Friday, August 24, 2007

Primitive Kitties

Well, I managed to crank out another card design! Woo hoo! Only took me ... how many days to get this one finished? (Of course, I'm doing four of each again, for the fair.) This one involved Actual Hand Stitching (ooohs and aaahs are required here, yes). On four cards. I used up all the Linen Thread I had bought eons ago from SU and used in small trickles through those eons.

Anyway, I "stumbled" upon these kitties while I was looking for Scripture stamps. Came across Wood Cellar Graphics and even though "country" isn't usually my style, I decided to check out their "Primitives" section, and found some great stuff there! These kitties reminded me of my shower curtain (no, this isn't a photo from my house -- and my mother bought the curtain for us because we have cats), which in turn then became the "jumping-off point" of inspiration for this card. Okay, actually the card turned out a little far from the shower curtain, but that's okay. It was another God-inspired deal, helped along by something I'd saved off Splitcoast Stampers (probably) long ago in my "inspiration" notebook. Thus the Actual Stitching, which I NEVER would have come up with on my own. Not intentionally. I have a small sewing machine (a real one, not one of those tiny little faux sewing machines made for paper crafting that rip your paper to shreds) for just these purposes, but I'm terrified of having to load a bobbin with new thread, so it sits unused on a shelf in my loft. Yes, I have the instructions, but even well-written instructions don't necessarily make it easy to overcome childhood trauma.

SO ... here is the card. Kitty stamps are, of course, Wood Cellar Graphics. Sentiment and flowery background dealies are old Stampin' Up!

I have a box full of blank "chunky" board books to alter sitting on the landing outside my loft. One of my brilliant ideas for this craft fair -- thinking I might make some school memory books, that kind of thing, to sell. Pray for me. I really may have just gone over the line this time.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

If headaches were hurricanes ...

This one would be a category 7.5 on the S-A scale (my maiden and married names). Scale goes to 10. It was 9 last night. I am so hating this.

But my dad LOVED the chair, my mother LOVED the chair, and my grandmother LOVED the chair, so I scored a 100%. The only thing that they might come to bloodshed over is where, exactly, the chair should be positioned. We're talking within a two-square-foot range. Good thing I bought the extra $50 Scotchguard 10-year warranty protection.

Here is the card I made for my dad. Thank God I didn't have the headache then:

Main image is from RubberStamp Ave. I used makeup sponges and dye inks for the coloring (after embossing the image with Versamark and black EP). The background image (a world map) is, I think, Sunday International.

So, you would think that spending lots of money and buying lots of stamps would make me say, "Okay, think I've got enough stuff for awhile, I can stop now," wouldn't you? Nope. Something about binging makes me want to keep going. Sometimes. Anyway, I went to Archiver's on Friday when I picked up the chair and bought the big Die Cuts With a View "Far East" 12x12 paper pad. And I keep "window shopping" online. Aidan thinks Bjorn needs to put "rubber stamp" as a forbidden phrase in our Internet protection software. He's serious. I told him I would go through horrendous withdrawal and either die or end up in a mental institution. And I'm serious.

Okay. Category 8 now, so I'd better go take another pill and rest. I just wish I knew the boundary line between "safe number of doses" and "now we'll start having rebound headache" number of doses. *SIGH*

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thanksgiving in August!

I am thankful today. Thankful that I can make cards of all varieties for the Arts and Crafts fair for the Fall Fest -- think I will include some Christmas cards, though. Thinking about doing that kinda actually got me in the mood! (I'm kinda disappointed that I won't have an excuse to buy early those Holiday Mini stamps I was going to buy in October. Guess I'll still have to wait.) I'm thankful that I made a Thanksgiving card the other night! (Go me!) And I'm thankful I finally found an acceptable chair for us to buy for my dad's birthday! (That saga is at the end of today's entry.)

First I'll show you the T'giving card I made the other night. I used a TJ technique called "Rainbow Double" and my Stampin' Up! "Pumpkin Patch" Kaleidacolor pad. I'd forgotten how bright the Old Olive green can be. I think the colors almost look more Mexican than Thanksgivingy, but who says Thanksgiving can't have a little "fiesta" flair, huh? So here is the first Thanksgiving card of the 2007 season:

Totally a "God card", because honestly, He gave me the idea for it, and He helped me get the crimping straight. Seriously. I can't crimp straight to save my life. So just before I did it, I said, "God, please, I really need help here. If You're going to give me the idea to put a crimped piece across the card, You're going to have to help me get the crimping straight." People, I got the entire half-sheet of Old Olive crimped straight. If that ain't God, I don't know what it is!

So, if you're interested in the Saga of the La-z-boy, here it is. I wrote this to Leonie and Ang this morning, but I figured a few other folks who have ever been on Birthday Present Treasure Hunts might appreciate this. Plus I'll put the ending on here, since the saga was not yet finished when I'd written to them. It's long, but y'all already know I'm a writer at heart:

Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon driving around a particular section of town looking for furniture stores. My dad's birthday is tomorrow, and he has this chair that he has sat in to watch TV for YEARS (perhaps eons), and the other day when I sat in it I could feel the springs beneath the cushion, so I decided (meddlesome me) that it was time we got him a new one. Well, my dear husband took this idea and RAN WITH IT, and told me there were a couple of furniture stores down in the semi-general vicinity of where he works, and would I mind running down there to check them out. We live on the outskirts of the city. There is no "running down there" (as in "real quick") involved. It is driving down there for thirty minutes (just to get there) in 100 degree heat, traffic from hell, construction zones also from hell, etc. So first I treated myself to my favorite stamping/scrapping store, THEN I went to the furniture store that I knew was nearby. No luck there. (Did I mention that the chair has to be light blue, have a swivel base and fit specific, somewhat small dimensions in order to fit the living room and its color scheme and please my mother?) So I drove around all over the Particular Section of Town and found not a single other furniture store on the face of the place. I gave up and went to Michael's and picked up a few more craft supplies (hey, when the opportunity presents itself ...) Then I thought, Oh! JCPenney has furniture! So I "ran" up to the nearby (I use that word loosely) mall and trudged into JCPenney (parked a thousand miles away, walked a thousand miles into the store in 100 degree heat with very tired, sore feet in flip-flops that weren't made for long-distance hiking) -- and they didn't have furniture in this particular store. Had I not been so tired already (stamp and craft stores can be so exhausting!) I would have just shopped for clothes, figuring I deserved that small consolation, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, since trying clothes on my sweaty body just didn't sound appealing. So, girlfriends, I called my husband, said I give up, went to Chick-fil-a and got a LARGE diet lemonade, trudged back the thousand miles in the 100 degree heat to my car and drove home, whereupon I promptly fell on the couch and died. Well, okay, I took a nap.

At six pm my husband called. He was at the La-z-boy store. He wants me to get online to their site and look at some of the chairs he's looking at in person. Only the numbers don't match and the online ones have names like "Amity" and "Anderson" that none of the self-respecting chairs in the store would be caught dead with. In fifteen minutes I'm supposed to take Aidan to youth group. I spend twenty minutes on the phone with Bjorn trying to sort out the chair dilemma. Finally Bjorn says he's going up to the Room Store to look around, could I meet him up there after I drop Aidan off. Sure, hon! My feet don't hurt, I'm full of energy and not the least bit hungry for dinner!

I'm getting tired just writing all this! lol -- Bottom line -- we found a chair we like, but it would take 4-6 weeks to get it in in the color that my mother would approve of. So today I'm going up to the La-z-boy store after my phys therapy session (which is in a therapy pool, and all nice and relaxing, which I will shoot to h-e-double-hockey-sticks by driving in city traffic to the La-z-boy store afterward! -- at least we have a Tropical Depression today and it's rainy and cool) to see if any of those chairs will suffice. Apparently they can get those in by Monday.

So now the update: I went over to my mother's before phys therapy to show my mother the chairs I liked online. Gigantic mistake. We spent forever looking up colors she liked, then when I was already running late we went and measured my dad's current chair, which turned out to be WAAAAY smaller than anything we were looking at. I could tell by the look on her face that she was becoming less and less enamoured of this idea, and that if she was going to be paying the chunk of this, she wasn't sure she wanted us to do it anymore. I went to phys therapy a stressed wreck. I came out a limp, relaxed noodle determined that I was smart enough to pick a chair that would look good in their living room, so onward I drove to the La-z-boy. By the grace of God (at least I hope He was in on this), I found a chair. It wasn't light blue, but it WAS in between the fabric swatches I had from their other chair and their sofa. It didn't have the "traditional" look with buttons in the back, but it was small, still tall enough for Dad, and looked very nice. It was, however, about $100 more expensive than we had planned on. But I called my mother, she finally said she would trust me (could I have that in writing, in blood, please?), so that chair will be coming home to my dad's house tomorrow. It wasn't all smooth sailing -- I did end up spending about an hour just chatting with the saleslady, but in all honesty, I didn't really mind. She was a very nice woman, the kind you'd like to end up next to at a church luncheon or something. Now I'm praying my Dad, Mother and even my Grandmother (who wields a LOT of influence around there) will love, adore and be otherwise generally thrilled with The Chair. (Please don't tell my mother the color name is "Black Pearl". It's really not that dark!!)

We're getting more rain from Tropical Depression Erin, bless her heart. I was so sick of the heat, even though we'd only had it for a couple of weeks. I am SUCH a heat weenie!

Gotta go make my dad a birthday card. Cheers until next time!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

I am NOT dead, as some of you have supposed. Just been brain dead. I have been experiencing the joys of going on new medication (the Topamax, for migraine prevention). For those of you who are blessed enough to have no clue about “ramping up” side effects of some meds, they can hit you like a ton of bricks. In this case, I have had days where I have felt like I was pushing a ton of bricks from the moment I got out of bed to the moment I climbed back in at the end of the day. Not to mention the fact that sometimes Topamax is referred to, lovingly (not) as “dopamax” by those fortunate enough to experience the “stupids” while their bodies adjust to the medication. I’ve just had the “my brain refuses to function” syndrome, so crafting has been pretty much out of the question most days.

HOWEVER – joy and happiness, I actually have been in the loft the last couple of days and have MADE THINGS!! Here I will show off one of them, in two variations. (The other two things aren’t finished yet). I’m in a three-month long card exchange through the Stampsmith Yahoo group, and needed to make my August cards, so I chose the “Shakespeare’s Heroines” set, and picked the French Princess from “Love’s Labors Lost” to make the cards. Once again God came through on how to finish the card, though. The Queen Anne’s Lace (or whatever the heck the flower is) is from Above the Mark stamps, and the background (if you can see it) is the En Fran├žais background stamp from SU. I was thrilled with how it came out, considering that all I did at first was stamp the darned princess on glossy cardstock and spritz her with brown and pink markers. It’s so fun to say, “HELP, God!!” and then watch as the whole thing just comes together!

I’ve signed up to do a craft fair in mid-October at the local Catholic church. That combined with the spiritual scrapbook ministry I’m doing made me realize I might need some new stamps (rolls eyes), so I spent all last week diligently shopping several unmounted stamp sites, and bought a bunch of goodies (tons of Scripture stamps, and then lots of great images). Then I talked to the lady in charge of the booths this morning, and got the impression this is a CHRISTMAS fair!! ACK!!!!!!!!!!! I do have, fortunately, several Christmas stamps, but dang it, I just spent all my money (and then some), and won’t be able to buy the Christmas stamps I WAS going to get from SU that would be so perfect for this! Guess I’ll have to try to scrape some up somehow. Maybe I’ll make sets of cards for people to buy as gifts?

Anyway, I got some fantastic stamps from the following companies, which I highly recommend: Rubber Stamp Avenue; Wood Cellar Graphics; My Paper Moon; Cape Arago; Heart and Soul Rubber Stamps; Clear Dollar Stamps; Rubber Stamp Shack.

Okay, gotta run get ready for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. My brain is at least halfway online today!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Momentous Memories

Well, in just about two hours (what will be Aug. 3, 12:15am Mountain Daylight Time) Aidan will be FOURTEEN years old! (It’s MDT because he was born in Colorado.) I can’t believe it’s been fourteen years since my sweet little baby boy was born. Then he was soft and tiny and sweet and so adorable. Now he’s two inches taller than me, has a deep voice, a bit of acne, some chin hairs and a peach-fuzz mustache. What in heaven’s name happened? Did I give him permission to move past the age of three?

In all honesty, though, even though he goes through “teenage” days, I still LIKE him, on top of loving him. He’s a really awesome kid. I like that he’s a geek, that he doesn’t like sports, that he loves languages and how they work, that he’s into Star Trek, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, that the only rock music he likes is the Newsboys, that he prefers classical or techno WITHOUT words, that he has such a terrific sense of humor, and that he’s still incredibly good looking. Most of all I like (well, LOVE) that he loves the Lord and chooses to follow Him. It’s tough work raising a teenager these days, especially if you want to keep them on the right path, on track with Christ. There is SO MUCH against them. But, as one of our old favorite Veggie Tales songs used to say (back when Aidan was three), “God is bigger than the Boogie Man” – He’s definitely bigger than Satan and all that the Enemy is going to try to throw against my son. I know God has a wonderful purpose for Aidan’s life. And I know the Enemy is going to do everything he can to thwart that purpose. But Aidan’s got a praying Mom and Pop, praying grandparents and a praying great-grandmother, and praying friends, so the Enemy’s not gonna have it as easy as he thinks he is! (Although, yes, I realize that one should NEVER let down one’s guard!)

Anyway, all this has broken me out of my creative funk! I went upstairs tonight and whipped out this card for Aidan’s birthday. (Okay, I DID have to ask God for some major inspiration, but it did come!) It looks like a serious card, but on the inside is printed (in Freebooter script): “Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday, Fellow Brilliant Person ---- Happy Birthday to You-HOOOO!! – From: The Guys.” And then I wrote in “Um, well, and us, too” and signed it from his dad and me. I hope he’ll think it’s funny. At least I really like the way the front of the card came out!

Stamps are: Stampin’ Up! and Above the Mark. Patterned Paper is unknown. Brads are from Oriental Trading Company.

I finally got a call back from the lady who runs the “disenfranchised women” ministry here in town. It's a sort of halfway house for women who have just left prison and who have nowhere to go. It’s strongly Christian-based, and the women who live there have to help out with chores and cooking on top of doing Bible studies and learning other basic life skills to help them out when they “graduate” from the six-month program. Anyway, I had mentioned to her that I would be available for teaching the ladies stamping or scrapbooking, and so we’ve decided to have them do a spiritual scrapbook. I have to work out the logistics, and also find supply donors (or money donors), then I’ll be able to get started. Apparently they’re all super excited about doing it, so I can’t take too long putting it together! I’m pretty excited, too, for the chance to invest some of myself in the lives of women who have not had the blessings I’ve had in my life. I have the strong suspicion they’ll be blessing me more than I bless them!

Anyway, I’d better get off to bed. Later I may talk about the headache treatments I’ve been going through lately, but if I know Aidan, he’ll be up and ready for action first thing in the morning, so I’d better be able to at least get out of bed, get dressed and drive over to my parents’ for the present unwrapping and breakfast!