Friday, May 30, 2008

The Devil Wears Prada

Saturday's Inspiration Challenge calls for us to be inspired by dresses we see in the movies. I have to say, I was digging way back to get to a movie that did not have an animated character in it. I distinctly recall seeing The Devil Wears Prada with some friends, and I figured--- what better place to find an inspiring dress than in that movie?

[Enter Hathaway] Ann Hathaway wears this gorgeous outfit. I love it, but if I wore it I would also be wearing a lot of other things... ketchup, diet soda, bird poop... I would be a walking target for mishaps. So, I live vicariously through her character... the point of a movie, yes?
As soon as I saw this picture, I knew what paper I wanted to use: SEI Jolie Chocolat Noisette and my white velvet SEI paper. I embossed the velvet paper with Fiskars' fabric template to give it more of the texture of her coat. Her bag and gloves made me think of the patterned metallic paper from SEI. I added the bling brads because... well, isn't it obvious? The ribbon was a technique that I have seen done on a few cards at SCS, particularly {Holly} Toy's cards. It was way easier than I expected. It was a way of tying in Ann's hat without getting out knitting needles. Finally, the sentiment---what other sentiment would do?
Size: 5 3/16 x 4 1/4 inches
Paper: Bazzill textured gray, SEI white velvet, and SEI Jolie Chocolat Noisette
Stamp: SU! Amazing to Zany
Ribbon: SU! Basic Gray and Creamy Caramel taffeta
Ink: SU! Basic Gray
Brads: SU! Pretties

It all started with $1 and a color combo

Today's Limited Supplies Challenge asked us to make three cards with the same materials but different layouts. This was, indeed, challenging, and I tried to make it a stretch for me.

I went to this site, recommended by Karen, to try to use some color combos that were "outside my box." I started with Really Rust. I found the combo Really Rust, Chocolate Chip, Creamy Caramel, and Tempting Turquoise. NEVER would I have put them together on my own. Perfect. Then I knew I wanted to use stamps that hadn't seen ink. The bird stamp is a clear acrylic by Rhonna Farrer for Autumn Leaves. It cost $1 at Meijer, and could have been easily overlooked among the more expensive stamps. Then, many things came together at once. Here's my stream of consciousness.

-Let's do some layers.
-OK, you totally need patterned paper. Hmm...
-Oh yeah! Dill Blossom!
-How about some Cuttlebug embossing? Swirls would go great with the flourish in the tail.
-Why not try inking the folder?
-Oh, Tempting Turquoise doesn't show up too well. It'll do.
-Oops, that Brilliance white didn't show up at all!
-Hmm, how about sponging.
-Ovals! I haven't used ovals for a while.
-OK, the sentiment. Let's try to punch it with the word window punch.
-Ah, it fits too snugly.
-Let's try some creative ways to get this sentiment on the card.
-Bling... gotta have bling.
-Hmm, Chocolate Chip twill... what to do, what to do?
-No, I don't want any ribbon on this one.
-OK, stick a fork in them!
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: SU! Chocolate Chip, Creamy Caramel, Very Vanilla, Really Rust, and Tempting Turquoise; SEI Dill Blossom
Ink:SU! Chocolate Chip, Creamy Caramel, Really Rust, and Tempting Turquoise
Ribbon: SU! Chocolate Chip twill
Bling: The Paper Studio Gemstones
Stamps: Rhonna Farrer (Autumn Leaves), Essential Sentiments (My Favorite Things)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Gift for my Husband

You might be thinking... JoLynn, why are you posting this? I am 99.9% sure Scott is in no way, shape, or form interested in reading my blog. If he is, he should stop NOW, or he will see his Father's Day gift. If he can't stand the suspense, he can read on.

While at Creating Keepsakes Convention - St. Louis (in Collinsville, IL), in April, I went to a class entitled, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," hosted by Scrapbooks 'N Stickers. You might recall that was the class where Karen worked. In the class, we began to create an accordion album for a dad. Here is a link to the kit if you are interested.

I love how it turned out. I can't decide if I am going to get sappy and write something or not. But most of the work is finished, once I finally committed to getting it done. It only took about a day to finish. The hardest part was selecting pictures. I wanted to span both of the children's lives. That's an experiment in humor for many reasons, not limited to the increased quality of digital photos over the years as well as the decreased pigment in his hair over the years. :) I am sure several of those gray hairs have my name on them.

If you don't have Adobe Flashplayer 8, you might want to do a free download to see the slideshow below. If you want to see a larger image of any of the photos, just click on the thumbnail as it comes up in the show.

A "Green" Kind of Card

Today's Ways to use It Challenge asked us to use some sort of packaging materials. So, I headed to my garage, as we have an "issue" about throwing away boxes. I am kind of cursed, I think. An example... we threw away the box for our waffle maker, and what do you suppose happened this weekend? Yes, it did stop working.

My son got a Wii for Christmas, and we, of course, still have some of the boxes. You just never know... I found an anti-static envelope that had the greatest texture and translucency. So I used it for some of my matting on this card. I used yesterday's sketch correctly this time. :)
My mantle is becoming my favorite place to take pictures. I get great light, and it's a cream color so it usually doesn't interfere with cardstock color.
A simple, yet fun thank-you card. Isn't that Bazzill button cute?
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: SU! Soft Sky (or it might be Bazzill... it was in my scraps), SU! Chocolate Chip, packaging envelope
Stamp: SU! Just So Sayings
Brads: Spare Parts
Ink: Dark Brown Color Box Chalk

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sort of Sketch Challenge 178

I finished my card and took my picture. Excitedly, I headed to the computer where I realized that I did the sketch for today's challenge in landscape instead of portrait. Oopsie. So, sketch purists will have to use their imaginations, look really hard, and envision this as a portrait oriented card. :)

Now for the rest of us... Isn't this a great card? I have been wanting to do embossed on embossed panels for a while, and this sketch seemed to fit perfectly. Nothing particular in mind for the card... perhaps a wedding card or just congrats, etc. Again, I used yesterday's color challenge because I loved it.
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: SU! Chocolate Chip, Sage Shadow, and Very Vanilla
Stamp: SU! Sincere Salutations
Accents: SU! Styled Silver Hodgepodge Hardware, Pretties Kit (brads), sheer white ribbon
Embossing: Cuttlebug Swirls

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


There are some years in a person's life that fall into a category unlike other years. One could call them "pivotal," "benchmark," "life-altering." I would like to consider this school year of my life to be "prolific."

I think the word "prolific" is misused quite often (and probably by me on more than one occasion). Quite literally, as I take the word apart, I see "pro-" which I know typically to mean "for," and I see "lific" which seems to mean "related to life." "Prolific," as defined in a dictionary has a variety of literal and figurative meanings. On its most literal end, it means "bearing an abundance of offspring." I suppose with that definition, my mom, with eight children, would be considered prolific. On its most figurative end, it means "intellectually productive." The latter is the definition I choose to use for this year.

I believe that in every situation in life, we are meant to learn something (or some things). Here is my stream of consciousness about what I learned through my year.

1. Our children are the best and the worst of us. Ignatius has a heart of gold. He is also a nervous wreck and a perfectionist. Max has a most infectious laugh. He also has a wicked temper. As Scott and I indulged in the sea of genetic guilt regarding our children's anxiety and autism, we also had random, peaceful moments. In these moments we realized why God gave these children to us and what he wants from us as their parents. He lets us look in a mirror on a daily basis, especially since Max has become a parrot of tone, word choice, and mannerism as he learns the spoken word. They are us. God help them. :)

2. "If everything is 'under control,' everyone will be happy" is a fallacy. So many years of my life have given energy to the "try to make everyone happy" ideal. I believed this was an achievable goal. It literally was running me... no let me be more accurate, it was a jet engine hurtling full-throttle into the ground. Each time I realized people were not content with something, I had to try to control it more. I had to be the best teacher for every student with special needs that I had. I had to know what my own children needed, and I had to get it for them yesterday. If someone close to me was upset, I was upset, particularly if I could not fix the problem that created the stress for that person. If a job was being done poorly, it was my responsibility to help that person create a workable, productive situation. No one can live up to this level.

3. Everybody hurts. When my speeding plane finally burst into flames this November, there was a HUGE outpouring of support from more people than I can possibly list here. Some people shared their own struggles with depression, or children with autism/anxiety, or nervous breakdowns. Some people just constantly let me know they were there. Some dragged my butt out of bed because they knew if they didn't, I would drown in my sense of failure. Others had the perfect words of advice at the perfect time. Some made sure that I was left alone without the worry of school. Others helped remind me of my scheduling goals (my "curfew") upon returning to work. Many just let me know they were rooting for me. A lot of people just listened.

4. Breathe in, breathe out. 'Nuff said?

5. Criticisms from others are not always accurate and should not be life-altering. So, a parent thinks something negative? I know I work my behind off to do what's best for students. No need to spend extra energy agonizing over harsh criticism. Also, I am an artist. I believed that before ninth grade. I stopped believing it due to the careless assessment of one art teacher who was too lazy to give me any formative feedback on my work. Never again. I know that creating makes me happy. I am happier as I create than I am doing most things in my life. I will pursue this now at 38. I should have pursued it at 18. Never again will I allow one person to have that much power over me.

6. No one fits in to tiny little boxes of "normal." "Normal" and "typical" are arbitrary statements. I guess if you are the loudest voice, you get to set the "normal" bar. You get to decide that children who do not score a certain score on a test get more/less opportunities than other testtakers. You get to decide that someone's child doesn't "fit." Truthfully, though, "normal" is a moving target that changes from community to community. I like the masses of "abnormal" much better. You could say, "Abnormal is the new normal."

OK, I am sleepy, so I will cut this off now. I just really wanted to get some things down as my goal of making it through this school year with some of my sanity in tact becomes a reality. Yippee!

{School's} Out...

... for summer.

Today was my last full day of school for 2007-08. It is only fitting that I make a card commemorating the fact that I survived one of the toughest year's emotionally in both my personal life and my professional life. Thank God... literally.

This card fits today's Color Challenge: Sage Shadow, Very Vanilla, and Chocolate Chip. Lovely colors to mesh. I also dug up the very first SU! set I ever bought... Tropical Fish. Every time I clear out unused stamps, I just can't seem to let this set go, even though I hardly ever use it anymore. You just never know when I will need some fish, right?

I used some Cloud Nine Rain Drops, but they look a little dingy. Maybe I am just being too picky. Moi?
Size: 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches
Paper: SU! Chocolate Chip, Sage Shadow, and Very Vanilla
Stamp: SU! Tropical Fish
Letters: Daiquiri Vinyl Thickers (brown)
Ink: SU! Sage Shadow and Versa Mark
Accents: Dimensionals, Cloud Nine Rain Drops, clear embossing powder

Monday, May 26, 2008

CosmoBella Stamp

I loved today's Technique Lover's Challenge. We had to choose one of the first ten Technique Challenges, one of the first ten Sketch Challenges, and one of the first ten Color Challenges. For each challenge below, I have linked to its original gallery.

The technique I chose was from TLC02: Faux Postage. A tutorial is found here, but I only used a portion of the template. I also did not have clear acetate, but I used white cardstock and held it up to light to align it. That worked fairly well. I tried to do three stamps, but I found that it is very hard to do them to be identical. So, I settled for one. I also changed the postage to 42 cents. Don't know how long that will be accurate! :)
The sketch I chose was SC05. It was fairly straightforward and very close to Beate's weekend sketch for this week.

The colors I chose were from CC02: Ruby Red, Barely Banana, and Not Quite Navy. I thought they would be good since this was for a summer birthday card.

This card took FOREVER to make because one thing or another kept screwing up. I tried multiple stamps, but something kept going wrong. Smudges, smears, gross imperfections (I could have handled little ones). Finally, I decided on the design. I think the DSP is more Real Red than Ruby Red, but the Cosmo is Ruby Red colored with an Aquapainter of alcohol (how appropriate!). I used the same coloring technique for her shirt.

I think many would agree that our gal, Bella, should be on a stamp. :)
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: SU! Barely Banana, Not Quite Navy, and Prints DSP, Papertrey white
Stamp: CosmoBella, SU! Lots of Thoughts
Ink: SU! Not Quite Navy, Creamy Caramel, Old Olive, Ruby Red, Close to Cocoa
Ribbon: Michael's Special Value Ribbon... frayed a LOT
Brad: SU! Build a Brad with Prints DSP

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I got an e-mail from a high school chum the other day. Said one of our classmates retired. She's 38 (maybe 39). Is that insane or what?
Well, my profession does not allow for terribly early retirements like that unless you are Doogie Howser. Today's card is for a husband and wife who are retiring together. I had to balance the male (colors) and female (ribbon, scallopped circle) elements. I loved this sentiment, which is an epoxy sticker. I used Beate's weekend sketch as a guide for my layout, and some scraps from Saturday's card because I had not yet returned them to their home.

Imagine the fun it was to try to get a good, glare-free shot of this ribbon and this sticker at night. I am amazed I had a decent one to share. The sentiment says, "Goodbye Tension Hello Pension."

I think I'll retire... to bed, that is... after this one.

Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: Bazzill brown, SU! Chocolate Chip and True Thyme, My Mind's Eye Bohemian Collection
Sentiment Sticker: Reminisce Time to Relax
Ribbon: SU! Chocolate Chip wide taffeta... yum

Featured Stamper

Today's Featured Stamper is Denise, aka peanutbee on Splitcoast. Her gallery is filled with really nice work. It's worth the time to peruse.

I chose to CASE her card for the April GKD Color Contest. The first thing that caught my eye was how she used a semicircle for her sentiment. I started off with that thought, but the image and sentiment I used, my new Pretty Birds set from Cornish Heritage Farms, just would not work out that way.

I was so excited when I saw this set hanging in a nearby scrapbook store. This store, Scrapbook Friend'z (pronounced "frenzy") in Bloomington, has evolved a lot since it opened. They have REALLY stepped up the stamps they carry. I had been hemming and hawing over this set, loving lots of what I saw on SCS with that cute little owl. So, I just went ahead and bought it. I do not know why I suffer through decisions like that and can impulse buy on other stuff.

Back to the card! I decided to also try the "drunken watercolor" technique on Jody Morrow's blog. She has great instructions and photos. I really can fake some Copic coloring with this one! I used the technique for the bird, the branch, and the leaves. I paper pierced accenting the circular sentiment. I used my corner rounder to scallop the edge of the moss panel. I pieced the bird onto the branch (looks masked, I know).

My picture is taken with my new Nikon D60. I literally have just been experimenting. Look at this picture of Max I took! That was just pointing, shooting, and having little idea of what I was doing. I will be doing a lot of learning this summer.
Size: 4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: SU! Brocade Blue and Mellow Moss, Papertrey white, Webster's Pages Vintage Home Collection "Shenendoah"
Ink: (All images stamped then colored with "drunken" Aquapainter and markers) SU! Brocade Blue, Chocolate Chip, and Mellow Moss
Stamps: Pretty Birds (Cornish Heritage Farms)
Ribbon: SU! Mellow Moss taffeta

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eat Dessert First

Today's card is inspired by the advertisement to the left. For IC129, our submissions were to be inspired by this or several other ads from F. Schumacher & Co.

First, I looked at colors. This ad might as well have been a color swatch for my patterned papers. Love these colors! So I laid some out to determine which to use. I ended up using two separate papers, one from the Bohemia collection from My Mind's Eye, the other from the Urban Window collection from We R Memory Keepers. I decided that the velvet brown trim on the chair was an essential texture tie-in for me. Hence, my strip of velvet ribbon. To give some embellishment balance, I added three dots from the Thickers Felt Pajamas stickers. I hope my picture accents both of these textures.

I inked the base of the card with Color Box Dark Moss Cat's Eye Chalk ink. Otherwise, it looked kind of drab. I inked the sides of the sentiment with my Old Olive marker. I love this sentiment. Just got it today with my Frugalities order. It inked and stamped beautifully.

Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Cardstock: SU! Old Olive, Very Vanilla, Certainly Celery
Patterned Paper: My Mind's Eye Bohemian Collection, We R Memory Keepers Urban Window Collection
Ink: SU! Chocolate Chip, Brocade Blue, and Old Olive; Color Box Dark Moss Chalk Cat's Eye
Ribbon: Oriental Trading
Accents: Thickers Felt Stickers - Pajamas

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yes, obsessive... but I get to escape reality... it's all good

Okay, I know, enough already. But honestly... this guy is awesome. You would think I gave birth to David Cook, for Pete's sake.

His journey... pretty cool documentary... and then, I swear I will move on... until he makes an album... then all bets are off...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eating crow

Well, I have to say, Simon apologizing on American Idol is quite a moment, yes? Wow. Glad I wasn't being paranoid when I sensed that he was being horribly critical of David Cook.

David Cook? Oh yeah, I mean, THE WINNER OF AMERICAN IDOL 2008. How FLIPPIN' EXCITED WAS I? It will be a real shame if I ever grow up, won't it?
It was tense. I really thought they had built up Archuletta for a win. They were both good, but, as I mentioned yesterday, one was a superior performer.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! I truly think my husband is worried about me. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

David Cook

I started watching American Idol during its finale with Tyler Hicks and Katherine McPhee. I find it a fascinating show. I decided last season to watch it from its beginning to its finale. I was totally impressed with last year's choice, Jordan Sparks. Her career has already taken off, and she is one talented young lady.

This season was a bit different. The judges definitely picked a wider range of styles AND musicians. To me, by far, the most consistently talented performances have come from David Cook.

David Cook has shown a wide range of vocal ability as well as an enormous talent in musical arrangement. The above clip is my favorite of all his performances, "Billie Jean." Most of us who were children of the 80's envision Michael Jackson's sparkling white socks and black loafers dancing along a lighted floor. I had to have some black penny loafers for school due to the popularity of Michael's fashion statement. However, this take of it is so much different... it blew me away.

Tonight, David sang one of my favorites, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." He definitely did a fantastic job. I think there are a couple reasons why he won't be the next "American Idol," and that should be A-OK with him.

1- It seems the Archuletta groupies were out in full force. Cook fans were definitely outnumbered.

2- Simon's "honesty" worked against David Cook on all three of tonight's songs. Simon seemed bent on stacking the deck against him by giving David Archuletta way too much credit. David A. showed NO flexibility in his range of performance. Why were tonight's performances not lumped together in the "amusement park" category that Simon loved to use in previous shows? Was it simply due to the crowd present and their reaction? I was floored by the compliments showered on David Archuletta.

3- Chris Daughtry. 'Nuff said.

So, my vote was cast for David Cook as the more well-rounded, more destined-to-be-a-star contestant. Alas, I don't think as many crazy 38 year olds were watching and texting as there were screaming sixteen year olds. Sorry David C. But I am going to iTunes to do some downloads right now, and I patiently await your album.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Isn't She Lovely?

Well, I did it. I made the leap! I bought a Nikon D60 from Ritz Camera. Don't know how long it will take to get here, but it is ordered. It will come with 2 lenses, both with vibration reduction (thank God): 18-55 and 55-200. I'm excited for it to arrive just as my school year is coming to an end.

Trust me, when it arrives, my blog will know. Can't wait to take pictures of the kids with it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Best Wishes

Today's Featured Stamper, Dawnsing, was a crafter of whom I had not been aware. She has a very clean, simple style, reminiscent of two of my favs: Becky Higgins and Cathy Zielske.

Her card that I CASED she titled "Office Birthday." I decided to keep and change some items. Here's my list:

~SU! Au Chocolat DSP
~SU! Barely Banana
~SU! Very Vanilla
~SU! Choclate Chip
~Basic sketch

~Different pattern of Au Chocolat
~Rather than Office Accoutrements, I used Sincere Salutations and Big/Little Pieces
~I used no red
~I used stitched ribbon and tied my bow on the other end
~I used three flower images, popping one up with dimensionals
~I embossed some lines using my Scor-Pal
~I inked the edges of my sentiment and flowers

Size: 4 3/16 x 5 inches
Paper: SU! Au Chocolat, Barely Banana, Very Vanilla
Ribbon: The Paper Studio Scrap Pack
Stamps: SU! Sincere Salutations, Big Pieces, and Little Pieces
Brads: Spare Parts
Ink: SU! Chocolate Chip and Barely Banana

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Waxing Inspired

I just love the inspiration challenges! Taking ordinary things and making art with them helps me remember that there is beauty everywhere if we just take time to notice it.

My card was inspired by the candle shown (from Papyrus). All I could think of when I saw it was vellum (must have been the waxy nature of the inspiration piece). There was a while that I LOVED the look of a vellum overlay. I even made Christmas cards one year with it. It's so simple and you gets tons of b
ang for your buck. {Enter today's card.}
This was so easy! The hardest part was not smearing black ink on vellum and getting the sentiment stamp working for my shaky hands. I also put a little strip of Mono adhesive on the back panel of vellum for a more snug fit. I really love the way this came out.
Size: 5 3/16 x 4 1/4 inches
Stamps: SU! Delight in Life and Hero Arts Treasure Word Border
Paper: SU! Barely Banana; white vellum
Ribbon: The Paper Studio Scrap Pack (neutrals)
Ink: SU! Basic Black, Close to Cocoa, and Barely Banana

Friday, May 16, 2008

Alphabet Sets

If you had spoken to me 5 years ago about buying a stamp set for lettering, I would have scoffed at you. I mean, come on. $30 for a set of stamps that make lettering I can do myself?! Why?

Then came my first set, some tiny Wal-Mart set. Then, my first SU! set, Alphabet Attitude. Then, well, let's just say it was all downhill for my checkbook from there.
I still do some of my own lettering. However, stamps ensure consistency in sizing for me that sometimes gets sloppy when I am freehanding.

Today's challenge card required that we use alphabet stamps for the main sentiment. I decided to merge my two worlds (Sooo "West Side Story!"). I used one of my FAVORITE sets, Boulder Skyline from Technique Tuesday. I just purchased Boulder Slopes (on sale at a local scrapbook store!) to coordinate (it's the inner scribble). However, my very own hand wrote the "happy" and "birthday" script. So there.

Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: PTI white, Paper Studio Cool Lavender and Cool Large Flowers, SU! Certainly Celery
Ink: SU! Certainly Celery and Bashful Blue
Stamps: Technique Tuesday Boulder Skyline and Boulder Slopes (lowercase)
Button: Making Memories Animal Crackers Felt Shaped Button - Jack
Thread: DMD Industries Paper Wire
Accessories: Dimensionals

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rock On!

I am glad I got to fit in a challenge today. This card really fit with the day. At the junior high in which I teach, we are 7 school days away from school being out. Michelle came into my room singing today, feeling that would be a way to keep sane. We then proceeded to sing down the hallway.

See, that's the thing about being a teacher of middle school students: you have a built-in excuse to never grow up. You can sing down the hallway and some students think you are a nutcase. Others don't see anything out of the ordinary. Your colleagues completely understand why you must find ANY way to make it through the last week of school without going completely nuts.

So, here's to you, Michelle, with your brand-spankin' new Master's degree. Rock on, Grasshopper.
Now, a little about the card. Do you not just love the American Crafts paper? They have created a line of awesome, bold colors that are just fabulous. Here's another card with American Crafts paper. What you can't see is that it has a really good weight to it. It's not "paper thin." I love the scallopped layering of this one.

For the Ways to Use It Challenge, we were to use an "Inchie." I used an "Un-Button" from Little Black Dress Designs. They gave them to people who went to their session at CKC Kansas City, and I thought it was perfect for this. They come unpunched, and I actually punched mine with my Crop-A-Dile (like buttah). I chose to put a rub-on sentiment on it, but you can also use a lot of media on it... stamps, inks, pastels, etc.

Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: American Crafts Play "Scooter", SU! Only Orange
Rub-Ons: Wordsworth
Embellishments: Star brads (Making Memories? not sure), Paper Wire (DMD Industries)
"Inchie": Un-button (Little Black Dress Designs)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Typing with one hand

I know that's an odd title. I am sitting here at 11 PM when I was already exhausted. I have a limp, exhausted, finally quiet three year old with autism lying on my shoulder. I am typing this with one hand because it's all I have to offer. Yet I realized what a metaphor for my life this is.

There is nothing "two-handed" about anything I am doing. Life is constantly on Code Red. A day in the life:

-5:30 AM alarm sounds; if I'm lucky, I have energy to get up within 15 minutes; all depends on when I was able to get to bed

-6 AM others in house start stirring, except Max (3)

-6:30 AM on a good day, I have showered; Max meltdown preparation... try to get him on the potty or simply dressed (we have surrendered to putting him to bed in full clothes ready for the AM) with teeth brushed

-7 AM on a great day, I am on my way to work; on a typical day, I am listening to banshee screaming, kicking, and hitting as we simply try to get Max out the door and into his car seat; 11 year old feels nauseous (gee, wonder why); I wonder why I bother to make myself look presentable, as I look like hell by the time I enter my car

-7:15 AM on a great day, I am at work and scrambling to get ready for the day, since the day before I left right away to pick up Ignatius (11) at school right after my dismissal

-7:45 AM guage the attitudes of 48 eleven/twelve year olds as they enter school

-8:00 - 2:45 attempt to engage all sorts of learners in English, math and reading; bang my head against a wall on a frequent basis; get calls from my husband throughout the day because Ignatius has called him during an anxious moment

-3:00 on a good day, try to leave to pick up Ignatius

-Evenings include homework and Scouts or Tae Kwon Do for Ignatius; for Max, it's getting him to eat something (one of the three acceptable foods right now) and hoping that we can diffuse a meltdown from BOTH children; Ignatius repeatedly asks the same questions about whether or not we think he will throw up because he feels nauseous

-I might get to something I like to do (crafting) at around 9 or 10 PM. I can pick up a DVRed show every once in a while.

So, my whole day is "typing with one hand." Right now, finally, at 11:30 PM, I am typing with two hands as I finally have everyone in bed. I am exhausted, but I want to drink in the fact that there is PEACE and QUIET at some point of my day.

I wonder what a "typical" life with "typical" kids is like. I was not meant to know. Off to la la land now. Over and out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Delight in Life

What an ironic title. I just spent the last hour trying to withstand a meltdown with my three year old. He still wimpers as I type this, as a matter of fact. I began this card almost three hours ago.

This fulfills SCS Color Challenge 166, which combines SU! Pumpkin Pie, Soft Sky, and Ruby Red. I started with the simplest of plans... the color blocking. I just could not figure out where I wanted to add the Ruby Red. I decided to use it as a flower accent. I also spent a lot of time trying different embossing so as to combine yetserday's challenge with this one, to no avail.
This is definitely not a trio of colors I would have put together on my own. It's good to go outside the "box" every now and then.
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: SU! Soft Sky, Afternoon Tea DSP, Ultrasmooth White
Ink: SU! Soft Sky, Pumpkin Pie, Ruby Red, Forest Foliage, and Chocolate Chip
Stamps: SU! Delight in Life
Embellishments: Sheer white ribbon, Velvet Brad (Spare Parts), Dimensionals

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Je t'aime

This week's SCS Featured Stamper is Jennifer Meyer, aka Lovetostamp6 on Splitcoast. What I admire about Jennifer's work is that, when she toys with a stamp set, you can see that she uses one set in various ways. Take a peek at her gallery to see what I mean.

I chose to CASE her "Spring Silhouettes" card. Her design was lovely, and, as you can see, I didn't alter much from it. Here's what I changes in my CASE:

~I used Blue Bayou, which is a darker shade of blue than the Soft Sky Jennifer chose.

~I did not have the embossing folder she chose, so I used the Fiskars Fabric template for my white matting behind the heart and my blue horizontal band.

~I did not use pearls and ribbon with my Hodgepodge Hardware. I chose instead to try out my Bow-Easy. It worked pretty well, considering I was not too sure what I was doing! Creating Keepsakes has a tutorial on its website for this tool. I bought it in October at CKC Kansas City, but have been a big chicken as far as using it is concerned. Of course, I did not watch the tutorial... so typically me... but I think it came out OK none the less.

~My sentiment says, "Je t'aime," (je tem), which is French for, "I love you."
I have to say that the card is very pretty, but it's mostly Jennifer's concept. I like the way she layered the heart. I layered mine using Pop-Up glue dots (for just a little rise). I used Winter White heat embossing powder (I think Jennifer did, too, but I couldn't tell).
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Paper: SU! Blue Bayou, Prints DSP in Blue Bayou, White cardstock
Stamps: SU! Always, Papertrey Ink
Embossing: Versa Mark Watermark ink, SU! Winter White embossing powder, Fiskars Fabric embossing template
Ribbon: Sheer white (Michaels?); Bow-Easy
Hardware: SU! Styled Silver Hodgepodge Hardware

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Today's Inspiration Challenge involved the suncatcher (shown to the left) from Dreaming in Color. I had attempted a circle card before, and this suncatcher made me think that an oval card could not be that much more difficult. It really was pretty easy.

I used my Coluzzle oval template to give me the nested ovals. I decided to find some paper with similar colors as the suncatcher. Also, I chose to paper piece a butterfly to coincide with the suncatcher. I got my idea for the piecing from Karen's great CASE of sparklegirl's card. When I was almost finished with embellishments, I decided ribbon was needed for an additional texture, hence the stapled ribbon on the butterfly.

Now, the rest of the story. Today is the annual Race for the Cure in Peoria. I purchased Technique Tuesday's Celebrate Life set, created to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Cancer Center. I purchased it on behalf of the women I know who have struggled with breast cancer (and have beaten it!). So, I thought it was fitting that I should use the set today.

A reason for choosing the "C is for Courage" sentiment is that I seemed to lack courage over the last month or so. I needed to be painfully honest with a friend, and I could not do it. The problem is, that ended up hurting another friend. I was in a situation that I am not typically in... paralyzed by indecision. I have said my apologies, and have gotten forgiveness, but the feeling still lingers for me because nothing could be more out of character for me. So, this card can also serve as a reminder, I suppose.

Size: 3 7/8 x 5 inches (oval at longest parts)
Paper: Bazzill textured cardstock (base); My Mind's Eye Bohemian Light Blue/Medallions (butterfly); Webster's Pages Vintage Home Collection "Shenendoah" (oval)
Stamps: Celebrate Life (Technique Tuesday)
Ribbon: SU! Chocolate Chip twill
Hardware: SU! Hodgepodge Hardware, staples

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Triple Threat

Yes, it's true. Due to being bogged down by grading {except a night of cute card creations at Karen's}, I have been away from challenges for a few days. So tonight, I thought I would attempt three challenges with one birthday card.
Color Challenge 165: Lovely Lilac, Pretty in Pink, and Certainly Celery

Here's how I tried to meet the challenges:

Color: My base is Certainly Celery. I used Lovely Lilac and Certainly Celery for matting. I used Lovely Lilac for ink. I used Certainly Celery Prints DSP for my Bella's pants. I used Certainly Celery marker (along with Chocolate Chip and Close to Cocoa) for other parts of my Bella. I colored the chipboard with Lovely Lilac and Certainly Celery. The DSP on the circles has some Lovely Lilac. My Bella's cocktail uses Pretty in Pink, as well as silver Gelly Roll pen.

Sketch Challenge: I tried to stay as true to the sketch as possible.

Ways to Use It Challenge: I affixed (using Tombo Mono Multi Liquid Glue) the DSP on to a circular piece of chipboard from Technique Tuesday's Technique Tiles FUNdamental Rings. I sanded the circles. I colored some Gift Box unfinished chipboard Thickers with Lovely Lilac and Certainly Celery and used them to accent the circles and give some balance and definition.

I LOVE how this card came out. It's my first Bella, and, frankly, I may be hooked. {Thanks, Karen!}

Size: 4 1/4 x 5 inches
Stamps: Cosmobella (Stamping Bella), Twisted Sentiments (My Favorite Things)
Paper: SU! Certainly Celery, Lovely Lilac, Pickles DSP, Prints DSP
Stickers: American Crafts Gift Box unfinished chipboard Thickers
Ink: SU! Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery, Lovely Lilac, So Saffron, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip
Other: Dimensionals

Monday, May 5, 2008

Diorama Revisited

Today's SCS Try a New Tehnique Challenge was an old technique for me. Thanks to my "dealer," I had made a diorama card before. I almost didn't try it again, but tonight was a night I needed to stamp. Allergies, stress, job interview... 'nuf said. Here is a tutorial for how to make them.

I made this card for me. It is dispalyed with my "Carpe Diem" piece as a reminder. Inside the diorama card is the word "Blessed" in different fonts. I need to remember that, on a daily basis, no matter how crappy I feel, or how much I want to wallow in unnecessary self-deprication, I am truly blessed in so many areas of my life. I am placing this somewhere will I will face it daily.

I have posted two pics... one where the "Blessed" part is the focus and all else is "fuzzy," and one with a clear shot of the design. I love the one with the focus on "Blessed." How completely right on.
Size: 4 1/2 x 3 inches when standing
Paper: Glory Blessed (The Paper Element), Bazzill brown textured, SU! Really Rust
Ink: SU! Chocolate Chip
Stamps: SU! Baroque Motifs
Brads: I have no idea, but I like them

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Simply CASEd

Today's Featured Stamper is Kim (nutsymuhl). Her gallery is fun to walk through, and her blog (a fellow Blogger) is just as enjoyable. Check her out!
I CASEd her Simply Colorful card. I thought it looked great how she did it, and I changed a few things. I still think you can see where mine came from.
I changed:
~Where she had solid colors, I chose SU! Prints DSP.
~I chose for my sentiment to be in the lower right-hand block.
~I chose white ribbon with black stitching.
~No flower brads for me, although I have those very brads!
~I chose some paper piecing and toling.
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Stamps: SU! Mixed Bouquet and Amazing to Zany
Paper: SU! Prints DSP, Basic Black, Papertrey Ink white
Ribbon: Paper Studio scraps
Ink: SU! Basic Black

Saturday, May 3, 2008

National Scrapbooking Day!

Oh, joy! It's National Scrapbooking Day! I may get to some scrapbooking today, if I am blessed by the gods of time. I doubt it, but I can dream.

Today's inspiration challenge was to find a scrapbook page to use as inspiration. I knew that I needed to check out one of my three idols: Becky Higgins, Cathy Zielske, and/or Donna Downey. I started with Cathy Zielske's clean&simple scrapbooking and, of course, found a sketch.

Here's what I love about Cathy, her book, and her column:

~She deals with a lot of everyday stuff in her scrapbooking.
~Her design is so very balanced, which appeals to my Type A, OCD issues.
~She always discusses design elements... which opens up the inner graphic designer in me.
~She is all about having time to live life as well as scrapbook it, believing that the former is more important than the latter.
~She uses fabulous photography on her pages.

These ladies are true artists, each with her own style. I love the works of each of them for different reasons. Click on their links and explore their blogs if you would like to know more.

My card is inspired by page 61 in her book. I have scanned her image of a terrific scrapbook page. Here are the elements I chose to use in my card:

~Rule of Thirds: The card is divided into three horizontal areas.
~Line: The gray background has definite lines that run horizontally and vertically.
~Image balance: I took the SU! Lots of Thoughts Stamp and my Stamp-a-majig and split up the Happy Hellos stamp. I kind of knew I was going to do that when I got the set, as I felt it was too many sentiments all at once. "Happy" and "Hellos" were offset, much like Cathy's quotes from her kids are on her page. For "Just a Note" and "Have a Great Day" I used my SU! tab punch and cut off the excess.
~Color: I noticed Cathy's upper-left and lower-right-hand corners had patterned paper, which she balanced with solid papers in the other corners. Since in her middle piece, she pulled out a color from her patterned paper, I decided to do the same.
~No photo: Since I didn't have a photo for the middle section, I decided to use brads to emphasize the linear dominance of the card. I made them a bit haphazard, though, to try and tie in the patterned paper's design elements.

Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Stamp: SU! Lots of Thoughts
Ink: SU! Basic Black
Paper: Sixth Avenue Little Italy (American Crafts), Bazzill textured gray, SU! Certainly Celery
Brads: Spare Parts (Paper Studio)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Circle Fun

I was about to go to bed, when, suddenly... I read the challenge for Friday. I love circles and had been itching to use the SU! Carousel Notes. Hence, this card. I have been using my cards as display pieces on my mantle, and, I must say, this one looks awesome. I was always frustrated that I wasn't using my mantle as a seasonal showpiece. I am really excited that I started giving these cards more life than sitting in a box.

Challenge-wise, I used a 2 inch circle punch, a Coluzzle circle cutter (grrr), and the Carousel notes. I also used some SU! rub-ons that were circular. I used a circular hole punch on the scallops, too. Last but not least, we cannot forget the bling.

I loved this challenge! Now maybe I can sleep. :)
Size of Carousel Note: 3 inch radius
Stamps: SU! Always and Expressive Flexible Phrases (enjoy)
Paper: SU! Very Vanilla and Soft Sky, Paper Studio Cute Blue Flowers
Embellishments: SU! Love Birds Rub-Ons, SU! Chocolate Chip twill, staple, Dimensionals, Paper Studio Gemstones

The Most Underappreciated

Today's SCS Ways to Use It Challenge asked us to use pleats or ruffles. I wish I was courageous enough to bust out the sewing machine, but a bit of Mono Adhesive is going to have to do. I also got at least a start of color idea from Kristina Werner's color challenge #7. It strayed a bit and included some green, but otherwise, I think I stayed true to that challenge as well.

These cards are for some of the most underappeciated people in our school: our counseling staff. These phenomenal women try to assist a caseload of about 700 students. With the increasing needs of our student population, that is an unrealistic number of students to aid. We feel very uplifted by our counselors, who always seem to be there when we need them. Tomorrow, we will celebrate "Counselor Appreciation Day." These cards are for them.

I had a challenge with the ovals. I have several oval cutters (no punches). I have a Coluzze, which frustrated me. I also have a Creative Memories oval cutting system, which is hit or miss depending on if I remember which blade cuts which size. I also have my Cricut, which I did not bust out this evening. I think they turned out fine, but not without some words, if you know what I mean.
I incorporated the pleats with SU! Chocolate Chip twill. I created three pleats and embellished them with brads. I like that little accent.

The cards are fairly simple, which is good when making multiple cards. I tried to alter the design each time, and each counselor will get an SU! Define Your Life definition that makes me think of her.
Size: 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches
Stamps: SU! Define Your Life (happy, zeal, gratitude, and you)
Paper: Courtyard Plaid (Chatterbox Scrapbook Walls), SU! Very Vanilla and Soft Sky
Embellishments: SU! Chocolate Chip twill and Spare Parts brads