Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yippee! Skippee! Look what I got!

Hi all! When we arrived home on Sunday after spending a wonderful Christmas with family, there was a ton of stuff sitting on our dining room table awaiting our attention. There was a significant pile of newspapers from the past few days and you know what they say about "old news", wait, that's "no news"...sigh...whatever the case may be, into the recycling they went. What caught my attention, however, was the huge pile of mail. It mostly consisted of the usual fair; catalogues begging us to order by Christmas Eve guaranteeing Christmas Day delivery (yeah, right), a few bills, a couple of fabulous Christmas cards (love to receive cards!), and a couple of packages.

Oooohhh...packages! The excitement started to build! I decided to open the smaller of the two and inside I found a lovely Christmas card from our friend Wanda in Iowa and her son Sean along with a 10-pack of Altoid Gum!! We loooooovvvveee Altoid Gum and it is so hard to find here in Albuquerque, at least in the quantities that we chew it. Sure, you can pick up the occasional pack at the check out aisle of a couple of stores, but that seems rare and certainly doesn't last long. Costco used to carry the 10-pack and then abruptly stopped, making our lives miserable and causing us to turn to lesser gums :( We even looked online only to find that shipping costs were outrageous (come on, it's gum, people)!! So this little treasure trove of gummy goodness arriving in our mailbox was a truly inspired gift ;D Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Wanda and Sean!! I don't know if you read my blog, but we surely do appreciate it!

Next, I moved to the larger package. One glance at the front of the box and I realized it was from ABC Toys and Crafts, an online store that I frequent periodically. Earlier in the month I had posted a comment on their blog where they announced a contest giveaway. The winner would be chosen by a random number generator. Mind you, I have never won anything by entering a blog contest, so I did not have delusions of grandeur as I entered this one. However, a few days before Christmas, I was contacted by Justine at ABC Toys and Crafts...I HAD WON!!! Now, as I stared at this box that held my prize, it immediately made me think of the movie, A Christmas Story, specifically the scene where the father receives his "major award", pries open the crate and begins to spew packing straw all over while he goes for an archaeological dig to the bottom of the box hunting for his prize. That was it, I could wait no longer, I grabbed my car keys and began to rip through the packing tape on the box. I know... a woman who owns 15 pairs of scissors and various cutting implements opts for car keys to open packages is simply ridiculous, but there I was, ready to "drive" this puppy home...LOL!!

Inside I found an enormous assortment of paper crafting goodies, ranging from Martha Stewart punches (that's plural, mind you), My Cute Stamps stamp sets (plural again), Making Memories Glimmer and Color sets, paper flowers, and a huge assortment of embellishments. A prize package worth around $200!! WOW! I have included a picture of my good fortune, not to brag, but to say "thank you" to ABC Toys and Crafts for being so generous and for selecting my post, even if it was random. This was a most excellent post-Christmas surprise ;D Want to see all the fabulous products they carry? Check them out here: ABC Toys and Crafts And don't forget to visit their blog here: ABC Design Blog

Thanks for hanging out with me today and wading through this marathon blog post ;D

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wow! Did you survive the holidays?

Wow!! What a whirlwind of activity! My heart is still pounding with the adrenaline rush of the holidays. It's strange sitting here at my keyboard not worrying about putting up the tree and decorating the house, picking up a last minute gift, wrapping a few stray presents, washing clothes to pack, or cleaning house as we dash out the door to head down south to Las Cruces to visit family. Kirk wonders why I feel the need to clean the house when we are headed out of town. He'll ask..."do you think Martha Stewart is going to break in while we are gone and do a white glove test?"

Of course, now I am in decompression mode, so my To Do list looks very similar, just in reverse order...unpack and wash dirty clothes, put away the fabulous gifts we received, take down the tree, put away the decorations, and clean house since we have been gone for a few days. That last one is always the star of my "to do" list and never seems to go away!! What a glory hog, it is!!

Now it's Confession's a list of things I didn't get done this holiday season. I usually create fluffy handmade bows and adorn each package...didn't happen. The past 12-years I have made Christmas cards for family and friends...this year, it didn't happen. I'm coming clean, folks, so don't hold it against me ;D

I did manage to make my mom a birthday card, though. Her birthday is on the 19th and I never seem to make her card in enough time to pop it in the mail and send it to her. I always end up taking it with me and giving it to her when we arrive for the holidays. This is what sage advice Kirk had for me as I was stressing to make it the day before we left for LC..."ummm, you do realize it's the same day every year. right?" ARGHH!! This coming from the man who has a Personal Elf Assistant (ME!) to help him shop, wrap his presents, do his laundry, pack his clothes, etc!! Oh well, I love him anyway :D

Back to the this point, I was feeling a little tired of Christmas and longed to make a warm weather inspired card. This card features images by Character Construction and my favorite handy, dandy cloud stamp by Alextamping. I used coordinated glitter papers by My Mind's Eye and I made a matching presentation box for it. I really like the warm honey colors of the paper and feel like they correspond well with the beehive image. I may have gotten carried away with the glitter glue on the beehive. Oh well..LOL!! If the world was covered in glitter, imagine what a wonderful happy place it would be ;D

That's it for today's post. I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Friends!

Hello! Just a quick post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I have included pics of a card I made for my sister whose birthday was yesterday, December 23rd. Yes, for all of you Seinfeld fans, she is a Festivus baby! LOL!! Take care and thanks for being part of my stamping family ;D

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Naughty or Nice CD Cover

Hello! I am writing this blog post in a tizzy, because tonight my husband and I are having our annual Re-Gift Exchange. Each year we invite our friends over and ask them to bring a gift that they received previously that shall I put it...missed the mark. You know, such as the singing fish plaque that was popular a few years back, or a talking toilet paper dispenser that not only doles out the TP, but also provides witty commentary with each exchange. I don't know about you, but I don't want to hold a conversation with an inanimate object when nature is calling.

You might be thinking, "but I NEVER receive gifts like that". Hahaha! Come on now...let's be honest. I know you have an arsenal of these little treasures packed away somewhere and you don't have the heart to cart them off to Goodwill or the Flea Market, partly because you don't want to hurt dear Aunt Ethyl's feelings, but mostly because you don't want to inflict them on anyone else. Well, at our house, inflict away! LOL!! In fact, the tackier, the better!!

We also ask that everyone bring a nice wrapped ornament, as well. Then folks don't feel so bad when they end up taking home one of those weird Snuggie blankets or an Obama Chia Head ;D

One of my favorite things about our yearly shindig is that my husband and I pool our creative resources and give each guest a homemade CD. Hubbs is an avid music lover, obsessor, afficianado, whatever you want to call it. His music library consists of well over 10,000 songs and resides on it's very own hard-drive for safe keeping. Almost 700 of these songs are related to Christmas. It's a very eclectic collection, with a good hearty helping of Frank, Dean, and Bing, and a dollop of Twisted Sister, The Pretenders, and The Ramones, and a sprinkling of Weezer, The Waitresses, and the Ravonettes. Seems like anyone that has ever hummed a few bars has a Christmas album out and we are well on our way to owning them all! LOL! For our CD, he selects the playlist, choses the order and adds a few movie sound bytes to pepper it with a bit of Yuletide wit.

You're probably thinking...he does all the work, what do you do? I make the CD covers and this year I made 12, one per couple. Our theme was Naughty or Nice and I just happened to have a great word stamp by Stamp Francisco that expressed just that. I paired it with one of the sexy bombshells from Bombshell Stamps and added a quirky Santa hat by Stampotique. I am really pleased with how these came together, but it took me 3 full days to get them completed, therefore, I am scrambling to get things done today! Come to think of it...I need to go!! I've got things to do and I'm sitting here on the crazy is that!! Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

China Phoenix 2: A Tree with Attitude! Part II

Good evening! I spent a luxuriously relaxing afternoon at China Phoenix 2 today, enjoying some excellent company and sharing some good hearty belly laughs. However, I did manage to get off my butt and take a couple of pics of the tree in the window. A couple of the characters still need to be hung (including mine), but here's a peek anyway.

I believe Liz created the dazzling Crafter, and I think that kit is responsible for the exquisitely adorned Topknot, but I could be mistaken so don't tell anyone, ok? There is also a beautiful Moth Fab hanging in the window, but I have no idea who wielded their magical embellishment wand to bring her to life. Also, Queen of Life has yet to be added to the tree, but I snapped a pic of her, because she is just too fabulous not to. My good buddy Kathy was responsible for her and, oooohhhh, she is just gorgeous! There may be a couple of others that haven't made it back to the store yet, so if they turn up, I will be sure to add them to my blog.

China Phoenix 2: A Tree with Attitude!

Hey, everyone! I'm off to China Phoenix 2 to add my ornament to the tree displayed in the shop window. Our very talented Liz Forbes took the Stampotique characters, blew them up (not literally,LOL!) and let us choose an image to decorate any way our demented hearts desired. Well, I am particularly fond of Global Warming, so it had to be him, without a doubt. Let me clarify that last remark...I am particularly fond of Global Warming, the Stampotique rubber stamp image, not the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, look at him, he is definitely making a statement.

Liz very kindly provided some black foam core on which to mount our images. I practically drenched my guy in glitter glue and it literally took a day to dry. No wonder he has that grimace on his decapitated snowman head! I would, too. The santa standing on his head is a recent addition and not part of the original image! LOL!!

I can't wait to see the completed tree. I will post more pics when I get back!! Tootles ;D

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry Christmas, Diane!

Hello! I just finished 15 Christmas cards for my wonderful sister-in-law, Diane. I know it seems late to give her cards to send out, but try as I may, I pretty much do this every year and can't break free of this schedule that is obviously based on some sort of permanent craft tardiness philosophy. I always apologize profusely for the delay and this year I get to do it publicly on my blog, oh what fun! LOL! I know I say this every year and, of course, this year is no different, but next year I will start earlier and get them to her so that she can mail them and perhaps get them to the recipients before, oh let's say...Easter!!!

Now I need to start on my Christmas about being late!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree...!

I had my hubby take a little trek to the storage unit this weekend and bring back the tree and all of our Christmas decorations. We have a small house, so there are not too many boxes, but there are enough that we can't store them at home. In fact, he has tried to convince me that we need to get rid of the storage unit altogether, but I insist by saying "...but where will we keep the Christmas decorations?!" What that means is that we basically rent a storage unit to house the Christmas decorations. Sure, we keep other things there, but the Christmas decorations are really the only things kept there that I give a Kris Kringle about. What can I say...I love Christmas!

When the Yuletide decor starts to flood the stores I drag hubbs down each and every aisle oohing and ahhing over every little glimmery bauble or shiny trinket, and lovingly caressing anything that lights up or jingles when you hold it. I listen to Christmas music relentlessly, with The Supremes Christmas CD as my go-to, holiday spirit inducing soundtrack. So, due to my inexhaustible love of the holiday and my uncanny ability to shove it in his face non-stop beginning right after Halloween all the way through New Years, hubbs is not a fan. He likes to give and he loves to get, but he could do without all of the holiday hoopla. Needless to say, he was a bit grumbly when I sent him on his Christmas decor safari this year, but he obliged, just the same. As I started pulling things out Sunday night, I noticed there was a box missing and there were also 4 boxes that had nothing to do with Christmas. The missing box was an important one, because it was home to some of my favorite, most valued ornaments. I know what you're thinking, just use what's there and don't worry about the rest. However, as I've already said, I am relentless when it comes to Christmas, so you know what that meant. Hubbs was going back to the storage unit! By this time, the weekend had disappeared and the start of the work week was on the horizon. Monday morning hubbs sandwiched a trip to pick up my beloved box between his morning visit to the gym and work, which means he was at the storage unit around 6:30am and delivered my treasured box of ornaments to me at around 7:00am when I got up. Now, is that a great guy, or what ;D

Friday, December 4, 2009

Blog? What blog?!

Wow! Where does the time go? Sorry about the lapse between posts. I don't want to lose the handful of followers that I have, so thanks for coming back. I have to admit, between all of the turkey and the hubbub of activity that comes with Thanksgiving, I completely forgot about the blog...YIKES! Bad blogger...bad...bad...! BUT, I am back and ready to blog, blog, blog...LOL!

First of all, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, consumed lots of delicious culinary delights, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of family and friends. I know we did around here!

I am in a bit of a celebratory mood this week. It's a small celebration, mind you, but it makes me happy none-the-less :D I showed a couple of sample handmade cards to a local high-end boutique (Objects of Desire in Albuquerque) and they were thrilled with them. They asked for 20 Christmas cards on consignment. I money up front, but it's a small win and sometimes that's all we need to kick start our creative initiative :) Am I right, crafty friends? The past four days I have been up to my elbows in embossing powder and paper, sort of like a craft crazed elf! LOL!! I finished them this week and delivered 20 cards to the store on Wednesday, consisting of 5 cards each of 4 designs. I've included some photos of the packaged cards, but in my frenzy to get these done, I forgot to take pictures before they were stuffed into the cellophane sleeves. The photos I've posted contain a bit of a glare, but I know ya'll will forgive me ;D By the way, whenever I sell a handmade card, I always do my homework and check my Angel Policies to see how the company feels about using their images in goods for sale. For these cards, I used Tim Holtz images for Stampers Anonymous and they have a wonderful Angel Policy. Most of the companies post their Angel Policies right on their site, but if you're looking for a good one-stop resource for this information, check out the following site:

TIme to drag the Christmas tree out and decorate. I love Christmas! Do you have your tree up, yet? Well, go get it...scoot, scoot, SCOOT! LOL!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello! Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and to let you know I probably won't have anymore blog posts the remainder of the week. I am working on a bit of a project and then my mom is visiting from Las Cruces for the Thanksgiving holiday. We always have such a great time when she visits and the best part is that she is a stamper, too!! How cool is that?!!!

I will start posting again next week, so please come back :) Until then, I want to say that I am thankful for many things, and a few of them are the wonderful friends I have made in the stamping community, including: the fabulous gals who frequent China Phoenix 2 (and attend my classes, you ladies rock!), and the store's awesome proprietress (Nancy, you are a sweetheart!), my fellow teachers whom I have learned so much from (especially may good pal Kathy!), all of my talented blog friends, everyone who visits this blog, and all of my super wonderful Flickr pals! What a lucky, lucky girl I am :D Big hugs to all of you! May your Thanksgiving holiday be filled with lots of good food, and may you bask in the comfort and warmth of family and friends!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Birds of the Air

Good Morning! Today I am featuring another box card that promotes visions of warm Springtime weather, because it seems like it is going to be a another chilly day here in Albuquerque. However, it is New Mexico and that means that we could have another string of warm days waiting for us just around the corner. While this weather diversity makes for exciting meteorological predictions, it also makes it virtually impossible to break out the cozy winter wardrobe, because we will still be juggling between wearing turtle necks one day and capris pants the next, for quite some time ;D

Today's card features a cloud stamp made by Alextamping, a leafy branch made by Memory Box, a flourish made by Penny Black, and the wonderful bird silhouette by Tim Holtz for Stamper's Anonymous. All of these images are truly some of my favorites :) I started by stamping the clouds on a white die cut panel. I swiped the panel with an embossing buddy, then I stamped the bird and embossed him with clear embossing powder. No Turquoise Iridescent Super Sparkle today, but, I wanted to. Next, I colored the open areas of the bird with Copics. Then I covered the entire bird and branch image with Versamarker pen and embossed with clear embossing powder twice to achieve a nice smooth, lacquer-like finish. Then I added the leafy branch and the flourish. I edged the panel with glitter glue to give it a bit of sparkle. I combined the stamped panel with some gorgeous K & Company scrapbook papers and added a few embellishments to finish it off.

Inside the card contains a pocket and the opposite side is where the sentiment resides. It reads, " The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. - psalm 104:12". How lovely is that :)

Thanks for visiting with me today ;D

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Drippy" Butterfly

Good morning! It's sunny here in Albuquerque today, but wow, is it cold! Brrrr... The brisk weather has me craving some cards that represent warmer temperatures, so I whipped up a couple of box cards that, to me, have a Spring-like feel to them.

I made this first card using a color palette that's a bit unusual for me. I love blues and greens together, but when inking the images up, I went for brighter versions of this palette, which I think, adds a bit of whimsy to this Tim Holtz "drippy" butterfly. LOL! I don't know how else to describe it :D I layered a TH background image on the paper first, then added the butterfly stamping him in Lagoon Blue Versafine ink, and embossed him with the Turquoise Iridescent Super Sparkle. I covered the butterfly in Versamarker pen and embossed him two more times using clear embossing powder to make him nice and smooth. I decided that the main image panel still needed something else, so I added a Hero Arts flourish in Vintage Paper distress ink around two of the edges. I paired the image panel with some lovely K & Company patterned papers and a few flower and gem embellishments.

The inside of the card contains a pocket on one side that is ideal for holding a gift card or small note to the recipient. The sentiment on the other side reads "Just living is not enough" said the butterfly "one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower"-Hans Christian Anderson. Ah, how true, wise butterfly :)

Tomorrow I will feature the second box card, so come back and check it out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Softer Christmas Palette

A couple of weeks ago, I was roaming through the aisles of Hobby Lobby, when out of the corner of my eye, a soft glint caught my attention. I turned and gasped with delight as I happened a glance upon some of the most beautiful Christmas papers I've seen. I snatched this bundle of glittery goodness up and clasped it as if it were the secret to eternal youth (Ha! As if!). This little morsel of happiness just so happened to be a package of Signature Christmas Glitter Papers by My Mind's Eye. It did not hold the power to make me young again, but it did make me feel like a kid in a candy store, and that my friend, is pretty powerful stuff!

Yesterday, I drug this huge pad of paper out and carefully poured through each shiny page. I finally settled on the muted blue and brown papers you see above. They whispered soft vintage style to me so I paired some Tim Holtz Christmas stamps with them. You might think that the glitz of the papers themselves would have been enough for me, but not so! Years ago, when I first started stamping and had discovered the glory of embossing powder as if I were Magellan himself, I happened upon a little something called Turquoise Iridescent Super Sparkle made by Stamp A Mania. I was so smitten with this glimmery powder, I had to buy a whole 8oz. jar of it. As most of you know, embossing powder comes packaged in mostly .5 oz jars. So, take one of those jars and multiply it by 16 and you can just imagine this behemoth jar I purchased. But, I HAD to have it...! I NEVER wanted to run out of it!! LOL!! The jar is still mostly full today ;D Lucky for me, because I have fallen in love with it again and may use it all Christmas long!

I embossed the TH images first with the magic elixir that is Turquoise Iridescent Super Sparkle. Then I covered them again with Versamarker pen and embossed two more times with clear embossing powder. I love my Super Sparkle, but it does leave a rough grainy finish when used alone, so the addition of the clear embossing powder gives it a smooth lacquer finish while still showcasing that sparkle. A little distressing around the edges and a few carefully placed embellishments finish these cards off. Do you need some Super Sparkle to get through the holiday season? Find it here: Stamp A Mania

Now get off the Internet and go make some cards! LOL!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stop! Wait a minute, Mr. Postman...!

Look at what I received in the mail yesterday!! A little envelope filled to the brim with miniature masterpieces! OMG! I was just about to burst with excitement as I ripped into it, like a 3-year old on Christmas morn. What did I find inside? Well, 9 of the cutest ATCs you ever did see :D

The Hero Arts hostesses ("hosti", as some of the followers have dubbed them) over at the HA Flickr Group Pool organized an ATC swap along with some of the Hero Arts designers. This swap was HUUUUUGE!! It involved not only avid followers from the United States, but also Canada and several countries overseas, as well. I'm sure it was no small feat for the "hosti", so I want to thank them for organizing, informing, and rallying this giant crafting family to participate. The "hosti" were also tasked with the enormous chore of breaking the participants into groups, receiving the ATCs, sorting them out, and sending them to their respective group participants. HUGE, I tell you!!

I hope my group doesn't mind (and if you do drop me a line and let me know), but I am posting pictures of the treasures I received in my ATC swap group. These pictures do not do these works of art justice. These ladies are uber-talented!


Row One:
***A beautiful butterfly ATC by Sandy Frio, accented with lovely stitching around the edges and pearls on the butterfly. Gorgeous!
***A layered masterpiece by Joshua Jiraffe Designs, with so many lovely details including a darling tiny tag to say "hi".
***A wonderful paper-pieced ATC by Tanya Caudill, who created her own superb patterned papers with Hero Arts stamps.
Row Two:
***A breathtaking creation by Ashley Marcu with layer after layer of fabulous detail.
***A fun, whimsical ATC by Dusty Penny (aka Joy) featuring a fabulous paper-pieced mixer and a bit of stylish bling. Love it!


Row One:
***A sumptious ode to Autumn by Stampersuzz with delicate white hightlights to accent the trees and a carefully placed bit of twine to finish it off. It looks like a tiny painting!
***A lovely Autumnal palette created by Vicky Martindale with lots of beautiful tiny details. Just gorgeous!
***A fabulously clever layout by Gina Van Vliet featuring a a wonderful layered flower and a delightful tag. So cute!!
Row Two:
***A lovely little creation by Kerry Wills that imparts a terrific message "live, laugh, love" in such a stylish manner. Perfect!!
***This is my ATC and as you can see, I couldn't resist adding a bit of bling and throwing on some glitter glue around the edges.

Thanks ladies for sharing your fabulous art with me! I will treasure these always :D

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Birds of Passage

Good morning! Just a quick blog post today. I made this card for a friend's birthday. He's a guy, so I really tried to limit the amount of glitz and bling I added. You'll notice, I didn't even try to sneak in a flower anywhere...LOL!! However, a little bit of glitter glue did make it's way to the edge of the main image panel. I have no idea how that happened ;D

These images are by Character Construction, a company with lots of fun, quirky stamps. My mom gave me the set that included the twig chair a while back and while I absolutely love it, this is the first time I managed to get it inky. I love breaking a brand new stamp in :) You'll notice that I triple embossed the bird and the chair.

I didn't include pics of the inside of the card, because I am still on the hunt for the perfect sentiment. The front of the card reads "we are but birds of passage and must build our nests of what materials we can find". How profound! This also came out of one of the Character Construction sets. Just an absolute excellent assortment!

I might even post another new card tomorrow. That will be 5 blog posts in one week!! Looks like a celebration might be in order! And how will I celebrate, you ask? By treating myself to a few new stamps, of course!! ;D