Friday, December 19, 2008

The Big One-Oh

No way: my baby is 10? How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday that I was holding this little one...

Well, December 18 came, and this year it meant that Peter was turning 10 years old...he's in the double digits now; very exciting. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to make a very exciting card for him.

Peter has always been my Mighty Warrior, ready to defend me, so I thought I'd make him a knight-ish kind of card. Since I didn't need to mail it, I was free to make whatever card size I wanted...yay!! This one is 5.25 x 6.25, and single layer...sorry, Peter.

I used a cute Amuse stamp for the front:

The Inside was printed with Old English Text font, then I drew in the pole and flag with a black pen. I just had to add something sparkly, so I used a glitter gold gel pen for the flag fringe, and outlined the card with my Sakura glitter pen.
Happy 10th birthday, Peter!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advent Calendar

My kids really enjoy having an Advent calendar every year. I like it because it's like they get to open a giftlet every day, and it helps relieve a little pre-holiday tension.

I remember having Advent calendars when I was younger...the kind where you open a little door, and there would be a cute little picture in the opening. Then, on Christmas Day, all the little doors would be opened!

I wanted to be able to have Ziggy share in this type of excitement, too. Over the years, we've used different kinds of calendars. For a few years, we used the Playmobil advent sets. These are cute: each day has a little figurine in a box, that you place on a cardboard base. On Christmas, the Christmas scene will be complete. Ziggy did okay with this (the other kids loved it!), but he got frustrated not knowing what the figures were, and we always had to explain it to him...

This year, I was in a time crunch and found this at World Market for $1.79!!!! Thought I'd give it a go...
Behind each little door is a holiday-shaped chocolate. Once the chocolate is removed (and eaten), the shape can still be felt (it's like the base is the candy mold), which is cool.

So, how does Ziggy know which door to open? Sighted kids just read the printed numbers on the little doors. So, for Ziggy, I just apply some clear Braille labels on each door.

It's really easy...I use some special paper (kind of like laminating sheets, only thicker and really thick Scotch tape); it's clear and also adhesive on one side. I emboss the Braille numbers on to the sheets with the Braille writer (or "brailler" for short). Then I cut out each number and stick them on to the appropriate door...

Here's what the paper and the brailler look like:

It only takes a few minutes to do this...

I love the way Braille looks, so had to show this close-up view of this year's calendar:

I think Ziggy likes this calendar better than previous years' because of the chocolate! I guess the bad thing is that since there are 4 kids, we have to rotate who is the door opener, so nobody gets candy every day...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guy. Birthday. Card. Ack.

Last Friday was my husband's birthday. He is a computer guy, so I can't really give him a card with a sports or outdoors theme. I saw this card using Amuse stamps on Julie Ebersole's blog a few months ago and loved the sentiment, and thought it would be perfect.

A few weeks ago, Craft Warehouse was having a 50% off sale on Amuse stamps, so I was able to get the set I needed to make a card for Steve. Hooray!

Sophia colored the computer with a black Prismacolor pencil. I added Glossy Accents to the monitor. I thought it would be cute to make the card look like it was on tractor-feed paper...even though it's not used much anymore, it still says "computer" to me. Before I folded the card base in half, I used my perforated-line blade and "cut" in about 1/2-inch on the left and right sides of the paper. Then I folded it in half. Next, I made holes every 1/2 inch with my 1/8-inch hole punch. They came out a bit crooked, but it was okay.

He liked it!!!

Now, "bits" are 1's and 0's, and "bytes" are 8 I decided to make a bunch of bits in the background. This was actually printed (with the laser printer) on the card base before I made the tractor feed.

SUPPLIES: Stamps...Mainly Men (Amuse); Ink...Noir (Palette); Paper...Solar White (Neenah); Prismacolor pencil, Glossy Accents (Ranger), Beeb Mode One font, hole punch.

Steve's birthday was fun, but we were pretty tired the next day. Three of my ladies spent the morning relaxing in the morning sun. I had to post this photo because Scooby was getting a bit irritated that Pippin gets more photo-ops than her, and that's just not fair....of course, Pippin still managed to squeeze into this photo...

Art Class Christmas Party

Well, this actually happened last week, but I just got around to posting it today....

Last Thursday was my kids' Art Class Christmas Party. What do you do at an Art Party? Well, eat snacks, for starters. We brought fudge and chocolate delights. The fudge recipe was from the back of a marshmallow creme jar; it was so yummy, and I don't even like fudge that much! The cookie recipe is from Emily Giovanni's blog.
I made these cookies so many times last year; they are really easy. I found that half of a bag of almond bark will cover one tube of Ritz crackers; perfect for a plate of cookies.

After eating, the kids then got to paint Christmas cards! I wish I was there to see exactly how these were made, but I think they painted with watercolors on watercolor paper, then adhered the painted images to card bases. Aren't they cute?

That night for dinner, we had kid fondue! Whenever Steve is out of town, I try to serve fondue for dinner just for fun. This time, we had 3 pots: melted Velveeta, spaghetti sauce, and official fondue mix from World Market (our first time to try adult fondue!). For dipping items, we used french bread cubes, meatballs, smoky links, and fresh veggies...Fondulicious!
Pippin couldn't have fondue (because she's a dog), so she had a snake instead....

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Decorating the Tree Together

We finally put up the tree! I've been so behind with holiday festivities this year. This year, the kids did most of the tree assembling and decorating, so that was nice. I think they each had areas of the tree that they were in charge of, so that added to the excitement. So far, the puppy hasn't bothered the tree too much (some, but not as much as I had feared).

My dad called and said that they had their tree up, but not decorated yet. So we decided to send them a a few ornaments to get them in the mood to put up more. I wrapped the ornaments in tissue paper and sealed them with a silver shimmer circle that had been stamped and sparkle-embossed. The card is one that Sophia made last week when we had a card-making afternoon. She used images from our Mega Inkadinkado set that we purchased at Costco (the girls love Inkas!). You can't tell from the photo, but she highlighted all of those snowflakes with a Sakura glitter pen and Copic spica pen; it is so sparkly! I wrapped the whole ensemble in shimmery silver tissue paper...

Lovely card, Sophia!!! Can you make me a set of 12?

So since we all decorated the tree, we all had opinions about what should go on top: star or angel? Actually, we never can decide, so we did what we always do: PUT UP BOTH!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kidspiration #9

My kids used to get so upset if they were doing a craft and things didn't turn out as expected, or if they messed up on a drawing...really upset. So I made up an "art motto" to ease the tension:

In art there are no mistakes...there are Embellishment Opportunities

We had such a fun Embellishment Opportunity a few weeks ago...

I was showing my daughters how to cut and emboss a scalloped circle with the Wizard. Anastasia cut a circle, but when she went to emboss it, the paper got misaligned in the die, and embossed in a weird spot. She was a little annoyed, so I said that it looked kind of "like a granny face."

I had to go and fix dinner, so I left the girls to practice. Just a note here: we do most of our crafting on the floor, so that's where the Wizard is when we cut/emboss. The plates have a tendency to come out powerfully, but the carpet catches them softens the force of their ejection.

Anyways, I was fixing dinner, and I could hear the girls talking excitedly about something, and the Wizard was ratcheting away. This went on for almost an hour. I kind of forgot about all this until after bedtime, when I went in the craft area to straighten up. I found this on the craft table:GRANNY HEADS!!! I think Anastasia was in charge of cutting/embossing, and Sophia did the art work. They even used Glossy Accents for lipstick...and some have their hair in a bun!

Definitely a successful Embellishment Opportunity. Okay, what do you do with them? Well, I was thinking magnets or something. But they decided to send them out as "prizes" to people who commented on their homeschool blog! Is that fun, or what?

Here's my art crew, sitting in our little art area...


Monday, December 1, 2008

Why Do Dogs Have Fur?

No card today...just a question: isn't fur supposed to keep you warm? If the answer to that is "yes," then why does my puppy insist on sleeping in front of the heat register by the kitchen sink? I don't get it: it's not even like it's a quiet/dark area, but she ALWAYS takes a morning nap there (as long as the heater is on).

I was just wondering....

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Zoinks! Looks like I forgot to post this one...Way back on November 12, Tracy hosted the weekly color challenge for the PTI forum; this time it was an inspiration challenge, based on this photo:
I really liked the plates in this picture, and wished I could be sitting at the table, having a party with that table setting. So I decided to make a plate on my card, and put it on a busy table cloth.

Mom likes the sentiment on the inside, so I printed a sentiment in Chopin Script:
"Hope your day is blissfully sparkly."
The card is really more square shape IRL
, and is a bit larger than usual (5x5.5). Anastasia announced that our Christmas Crafting Colors for this year are green and silver (last year they were red and white). So, I had to put the silver glitter on the edge of the plate.

SUPPLIES: Stamps...hummingbird, flower garden (Inkadinkado); Ink...Pearlescent Poppy (Brilliance), Antique Linen Distress; Paper...Neenah Solar White, red from my stash, DP (Scenic Route); Misc...plain & scalloped circle nesties; white satin ribbon (Joann's); sterling glitter (Martha Stewart)

I'm going to send this to Mom tomorrow to get her in the holiday mood. She likes red, so I hope this will give her a giggle.

And here's something that gave me a was in the window of a store (I won't say the name, so they won't get embarrassed). It just struck me as funny; like saying "food is good to eat," or "cold weather can make you cold." Hope it makes you giggle, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Autumn Pearls

Well, once again I needed a quick card. Maybe that's how it's going to be for this year: quick & long as I don't get sloppy, it should be okay. This one is for Mom & Dad for Thanksgiving. Their cards have to be mailed (they live 600 miles away) and the Post Office has been giving me quite a hard time with cards with bows and brads. So, I've started making their cards less layered and a bit more simple, just so I can mail it straight from my house (and not go in to the Post Office).

This one features my Inkadinkado set "Fall Season." I have used this set so much this Fall; I really thought I'd use it only for the tree, but I think I've used all of the images...

You can't tell from the photo, but the leaves are shimmery! This was the first time I used Perfect Pearls, and it is so much fun. You just stamp using the Perfect Medium (instead of ink), then brush on pigment powder to the wet image, then brush away the excess powder. After all images are pigmented, spray the whole thing lightly with water or hairspray (I used hairspray).

Here is a photo of the set I used and my little travel size hairspray. I applied the pigment powder with the smaller brush, then brushed away excess powder with the larger brush.

I colored some images with copper and some with bronze powder. I definitely need more practice with this stuff, though. I had some smudges and unevenness in pearl coverage, but it was still a lot of fun.

SUPPLIES: Paper...Natural White (Neenah), Caramel (Paper Company); Stamps...Fall Season (Inkadinkado); Font...Harrington (printed in dark brown on laser printer); Misc...ribbon tag dies (Spellbinders), brick piped ribbon (Martha Stewart), Antique Linen distress ink, Perfect Pearls (bronze & copper), Dove hairspray

And for absolutely no reason at all...

This a weird photo that I took the other day at the Costco parking lot. It just struck me as pretty: dark bird on dark branches against a gray sky. That bird was in no hurry, too. There were tons of cars in the parking lot and lots of traffic, but he just sat there...sat long enough for me to grab my camera out of the car, which really irritated the guy who wanted me to leave so he could have my parking spot (so he finally gave up and went somewhere else; the bird, however, stayed).

Somedays, it really helps to find "pretty" wherever you are; even if it is at a Costco parking lot.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quick and Simple

Last week was the final session of our homeschool co-op for the Fall semester. So, the kids and I decided to make some Thank-You's to give to their teachers. I had a few cards in my stash that they could use, but we made a few more: simple, quick, easy!

The first one was inspired by this card from Michelle Wooderson's blog. I stamped an Itty bitty Lockhart apple on cardstock, then had the kids color it (I think they used a Copic marker). I thought it'd be cute to have "An apple for the Teacher" as a sentiment, so I had Sophia be in charge of putting all those tiny PTI Simple Alphabet letters on the grid block (she has young eyes to see tiny things, and nimble fingers to grasp those little guys). We stamped the sentiment on about 6 card bases, because we might as well mass-produce while we had the supplies out. I showed them a couple of layouts, and this is the one they picked:

Very quick and easy!! Plus, they made it themselves (I only cut the cardstock).

SUPPLIES: Paper...Solar White (Neenah), Berry Sweet (K&Co), Love Bird (Martha Stewart); Ink...Noir (Palette); Stamps...IB Apple (Lockhart), Simple Alphabet (PTI); Misc...Classic & Scalloped square Nesties, dimensionals, Copics

This next card is one I've been making a lot of lately. I sometimes leave the "Thank You" off and use it for a note card. Really simple, and it looks nice too! I have to laugh at this stamp set: It was Stamp of the Month at CHF in January 2008. I wasn't going to buy it, but put it in my cart so that I could get free shipping on my order. Little did I know that this would become one of my most used stamp sets!

I make these in white cardstock with black inked images as well as ivory cardstock with brown ink....Anastasia prefers the latter.

Just make a card base, emboss rectangle Nestie, stamp, color and done! I did also heat emboss the sentiment, because I like to do that.

SUPPLIES: Paper...Natural White (Neenah); Ink...Brown (Palette); Stamps...Image and sentiment (Stamp of the Month 1/08 Cornish Heritage Farms); Misc...clear EP, Prismacolors, OMS & blending stumps

And this is why my cards have to be quick and simple:I think I spend most of my time letting Pippin in and out of the house, and entertaining her...doesn't leave much time for very involved crafts!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Touchable Things

I made a couple of Inchies in September (wow, was it really a couple of months ago...seems like yesterday) for Ellen Hutson's "Inchie Inklings Challenge." The theme was 3-D Inchies...This challenge was alot of fun, and I actually had tons of ideas. I ended up making 2 inchies. Peter thought they were cute...which is sweet, because he never really comments on the cards we make, but these were worthy of his close-up examination; how sweet is that?

Anyways, the first was made using the Itty Bitty Lavender stamp. I found this neat product called "Flower Soft" ( at my LSS. It comes in a variety of soft colors, but when I saw the lavender, I knew I just had to use in on my Lockhart stamp.

To use it, just apply glue to paper, and sprinkle the product on...let dry, then fluff it up a bit (kind of like you do with Fun
Flock). I also decided to make some mini lavender stems for my daughter's doll. This was done by dipping small pieces of floral wire in glue, then pressing the Flower Soft on glued area.

The second inchie was done by stamping a Lockhart IB butterfly on vellum. I colored it with colored pencils, covered the image with versamark, then mixed glitter and clear embossing power together, and heated it. The result was sort of opalescent; kind of neat. Background paper is Ariel from Memory Box. I first stamped the sentiment on the paper, but messed up, so covered it with sentiment stamped on vellum. Sentiment is from PTI's Mixed Messages. I wanted more sparkles, so I applied glue and crystal glitter to the edges of the inchie...Then I glued the little butterfly on the paper so that it looked like her path was one of the swirls on the DP.

And for some more Touchable Things...
Ziggy's school had an Open House, and we got to check out some of his classes. The school recently opened a new permanent exhibit, which I absolutely love. It is called "Sensory Safari" and is a room filled with taxidermied wildlife for the students to touch. With each animal is a printed and brailled description of facts pertaining to that animal (as well as an audio description, which can be listened to on headphones).

Here are Ziggy and Peter checking out one of the animals:
I am so excited about this exhibit...when Ziggy was young, I had no way of showing him what wild or exotic animals looked like. Most children can watch a video, check photos on the internet, find a picture in a book, or even go to the zoo to see these animals. But blind children have no way to do this. I used to try to give him a sense of what these animals were like by using small toys. I would also "make" exotic animals by describing an animal based on known animals' parts (like a giraffe has neck kind of like a horse, but much longer...a lion's paws are like the cat's paws but 7 times as large). I know it seems like a trivial thing; there are other issues to worry about. But to not have this basic knowledge or exposure to nature is just one more thing that sets these kids apart as different. And it bugs me...

When Ziggy was 6 years old, we got to visit a sensory safari at a conference for the blind. I cried tears of joy to see him finally touch a lion...and it was quite a sight to see him with one hand in his mouth, and the other in a bear's mouth, comparing teeth! I hoped that it wouldn't be the only time in his life that he would see these things, though.

So now, he's 15, and gets to see the animals again. But not just the one time! The exhibit is there permanently..and not just for him, but for the other young blind students at the school. And that warms my heart...

These are some touchable things I love to look at.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quilting Pieces

Well, the other day I was thinking it would be cool to have a stamp with a crazy-quilt design. I have a few friends that do alot of quilting, and thought it would be neat to send them some notes. But I couldn't find a stamp that was crazy enough (I did find several that I really like, though). So I thought I'd just make my own crazy card. I found a template off of a quilt web page and just reduced it to fit my card. Then I photocopied that onto the backs of 5 different pieces of coordinated patterned paper. Cut out the quilt pieces and tried to randomly assemble the blocks. Here's my favorite block:
I went ahead and machine-stitched all 5 blocks. This was alot of fun, but next time I think I'll do a few things differently: Die-cut the scalloped square first, then adhere the paper pieces to it, then sew (for this card, I put the pieces on paper, stitched, then cut out the square with a straight-edge, then put the pieced-square on a scalloped square...I didn't quite like the way it looked in the end). Also, I would straight-stitch the outside of the block (rather than zig-zag), just because I think I'd like the look better. Maybe reduce my template a bit more, if I want to make a card with a sentiment on the outside.

Okay, enough card...Here's my little bit of ridiculous for the day. Pippin is so opinionated and is going through her Terrible-2's, I think. She kept scattering her toys everywhere, so I got out this tub to hold her toys. She decided it was a much nicer napping place than her crate...especially since Unicorn is in there. Tuesday night will be her first class of Puppy Kindergarten; hope the class will help the living situation at our house...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

White Cane Day and Halloween

Well, this is way late...last Wednesday (October 15) was National White Cane Day. We actually didn't know this was an official "day" until we attended this event! The students from Ziggy's school walked about 2 miles from the school to a park downtown. Then there were refreshments and a mini ceremony. The mayor actually gave a speech! Very cool!

The students also set up a little table with samples of braille, notetakers, etc. One student had a braillewriter, and she would write your name in braille for you. Ziggy had her braille his name; he was a riot!

Okay, onto some cards...Here is a batch I did last week. A friend of mine wanted some "Vintage Halloween" cards, and this is what I came up with. I didn't have any vintage stamps so I used printed images that I got at my LSS. I got this idea from Lisa Zappa's Halloween cards
I bought some cool Martha Stewart glitter, and used that to sparkle up the mats. I had a bit of a problem with it warping, so maybe will have to use thicker cardstock next time.

I liked this one, with the dog. This uses My Mind's Eye papers (Night Lights and Spooked Pumpkin Patch).

Not sure about this one, because the red didn't really go with the orange and brown, but hopefully she'll be okay with that.

Kind of a plain vintage...Just thought the image was cute enough without patterned paper competing with it.

And a final shot of my crew, at the White Cane Day festivities!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pumpkin Stuff

I was really busy making cards and such last week, and didn't have time to post (bad blogger). Finally catching my breath, and found a bit of time to load some photos.

First, are some recipe cards: I just started doing these, and they are so much fun! I got most of my inspiration for these from Michelle Wooderson's and Sharon Harnist's blogs. The gingersnaps and pumpkin dip recipes came from Nicole Heady, and the pumpkin fluff dip came from Sharon Harnist. I tried Nicole's gingersnaps and Sharon's dip, and both are so yummy! I decided to make recipe cards for myself and my mom, using scraps of BasicGrey Ambrosia and Karen Foster autumn paper. The images are Karen Lockhart itty bitty pumpkin and $1 pumpkin from Michael's. I printed the recipes using my latest FAVORITE Font Combination: Porcelain and Typinoksidi (both are free downloads). (Note: the recipe cards are 4x6)

Well I couldn't just send Mom the recipes without a note, so I had to make some note cards. Again, I got this idea from Michelle Wooderson's blog...she makes these alot, and I finally decided to try them out. They are so much fun to make!
SUPPLIES: Stamps...IB Pumpkin (Karen Lockhart), pumpkin ($1 Michael's); Paper...Ambrosia (BasicGrey), Autumn (Karen Foster, probably retired...I got it from closing of LSS), Orange Poppy (Martha Stewart), Natural White (Neenah); Ink...Noir (Palette); Misc...square and circle nestabilities, prismacolor pencils, OMS & blending stumps.

And now, our little baby is getting so big...I love it when she sleeps; the house calms down and I can get something done! Here is Pippin with her unicorn (and what little girl doesn't love sleeping with a unicorn to give her magical dreams?).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bye-Bye, Web

I found this beautiful spider's web on our trampoline, and just had to take a photo before Steve got rid of the web (he hates spiders, but I think they're pretty). It's been raining alot today, so maybe the web got washed out before Steve got there...
And I think it's about time I wrap up my Autumnal-themed cards (since I really only have a few of those stamps)...we'll see. Anyways, here's one I did in a fun layout that I like to use with patterned paper that I don't want to cover up. This time, I added a strip of chocolate paper, pierced with my Ornare template, to kind of echo the swirly of the leaves falling from the tree. The patterned paper is Basic Grey "Mellow," and I think it is so cute, with kids and dogs running around outside during an autumn day...

SUPPLIES: Stamp...Falling Foliage (Hero Arts); Ink...Brown (Palette); Paper...Mellow (BasicGrey), Summer Sunrise, Dark Chocolate (PTI); Misc...Classic Rectangle Nesties, piercing template & equip (Ornare), prismacolor pencils, OMS & blending stumps and W1 (Copic).

I wish I was a better photographer, but hopefully this will do...just wanted to preserve my spider's art, before it goes away...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Swirly Days

Somehow, this time of year is busy and "swirly" for me. Lots to do, weather changing, holidays approaching...not a calm autumn like it used to be when the kids were younger. I'm starting to see swirls and movement in everything now, including our last science project: Peter's Mars volcano...who knew that a little food coloring, vinegar and baking soda could be so much fun? Anyways, last week I tried paper piecing for the first time, and it was so much fun! Anastasia gave it a go, too (although she didn't finish her card, so I can't post it). I found a cute pumpkin stamp at Michael's and just had to piece it with Basic Gray's Ambrosia paper. Yes, it is a busy card, but it kind of fits my mind and mood right now...
SUPPLIES: Stamps...Pumpkin (Michael's $1 bin); Ink...Noir (Palette); Paper...White (GP 110#), Ambrosia (Basic Gray), Orange Poppy (Martha Stewart); Misc...glue pen (Martha Stewart), craft knife (Fiskars), Rectangle Nesties

I made this next one as a joke for my mom...she's not into the patterned paper thing, or combining patterns on one card, but I just had to make her an autumnal greeting, I added gray satin ribbon, which is close to black, and according to her, "black makes everything classy." So, yeah, it's a busy card, but I still like it.
SUPPLIES: same as above, except used Summer Sunrise (PTI) for base and Gray satin ribbon (Joann's Bridal ribbons) and circle Nesties

And here is our swirly volcano activity...this is after Peter had calmed down, so it's not a very ridiculous picture...although I do still have those in my possession...