Friday, August 29, 2014

I Never Met a Cupcake...

I combined several challenges for today's card: Color My Heart: Lagoon, Sorbet, and Flaxen; CAS(E) this Sketch #90; and Heart2Heart: Inspired by Food.

The stamps are from a retired CTMH set call A Chocolate Affair.  I stamped the cupcake in Versamark and then used chalk to color.  Remember chalk?  I hardly pull it out any more, but it was perfect to color this little cupcake.  The sentiment actually reads, "I never met a CHOCOLATE I didn't like," so I stamped the top line in white and the bottom line in black. see that cool marbling effect.  Here's how I did that.  I set the lid of my Momento Tuxedo Black ink pad right on top of my card.  And it wasn't on purpose.  What's a girl to do but add a whole bunch more and pretend it was the plan all along?  I even added a touch of black sponging around the edges of the top panel to increase deception.

Background paper is CTMH Chalk It Up, Baker's Twine and colored chalk is Stampin' Up!, Q-tips for applying chalk from Johnson 'n Johnson. :)

Time for crit group.  Depending on what they think of my synopsis for "Valley of Shadows" I may need to make consolation cupcakes later today.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Writer's World Wednesdays-Breaking Bad

I'm in big trouble.

For my new novel, "Valley of Shadows," I requested a book written by a woman who spent time in The Old Capitol Prison at the same time my heroine finds herself there.  My library didn't have it, so the librarian sent a request out through the inter-library loan system. The book sent was published in 1867.  This is not a reprinted's the original.  Neither the librarian nor I can believe the college let it out of their hands, even if it did come in a protective box with a warning to be careful handling it.

I broke it.

I was about a quarter of the way through the book, craning my neck to read one side then the other so I didn't open the fragile binding too far, when the cover fell off.  I was hanging by a thread when it came to me, but that thread broke.

I feel terrible, and I don't know what to do about it.  It's not like I can glue the thing back together or offer to get it re-bound. 


I guess I'll just write a note and say, "I'm sorry, I handled it as gently as possible while reading, and if there's anything I can do to make reparations, here's my contact info..."

I 'fessed up to my husband.  He said, "That's why you can't have nice things, dear."

Until next time,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Baby Button

I spent some time going through the CASE Study 4th Anniversary Blog Hop and found this amazing piece of inspiration on Julia Stainton's blog. (You simply MUST go see her card!)

I combined that with the Less is More sketch challenge for the week to make this baby card.

I used up a bunch of supplies that were left over from other projects.  I started by arranging my larger items then dumping a bunch of buttons over top.  After skooching them around (yes,'s a real word. I'm sure of it!) until I was happy, I adhered the larger items then the smaller.  When I was done, I added a few pearls into some of the holes.

Considering all the gluing I did, it didn't take long for this card to come together.  I did use 100# cardstock because I didn't want the card to wilt under the weight of all those buttons.

I'll be hand-delivering it to one of our fellow army chaplain families.  I hope it makes them feel special.

Until next time,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Good Times with Color My Heart

This week at Color My Heart, we are challenging you to use two colors which have stood the test of time: Olive and Smokey Plum.

This was a pretty easy card to do.  I temporarily stuck down a circle and used my sponge daubers to swipe color.  I started on my circle and swiped outward to achieve the streaked look.  I started with Olive and left room for the Smokey Plum next.

I used Spray Pens with water and re-inkers but didn't spray.  Instead, I took the nozzle off and tapped the end against my palm to splatter both colors.  After removing my circle mask, I carefully inked "good" in Smokey Plum, turned my stamp around and carefully inked "TIMES" in Olive, and (after giving my stamp a huff to refresh the ink) stamped inside my circle.

Of course, at the very last instant, my hand wiggled and my sentiment ended up off-kilter.  I had planned to add only one banner. Instead, I added the Smokey Plum banner at an angle that was even with my wonky sentiment, then added a second banner in Olive at an even wonkier angle.  It still bugs me, but my Design Team buddies assured me it almost looked like I planed it that way.  Love those ladies!!

All the stamping was done with the "Good Times" set that comes in the Artbooking Cricut collection.  The stripe on the Olive banner is the notebook paper stamp turned sideways.

I used the same basic layout as I did on this card.

With all the new, fun papers and colors in the CTMH Annual Inspirations catalog that came out at the beginning of the month, it's fun to sometimes be reminded to use those "tried and true" colors.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bring Your Own Sunshine

This week's Heart2Heart challenge is: Inspired by a Book.  In an act of pure, shameless self-promotion, I am entering this card based off my novella, Waiting on a Promise, coming out in February.  It will be one of nine stories in The Homestead Brides Collection (pre-orders available).

As I was planning out my heroine's character, one saying kept playing through my mind.  I'd not heard it before CTMH came out with the promotional stamp set "You Are My Happy" last year, but it has inspired me to consciously think about how I can add "sunshine" to every day and every situation.  It's also very applicable to those of us in the military who must move to places we might not otherwise pick.

I cut the saying apart (making sure I added a few notches so I could fit it all back together again), inked it in Honey (which didn't show up well enough) then inked it in Pacifica and tried to do a shadow stamping thing (which didn't work very well because the Honey ink didn't show up well enough. **Sigh**)

Both the background panel and the banner were cut using Artbooking. I adjusted the panel to 5.25x4" manually, then adjusted the banner until it looked right in Cricut Design Space.  The banner ended up being .75x3.61".  I backed the banner with Buttercup paper because the "busy-ness" of the Confetti Wishes paper didn't look good with two colors showing through the open cuts to my eye.

Lots of stitching later, done!  Well...done after I pulled a gazillion threads through to the back and taped them down.  Before I send this card off, I'll be adding a panel to the inside to cover the stitching.  It really is a mess back there.

When the book comes out, you will see that I modified the saying in my dedication.  Okay...pure, shameless self-promotion over.  You may now go back to your regularly scheduled blog hopping.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Writer's World Wednesdays-Urgent Care Visit

For the past week I've been getting numbness in my hands and feet.  On Monday morning, I woke up with my left hand numb.  I've had that happen before when I was sleeping on it funny, but this time I woke lying on my back with my hand resting on my stomach.  I got up, shook it out, and got ready to head to the gym with my husband.  We were almost there when I said, "I think I need to go to the hospital.  I've got numbness down my left arm and it's not going away."  So we turned the car around and headed to Urgent Care. 

The nurse asked a few questions and then took me into an examination room.  The tingling wasn't going away, but I was a little less anxious since questions like, "Any shortness of breath?  Any tingling around your mouth?  Any feeling of heaviness in your chest?" were all answered, "No."  I was further reassured that I wasn't having a heart attack when my blood pressure came back normal.  However, my arm was still tingling.

When I told the doctor I'd had a bit of numbness in my feet as well, she ordered lab tests to rule out elevated electrolytes (heart) and blood sugar (diabetes).

Here's where the fun really started. 

I have deep, swervy, easily collapsible veins.  Whenever I have to do blood tests, I drink lots of water the day before and then about four cups prior to heading to the lab.  Still, the techs usually have a hard time getting a "juicy" vein even using the smallest needle available.  I told this to the first nurse who came to draw blood.  She caught a vein but couldn't thread the needle well enough to actually get blood.  She gave up and brought in "the big guns."  This guy was big alright, with his tattooed muscles and assurances he was "the best".  He gave up after two attempts.  The third guy came in and, seeing the normal spots for drawing blood already bandaged over, starts thumping on veins left and right.  Literally.  Left arm.  Right arm. (Makes a funny face.) Goes back to the left arm. Goes back to the right.  I said, "Since we've ruled out a heart attack, should I go home, drink lots of water, and come back tomorrow when I'm better hydrated?"  He went to check with the doctor.  "Nope, the doctor wants the blood drawn today.  I'm going to go get the 'big guns.'"

I'm thinking, he was already here and gave up.

Ten minutes later, in comes this petite woman who hunts left, hunts right, and then says, "This is going to hurt," and sticks a needle into my wrist.  She does manage to get four vials of blood drawn, though, so that's good.  However, she left the needle in my wrist.  On purpose.  Just in case the lab needed more blood or made a mistake or something.

I can't watch a TV show when someone's getting a needle stuck in them.  Blow them up, shoot them dead, drop them in burning acid, but don't stick a needle in them.  And now, here I sit with a needle stuck in my wrist for an hour waiting for the lab to finish their tests.

The good news is my electrolyte levels were fine and my blood sugar levels were awesome.  The doctor asked what I do.  I told her I'm an author.  The diagnosis?  I lean my arm against the edge of my desk when typing and I sit too long in one attitude. 

I feel so OFFICIAL!  I have an honest-to-goodness workplace injury. 

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stretch Your Stamps 2, Day 9 & Writer's World Wednesday - Acknowledgements

I needed to make a card to thank another writer who helped critique my upcoming novella.  Vickie is an established author who just finished one book series and is starting on another.  In spite of her deadlines, she took time to read and edit my story.  Such an act of selflessness should be acknowledged.  I used the stamp and twist then add sharpie marker outlines method shown in Stretch Your Stamps 2, Day 9

I am in LOVE with this technique.  I've stopped using my glossy paper for several reasons, but this technique needs that slick surface to do the twisting.  I'll be using this idea over and over again because it gives a hand-painted look without the work.

All the stamps used in today's card are CTMH and every single one is retired.  On top of that, I cut several of the stamps apart to use them the way I wanted instead of the way they came.  The inks, also CTMH, are current except for Tulip.

Here's the supply list:
  • Stamps: Floral Happiness (flowers), Endless Friendship (leaves), Happiness Held (sentiment)
  • Ink: Hollyhock, Tulip, and Topiary
  • Markers: Copic YG61, Black Sharpie
I chose this sentiment because it perfectly reflects how I feel about those who have helped my in this writing journey.  My happiness is just the start.  It's when I share it by thanking those who have helped me and then following their lead by helping others that happiness blooms into its full beauty.  Thanks, Vickie, for making me a better writer and a better person through your example.

Until next time,