Monday, December 31, 2007


Several days ago, I posted a hint of a card I'd sent to a friend who loves blue. I had to wait for her to receive it, and now that I know she has, I'm posting it for you to enjoy!

At Target this season, these large snowflakes were sold in packs of 4 for $1. What a deal for a great embellishment! I heard about these from another blogger, and had to go to Target anyway, so I checked out the selection. They had them in a nice traditional white with opalescent glitter, this blue, silver, gold, teal and hot pink! Couldn't bring myself to purchase the teal or the hot pink, but bought some of each of the others!

With such an electric color as this blue, my mind went immediately to those retro silver trees from the '60s that have made a comeback recently. That's the feeling I was trying to evoke when I made this card.

I hope you have an excellent end to 2007 this evening. A few weeks ago, we came to the rude realization that we're going to have to stay up until it is truly midnight if we want to "ring in the new year." Perplexed? Well, when you live in the Midwest you are on CST, which means you can tune in at 11 and watch Dick Clark count down the last 10 seconds of the year and smooch your sweetie when the ball drops and go to bed an hour early. NOT SO when you live in EST!! Michael wants to stay up, so we've started a fire in the fireplace and will do our best to not be party poopers!

We've also heard that our neighbor sets off fireworks at midnight(we were in IL last year on NYE, and the sale of fireworks is forbidden statewide there), so if we fall asleep, perhaps we'll be awakened by this festive activity! The dogs will be psycho if this actually happens...another fun part of living in the South.

Thanks for all the visits you've made to this site this year, and for all your encouraging comments! Happy 2008, and if you live in the area, don't forget to stop by the Starbucks between 4 and 6pm tomorrow to see the new catalog!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A New Year is Coming!

Today was a quiet day. Well, that's not quite how it started, but that's how it's ending. The phone rang at 7am, and it was the Lizza, the shift supervisor on duty at Starbucks. She wanted to know if I'd be willing to come in to fill part of a shift for a sick coworker. I said "yes" and went back to sleep for a few hours.

Before I left for the store this afternoon, however, I did get to spend some time in my craft room. I wanted to experiment with Time Well Spent, a set that was a gift from SU! to all demonstrators this Christmas, and a Level 3 Hostess set that will be featured in the new Spring-Summer Collection catalog, debuting Jan. 1! When it came in the mail, I was in the throes of Christmas and couldn't get all that excited about it, frankly. Today, I determined to change that. It was fun to putz and see where creativity led as I started playing with the set and a layout that SU! provided on the demonstrator website.

The colors are Purely Pomegranate, Groovy Guava, and one of last year's In Colors, Cool Caribbean. I made this card WAY more complicated than it needed to be, but I like the results that layering produced. Besides, it was relaxing!

Does this look like a mess to you? It does to me too, but it's not! It's the innards of a new computer, which Bob and Michael spent this day--RAINY, it was, for several HOURS!!--putting together after an expensive trip to Frye's (Geek Heaven).

They've been talking about doing this for months, and when we arrived home Friday evening and found Michael's computer DEAD (even though we turned everything off before we left town), we knew the time had come. Turns out that know-how saves you money! The parts cost about 1/3 of what purchasing said computer already assembled would've, and the machine is smokin' fast, playing Michael's highly graphic computer game at the highest available level of definition. This is what he really wanted for Christmas, and so he's very very happy.

Christmas Recap

If you're following along, you know we traveled to IL for the holiday. When I last checked in, we were anticipating celebrating the birth of Jesus with my husband's family and mine. Three days in a row of eating, opening gifts, eating, opening gifts, and eating, opening gifts lay ahead. We did all that, and then some! The gifts were very nice, the food was very good, and all this came and went without any snow. We packed up our gifts in boxes and set them on my in-law's stoop for the UPS guy to come pick up. That was a new experience! Here are a few photos:

Bob with his sister Rory and brother Rick and their ornaments from their mom. They say "Oldest Child: Mom's Favorite", "Middle Child: Mom's Favorite", and "Youngest Child: Mom's Favorite".
My happy man with Guitar Hero III.
Michael with Grandpa N. and his cousins.
The loot "Santa" left at Bob's parents' house.
We three on Day 3 of Christmas.
The train tunnel Michael created with presents at my sister and brother-in-law's house.
Michael with my niece and nephew.

One of the best things we did was the result of an old tradition my parents brought back this year. When my sister and I were kids, one of the presents we would unwrap from my parents would be a puzzle. The point was to provide something for us to work on during Christmas break so that we wouldn't kill each other. This year, my parents thought it would be fun for us to work on a 1,000 piece one together. It took a few days, and I wasn't in on the bulk of the work. Bob HATES puzzles, so he didn't put one piece in place. But it was still a great fun thing that made a memory. I hope we'll do it again next year.

We came home on Friday, getting out on a jet plane just ahead of 6" of snow--oh the agony!! My next post will include a card I made today, but I wanted you to know how the story of the quest for a White Christmas concluded.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Peekaboo Boxes and Placecards

I got the notion that I wanted to make these for both family tables at our Christmas dinners. This one is what they look like our family celebration today here at Bob's parents.

I found these at splitcoaststampers , and I thank Brenda Quintana for making it so easy to reproduce these. The template allows you to print out 2 per page, and it shows you where to score and what size punch to use...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

It started off looking like this. I got up early before we left Saturday and trimmed and scored these as much as I could before we flew. I knew I couldn't bring my paper cutter that has a scoring blade through security, and Bob had vehemently declared we were NOT checking any luggage. Then I packed 2 stamps and 2 pads, knowing I would have my niece's Stampin' Kids markers at my sister's house. Mikayla colored the ones for my family while I completed the ones for Bob's side.

When you fold along the score lines, it looks like this when it's open. There's a small piece of acetate (2"x2") that's taped inside the interior flap square (I used my 1 3/8" punch) that folds over the treats. (I got the last bag of plain M&M's in the Target on Sunday!) I contacted my MIL and sister to see what colors would coordinate best with their tableware. Both were using true red and holiday green, so that worked out well!

If you're still reading, here's an update on Michael's personal quest for a white Christmas:

We arrived Sat. afternoon safe and sound in Chicago and as we finally cleared the dense fog about 200 yards above the runway, my son looked out the window and sadly said, "it hates me." I didn't know what he was talking about until I realized that he was lamenting on the fact that there was NO snow on the ground. The city that had been blanketed with 9" not 48 hours before was now a sloppy, dreary mess of bland green and brown. The only remnants of snow were those crusted around the edges of parking lots and curbs of driveways. Being that he's 13, he didn't cry about it or even really dwell on it all that long, but joked cynically about it. When we were out to dinner, he stomped around on little mounds of the white stuff and did manage to make a few snowballs with his bare hands that hit us when we were not expecting them (wink wink).

The temperatures dropped through the floor later that day and the winds howled at 40-50 mph as we went to sleep Saturday at my sister's house. The next morning the ground was dusted with white. While I knew it wasn't going to be good packing snow because it was SO cold--temps were in the 20s with bitter wind chill Sunday--he had to brave it to see what the possibilities were. He was out for maybe a minute and declared it unfit for packing. Still, there was a smile on his face, and that made it all good...

Merry Christmas, dear friends! Find some way today to express your love for those in your life. We are all so blessed...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saying Thanks...

I know that Thanksgiving is past, but sending you Merry Christmas greetings doesn't really seem to capture what's in my heart for all of you. I am so thankful for you, my fellow stampers, friends, family, and even yet-to-be-known friends who are interested enough in me and my attempts at crafting to stop by here each day. Some of you share your thoughts, some of you don't. But your presence has been very meaningful to me this year, and I wanted you to know. Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement.

I do hope everyone has a wonderful time with family and friends in these days surrounding Christmas. We're leaving today for IL and Michael is desperate with hope that there will still be sufficient snow on the ground to play in and with. I'll be sure to document this, as I think it's a pretty safe bet. It's supposed to rain there though, so if you're a praying person, please pray that it would hold off until AFTER we arrive so that if he can't play in it, he can at least see it and have himself a white Christmas.

Here's a little tease of an upcoming card. Stop by next week and visit as time permits!

One last thing: if Santa happens to bring you money to spend on stamping on the 25th, keep in mind that the current catalog's items are on sale until Dec. 31. If you've had your eye on something in that catalog, contact me and I'll make sure your order gets submitted before the year's end. OR, if you can delay gratification, remember that the new Spring-Summer Collection debuts Jan. 1! You can see the new catalog that day from 4-6pm at the Starbucks on the corner of Peachtree Pkwy and Ronald Reagan Blvd. Let me know if you're planning to come by! Stamping and Starbucks--both are good things!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Playing with New Toys!

Santa came early to my house with the help of Mr. Brown (UPS man) and a pre-order from the Spring-Summer Collection preview catalog. If you're wondering why you didn't get a preview catalog, it's because I don't believe in teasing people by showing them things they can't buy! However, I do want you to see a cool product SU! will begin carrying in the S-S catalog, which debuts Jan. 1, 2008.

This is just your everyday, run of the mill glass jar with a green lid. I had put it through the dishwasher to remove its label and the glue that held said label in place. I wanted to fill it with Graham's Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream hot cocoa mix, but I had a color scheme I wanted, so first I had to alter the lid.

I took a page from Kristina Werner at her blog, where, in the latest video from "Make a Card Monday", she showed how to change the color of a brad. She used Versamark and White Embossing Powder, so I decided to try to change the color of the lid. It worked! I applied Versamark to the lid's surface and then liberally applied the EP. I melted it with the heat tool. I had to do two layers, but it was well worth the effort and not hard. The edges were the most difficult. I used tweezers to hold the lid so it wouldn't burn my fingers and it turned out just as I wanted it to.

But I said I was playing with a new toy, and EP isn't new, except to me. What is new are rub-ons!
The design comes on a sheet with many images, and has a sticky backing that allowed me to transfer the images to the jar. I cut out what I wanted, placed it on the jar, and used my stylus and the sheath for my sharpest scissors to rub them on. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Isn't it pretty?!!

You can see these and the tons of other beautiful things in the new S-S Collection catalog on Jan. 1. Some of you have already told me you'll be out of town, but if you're saving the date, please leave me a comment so I have some idea how many are interested!

One last thing: today is my sweet man's 44th birthday! He's a tremendous partner and I'm SO thankful to God that we met 18 years ago. He didn't want me to take this photo, but I have my ways of getting what I want!

I may get one more post in, but probably not. Tomorrow evening will be spent doing laundry and packing in preparation for our trip to the great white north for Christmas. I'm taking the computer with, though, so there may be some future posts from the frozen tundra that is Chicagoland.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Quiet Night to Stamp

Aaahhh...a simple dinner and a tired husband are the secret ingredients to my having a quiet night to stamp. Unfortunately, the reason I need to stamp is that my dad's former secretary of 25 years had the very shocking experience yesterday of learning that her father had passed away suddenly. I jump started her interest in stamping early this year, and she's going gangbusters at it now, so I wanted to convey my sympathy with a card.

This week's Weekly Inkling on splitcoaststampers featured a tutorial for a brayered sky by renowned stamper Michelle Zindorf. This woman's work is AMAZING, and even though I had to do some of my own tweaking to her instructions, for a first attempt, I think my skyline of layered color turned out pretty good.

The color combination I wanted to use didn't work, so I went with Blush Blossom, Apricot Appeal, and Groovy Guava for my three layers. I used this website to determine what color would best serve as the silhouetted tree. The computer said Elegant Eggplant, and so that's what I used. I don't have any other trees, but I think this one worked fairly well. As you'll see in Michelle's tutorial, hers are more effective. But ya gotta make do sometimes, right?

The sky is stamped with tiny snow dots in Versamark, then dusted with a new product I picked up in my last order--heat and stick powder. You apply it like embossing powder, but when it turns glossy, you can then apply anything--glitter, in this case--that you want to stick to the surface of your card and it will stay there! The only problem was that the snow wasn't white at all, so I used my Signo white gel pen and added some white dots. I also gave the tree some "snow" on its branches.

Since I don't have a sympathy stamp, I used "Thinking of You" and used the same EE for that. The layers of paper include (from closest to the main image outward): Apricot Appeal, Elegant Eggplant, and Groovy Guava. I wanted the look of snow in some other design element on the card, so I went with the swirly mulberry paper, and I like the effect. The base is EE, a color I hadn't worked with before tonight. I like!

I repeated the brayered skyline--I needed the practice--on my short end envelope, and wasn't as pleased with the results. Oh well. I hope Pat is comforted by it.

My new Spring-Summer Collection catalog complimentary demonstrator copy came in the mail today, so I'm going to go peruse it and hope I'm not completely overwhelmed with urges to buy stuff!

Have a good night (or a good morning, if you don't get this in your inbox until then!). Hard to grasp that 144 hours from now, Christmas 2007 will be past. Make the most of the moments that remain--they're more plentiful than they appear!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Michael's Ornament

Every year since Michael was a baby, we've been choosing an ornament that best exemplifies the year. When he was very little, it was much harder, but as the years have progressed (they're progressing too quickly now--does someone know how to slow them down?), the ornaments have commemorated new experiences (soccer one year, baseball another), things he was into (trains, Star Wars) get the idea. Last year, we bought a simple wooden ornament in the shape of the state of GA to remember the move (how could we forget?). But this year, I was a bit stumped. Then it hit me! Michael is part of the student body at Little Mill Middle School in its inaugural year. So, I set out to create a memento.

I knew I wanted it to look masculine, but I wasn't wed to the school's colors--black, red, and khaki. I wanted to capture the spirit of the wild mustang, the school's mascot. I started with the retiring Outlaw designer paper by SU! (get yours now; it's gone Dec. 31 or whenever it sells out!) and Ace Hardware twine. Initially, I had it threading through the holes instead of wrapping around the edges, and I think the wrapped look is more western and more masculine.

Because this is a special year, I wanted to incorporate the school year's dates on the ornament. I'd purchased the also-retiring Headline Numbers to match my Headline Alphabet, and this look suited the whole package well. The letters and numbers didn't compete with the other design elements going on, and I'm really pleased with the look.

Here's one little fun detail: I had made this lasso awhile back for a card that utilized the Wanted set, but didn't end up incorporating it. I thought I'd thrown it out, but I found it as I was pulling the twine through the last hole and thinking about the loop that would enable this to be hung on the tree. It's perfect, and adds a certain whimiscal touch.

As you can probably tell by the length of this post, my pinky finger is doing well. Meds and ice and wearing a brace today at work did the trick, and although there's still a small bit of twinging, it's good enough that I can craft. I'm not going to push it though. That's enough for tonight.

Do you have some tradition you're perpetuating with your family? The ornament a year tradition is one my parents started with me and all the ornaments they gave me over my childhood were sent with me when I graduated from college and went off to make my way in the world. It was good to carry this piece of home with me as I went to a new town. I also read this amazing story at fellow SU! demonstrator Ericka Martin's blog about how her family celebrates Christmas. It's a LONG read, but an excellent one that is a testimony to the power of the Christmas experience to shape one's future. Treat yourself and read it. If you have a tradition you'd like to share, please do!

I'm signing off for the night...gotta get Bob to sign his cards so I can tie them on the gifts for his guys. He's taking them in tomorrow.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Feeling, I'm losing my feeling my pinky finger on my right hand, that is. I'm not sure what is causing it, but it's getting in the way of my crafting, which is making me a bit testy. I think it has something to do with the repetitive nature of my job, specifically repeated gripping of pitchers and jugs of milk and full brewers of coffee. I've been working quite a few hours, and yseterday I pulled an 8-hour shift. I'm looking forward to 8 days away from Starbucks so that this irritation has some time to ease.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd welcome them. I had some tendonitis in my left elbow this summer that didn't cause any numbness, but when I put the brace for that condition on my opposite arm, it helped immediately. I wore it most of the afternoon today, but it didn't help today. I have some medicine I'm going to go take, but I think I'll try icing it too.

If you don't hear from me for a few days or see any posts, now you'll know why!

Why I Save my Scraps...

If you've ever been asked by friends or your spouse, "Why do you save all those scraps?" you can show them this post as justification. I spent some time this afternoon wrapping presents to ship home because we found frequent flier mile tickets that will allow us to do the trip so much less expensively than driving it. All good, except we don't want to check luggage or be human pack mules through the airport!

In years past, I just used a Sharpie marker and wrote names on the packages. This year, I have a set of tag stamps and thought I'd see just how quick and easy it would be to use them to get these packages properly labeled.

Alright, I think it took all of maybe 5 minutes to choose the ink color that matched the paper (Real Red for the rainbow paper and Purely Pomegranate for the snowflake paper) AND stamp all that I need! I didn't realize before now how much I'd like having tags that matched the paper. I'm still not a bow person--they just get smashed during transport--but you'll be seeing matching tags on my presents from here forward!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Acetate Treat Box

I've been wanting to make one of these FOREVER and today was the day! What I couldn't figure out was how gals were scoring the acetate. Well, I did some serious poking around on splitcoaststampers and found this link to explicit instructions. They're as easy as I thought they'd be, and I had so much fun playing this afternoon!

The reason I wanted to know about these boxes so badly is because a partner at Starbucks inquired last week about where I'd go to purchase inexpensive packaging for candy. I told her I could help her out without her going to a crafting supplies store, and we were to get together this afternoon to make about 12 of these or something she would choose from some sample photos I sent her. Well, she was in a minor car accident yesterday, so she couldn't make it today. I'm going to send her the photo of this to see if she likes it and would still like to make them sometime in the next week.

My two favorite things about this project are the box top and the snowflakes. The "to/from" tag is incorporated into the design! It's from the Tags for All set and coordinates with the Peaceful Wishes set, which is what I used to stamp around the box top with the evergreen image, and is the same image with a pinecone that graces the front. The snowflakes are LONG AGO leftovers from a friend in IL who had this punch and allowed me to borrow it to "make" some snow to send to a friend of mine who was spending Christmas in Central America. They're attached with mono adhesive, which you can sort of see, but I think once something sweet is inside the box, that won't show as much. The sentiment along the bottom is from Season of Joy, because the sentiment from Peaceful Wishes wouldn't fit.

Hope you enjoyed seeing this, and I hope you'll take the time to craft a few yourself! If you do, send me a link in the comments section!

The Day are Flying by...

I teased you a few days ago about what Bob is giving those he manages, and here's the completed packaging. I'd like to see this on my desk, wouldn't you? It's a half pound of Starbuck's Christmas Blend coffee beans in a Starbucks mug, with a package of milk and dark chocolate covered graham crackers wedged in front and in back. I like using cellophane to wrap gifts, and these turned out just as I pictured they would in my head!

The gift tag is one you've seen here before, and this one is made with the traditional 6"x6" square. There's a full tutorial here. The dp is SU!'s Dashing, my favorite this season, and one that pairs so nicely with the bright red and creamy white of the mugs and coffee packaging.

Originally I thought I'd thread the main ribbon through the eyelet to secure the gift tag to the present, but 7/8" ribbon isn't going through that hole, girls! So, invention being the mother of necessity, I came up with another way. I had used eyelets to keep the sides closed and to add some shimmer, and yet I had the triangular flap to figure out how to keep shut. So I added another eyelet, but just on the flap, not through the base, and tied it on using SU!'s gold elastic cord. Each person will just untie the bow to read Bob's message, thanking him or her for their work.

This completes my work as Bob's elf on this project! Now I'm off to play for a partner at Starbucks who's looking for unique packaging for some candy she's giving as a small "thinking of you" gift. Check back later today for more!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sneak Peek!

Bob requested some help coming up with and packaging the gifts he's giving the group he manages, and here's a tease of what he's giving. More deets to come...I love Christmas red!

Making Christmas Memories

We had two experiences yesterday that aided us in "getting in the Christmas spirit."

First, we spent an hour listening to 16 pianists give a recital. Michael was among them, and, to quote his father, he "killed it" by playing his 3 numbers flawlessly. (I prayed through it and breathed a sigh of relief when he was successful.) We heard "Jingle Bells" about 5 times, and several other holiday tunes, including "The Hallelujah Chorus." Here's our artist with his teacher, Mr. David (he does have a last name, but this is what we call him around the house), after all was said and done. This is about as dressed up as I can get Michael these days. This was the second recital Michael has participated in, and I noted he was much more confident this time. When I asked him why this time was easier, he said that he knew what to expect, and he knew he knew the songs cold.

The second way we made a memory yesterday was by going to Lowe's. In the seasonal section, which was much picked over due to signs reading "25% OFF!", this adorable 4 1/2' tree (prelit, even!) was available for $30. Bob had taken all the lights that were set aside for our indoor tree and decorated the bushes in our yard with them, and this, and the late date, were our rationale for opting not to put up said decoration this year. That was a no go with the boy, so when we found this tree, we figured that it would get Michael what he wanted--the glow of the tree's lights to bask in while he's on his way to dreamland each night--and us what we wanted--no full-blown tree to put up this year. In the picture, Michael's trying to pretend he's as tall as the tree, when he's certainly NOT! Thirteen...what an age!

So, those are the Christmas memories we made this weekend, and it's a challenge to be in the spirit when the thermometer reads 70+ degrees. Not that I'm complaining, mind you! Save some snow for us up north, though, please! We want to experience a white Christmas for a few days.

The Christmas cards are in the mail, the last of the presents I'm responsible for are bought, and I even made cookie dough for cream cheese spritz cookies last night. I'm really gettin' there, dearies, and I hope you are too!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Losing our Heads...

This came on the front of an envelope from United Airlines, advertising their Mileage Plus credit card. I didn't trim the heads from these people. That's the way they were drawn. I'm not sure what the point is. If I sign up for this credit card will I have so much fun on the trip I go on with my frequent flier miles that I'll lose my head? These people seem not only to have lost their heads, but their entire upper bodies!

Lest you think this is some strange ad campaign, let me show you a stamp company that has designed its entire line around this phenomenon of headlessness.

My Favorite Things has at least 8 sets that feature headless people, mostly women, doing a variety of things. If you like these sets, let me know why. I just don't get it.

Product Name+ Price Buy Now
Baby it's Cold Outside Baby it's Cold Outside $9.00 Buy Now

Back to School Back to School $9.00 Buy Now

By the Seashore By the Seashore $9.00 Buy Now

Hit the Beach Hit the Beach $9.00 Buy Now

Hot Stuff Hot Stuff $9.00 Buy Now

How Sweet It Is How Sweet It Is $9.00 Buy Now

Shower Time Shower Time $9.00 Buy Now

Think Pink Think Pink $9.00 Buy Now