Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, Guy and Gal...CAS(E), Case,Online Class and CFC Birthday Bash

“Pouty” – my attitude for a chunk of yesterday.   Given my age, poutiness shouldn’t even be a selection on the ‘mood-o-meter’ but that arrow was bang on, and seemingly not about to waver, even a little bit.  The reason for my ‘sads’ – niece-withdrawal.  Full force episode!  We spent a most awesome weekend visiting my family, and amongst the many highlights, the most highlight of all was time with my niece.  She was at my parents when we arrived and a greeting that involved a running, arms-outstretched, almost-bowl-me- over hugging three year old, exclaiming at high volume “Aunty C, Aunty C” made my heart sing!   After not seeing her for nearly 7 weeks, we picked up with where we left off:  giving the toddler-sized cloth doll my mom made a ‘bath’ (pretend, of course);  heading off to the moon in the rocket ship made out of a giant set of tinker-toy like structures (her, comfortably seated in the rocket’s ‘shell,’ me not so much – but since I was ‘buckled in’ she assured my I’d be fine, even if my legs stuck out);  being her ‘get in trouble a bit with daddy’ accomplice when we decided that putting a strawberry in her milk was kind of an interesting taste experience; and carrying her (she’s getting so big, but I’ll carry her for as long as I can, and as long as she’ll let me…weight-training time for Aunty C!!) out to the van when it was time to go home, assuring her that yes, we’d spend the next day together.
 And so we did…the WHOLE day!  We shopped at Costco, where the gigantic stuffed pandas – all 6 of them – had to have hugs and tummy tickles; we made tiny cards using my MFT butterfly die (way too much fun – although the glue-stick became a distraction…a lot of gluing going on); she iced the birthday cake with my mom (sugar-rush ensued – a lot of icing tasting going on!); we went for a walk, and got caught in a rain squall (more carrying her going on…); we played ‘fort’ (a lot of ‘pretend’ going on…especially when we went to the ‘zoo’ and rode the elephant…and ponies…and giraffe);  we celebrated her mom’s and my dad’s  (Poppa’s) birthday with great gusto.  Because her little brother was sick, and ended up staying home with my sister-in-law’s parents (invited, and very much missed at supper), she truly was the center of attention.  You can only imagine the scene that unfolded when, in response to my brother-in-law commenting on her recent ride on a ‘school bus’ (a daycare field trip), we were all ‘invited’ to sing, and of course, ‘actively participate in,’ several rousing verses of “The wheels of the bus go round and round…”.  My mom and I nearly hit the floor laughing when one of the verses involved her brother who, on the bus, ‘goes wah, wah, wah…”  Yes indeed, one of the bestest, most wonderfulest days ever!
On Sunday, mom and I headed over to my brother and sister-in-law’s place, and while the two of them had a much needed, much deserved nap, we spent time with the kids.  Poor nephew still wasn’t feeling great, but a cuddle-on-Bacia sleep helped.  I, in turn, received lessons about Care Bears, from my niece’s obvious expertise on the adorable critters.  Hugs goodbye on Sunday, when we departed home,  weren’t nearly as ‘okay,’ as those on Friday and Saturday.  Not even close.
So, that’s the tale behind my ‘poutiness’ yesterday.  Combine that with a snowy day (ummm, Spring?  Hello, Spring?? Are you there??), and you can imagine my mood (Grumpy Care Bear comes to mind – I was feeling blue!).  
Thankfully, though, I found silver linings to lift my spirits.  Comments and notes from some wonderful card-making friends (thank you so much!!) and the Online His and Hers Card Class started!!!  Day One was amazing!   In the span of a few videos and the accompanying ‘visuals’ of some stunning cards, my gloom shifted and some rays of ‘light and delight’ emerged.   I learned ways to transform the ‘same’ sketch, stamps and sentiments into both male and female cards; I learned more about ‘masking’ (next step is “try this”), and I even had an ‘assignment’ to do.   “Pouty” was set aside (for a while, at least), and I immersed myself in some day-brightening happy-making challenges!
For my cards, I opted to use the same stamp set: Wish Big, from TAWS (debuting day!!), and create masculine and feminine birthday cards.  In addition to sharing this with my ‘classmates,’ I’m entering them into the following challenges:
My masculine birthday card is heading to CASE Study Challenge, where I took inspiration from the colours and sense of ‘flight’ from the card presented.  I made an ‘oops’ though, by adding glitter in a couple of spots *palm smack on forehead*.  What was I thinking!  Oh well, maybe some guys are okay with a bit of sparkle.

 My ‘feminine’ version is for CAS(E) #25.  Even though my card may not be completely “cas” once the idea gelled, the actual making was quite quick.  I’m getting much faster with the fussy-cutting, even though I’m still fussy (I don’t like uneven edges. Sticking point.  But they still happen…more practice J)


And “just because,” I’ll include both in CAS-ual Fridays #99, where the theme is Birthday Bash.
Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply.
Have a 'no pouting' day; rather, one filled with sunshine and smiles!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Doily of Flowers...TAWS #26

Quick post this morning to share my card for TAWS #26 challenge.  The oranges in the forefront, with the blue ruffled paper backdrop lead me to...orange flowers placed on a blue doily.  Fairly straightforward interpretation, even though arriving at the end result took a series of detours before finally coming together.  I had an idea, decided the idea wouldn't do full justice to the challenge or my TAWS stamps, went in another direction, wound up lost and making a mess, took some time for some positive action therapy (sweeping the floor...I do that often when I'm stuck or feeling frazzled.  I know, I know...odd behaviour.  A while back though, in "BC time" - before card-making - I was known to vacuum almost daily so this is a drastic improvement.  Now vacuuming is far less frequent...consumes valuable crafting time) and returned to the beginning, following through with the initial plan.  The only major difference - between the start and finish, a package of happy mail arrived, so one new stamp makes its debut here!  I'll leave you to guess which it is.

Here's the inspiration photo

and here's my card...

Simple...

New stamps from TAWS joining my household!  I'm so looking forward to using them next week, once we return from visiting my famil; it's been a stretch since our last trip, and I'm excited.  Wait, make that EXCITED!  I'm packing a few craft supplies to make cards with my 3 year old niece.  How fun will that be!!

Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply.
Have a wonderfully bright and sunny day.

Before closing...today, our weather 'suggests' that spring has arrived, with temperatures reaching the mid-high teens (Celsius).  For the last couple of days, in the midst of cool air, gusty winds, cloudy days, my husband has still forged ahead with his outdoor bike training.  He's taking a much needed, much deserved day off today (working over the weekend when we travel - instructing a coaching course) to...wait for it...downhill ski! Hahahahahah...sorry, but there's something mildly  ironic about that...



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Flower Fusion Hello...FUSION #3

Yes, yes, I know there's a certain 'sameness' to many of my cards, the reason for which I place squarely on the shoulders of the TAWS and Paper Smooches folk.  As you can guess, my collection of said stamps is rather small, so I'm a tad obsessed with completely smitten, using them all the time often.  In fairness though, this week's FUSION #3 photo inspiration does show a frame (of sorts...a bed frame) and flowers in the bedspread, and the sketch also features a flower, soooooooo although I *tried* to resist reaching for my Doodle Frames and Petal Pushers, I caved in.  Quickly.  No contest.  Once again, my entry is 'sort of like' some of my others, yet sort of different.  Hmmmm....perhaps I'm developing a 'style.'  As long as I haven't bored you completely, that's a good thing.  And another good thing:  new stamps are due to arrive any day now (already nearly two weeks...my anticipation is mounting.  Want them to be here now. As in NOW!!).

FUSION #3 was hard, even with my lovely sets at the ready, and I truly debated whether my card was post worthy or not. This morning, I gave it another scrutiny and decided it was kinda sorta cute. Before my mind flip-flops again, I'd best be submitting.  To all who see it:  thank you for putting up with me as I work on developing a 'style'.  And one of these days, I'll show you that I can - and have - done things that are completely different (and knowing what I know now, oh, how I'd give them a renovation!).

Here's the inspiration sketch and photo (bed envy...major bed envy)...
and here's my Flower Fusion


Frame, flower petals and 'hello' are all flourish-y, so I decided they were
'enough.'   I'm hoping a series of little swooshes rather than a larger one, 
as featured in the sketch, would be an okay alternative. 

Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcome and appreciated, deeply.
Have a wonderful Wednesday !! I'm off to work, with high hopes that 'happy mail' will be snuggled in my mail box later today.  





Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hugs, Enjoy Your Day...PS SPARKS Colour Challenge and CAS(E) #24

Here I am - second post, clock is ticking...
Details about how this card 'came to be' are on my previous post, so I'll just get down to the nitty gritty (whoa...I'm writing a cas post!!)

Inspiration: Paper Smooches SPARKS Colour Challenge:


and N@ali's super cas and graphic sketch at CAS(E) #24

Mine - I played with the size of my PS Notebook die, narrowing it some, then added Flap Happy butterflies and sentiments, as well as one from Sentiment Sampler.  Oh, and some glitter to the butterflies...haven't used stickles in such a long time...


Thanks so much for dropping by, and please know your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply!
Hugs to all!





A Flap Happy, Loopy Leafed Happy Birthday...PS SPARKS Colour Challenge and Retro sketches #60


How did Friday evening become Sunday evening, in the blink of an eye?   Actually, our weekend was rather wonderful, beginning with the banquet we attended Friday evening.  I managed to pull together a suitable outfit -nothing fancy, though (sigh of relief!)  *Sports* banquet appropriate was the ‘key,’ so while I didn’t wear anything Lululemon-ish, the ‘little black dress’ also didn’t have an outing.  Perhaps my husband and I need an ‘us’ date, as I’m pretty sure I’ve not worn it. Ever.  Maybe next year J…  The banquet was fine – speeches, more speeches, and then a couple more, and in between the talking, we had food.  Everything was done by 10pm.  Sports banquets are tame.

Saturday morning, the sun was shining.  It truly was. Briefly.  My husband had a 9:00am meeting – short, but necessary – so I pulled on my running shoes and power-walked downtown (I live in a small town, where nearly everything is ‘walkable,’ should I want to make it so.  Sometimes I do, and often occasionally I don’t.) to meet him for a grocery-shopping expedition.  Grocery shopping and I do not get along, so this was quite the accomplishment.  Thank heavens my husband enjoys the task, and doing it alone often leads to far better results than with me in tow, pointing out how *crazy expensive* I think prices are.  Sometimes, he wanders into different aisles without me…

After that adventure, my husband decided it was prime weather for a good, long outdoor bike ride.  He’s training to compete at the Mt. Hood road cycling race towards the end of June, and given that our ‘warm winter’ (aka: spring) makes early training a challenge, he aims to hit the pavement (figuratively speaking!  I remember when he crashed once…must not think about that!) whenever he can.  By the time he was geared up, the clouds had rolled in, the wind gusted up, the dandruff flakes of snow were falling…and off he went, always the optimist, remarking that the ‘weather is just fine,’ and ‘besides, the wind will be at my back’ (which only makes sense riding one direction…).  He left…I started working on some cards…and at the two hour mark…the inevitable phone call came.  “It’s cold and windy; do you mind coming to pick me up?”  So I did, and we came home and had afternoon coffee, and homemade bread with peanut butter, and homemade cookies.   His ‘exercise’ always comes with great rewards!

Today, he rode in the basement.  On his trainer.  And we still had snack time!  Those really are weekend treats…love ‘em, and love who I share them with!

Tonight – in my usual ‘cutting it close’ style – I’m entering the Paper Smooches SPARKS Cool Shades challenge, and yes…I made two cards.  BUT, I’m posting them separately, having paired them with other challenges (do I hear a collective sigh of relief!).   My colours aren’t ‘fully’ teal, periwinkle, kiwi and kraft, but they are as close as I could get with what I had.  Because I had some doubts about my 'nearly, but not quites,' I wondered if I'd done the challenge justice. And so, the second card came about today, which is fine, but weirdly enough, I used the same paper pad.  Sighhh…In retrospect, truth is, I liked the cool shades selections and simply wanted to have a second ‘play date.’  Layout inspiration – and for once, I’m actually early with my submission – is the wonderful Retro sketches Challenge#60, featuring Deanna's sketch.   I tried something a bit different, and I hope you like it.
Inspiration:  


And here's mine:

On stage: Flap Happy, Loopy Leaf die and Sentiment Sampler.
Awesome PS products and a layout that's just
plain fun. (I'm bow challenged, so I went with the banner. Had to:-))

Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply!
Have a wonderful evening!










Friday, April 19, 2013

Just a Note and Just a Note....Retro sketches #59 and Muse #13

I have a date with my husband this evening; well, with him and about 300 other people.  We're off to a Sports Recognition banquet and had he not commented, "So, I'll be home to pick you up for 5:30..." as I left for work this morning, my recollection of the event would not have registered on its own.  Quizzical  look, "What banq...?" noted his fingertip posed on today's date on our calendar where, in big bold print, I'd written *Banquet. Be Ready* and read last Saturday's square where I'd jotted, "Buy something to wear for banquet." Apparently, the latter didn't happen, as at this moment, a mere two hours from our 'date,' I have yet to explore my 'wardrobe stash' to see what discoveries await.  And my hair, well - 'dishevelled' is a style. Isn't it?  Isn't it?  Mascara - tube dried, but  I have a new one lost safely stowed somewhere.  Perfume or cologne - must have one or the other.  Quite frankly, I'm somewhat nervous, as I can't recall when last we had a 'dress up' occasion (perhaps our wedding 20 months ago?), yet somewhat excited (see previous reason).  A little anxiety, a little anticipation and a whole lot of 'why did I not plan better!!"  Hmmm...same thing happened on our wedding day and that worked out fine...

The clock may be ticking for my 'gussy up' adventure to begin, but I still have some wiggle room.  Priority - posting my cards.  Yes, I wrote cards, as in plural; as in evidently a 'why create one when two is fun' thing going on (see previous post for first signs of the affliction).  These two I blame solely on my latest acquisitions that arrived Wednesday: my PS Notebook Basics and Loopy Leaf dies.  They are swanky!  Totally swanky!  New stuff must be 'road tested' and these passed with flying colours!

My inspiration for the layout comes from the ever engaging and compelling Retro sketches and Muse challenges.  Although my flower colours aren't as dynamic as those in Muse, I'v followed the 'concept of three" and popped the center flowers up for some dimension; the tag element from the retro sketch features the note die on both cards; the flowers come from my delightful Petal Pushers set and the sentiment from PS.  Oh, those companies' products compliment one another so well; versatility rating is A+++

Inspiration here:
 


My versions here


and the duo:


Done.  Time to dust off a pair of  'heels,' tame my hair, find the mascara, figure out the clothes...Where are Stacey and Clinton when you need them???

Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, immensely! Enjoy your Friday evening, whether you're 'duded up' or comfy clothed....

Thanks X 4...Unscripted Sketches #206 and The Paper Players #141

Toss, turn, sigh...toss, turn sigh...awake to see every hour of the night come...and to...and finally...time to get up!!  Ever have one of those nights?  Ever have a zillion!!  That seems to have become my sleep pattern of late; not entirely a prescription for greeting the day renewed and rejuventated, but plenty of opportunity to think about card projects and the wonderful people who design challenges!  Yes - there is something good to be found everywhere (although sleeping soundly is high on my wish list!).

This week, the oh-so-talented designers at Unscripted Sketches are celebrating their 4-Year-Blog-iversary, and have offered up a plethora (love that word!) of games for us to join as part of their festivities.  I'm playing with

Game 1: commenting on their blog to share how long I've been a follower and what I love about their site.  I found them only recently, perhaps two months ago (apparently that's when I emerged from under the rock!!) and was immediately smitten!  What's to love?  Ummm....everything!  Sketches, comments from the designers, such a variety of projects shared...yes, they have cultivated a welcoming, warm site, attracting people with talent to share and personalities that shine!  Any community that embraces a new-comer like me, is a community with 'heart' (and patience!!).

Game 2:  creating. Use this week's sketch, and submit to your heart's content, with each entry counting as a win opportunity - how cool is that!  Despite the temptation to dive right in and create card upon card - because the sketch is just that great! - my muse reigned me in. Net result: one post and a set of four little 'somethings'....

Just when you may be thinking (hoping!) that I've 'moved on' from the Doodle Frames I've been obsessing over since their arrival in my collection, here I am, with yet another from the set (and be aware: there's still one more yet to be inked...), along with more blossoms from Petal Pushers and Flap Happy butterflies.  The colours from The Paper Players #141 challenge served as my palette.

My project:  I pulled out my 3X3 card matching envelope dies to create...are you ready...a set of Thank you cards/envelopes that can be used alone, or together, depending.  I tried to replicate the Unscripted Sketch with the frame + butterfly combination on the envelopes, and flowers on the card.  Each of the sets features two of the Paper Player colours; hopefully, they're close (especially the 'tried to replicate crumb cake butterfly and leaves, with the respective frame and flower).

Enough 'splaining'...here are the challenges, followed by my entries....



First, the 'island indigo and baja breeze' set:


now the 'rich razzleberry and crumb cake' set (I'm suddenly starving!)


and the 'matchy matchies' together...


Happy 4-Year Blog-iversary to Unscripted Sketches! 
Thank you for the sketch inspiration and to The Paper Players - love the colours! 
Hope my little project does justice to both your challenges!
Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcome and appreciated, deeply.

I'm so honoured - my little set was selected as a winner!!  http://unscriptedsketches.com/2013/04/unscripted-sketches-207/






Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Funky Frame Fusion...FUSION #2

A late meeting for my husband this evening means supper duties are all mine.  Solo.  I can do it.  Leftovers. Phew...
My responsibilities simplified, this leaves me two key tasks to accomplish.

#1.  This week's FUSION #2 Challenge is amazing!  See for yourself, and I'm sure you'll agree:
Chevrons (a small 'ouch' for me, but we're getting along better), polka-dots, green, grey, (love the pillows!), stripes, circles...endless possibilities, as the entries showcase.

Here's mine - and for once, I didn't deviate from the sketch 'too' much, except for placing a red flower inside the funky polka-dot, fussy cut TAWS Doodle Frame.  Had to. Just had to.  The same goes for popping up the frame and flower blossom.  'Tis a card with some 'height'...


#2. A hot bubble bath is calling my name, as is the couch, a warm blanket, and a rather quirky book -  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  Indulgence time, followed by supper reheating making.  Sometimes those late meetings do have positives...

Thanks for dropping by, and please know your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply.
Hope your evening is filled with some special little indulgences...

I'm ever so honoured, as Funky Frame Fusion was featured on TAWS:  http://thealleywaystamps.blogspot.ca/2013/04/creation-blvd-showcase_21.html






Congratulations! We did it!!...CASE Study Challenge #136


The CASE Study Challenges test my ‘crafting mettle’ with inspiration cards that truly are masterpieces!  This week’s Study #136, by the talented JJ Bolton is a prime example of what I mean.  Her die-cut card is amazing, and she repeats the performance with her layered “Yippee” retake.  Two stellar cards; one providing the foundation for the other, yet the second, in its own right, is just as ‘original,' just as lovely.

I see plenty of “JJ sparked’ inspiration in the entries so far, and wow, the array is vast and varied!  As I mentioned, this challenge means amping up my ‘game play’which, in turn, means knowing the difference between what I can do, and what I can’t.   JJ’s blog post explaining how she designed her inspiration card is excellent, but I’m not in that ‘league’ quite yet.  Aspiring to be, though – very much so (and I’ve book-marked it with the *must try* label).   As an alternative – and because the end result captures – at least somewhat – the diamond effect of JJ’s card,  I dabbled with a ‘quilting’ technique completely new to me, and within my ‘can do this’ range.  I confess, the 'getting it down pat' took a few tries; sometimes I wonder if I missed those kindergarten classes where we learned to do crafts, as I am really quite the 'late bloomer'!  Good thing tutorial videos have “rewind-pause-rewind –repeat several more times” features.   Bonus aspects of my detour approach: I used up some scraps (the smaller the scrap pile, the closer I am to "no excuses required" shopping. Double ++); my tendency to cut ‘crooked’ lines isn’t quite so evident (no close-up ganders, please J), and yet another opportunity add a butterfly.  Yep, three things to make me very happy! 

Here's JJ's stunning card: 
and here's my 'dare to try my hand' attempt:


Inspiring me to try something new - that's the best part of CASE Study!

Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply.
"Congratulations' to everyone who entered this challenge.  As my 3 year old niece would say: 'Yayyy, we did' it!!  *arms raised high, and more Yayyyyy....*





Hexagons on the Diagonal...CAS(E) this Sketch #23

So many things to enjoy about card challenges - from the 'learning and trying' (I've added a new category to my Evernote card labels:  MUST TRY and there's quite the queue already); to 're-visioning' a sketch or colour combination; to discovering new ways to look at stash items.  Or, in my case, to 'discovering' entirely new stash items.  That's precisely what happened with my card approach  for this week's CAS(E) this Sketch #23.

Once again, I marched  to the beat of my own drum, and once again, made things a bit more complicated for myself, which is just part of my nature.  Why go directly from Point A to B, when a detour to C, D, and E are available, too?  While I love the 'idea' of diagonal lines (reinforced by the impressive number of entries that showcase them), my 'reality' is that mine would be crooked, possessing as I do one of those trimmers that leaves things just ever-so-slightly askew.  Hmmm, maybe it's my perspective that's a bit wander-y... While rummaging through my stamp sets, looking for an alternative, I found a brand new hexagon stamp set  - Sweet Shop Pattern Craze - that I cannot believe I'd forgotten about!!  After debating whether or not to use it - given that hexagons appear to be 'out-dated' as far as trends go - I decided that, in style or not,  these six-sided shapes deserved a play date.

The CAS(E) inspiration:

My diagonal hexagons with a couple of butterflies: 


The little hexagons are from a die set of faux buttons.  In hindsight, perhaps I should have kept with ones I stamped and fussy-cut from the set, but these are okay.  Next time...because there's still a bunch of patterned hexagons to ink up!

Stash inventory needs to go on my "to do" list, as does inventory elsewhere, too.  Clothes still with the price tags on them?  Yep - time to shop my closet to see what's "new." 

Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply.
Sending 'warm thoughts' to you, wherever you may be...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

You're Special...PS SPARKS: Designer Draft Challenge

A quick glance at the clock, its hands showing nearly 8:00 pm, and I'm wondering, "Where did this day go?"  My write-a-'proper'post' intention will be 'post-poned,' until tomorrow, as will my plans to catch up on some emails and phone calls.  So, if all my 'should haves' weren't done, what did I accomplish today?  Hmmm...well, in random order, I
  • signed up for an online card class, His and Hers.  If anyone wants to join me, please do! There's plenty of room and the premise of the classes is great.  I fully intend to learn something.  And do the assignments.  All of them. Declaration made now means I have to follow through, so be prepared, come April 29 to witness me being a 'very good student.'  I hope...
  • did laundry - again.  Amazing how much laundry two people accumulate.  Wait...amazing how much laundry one husband accumulates.  I ironed...husband clothing.  I'm an ironing procrastinator, only because I don't see a point in ironing until I have to, and today, was the day.  Tomorrow, my husband will be dashing in his well-ironed shirts (as long as he wears a sweater, no one will notice the crooked sleeve creases...).  Actually, he's dashing even when he's wrinkled...
  • completed my 'sous chef' tasks, leaving my husband to parachute in as chef.  Salad awaits, but that's a quick study.
  • ordered some patterned paper on line.  I couldn't resist the 'free shipping with $25 order' offer at the nearest online scrapbooking place.  Why even try resisting?  Some new (and old) EP and BasicGray coming my way.  No chevron die yet; Simon Says on the radar for that little 'necessity.'
  • baked chocolate chip cookies.  As my husband casually noted, since the cupboard was bare, "A day without chocolate chip cookies is like a day without sunshine.' The sun wasn't shining, so...a wife's gotta do what a wife's gotta do.  In my world, home-made chocolate chip cookies are a food group all on their own.  So is peanut butter.  So are hugs.
I did a few other things - 'stuff' - but I'm sure you get the drift - a day pretty much of play.  Oh yes, I also tried a couple of 'paper manipulation' things, based on some sites I checked out.  You may see the outcome later this week.  Only one was totally scrunched dismantled, due to lack of cooperation, but a couple of 'breath in...breath out...breath in...hold...aaannnddd release' set everything back into kilter.

Now, time to do a most enjoyable task:  share my entry into this week's 'way too much fun - as always' Paper Smooches SPARKS:  Designer Draft Challenge:


My card features Flap Happy and Zoo Crew stamps. Have I mentioned how much I love my PS products?  Based on how often I use them, I think it almost goes without saying, but I will anyway: love them!!!


I know -  a pink gingham zebra is a 'stretch,' but in the
realm of the PS Zoo Crew, it fits right in!  

Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply.
Wishes that your day is filled with things 'special' and whimsical!  To my 'special friend' - this one's for you! 



Friday, April 12, 2013

Retro Garden Happy Birthday...Retro Sketches #58

Friday.  House-cleaning day - and oh, how I love to enter the weekend with vacuuming done, floors cleaned, bathrooms spotless (more or less), and freshly laundered sheets on the bed.  At the moment, my husband is busy assembling his chicken sausage-roasted red pepper-olives-tomatoes-white wine pasta sauce (yes, he cooks!!), and although I'm not a fan of pasta - bread is my gluten of choice -  the aroma is tantalizing.  Pretty soon, my supper contributions of preparing salad (my favourite part of supper - we always have salad!), slicing bread, setting the table (okay, coffee table - we dine in front of the TV), pouring the wine, will call me away.   Until then, though, I have a few minutes to share my card for this week's Retro sketches #58 challenge.  Great sketch - and a chance to dabble with some new TAWS stamps making their inky debut...
Here's the sketch:


followed by my little 'retro' garden:


I think I captured most of the elements - and even tried my hand at inking the panel with a bit of pink.  The funky flowers are just fun to work with!!  Love 'em...

Time for supper...
Thanks for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, immensely!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

*Fabulous*...TAWS BE Inspired #25

The sun is casting a rosy glow in the sky, and a light breeze is playing with the wisps of clouds swirling near the tops of the mountains  I see outside my kitchen window.  The forecast is calling for a return to "warm winter" for the next few days, but at this moment, the signs of spring are everywhere.  Yes, it's definitely a 'pretty' Thursday morning...

Speaking of 'pretty' - that's precisely what the TAWS BE Inspired #25 photo collage is with colours and images springy, polka-dotty, flowery, light, airy.  Each viewing of this photo - and there have been ever so many - makes me smile.  Pretty.


Here's my card, which I hope captures a bit of that springy, happy feeling that the photo evokes.  I love my TAWS stamps.  


My sister-in-law's birthday (a date shared with my father's - so a double special occasion) is next week.  I'm thinking this card's destined for her.  She is fabulous!

Thanks for dropping by, and know that your comments are both welcomed and appreciated, immensely!
Have a *fabulous* Thursday!




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hello Chevron...Unscripted Sketches #205 and CAS-Fridays #95

Here I am once more, with the continuing saga of my 'chevron' expedition that launched me into creating three cards.  While the challenges were challenge enough, using chevrons added yet another level of 'whoa, this is kinda difficult' to the mix.  Chevrons, as I noted in my previous post, took me into new territory, and even though they proved a bit daunting (chevron die - that's my solution!), the adventures were fun.  Let's just say I've developed a new respect for the zig-zags - and while we need to have some 'distance' in our relationship for a bit, I'm more open to using them than previously.  That patterned paper won't be sent to the back of the pad any more!

My card is a first-time entry for Unscripted Sketches #205 (with a bit of 're-visioning')
and a second for this week's CAS-Fridays #95


My new The Alley Way Stamps are on stage - love them!!  And yes...more fussy-cutting because I'm ink-and-stamp challenged!.  I think it's time for an online card-making class!!

Here's my card:

Thanks for dropping by, and know that your comments are both welcomed and appreciated, immensely.
Wishes for a day filled with cheerful 'hello's' from family and friends...like me!!


Birthday Chevron...Fusion #1 and CFC #97


“Chevron,” I remarked to my husband, as we passed a gas station duly named, enroute to our Bend destination.  We don’t see Chevrons in our ‘neck of the woods,’ so my observation didn’t faze him much; besides, his attention was riveted to his latest cycling magazine, and an opportunity to play passenger while I fulfilled my driving shift.
By the fifth “Chevron,” he realized my weird and wacky notifications were entering uncharted territory.  Well familiar with my “oh look, a yellow Volkswagen – good luck” squeals (I spent many years chauffeuring my brother - 14 years his senior , the only ‘big sister’ with a car - and his baseball teammates to games.   Amazing the things I learned from 12 and 13 year old boys : yellow “Bugs” = good luck, and so too does lifting your feet when crossing train tracks – which to this day, I still do.  You never know…) the “Chevron” bursts were entirely new.

“What are you doing?” he asked (an oft heard phrase I hear from him).  “Chevron, gas station…”

“Yes, AND a pattern!  Chevrons are the zig-zag thingys that go on cards.  I’m just realizing that the Chevron ‘trade mark’ is a…well, a chevron…” (sharpest knife in the drawer – not me).  I was smugly satisfied with my ‘connecting of the dots’ and the fact that my husband was now enlightened as well.  Just to be on the safe side, though, I checked with dictionary.com and sure enough: chevron = zig-zags. 

Little did I realize that my ‘new knowledge’ would come to the test this week, with the unveiling of several chevron-themed card challenges.  Well, thought I, I ‘like’ chevrons, and I have paper sporting chevrons – might as well give these a go.   And I tried – I really did, to the point of creating THREE cards – all of which were great learning experiences, even though the net outcomes aren’t quite what I envisioned. 

Learning #1:  I need a chevron die!  On the list – at the top.  When you see my cards, the reason will be self-explanatory.  No more ‘fussy cutting’ chevrons.  Done with that.

Learning #2: I need to learn to stamp!  See above about the ‘self-explanatory’ bit.  My skill with stamping – and my confidence with doing so – is zero.  Add to that my pathetic ink collection.  A few weeks back, in what I *thought* was a ‘steal of a deal,’ I purchased two sets of the Colorbox Queue stacks.  Bright colours, plenty of choice, 12 total – and then, I tried one.  And it stained my stamp!! Stained it!  I am mortified; I don’t know how to get my stamp back to its pristine clean state (yes, I’m compulsive that way – and other ways, too, come to think of it…um, alphabetized paper pads…).   Perhaps I’m doing something wrong; perhaps I’ve totally squandered my money on those inks (regular price $11 each; I got them for $3.60…).  Whatever the case, until I get some advice – anyone, anyone?? – they shall remain in their queue, closed!  I defaulted to my usual mode of fussy-cutting, which is okay, given its therapeutic value.  Fussy cutting, however, does not make for “quick and easy”, though, and really, I’d like to learn how to stamp, because I see so many beautiful cards from those of you who do.

Anyway, moving along…

Fusion  is an awesome new challenge, and its debut has certainly attracted ever so many lovely entries (mine will change the tide a bit, I fear…grrrr…chevrons…).   We're given options: to play with Jackie's sketch challenge, OR Lesley's inspiration photo challenge, OR a 'fusion' of both.  Here's the 'visual' of the details:
followed by my 'fusion' card.  This was the 'third' in the series I made (you'd think by then I'd be at a more stage of more 'dazzlement' - alas, nope). It's a really simple, though long-in-the-process of creating, given all thee obsessing thinking that happened beforehand, capture (I hope) of the key elements of the sketch and the flowers/colours of the photo.  CAS-ual Fridays also has a "Chevron and Flowers" Challenge, so I'm entering there as well.


I'll echo the comments of many others who posted entries: given this Fusion first 'impression,' I'll definitely be back to play again...and again...and again.  The same goes for CFC.  Yes, loving the challenges; loving the learning! 

I'm adding my 'first' card to this post, too, although it's not an 'official' contestant.  With this one, I was aiming for 'fusion' but the chevron (yes, fussy cut!), border wasn't in keeping with the sketch, and my flowers needed a stronger pop of colour to reflect the inspiration photo.  It's 'kinda' cute, but needs some 're-visioning' to be true to the "Fusion" elements.

Thanks for dropping by, and please know your comments are both welcomed and appreciated, immensely.
Wishing you a day of fun-filled 'zig zags' and bright colours...



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Butterfly Thanks Tag

We're home after several excellent days in Bend, followed by a couple days' visit with my husband's family.  Weather-wise, we were spoiled to sunny days, warm breezes, leaves budding on trees, and orchards flowering the first blush of blossoms - all heralds of Spring's arrival.  Today, back in our mountain town,  we're enveloped in what we fondly call 'warm winter' - gloomy skies, snow (yes...make. it. stop. NOW!), blustery winds, and 'reasonably' cool temperatures.  If the opposite of home-sick' is 'away-sick,' then I'm officially afflicted!  Oh well, perhaps the ickyness is a reflection of the reality that Spring Break is over and the return to 'routine' is imminent (I rather like routine, most of the time...).

My day, however, had an abundance of 'sunny' moments:  we arrived home safely (yayyyy!!); we're unpacked and 'de-biked'; a roast is simmering in the oven; Mad Men season opener is on TV; a glass of wine awaits...and I had time to make a card!  Simple blessings - and I'm thankful for every one!  After introducing my new Bend crafting purchases (Spellbinder circles, new ink, miscellaneous adhesives) to the rest of the 'family,' I settled down to try my hand (and focus my rather bleary eyes) at combining two challenges: Paper Smooches SPARKS Trend Watch Challenge, with a butterfly focus (I LOVE my PS Flap Happy set!), and CAS(E) this Sketch Challenge #22, featuring Karolyn Loncon's sketch. 
          
Here's my combined challenge card: 


While I like the colours and patterns in this pad, my 'stash' needs some 
vibrant blues and purples.  Oh, the wish list just grows and grows...

Thank you for dropping by, and please know that your comments are welcomed and appreciated, deeply!
Wishing you a week filled with flowers, butterflies, blessings - and SPRING!!






                                                 



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Framed Hello...MUSE #11

We're on the road...again...so I have but minutes to upload my "travel-made" entry for MUSE before we return to the car to embark on the last leg of our journey home.  Our trip was fantastic, but, as many trips to BEND are, too short!  We left the charming city on Wednesday, and following a 12 hour drive, arrived at my husband's parents' home in Kelowna, where we've been since.

I started my card for MUSE #11 in Bend, then finished it off during a bit of 'sneak away' time while my mother-in-law was busy making a chocolate-chocolate chip-banana loaf.  Spoiling and pampering: love it!   Laurie's inspiration card was perfect, because I'd just received my first sets of The Alley Way stamps from the wonderful Alison, who shipped them to me at our vacation rental.  What better way to try out "Doodle Frames" then with a MUSE debut!
Laurie's gorgeous card:

and my version:

I was aiming for more 'vibrant' colours, which is why I added the butterfly and  pearl (oddly enough, I found it stuck to a piece of scrap paper I'd tossed into my little container...serendipity, perhaps?), but the paper pad I brought along is predominately 'pastel.'  Note to self:  'travel kit' needs more variety!

Off to gather my things, then settle in for a six+ hour drive through the mountains, and the drizzle...

Thanks for stopping by, and please know that your comments are both welcomed and appreciated, deeply!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Thanks for Everything"...CASE Study Challenge #134


I’m always curious as to what “signs” from an inspiration piece capture our muse, and send us in the directions to ‘re-vision’ in the ways we do.   We “see” the same colours, images, patterns, sentiments – all those elements that create those mini-artworks we dearly admire, yet what we ‘see’ is as individual as we are. 
For whatever reasons, Julie’s card at  CASE Study Challenge #134 evoked memories of my grandma, who immigrated from Poland in 1932, two young sons in tow, to join my grandpa who, seeking a better life for his young family, had left five years previous.  He established a homestead in Northern Alberta, and it was to this challenging land that my grandmother arrived.   They spent close to 60 years together, and their heritage includes nine children, 36 grandchildren, 64 great-grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren – with even more on the way!
I was fortunate to spend time with my grandparents (both sides – an abundant blessing!), and I will always remember my grandma’s green thumb.   Her house was enveloped in a spectacular frenzy of flowers – sweet peas, roses, petunias (my grandpa called them ‘doggie faces’), snapdragons and asters…oh, the asters.  Above all others, they were my favourite.   In the back, raspberry bushes and strawberries flourished, while the vegetable garden was a sight to behold.   All of my grandma’s plants lived outside, except one (that I recall), set on the shelf above the kitchen sink.   It was a flowering plant, with round blossoms, that, during the course of the year, would change colours, from soft pink, to delicate blue, to a lovely shade of pastel green.  My grandma didn’t learn to speak English very well (she could understand General Hospital, and her other beloved soap operas just fine with the limited language she had – and her children – including my mom – spoke to her in Polish. Communication was never an issue), so I never did learn the ‘real’ name of the plant.  She called it a ‘four seasons’ – and to a little girl, that was name enough!

When I saw Julie’s card, 
recollections of my grandma flooded my thoughts, triggering little flashes of special moments and times that I’d set aside.   Perhaps it was the blue and green images…perhaps it was the ‘bloom’ stamp from TAWS…perhaps it ‘just was’ time to remember grandma… The combination of all three sparked my card – and although it’s quite ‘simple’ (since we’re travelling…I. LOVE. BEND…and my supplies are sparse), I’ve tried to re-create two of the ‘four seasons’ of my grandma’s flowers.


Anyway – a long, kind of ‘mushy’ story for my rather basic card, but putting those memories in print feels good. My card’s 'essence' is dedicated to my grandma:  Thank you for everything!! 

Thanks for dropping by, and if you leave a comment, know that it's welcomed and appreciated, deeply!
Wishes for warm memories to find their way into your thoughts today...