Sunday, August 31, 2008

Glad to be home again

We had a wonderful trip - but it's always great to come back home! I'll share a few photos from our trip, but I won't bore you with too many!





Altered Carousel

I found a small remote control carousel and decided to alter it for me! Actually, what you are going to see in this post is the carousel designed for a baby gift. I thought it would sit nicely on a chest or changing table to hold lotions, powders and other items you'd need close at hand.

First, you have to paint the entire piece, then I added Bella Rose designer paper using Golden Gel - Mod Podge will work just as well. Once the paper dried, I applied another coat over everything for protection, then tied pink grosgrain around the carousel.



Another view:


Close up of the tag - with cut and pieced elements from the designer papers, a mini Crate Paper tag, and letters cut with Jasmine font (Cricut), ribbon and a smidge of Martha's white gold glitter, plus a rhinestone brad and a little Distress ink from Ranger:

Now, for the truth ... after the project wasn't accepted for the magazine, I took off the baby tag and set the carousel on my desk to hold Copic markers! Yay - I now have a lovely home for my Copics {and room for more}! That was my original intent when I bought it! So now it's right at home on my table.

happy stampin'

Susan

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Checking in ...

Just checking in with a short note. We are visiting my sister and having a great time. I can't wait to get home and upload our photos. Tonight we went to a Nationals game - and they won! woo hoo. The game is such fun to attend in person, and our seats were great. It's been so busy this week trying to fit in all the sight-seeing and touristy activities. Tomorrow we tour the Capitol and are going to see The Dark Knight (again). And, I have to say the weather has been really wonderful, mid-70's and low humidity.

I'll "see" you all when we return!
happy stampin'
Susan

Embossed Butterflies!

I realize it's the end of summer, so the butterflies won't be with us too much longer. Better get this card share in before winter hits! {haha, in our area of the south, winter barely arrives}.

Anyway ... these sweet little critters were made using a new Cuttlebug die and embossing folders. Really a neat idea to have a die with 3 different embossing folders to add patterns to the image. I liked it so much I bought it even though I didn't have a coupon to use! How's that?



After embossing the butterflies, I rubbed the cardstock with ink to emphasize the pattern. The paper is once again - you guessed it - Blue Hill collection from Crate Paper. There is a faint pattern to the cardstock that isn't really showing up in the photo - but trust me, it's there.

I had to cover the inside of the card with white cardstock because the reverse pattern of the paper was overwhelmingly busy! In hindsight, I wish I had cut the inside cardstock slightly smaller to leave a nice patterned border ... maybe I'll remember that for next time. The white seemed a little plain, so a little butterfly decided to sit on the inside too.

This will give you a better look at the embossing from the Cuttlebug folder - plus you can see where I sponged a slight shadow under the raised wings:

The butterflies are raised on dimensionals. The sentiment is once again - a Studio G $1 stamp - those are coming in very handy lately. The ribbon is Offray. I punched the sentiment with a Marvy rectangle scallop punch. BTW - have you seen the new Marvy punches? They are HUGE! I don't know where you would even store those if you had more than one or two of them.

happy stampin'
Susan

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Crate Paper

Another card using the Blue Hill collection. I really do like this line - I suppose I should use some for a scrapbook page before it's all gone.

This card is different than most I make. There is NO stamping! I did manage to distress the edges with ink, however. The die cuts are from the same collection by Crate Paper.

I found a few rhinestones that worked well with the colors of the paper, so I added them for a little bling. The rhinestones are from Hero Arts. That's it, a pretty straightforward card ...

happy stampin'
Susan

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thinking of you

The colors in the Blue Hill Collection by Crate Paper are just lovely. They are soft, and slightly distressed which make a combo of my favorites! This sketch is from Papercrafts magazine website, but I can't find the link again so I believe the sketch must have been taken down.

The square behind the Prima flowers is a Nestabilities scallop edge die (love them), edged with distress ink from Ranger. A brad fits the flower center with the sentiment, "thinking of you" stamped from a Studio G $1 set. The brad is called Brad Builder from SU - it is blank so you can customize it and comes with a clear pebble to cover. I pierced the edges of the diagonal strip and rounded the card corners for interest.





Here is a better look at the flower and brad detail:



That's all for today. We're packing for our trip! My youngest son and his friend are going too - his friend has never been to DC so we are planning a lot of tourist activities! I am so looking forward to visiting my sister and sight-seeing with the boys. Hopefully nothing will go wonky with the blog posts - I may have time to check in while we're gone.

happy stampin'

Susan

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Shedding

Warning: this is going to be a long post. If you only want to look at craft projects - scroll down to yesterday's post instead.

I have been learning a lot about myself this year. I had reached the point where my life was feeling totally out of control - we've experienced a lot of serious illnessness and hospitalizations between my mother and my husband's mother in the last 2 years, and prior to that in 2005/06 our oldest son had a significant physical battle with knee surgeries, post-surgical infections, multiple doctors and therapies that lasted more than 6 months. The stress level was just overwhelming because we literally have not had time to think about anything other than the immediate present. Our life had become automatic - even frantic at times - running from one obligation to the next and not really taking care of ourselves in the process. I decided in April that I really needed to take back control of my life and the first step was to take better care of myself. The second step was to take better care of my husband and children. Primary for taking better care of myself was to improve my health by losing weight. Not fun, but really a good visual of how much I had let my priorities go in order to serve the needs of others. Now, I believe in taking care of family and helping others, but I can not do it if I am not in good health myself -- I have spent the last 20 years putting my health on a back burner and it had caught up with me in a very bad way!

Along with trying to be a healthier person, I have been attempting to be more organized and thoughtful about my actions. The other week a book caught my eye in the library. It's a fantastic book! In fact, it's so good I want to share a little bit about it with you today! The title is a long one: When Orgainzing Isn't Enough: Shed your Stuff, Change your Life. whew. Not quite sure how such a long title got past the book's editor! Here is a cover shot just in case you feel the need to track it down at your library:




I have only started reading this book, but I knew after the first 15 pages that it was speaking to me in a very personal way! The author writes about shedding clutter in your life - but she defines clutter in a different way than most organizing books I have read previously. Clutter, according to Ms. Morgenstern, is anything that prevents you from being who you really are. An excerpt from page 7 (emphasis mine):

Shed is a transformative process for letting go of things that represent the past so you can grow and move forward... By releasing the defunct, extraneous and burdensome objects and obligations that are weighing you down, you create the space to discover what's next and gather the energy and courage to move forward... Shed is not only about throwing things away... Shed converts the process of letting go into an opportunity for self-discovery and healthy growth. It is a catalyst and companion on the journey to living a richer, more connected life. The ultimate payoff? Clarity, lightness of being, authenticity and living as your most genuine fully engaged self.


I often feel burdened by obligations or demands from life; job, family, deadlines ... you name it, we all experience these feelings at one time or another. There are weeks when my life is overflowing with obligations that I have to fulfill - and most of these obligations are important and not ones that I am able to let go, or have others to do for me ... but I am beginning to realize that if I can shed some of the other clutter that nags at me then these necessary obligations will hopefully seem less burdensome.

The way to determine what needs to be shed (according to the book) is by choosing a "Theme" for your life. This hit me immediately because I have been reading Ali Edwards blog for several years and she advocates picking a word for the year as a guide to keep your life in focus. You can read more about One Little Word here. My word for 2008 is: BALANCE. And that speaks to a lot of areas in my life. However, the Life Theme for shedding goes a bit deeper than One Little Word - I am still trying to define what my Life Theme should be. I have words swirling in my head, but I haven't been able to put them all together in one concise theme yet. I'll share my theme once I have decided.

One example of shedding that I have already taken action on addresses the volume of email that I receive. I participate in several email loops (which I love) and am finding it time consuming to go through all these emails daily - and they keep coming - every day, all day long! So, I asked myself - is the time spent reading and weeding through these mass group emails productive? Is it helping me to become the person I want to/need to be? You can probably guess the answer. So, I changed my preferences for all of the loops to special notices only, now I will not automatically receive 100+ emails each day but I can still go read the messages on the web as I have time. I think after a few weeks I will find that I am not missing much, and may end up unsubscribing all together. Plus, the only emails I will receive now are going to be ones sent specifically to me from people I actually know or have contacted myself! This is my first step toward shedding a cluttered area of my life: email and computer usage!

I am making a list of other areas that need to be addressed, and I'll share just a few: magazines, unfinished projects, unorganized kitchen, procrastination, lack of pre-planning and television. Ouch - all of those areas need evaluation in my life and that's not the entire list! Notice I didn't mention cleaning out closets yet! Those are waaayyy down on my priority list at the moment.

Today the last thing I want to write about the book and this learning journey is that Ms. Morgenstern recommends that you take a "Reality Tour" of your home and life. What an amazing thought ... take a reality tour! Yes, I need to do that. Be realistic about what I am trying to accomplish and it's purpose - and evaluate the state of my physical home as well, which just happens to be a complete wreck this week!

So, if you're interested, go pick up this book and let's take a reality tour together. Please share your thoughts in the comments. I always learn from reading/listening to other's experiences. Maybe we can help each other!

happy stampin'
Susan

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wedding

For a change of pace, today's share is a wedding card. To keep it simple, yet elegant, I kept the colors to white & black. The background is embossed using a Cuttlebug folder, as well as the circle for the sentiment. A thin black border, ribbon and scallop punch add the only color.




A better look at the circle and sentiment. The best part is that I found the circle embossing folders on clearance at AC Moore for only $2. woo hoo! I didn't have a punch the right size for the circle, so I used my Cricut to cut the circle before embossing it.

The stamp is from Studio G - the $1 stamps at Michaels and AC Moore. It works perfectly here. The ribbon is Offray. Now, somebody get married so I can use this card, lol!!

happy stampin'

Susan

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm with John tonight

No cards today!
Something more important than stamping came up.
See ya!






Monday, August 18, 2008

Another baby share

No, I don't have babies on the brain! I made some cards for submission to a magazine, but they were not picked so that means I can share them here with you. The call was for cards with baby animals - hence the bunny and hippo from the previous posts. Today it's a lamb - or ewe - depending upon your preference, I suppose.

Personally, I love the expression of this little ewe - so content. I paper pieced her using more Crate Paper, and a smidge of pink pirouette. I like the polka dots on the wool. I used rub-on words to turn the card into an invitation.



A closer look at the rub-on words and button:


The card base and circle stamp are from Amuse, the rub-ons, image, scallop punches and button are SU!, pattern paper is Crate Paper, corner rounder from EK Success and the ribbon is Offray.
I'm going to visit my sister next week - so I will set up some automatic posts while I am gone. I think I have plenty to share to carry me through.
happy stampin,
Susan

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hippo!

Oh, what an adorable hippo! I've never seen one like this at the zoo, have you? I think the image was made with birthdays in mind, but I adapted it for a baby card. The card opens to the side, and is a matchbook style with the little flap over there, but I added a button to loop ribbon around and keep it closed.


all images copyright SU! 1990-2008

Miss Hippo's bow and balloon are paper pieced, and her toenails are painted red using Copics. The scallop edge was made with SU!'s new scallop edge punch (delightful!) and I embossed the large flap with a cuttlebug folder. All the papers are new In Colors and Designer paper by SU as well. The sentiment was printed from the computer and punched with the Word Window punch.

You can see how the card opens a little better in the next two photos:


I haven't done anything to the inside of the card yet. Do you usually decorate the inside of your cards, or do you add the sentiment and sign? Quite often I just write a note and sign it - but sometimes I think I should do more to decorate inside too.

happy stampin'

Susan

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby Bunny

This little bunny is such a cutie peeking over the basket rim! It's a new set from Stampin' Up - and I'm just loving the new catalog. Not to mention I just got a peek at the upcoming holiday mini ... and I'm thinking I may need to find another part-time job to finance my purchases over the next few months!

The scallop circles were cut using Nestabilities. These dies are so neat because they cut and emboss. The pattern paper and ribbon are from Crate paper's Blue Hill collection. I found a packet of the collection at my lss and decided that I must buy it! I think I had a coupon ... but it's much less expensive buying in packs than buying the paper individually by sheet.


all images copyright SU! 1990-2008



I colored the image in with Copics. The welcome sentiment is printed from the computer and punched with SU! oval tag punches.

happy stampin'

Susan

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I've been the anti-blogger

Ok, so I've been MIA lately! Things are starting to get hectic with the back to school rush to work in appointments, hair cuts, etc. This coming week will be especially busy, busy, busy!

So, what have I been up to? Really, not much interesting ... but I'll share anyway! I was working on some submissons for a magazine, but I think I will be able to share them here soon because so far I haven't heard anything and I believe the deadline for notification was Friday.

Summer always guarantees some wicked thunderstorms. We've had several severe storms here - one resulting in our fence being smashed by a tree, another storm closed our street for a day:

Joan and I caught a make 'n take at the lss that we didn't even know was going on this morning. Here is a photo of the cutest Pizza Cookie and box I've ever seen! What do you think, isn't it cool?



Today was our GIRLS DAY OUT - and although not real well attended, it was an awesome afternoon! What's better than 6 hours of uninterrupted crop time with your BFFs? Nothing, that's what! This was our last Saturday GDO - starting in September, we'll have to switch back to Friday nights because I'll be working on weekends again. Watch the right margin over there ---> for the Sept. date.

I should have taken photos of everyone, but I got into the zone with a project and just didn't think about it again - Sorry Steph, Bailey, Shannon and Charlene! I'll get you next month, ok? I might even sneak in one photo myself, lol. Here's Joan giving some special attention to her Cricut today. Her daughter will be teaching for the first time this year and she had plenty of letters, etc to cut for room decorations, signs and bulletin boards {Notice I'm not even mentioning the second Cricut in the photo over there ...}:



And here is the sweetheart who supports my addiction of crafting and is always kind enough to help me carry my {multiple & heavy} bags to the car on Girl's Day Out. When I got home tonight he was fixing our deck - isn't that awesome?



I'll place my first new catalog order on Tuesday - so if you need some new stamp lovin' call me and get your order in! AND - there are a ton of specials by SU! this month. Hop on over to my blog on Aug. 12 to read all about them {then call me}!

happy stampin'
Susan


Friday, August 01, 2008

Big Announcements!

I'm so excited! The SU! convention has been going on this week ... and while I am not there, I've heard a lot of "talk" about the announcements and some of them are just fantastic! I want to give you a quick overview ... and know that you'll be hearing more over the next few weeks too.



SoShelli.com: A new blog by Stampin' Up! owner, Shelli Gardner. The blog is not live yet ... currently it is password protected, but I will let you know when it is ready! Here is what Shelli has to say:

"My main objective for this blog is simple," Shelli said in the announcement. "I want people to visit my blog and have a better day. I hope to accomplish that by sharing a personal side of me that will help people feel uplifted, positive, and optimistic."
Shelli's Signature Collection: During the first general session of convention, Shelli announced the launch of Shelli's Signature Collection, a line of products that span the entire Stampin' Up! product line, including stamp sets, home d├ęcor, and accessories.

Decor Elements Phase 2: In addition to new phrases and images, phase 2 also offers new colors! Many of the new images will be available in a selection of our exclusive colors. Customers will be able to place orders for DE Phase 2 items beginning October 1st.





Country Living Kit: For the second time, Stampin' Up! will partner with Country Living magazine to offer an exclusive holiday kit. The Holiday Collection Stampin' Kit will include exclusive stamps, a combination of Designer Series paper, and coordinating accessories that will only be available by purchasing this kit. {woot!}

Big Shot Die Cut Machine: This is what really gets me going! Stampin' Up! is partnering with Ellison to offer the Big Shot and dies including ... a line of Exclusive Dies that coordinate with stamp sets! Wow! I can't wait to get my hands on a few of these dies! How about you? Here is the lovely machine:




Project ideas- this basket die is number one on my shopping list!



Felt! Die cutting felt! How adorable!!

Other items of interest:

  • Vanilla Hodgepodge!
  • Die cut Stamp sets! {first just the new sets - but by Spring all sets will be die cut}
  • Online ordering - you will be able to order directly from my Stamp With Susan site!

That's all for today!

happy stampin'

Susan