Sunday, August 30, 2009

Field Trip Into DC

Today did not turn out at all like I had planned, and that is a GOOD thing! Sometimes you've just got to go with the flow.

Yesterday, as I was cooling down after my post-Market shower, I realized one of my Tweeple was coming to DC Saturday night to spend Sunday doing tourist stuff. I am a home-body, and I like to take my Sunday's slow and easy, to rest up for the Monday drill. But to meet a real live Twitter peep, well that just does not happen every day! So the rest of my Tweeple talked me into going, and I did! I went to DC today!

But first, I would like to show you that I actually did stamp something this weekend. Took me two days, but I did it.

These two images were purchased on an "I'm bored, lets go stamp shopping" trip one year in Florida. One of my fellow travelers, a non-stamper, went along to see what all the fuss was about. While perusing the millions of stamps on the floor-to-ceiling shelves, she picked out these two because she thought they'd go well together, and she was so right!

I have made several variations of this card over the years, but always with these two images. Last night I found this beautiful basket-weave paper in my stash. I picked it because it had browns and yellows, and I was using a yellow base. I really love how these came out!

Okay, on to the Field Trip! I started out at the local Metro stop, as I live at the end of the line of the system. You are guaranteed a seat, which is a good thing during rush hour. But Sunday is not a rush-hour schedule, so I waited, and waited, and waited. Then I gave up waiting and left. Apparently I was in rush-hour mode and it was a non-rush-hour schedule...not a good mix. But it was such a glorious day today, that I decided to drive into DC instead. That's right, drive! Actually, I only live about 20 miles from DC - I just hate traffic on a day off. But I got to take the George Washington (GW) Parkway, which is pretty much enough reason to live in the DC area in the first place.

This is the GW Parkway on a Sunday. Fuzzy, yes, because I was driving, but work with me here. Maybe step back a bit from the 'puter to lose some of the fuzz. This is not a country road. Nope. This is the GW Parkway, and it runs from the Beltway, through DC and beyond to Mount Vernon and points South. This is the stretch I take from the Beltway to DC. Not bad, huh? It parallels the Potomac River on the left and there's woods on the right. Just beautiful.

When I first moved here, I could not believe this sign was for real, but it is. This is the exit for the CIA.


Once I crossed back over the river and into the city, it was still beautiful. This is just a really pretty city. This was the view to my right as I was stopped at a stop sign, waiting to turn left onto Independence Ave.

The bad thing about driving into DC is the parking, but I got lucky and found a spot right near the Air & Space Museum. As I got out of my car, I saw this:

This is the portion of the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. On the left is the Smithsonian Castle. Did you know The Smithsonian is actually a group of 7 or 8 museums, and not just the Castle? It's true!

I cropped the castle for a closer look, but it is still pretty difficult to see through the trees. In front of the castle is a carousel - still works! Lots of fun.

To my left was the Capitol. Did you know the Capitol building is spelled with an 'o', but it is the Capital (with an 'a') of our nation? Yep.

This is an earlier shot without the guy in the red hat. Further away, though. Still, just a beautiful day.

Inside the Air & Space Museum is a kids' section - lots of hands-on stuff about science, and why airplanes are built out of aluminum instead of steel. Kids play, but big kids read. This caught my eye.

"Did you ever wonder? Why doesn't dust blow off fan blades? [Yeah, why doesn't it?!?!?] Dust on fan blades never seems to blow off, no matter how fast the blades spin. Many dust particles are small enough to lie within the thin boundary layer near the surface. No matter how hard the air blows by, the boundary layer provides a zone where the wind speed decreases to zero. The only way to remove the dust is to wipe it away." Carp. Now I have to clean the darn things!

After my Tweep and I parted ways, I headed for home by getting back on the GW Parkway. But I took the first right and exited at Theodore Roosevelt Island. This is an island in the middle of the Potomac River, and after almost 25 years of living here, I have never been there. So I went. This is how I travel, so beware anyone who thinks they might survive a Road Trip with me at the wheel!

This is a shot from the parking lot of the bridge over to the island. It was so nice and cool and breezy in the middle of that bridge that I stopped there in both directions to enjoy it.

One of the other really annoying things I do is take photos of where I am so I remember where I've been. It is a sickness.

On the island are several hiking/walking trails, and a monument/memorial, so since it was buggy I headed for the memorial and took the obligatory photo. *waves back at Teddy*

Back home, I am resting now. Too much fresh air for a Sunday. But it was so much fun to meet up with one of my virtual friends! Now we know we are real!!!

Okay, off to finish the laundry so I can go to work tomorrow. Oh, a brief look into the ways of laundry in the crooked household: If you forgot you left a whole load of dry clothes in the dryer last week, and they are now hopelessly wrinkled, fear not! Go ahead and wash that next load. Then take one item, like a polo shirt, out of the washer, throw it into the dryer with all the wrinkled mess, and run the dryer again. Voila! Not-wrinkled clothing plus one extra dry shirt. Genius, I tell you, pure genius.

Okay, I am gonna see if I can rustle up something for dinner, and maybe stamp something before bed. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Market Update

Today started out grey, gloomy and a bit muggy. It threatened rain, and we were all worried (those of us who showed up, that is...some of the crafters do not come when it rains). BUT, we had ample space under the pavilion to set up, so if it DID rain, we'd all stay dry. The rain held off, and it actually got sunny and cooler later in the day.

It was fairly slow, so as usual I spent my time taking pics of all the veggies. I have no idea why I do this. Farmer Mike just shakes his head at me most of the time. Sometimes, he even states the obvious. Today I asked him why he did not have any corn, and he said it was because they did not pick any. Okay, I guess that works.

A lot of these pics are of the same thing I've shown you the past few weeks, but I am still drawn to the colors, so you get what you get. Let's get started!

Cockscomb. I never knew what this stuff was until last year or maybe the year before, but everyone who shops here seems to know about it, cuz they buy it!

For some perspective, later in the day I got a photo of a woman holding one stalk/branch/piece of it. This is big stuff!

Sweet peppers. So colorful!

Two kinds of shrooms. If he has any later in the season I'll make some mushroom barley soup. Mmmmmm.

Hot peppers. I am still not buying these. Or any of the 'special' ones Farmer Mike has in his van. He tried to push some of his special peppers on our poor bakery person. In the background I kept shaking my head ... NO, don't do it! She didn't - smart gal! Farmer Mike just laughs at us. Especially at me.

Okra. Blech. Though Pioneer Woman posted a way she eats raw okra like any other raw, fresh veggie. I might try ONE, just ONE. Then I'll call her a liar if I still hate it.

Farmer Gus' bell peppers were photo-worthy! They were all multi-colored!

Farmer Gus' Jalepenos. If I did not already have a bunch from last week, I would have snagged some of these. Next week, I promise.

On to the doggie portion of the show. This guy is a service dog. His owner was sweet to talk with me about him. He is a Border Collie mutt, and she's had him for about 5 years. She sometimes needs help getting up, and the dog just stands there and lets her grab on and use him as leverage. She does not have problems all the time, but she needs to keep the dog in training, so she takes him out with her a lot. I asked her if the Border Collie portion of the dog makes him herd things, but she said just kids. If he sees a group of kids and one kid off to one side, he'll go up to the stray kid and stand next to him so the kid won't get lost. It sounded really sweet.

These two guys arrived about the same time and played kissy face for a while. Better than the usual way dogs check each other out!

This boxer is just gorgeous. He was moving too fast for me to get a good pic with his face, but I just sit here each week and admire his coloring. And physique.

And here's Molly, a weekly regular. She was helping to clean up crumbs in front of the bakery stand. Actually, most of the dogs today were helping in front of the bakery stand. One of the helpers at the bakery said it was really fun to be on her side of the table when these dogs would stick their heads under the table cloths to see what they could find. I'll bet!

Our regular Shar Pei, who belongs to one of my stamping customers. I originally met her (the stamper, not the dog) when she was checking out the market several years ago. She saw my cards, noticed the SU images, asked about classes, and we've been hanging out ever since.

Hello, you handsome fellow! What a handsome Yellow Lab! So friendly! And very well-behaved, too.

For the fashion portion of the show, these wee little stripe-ed leggings won today's prize. So cute!

And this little cutie was trying on one of MaryBeth's hats.

Then things got a little nuts, as they tend to do towards the end of the market. Here is Farmer Gus playing with his food again. A mutant tomato on which he drew a face with a marker. We could hear his almost-20 year-old daughter begging him to please stop, as it was embarrassing. That just made him laugh and draw some more.

And one of our little beverage vendors made a duck out of some of Farmer Mike's veggies. The green onion is the wings.... can't you see it? He was so convincing.

That's it for the pics, so you can breath easy now. Lessee, the person who asked me to make the brown fourishy card came to buy it today, plus a few more. Several people said they could not buy the card they liked and actually send it to someone, because they'd rather frame it; then they'd have to buy another one to send. I love it when people say that about my art!!! It is so validating. I think this is what keeps me going back every week.

And remember Twitter? Yeah, still doing that, and having a lot of fun with it. One of my tweeple is in DC, and I might try and meet up with her on Sunday. In the flesh! This might be cause for a photograph to document the historic moment. :-)

On a more serious note, RIP Mr. Kennedy. You will be missed, but your influence will live on. And I am glad for the family that the rain held out until after the burial at Arlington. I will come visit you soon.

G'nite, peeps! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Baby Shower Invite, and my ATG

Listen, my beloved readers, and you shall hear: THE ATG IS IN THE HOUSE! Yes, I bought an ATG and it is mine. Now, I just need to learn to USE the darn thing.

It is light, as advertised, though it is a bit bulky. I am used to just dealing with my fat fingers and a tape dispenser, or a snail adhesive holder that is smaller than my hand. But this thing is huge, and I need to learn to drive it better.

Just look at that goop I produced. No need for Dimensionals or pop-dots - got 'em all built in to the adhesive. Too bad that was not the look I wanted, but it was for a mock-up, so I am okay.

Mock-up, you say? Here it is: a baby shower invitation. I do just a passable job with certain kinds of cards, and invitations, especially baby shower invitations, is one of those areas. I thought I'd go real simple, so I used one of SU's note cards (the same ones I use for my City Cards) to keep it small but still mailable. I printed the words in light blue on the 'puter so they came out straight. I know me, and I'd make a fancy schmancy card front then stamp the stoopid sentiment crooked. It's what I do, and I do it well. Besides, I do not own any baby shower sentiments, so printing it was really my only option. :-)

The image is from Outlines, and I stamped it 2 1/2 times. Once in blue, once in yellow, and then just the center in blue for the onesie, then I cut them all out and layered them. The ribbon was an afterthought, because I have white space issues, and I felt it really needed something to be 'finished'. I have some mini baby pins somewhere I may pin into the knot, if I can find them.

The inside has printed lines for the Who, When, Where and RSVP information.

So why am I doing this? A guy (yes, a guy) was looking through my baby section last weekend at the market, and he asked if I had any baby shower invitations. I told him I could make him some just like my moving cards, and he seemed agreeable. In general, I do not make something just because someone asks about it. That Day Job does cut into my creative time, so I am careful what I agree to do. But I thought it might be a good thing to be able to offer shower invitations, so a mock-up or two was not out of the question in this situation. He said he'd want 40 of them, so if he comes back - and that's a big 'if' in my world, then I'll have something to show him. If not, then I'll have something to show someone else. It's a good thing to expand one's offerings now and then.

Moving on, in a rare moment I saved a bunch of what I can only call 'paper shards' - yes, they are that small. Look:

Paper shards.

ATG goop + paper shards. Hey, I'm trying!

All my paper shards, stuck down almost straight. Tomorrow I plan to cut a shape out of this and use it. Somehow. I just love these PTI papers and colors, and I just, um, stocked up on some more papers and ribbon, so, yeah, I should probably use them.

Ah, the end of yet another week. I love it when Friday rolls around, until I realize that another week of my LIFE has passed me by. I need to stop thinking like that or it will make me crazy(er).

Okay, off to do a few things before I hit the hay. It is raining again, here, and I hope it lets up a bit for tomorrow's market. I will be sure to let you know all about that on the morrow. :-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Early Holiday Card

The other day I mentioned to Lydia over at Understand Blue that she should use her new ornament-shaped punch from the SU Mini catalog to punch out the new flocked Christmas paper. Too late, though, cuz she had something else already made. Since then, I have actually bought the darn thing myself, so I had to try it. Lookie:

This is a 7.5 minute card. Not 5, but not 10, so I am going with 7.5. Although, that time included hunting for things in my yet-to-be-unpacked SU shipment boxes, so if YOU are organized, perhaps it would take you less time.

Let's talk about the parts. First of all, the ornament punch pretty much perfectly fits the flocked design, so it was really easy to get it centered.

The patterned paper is from the same pack of paper, and was subtle enough to use as a background and not fight with the ornament, which is really the star of this show.

The cord is retired gold cord, but I'll make another one with the new elastic cord when it arrives next week. (I hear the new elastic cord is better than last year's because there is no white core to unravel.)

So that's it! A simple holiday card. I think I'll save this for my October workshops. :-)

Thanks for stopping by!

PS: What? The end? No blathering? WHA?!?! I know, crazy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Color Combo Card, and Another Baby Step

Earlier this afternoon, I had A Moment. You know, when an idea hits the grey matter and you just need to document it for posterity? I decided I liked the color combo of my shirt + pants + shoes. Soooo, here's the original picture, and following is the real thing.

I decided to try Soft Suede (for my shoe color), Sahara Sand (for the pants color) and Bermuda Bay (for the shirt, though the shirt was way more green, but work with me here).

And here we are! Sahara Sand base (already cut and just lying on the table), a piece of Bermuda Bay patterned paper (opened a virgin pack), Soft Suede ribbon. The leaves are from a new SU set Autumn Splendor from the Holiday Mini (starts Sept 1st). I inked the larger leaves in Soft Suede, then stamped them off before stamping them on white. The smaller leaves were inked in Bermuda Bay, stamped off, then Rock-and-Rolled back in the Bermuda Bay. I thought this would let me make the edges darker than the centers, and it sorta worked.

The acorns are from the same set, and I stamped them in Soft Suede, then colored them with Soft Suede and a blender pen. I am not sure what it is with me and 'cutting' lately, but I think there might be a rebellion if I made this a workshop card.

So there you have it! My card du jour for my color combo du jour.

To celebrate this accomplishment, I went into The Other Room and installed two of my Bygel rails from IKEA.

Here they are! The cool thing about these is when I was talking with the handyman about them, he reminded me to make sure to leave enough space between them to be able to lift one off a lower rail and not bump into the ones above. Can you tell his wife probably has her own similar set-up? :-)

This is where they fit into The Big Picture. I am going to put up two more above those (I should be able to reach the top one), and then put four more on the adjacent wall, but staggered between them. It will all become clear as I proceed, and I will surely document the process for posterity.

In case you are wondering, this is my current punch storage, and it is overflowing. Plus the door hinges complain a lot and I am convinced it will fall off one night and kill me from the fright.

What shall I do with all the vacated punch space? I'll put my Marvy punches there, probably, and, well, there's this Martha punch I kinda want, but I haven't had the room, and, well, uh-huh.

Wow, would you look at that - it's not even bed time yet! What IS going on here? I cannot possibly be getting caught up... nonono, not possible. The Earth would spin off its axis if that ever happened.

Hey, thanks for stopping by!

Color Inspiration Du Jour

This is my first attempt at posting from my phone. I took this pic when I noticed I am wearing Sahara Sand slacks, Soft Suede shoes, and Bermuda Bay shirt (sortof).

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

A Finished Medallion Card

First off, are any of you superstitious? Because if you are, then you do not want to know about this:

Okay, moving on ... I worked on one of the medallion cards tonight, just so I could actually finish something. I started with this:

This is a base and a loose card part from yesterday. The more I looked at this, the more I disliked the stamping job I did with the Basic Black ink, so, like any good little stamper, I decided to cover it up.

I stamped the medallion center several times on other card stock - I tried Basic Black on Bermuda Bay card stock; I tried LOTS of Basic Black on Bermuda Bay; I tried Stazon Black on Bermuda Bay; and, you guessed it, LOTS of Stazon Black on Bermuda Bay. They are all now in the trash.

Then there was a bunch of grumbling and gnashing of teeth, after which I bit the bullet and made another piece of the background paper:

You may be able to tell I was working right-to-left with my cotton ball. The color is much deeper on the right. After I witnessed this happening, instead of re-inking the cotton ball, I decided I meant to do that, as it gave me options for how much color I wanted for my stamped image. I am good at talking myself into things like this. It saved me from having to re-open the reinker bottle. :-)

Then I stamped the center part of the medallion on the background piece with Basic Black and punched it out with the 1 3/4" Circle punch.

I mounted it in the center of the medallion image the same way I did the last time, with a clear rhinestone in the center, and slipped a piece of Bermuda Bay ribbon under it.

Lastly, I went wild and opted to put the whole piece on the center of the card front, even though I'd originally planned to line it up with the left edge. And I kinda like it this way!

I have already wooed several of my customers with the news that we'd be using this stamp in September, so I have decided this will be card 4 of 4. WAIT a minute! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?!? I have all four cards designed for September and it is still August?!?! Someone call for a medic!!!!

Ooooh, do you know what this means? This means I get to play from now until the Clean Sweep, with absolutely no purpose! None! Well, I suppose I could plan my October or November projects. Well I could! But that's just crazy talk, so I won't.

Okay, that's all the blathering for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The UnderstandBlue Birthday Blog Hop

Welcome to the next stop on the UnderstandBlue Birthday Blog Hop! Today is our dear friend Lydia's birthday. To honor this momentous occasion, I thought I'd do a card (of course!) and I also thought a bit of poetry (with much poetic license) would be in order. First, The Card:

I pulled out the (sadly) retired Pacific Point and Kiwi Kiss reinkers, and with alcohol I made the marbled background. I love these colors together, and I plan to use them until they are gone. Thank goodness for that hoarding gene!

Now for the poetry, such as it is. Here goes ... ahem ...

How (and why) do I love thee? Let me count the ways... I love you:

From the depths of my Google Reader unread list;

From my fancy schmancy Google Reader tags;

From the amazing numbers and stats of Feedburner;

From my shiny new Crackberry;

For all the great Tweeple I've met;

From the looks-like-an-airplane-control-panel of Tweetdeck;

From the gleam of my handsome Big Shot that you told me I HAD to own;

For the thought that I might eat sushi and live to tell about it;

For dragging me into the 21st century, kicking and screaming (<-- me, not you), answering all my pesky questions along the way, and never telling me (to my face, anyway) to shaddup already;

For showing me there is another color besides green;

For enriching my life in so many ways in such a short time.

The End.

Happy Birthday, Chickie!

The next stop on your tour is over at Sara's blog. [If anyone reading would like to start at the beginning, that would be Angelique's place.]