Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Creativity Comes in Many Forms

Several years ago, I became overwhelmed with Christmas preparations.  I caught myself getting upset with my kids for no reason other than my own frustration.  But I didn't want to let them down by not keeping up with all our family traditions.  With rare brilliance, I decided to ask them which traditions were important to THEM.  The next year, I did the same thing.  And that became a new tradition...asking what is it we need to do to make Christmas a real Christmas.

This year, my son hosted at his new house.  He only wanted two things:  my apple pie which my daughter would carve something special into the top crust, and decorated cookies.  We also wanted to include my husband in some, significant way.  Here's the result:



Now, you must understand...part of the Christmas cookie decorating tradition is that the "boys" tend to make something entirely different than the actual cookie.  Thus, the ornament has become a hot air balloon, Santa carrying his pack has become both a yellow submarine and the "Operation Petticoat" submarine, and the bell has become "Mario Mushroom." 

Then, while blog hopping the other day, I ran across this poem tailored for stamping/paper crafting enthusiasts:

Stamping in a Winter Wonderland

Brayers roll. . . . are you listening.

On the card. . . . ink is glistening.

A Beautiful sight. . . we’re happy tonight.

Stamping in a Winter wonderland.

In the kitchen we can stamp a snowman.

Then add color to his carrot nose.

You’ll say: Are you Finished?

I’ll say: No Ma’am, I need to add some glitter to make snow.

When we stamp . . . ain’t it thrilling.

Even when . . . . the powders spilling.

We’ll create and we’ll play. . . .the art stamper way,

Stamping in a Winter wonderland.

-- Pauline Slovak

I hope your Christmas was merry and bright, and that your New Year is full of creativity.

Until next time,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Today I am celebrating my 26th Anniversary.  It began with my husband singing "Love Me Tender" over Skype.  He's learning guitar, so it went something like this:  "Love me tender (look down for chord change), love me true (look down for chord change)..."  Loved it!

Last night, I ran through all the things I remember about my wedding from the fiascoes to the sublime.  The most prominent memory was my father walking me down the aisle to transfer the care of my person to the man waiting at the end of that walk.  The only thought running through my head was, "This is the best decision I've ever made."  In 26 years, there has never been even a split-second of question.

Happy Anniversary, Honey.  The best is yet to come!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hugs 'n Kisses

I fly out tomorrow to be with my kiddos over Christmas.  I return two days before the deadline to get Valentine's Day cards to Operation Write Home, which is not enough time to mail from here to there.  I finished up a few more tonight to get mailed out tomorrow morning.

I actually used the OWH Sunday Sketch Challenge #47, and the OWH Stamping 101 - Vellum on this one card. 

The "swirly" heart is stamped on vellum and only attached at the bottom under the ribbon to allow it to curl up and away from the rest of the card.  Yeah...like that's going to last once it's tucked in an envelope.

I adjusted the original sketch by moving the square over to expose the patterned paper and stitching down the left side.
As you can see, I'm still having fun with my sewing machine. 

All paper and stamp images are from CTMH; the circle die cut is from Nestabilities.

Well, off to do some packing and get ready for my trip.  Luckily my two workbooks for the novel I'm working on arrived in the mail today.  I'll have plenty to do on the airplane rides...

Until next time,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Makin' a List

How is it "To Do" lists grow with each item checked off?  I finished four things this weekend and six more popped up.  At least I completed the card sets I'm making for my secret sister and my mom...neither of whom visit this blog, so I'm safe to share.

The Mojo Monday Sketch 168 was absolutely perfect for this project.  I don't think I'll be winning any prizes, but I finished 20 cards while watching the Army/Navy game yesterday.

This also can be entered in "Forgotten Friday" over at Can you say Addicted to Stamps? where the idea is to use stamps which have not seen ink for at least six months.  The cherries might have been used within the past few months, but the sayings haven't...some of them have never seen ink!  All images and paper are from CTMH...and that paper is at least 10 years old, back when CTMH was DOTS (Dozens of Terrific Stamps).

I watercolored using my Tombow pens.  I know Copics are all the rage now, but I love my Tombows.  And most of them are about 7 years old and still working amazingly well.

Well...lots more to be done.  I'm a little afraid to finish any other "to do" items, though.  I wonder how many new things will magically appear on that list as I go?

Until next time,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great Rivalry!

Do you know why I love the Army/Navy game?  Because it reminds me what a great rivalry is all about.

Two years ago, my husband and I traveled to Philadelphia for the game to see our son.  See him...he's right there!  What a thrill to be in the stadium and watch 4000 Army cadets from West Point and 4000 more Navy cadets from Annapolis march onto the field of play.  To have AirForce 1 "buzz" the stadium.  Watch President Bush walk through a line of cadets.  So cool...actually freezing.

The game itself was secondary to everything else going on...or maybe that's only because Army got trounced that year.  They never even scored.  And yet, despite how lopsided the games have been in past years, it is still considered the greatest rivalry in all of sports.

Christians have some pretty great rivalries, too.  At least we could if we followed the tradition of Army/Navy.  Instead, we have stooped to simply wrestling around in the mud for no purpose other than knocking each other down and getting everyone dirty. 

Here's how we can stop just making a mess and start doing something people want to see:
  1. Recognize we are all playing the same game.  We may come from different angles, focus on one part of the playbook rather than another, but it's still football.  (One preacher said, "If you aren't willing to hang on a cross over a particular point of doctrine, it's not worth arguing about it.")
  2. Let the competition inspire us.  Army and Navy play multiple games throughout the season; none of them inspire the same effort as this one game.  Players work extra hard.  We should let theological iron sharpen iron...pushing us to dig deeper and discover why we believe what we do from our "playbook."
  3. When the competition is over, it's over.  After every game, cadets from these two academies join together.  It signifies how, after they graduate, they will stand side by side to take on any and all who come against them or our nation.  Wow!  What would happen if Christians everywhere kept their fight inside the stadium and adhered to the rules of fair play then stood united in the real battle?
  4. Do your part only.  Quarterbacks do not pass to themselves.  Running backs don't sack.  Offensive linemen don't "go deep."  They only do what they are best at doing, what they've been trained to do, what their physical capabilities can handle.  Off the field, Army doesn't try to navigate ships and Navy doesn't occupy territory.  Individually, we need to do our part within our churches; and our churches should do what they are best at doing.  Some are strong at overseas missions; others at home missions.  Some minister to children; others to the homeless.  Imagine how much ground gets covered if we all do our part.
Now...having said all that, I end with a benediction stolen from my son's Facebook and written to his very good friend, an Annapolis graduate:  "May your runningbacks fumble every carry, your receivers drop every pass, and your kicker shank every kick. Love ya brother, but tomorrow I hope you are ground into tiny bits."


Monday, December 6, 2010


No...I have not drowned.  I might freeze to death in a house where, despite the temperature being set for 72 degrees, I wake up to 53.  Brrr!  However, I found a knit cap and wear that to bed.  Lots of heavy covers keep the rest of me warm.  It's that bloomin' tiled shower -- on an outside wall -- gets me every time!  Someone is coming today to look at it.  Hope it works soon!


I am diligently working on a new novel which absorbs so much time I barely get to other important activities like...oh...paying bills, making card sets for presents, and fixing dinner.  I have about twenty things on my "to do" list and I can't seem to get out of 1776.  Quite lovely and terribly frustrating at the same time.  I need two of me! 

I crossed one item off my list, though, thanks to the wonders of Facebook.  Every year since my husband and I have been married, I've written a Christmas letter.  Well, maybe not every year, but probably 20 years out of 26.  I decided to break with that tradition starting now.  Everyone on my list is a FB friend and knows all of our news.  Gotta love FB!  Except, now what do I do with the Christmas paper I purchased last year for the letter?  Hmmm.

Furnace man is here and not even General George Washington can call me back to the Revolution.

Until next time,

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Belated Boy Birthday

My nephew's birthday is tomorrow...and the mailman came earlier than I expected.  I have no good reason to be so late, just been pouting a bit over my "no family" Thanksgiving.  My friend put on a delicious dinner and we hosted a few other people who didn't have family in the area, but it wasn't quite the same.  Today is "get back on track" day. 

This card is entered in Mojo Monday #166.

The camera and film stamps are CTMH, the sentiment from "Rubber Soul" in Poulsbo, WA. 

I chose the mustard color because it just says boy better than my traditional black, red and white.

Off to finish the rest of my to do list which has backed up during my pity party.

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

With Love

 While the rest of the world is focused on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am in Valentine's Day mode for Operation Write Home. I really liked the sketch over at Mojo Monday and decided to use it today.

My original idea was to do a ruffled ribbon across the bottom, but by the time I gathered it, the circle just formed so...voila...ribbon flower.  And since it's Pretty, Pretty Princess time over at Heart 2 Heart, I think I'll enter this over at their challenge.  All supplies are CTMH except the Nestabilities Eyelet Circle.  The paper has been discontinued for a while, but I love the pink and black combination.

All these Valentines naturally make me think of my honey serving in Afghanistan.  So, Nathan, if you are reading this, know I love you more today than all the days before.

Until next time,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Creative Overload

Today, while Operation Write Home has its Veteran's Weekend Blog Hop, I will be attending a storytelling seminar in Denver with  my sister-in-law who is also a writer (and a good friend).  How much fun can one girl have?

I'm posting several Valentine's Day cards because I got on a roll a couple days ago and I can't decide which of these I like the best.

Now hop on over to Cheryl's blog to see her creations.

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful for Friends

There are some friends who, no matter the distance, remain close.  Today I'm sending them a card just to say hello and let them know they are loved.

This card is entered in the following challenges:

Mojo Monday: Sketch 164

OWH Midweek Throwdown: Thinking of You with Ribbon

All supplies are by CTMH except the leaf patterned paper and the purple embossing powder (which are both so old I'm not sure where I got them).  The embossing powder started to turn white in spots the more I heated it.  I think that means it's lousy powder, but the effect was actually pretty cool.

I used the new Nestabilities Eyelet Circles, a new favorite, but ran it through my Cuttlebug.  If you don't know how to do that, I suggest Googling "nestabilities cuttlebug" to find several informative videos on how to make this work.

Today is always a good day to let friends know they are loved.

Until next time,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

15 Weeks

Ephesians 4:16

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Last night a group of Army wives got together for "coffee" although there wasn't a drop of the stuff in sight.  We dressed up, chatted, shared our weeks, offered and received comfort, and then said goodnight after filling both our stomachs and souls.   How I needed both! 

Some weeks here are good; others seem endless.  Last week I found a groove; this week's been the worst I've missed my level-headed, funny husband since he left fifteen weeks ago.  I almost canceled and stayed holed up in my basement.  I doubt I was the only one who forced a smile and showed up to offer and receive the solace of those who understand the challenges of deployment.

These women are each amazing.  What struck me last night was how, as a group, we complement one another and are mutually stronger.  It brought to mind the above verse.  The military life is not for everyone, nor do the majority of people in this world belong to the body of Christ.  I count myself blessed to be part of both.  Magic occurs when individuals merge, knitting their individual parts together for strength.  On our own, we falter and unravel.  United we hold not only our own strand together but those connected with us, too.

Several years ago, when Nathan directed a prison ministry, we attended an "open house" at a correctional facility.  On display were items prisoners had used to create contraband like knives made from sharpened spoons, pens, etc.  Most impressive to me was the rope made from toilet paper.  An industrious inmate wet down small pieces of toilet paper, twined them together to make thin, twisted strands, wrapped five strands into one, created three more just like it and braided them all together.  He created three more braids the same way.  Then, like a hairdresser, he braided the braids into a single rope.  The guards allowed us to pick it up.  I pulled and twisted.  It did not break.  Nathan grabbed one end, I held the other.  We still couldn't break it.  That's the power of togetherness.  Okay...so the comparison of people to wet toilet paper isn't exactly flattering, but it aptly describes how I feel right now.

Through recent posts, I've picked up several new "followers" on this blog.  You need to know I pray over each and every one of you.  This week, my prayer is for you to find a place where your unique gifts, talents, abilities and interests join together with others in an "up close and personal" way.  Internet connections, social networking sites, and blogging comments are no substitute for real people who will irritate you, bless you, and require more of your heart than typed comments from the safety of your laptop.

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My First Feature

Several weeks ago, I received an e-mail asking me if I would be willing to provide the inspiration cards for the Midweek Throwdown over at Operation Write Home: Stars and Stamps.  Would I be willing???  I was so flattered I couldn't stop smiling for days.  The only problem was the actual technique...paper piecing.  I didn't really have a clue what that was.  So, like any good blogger, I googled it and discovered it means different things to different people.  The result?  This is going to be a long post with three different types of paper piecing, and I didn't even cover all of them.

Up first is using a pattern to cut shapes.  In this case, I embossed a shape on cardstock.


The cut outs are then pieced together by gluing them to a small circle to create the flower.  I thought this could work either as a Christmas card (although it would have a better poinsettia feel had I turned the petals around so the pointed end was out - like I did to create the leaves) or as a Valentine.

Card two has a quilted feel, where pieces are fit together to create a pattern.  For the sake of color, I paired the dark brown patterend paper with the bright pink cardstock and the soft stipes with the brown.


The last piece was tucked under the first, and I did have to trim about 1/16th of an inch off one end to make it fit.  I did a ton of distressing using Chocolate ink.  Notice the background on this one.  Another paper piecing technique is to create a background by using scraps and fitting them together.  So...there's two for the price of one. 

 The last card pieces together an image using multiple sheets of paper.  "Becky" is stamped on flesh, white, and patterned papers.  I colored and then cut out the bib/jar and bunny slippers from the white and the headband and P.J.'s from the patterned paper.  I trimmed on the very edge or the inside of the line.  Before I placed them over the flesh colored paper, I cut out the hands.  I then stamped "Becky" once more on white and cut it in an oval.  I layered everything, popping the hands and slippers with foam tape for extra dimension.

I used colored pencils to create a shadow.  I'm not sure you can see it very well, but I pulled the edges of the ruffle up just a touch.  It probably won't stay fluffed for very long, but it sure looks cute now.  This card and the second one are more geared toward Valentines, because we have to be thinking many months ahead in order to get our cards to our heroes overseas.

All cardstock and paper are from CTMH, though "Becky" and the paper used on that card have been retired for a long time.  The bow on the quilted card is Jolee's boutique.

There you have it!  Three different cards using four different paper piecing techniques. 

Until next time,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Football Fun

I am something of a football fan.  However, I am not a fantasy football fan like my husband.  There aren't many things I like about him being deployed, but being able to watch an entire game without the channel flipping and constant updates about how his players are doing is one of them. 

Today, in addition to watching football, I have some unexpected time (due to the lack of trick-or-treaters) so I thought I'd get some cards ready for Operation Write Home.

It's time to start preparing Valentines, which is why I chose the hearts.  Well...that and the fact that they were the only stamps I had which were small enough to fit in those little squares.  All stamps and supplies are CTMH.
Can you tell I'm having fun with my new sewing machine? 

Okay...Saints v. Steelers game is about to start.  Time to watch some more football!

Until next time,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Exciting Firsts

My husband says I'm weird, and I'm sure he's right, but I got to cross something off my "bucket list" yesterday...proofing galley sheets.  Basically, I got to read a novel before it hits the bookstores.  It is slated for publication in March.  It's called "No Safe Haven" by Kimberley and Kayla Woodhouse.  And I got to read it while sitting in their home built by Extreme Makeover Home Edition.  Talk about cool.

I came home to find I had been selected as a Friday Five winner by the Close to My Heart Heart 2 Heart Challenges blog...another first.  That one wasn't on my bucket list, but maybe it should have been.  This week, Heart 2 Heart is challenging us to create something spooky or something with a pumpkin.

This card uses CTMH stamp sets Little Treasures, Seasonal Thoughts and Express Postage.  The paper is from Expedition.  I am having fun with my new sewing machine, and couldn't resist adding a ruffled Creme Brulee ribbon.  I don't think you can really tell from these pictures, but I completely covered the jar image with liquid glass.  It looks very much like the spider and web (hand drawn) are inside a glass jar. 

Hope you all have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Masculine Purple

My nephew's birthday is coming up quickly.  He's in his 20's and very much into tattoos and pop culture.  A card for him can't be flowers, ribbons, or any of my other usual stuff.  Using several techniques, I came up with a purple masculine card.  Yes...I said purple.  This card is entered in the following challenges:

Operation Write Home - Midweek Throwdown: Masculine
Operation Write Home - Keyhole Tutorial
Heart 2 Heart - Embossing (card #2)

I used CTMH Oak Brown cardstock and stamped with Smokey Plum using the Live Inspired and Air Mail stamp sets.  Then, I sanded to create a little white relief so my embossing wouldn't be the only white on the card.  The sentiment is from the Say it in Style stamp set by CTMH. 

I added a couple white rivets to create a triangular pattern among the keyhole picture, the sentiment and the rivets.  I added a little sponging on the edges of the purple paper to give just a touch more depth.

And despite the purple, I think it looks both hip and masculine.

Until next time,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sew Happy

Well...I finally did it.  I went to the sewing machine store and discovered my old, unusable (but top of the line in its day) machine was maybe fixable and maybe not.  If not, it was going to be a $50 service charge, if it was, it was about a $250-350 job.  Yeah...not so much.  Instead, I decided to purchase a new machine outright.  It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it will sew a button hole, straight line and zig zag.  I'm good with that!  Today's card is entered in the following challenges:

Mojo Monday Sketch 161
Heart 2 Heart - Embossing

 I used Veranda and Perfect Day paper, the Sip stamp set, and Creme Brulee ribbon all from CTMH. I also used Buttercup embossing powder, but since it was too bright for the Creme Brulee, I sanded it down so a little more white came through.

 The spoon was too long, so I simply folded it in the middle and stuck a button over the top to hide the crease.

I love the contrast of the cool Juniper and Creme Brulee against the vibrant Tulip color.  And I must give credit where it's due.  This was basically stamp lifted from Betsy Veldman's Blog

You will likely be seeing a little less of me on my blog.  I will continue to participate in certain card challenges in order to support Operation Write Home, but if I'm going to really pursue writing, I need to  make that a priority. 

Until next time,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seasons Change

Fall arrived with a chip on it's shoulder here in Colorado.  After an unseasonably warm September where temperatures stayed in the 80's and even some 90's, the wind blew ferociously one morning as if to exact vengeance for having been held at bay for so long.  Today's card is a celebration of Fall and friendship.  It is part of the following challenges:

Mojo Monday Sketch #160
Heart to Heart - Leaves and Trees
OWH Midweek Throwdown - crackled glass technique

The entire card was created using the new "Olivia Workshop" by CTMH with the exception of the New England Ivy cardstock, clear embossing powder, and ribbon (but are all still CTMH supplies.)  To create the leaves, I sponged with small daubers in Spring Leaf, Vineyard Berry, Sorbet, and Cocoa.

The entire sentiment reads:  Seasons Change, but our friendship remains the same.

Until next time,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Luke 12: 27-31

"Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."

Lord, may I grow to understand what it means to seek Your kingdom only, to bring before Your throne prayers reflective of my faith in Your care for the things You know I need, and to not chase after things pagan.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Birthday Gifts

Today is my birthday, and I decided to count the many gifts I have in my life.  To list them all would take too long, but here are some of the highlights:

  • A husband who adores me and I respect more than any other person on this earth
  • Two amazing children who have grown into adulthood with their faith in tact
  • A son-in-law who loves my beautiful daughter as she deserves to be loved
  • Born to a couple who lived their faith every day not just on Sundays
  • Parents who are still married after 52 years; In-laws who are still married after 61 years
  • Not just siblings I love but sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law I love, too
  • A sister who is my best friend and a best friend who is my sister
  • Army wives who have adopted me into their loving circle
  • A church family in three different states and the many individuals I still call friends despite the geographical distance
  • Facebook for helping me keep in closer touch with friends
  • Health
  • Creativity

There are no temporal gifts which can compare to these.  In honor of the last two, it is my great joy to announce I have taken a significant step toward publication of my novel.  Today, I finished the last of the edits, formatted it, and e-mailed it to one of those Army wives I'm so grateful to know who just happens to have contacts with a local publisher where she used to work as an editor's assistant.  This book may never get to your local Christian book store, but at least it's off my laptop and into the big, bad publishing world...even if it is just a baby step.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

For My Friend

A couple days ago, my best friend when I was a little girl lost her precious mother.  If ever there was a woman who could light up a room just by smiling, it was Nancy.  She turned being a "homemaker" into an art, and we all loved her for it.

In keeping with the challenge over at Operation Write Home which is "For the Girls" and to use any of the other weekly challenges, I decided to use the hand stitching challenge.

I did two different types of hand stitching, both were done by paper piercing first in a straight (well, fairly straight line) free hand.  Since the rose is so pretty, I wanted something a little raw to frame it.  At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

To create the background, I white embossed the script on watercolor paper.  After spritzing it with water until the entire piece was wet, I dotted CTMH colors Desert Sand, Cherub Pink and Sorbet all around, swirling them together and making sure to edge in the brown.  I also white embossed the rose (also by CTMH but retired long ago), spritzed it, and used the same colors plus Aspen Green on the leaves.  The background paper is CTMH Desert Sand which I sponged with ink of the same color hitting the edges a little harder than the center.

The pin was a gift from my mother.  I simply added some beads I got in a huge pack at Michaels and poked it through the Cocoa ribbon.
I only secured the center of the watercolored background and let the edges curl.  The rose is mounted on foam tape at the leaves only. 

Beautiful women deserve to be remembered in beautiful ways. 

Until next time,