Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teapot Tuesday 235

It's Tickle a Teapotter week and the teapotter we'll be tickling is none other than the Queen herself - Miss Cindy.  So you know that Cindy has this thing for black and white polka dots right?  Well, maybe you didn't know, but you do now!  This teapot is perfect for her.  We're celebrating her retirement.  No, she's still working her 9-5.  She's retiring from being our main Teapot Hostess and taking a break from "public" stamping for a bit.  I say "public" because I'm thinking she's gonna be stampin' at her own whim for a while.  (You know you just can't turn your back on all that paper, ink, and rubber!)  

So, instead of a random teapotter selection (as we do to choose the person you exchange your card with on tickle weeks), this week we are all tickling Cindy!  

I saw this cool 3-D card recently on Calla Lily Studio Blog (there's a link there for the YouTube tutorial) and was wanting to try it out.  Believe it or not, I do not have a very big selection of solid 12" x 12" cardstock - but I did have white, and since this is a "black and white, with a touch of color" challenge I thought I could pull it off.

I'll humbly ask you to keep in mind that it only looks crooked because of the poor photography - the blocks are all square.  Yes, but keeping with the inspiration teapot and Cindy's love of polka dots, I had to get some dots on there somewhere.  Thus the alternating squares and circles.  Oh, and the really nice thing about this is that it folds flat.   Really.  Check out the link above and you will see how nicely it does.  

I can't make up my mind if I like it or not.  Somehow, I'm getting the feeling of the decor of some cheesy banquet hall from years ago.  Well, what's done is done.

But wait, in my purging last weekend (an ongoing project around here lately), I came across a pack of blank notecards that were white with black polka dots and a roll of ribbon that was black with white polka dots.  Ha!  And I have the SU tiny purse die!  Luckily for this idea, the polka dots were printed on the front and back of the notecards and the card just fits on the die with the centerfold lined up with one of the creases on the bottom of the purse.  Bingo!  

I die cut a piece of black felt for the flap because the felt had a truer black value that matched the ribbon.  Black cardstock just did not do it!  Added the ribbon for the handle and a red button.  

You've got to fill the purse, right!  Well, the purse will have another WIP (Work In Progress) that I finally finished - a zentangled pendant.  I did four of these this past summer, each one of them different, and only had to add the cord to complete it.  I picked the one that had the most "dots".  

I started the teapot challenges a long time ago after seeing a card that Cindy had posted on SCS.  That led me to find out more about the challenge on her blog.  That was back in July 2008.  And here is the link to my first Teapot Post.  

The challenges have evolved over the years and still are a lot of fun to take part in.   But, like Cindy is doing now, I have recently taken a break from doing them regularly.  You'll see them now and again, because I do like the inspiration the teapots give me.  

I've been noticing that a lot of the blogs that I follow have slowed down and some of them have even gone dormant.  It saddens me a little, but I can certainly understand as I am guilty of the "slowing down" of posting myself.  But, that being said, I am not going to stop following because these bloggers have become my B to B friends (that's Blog to Blog) and like my F to F friends (Face to Face) there comes a time when we all need little breaks.  It makes it all the more heartwarming to see a post pop up like getting a  phone call and catching up with what's been going on.  I do wonder about the ones that have stopped posting altogether though - whether they are all right.  

I am definitely not going to stop posting because I use this as a chronicle of what I've accomplished.  Some people, myself included, make bucket lists of things that they want to do.  This  blog is me celebrating what I have done, what I have seen, and what I have created.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

What's Blooming?

It's been so cold here and we've had several snow dustings, but things are blooming in the house.

A couple of orchids

An Amaryllis 

Some Oxalis 

A Streptocarpus 

A little speckled African Violet 

A potted Primrose

And we still have several Poinsettias.

The orchids were an indulgence that have surprisingly rebloomed several times.  They are in an east-facing area and seem to be very happy there.  

The amaryllis is on it's last bloom, but there is another one getting ready to pop soon.  We haven't gotten the timing down with these yet.  It would be ideal to have them blooming for the holidays, but we just seem to keep missing it.  The Christmas cactuses were pretty spent by Christmas day, though I'll have to try to find the picture of them, because they were so full of blooms this year.  I swear it was because of the "week without heat" in early November that shocked them into blooming.  

The streptocarpus and oxalis have come inside for the winter.  These two bloomed incessantly over the summer and are keeping up the show, though they're dwindling a little now.  This is the first year for the streptocarpus, so I am waiting to see just how long it will bloom and if it will be a perennial or not.

I couldn't pass up that little speckled African violet when I saw it.  I don't usually have any luck with African violets but I had never seen a speckled one before and thought I would give it one more try.

HWNSNBP brought home the primrose on a recent trip to the grocery store.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep it alive after the flowers are gone.  I usually put them right out in the flower bed in the spring if they survive.  I have a few scattered here and there that have been around for years.

The poinsettias  - somehow we wound up with about 6 of them this year.  You see, there was a sale on them "Black Friday".  They were 99 cents each at Home Depot so HWNSNBP brought home 10 of them with the intention of me taking some to work and giving a couple more as gifts.  Well, it wound up that someone else brought us plants at work before I brought mine in and some of the others didn't get "gifted".  So they are hanging around here.  We've never had any luck keeping them from year-to-year although I have managed to keep one or two plants green until August outside.  

I've got three geraniums and two begonias with sporadic blooms and if I keep diligently watering them, they'll make it to the spring.  And there are three potted rosemary plants that, knock on wood, are still thriving.  We'll see if I can keep them alive past March this year!  I love to run my fingers up the stalks and just breathe in their fragrance.

So what's blooming in your "garden" - inside or outside?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy 30th Chickadee!

It is my daughter's 30th birthday today!   She is a beautiful young woman and we are so very proud of her and all that she has accomplished.  Happy Birthday Chickadee!

The inspiration for this card comes right from a picture that she found on Pinterest from Crafty Little Gnome

Picture by Adrienne Audrey at Craft Little Gnome

Next visit, we will be tackling this project for her room!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Second Sympathy

One of our friends recently lost his mother.  We didn't know her well but we do remember seeing her a number of times at their house when they used to live down the street from us.  These colors reminded me somewhat of their house back then.  They had a beautiful rock garden there and the yard was always blossoming something.  

Colors are Calypso Coral and Gumball Green.  The stamps used are from 3 different sets, Papaya Collage, Summer Silhouettes and Warmest Regards (retired).  The butterfly was stamped in Basic Gray ink and I used my aquapainter and Calypso Coral ink to color it.  The stamp actually has a gap between the wings and no body, so I created one with my Basic Gray marker and then cut the whole thing out.  The edging is one of the Delicate Designs embossing folders and the circle of coral is embossed with a motif from the other of that set.  I used ruffled ribbon and some bakers twine in the same hue.  

I can see that I really need to get that photo tent up soon.  This is/was so much prettier IRL!  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Another New Tool - Stencils

These trees are actually created with a stencil by TCW called Aspen Trees.  I used some post-it notes to hold the stencil in place on some white cs and then did some sponging of the sky starting with Baja Breeze on the lower portion and then Island Indigo from the top and gradually blending into the Baja.  Then, while the stencil was still held in place, I used my Basic Gray marker to fill in the cracks in the bark.  Admittedly, the ink got under the stencil in some cases but that was fixed just by using the fine end to clean up the ragged lines.  

I reused those post-its as masks on the left of the trees so I could dauber on some Sahara Sand to give the trees dimension.  There is some shading on the branches in Sahara Sand also which was accomplished with a small spongy make-up applicator.  Next time I am going to try colored pencils for the shading as they might be a lot easier in those very small areas.

The sentiment comes from Loving Thoughts and I stamped it in Basic Gray on Sahara Sand cardstock.  I didn't want too much empty space surrounding the sentiment so I used the shape of the stamp itself as the "die" for it.  I just traced around it lightly in pencil and cut it out with scissors.  The sentiment is popped up with dimensionals.  

My sister's Godfather passed away earlier this week and we were not able to go to the services because we've both been fighting off something and there's so much flu we're hearing about, we thought it better not to risk it for ourselves or giving something to others.  Knock on wood, the "flu" hasn't seemed to hit the school yet, but there are a number of nasty viruses going around including one that just presents with headache and dizziness.  I believe I got that one.  It's been a chore to try to stay focused on things.

We're trying to keep hydrated and doing a lot of handwashing and hopefully the flu will pass us by.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jingle Belles 2013 - JB:13:01 - Look What Santa Brought Me

Well, I didn't get this done in time to put in the gallery at the Jingle Belles blog but I wanted to share it anyway.  As you might be able to gather from the title we're using something that we got for Christmas.   I knew exactly what I wanted to use.  My friend Sabrina sent me this wonderful Christmas stamp from Impression Obsession and I just love the way this turned out.

Here's a close-up and I apologize that it looks so washed out here but I haven't reassembled my photo tent yet.  My dining room table still has Christmas decorations on it waiting to be stashed away.  

Before I made the card I stamped the image on a scrap of Whisper White card stock and started trying out colors and methods to color it.  As you can see, I tried both a grey sky and a blue and opted for the blue.  I also tried full strength red marker on the peppermint stick on the right and watercoloring the one on the left.  The left one won!  Then there were some color combinations in the hanging ornaments that left something to be desired.  I had tried using pearl shimmer paint for the snow and decided against that because it was just too silver when it picked up the light.  In the finished card I used diamond dust instead and now I've just realized that I meant to silver those ornament caps when I came downstairs - oh well, whoever gets this card will have it corrected.

I have all my notes to myself on the scrap.  As I mentioned, I used Whisper White CS for the scrap and I also used it for the card instead of watercolor paper.  I was taking a little bit of a risk using an aquapainter on that cardstock because you have to be very careful to not overwork the blending or it will "pill" the paper.  Aside from the sky, the areas that were actually watercolored were very small, most of the large areas like the buildings base and trunk were done with markers directly, so this paper worked out well.  

Not only did I add Crystal Effects to the icicles, I added it to the front five ornaments also on the finished card to give them some shine.  When I showed HWNSNBP this tonight I actually got a "Wow!" from him (I think it was the glitter!).  

I think the next time I use this stamp I will cut away the gray area around the bird and give him a little light in there - what do you think?

Thank you Sabrina for this beautiful stamp and the happy challenge of bringing it to life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birdie Bits

"Hey, you wanna see something cool?

Look over there.

No, not that way.

Jeez, stop hiding in the shadows, you won't see a thing.

See the acrobat woodpecker.  Wish I could hang on like that. 

Whoa, look at that guy.  Looks like he's doing upside-down push ups.  I wonder if his New Year's resolution is to get in shape?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Will you quit bothering me?  Never mind getting in shape.  I'm trying to eat before the squirrels get here!"

Wish I could say I've been hanging out with the birds.  Not so much.  I've been having computer issues that are driving me nuts (better watch out for the squirrels myself!).  

We've been trying to put away "Christmas" and when that is done it's time for some major purging.  HWNSNBP wants me to throw away 7 things a day.  I'm a little behind on that!  But I know I can make it up.  

What have I been doing creatively?  Well, I did put together a couple of ornaments as gifts for some friends we saw after the holidays (I'll post them soon).  And I have purchased an engagement calendar that has blocks for each day where I can do a tangle pattern each day (I'll share that soon too).  

I have not gotten back into the "stamp cave" yet because the storage area we use for "Christmas" is through the closet in there and everything keeps getting moved around.  It's a sad excuse, but believe me, I will be much more willing to work in there when I can get it back to where I want it.

Hope you like the Birdie Bits today.  Maybe it'll become a series this year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and Sharing Their Creativity

I love getting gifts - who doesn't!  But I especially love getting gifts that were created by the gift-giver.  They touch me in a way that I can't totally describe.  Maybe it's because I know how precious my "creating" time is to me.  

Don't get me wrong - I know everyone's time is precious whether they're shopping catalogs or stores, or crafting something from their own hands.  And I'm not unappreciative of any gift.  

I love giving hand-made gifts also.   I know that there are people that I will not hesitate to give a hand-made gift to and there are people that I would not for various reasons.  It becomes a choice of  determining who would be appreciative of something created and who would not give it a second thought.

A personal goal of mine has been to give a little something I've created to the staff that I work with over the years at Christmastime.  Some of these things I know have been tossed aside and certainly were not meant to be treasured for a lifetime.  

It made me feel good recently when a teacher told me that she was going to add the bookmark that I made to a package for her mother-in-law because she thought it was so pretty and her MIL loves things like that.  When she asked me if I minded I told her that I did not and rather that she pass it on than dispose of it like some of them had already.  I've had a number of people tell me that they have saved my paper creations and have sometimes regifted them.  I think that's a lovely compliment.

I have been honored to received a few of the hand-made creations featured throughout this post and will treasure them for years to come.  They come from dear blogging buddies who share my love of stamping and papercrafts.  

The Peace Medallion and candy cane tag came from my friend Michelle in Colorado.  Michelle gives me inspiration almost daily with her wonderfully insightful posts on her blog Figments of My Imagination.  I had the good fortune to be able to meet Michelle in person this past spring.  That was among one of the highlights of 2012 for me.  Some of my non-blogging friends thought that it was quite risky to meet up with someone you only knew from "the internet".  I think we were both a little nervous about it, but it was a very rewarding experience that I'll treasure. 

The picture that I took of the card I got from my friend Sabrina in Ireland does not do it justice. If you could see the wonderful detail in all the embossing on the edges you would know how she puts so much of her creative soul into her cards.  The bird ornament on the card and the ornaments now on my tree were hand stamped and colored by Sabrina and the ornaments are two-sided so you can see the beautiful work no matter which way the breeze turns it.  Sabrina's blog is called My Miscellany and she features gorgeous photographs that she takes as well as recipes and her other talents like knitting and of course, cardmaking.  I feel like I have visited many of the places that she has taken pictures of just by looking at them.  We share a love of birds Sabrina and I - can you tell!

I have a special box for hand-made and delicate ornaments and these and Michelle's will certainly be kept there and displayed at the holidays for years to come.  

I just love the little tag that Sabrina also made that came along in her package to me.  Can't you just see the joy of that little mouse splashing in the puddle!  And the little post-it notebook she made will not be forgotten but used gently so I can enjoy the creation on the cover for a long time.  

Thank you both, Michelle and Sabrina, for sharing your talents with me.  You have made me feel very special!