Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Page 1

In my last entry, I mentioned that I was taking a class with Cathy Zielske. Big Picture Scrapbooking has given permission for me to post my creations, provided I give them and Cathy the appropriate credit. So, without further ado, here is page one:
We are using a Kraft paper base for the 12 x 12 projects in the scrapbook. Cathy asked us to create a 9 x 9 grid on a page that expresses who we are at this moment. In her sample, she gave us various examples. Hers was a lot less "busy" than mine, but, let's face it, "busy" represents me pretty well. Since I am such a crazy lover of order, I used two different colors of the same DSP from the Stampin' Up! Prints line (River Rock and Blue Bayou). I also used some brown Thickers and some hardware. Mainly, I doodled. Words are so much a part of me that leaving out words was not an option.

I can't wait to see what we do next. She has us using various page protector sizes in a 12 x 12 scrapbook. Who knew? I'm such a creature of habit that I never even thought to mix it up. Very cool.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Does a bigger geek exist on the planet?

I am pretty pumped to be starting a twelve-week online class. No, silly, not for my CAREER or anything. It's a class with Cathy Zielske, scrapbook design goddess, called Design Your Life. You might remember a card challenge long ago (on National Scrapbooking Day), for which I used a layout of Cathy's. She has been a longtime idol. I believe she has been an idol of Karen's for even longer. It was Karen who reminded me that the class was starting this week, and Karen who's probably shaking her head wondering, "What have I created?" I've become a bit... fanatical...?... about getting ready. I am just soooo excited.

My biggest source of excitement is that Cathy is really a designer... my career choice in my parallel universe. The class will focus on using the basics of graphic design as you develop your own scrapbook style. I call mine "ordered chaos." Yes, an oxymoron.

Anyway, I am going to look back in my info to see what I can and cannot post of my work, since the class has a fee and such. She's worth every penny (and it's really a steal).

I have already created my first page. I have e-mailed Big Picture Scrapbooking to see if I can post it or if that would violate Terms of Use. We shall see! Stay tuned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Christmas Time Is Here

You cannot make a Snoopy Christmas card without humming that song. So, for an added treat, here's a link to some samplings from the "A Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack. Just in case your humming is as off-key as mine.
I completed the Limited Supply challenge earlier today, but my Snoopy stamps kept beckoning me. This one is one of the first stamps I purchased. I knew that year I wanted to stamp Christmas cards, but, honestly, I had little idea how to mas produce them. My stamping was also hit or miss. This stamp takes some skill to get a complete image.
At first I just had it stamped on a piece of white. The white just seemed to overshadow the image's impact, so I decided to paper piece the tree for some depth. Well, that turned into paper piecing the tree and Snoopy onto DSP. The largest circle punch I have is 2 inches, so it was time to break out the Cricut. I love that machine, I tell ya.
I had this GREAT brass frame for the sentiment, when I realized that we are asked to limit our embellishments to ribbon only. However, imagine "Merry & Bright" in an antique brass frame, will you? Nice, yes? I inked it instead. Still a nice effect.
After photographing two cards on my mantel today, I decided that I might use cards in more of a decorative manner on my mantel. For example, here comes Halloween. It would look great with some Halloween images here and there. Christmas cards would be especially festive. So, a great idea that I have little time to accomplish. No sweat. My kind of pressure.
Size: 4.25 x 5.5 inches
Paper: SU! Always Artichoke, Old Olive, and Holiday Thyme DSP, PTI white
Stamps: Stampabilities Snoopy's Tree, SU! To You & Yours
Ink: SU! Almost Artichoke and Basic Black
Ribbon: Bobbin Ribbon
Punches: 2 inch circle punch, scallop punch, Cricut

Birdie Christmas

Ah. I have taken a personal day. I have been working just about four weeks straight, and I decided to tend to myself a little today. That's the only way I can be there for my students, or so I have learned the hard way. Plus, I get to spend some time with my husband, which is a special treat.

Of course, I had to take a peek at today's Limited Supply Challenge. We were asked to create a Christmas card using an animal. The limited supply was that we could only embellish with ribbon. I finally got to use the cute Elzybells stamp I bought during Stamp-a-palooza, A winter song. I really would make this my Christmas card, however, when you make about 70 cards, the last thing you want to do is paper piece. I couldn't resist on this one, though! I was pretty shocked that I avoided the "colors of the season," yet still stayed seasonal. Put me in a little panic at how close we are to Christmas. That passed quickly.
Size: 4.25 x 5.5 inches
Paper: SU! Baja Breeze, Close to Cocoa, and Machchester DSP; PTI white
Stamps: SU! Snow Globe; Elzybells A winter song
Ribbon: Hobby Lobby
Ink: SU! Basic Black, Copic Skin White, Flesh, and Brick Beige

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


My son, Max, is a parrot. This is good and bad simultaneously. The bad part is, well, my husband and I have issues with our language. The good part is, I have an extensive vocabulary that he picks up in a heart beat. Recently, he has taken to finding the moon in the sky. One night, I said, "It's GORgeous!" Since then, "gorgeous" is his favorite word. I get to brush his "gorgeous" teeth. I get to wash his "gorgeous" toes. It's all just gorgeous.

What does this have to do with today's card? I thought the color combination was "gorgeous!" I have to admit, the Kiwi Kiss gave me a bit of a headache. But Very Vanilla and Baja Breeze... oooh, gorgeous.

There's another story to this card. Recently, my book club is reading a book entitled, Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes. In it, the main character, Anna, is coping with, among other things, the sudden death of her husband. Just today, I was relating to Karen how now, when I hang up the phone, I wonder if that's the last time I will talk to Scott (we had a tiff today... some hanging up on my part... some crankiness on his part). Not to be morbid, but none of us is guaranteed the next second of life.

So, I chose my sentiment quite intentionally. I chose the spotlight technique because I think we can find color in the seemingly colorless... happy in the seemingly unhappy... interest in the seemingly boring... We just need to put forth a conscious effort each day.

Size: 4.25 x 5.5 inches
Paper: SU! Very Vanilla, Baja Breeze, and Manchester DSP
Stamps: SU! Best Kind of Friend and Refuge and Strength
Ink: SU! Bliss Bue, Old Olive, and River Rock
Marker: Spica clear
Accents: Sheer white ribbon; Cloud Nine Rain Drops

Monday, September 22, 2008

Featured Stamper 85

Well, I'll be darned. Another card from me! I literally forced myself to do a card tonight. No offense to the technique challenge, but I just couldn't feel the vibe. So, I checked out the Featured Stamper, E3stamper, and found some inspiration. She had this very cute thank-you card that pulled me in, and off I went. There was a whole lot of CASEing going on. I changed the patterned paper and the color scheme. I did faux stitching... I think hers might be the real deal. I added a scalloped bottom to my image, and included the sentiment with my image panel.

I was pleased to find that my Big Pieces and Little Pieces sets had an image that matched the flower image in the SU! Maine Blueberry DSP. I used the Spring Solitude "thank you" for the panel. I did some stamping off with Blue Bayou, Old Olive, and Certainly Celery when stamping the images. I "daubed" with Blue Bayou. I used Night of Navy for my faux stitching as well as for the first layer of cardstock. The whole card is mounted on Old Olive. The ribbon is a cute little spool of Bobbin Ribbon from Hobby Lobby. I popped up the main panel with Dimensionals.

Now, off to grade!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Time for Inspiration

How appropriate is this sentiment? So very appropriate for me right now.

This card was made with some help from the SCS Inspiration Challenge. We were to use some decorative plates from Mondo Dishes as inspiration for a card. Well, the minute I saw the brown and white textile-design plate, photographed around a light blue and white plate, I knew what I wanted my basic scheme to be.
I started by inking my Textile Texture Cuttlebug embossing folder with SU! Close to Cocoa. I then had to decide whether I wanted to incorporate some blue or not. I tinkered with colors and ribbons. I decided on SU! Soft Sky as a layer, but that was it. Any other place that I put the blue, it really detracted from the design impact. I also layered with textured Chocolate Chip.
I have been chomping at the bit to use my new Office Accents Pockets & Pieces (p. 166 in the new catalog), but I just couldn't find the right place. I decided this was the place. I used a small polka dotted tag, coupled with some brown large brads from Spare Parts. I made my John Lennon stamp from the SU! Full of Life set a two-step stamp, using my Chocolate Chip marker. I used three brads for balance.
I enjoy this card. I know people who would also enjoy it, but I may just frame it for my craft space. It's so simple, yet such a powerful reminder to keep perspective.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Monkey Business

You know, I have a thing for the Changito monkeys. Not all monkeys are cute to me. In fact, some monkeys are downright stupid to me. However, these monkeys are always doing something cute.

This card and gift are for Jessie's son, Ethan, who, unbelievably, turned 4 this week. Talk about 4 fast years! The wrapping lasted about 1.2 seconds. Inside was a "Ten Little Monkeys" board game. I tried a theme.

Card size: 4.25 x 5.5 inches
Paper: SU! Certainly Celery, Chocolate Chip, and So Saffron; PTI white; SEI Olive Velvet embossed with Cuttlebug
Ink: Adirondack Pitch Black; Copics E31, E29, G24
Stamps: Stampendous Changito Swing; SU! Cheery Chat
Wrapping paper: Stampin' Up!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Remember

We remember...
...the firefighters
...the police officers
...the veterans
...the civilians
...the innocent victims
...the sadness
...the horror
...the strength
...the American spirit to overcome
...September 11, 2001

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An award for my little ol' blog!

Many thanks to my stamping buddy and fellow teacher, Ann, who bestowed an award upon me. I am flattered, especially since I have been such a slacker in August. My September is starting well, though!

Here are the specifics of the award:
*The winner can put the logo on her blog
*Link to the person from whom you received your award
*Nominate at least 7 other blogs
*Put links to those blogs on yours
*Leave a message on the blogs you've nominated

I am nominating:

Holly McMillen
Jen Tapler
Bev James
Jodi Collins
Stephanie Severin
Karen Kelly (a double whammy!)
Ann Cox (another double whammy!)

You have all inspired me in many ways. Keep on blogging!

Happy Birthday, Pardner!

I spent far too much time pondering tonight. I think it was because my day went from 0 to 60 before 8 AM. Allow me to explain.

Many who read this blog know I changed grade levels. I taught middle level/junior high practically my whole teaching career. After finding that my son has autism, and spending many a stressful morning trying to get him ready amidst ear-piercing screaming, we decided that I should look for an elementary job. The elementary jobs in my district begin an hour later than the junior high job I had. I changed to fourth grade, and, I have to admit, it really helps in the morning. THIS morning, in particular, as a matter of fact. Max was up coughing at 3 AM. Of course then at 7 AM, he didn't want to have anything to do with waking up. All of his morning routine was shot to smithereens. We have to get him to daycare around 7:30 so he can eat before the bus picks him up at 7:45 for morning pre-school. Well, he didn't want his socks, his shoes, his teeth brushed, his Pull-Up changed, or anything to do with a jacket. There was much kicking, slapping, and whining.

So, needless to say, #1 (as I lovingly call my first born) cannot just go with the flow. We get down the road at 7:25, and he tells me he forgot his band materials AND that it was picture day (Catholic school... nonuniform day... huge deal). Luckily, his dad was able to bail him out and drive some stuff by school for him.

Well, when I got to school I was fried, but school wasn't starting for almost another hour. THANK GOD. It was the first morning that I completely felt why this change was crucial to my well-being. Then I worked straight through my preps, my lunch, and all the way to around 5 PM. That part I am trying to streamline. It'll come.

Before leaving school, one of my students says, "Mrs. Plato, isn't tomorrow Mr. Johnson's birthday?" Why yes, it is. So, I baked and I crafted tonight. I still want to make a class card for my students to sign, but this card is my card for my new teaching partner (actually, it's more like I am HIS new partner). I took my sweet time making it, tearing things off, looking at different angles, different patterned paper... you know. I like the end result.
Size: 4.25 x 5.5 inches
Paper: SU! Basic Gray, Always Artichoke, Winter Retreat Simply Scrappin', SEI velvet paper, PTI white
Stamp: SU! Sincere Salutations
Ribbon: SU! Basic Gray and Mellow Moss taffeta
Embossing: Cuttlebug
Eyelets: SU! jumbo pewter

Saturday, September 6, 2008

School for Changito

Now, you know if there's a set called "School for Changito," every teacher-stamper has to have it in her collection. So, thanks Archiver's, for carrying such a cute little monkey in one of my most basic habitats.

This card is for... someone.. related to me...who may be reading this blog... who graduated today with a Master's degree (her second). I guess that would be a Master Master. Or maybe Master's squared? Master to the Master? Anyway, impressive is a word that covers it.

All I knew when I started was that I wanted to use my new scallop punch and paper. I stamped and colored the image with my Copics first, then I wet with a color scheme. I think it turned out really cute. I was almost tempted to add yet another embellishment, but, when sending cards USPS, I am finding that simpler gets there in one piece.

Size: 5.5 x 4.25 inches
Cardstock: PTI white, SU! Always Artichoke, Winter Retreat (Simply Scrappin'), Brocade Blue (I think)
Ribbon: SEI
Stamps: Stampendous! School for Changito; MFT Essential Sentiments
Copics: Cool Gray, Burnt Umber, Flesh, Brick Beige, Atoll, Lime Green
Other: Dimensionals; Scallop punch


Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
I got to make a card tonight... and I will probably make another. Woo hoo! Might even do some scrapbooking. I grounded myself from going in to school (four solid weekends of straight working... it was getting crazy). So I shopped, I slept, and now, I crafted. Better than any meds!
This submission, though a sad one, is for SCS Inspiration Challenge 144. This is a sympathy card for a friend. She lost her mom to cancer recently. As of late, her sister died of cancer and her dad had a stroke. During what I code as my "meltdown phase" last winter, a good friend took me to lunch and said that I needed to stop thinking about the far future... that's what was making me panicky. She suggested that I look at just the end of the day. Or even the end of the week. But not any further.

It really worked. It reminded me that, in the Our Father, we ask, "give us THIS DAY our daily bread." We don't ask for tomorrow's bread, or bread five years from now. Just this day.
So, I thought maybe the sentiment would be soothing at some point to my friend. If not now, perhaps down the road a ways.

The challenge was to find inspiration at the Catherine's Animals sight. While a vulture is not necessarily "inspiring," I loved the palette of colors this photo displayed. I had no idea that a vulture, which has such a negative connotation, had such a spectrum on its coat.

Size: 4.25 x 5.2 inches
Paper: SU! Chocolate Chip, Blue Bayou, Groovy Guava, Night of Navy, and SEI Olive Green velvet paper
Stamp: Verve Visual Here for You
Accessories: SU! Dimensionals, SU! Jumbo Brads; SU! Curly Label Punch; Cuttlebug Textile Texture background folder
Ink: SU! Blue Bayou

Monday, September 1, 2008

There's something to be said about simple

I love simple. I am not a crafter who is in love with a lot of embellishments. I think it takes just as much talent, if not more, to take very little and make a card stand out. Sometimes it can be the coordination (or lack) of colors. Other times, it's the patterned paper or the color of ribbon.

The sentiment for this thank-you card is perfect for the person. It's one of those thank-you cards that is unnecessarily necessary. This person does not do things for the thanks, and she always is so very thoughtful. So, I felt the inside of my card needed to be the "umph." The outside just needed to be simple. I do love how the colors mingle with each other.

All materials are from Stampin' Up!: the stamp is from the Simply Said set, the DSP is Maine Blueberry, the ribbon is Basic Gray taffeta, the ink is Night of Navy, and the cardstock is Tangerine Tango.