Saturday, July 28, 2007

What would happen if ...

... I suddenly got tired of stamping? I mean, this comes up occasionally because I hit these "dead" spots in my desire to be paper-rubber-scissorsly creative and the terror strikes. What if I woke up one morning and said, "Right. Time to box it all up and give it to Stampers' Goodwill."? Would my husband divorce me because of all the money I’ve invested in my stamping/scrapping obsessions that would then be thrown away? Would I lose all my friends (because most of them are stampers)? Would I get back the friends who run the other direction when they see me coming because they’re afraid I’m going to ask them to yet another Stampin’ Up! class? Would I shrivel up and die of lack of creativity, or would something else fill the void? (Actually, I already also write, so at least there would be that, and the only money spent there is on paper, ink cartridges and notebooks, but that also requires a bit of inspiration.)

I did quit scrapbooking (and, consequently, stamping) for two years once because I totally burned out. We went to Ireland and Norway in the summer of 2000. I started scrapping the week in Ireland almost as soon as we got back, and it took me almost a year to do it (jillions of photos, jillions of pages). By the time I got done with that part I was staring down the barrel of photos of TWO weeks in Norway, plus the self-imposed pressure of needing it to be even more perfect since there were relatives involved, and I just blew a gasket somewhere. I did a few pages and then couldn’t do any more. Then we moved to Texas and all my stuff stayed in boxes for two years. Not because it all had to, but because I just couldn’t bring myself to drag it all out. It was overwhelming. During that time the entire scrapbooking industry exploded. Eyelets came out. “Embellishments” (waaaaaay beyond stickers) were now a huge part of the pages. Pages were lumpy (boy did I have a hard time getting used to that!) It was as if I was starting all over, or at least going straight from Kindergarten to college! I survived, but I have nowhere near the page output that I did in my pre-burnout years.

So I started on this huge card-making binge back in October when I finally started playing with the techniques in my Technique Junkies newsletters. I was a madwoman, making cards as if there was no tomorrow. I loved it! I was addicted! I just couldn’t get enough of making cards! And then one day I didn’t actually make it into my craft loft. Then a couple of days later it happened again. And now I enjoy going in there and making stuff, but I’m not driven like I was, and there will be whole weeks (like this last one) where hardly anything gets made at all. I still buy stuff, but I’m really not making enough to justify it.

I don’t really think I’m burning out. But it does scare me sometimes when I have weeks like this when the thought of going in there tires me rather than energizes me. I even find that I’m deleting more of the Yahoo groups messages than I’m reading these days, and that bothers me. I get such great inspiration from those groups, but sometimes it’s just overwhelming to have all that e-mail stacked up in my inbox …

So, just thought I’d muse a little today. Hopefully tonight I’ll make some kind of creative progress in the loft. If I do, I’ll be sure to post the results of my labors!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sorry for the Gap!

Well, I’ve been meaning all week to get to my blog and write about my Open House, but I have been both very tired and very busy, so I’ve just slacked off. Deepest apologies!

I think the Open House went very well, at least as far as the “fun factor”. We did three of the four make-n-takes (had to leave out the Garden Whimsy one due to time constraints), and everyone seemed to really have fun, although I really hope I didn’t overwhelm our “stamping newbie” who was there. She did well on the projects, so I’m hoping that was a good sign. She claimed she wasn’t overwhelmed, but you never know. It was pretty intense. I spread the dining table with a bunch of goodies from the new catty and let everyone oooh and aaah over them, pick them up, touch them, get a feel for them. Then we got into the MNTs. General fun, socializing, laughter, good time. Sales weren’t high, which was disappointing, but I’m hoping that at least everyone got charged up about the new catty and that sales will trickle in over time. Yes, I’ve done some follow up, so we’ll just see how that goes.

On Monday I went to my neurologist and got very good news. I don’t show any signs of MS, the spots on my brain are “ageing” due to the migraines. So she put me on Topomax to try to prevent migraines (the “good” side effect of this stuff is that lots of people lose weight on it – sure hope I’m one!). I’m also going this coming Monday to a pain management doctor to get steroid shots in the back of my head to control the “neuralgia” (irritated-nerve-induced) headaches I also get. So hopefully I’ll be getting these things under control now! I had a nasty neuralgia headache yesterday, so I am definitely looking forward to the shots.

I can’t wait until next Wednesday, August 1. We demos get to pre-order from the upcoming Holiday Mini catalog (available to the public on September 1), and it is FULL of awesome stamp sets, paper and other goodies. I keep thinking one of these days I will get saturated with stamp sets and not need any more, but so far that hasn’t happened. I know Bjorn is probably praying that it will! lol

So that’s the update for now. I haven’t really done much in the loft this week. I think prepping for the Open House just wiped me out, and then the Topomax may also be making me a little sleepy. I’m hoping to get some scrapping done this weekend, since I’ve got that “Summer Scrapbooking Support Group” going on the Stamping Scrapbookers Yahoo group. I really need to just get on the ball with that. So many photos, so little time spent scrapping!

I was disappointed this week to find out that the technique I had submitted to Technique Junkies and that was supposed to appear in the August newsletter was bumped. I’ve been assured it will be on the CD, though. Not quite the same, but hopefully those who get the CD will like it and will enjoy using it. I submitted another technique a couple of months ago but haven’t heard anything about that one at all. I don’t think I’ll push it. I’d be happy to post it here if I could just remember how I did it! I may have to e-mail Pat anyway and see if she can send it back to me so I’ll know what I did! (I sent her the instructions and didn’t keep a copy for myself! I have the card, but that doesn’t help much!)

Anyway, off to do whatever I’ve gotta do today. I know grocery shopping will be in there somewhere. (Yuck! I detest grocery shopping!) Think I’ll go over to my parents’ house and goof off for awhile first. Happy crafting!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

6x6 LO samples

Last night in the Loft I decided to make some 6x6 scrapbook layouts to have on hand as “samples” for my Open House guests. I never usually do anything less than 12x12 (except for the occasional 8x8 that I’ve done for circle journals), so “small” is always a challenge for me. Again, I looked to SCS for inspiration, and then was also inspired by fellow Technique Junkie Carole (who is also on the Firecracker Designs design team). If I have time I may make a couple of “conversion” pages to take the 6x6s of my twin nephews to 8-1/2 x 11, then 12x12, not to really “demo”, but to show the ladies how that works. I think that’s fun, personally. I did one for a workshop (the pink LO of my grand-niece that I think I posted the other day), and I really liked how it turned out.

SO, here they are:

LO 1: This is one of my twin nephews who lives out in San Diego. I used the “Notations” paper from the Spring mini (only just now as I looked it up in the F/W catty did I realize that the yellow-oriented Notations paper from the Spring mini isn’t in there; what we have now is “Notations 2”, which is more green-oriented – figures). Anyway, I’ve been wanting to use this paper for something, so I decided to use it for the pages of my nephews. LO 2 is the other twin, same paper pack. I also used the Office Accoutrements stamp set on both pages, and the Folder Tab punch. Cardstock is Wild Wasabi textured CS, Tempting Turquoise and So Saffron:





LO 3: Got this idea from Carole, but hers was 8x8 and oriented with the photo mostly horizontal (portrait orientation). I used the Purely Pomegranate paper from the 6x6 paper sampler we got in June, and Soft Sky, Wild Wasabi, Groovy Guava and Pretty in Pink CS, as well as a strip of Ballet Blue and Purely Pom. The butterfly and swirl are from the Garden Whimsy set (gosh, I love this set!), and the “Delight in Life” is from the retired set … you guessed it … “Delight in Life”! The little girl is my grand-niece Rachael (she just turned 5 last week -- boy does time fly!)



So hope you enjoyed looking at these. I started altering one of SU’s new clipboards last night. This one is 4-1/2” x 9”, and also uses the Notations paper. I hope to finish it tonight, then I can photograph it and show you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CASS vs. CASE (with lots of pictures!)

Before I get started on today's entry, let me first announce that Pat over at Technique Junkies is offering a GREAT DEAL, for one week only, on two years of the Technique Junkies newsletter. Here's what she has to say about it:

"For one-week only, get two years at 2004 prices! Get the 2007 and 2008 Technique Junkie newsletters for just $33.00 (US addresses only). You will receive a whopping 150 techniques delivered to your doorstep. TJ techniques are step-by-step -- not an overview -- and the newsletter itself is full-color, professionally printed and high-quality. In addition, you have online-access to the step-by-step picture tutorials online -- and GREAT artwork from talented designers.

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Email me today to start your subscription today! phuntoon@optonline.net"

So if you've been putting off subscribing to her wonderful newsletter, this is the time to do it!!! Go right now and sign up ... and then come back and finish my blog entry!

Okay, I have been playing for the last couple of days, trying to get ready for the SU New Catalog Open House I'm having on Sunday afternoon. I've figured out the make-n-takes as well as made a few "exciting samples" to show them of other ideas for the stamp sets. Now, I have a confession to make: In the interest of time, I have "CASSed" most of the ideas. What is "CASSing" you ask? It's a term I just made up that stands for "Copy and Steal Some", as opposed to CASEing, where you "Copy and Steal Everything." I got my ideas mainly from Splitcoast Stampers, and one from the new catalog itself, but none of them are EXACTLY like the original.

So I may as well show you what I've done so far (and if you're coming to the Open House and don't want to see, just find something else to look at on the internet, or close your browser, because these are beyond spoilers, these are the Actual Make-n-Takes!)

As I said, these will be the Make-n-Takes:

#1 -- Pick-a-Petal Friendship Card -- Okay, I looked through about 18 pages of P-a-P on SCS just now to try to find the card I CASSed, but either I missed it, or it's moved. Anyway, the original had a blue flower, yellow center, yellow card base and, I believe, solid circles stamped in yellow on the card base. And I think it said "Thank You" instead of "Friendship". It was adorable, but Pat Huntoon (of TJ fame) has been experimenting with color combos, and she put together Real Red and Groovy Guava on a card, so I thought I would, too! So here is my Friendship Red/Guava Flower card:


#2 -- 3D Garden Whimsy -- This one is CASSed from both "Bayou Whimsy", by "kulissa" and from a card by Pat Huntoon, both on SCS. Kulissa's was not 3D, and Pat's was, so that's one way I changed it up. I also oriented my swirl-sentiment differently, and added the little bugs. Kulissa's seemed larger than what I did, and I matted a bit differently. Also, I added the little bugs across the bottom. The color scheme is Kulissa's, except she also used Old Olive and I didn't. So, here's the card (I turned it sideways so you could see the 3D effect, but it didn't work very well):



#3 -- Chocolate/Guava Outlaw card -- This one I CASSed from Jeanne Streiff on SCS. Hers was larger, had the medallion in a different place, used the Ticket Corner punch, which I don't have, and had "from the heart" stamped on it. Also, I used a rhinestone brad, and hers was either silver or gold. My card is 4-1/4" square:



#4 -- Baroque Motifs Vellum Candy Box -- For this one I got inspiration from page 76 of the new catty. I had no template to go by, so I just finally searched the web for one that I could adapt, at least for the little rectangle box inside the vellum sleeve. I changed up the colors and stamp sets used. Mine uses Baroque Motifs, Purely Pomegranate, Tempting Turquoise and Chocolate Chip with a dash of Whisper White (another Pat Huntoon color combo):


So those are the make-n-takes. I also did a couple of extra cards that I'll show, and I'll be working on others tonight.

Here are my extras, both CASSed from SCS:
Garden Whimsy -- I don't know if the original used vellum or not, but mine has a vellum overlay with the butterfly, red tulip and swirl-sentiment. Also, I used the Whimsy wheel on the card base:



And this is my version of the Pick-a-Petal ladybug. The one I CASSed had no flowers on it. I used both the P-a-P set and Big Pieces to make the flowers, and scavenged a couple of leaves from Watercolor Garden (Retired):


Whew! That was a lot of work, but so much fun! I usually prefer coming up with my own designs for cards, but every once in awhile CASSing can be quite rewarding!

Back soon with more Open House goodies!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hug Fest

Well, I had some major scrapping time in the loft yesterday. Took me about five hours to do this layout, so I hope my family will appreciate it! lol The main reason it took so long was that I was using a sketch that had no dimensions written in, so I had to figure everything out using math. “Using math” is the key here. I’m a creative person, not a math person. My poor husband was trying to help me, but it was fairly hopeless. In the end I decided to “guesstimate” the sizes, and did a pretty good job that way! If I’d just done that to start with I could’ve saved myself all kinds of time!

The other reason it took so long was that I was trying to fit 22 pictures onto two pages. The sketch really helped, but I still ended up with several pictures left over. So I just changed a few things about the sketch here, added a few things there, and I did it! Twenty-two pictures on two pages, and it still looks organized and not terribly busy (at least in my opinion!). But the biggest issue was deciding which pictures to cut to what sizes. I ended up making a “template” of sizes (like frames) and tried the pictures out to see what worked best for each one. It was a great idea, but it did take some time to make and then to check all those pictures and cut them! But, no, I’m not interested in digital scrapping, thank you. I tried it for awhile, but I’m a paper, scissors, glue type of person. I want to cut it, feel it, hold it in my hand and manipulate things that way instead of with a mouse or a stylus. (I don’t have a Graphire tablet, BTW, so maybe that’s part of my problem, lol.) I want to feel the ribbon, use real ink with real stamps … okay, you get the point. So, yes, maybe digi-scrapping would have made this layout take MUCH less time, but I’d rather do it the “old fashioned” way.

So here it is – it’s all about hugging. As I was sorting through my photos, taking Stacy Julian’s “Library of Memories” class, I realized we had tons of photos of people hugging each other (okay, mostly people hugging Aidan, or vice versa). My family has always been a demonstrative family when it comes to showing love, so now I’ve got the proof right here in Living Color! Click on the image to see it larger (hopefully you’ll be able to read the journaling that way). I used paper by DCWV (from a pad called “Old World – something-or-other”), although the red textured paper is Unknown Manufacturer. There is some SU cardstock in there, too (the Very Vanilla and a bit of Cranberry Crisp). Stamps are River City Rubber Works (sentiments) and CTMH (little flower). Die cut letters are the Cuttlebug “Olivia” font. (Gosh, I love my Cuttlebug!). I’ve forgotten who made the paisley twill (originally put above the title to cover up a bad alpha-stamping job!) Hope you enjoy looking at it!



Got an SU new catty Open House coming up this weekend that I have to prepare for, so this will be a busy week. That’s okay, though – any excuse to stamp!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

OUTLAW WANTED

Hee hee -- got your attention, didn't I? I've been playing around with new SU paper and stamps (hence the "Wanted" -- stamp set -- and "Outlaw" -- patterned paper). I can show you one of the cards I made, but not the other, yet. I made it for my UnConvention "Roommate" (something going on in my Yahoo! "Stampin' Up! Friends" group), and I can't show it to you until I'm sure she's received it.

I've also been playing with some new CTMH stamps I bought (I have two consultants! It's awkward, but I started with one, then a customer of mine who had been thinking about joining SU under me decided to do CTMH instead, so I buy from both of them. They're both wonderful people, so I don't want to "dump" either one.) And my Stampsmith goodies. So I've been busy!

Here is one of the cards I made with my new SU stuff. I stamped "Tres Chic" on watercolor paper in Basic Black, then sprayed colorwash sprays over it. Then I took a piece of the new "Outlaw" paper and cut a star-flower shape in it with a Cut-n-Fold template (American Traditional Designs). I have to tell y'all the story of these ATD templates -- I went into Tuesday Morning a few weeks ago (if you don't know what Tuesday Morning is, it's a retail store that sells "seconds" and overstocks from other stores, and they usually have some great stuff in there), looking for a birthday present. I decided to check and see if they had any scrapping stuff in there, and they did, but it wasn't anything I really needed. I was just about to give up and move on to another aisle when I happened to spot a package of brass stencils. Turns out it was a package of several (I haven't counted how many) of the ATD Cut-n-Fold templates, and it was just $9.99!! Now, these stencils normally cost about $5-$6 apiece, and this kit has at least 8 or 9 of them, PLUS an x-acto knife AND an embossing tool (for scoring the folds). It was practically the steal of the century! I hadn't taken time to play with them, though, until my friend was over last week. Now that I know how to use them, I'm sure I'll be using them more! Another note about this card -- I've discovered that this combination of colors (Very Vanilla, Real Rust, Sage Shadow, Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, or some combo thereof) is fast becoming a favorite of mine. I would never have put these rusts and browns with Sage Shadow on my own, but I love it!




The other card is a totally different mood, yet again. I used the "Finding Beauty" set from CTMH with the Tapestry technique, then mounted a Stampsmith photo stamp image over it. The "Bonjour" is from the SU "Carte Postale" set.




Today was my mother's 75th birthday. She didn't want us to make a big deal out of it, but of course how could we not? She's such an awesome, special lady! I made her a card with Shirley Temple on it (another Stampsmith photo stamp), but of course I took it over to her before I remembered to scan it. I'll try to borrow it back so I can scan it (and her Mother's Day card, too, which I promised to scan and never did!). I used the same Tapestry technique with the same stamps as the above card, but I used shades of blue and chalk inks instead of the Craft inks normally called for (except for the white, which was still Whisper White Craft). The real highlight of her day, I think, was the beautiful vase of roses she got from my second brother (I have two, both older than me). He's had a very difficult year, including a very painful divorce that was initiated by his wife of 26 years from out of the blue, and my Mom has particularly "been there" for him through it all. What made it special is that he normally doesn't even remember to call her on her birthday (or calls late in the evening), but she has been such a strong support for him that he not only remembered her birthday, but wanted to make it special. The card he sent with the roses just made us all get teary-eyed, it was so sweet about how she's always been there for him through the good times and bad. Of course, my Dad has been there for him, too, but you know how it's just a little more special with moms. Then this evening we put in a video my aunt had just sent them of some of their old home movies, from way back in the 1950s and '60s. My parents never had a movie camera, so it was so cool to see them and my grandparents when they were younger, plus my great-grandparents that I never knew were in there, and then there were shots of my oldest brother as a baby (hilarious!) and my other brother and me as children. Very brief shots of the two of us, but it was still fun to see myself in action at age 5. I had one closeup, and what did I do? Did I smile? Did I look sweet and coy? No, I just stood there staring glumly at the camera. Of course, my mom was probably ordering me to look cute (there was no sound on those old movies, so I don't know for sure, but I know my Mom!!), so I did the exact opposite. We got such a kick out of watching those fifteen minutes of family history! It was a good way to end Mom's birthday.

Okay, it's midnight, and I still have to read before going to bed (can't just go straight to sleep, you know!), so I'm off. I'll be back soon with more stamped stuff!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Striptease ...

In my craft loft today I decided to experiment. For a long time I've been saving the little strips of paper that come off the backgrounds I make when I trim them down from 5-1/2" x 4-1/4" to 5-1/4" x 4" to layer them on the card base. All kinds of narrow strips of background techniques -- from Tapestry to Alcohol Ink Press, from Colorwash Batik to Heated Pearls, and so many more. I've had in the back of my mind to do some kind of mosaic with them. But last week when my friend and I were playing with my stamps, she was using the circle/wheel stamp from the "In the Spotlight" hostess set (SU), and it just hit me -- I could make a sunrise!

So this morning while my son was hanging out with a friend, I decided to give it a try. I was disappointed to find that I was out of adhesive in my Xyron 510, so I used a double-sided adhesive sheet instead (you know the kind – it’s clear, but it has white backing on one side and orange vinyl covering the top). So first I stamped my image with the red and yellow stripes of a Kaleidacolor pad, then I put the double sided adhesive on the sheet of paper and peeled off the orange vinyl. I used a bit of the vinyl to mask the “sun” and to give me somewhere to put my fingers so I could hold the card. Then I just laid strips of leftovers in a fairly sunbeam-like pattern (I was very symmetrical with this one, putting two of each style on except the center one, and keeping them in the same order on each side). When they were all on there, I covered the entire exposed part (i.e., everything but the “sun”) with Princess Gold (don’t know the manufacturer) embossing powder and heated it. When that had cooled, I took the mask off the “sun” and covered the whole thing with Versamark ink, then embossed with UTEE, and then repeated that step (2 layers of UTEE). It was hard not to get bubbles in the finished product, but I just reheated those bits and got most of them out.



So I really like the way this turned out! It’s got a very “enameled” look to it with all that UTEE, and it uses up scraps that I just couldn’t bear to toss out. Now I want to experiment with other designs/patterns with the blues, greens, purples and pinks that I have. Don’t know when I’ll get to it – I got a box of new goodies from SU today that I have to play with! – but at least I know this will work!

Speaking of my box of goodies – I was so disappointed when I opened it up: I thought I had ordered more! lol I was trying to be frugal, I guess. I love what I got, though – the “Wanted” set, the Doodles wheel, the “Tres Chic” background, some ribbon and a pack of the “Outlaw” paper (which is SO gorgeous despite the name). I’ve actually already been playing with it tonight, but don’t have anything finished to show yet. A couple of days ago I broke down and ordered the new scallop circle punch, a stack of each color of the new In Colors in 8-1/2” x 11”, and a couple of reinkers. My order shows that they are ready to ship the punch, but not the rest of the order (it’s listed as “partial”). Hmmm. Hope I get it in time to prepare for my Open House in a couple of weeks!

Well, it’s been a busy day and I am SO ready for bed. Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with some new artwork to show you!

Monday, July 09, 2007

It works! And it expires tomorrow!

I got the Scan 'n Stitch (ArcSoft) trial software to work today! Yay! And the trial expires tomorrow! Boo! I am going to buy it, though, as I think I said yesterday. Just not until maybe next week or so.

But that means I get to show you the LOs I finished over the weekend, and the one of my niece that I did awhile back. Yay again!

So ... the first one is of my dear Bjorn. One of my Yahoo! groups the other day got started on this "my husband is the best husband" escalating contest that just got on my nerves. I'm sorry, I don't think any human is as amazing as some of these husbands -- they actually do HOUSEWORK! I'm talking, scrubbing floors on their knees, cooking every night, etc. So, yes, maybe some of them do SOME of these things, but I'm fairly certain none of them are perfect.

It made me think about my guy. He's not perfect. We've had lots of discussions about me needing help with the housework, and he does help, he's just not the Maid Service by any stretch. (Neither am I, I'm sorry to say!) But Bjorn is so much more than that! You can click on the LO to see it bigger and read what I had to say about him. I used a CTMH stamp set ("Adorable") and SU cardstock to make the background paper. The patterned paper is Basic Grey, and the word "Bjorn" is done with a Club Stamp alpha:



This next one is a 2 page layout about Bjorn's sister. Since they're Norwegian (he and his brother and sister are 1st Generation Norwegian-American), Aidan calls her "Tante" instead of "Aunt". So this LO celebrates the wonderful aunt she's been to him since the beginning! I think the PP on this LO is Autumn Leaves (won't swear to it, though). Cardstock is SU. Chipboard letters are SU, which I painted with acrylic paints and stamped on with Rhonna Farrer's "Flourishes" stamps. The stickers spelling "Tante" are Debbie Mumm. The stamps to the right of the "Tante Liv" are CTMH ("Finding Beauty"). All inks are SU. Brads and hemp twine are unknown.




This last one is a page I did awhile back for a workshop. They wanted to see scrapbooking in action, so I did a "conversion" page -- first I did the 6"x6" with my grand-niece's picture in it. Then I put that on an 8-1/2" x 11" inch with the two photo/journaling blocks at the bottom, then I put all that on a 12" x 12" page. I CASEd the sketch from Splitcoast Stampers, but I don't remember now who I got it from. All supplies are, of course, Stampin' Up!



So, that's where I am, and I think I may be caught up on my "Summer Scrapbooking Support Group" goals. I'll have to go to the Stampin' Scrapbookers Yahoo! group website and enter them, see if I'm caught up yet.

Gotta run -- Aidan is doing homework (yes, they give homework during summer break -- writing essays and answering questions about the two books he has to read), and Bjorn is doing "Work work" on his computer, so I sense a great time to go do something creative in the loft!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday, Sunday

Well, I actually managed to grab some time in the Loft this afternoon and evening, and cranked out a couple of cards (remember, I make four of everything, so it takes longer per design). It was fun to be up there creating and making things happen. I also managed to do a scrapbook LO and finish another one on Saturday, but for some reason my stitching program (a trial version of ArcSoft’s “Scan ‘n’ Stitch”) just kept locking up as soon as it was loaded, so I gave up trying to get it going. I want to buy this program (it worked when I first tried it several days ago --- and yes, I still had 2 days left on the trial), but right now I just don’t have the money. So I guess that means I can’t stitch anything until then.

ANYway – on to the cards.

The first one I did using the Alcohol Press TJ technique. Stamps are The Angel Company (TAC) and SU (sentiment). Colors are Basic Black, Summer Sun, Ruby Red and Groovy Guava (all SU). I used alcohol inks (Pinata brand Red something or other, and Ranger Butterscotch and Espresso) on the acetate sheet, and stamped the image in Staz-On:




The second one is an entirely different mood! (I guess I like to do that sometimes.) Stamps are TAC (lighthouses), Impression Obsession (sentiment) and Stamp Francisco (the girl behind the sentiment). Colors are SU’s new Soft Sky and Blue Bayou – hard to make the colors come out right after a scan. I also used SU’s Close to Cocoa on the tag. Oh, darn, I forgot – the tag is stamped with the Cheesecloth stamp from SU (I need to remember to note that on the back!)




So I really had a lot of fun making these. It’s getting hot up in the loft, though, now that our unseasonably cool summer temps are going away and leaving us with heat. It’s impossible to keep it cool enough in there – one little A/C vent, and if I keep it cool enough in the loft, I freeze out the people downstairs! So my stamping time is done in small chunks right now, so I can go downstairs and cool off!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Double (Vanilla) Vision

Well, it has been a rough week. Lots of depressing stuff -- but sometimes that really brings out the creativity, and so I've got three "Double Vanilla" technique cards to show off. We had a "4th of July Parade Watching/Breakfast Potluck" at our house yesterday morning. Our small town has a parade that runs right past our house, so we have a party every year and invite our friends to watch with us. Some of our closest friends live about an hour's drive from our house, so we always invite them to spend the night with us, otherwise they would have to leave their house by 6am to get here before the road is closed to our house for the parade. So, anyway, they stayed with us almost all day yesterday, and the woman of the family is a stamper like me, so we went up and played with my stamps while everyone else placed Settlers of Catan (fun game, BTW). She was trying out the Vanilla Double technique and made a really neat card with my "In the Spotlight" set (2007 Fall/Winter Catalog Hostess Level 2 set). I hadn't really tried Vanilla Double before, and I really liked it, so today I played with three of my new SU sets and made Vanilla Double cards with different attitudes!

First -- Elegant and Serene. This uses the "Baroque Motifs" set and the new In Color colors Blue Bayou and Soft Sky. This is the color combo my friend used, and we both thought it was just a very calming combination:




Second -- Fun, friendly. This is the "In the Spotlight" set that she used for her card, but I added an extra stamp in the background. She tore her lighter strip and bent up the spiral-punched bits, and used a different small accent stamp. She did think up the crisscrossing with the dotted line stamp, which I thought was a really cool idea. Colors are Taken With Teal and Cool Caribbean (retired now). These are difficult colors to properly scan:




And last, a "whimsical" card using "Pick a Petal", with the sentiment coming from "All About U". Colors are Elegant Eggplant and Barely Banana (again, hard to get right from the scan). I "cheated" and used a set of Cuttlebug dies for the flower (don't have my SU scallop punch yet):



If you’re interested in my personal life, read on. If you’re only interested in the cards, you’re done now, you can go on to other blogs.

This has just been a hard week. Had some difficult (possibly ongoing) Teenager Issues, Team New Zealand lost the America’s Cup in an absolute heartbreaker of a race – they lost by 1 second! I still love you, guys – there’s always next time! And then I had my MRI on Monday (because of all my headaches), and on Tuesday afternoon found out I have some spots on the white matter of my brain, so now I have to see a neurologist. I googled “spots white matter” and found basically two things that can cause this. One is just vascular damage from migraines. It’s apparently not anything very serious. The other is Multiple Sclerosis. I feel pretty confident that it’s not MS, but I hate having that “shadow” hanging over me. That party we gave yesterday wore me out, so today I’m just kinda feeling blue and maybe a bit angry at it all. But God and I are working through it all together. Like one of my stamps says, “Honey, God didn’t promise it would be easy. He just promised it would be worth it.” Some days that’s harder to see than others, but I’m definitely hanging on to that promise!

Tomorrow is grocery store day. I hope I’m not as down as I was today, because if I am I probably won’t feel up to it. Has to be done though. No “feel like” about it. Looking forward to the weekend when Bjorn will be home again and I won’t feel like I’m left holding everything all on my own. (Well, human-being-wise. God is always with me.)