Thursday, October 30, 2014

Give Thanks

This week for my design team duties over at StampinBuds.com, I did another card using the Pathfinding paper from CTMH. 

I'm not much into Halloween.  My kids are grown and gone, there aren't any grand-babies, and it's just not my favorite holiday.  So I decided to go with a Thanksgiving card.  Before I go any further, I almost feel like I should apologize for how easy this card was to put together. 

Almost, but not quite. 

Because the whole point of the new Artfully Sent Cricut cartridge from CTMH is to help you create beautiful cards with ease.


This card base is from p. 34, sized to 8.5 x 5.5.  I then cut the sentiment from p. 78 of the Artiste cartridge (though you could just as easily use the one on p. 72 of Artbooking so I added it to the list of links below) from Pathfinding paper and glued one on top of the other.

That's it.  The entire process. And I think it's gorgeous.

Just wait until you see how easy it was to put together seventy-five Christmas cards!!

Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Writer's World Wednesday - Acknowledgments

A few weeks ago, I told you about my friend Kim Woodhouse.  Hers is one of two names specifically mentioned in the dedication for Waiting on a Promise.  The other name is Gina.

Gina Welborn and I met a couple years ago when I wrote an e-mail to the American Christian Fiction Writers loop asking if there were any writers in my geographic area.  A friend of a friend put me in touch with her friend, and voila! a friendship was born.  We started meeting for coffee/tea on a weekly basis.  She was in the middle of several book contracts, so I helped her hash out some plot details.

One day she forwarded an e-mail to me.  It was from Barbour Publishing looking for novella submissions for their Twelve Brides of Christmas Collection.


(Note: this series is being published digitally, one per week, in the twelve weeks
 leading up to Christmas.  I believe the plan is to put all the novellas together 
in a collection to be published as a book next year.)

When Gina and I met later that week, she said, "You need to submit a proposal for this collection." I hemmed, hawed, and generally made excuses, but she leaned forward, stuck her finger under my nose, and repeated, "You need to submit."

So I did.  It was rejected.

However, it was the nicest rejection e-mail you'll ever see.  The editor told me my story wasn't chosen, but she had another idea and she would get back to me in a couple weeks.  I was pretty sure she was just being nice, but both Gina and Kim (who have worked with this editor before) said the editor wouldn't have said she had another idea if she honestly didn't have another idea.

Two weeks later, I got another e-mail from the editor at Barbour asking me to tweak my proposal for their Homestead Brides Collection and resubmit it.

So I did.  Three weeks later it was accepted.

There is a saying in writer circles that, in order to get published, you need to have an agent; but in order to get an agent, you need to get published.  I always wondered how someone broke out of that vicious circle.  Well, you make friends with a writer who believes in you enough to force you to submit your writing, and then you get lucky enough to be chosen.

Though, as you all well know, luck is just hard work meeting the right opportunity at a specific point in time.

Kim supplied the"hard work" part of the equation with her ongoing critiques and encouragement to keep writing; Gina supplied the "right opportunity" part by pushing me to submit.  Together, they are the reason why I'm beginning this writing journey.  And now, when you read the dedication, you'll know why it says:

...and
To Kim and Gina (they know why)

Before I go, here's a BONUS: Gina is one of four authors in the award-winning Mistletoe Memories collection which is currently on sale in digital format for $1.99.  Get it from Amazon here; from ChristianBook.com here: or from Barnes & Noble here.  I'm not sure how long this will last, so go quick!!

Until next time,
Becca

Friday, October 24, 2014

Winter Cheer

I need Christmas cards. Lots of them. So...this week I decided to see if I could take the Color My Heart challenge colors of Thistle and Sunset from the Scaredy Cat paper pack and turn them into a Christmas card.


Kinda fun, huh?

The bears are from Polar Bear Holiday.  I used the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge to cut the tag and topper (p. 60).  The tag is 4" tall and the topper is 1' tall.  To color, I used Copic markers W00, W3 (bear bodies); YR12, YR18 (orange sweater); V0000, V12, V15 (purple sweater and scarf); and 0.  I created a color matching ribbon by using V15 on a white satin ribbon.

The background paper behind the tag is 2.25" x 4.25", and the top strip is however big it needed to be to get the pattern.

Except for the coloring, this was super simple to put together.  And even the coloring wasn't that time-consuming or difficult.  I could easily color these while watching TV then assemble the cards later.  I'm thinking ahead, people.  Seventy cards in a month...plus the ones I need to make for a friend as a wedding present.  She got married in May.  I'm a little late.

Just be advised that you will probably be seeing nothing but Christmas from now until the middle of December.

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pathfinding Christmas

This week for my design team duties over at StampinBuds.com I'm focusing on the Pathfinding paper pack.  Like my post from October 9, I am stretching Fall paper and a coordinating stamp set into Christmas.


Pretty clever, huh?  Yeah, I thought so too, which is why I totally stole the idea from this blog post.  I once heard that the art of creativity was successfully hiding ideas you've pilfered.  I love that!  It validates my CASE (Copy And Steal Everything) philosophy...except I always like to give credit where it's due.

The main sentiment is a Hostess Only set called Be Jolly.  You can't order it directly, which is why there is no corresponding link below.  If you need a reason to host a party, I'd say this card gives you one!!

Notice the design principles I employed.  I stamped the two red hearts to create a triangle with the red "&" in the sentiment.  I stamped the three Glacier flowers in another triangle.  The leaves forming the wreath are a third triangle.  I also created a rounder feel to those leaves by curving the stamp that forms the center stem.  Gotta love the flexibility of acrylic stamps.  As for the leaves next to the Glacier flowers, the actual stamp is only two leaves.  I just stamped them twice and off-set them a skosh.

I added the hand-drawn dots after everything was glued.  The edge on the right side disappeared too much.  I could have solved that problem by foam mounting the image panel, but it's a little tough to make that fix once the everything's already glued down.  The other problem was that there wasn't any Chocolate color in the main image to coordinate with the Chocolate in the patterned paper. Then, when the outline dots were done, I needed to add some more Chocolate to the main image.  I was adding dots on top of my dots, but it pulled everything together.  I also hand-drew some white lines using a gel pen.

This would have been a fun card to sew around.  Which I just now thought of.  Doh!

I grew up in a Swedish Baptist Church.  This card reminds me of the colors and folk art of that heritage. 

Let me know if you have any question by adding a comment, and be sure to come back to see my reply.

Until next time,
Becca


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Writer's World Wednesday - Travels

So...at the beginning of the year, my travel schedule for 2014 looked like this:

Beginning of May, Paris with my daughter
End of September, ACFW Conference in St. Louis
End of December through first part of January, Christmas in Georgia

Then, in early September, my son called to see if I wanted to come visit his work building which is normally a closed facility.  Um...YES!  (See last week's post for more details.) 

Then my daughter called to say she was getting baptized and planned to schedule it around a trip my husband and son were taking together to Washington State, and did I want to come, too?  Um...YES!

Then I went to visit my son and he announced that he was taking command in November, but my husband and I didn't need to come even though the timing would let us celebrate Thanksgiving with him.  Um...NO!  We will be there and be staying through the holiday.

I'm typing this from Sea-Tac airport having just finished the trip to see my daughter's baptism.  My parents and sister-in-law came, I got to spend a full day with my best friend whom I rarely get to see anymore, I got to experience a real mall complete with paying way too much for Teavana Pumpkin Spice Brulee tea (but...oh, it's just heaven in a cup), and I got to see my daughter be baptized by my husband.  I am one happy mommy right now.

Back in 2009, our family went through several major transitions.  My son graduated from college and began his army career (May), my daughter got married (July), we moved my in-laws out of our home and into assisted living care (August), my husband started his army career (September), sold a  house (October), and moved to Colorado to begin our new phase of life (December).  It was a whirlwind.

The biggest change, though, was letting go of the expectation that my kids would be geographically close enough to celebrate major holidays and life events.  The crazy thing was that the two of them ended up in Washington State for a few years while hubby and I were in Colorado.  Then my son's career moved him to Georgia and we were moved to Oklahoma.  Through it all, we have struggled to see each other even once a year. 

What an incredible blessing--despite the amount of money we are putting out for all this flying around the country--to be able to share so many experiences with my adult children this year. 

So...this has nothing to do with writing, but it has everything to do with my world.  I feel like we have turned a corner this year.  After five years, my family is beginning to figure out what it looks like to be an army family, a geographically separated family, and an extended family with/as in-laws.

Yay for us!

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Artfully Sent Thank You

For my design team duties over at StampinBuds.com this month, I'm featuring the Pathfiding paper with various stamps.  Today, I paired it with the new Artfully Sent cartridge to bring you this:


I'm falling in love with the ease of Artfully Sent.  The hardest thing about this card was the photography.  Well, to be honest, adding the shimmer trim had some challenges.  More on that later.
 
I used the trifold card from p. 34 with one small change.  I adjusted the size to 8.5 x 5.5.  It made my circle a little more oblong, but I have this weird need to make my cards end up at the standard 4.25 x 5.5 A2 size.  I need to get over that soon, but at least I always have the option to be psychotic.
 
There are a few details here which should be pointed out.  The first is the sponging around the circle frame.  If you've been paying attention to the supply list over the past few weeks, you've noticed that sponge daubers show up a lot.
 
A lot!
 
That's because they are a quick, easy way to add a "frame" to make something stand out.  I also highlighted the "thank" with a marker to make it stand out.  I stamped the sentiment twice in Chocolate ink, once in the center of the wreath and again on Champagne cardstock.  After I trimmed out the "YOU" part, I just glued it over top of the other "YOU" inside the wreath.
 
Now...about that shimmer trim.  Here's my hard-earned advice.  Don't try to do the trim in one long piece.  Line up the shimmer trim against the background panel of Champagne cardstock on the right side/back of the card by beginning at the middle fold.  Then, start again by pressing the folds flat, lining up a second piece of shimmer trim starting on the top/left side and stick it down so it lines up with you first/back strip.  Once the top/left strip is adhered, open the card and continue adhering until your two strips line up, then trim the edge of your second piece.  Here's what happens when you don't take my advice...at least here's what happened to me.
 
 
Yeah.
 
So, I fixed it by adhering two more of the gold shimmer dots over top.  What can I say, rescuing flubs is my specialty.  Mostly because I've had lots of practice.
 
Let me know if you have questions in the comments section, and then come back to check for my answer.
 
Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writer's World Wednesdays - Useless Research

This week I regretted that I write historical fiction.  I was privileged to tour a building normally closed to the public.  It was like being on a movie set only cooler because it was real.  Oh...what I wouldn't give to be able to use some of what I saw and learned!

I even got to take a lie detector test. There were two finger sensors on my left hand, my right arm was in a blood pressure cuff, my chest had two bands to measure my breathing, and a butt pad...yes, you read that right...to measure whether or not I squeezed the gluteal muscles in an attempt to fool the test.  The best part was that the woman who gave me the test spent almost a half an hour talking to me about the process.  She told me the questions she was going to ask.  She told me which question to lie about. And even after all of that, I failed the test.

There were also demonstrations of codes and cyphers which were used hundreds even thousands of years ago.  While not as cool as the high-tech stuff, at least it might come in handy in some story later.

**Giggle**

Until next time,
Becca