like we're at the grocery store, and they stop us and give us lessons, so it all works out for the best.

After I got home this afternoon and washed off all the hot, I sat on the couch with the ole laptop and caught up on my email and did a little blog surfing. Over at June's blog, she has been making some FABulous cards using her scraps. So instead of passing out on the couch, I decided to dig around in the pile of stuff from last weekend's Clean Sweep, and got to work using the parts-is-parts contained there-in.

Remember this guy:

I made two of these cards a few weeks ago. I actually made 4 of the turtle panels, but only two of the cards, since I got tired of punching out and assembling all those squares. So this afternoon, I rescued the two turtles from the pile and set to work. I had my PTI Guide Lines set still out, since we all know I never put anything away, and I decided to stamp the border instead of punching out the squares.

Remember when I said my first try with this set worked really easily? I've decided that was Beginner's Luck. After all, I am The Crooked Stamper, and I proved that this afternoon. Big Time.

Here is the final result of my labors:

I used SU Basic Gray to stamp the grid, then two of the little designs in alternate squares to make the border. Like it? Well, this is the 4th or 5th iteration. I decided I liked it enough to stop trying. I like the idea a ton, but this is the best I could do execution-wise. I am sure I'll get better with time.

Here's some detail of the best corner on the card (that is, if you ignore the bent corners on the card stock...):

I used Wild Wasabi ink stamped on Certainly Celery card stock. I first tried Wild Wasabi for the grid, too, but it was too boring.

Next I grabbed my extra stamped houses and townhouses from my "Welcome To Your New Home" session. I also had some extra printed sky pictures and some pre-scored Wasabi card bases. I made two of these:

and one of these:

In this one, I had three townhouses, but I thought it would be cool to pop one up and have it be the focal point, and have the other two in the background. By being in the background, it meant I did not have to color them (I am so lazy), so I used my SU Grey Watercolor Wonder Crayon and a wet brush to schmear on some shadow.

I put the trees in front of the background townhouses to make it look like a tree-lined street. Then I pondered what the heck to do with that huge empty on the right side of the card. I ended up (obviously) making it a 'park' by adding two more trees and a park bench (bench by A Muse). It may be a little busy, but I am okay with that.

Tomorrow I have my Sunday market, but I should be home by 2:00 or 2:30. I'll probably shower and pass out, but I do plan to stamp a ton Sunday and Monday. Yep - Monday! I took the day off because I knew I'd need it to catch up on all the stuff I do not do on Saturday & Sunday because I am having too much fun doing these markets. ;-)

Now pardon me while I go rest my eyes ... I feel a nap coming on ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tools Central

I am driven; nay, I am obsessed with using these new toys of mine. Tonight I broke open my PTI Guide Lines set and got to work. I was determined to demonstrate that even I, The Crooked Stamper, was capable of lining up clear stamps designed to be lined up, and let me tell you: I think I can do this!

Here is my first try using the Guide Lines grid, stamped twice, I might add, and two of the small images.

I stamped the elongated image in the same color as the grid lines, alternating direction and skipping squares. I think I copied this idea from one of the PTI samples, and I love it! The images are really easy to line up since they are designed to do just that! And I only messed up a little.

Here you can see some of the blurry detail, and how I got it pretty close:

Hey! First try ... Crooked Stamper ... not too bad! I think there is hope!

As for the Nesties, I went nuts. I used the largest square to cut out the grid design, and two of the smallest ovals to make the layers for the sentiment. I had also cut out a larger oval and mat, but it covered up too much of my hard-won patterned square, so that's why I decided to go smaller.

Also notice I used the Scor-Pal again to make a little gutter for the ribbon. I punched two slots with the SU Horizontal Slot punch - one under the square and one on the left for tying the knot. That way the ribbon runs underneath the Moss strip and does not show anywhere (like inside the card).

I opted for this sentiment since someone commented at my recent Saturday market that I needed more "Miss You" cards. And yes, I managed to stamp it crooked, even with the clear stamp and the clear block ...

That's it! Ah, the sweet feeling of success! Now I must go focus on my Brother's birthday gift. At the rate I am going, it will be next year before it has any substance to it, but his b'day is the first week of August. Hmmm ... maybe I'll stamp my own patterned pages ... hmmmm ....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nestabilities Update

I really should sub-title this post with: Where-in The Crooked Stamper Has Yet Another "Duuuuh" Moment. Remember when I discussed my Nestabilities tale of woe? Well, it is not over yet. Nope. The pain continues.

So I got two more boxes delivered to my doorstep the other day. One contained my Stampin' Up! pre-order with all the new In Colors. I was distracted by my workshops all weekend, so I have touched the packs of paper, but I have not broken into them yet. There's other stuff to do, man!

The second box contained 3/4 of my Nestabilities purchase. Sweeeeet! I have fondled them and planned to use them and everything, then I remembered I needed to make a baby card for a shower we're having at work tomorrow, (I was distracted by workshops until 10 pm last night ... who has the time to make a card ?!) and I broke them out just now!

My inspiration came from this card on jen del muro's blog, and the news that (1) my co-worker has no idea what the gender of the baby is, (2) her theme is animals, and (3) her color of choice is green. Green sooooo works for me (!), but baby green? Hmmmm ...

Into the stash I went! I opened my Bitty Baby Blessings papers from PTI, grabbed some PTI Spring Moss (cuz I knew it would match!), and some SU Groovy Guava for some contrast with all that green. This is what came out:

The ribbon is PTI Spring Moss, and the stamp is from the retired SU In The Wild set. I stamped the Zebra in Groovy Guava so he'd stand out. No, I did not line that up really well! I stamped him on a separate piece of card stock and cut him out so I had a chance of getting it sorta close to aligned. It's close.

Check out the charm, also from The Stash:

Do you doubt that I have enough stuff in The Other Room? I do not 'do' baby cards, so how to explain my collection of baby charms? Sigh ...

Next, check out that Nestabilities usage:

I cut, I embossed, I succeeded!!!! Yay, me!

Now for the sad truth...I thought I needed to re-purchase these Nestabilities because I'd used them on a card and wanted to replicate the tag, but I was missing the dies. Oh, I was missing the dies, all right! Alas, I was not missing the Nestabilities dies. Oh, no, no, no, NO! I was missing these:

"Missing" is such a misleading word. How about I was missing the brain cells to remember I have these IN A SPELLBINDERS STORAGE THINGY IN THE OTHER ROOM! See what happens when I put things away!!??!?!?! Sigh, and grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Well, at least the mystery of what the heck I'd used on those other cards has been solved. And I have a fine collection of toys with which I can entertain myself.

There is utterly no hope for me...just shoot me now. I have a fine collection (and remember it's a second collection, having bought, then sold, the first collection) of Nestabilities dies that I must now use and use and use again so I can live with myself.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Da Booth

I guess it is time for full disclosure with regard to Da Booth, also known as my table set-up at my markets. Prepare to be un-impressed.

At my Kentlands market (the one with the infamous three-way stop), my spot below is the one with the humble tables draped with cheap and still-folded table cloths:

The spinner card rack to the right is mine, too. It looks a lot like the one on the left that belongs to the guy you see sitting there, and that is because he sold it to me! He had an extra one, and a year or two ago he offered it to me, and I took it! It comes apart so it actually does fit in my car. One of these days I'll do a full disclosure on The Car, where I store all this stuff from May to November.

You may find it interesting that I sit right next to someone else who also sells cards, but we really could not be more different. He is a self-taught artist and water-colorer who does amazing Chinese-style drawings. He prints his cards, mostly because he can; these are his drawings, so he can reproduce them any way he wants to! He also sells his larger watercolored drawings and occasionally some of his originals.

He also pushes me to try different techniques, meaning he thinks just plain stamping is not challenging me enough. (If he only knew ...) He thinks I need to broaden my horizons, and he ignores my whining about The Day Job and the teeny tiny condo. Therefore he was very impressed when I showed him that bamboo I drew the other day, and he laid off the pressure a little bit yesterday because of it. :-)

So that's where I spend every Saturday. Now for my Sunday markets, I set up a tent, and if I feel like it, I drag out the folded screen to block off the tent behind me:

Other than that, this is exactly the same setup as my Saturday market. If I had to do any more than this my head would explode. In fact, the reason I flat-out refuse to do much more than this is I used to do a whole lot more than this. I'm talking 7' walls with hanging card racks, etc. Check it out:

This is a really bad photo from Nov 2006; I had a barn spot (read: outside...these are at a fairgrounds, so you know what kind of "barn" I was in) at a huge annual Christmas Show in a neighboring county. Yes, it was cold. Back to the booth, though, that bugger took me about 2 hours to set up and another hour to break down, so I gave it up for my sanity. And my back. And my lack-of-sleep. I've even sold all but three of the walls to someone else to be rid of them. I still have all the lights and a masso collection of extension cords and power strips. And 8" cable ties. For a few years there I should have been buying stock in the company that manufactures the cable ties; I used them to secure the card racks, and they get cut off at the end of the show, so I had to keep buying more. The racks hung from S-hooks (oh, and I have a collection of those, too), and then I'd anchor the racks to the grids in the walls with the cable ties; two per card rack. Putting the cards into the racks was the easy part! I always thought something was very wrong when it took me 2 hours to set up my walls and card racks, and about 5 minutes to put the cards out. I decided I was too old for the whole process, so I scaled waaaaaay back, and I am much happier for it, too! I no longer do those bigger shows where a professional-looking set-up would be necessary to "sell" my stuff.

Maybe some day after I am retired and have more time on my hands, and when I can nap often, I'll get back to that level of set-up, but for now, not.

So that's it! Like I said, not too impressive, but then when you are surrounded by farmers with veggies, people think having a tablecloth is classy, and that's good enough for me!

Market Update

Yes, it was hot on Saturday, but not as hot as we'd originally thought. There was a nice breeze around the pavilion, and inside we had fans blowing, so it was pretty tolerable.

For future reference, here is the infamous three-way stop (and I use that term loosely) to which I refer on occasion, and our little market at the far side:

You can see we have a primo spot for watching all the fun and bumper-cars!

And from a veggie standpoint, summer is in full swing! Farmer Mike had eggplants galore:

And he also had more of those humongous yummy blackberries:

I had a box for sustenance during the market, and got more to take home with me. And my CSA share included peaches, apricots and plums. I had to eat a few right away ... so juicy!

And the highlight of my day was when this little guy rode in on his owner's shoulder:

He was too cute! He cannot fly, because his wings are clipped. His owner put him down on the table for this picture (guess he was camera-shy!) The bird let me pet him, but he would not get on my hand or let me pick him up. His owner said he will only go to him. It was really neat to watch, too! As soon as the guy put out his hand, the bird spread its wings and hopped up and down with excitement, then went back up on his owner's shoulder for the ride home. And I had to ask: He is 4, and they live about 30 years. Isn't he handsome?!?!?

I am off to finish getting ready for The Ladies to arrive for today's workshops. Definitely need some caffeine to kick-start the old heart and to keep my eyes open! Have a good day, and stay cool!