Monday, June 30, 2008

Why haven't I been blogging??

I don't know. I have no excuse other than pure orneryness. I have been being all crafty in the loft, but I think I just didn’t feel like photographing/scanning my wonderful creations, so I kept putting it off until I finally had a card I loved so much I HAD to show it off! (How pathetic is that? lol)

So here it is. I mean, this is TODAY’s Techno Stamper Monday Lunch Challenge, and I’m posting the one I did ON MONDAY! Do I hear gasps of shock and awe? Yeah, well, don’t expect this every week, but I found the sketch inspiring, and have been dying to use these stamps I got a few weeks ago from Deadbeat Designs, so everything just came together today in this amazing, incredible MOMENT OF CREATIVITY!! (Did I say “moment”? I laugh in my own general direction. Let’s just take the concept “moment” and multiply it exponentially and that would be more how the day went.)

All the stamps except the bandana background (which is from Cornish Heritage Farms) are from Deadbeat Designs, up the road a piece in Salado, TX. I totally love these stamps! Being the die-hard Native-Texan-five-generations-back, you would expect that, I suppose. But isn’t the swirl on the state map just adorable? And the bigger swirl that I bought to make my star-swirl border thing totally matches it! I didn’t realize that until I was already halfway through with the card. Okay, so it takes me awhile. Anyway, I used the TJ “Faux Denim” tech on the blue strip with the white swirl on it (which was stamped in white craft/pigment ink and embossed with white EP), and I used the Splitcoast tech “Dazzling Diamond Dust” on the Texas circle (you can’t really tell, but it covers the whole circle). I did the white highlights on the bandana background by first stamping the image in the white craft/pigment ink, drying it with my heat tool, then over-stamping, just slightly off, in Black Soot (Ranger Distress Inks), using my Stamp-a-ma-jig to get the alignment right. I think it might actually look better to stamp directly over the white with the black next time. The white came out looking a bit smudgy. Oh, well. Trial and error.

I’m also going to show you my card for last week’s Techno Stamper Challenge. I didn’t get it finished in time to post on Mary Jo’s blog, but I struggled so hard with it that the mere fact that I stuck with it and finished it makes it deserve a bit of credit in my own blog. I don’t know why it was so hard. I just couldn’t get the mojo to happen with it.

The paper I used is from the “Le Jardin” collection from SU. Stamps are also SU. I colored the young woman from “A Quiet Life” with my Copic markers (doesn’t that make me sound SPECIAL, that I actually have COPIC markers like all the TRULY CRAFTY bloggers? I’ve had ‘em forever, I just didn’t know what to do with ‘em, lol), and the “Bonjour” oval is backed by two textured Blue Bayou ovals I punched with the same size punch and offset with each other because I don’t have an oval the next size up and I can’t cut freehand to save my life. Especially not shapes. The border between the two papers was punched with a M – M – Martha Stewart punch (I still have trouble admitting I bought stuff of hers!)

So that’s it for today. I have several other goodies to show you, including an actual SCRAPBOOK PAGE! But that will have to be for another time, dearies. It’s getting late, I’m getting loopy, and I need for this page to be getting posted!

Hugs all ‘round (I hear that in Jack Sparrow’s voice … did I tell you I’m getting loopy?), and I hope to be back tomorrow! Of course, how many times have I said that lately? I'm sorry I can't be counted on to be punctual, responsible, etc. But, hey, I'm cute. That has to count for something! (Tee hee)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Friends, Romans, Latin Students ...

I actually got around to scrapbooking this past week!! Well, one page was mostly finished, I just had to fix a small error in my Latin grammar ;-), but the other is totally from scratch. Sadly, I don't feel I can show the second one, since it's full of students' names and I don't feel comfortable posting it on a public blog. I'll try to describe it in a sec, though.

Here's the first page:

My son is in the Junior Classical League at his school (sorta like Latin & Greek club, only more involved), and his school's team qualified to go to the State Convention this year and compete in the Certamen ("Ker-TAH-men" - think team quiz show, but all about Latin language and Roman history/mythology/etc.), as well as the kids getting to compete in individual competitions and tests. His Certamen team (of which he was the captain) came in 6th out of several hundred teams, and he did extremely well in his individual stuff -- first places and Summa Cum Laudes. (I'm his mom, I get to brag!) So this page is the "team" page. Trying to be witty, I decided to do a take on the Cogito ergo sum phrase ("I think, therefore I am"), changing it to, "I think, therefore I win." So I asked my husband, who has a pretty good knowledge of Latin, how to say that. (Aidan wasn't home at the time or I would've asked him.) So Bjorn told me it was "Cogito ergo vici." Completely trusting wife that I am, I ran up to the craft loft and cut out the letters and shadows for those words on my Cricut and dutifully glued them on the page around the photos. Then I stamped the translation of the first two words, and for fun I decided to write "I win!" in gold paint pen on the bottom photo, since they were holding the trophy in this photo. When Aidan got home I showed it to him, and he smiled and said it was awesome, then looked a little funny and said, "But it doesn't say, 'I win', Mom." Puzzled, I asked him what he meant. "The word 'vici' means 'I won' or 'I conquered' -- it's past-tense." My shoulders immediately slumped. There was no way to make the word "win" on my page into "won" without it being totally obvious that I had screwed it up and had to correct it. And there was no way to change the Latin word "vici" into the correct grammatical form since it was a longer word and would have covered up the photo! Of course, the obvious "fix" was just to print out "I won" on a small piece of paper and stick it over the goof-up (which I ended up doing, except I stamped it instead of printing it), but I was so bummed!! "I think, therefore I win!" sounds so much better than, "I think, therefore I won!" Ah, well. A small thing, but you know how perfectionist we scrappers can be about our pages!!

The second page uses a PP with "Bohemia"-style crowns all over it (shades of green, white and black) as the base. Aidan's Latin and Greek teacher had sent out an e-mail with all the kids' accomplishments throughout the year in the various JCL tournaments, and it was just perfectly laid out for a scrapbook page! Except that Aidan had been in quite a few things, and the way the pages were laid out, it ended up being three pages long (not ALL Aidan stuff, I did some major editing-out). So I printed the JCL logo very lightly on three pages of 8-1/2" x 11" cardstock (landscape), then printed the accomplishments list over the three pages. I did do a lot of editing, as I said, and cut out the other kids on the individual stuff, but there were plenty of team events that listed all the kids on the team, and I didn't want to leave them out. Anyway, I trimmed those pages down as much as I could, then mounted them on the base page as flip-up pages so that they took up less space, but could still be read. Then I used the Cricut "Locker Talk" cartridge and printed out a banner that says "Accomplishments" in green Basic Grey paper over gold metallic shadow. Under that I printed out "Aidan 9th Grade JCL" on the sort-of flip-up "anchor" strip of the top page. It's kinda simple, but you don't really need much on a page like that, so I think it worked well.

I did a third page yesterday, but I haven't scanned and stitched it yet, so that will have to wait for another day. I also have another card to scan or photograph (it has pearl brads, so probably photo) to show, but, again, it will have to wait. My mom is waiting for us to come over for Sunday Scrounge Dinner, and I'm hungry!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I made this stamp!!!

This is NOT a perfect card. I'll be the first to admit that. But I had to show off a stamp I made with my new(ish) StampRite Home Stamp Making Kit. I've made three other stamps -- one I threw away (my first), one I accidentally tore in half while washing off (I didn't "cure" it properly), and one I kept but have no real idea what to use it for. THIS stamp, however, I am quite proud of!

When I was a little girl my mom used to read to me out of a book that had belonged to my dad called The Turned Intos by Elizabeth Gordon. It was all about a little girl named Jane Elizabeth who liked to play out in her garden, and who learned about all kinds of fascinating creatures (mostly bugs) who started out in life as one thing, then "turned into" something else (like a butterfly). I ADORED this book, and especially the illustrations. Even though Jane Elizabeth was presumably American, the illustrator's style had an Oriental flair to it. Of course, I didn't really recognize that then. I just knew that I thought Jane Elizabeth was the most winsome little girl ever, and I wished I could dress just like her. I didn't envy her meeting with the Trap Door Spider, but I didn't mind the Katydids and the Bees and the Lovely Luna Moth. I think I knew even as a child that Jane Elizabeth's world of the early 20th Century was so much simpler and sweeter than my world of the mid 1960s. So I have a very special place in my heart for Miss Jane Elizabeth! (Just so you know, the illustrator, Janet Laura Scott, apparently had issues with drawing hands, so the strange looking hands are not my fault!) And just so you know, I did quite a bit of research, and I do believe this book is now in the public domain, so I don't think I have any copyright issues with using the illustrations.

Anyway, it is really cool to be able to make my own stamps. I will say, though, that there is definitely a learning curve on this kit. Or at least there has been for me (maybe I'm just slow?). I'm also not convinced of the "inexpensiveness" of the stamps I'm making. Compared to having stamps custom-made, yes. Compared to buying pre-made unmounteds, definitely not. The Jane Elizabeth stamp cost me $10, and that's NOT counting the cost of the kit itself, just the polymer packet. So I don't quite get where the JustRite people came up with their "savings" numbers. But I've never been much of a math person so maybe it's just my numeric-ADD showing. I think I have kinda "lofty" ideas about what to make stamps of, too. The Jane Elizabeth stamp was definitely not easy to design, because it was a color illustration to begin with, and taking it down past grayscale to B&W was pretty difficult. I'm using PSE4, but I'm beginning to wish I could re-install our old PaintShop Pro program we used to use a few years ago. I think it had a "coloring book" option that kept the lines but took all the color out of an image. That's what I really need.

So, I'm quite proud of the way Miss Jane Elizabeth turned out, even if the card was a booger. (Hope that didn't offend anyone -- it's a Texas-ism, and in this case it doesn't mean the thing that comes out of your nose.) I had one mishap after another with this card! The worst was the giant blob of pseudo-Stickles that plopped itself right in front of JE's hands when I was trying to make sweet little sparkly bits coming from her hands. The bottle was almost empty, so I guess I was squeezing a bit too hard, so, SPLORT! No sweet sparkly bits, but a huge ugly BLOB! So I scraped it off, and ended up with just messy, gluey ick, and ended up with the butterflies and swirls. I like them, but in a way I think they're a bit much. Cool thing is, though, those are Japanese-style butterflies from Art Neko, and they look almost exactly like the illustrations of butterflies in the Turned-Intos book! So at least I had a little serendipity there. I won't mention the smeared pigment ink/Pearl-Ex combo on one of the butterflies, or the fact that I don't own Nestabilities, but I do have a pair of scallop scissors, and ... well, I just won't go into all the little things that made this "simple" card take HOURS to make! (Details: "Jane Elizabeth" stamp by Stacy's Stamp Loft (!); Swiss Dots Cuttlebug folder on SU Bashful Blue CS, swiped over with White Craft ink to make the dots stand out; multi-colored PP is CTMH; green PP is SU; butterfly stamp is Art Neko; swirl stamp is TAC; "joy" stamp is SU)

I gave the card to my mother, because she loves Jane Elizabeth, too, and somehow it just seemed a "Stacy's Mom" kind of card! She flipped over it. My mom rocks!

Oh, BTW, I did actually use this week's TechnoStamper Challenge as the pattern for this card. Here's the sketch:

Okay, enough for today! I also finished up a scrapbook layout this week, so I'll show that to you next time. Until then, stay cool/dry/whatever!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day cards for DH and Dad

For some reason, I was stuck on denim and leather (or at least those colors) for my Father's Day cards this year. My dad's I had already made back in April, and posted it here, but I'll show you again in case you've forgotten (or haven't seen) what it looked like.

First, Bjorn's:

The stamp is from Stampabilities, sentiment from Onyx Expressions, whom I have mentioned before -- they have beautiful black rubber stamps. The lower left panel was made with a Technique Junkies tech called "AI Float" (AI = Alcohol Ink). After the ink was dry on it, I ran it through my Cuttlebug "Distressed Stripes" embossing folder so it would look a little like, I don't know, a fence or something. Wood. That sort of thing. The top right panel is a leftover piece of Faux Denim (TJ Tech) from my dad's card. It was a fairly simple card to make, but I like the way it went together.

And my dad's card is here:

If you want the details on it, you can find the original post by clicking here. (And if you must know, no, I haven't yet used any of those cool backgrounds I made that day, but they are high on my priority list of "pre-made backgrounds" to use!)

We had a nice Father's Day. Good church service (had a baptism AND the Lord's Supper all in one service!), good lunch, Bjorn and Daddy opened their gifts, and then we all took naps! lol I guess being a father is pretty exhausting. Bjorn went down first, then Dad, and then the sleep vibes were so thick the rest of us couldn't help but follow. But, hey, what better way to spend a hot summer Sunday afternoon, ay?

Okay, now I want to get up into my craft loft and have some more fun (if I can shake off the Sunday Sleepies!), so hopefully I'll have more to show tomorrow, or at least in the near future!

Happy stamping! And try to stay cool/dry/in one place (out of the tornadoes).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Home is where your art is ...

... which, fortunately for me, is deep in the heart of Texas! I FINALLY got around to finishing an actual card! This is the "inaugural" card of my newly refurbished craft loft, so I thought it somewhat appropriate that it ended up being about HOME.

The stamps (there are actually three of them, it isn't one big stamp) are from Deadbeat Designs up the road a piece in Salado, TX. They (actually, as far as I know it's one guy who designs these) don't have the website fully up and running yet, but you can purchase a catalog from them for $5. It's well worth the money -- he personally decorates the envelope he sends it to you in, and mine was gorgeous! Their mailing address is on their website. And they have more than just Texas-themed stamps, for those of you who may not share my enthusiasm for the Lone Star State!

The background behind the swirls and star is a Technique Junkies tech called "Metallic Alcohol Roll". I stamped the images with SU Black Craft ink (which was a bit thick -- the circle is supposed to have a thin circle just inside the thick one) then embossed with clear High Gloss EP. The striped paper is from SU's "Outlaw" PP, which is retired now. The "leather" paper at the bottom, and the ribbon, are from Club Scrap. The black CS is also SU. I don't know where the copper CS came from.

The word "home" was cut out of the same Metallic Alcohol Roll background using the Home Accent Cricut cartridge (it has the word "home", not individual letters), and the scallop edge was done with a (cough cough) Martha Stewart punch. All in all I really like this card, and I might just end up framing it!

I tell ya, I'm having trouble getting things done this summer. It's not because of my health. It's not because of housework (you know better than that -- that's one of the things that's NOT getting done). It's no longer because the craft loft is in chaos, because that's not true anymore. It's because Aidan bought a Wii with some of the money my grandmother left him, and I have succumbed to Wii-dom. Not his Zelda game. That one I will sometimes watch him play, but that's his own thing. The Wii sports are a blast, but they wear me out before long. What's hogging my time is Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones!! TOO much fun. We bought another Wii-mote and a Nunchuck (aka "Sister Charlie"), and so we've been playing two-player. I'm not all that great at it -- I think probably 70% of the time my character is facing the wrong way when it comes time to defend against the bad guys, but it's just so fun. Occasionally, though, Aidan will say, "Mom, you need to log off here and let me do this part alone or we'll never get through it." *SIGH* Oh, well, we're really having fun together, so that's great!

Well, I'll close tonight with another picture from the guys' trip to New York/Washington D.C. This one is Aidan looking out from the top floor (not the 86th, but the very top) of the Empire State Building.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Um ... sorry about going AWOL!!

I have no real idea why. Life has been just fine, but busy, and every time I would sit down to blog, I just couldn't quite make my fingers do the talking, as it were. So I totally apologize to my two or three faithful readers, and promise to try to do better in future!!

My craft loft is 99% finished. Enough finished so that I did "reload" it last week. I got almost all the stuff back in on Tuesday, but since Bjorn and Aidan went out of town on their "guys only" vacation, I decided to spend the days they were away to CLEAN house. Well, most of it. After I got all the craft stuff back out of my bedroom I realized how badly it needed de-cluttering and dusting, so I did that on Wednesday. Thursday I decided that Aidan's room HAD to be cleaned, de-cluttered and dusted, so I did that for him (brave woman that I am). I nearly choked to death on the dust, and I was even wearing a dust mask! But it was worth it to get things in there liveable! Friday I did my desk in the office and the "common areas" in there (no was was I about to touch either Bjorn's or Aidan's desks), and Saturday I did a whole bunch of general house de-cluttering. I did not, alas, get around to dusting the living room, etc., nor did I get a chance to try out the new Shark Steam Mop I bought Saturday morning to use on our tile floors. But all-in-all the house is MUCH cleaner than it's been in eons, and I felt really good about the work I got done.

Aidan and Bjorn had a fantastic time on their jaunt to the Northeast. Bjorn had a business meeting in New Jersey on Wednesday, so he took Aidan with him, and on Thursday they spent the day in New York City, then in the evening took Amtrak to Washington, D.C. Friday and Saturday they spent their time in various museums -- mostly the Air and Space Museum (on Saturday they went out to the Big Hangar out near Dulles Int'l Airport to see the Concorde and various other aircraft too big for the museum building that's in town), the Natural History Museum, the National Archives, the Spy Museum, that sort of thing. They did a "quick monument run" on Saturday evening, just as a storm was blowing in, and got some awesome pictures. Here's one of them:

So I haven't taken any pics yet of my refurbished craft loft, but I'll try to get to that tomorrow. I haven't even done any crafting of any real significance in there yet. Did a little minor stamping today, but didn't have time to finish a card. I've been so tired this week from all the housework last week! (My excuse, anyway.) But I've got so many new stamps to play with, plus a new Technique Junkies newsletter to try out, so I need to get back into the groove.

I'll leave you with a pic or two of the guys laying the wood laminate floor. I'm not sure how wise an idea it was to put this flooring down -- for one thing, now I have to be more careful what I spill, and for another, when I barely move my chair I go flying across the room! I think I need to get a plastic floor mat to go under the chair so I don't end up hurling myself over the edge of the loft!