Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valentines X 9

I've spent the last several days working on Taylor VanBrueggen's One-year Anniversary Cupcake Challenge. The weekly challenge is to create a project using the posted sketch, but since this is the anniversary, 9 sketches by 9 different people (including Taylor) were posted. There's a chance to win a prize for each challenge completed, with an additional prize for someone who completes all nine. It was a great way to get some Valentines done!
I used some of the same elements on each card - pink checked paper stamped with hearts; black/white printed paper; red, black and white cardstock and glittered c/s; Fiskars edge or corner or circle punches; Martha Stewart edge and heart punches, Marvy Uchida punches, black ribbon. All the cards are posted in my SCS gallery with their keywords: TECC52VC (top card),
TECC52JP (above), TECC52SS (below).

TECC52MD (above), TECC52TV (below)

TECC52SS (above), TECC52AW (below)

TECC52DB (above), TECC52JS (below)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Country Cousins Spoiler Alert

If you think you might be the recipient of a card addressed to "Country Cousins", skip this post and be surprised. But even if you do sneak a peek, the actual card is much cooler, if I do say so, since it is 3-D!

Anyway, forewarned

The Splitcoaststampers challenge each Saturday is an Inspiration Challenge. A link to a website is given, and participants may create a card or project using anything they see that inspires them. It definitely doesn't have to be a literal translation of any image, but I did go a bit literal with this card. The Lang Calendars website was the pick this week, and I was delighted to discover I had bought my own calendar from them this year!
As soon as I looked at the cover page again, I knew I had to make a card with blue gingham paper and pink plaid, and a basketweave pattern if I had it (and I did!). The "basket" is a ring of thin cardboard covered with the basketweave pattern paper. I added points of blue gingham for the "cloth" inside. Almost all the hearts were stamped with various Michael's dollar stamps and cut out. A few are punched hearts - some glitter cardstock, some metallic c/s. I punched the sunflowers in the pink plaid paper, then backed them with yellow and black c/s, and sponged some black ink around them. Black ink was sponged around the basket and cloth as well. The sentiment was printed from my computer, trimmed, corners rounded, and black-sponged.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm back with my patriotic card. Now I just have to figure out who to send it to. I don't know anyone with a July 4th birthday. I used Fiskars squeeze punches for the oval and starbursts, Hero Arts stamps for the white-and-black paper, DCWV glitter and metallic cardstocks, and a clear label for the sentiment.

Yesterday was a nice change of routine. I took the bus downtown to meet with an Accountemps associate. I was registered with them years ago, but I took the latest skills tests and found I still remember most of my accounts payables training. I also did well on the Excel test and the alpha-input test, but my 10-key skills, practiced for 33 years, are off-the-charts! If only there was big money to be made in high-speed number-keying :) Anyway, I'm all set up to be matched with a temp job. Accountemps even offers health insurance and a 401K plan to its temps, so that is a wonderful change from the days when you were on your own.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

What a thrilling morning! The crowds on the National Mall, the celebrity sightings (both political and entertainment), the swearing-in ceremonies, Obama's first speech as President, the original poem and the prayers (one with humor). A local movie theater had the telecast on the big screen, but I stayed home to watch it, so I could continue to work on my resume. I have an interview with a temp agency tomorrow and I got a call from someone who saw my resume at! So, there is a feeling of personal hope mixed with hope for the nation and in a new beginning. I am inspired to create a patriotic card. I'll be back later to post it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Decorating With Collectibles

Any day now (when I find a job), I will get back to stripping wallpaper and painting and decorating my bungalow. One of the few areas in the house that's been semi-finished for awhile is my salt and pepper shaker collection. In a little bump-out in one kitchen wall, I put up 3 ledges to display about 3/4 of my sets. I tried to choose my favorites and those that fit a theme: fruit and vegetables.
The two sets above fit into the basket category. Most of the shakers are antiques that I inherited from my grandfather and step-grandmother. The one on the left is an antique I bought. I have several sets that are 3-piece like this. The set on the right was new store-bought.
These pigs are among my very favorites. If you look for this style, you'll find various sizes of similar design and even cookie jars all by the same company.

Is this not the cutest thing? I threw it in here just because I'm packing away my Christmas ornaments and I always take a photo of all the new ones I buy each year. I've cut way back on ornaments in recent years, but I was tempted to buy many more of these little 2" bell-leg figures. Bachman's (the nursery/flower store) had other cat designs as well as Santas. I really restrained myself, but if I'd remembered to check out the after-Christmas sale, I would probably have succumbed to my hunting/gathering instincts!

Crafts From The Past

I got word today that this bracelet I sold through my Etsy shop made it to its buyer in Canada. She left me some positive feedback and wrote that she really liked it and can't wait to wear it this summer. So, I'm quite happy about not only making a sale, but the fact that someone will be using and enjoying an item that was just taking up space in my home AND an item I made more than 30 years ago.
I'm also happy to the point of tears over the news that everyone survived the plane landing (not crashing) in the Hudson River. A story like that might reinforce many people's fears of flying, but I have a love of planes and flying that dates back to the summer I was 15. It was the year I took Ground School as a summer school subject (yes, I loved school enough to go every summer by choice). Ground School is the classroom part of obtaining a pilot's license, but our class got to go up in small (4-seat) planes in groups of three, plus the pilot. We each got a turn at the controls also and that was thrilling! It was my first time in any type of plane and I still remember how wonderful it felt to fly close enough to the ground to see tiny cars moving along and the feeling that I could reach out a scoop up a handful of trees and houses.

When I heard that Capt. Sullenberger, the pilot of the "ditched" plane, had been flying since the 70s, I had a feeling he might be my age. And he is - 57, just two years older. It's hard to imagine what it felt like to be in his situation before or after the successful landing on water. It's no surprise that he seems so humble. Only a calm, level-headed, experienced pilot could have pulled that off! There's talk of a ticker-tape parade for all the heroes of the day and, with all the bad news we hear most days, that's a great idea!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Valentine Sneak Peek

I don't want to spoil the surprise for the recipient of this Valentine, so it will go to someone who probably doesn't read my blog. The sketch is from Splitcoaststampers. I stamped and colored the Hampton Art Stamps image, then cut it in half vertically - to fit the sketch. The sentiment is PC-generated and printed on vellum, then raised up on thin strips of chipboard. The checked paper was designed in Excel - I had a piece ready to use in my scraps. The stars and hearts were punched out of DCWV glittered cardstock. The inside reads "You!"

Tomorrow may be another good day to stay inside and work on resumes, job applications and cards. Tonight is pedicted to be the coldest night in 5 years - it's already minus 14 degrees!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Class Photo Day

You know it's hard to get good pet photos, so when I saw that each of the cats (except for Harley) had chosen to "pose" on a pile of boxes I was moving, I ran for my camera. Pose #1 - Jazz looking down.
Pose # 2 - she's looking to the side like the proper senior picture pose.

Pose #3 - Can you tell that's Zane now? He has a little gray mustache that Jazzy doesn't have.

Last, an "art" photo of Cubby. His shot came out a bit blurry, so I used my free Kodak software and turned it into cartoon mode. And what do you think of that funky wallpaper? The previous owner installed it on two walls of the kitchen. It's actually a papered wallboard. I'll gain 1/4 inch when I remove it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This is my first try at the Taylored Expressions Cupcake Challenge (#50 - cupcakes optional) . I do have a cupcake punch I'm dying to use, but I wanted to make a card for an upcoming male cousin's birthday, so I came up with this idea. I've used the shirt stamp (from the Dollar Store) before, but this time I created my own designer paper with it. It's colored with markers, then matted on 2 colors of c/s. The cork stickers were in my stash, waiting for just the right occasion, and this is it! I matted them on punched rounds of c/s, punched small holes, then looped the raffia through and attached to the back of the image. The whole card front is attached to the card itself, so the raffia ends are hidden. Since I don't have any stamps with "Enjoy and Relax", I printed the words from my PC in reverse-image onto vellum. The ink stays wet long enough to use it as a sort of rub-on. I had never tried that technique on cork, so I can't say it worked great, but it provided an image to go over with a pen, and I was happy enough with the result.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Of Cats and Cards

This is a photo I couldn't have gotten until a few days ago when I lined up the cats' dishes along one wall. Do they look like they need to go one a diet? Yes! (Don't we all?). It's not easy to regulate their food, but Zane (second from left) slimmed down nicely a few years back when I fed him only 2 small portions a day. And Jazz (far right) is starting to look more like Zane than she should, since she is 3.5 and he is almost 11 years old.

My newest project is to FIND A JOB, but I managed to make another card today after I filled out my online application for Accountemps (where I was employed several years ago). The paisley stamp in the background and the sheriff star stamp are some I bought at Michael's and have rarely used. I colored the paisley's with a marker. The sheriff star and punched smaller stars are from the same textured metallic cardstock, attached with mounting tape. I rounded all the corners with a corner punch and direct-inked or sponged most of the edges. I tied a small piece of twine around one rectangle with notched edges.

Monday, January 05, 2009

When Life Gives You Strawberries... make a strawberry card. I'm getting a late start to a new year of blogging due to an annoying sinus cold that started New Year's Day. But I'm moving along as best I can. Mom and I played mini golf at Moose Mountain at the Mall of America on January 1st. Mom got a hole-in-one on the last hole, which meant a free game next time. I was using my free game from last year! We didn't do too badly considering our little practice. It's a family tradition to go bowling or play golf after breakfast on New Year's Day.

This is the last card in the "fruit" series, because I have no more Rubber Stampede stamps. I started with another sketch from SCS. The red paper is a bag, the yellow patterned paper is from a commercial card. After I stamped the strawberries on white cardstock, I colored them with watercolor pencils and a bit of marker and glitter gel pen, then cut them out and attached them to the yellow piece with mounting tape. The sentiment is PC-generated and all the layers were sponged with brown distress ink, including the chipboard dots.