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....