Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yay!!! Finally photographed the projects!!

I am thrilled to announce that I did actually get around to photographing my Christmas projects tonight, and will post a couple of pictures here for your crafty enjoyment.

This first one is the July page for my niece's perpetual calendar. Both my mother and my grand-niece (Kenni's niece) have birthdays in July, so this one picture of both was perfect! My mom is a blue-and-white freak, so I had to use blue. I used the little girl stamps both because of my niece, and because the pictures of my mom when she was a little girl back in the 1930s are so adorable, and these stamps remind me of them. I used one of the TJ techniques on the background (Fossil Stone), then stamped over it with the "Floral" background stamp from SU.




This second one is from Bjorn's 2007 desk calendar that I made so he can remember why he goes to work every day! lol It's the March page, which is the month of our anniversary (16 this year!), so I put one of our wedding pictures on it. The card mat is Taken With Teal because our colors were Teal with Peach accents (which now really grosses me out, but at the time it seemed nice). I don't remember the name of the company that makes this PP -- it was in a book of papers, but I'm downstairs and the loft is upstairs and I'm too lazy to go look! I stamped the "Floral" background on the mat (and I think I used Pearl Ex on it, too, but my memory is foggy). The fibers are SU, as is the sentiment.



If you're interested, I've saved all twelve photos of Kenni's calendar to the Technique Junkies Yahoo group in an album called "Stacy A -- Perpetual Calendar". The URLis here: http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/Techniquejunkies/photos/browse/a6e1 You'll have to copy it and paste it into your browser's address bar. For some reason I just can't get the link thing to work again.

Within the next few days I'm going to make an album for Bjorn's calendar, too, so I'll let you know when that's up.

Tomorrow night we're heading up to Pflugerville to a fondue party with friends. We'll ring in the new year, spend the night (hey, I don't wanna be out on Austin roads after midnight on New Year's! There are enough drunks out that time of night when there aren't holidays!), then come home. So if I don't get a chance to get back here before Monday, I hope all my faithful readers have a wonderful and safe New Year's Day, and a very blessed 2007!

Cheers!

Friday, December 29, 2006

If at first you don't succeed ...

First of all, off-topic, I just noticed where Saddam Hussein was executed! Hard to believe it really happened. It's sad that the man just could not be redeemed in any way, but I suppose this was justice served for all those innocent lives that he destroyed.

So, back to crafting. I know, I know, I promised that I was gonna take pictures of my recent craft projects, and I really was going to do that today, but Bjorn took my camera (something to do with photographing the plumbing under the sink so he could go to Home Depot and get just what he needed), and then inadvertently left it at my folks' house, so I was camera-less. And these pages just can't be scanned.

SO, instead I am posting a picture of a card I slaved over tonight! This card is a definite "try, try again". On the first try, I stamped the image on a transparency using StazOn, then turned it over and meticulously (and I do mean meticulously!) painted the image with some alcohol ink markers I had picked up in San Diego over Thanksgiving. The colors looked a little bright, so when I was finished I brayered over it with Vanilla Craft Ink (Stampin' Up!). Still not the right effect. THEN I decided to spritz "just a little" walnut ink (in Terra Cotta, the closest in liquid I have to brown) on it to give it a bit of an aged effect. BIG MISTAKE! The walnut ink went on in a huge puddle, so I quickly grabbed a paper towel and pressed over it to blot the ink. Ya know what? If you leave a paper towel stuck to walnut-inked alcohol ink, it STICKS! And when you pull it off, it pulls the ink (ALL of it!) off with it! Only in ugly blotches, not in any way that would look artistic. SO I grabbed some alcohol and cleaned off the back, but I didn't exactly want to do all that detailed painting again, so this time I just daubed various dye inks over it to give it a hint of color. Too pale. So I brayered Vanilla Craft Ink again. Still too pale. So in desperation, I went through the various inks, etc. that I have and found several bottles of colored Lumiere. I thought "Halo Pink Gold" sounded about right for a queenly image, so I daubed that all over the back, and FINALLY liked what I had! I attached it to some textured cardstock that I had brayered with dark brown walnut ink pad (forgot the color name), and layered it over a piece of "Frost With a Twist" that I had lying around, and loved the result!

As usual, you can't see at all how shimmery-gold the Lumiere is behind the ladies. My husband said it almost looked like it was stamped on a piece of bronze. I totally love this stamp, though, and plan to do a whole lot more things with it.

So here it is for your viewing pleasure:



Tomorrow I'll try to actually photograph the projects, and scan in a couple of cards I've done for a swap (my first!!). Until then ...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Just a Quickie ... new elements

Can't spend long here -- gotta run get into the shower and get ready to go see my brother off. But I've added a couple of elements to my page here -- one is a link to a Stampin' Up! webring that looks really cool, and the other is a "widget" announcing the countdown to Sellabration! What fun! I'm getting so techie!

AND I'm now listed on Splitcoastbloggers which is a blog-link site for Splitcoaststampers members, and it is so great! Tons of terrific blogs to choose from.

I also "discovered" del.icio.us , which is a bookmarking site. Bjorn's had an account with them forever, but I didn't realize how very, very awesome it is until just a few days ago, so now I have an account, too, and I can save all my bookmarks to an online site where I can get to them from any computer, PLUS I can see how many other people have bookmarked a certain site, and even go check out their bookmarks to see if they've got any cool sites that I might want to see. It's so fun! (Doesn't take much to amuse me, apparently!)

So, off to the shower, and then hopefully today I'll have a chance to photograph my recent creations and post a few piccies.

Check ya!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006 is history

Well, I certainly intended to get back to my blog before Christmas Day, but that didn't happen. But we had a decent Christmas -- two Christmas Eve services (the morning one at our church and the evening at the church where we got married), a quiet, un-greedy Christmas morning for a change. Usually when we're in Texas for Christmas, we've got siblings and nieces/nephew and grand-niece ripping into things. This Christmas it was just the three of us, my folks and grandmother, and my brother from Houston. I don't remember now whether I posted here or if it was somewhere else about my brother's wife of 26 years just deciding she wanted to go back and recapture her youth, so she just walked in one day a couple of months ago and told him she wanted a divorce. So this has, understandably, been a VERY hard Christmas for him. They have three grown kids (one a senior in high school) who opted to spend Christmas at home, which is where his wife was going to be, so he came up to spend a few days here. So it was kinda a weird Christmas because we were trying so hard to take his situation into account by not being TOO cheerful (which was hard, because, for some reason this year the Christmas jollies hit me full force!), and yet not being too somber ... I really hate that he's having to go through such stupid, needless pain.

Oh, but that doesn't really have much to do with crafting. Well, I did finish the "childhood memories" thing I was making him (guess I did mention something about the situation?). I digiscrapped that, although I realize that I will never become a true digiscrapper. It's so much more fun to feel real paper, use real inks, real brads, etc., for me. There were no pictures in his gift, just fond remembrances (some humourous, some more thoughtful) of our childhood together (I very strategically left out the negative, sibling rivalry stuff!). It turned out very well!

I mostly finished my niece's (did I spell that right? I can never remember which vowel comes first) perpetual calendar. Now all I have to do is figure out how she's gonna hang it up, and what will hold the upper pages together so they don't fall down over the current month. It's pretty "chunky", embellies-wise, so that kinda complicated things. I promise I will take pictures of the pages, and post a couple here.

I also made Bjorn a desk calendar (one of those 6x6 Stampin' Up! ones), of which I am particularly proud. A friend of mine had made one for her husband a couple of years ago, and I loved the idea, but didn't think I could pull it off. Somehow I didn't think I could do a 6x6, non-journaling type of thing, but once I got started on this one, it just flowed! So I'll get some pictures of that on here, too.

But, in the meantime, I have to recover from the pre-Christmas gift-making-frenzy-stress, the eating wrong foods (stuff I'm allergic to, like wheat, which made me feel really tired and grumpy), the heaps and heaps of e-mails to go through from the Technique Junkies sites ...

And then I'll be sequestering myself back up in my craft loft and making more and more fun, artsy cards!! Mwuhahahahahahahahahahaha!!

Happy recovering from it all!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My, how time flies!!!

I have been incredibly remiss in keeping up with this blog lately! Of course, I've also been terribly busy, so that would probably explain things. Busy with what, I probably couldn't sit down and catalog, but I HAVE been working like a madwoman on a project for my neice for Christmas these last few days. I was just about to tell what it is, but I recently sent her an e-mail with my siggy on the bottom, and she might look in here ... what the heck -- Kenni, if you're reading this, then DON'T read the blog entry (hopefully the next one) entitled "Kenni's Christmas Present". It will show bits of what I'm making you.

So, I can't reveal what the gift is right now, but I will post some pictures of it once I'm finished. I have been fighting a killer hormone migraine the last two days, and I DON'T HAVE TIME for it!!!

I'm also going to attempt to make a 6x6 desk calendar (the Stampin' Up! kind) for my husband for Christmas. Am I crazy or what? Just decided to make these things (as well as a "childhood memories" sort of "memoir" thing for my brother) in the last two weeks, so I will continue to work like a madwoman until Christmas!

Obviously, I should be doing that instead of posting here, so off I go. Back much sooner next time (I hope!!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Attack of the Craft Supplies

Okay, I went into my craft loft this morning (the real one) and was very nearly attacked by the piles of supplies that have completely taken over the place. Yes, I have tons of storage "stuff" -- plastic drawer units, cabinets, cubbies, pegboard hanging above my desk, etc., etc., etc. But I think I've finally hit the place where I have "too many" things! (Gasp! -- that was really hard to say!) However, I'm not inclined to get rid of any of it at this stage, so what I really need is an Extreme Loft Makeover. Seriously. I actually looked at the HGTV website to see if my loft would qualify for anything in the way of a free makeover, but the only show it would have worked for (Design on a Dime) only goes to homes in the LA or Chicago areas. Now, how unfair is that? I think they should go on the road ... and start with my loft! Honestly, I wouldn't mind getting rid of the nasty orange shag from the 70s, and the orange velvety wallpaper stuff.

I am overwhelmed with it all. Anybody know any shows or magazines that would do this for me for free? I'm desperate, but poor!

Okay, enough whining. I'm hoping to take a little jaunt (okay, an hour drive) to our new "local" IKEA today! (Of course, I won't be able to go if I don't get my rear into the shower and get presentable for the day!) I want to see what kinds of Scandinavian Christmas ornaments they have. My in-laws have the neatest ornaments that they put on the tree every year -- ornaments that actually came from Norway. But with IKEA in town (Swedish, but close enough where Christmas decorations are concerned), I may be able to finally get some for my own tree! Plus I want to check out their storage stuff.

My birthday is next Monday, and I have asked for nothing but money (some of which I have spent in advance, lol). Now I'm torn between buying a whole bunch of SU sets that I'm wanting, or trying to get my loft into shape. It's a real inspiration killer in there right now. Maybe if I ask for money for Christmas, too, I can do both! That would be awesome.

Okay, short one today, but IKEA calls, and I must answer. If I get anything really good, I'll post a piccy here, as well as maybe taking pictures of my loft and showing you why "overwhelmed" may not even be the most accurate word!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Home at last ...

So, if anyone wants to know, traveling the day after Thanksgiving is AWESOME!! The airports were quiet and sparsely populated, no huge, long lines to stand in, no rushing around. It was the exact opposite of going on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Even though our plane left at 6am, and we were at the airport by 5am, the lines were horrendous, we barely made the plane, and it was just stressful and noisy everywhere. We barely made our connecting flight in Phoenix, so by the time we got to San Diego, we were just glad to be there!

We had a great time, though. Gorgeous weather, got to hang out at the beach (gosh, I love the beach!), the guys went kayaking on the coast, and I got to go to a stamp store!! Yea!!!! I had wanted to go to several, but most of them were too far from where my BIL and SIL live, so we ended up just going to Stamping Details in Poway. It is a TERRIFIC store -- lots of goodies, and the staff are very friendly and helpful. I just wish I could've hung around long enough to take some of their upcoming classes. They didn't have all the stamps I had wanted from Coronodo Island Designs, so I only bought three stamps and then ordered the others I wanted (UM) from the Coronado Island website. I can't wait to get them -- it'll be fun to play with them!

The twins were adorable -- almost 2, and totally into Thomas the Tank Engine. Aidan was also into Thomas when he was little, and I just love the whole Thomas thing, so it was so fun to be able to watch the vids and play with the trains again, especially with two such devoted fans! Then, when we got back home to Texas, some of my brother's family from Houston were visiting, so we got to spend a little time with them this morning before they left. My grand-niece Rachael was there -- she's 4, and SUCH a cutie. She has a crush on Aidan (much to his 13-year-old chagrin!) We're so hoping they get to come back for Christmas!

Anyway, not much about stamping in this one, just an update on our holiday. Now it's only a month until Christmas, and I haven't even designed the Christmas cards yet (I've dabbled a little, but nothing I really like has emerged), much less thought about presents. I guess I'm one of those people who works best with an impending deadline! lol

So it's good to be back, and I can't wait to get back into my craft loft on Monday when the guys are back in school and at work!

Just for fun, a couple of LOs of my grand-niece when she was 3. (They're 8x8 -- Stamps are Stampin' Up!):


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oh to be in New Zealand, now that spring is here (well, there)



Kia ora! I've had a bit of fun today playing with my new stamps from Kiwi-Impressionz. The one above is my "Kiwi Dreams" card, done using Vada's Gesso Resist technique (TJ), just like I said I wanted to do! The mat of the main image is gold paper, and on the side I stamped a Paua border in gold ink. All the word stamps are Stampin' Up!

The card below is one I did with a Fossil Stone (TJ) background behind the image. The cardfront itself is from Club Scrap, it's not a technique. I'm thinking of sending this one to the Kiwi-Impressionz people, just for fun.



I really love these stamps, and anticipate playing with them a whole lot more! Plus there are a few more at K-I that I have my eye on!

And I must say, I am SOOOOO glad I started trying out the techniques in the Techniques Junkies newsletters. Card making is fun again!!

Cheers!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's that time of year again ...

... for sinus infections. Actually, I've had a "repeat" infection since mid-summer, but it's flaring up again. And we're heading into Cedar Fever season here in Central Texas. Good thing I've got a VERY understanding "doctor" (she's a physician's assistant) who understands the value of antibiotics (and compassion).

I've been thinking about finding some clever way to display cards I make that I'm particularly proud of, as well as the beautiful RAKs that I've received so far from the Technique Junkies 1-on-1 group. And I think I have the perfect solution. It's here:


It's called a "Photofall Desktop Photo Holder" made by Umbra. They have a floor version that's more expensive (like, $60), but this one is $21 at this website: http://www.revdesign.biz/servlet/the-461/Fotofalls-Photofall-Desktop-Photo/Detail (You'll have to cut and paste that; for some reason I can't get the link function to work). I can't afford it this week, maybe not next (since we'll be in San Diego and I'll be wanting to spend my money on rubber stamps from the Coronado Island Designs & Stamps company), but this will be in my living room very soon!

I don't know how I'll survive in San Diego without my crafting stuff, but it's just too darned hard to carry all that on a plane these days. And, anyway, I've never been one to go to crops or do any scrapping away from home (and very little stamping) because I never know what to take. Rarely do I have designs in mind ahead of time, so I'd end up without something vital. So, guess I'll go and hope the week off will give me a clearer head for even better stuff!

So, about these Coronado Island stamps -- they have stamps of all kinds, but I'm really interested in the "local flavor" ones. They have stamps of the Star of India and the Californian ships (which we LOVE), as well as Old Point Loma lighthouse. We've been to the lighthouse once, and to the ships at least four times (a couple of years ago we got to see the ship -- originally the Rose -- that was used as the sailing ship in Master and Commander. That was so ultimate cool! Plus we got to take a sail out on the Bay in Californian, which was so awesome!) So, partly because we have so many photos of these beloved landmarks (can you call a ship a "land"mark??), and partly just because we're ship/lighthouse kinda people, the investment in these will be well worth it. OH! Plus they have a large bottle stamp that, combined with one of the ship stamps, would make a perfect "ship in a bottle" image! Hopefully we'll get to go to the store that sells these, but if not, I will definitely be ordering them online when we get home!

Well, Aidan is reading Eldest, the sequel to the dragon novel Eragon (it's close to 600 pages and, if he finishes tonight, as he probably will, he will have read it in a little more than a day -- from 4pm yesterday until bedtime tonight. And he even slept and went to school during that time! Must be a good book!) Anyway, maybe I'll run up and play in the craft loft a bit. So, off I go ...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I overestimated by HOW much?????

Well, yesterday's Stamp-a-Stack has come and gone. It was ... a valuable experience, in the "boy did I learn alot, mostly from mistakes" sense. I had participants with a vast range of stamping abilities, from never having stamped before to expert. I had assumed they were all intermediate to expert -- the cards weren't hard, but instead of showing them step-by-step how to do each card, I held up the sample cards and gave a run-through on how to do them, which completely overwhelmed two of my stampers. Fortunately, an "expert stamper" friend of mine came just for the social aspect (she's already designed her Christmas cards and didn't want to pay to make more), so she sat down with the beginner, while I sat with the other "overwhelmee" and helped them go step-by-step through the cards they were working on. The other ladies were fine. I felt really bad, though, about my rush-job instructions. So if I ever do another one of these, I'll go step-by-step through making each card before I turn them loose, maybe even have them make one of each so they'll have the hands-on experience before they do the others in the set.

But the thing that was REALLY awful was how atrociously I screwed up both the math and my own thinking in calculating what I needed in the way of supplies and how much to cut for each person. Basically, each person was to make four cards of each of the four designs ... sixteen cards total per person. Well, in my numerically-challenged brain, somehow four cards per person per design turned into SIXTEEN cards per person per design! I took the total for each person and applied it to each individual kit! So I ordered 4x the amount of cardstock I needed! Instead of making enough money to cover my costs and labor (which, let me tell you, would've been heavy enough at four-per and was REALLY nasty at sixteen-per!), I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the hole. We're talking the difference between $50 or so and $200!! I'm glad my husband is committed to me and wasn't standing near the kitchen knives when he found out. So, yes, when I discovered my mistake (when Aidan, stuffing the kit supplies into baggies, said, "Mom, if they're doing four of each card, why am I supposed to put sixteen of each into the bags?") it was late and, because I was exhausted, it seemed so absurd as to be funny. But later, after the financial impact hit me, it ceased to be amusing. Try appalling. Try "Lord, have mercy!!"

So -- if I ever do this again, or any similar thing where supplies must be calculated and cut, Bjorn and Aidan are going to do the calculating, NOT ME!!! My word! Anybody wanna buy a ton of Christmas colored cardstock? All pre-cut, all you need are the stamps! *SIGH*

I don't know how the participants felt about the SAS, but I was pretty disappointed with it, mostly because of my own goofs and the fact that I wasn't the consummate, perfect demonstrator/hostess. Oh, well, at least I got one sale out of it (the non-participating friend.)

On a better note ... I have seen the Winter Mini Catalog, and it is FULL of great stuff! Awesome ribbons, great stamp sets, and the color combos they use for the samples are just gorgeous! I can't wait for December to get here! (Well, that and the fact that it's my birthday month AND Christmas, so I'm asking for money for stamps!)

Well, the church youth group is here, so I need to go be a decent hostess. Nice thing with them is, since they have the youth minister here, they don't need me hovering every minute! I can actually sit down!!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Boy, do I need a new paper cutter!!!

Got my SAS supplies from SU today. Which means that now I'm responsible for chopping the paper all up into the appropriate bits for the cards. And I calculated one of my card bases wrong (since the sample I'd made was only a card front, I goofed and didn't double the long side!), so I'm short by 15 pages of 12x12 Real Red cardstock. I'm hoping my upline might have some (it has to be 12x12), but if not, guess I'll have to go buy some inferior cardstock somewhere and apologize profusely to my customers. I have lots of pages of red cardstock, but the shades vary widely and they're all so flimsy! *SIGH* Stupid ADD.

But I AM thankful that the box got here today, because I'll have more time for cutting. I've already got all the cardstock for one of the cards cut (we're doing four different cards), and part of another. But I'm realizing that my X-Acto 12x12 guillotine cutter has seen better days. The blade arm won't stay up all the way when I'm putting the paper in, so I have to hold it up with my mouth or my chin! You should see me, it's pretty funny. If I do any more of these SAS's or any Stamp Clubs, I'm definitely going to invest in the new guillotine-type cutter in the SU catalog. My upline says it's awesome for things like this. It's just a bit expensive, so maybe I can get it for my birthday.

I ordered some stamps from New Zealand a couple of weeks ago and they got here on Monday. They're from Kiwi-Impressionz (www.kiwi-impressionz.co.nz -- for some reason I can't get this to make a link!) I'm dying to go play with them! They should be good for collage, so I'm wanting to use "Vada's Gesso Resist" on them, especially since I finally got the proper inks for it. One of the stamps is a stylized (Maori-looking design) kiwi bird, one is a fern leaf (a symbol of New Zealand), and the third is a stamp of their five-dollar bill (smaller than the real thing, of course, and without the back side, so I can't counterfeit any NZ dollars, darn it! ;-) ). I've got an interest in New Zealand (in case you couldn't see that!), so thought it would be fun. One of the ladies in the Technique Junkies "1-on-1" RAK group is from NZ, and she sent me a card with a stamp on the back that was the outline of NZ, and that got me interested in finding more Kiwi stamps.

Okay, nuff of that story. If I ever get around to stamping with them, I'll post the cards here.

Speaking of cards, I'll show you a couple I've made recently:


I did this one using the Lumiere Cream technique (TJ). Basically you swirl some Lumiere paint into shaving cream, then lay dark cardstock over it, pull it up, let it set for about 30 seconds, then scrape the shaving cream off. It looks so cool, and it smells good, too! You can't really tell from the scan, but it's got a bit of shimmer to it. This was my husband's "spiritual birthday" card.





This one I just made for fun, because I had gotten a mini-envelope template and wanted to play with it. I think it was the SU one, but I won't swear because I have another couple of envelope templates. For some reason the colors came out all weird in the scan -- they're much brighter and prettier IRL. (The green isn't gross like it looks here! lol) All the supplies are SU.

So, hope you enjoyed those! Off to bed ... I've got a LOT of cutting to do tomorrow!

Grace & peace, everyone!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Perspective

Wow. Sometimes things happen that just put everything into perspective. So, here I am panicking about my SAS next week, when today a woman was carjacked near my son's school and shot in the chest. And come to find out, she's the Director and interim Headmaster of my son's school! She's alive, in "serious but stable" condition, and the doctors are optimistic about how well the operation they did on her went. So we're all praying for her, of course, and I am so thankful that the only big thing I'm having to be concerned about tonight is whether or not my SU supplies will arrive in time for the SAS.

Kinda makes ya think.

A cool thing was that there was a "passerby" at the scene who "just happened" to be a trained paramedic. He was able to plug the exit wound while they waited for the EMTs to arrive. Did I say a "cool thing"? What I really meant was, it was a GOD thing.

Scary thing is that not so far away, the Middle Schoolers at my son's school were playing their yearly "blue-white" game, and there were tons of folks there watching. (I wasn't ... he doesn't play, so I don't always go watch.) After it was over and I was picking Aidan up, he jumped into the car really quickly and said, "Mom, let's get out of here fast." And I, thinking some kid had threatened him or something, said, "Oh? And why do we need to go fast?" He said, "I don't want to have to tell you. Just go, now." Well, being the stubborn (and curious) person that I am, I said, "Okay, but I still want you to tell me what's going on." So that's when he told me the coach had told them there was a carjacker in the area and we should all leave as quickly as possible. Yeah, we left pretty quickly! Of course, at the time I had no idea it was the Director of his school.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but that really shook me up! I'm glad we have a faithful God to count on.

Hug somebody you love tonight (or today, whenever you read this), ay?

Okay, deep breaths, deep, cleansing breaths ...

I'm trying not to panic. I put in my SAS supply order with SU on Wednesday, thinking that would give me, if not plenty of time to get it, at least a reasonable time frame. And I get the e-mail TODAY saying they've JUST shipped it! Gaaaaaa! That means that, if all goes well, I probably won't get it until next Thursday or Friday. The SAS is that SATURDAY!! Of course, I won't know for sure until tomorrow, because I can't start tracking it until then. And I'm trying to suss whether or not the shipping time includes weekends or not. I know UPS doesn't deliver on weekends, but there's nothing to keep them from driving on weekends ... Can you say "poor planning"? I knew you could. Further updates as conditions warrant.

Bjorn and Aidan are going kayaking on the San Marcos river with friends tomorrow. It's gonna be cold in the morning, and Aidan doesn't have any kind of clothes for such an excursion. So guess who gets to go to REI today (which is a jillion miles away from my house) and try to find him something acceptable? Yup -- Mom. Because Pop (Bjorn -- it's short for Papa) has to work, of course. And Aidan's 8th grade football team has one last game today after school, so I can't even take him with me to try things on. I looked up the REI clothing chart while ago, and Aidan is smack-dab in between "Kids" sizes (which he absolutely loathes wearing) and "Men's". Aidan's waist is between a 27 and 28. The Men's sizes start at 30. And in Kids sizes, his waist is a 16, and his inseam is more like a 20. Tall and thin. So who knows what I'll end up with, if anything at all. Oh, well, at least he's not fat.

Speaking of fat ... I've been consistently derailing my diet over the last week, and I really, really need to get my act back together and start counting those calories again. That's the only thing that works for me. I've tried all kinds of programs, some good, some not so good, but in the end it all boils down to calories in vs. calories burned, so I just do better at the counting thing. Plus I need to try to get back to the gym, just take things SLOWLY this time so I don't end up making myself sick again.

But enough whining! It's a beautiful day, gorgeous temps today (gonna be in the mid-60s, which I LOVE), so I will just think of that while I'm out driving to the grocery store and REI. Plus, heck, I'll be in my RAV4 (my adorable "baby" car!) and listening to the Newsboys, so it's all good!

Since you made it through that novella of a post, I'll reward you (at least I think it's a reward?) with another of my Newsboys Concert/Meet-n-Greet layouts. Lucky you! ;-) It's a two-pager, but since sizing it small enough to make both pages fit on the same "line" would render it difficult to view properly, it's on two lines. "We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause," as they often say in Britain. It's pictures of Phil Joel (fancy that!), and the strip across the middle is actually frames from a video of him I took with my little digi camera. I used QuickTime Pro to extract them from the video, then framed them with a negative-strip frame I downloaded from somewhere (took forever!) and printed them out on a transparency so it would look like a real strip of movie-film. Well, sorta, anyway. So, enjoy!

Oh, and PLEASE feel free to leave comments in my blog!! In fact, I encourage you to. You don't have to be a member of Blogger to do so, and I'd really appreciate the feedback and, well, just general remarks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What a headache!!

Literally and figuratively. I spent a good chunk of yesterday and today creating the sample cards for my Stamp-a-Stack on the 11th, and then figuring out how to cut the pieces needed for the stampers to get the most out of each piece of cardstock, which totally did not help the headache I had. I only have three people signed up for sure (one is doing two batches), but I figured I'd make three extra sets in case someone "didn't realize" or "forgot" that they were supposed to respond by today! (And, yes, I called the non-responders on my list yesterday, but most weren't home, two were definite "no" answers -- seems I'm conflicting with a chili cookoff and a church children's workers meeting -- and two "maybe" answers. And I'm too much of a weenie to say, "Hey, gotta know by November 1 or you can't come!") So I actually hope at least one extra person will decide to come. I've already ordered the supplies ... my husband will kill me when he sees how much the total came to! I'm definitely losing money on this ... I'll have to figure things out better for future classes. *SIGH*

Anyway -- I'm actually supposed to be writing a novel today. Well, starting today. A friend of mine talked me into doing National Novel Writing Month, where you try to write a whole novel (or at least get 50,000 words) between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. Most of the NaNoWriMo people, as we are called, started at midnight last night, but I needed sleep, and then had to spend today doing the SAS supply figuring and ordering. And then I wanted to come here and update things. And my head still hurts. Okay, I'm whining now! lol

So, off to write a dream-sequence "novel" with Phil and the rest of the Newsboys, a riff in the space-time continuum and pirates. Hey, if I'm gonna do this every day for a month, I'm gonna have some fun!! I just hope I can figure out what the first sentence is going to be! That's always the hardest part, for some reason. That and ending it. I'm kinda like the Monty Python bunch about endings ... not real good at 'em.

I'll sign off with a picture of one of my "Got to Meet the Newsboys" scrapbook LOs. I'm being INCREDIBLY brave to post this one, because I HATE the way I look in these pictures. I'm not sure what on earth possessed me to ever wear glasses -- and trust me, after these pictures came back, it was diet and contact lenses all the way (I've lost 20 pounds, BTW!) At least Aidan looks good. Anyway, here it is ...




Just for fun -- I scanned Phil's autograph from the original (in my Breakfast Club Passport -- BC is the Newsboys fanclub), then printed it on a transparency to put on the page. There's also a ton of journaling behind the big picture (notice how it hinges on top).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Go" -- gosh I love the Newsboys!!

As I was leaving to run up to Hobby Lobby yesterday (on the way to picking Aidan up from school), I decided to check my mailbox, and lo and behold, there was the Newsboys new CD, "Go", in my mailbox a day before it was to hit the streets! And it is AWESOME!!! Actually, I don't think a word has been invented that fully describes how cool, crash hot, utterly fabulous this album is. Their worship albums were good, but I am SO glad they're back to good ol' rock-n-roll (with some techno and pop mixed in). And the DVD that came with it is so good! There are little vignettes on there about the hometowns of each of the guys (well, Paul didn't get his hometown one done, but his bit is really funny), and it was so cool to see where they'd all grown up and to "meet" their parents. Especially Phil ... oh, sorry, gotta wipe that drool off my keyboard ;-)

So today I have a dilemma -- do I play with stamps, or do I watch the DVD again? Of course, obviously I have great new music to stamp by, but I'm torn as to how to best spend my time ...

Actually, I got a couple of great stamps at HL -- they had some of them on sale, so I couldn't resist that. One of them is a picture of a carpenter hammering something, and next to him on the floor is his little son playing with some wonking big nails, and the shadow the boy casts is a cross. The shadow is a bit cheesy, but I loved the whole idea about Jesus playing with these nails and then, of course, thirty years later similar nails would play a rather important role in His life. And then I got a much more lighthearted one with this cartoonish lady on it saying "Listen, honey, God never said it would be easy -- He only said it would be worth it." Boy, do I need to remember that every single day! I also got a couple of collage-element type stamps (postmarks, etc.) So I'm dying to go up and play with them, but then I kinda hear Phil Joel calling my name to come watch the DVD again ...

I'm hopeless!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Finally Finished!

Got the Minister Appreciation cards finished!! Here they are:







It didn't take me as long as I thought, and I had so much fun doing them! They do so much for our church, so I'm glad to have an "excuse" to thank them with my handmade cards!

The first one, the Pastor's, uses the "Cracked Glass" technique. Second one, the Worship Minister's, is Joseph's Coat (dude likes black); Third, the Associate Pastor's, is a Brayered Madras, and last, the Youth Minister's, uses the Frog In a Blender technique (that name grosses me out!)

I spent hours tonight scanning my tons of "new" cards, and hope to get them uploaded to SplitcoastStampers soon.

Thanks for taking a look! And I apologize for the weirdly wrapped text -- I'm having a little trouble figuring the picture posting out! (Thank goodness I'm married to a computer whiz ... unfortunately, he happens to be in bed right now!)

Oh, gosh, just mention bringing cards ...

Tomorrow we're having a special "Ministry Appreciation" luncheon after church, and we've been asked to bring cards to put secretly in baskets for each of our staff members. Well, since these guys are pretty special, do you think for a minute I could BUY the cards? Or even "just" use some I'd already made? Heavens, no.

So I've got just a few hours to make four cards. And, of course, I'm not going to just run up to the craft loft and crank out some "simple" cards. I've got to meet this self-imposed challenge of using TECHNIQUES! Goodness, "simple" cards would be just as appreciated, but at this moment in time, I have some kind of creative compulsion to spend two hours on every card I make. Oh, well. I will admit it's a blast.

So I just made a "cracked glass" card -- can't decide yet if it's for the pastor or the youth minister. I'll decide that later, I guess. I already know I'm doing a Joseph's Coat technique for the worship minister who I work with every week on the Praise Team. He's pretty hip (I mean, the guy has a pierced eyebrow and paints his toenails black), so I thought I'd use the "Think Big" SU set, have it say (obviously) "big THANKS" with little asterisks scattered around. I've got the glossy cardstock brayered, and it's sitting up there drying. I have learned the hard way you have to be darned sure your glossy cardstock is THOROUGHLY dry after brayering it with Spectrum Ink before doing the embossing step. I ended up throwing out a whole half-sheet of glossy when the embossing powder stuck to the entire thing, instead of just the Versamarked images. I hate wasting glossy cardstock.

Anyway, then I have to come up with two more cards (pastor-or-youth-minister and the associate pastor), and I have to do it all before bedtime. Thank heavens for going off Daylight Savings tonight! I'll have a whole extra hour! Plus Bjorn and Aidan are driving down to an out-of-town 8th grade football game (Aidan is a manager) tonight, so I won't have to feel guilty about holing up in the craft loft!

I love making cards! I'll bet Bjorn and Aidan just wish I loved cleaning house and making dinner half as much!!

Onward to the craft loft!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Welcome to my Stamp--n-Scrap Loft!

I have resisted this blogging thing for awhile now. I really didn't think anyone cared to know the gory details of my life! I did try one awhile back, but got bored with it, for the reason I just stated. But, I don't know, something in me is attracted to the idea of talking about two of my favorite three hobbies (rubber stamping, scrapbooking and writing), so I thought, what the heck, let's give it a go! And, actually, I guess I get to include my third hobby, because I will be writing this blog ...

A quick back-history of my stamping and scrapping hobbies: I first saw a demonstration of "scrapbooking" back when my son Aidan (who is now 13) was about a year old, so that would've been 1994-ish. I hated it. I thought it was somehow sacriligious to actually cut photographs. Plus the whole idea of cutting them in circles and stars and then sticking silly stickers on the page and doing goofy lettering really turned me off. I swore I would never do something that lame. (And I was quite self-righteous about it, too! lol)

Fast-forward to 1998. Through the company my husband Bjorn worked for, we had an opportunity of a lifetime to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and stay free at a very nice resort (the Westin Regina). We even got a food-and-spending allowance! It was a fun, fantastic trip, and we even took Aidan, who was still four when we went. I took tons of pictures, of course. And when I got home, I don't even remember why, but I found myself somewhat interested in scrapbooking the pictures. (I probably saw a scrapping magazine.) So, I bought my first patterned papers (a cheesy vacation themed kit), some decorative scissors, a few markers and a Zig Two-Way Glue pen, and I was off and running. I LOVED it!! Of course, I cringe in horror now when I go back and look at that first scrapbook, but I try to remind myself that it was the equivalent of a child first learning to write. Anyway, I was hooked, and this spelled doom for our budget!

Sometime after that I discovered rubber stamps. Again, I don't remember the details, because I'm sure I innocently blundered into this world, but, again, I was hooked!

I'm not incredibly consistent in my scrapping. I've completed only five albums, but this summer I took Stacy Julian's "Big Picture: Library of Memories" class online, and it has completely revolutionized the way I look at scrapping. I'm sure more of this will come out as I blog, so I won't write an entire book about it right now. But it has freed me from the tyranny of the chronological album (not that I ever did those -- most of mine have been vacation albums), and lifted the burden of "caught up". Stacy J hates "caught up", and has tossed that whole notion aside. THANK YOU, STACY!! (Gotta love that we have the same first name!)

In July 2005 I signed up to become a Stampin' Up! demonstrator. They are far and away my favorite stampin' stuff company. I do use other companies' products, too, but SU is first in my heart. (Club Stamp would have to be next.)

In January of this year I signed up for Pat Huntoon's "Technique Junkies" newsletter. It is FULL of awesome techniques that take cards out of the realm of "basic blah" into "amazingly fantastic!" But I didn't really try any of the techniques until last month -- and I am so hooked! Once again my world has been revolutionized, and I am no longer stamping-blocked when I go into my craft loft and sit down. I've been cranking out cards like mad! I highly suggest you check out her website -- www.patstamps.com -- and seriously consider subscribing to the newsletter. It rocks!

Another website I highly recommend is www.splitcoaststampers.com -- it's dedicated to Stampin' Up! products, and has the most amazing gallery of member-made "stuff" imaginable. They also have a huge section of techniques, so between SCS and Technique Junkies, you can't lose. Bookmark them now!

Enough for now. I'll try not to be so long-winded in future, but I am a writer at heart, so please bear with me!