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).