Saturday, February 16, 2008

Do I Really

...look like James Blunt? Say it ain't so! Should I be insulted, or does this just mean that we look enough alike that he could be my brother (maybe it's the slightly crooked smile?)?? Yeah, I think I'll look at it that way. lol I don't even know who some of these youngens are (namely, the two closest to Diane Keaton going clockwise) -- do you? Should I? lol

Check it out for yourself and see who your celebrity look-alikes are...if you dare. ;P And be sure to let me know if they pull up a mug shot of a guy like they did for me! I sure hope I'm not the only one this kinda thing happens to! lol

Pillow Talk...and Seeing Stars

Well, now that I've got your attention...I hope you won't be too disappointed to discover that the 'pillow talk' I'm referring to is most definitely NOT what you're thinking. lol

Last night as my hubby and I were getting into bed, we both noticed a little 'love note' on each of our pillows, which were evidently left there earlier in the evening by our 7-YO daughter (she's known for surprising us like that with all sorts of pictures, cards, and other gifts). It seems that she and her 9-YO brother had been conspiring to trade places with us in an attempt to free themselves of their 'chores' and school work and to gain other apparent privileges they're not yet old enough to earn. What really cracked me up was the 'musosh' (I'm told that meant 'massage' -- I never get those, so how on earth would they come up with that??). Kids -- gotta love 'em! ;) Anyway, the two lists were nearly identical (only the days were reversed), and they were just so cute that I simply HAD to share them with you! I hope you can read it -- we thought it was just hysterical. Here's mine:

P.S. While these were so creative and had us literally laughing out loud, the kids' list of demands were not met. And they're okay with that. lol

Now for a card share. Ironically, the star images came from two different stamp sets: Star Struck by CTMH (large star), and Starstruck by SU! (smaller stars). I just thought it was rather funny. ;D

Anyway...I made this for my oldest son's birthday coming up this week. It's so hard to believe he's going to be 22! Seems like it was just yesterday he was being cradled in my arms, my first child, weighing in at only 5 lbs 9 oz. Of course a LOT has changed since that day -- he's now muscle-bound, towers over me, and is about to graduate from college. So...wanting to keep this card very masculine and somewhat youthful (he's not that old -lol!), I went for the distressed look and had to resist my urge to glam it up a bit by adding some sort of sparkle to the stars with Stickles, clear embossing powder, rhinestones, or something (and it was very difficult for me, I must say).

I used Beate's Weekend Sketch Challenge as my jumping-off point (thanks, Beate!), which I'm finding really speeds up my 'production' time. Having a sketch design to work from really frees me up to concentrate on the products and other creative aspects of the card. If you make a card using this sketch, please post a comment here and include a link to your card -- I'd love to see what you come up with!

I hope you enjoy your weekend and find some time to stamp!

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope to see you again soon! Until then, many blessings!

Supplies: Cardstock: Colonial White, Chocolate, Sweet Leaf (CTMH); Patterned Paper: Good Times (CTMH); Stamps: Happy Birthday, Star Struck (CTMH), Starstruck (SU!); Inks: Chocolate, Twilight (CTMH); Other: small and large Star punches (SU!), edge distressor (CTMH), glue dots (CTMH), stipple brush (CTMH), satin ribbon (unknown), sandpaper, pop dots

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine Parade

Even though I'm not finished making Valentine's Day cards, I figure it's now or not at all posting these Valentine goodies since I won't be home much tomorrow and after that you will no doubt have had your fill of looking at all things red and pink and oozing with love. ;)

So here's the first pic:
I decorated the candle and jar using more of last year's Cupid collection patterned papers by Sweetwater. (I filled the jar with honey roasted almonds since my daughter is trying to make sure she'll fit into her wedding gown come August and I didn't want to tempt her with anything chocolate.) The candle got a belly band of Baby Pink grosgrain ribbon, and the taller jar got a second go-round of it. I also used my Nestabilites heart dies (but apparently there is an issue with the scalloped heart dies not nesting properly -- that's why they're not listed in Ellen's store at the moment -- and I think Spellbinders is trying to work out a solution for them so hopefully they'll be available again soon). The scalloped hearts are all cut from some white Bazzill Bling I got from my LSS (which I distressed a bit with Blush ink), then layered with Cupid patterned paper hearts...studded with lots of Xmas Red Stickles and some baby pink Prima flowers. The center heart was adhered to the jar using pop dots; the smaller hearts were each adhered to the center of a bitty Baby Pink grosgrain bow, and then the bows were adhered to the jar using Liquid Glass.

Here's a closeup of the candle: The jar was done pretty much the same way with the same supplies. I think the only difference may be the supplies used on the lid. For that, as you can see, I opted to leave the edge uncovered. (It would've been much prettier with a band of grosgrain around it, but figured since it may be getting a lot of use and because the lid color actually matches one of the colors in the patterned paper used for the jar, I left it alone. In hindsight I should've used some black grosgrain. Oh, time. lol) I cut a Black CS circle to fit inside the top of the lid, added a slightly smaller circle on top of that (which was punched from a different Cupid patterned paper), and then I placed a large Just Blooms Big Pinks Baby Pink paper flower on top of that. In the center of the flower I placed a 3/4"-punched circle of the main Cupid patterned paper, then accented the edge of the flower center with little connecting beads of more Xmas Red Stickles.

Here's a closeup of the jar and lid:

And this last share is a card I made using some of the same (and one different) Cupid patterned papers. This is the first time I've used the Loads of Love stamp set, and I gotta say it was a lot of fun! I paper-pieced the truck and loved adding some sparkle with Fruit Punch Stickles to several of the hearts in that ginormous heap o' love in the truck bed. (Pssst....I also figured out a way to hide a little smudge I had made: add an antennae! lol Works for me. ;D Besides, I think I'd go nuts without a good stereo in there anyway, so I just may have to add an antennae each time I use this set! lol) And I figured it needed a headlight too, so I used one of my clear Dew Drops for that.

There you have it -- nothing fancy, but they were lots of fun to make! I hope you enjoy a very happy Valentine's Day with those you love most!

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope to see you again soon! Until then, many blessings!

Supplies: Cardstock: White Daisy, Black, Baby Pink (CTMH), Diamond Bazzill Bling (Bazzill Basics); Patterned Paper: Cupid collection (Sweetwater); Stamps: Loads of Love, Loads of Love Accessories (SU!); Inks: Baby Pink, Blush, Black, White Daisy, Chocolate, Olive, Vanilla, Grey Flannel (CTMH), Jet Black (StazOn); Other: Baby Pink grosgrain, Black gingham, Liquid Glass, Just Blooms Big Pinks paper flower (CTMH); Nestabilities (Spellbinders); Dew Drops (Robin's Nest); Fruit Punch , Xmas Red Stickles (Ranger); small paper flowers (Prima); pen (American Crafts); pop dots; jar candle (Wal-Mart); tall jar

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's a Valentine

Hi! I hope you had a nice relaxing weekend. I didn't get to stamp much (or get into my new lighting kit *big sigh*), but I do have a quick card share for's a Valentine card (bet you'd never have guessed -lol). The sketch template was Jen's latest SFYTT:

I was trying to go for a more masculine look and I'm not so sure I succeeded (maybe a little too much pink?). What do you think?

For this standard-size card, I started with a White Daisy CS base, layering the Black CS piece on top of it (which had been run through my Cuttlebug using the Heart Blocks embossing folder). Next I added the horizontal strip of DP from last year's Cupid collection by Sweetwater, which I first stippled with a bit of Blush ink to tone down the bright white background, inked the edges with Black, and matted with Cranberry CS. The black gingham ribbon was tied around the card across the horizontal piece. After that, I adhered the two "sentiment strips" which had been strategically cut (using the Word Window punch) from another Cupid DP. Once those were in place, I used my Nestabilities square dies to create the frames for my focal image (Blush -sanded, Cranberry, Black, and White Daisy), then stamped a couple of the images from CTMH's In My Heart set (a recent Stamp of the Month) with Black ink. I colored in the hearts using Cranberry marker and then inked and stippled the edges of that piece with Blush. This focal image piece was adhered with pop dots.

Last, in keeping with the sketch and with the Valentine's theme for my card, I felt obligated to use a heart embellie, so I stamped the 'hugs and kisses' (another image from the In My Heart set) on top of a Heidi Swapp red chipboard heart (that I purchased with the Cupid DPs last year from my then-LSS) using Jet Black Staz-On. Now because there were hearts everywhere on this card, I decided not to use little hearts to anchor the sentiment strips, and instead used little baubles from the Flame Dew Drops -- I just love those things. ;)

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope to see you again soon! Until then, many blessings!

Supplies: Cardstock: White Daisy, Black, Blush, Cranberry (CTMH); Patterned Paper: Cupid (Sweetwater); Stamps: In My Heart (CTMH); Ink: Blush, Black, Cranberry (CTMH), Jet Black (Staz-On); Other: Cuttlebug embossing folder (Provo Craft), Nestabilities (Spellbinders), chipboard (Heidi Swapp), Word Window punch (SU!), ribbon (CTMH); Dew Drops (Robin's Nest), pop dots, sandpaper, stipple brush

"This is a Test; I Repeat, This is Only a Test..."

I can still hear that loud, intermittent, blaring buzzer preceding those words as the Emergency Broadcast System jolted radio listeners into mock-preparedness mode every so often, whisking us out of our blissful complacency as we listened to our favorite music. Well, at least that's how I remember it happening all those years in California. Not sure about Colorado yet....

Anyway, I stumbled onto this fun little test and thought I'd share it with you just in case you're a little bit on the twisted side and actually enjoy being challenged in this way (like me ;P). Too bad we can't rely on the results to be proof positive of our 'above average exceptional genius-ness.' ;) Okay, so I'm not even sure if that's a word and now it's apparent I fudged a wee bit on how high my results were -lol!

Just click here if you feel like taking a breather from your regularly scheduled programming and give it a try -- it's painless, I promise. And if you really want to have some fun, in addition to the quick IQ test I took, there are also some others you can choose from. ;)

Here's how mine came back (and, no, I didn't copy and paste someone else's results here -lol- and if you think I'm bragging, guess again...if my hubby were to take this same test, he'd put me to shame!):
Your IQ Is 120

Your Logical Intelligence is Above Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Exceptional

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Unveiling

...of my new blog look -- what do you think? Nicole Seitler has been working hard to create this for me, and I'm so excited about it! It's so pretty now (thanks SO much, Nicole!) -- I just love it! Didn't she do a wonderful job?!?

And for those of you who happened on this site last night and are wondering what's up with this new post...I deleted the last one, deciding to wait until we had added a button linking to Nicole's design site (it's near the bottom right of my blog). If you're wanting to spruce up your blog or need a watermark (or if you're into digital scrapbooking, you'll have to check this out), she's very talented and a pleasure to work with.
I don't have any artwork to share with you today, but I have been working on a few Valentine goodies this week that I hope to be able to post in the next couple days (they're gonna require my bustin' out the lighting kit, so I'm gonna have to find the *right time* -lol- to get familiar with it first).

Well, I hope you have a fun weekend...and that you get lots of stamping time in (that's what I'm hoping for me too! lol).

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope to see you again soon! Until then, many blessings!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Perhaps...Thanks a Latte

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend! They always seem to end long before I'm ready. I did get to stamp a little, but not nearly as much as I'd hoped -- I'm sure you know just what I'm talking about. ;)

And how 'bout that Superbowl?! It's about the only football game my hubby watches all year (thankfully -lol), though I have to admit I did enjoy watching Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at half-time (brought back a few memories of when the group first came on the scene way back when -- I thought they still sounded really great!). And is it just me or does it seem to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get through a football game? -- all those time-outs and adding time back on the clock (as if the game weren't already long enough). Good grief! One could grow old and gray during the course of one game! Of course I stamped my way through most of it, so I'm not complaining. ;) Hey! I just had a brilliant idea -- not sure why I haven't thought of this before (*insert evil grin with shifting eyes and wringing hands*) -- if he'd watch more tv sports, he'd be oblivious to time and I'd get a lot more stamping in! lol

Well, since my birthday a little bit ago, I now have a need to make/send a fair amount of thank-you cards (and, yes, it's typical for me to be slow in sending them out -- not that I want to be, or worse, as if I don't know the need for them is coming -lol, it's just the way it almost always is with me and cards given my limited time to stamp *sigh*). So that means I'm no doubt going to be sharing a few of them with you in the near future...and since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I'd better get busy! I really envy those of you who have a nice little stockpile of cards on hand just waiting to be given away. Someday...maybe. ;)

Okay, enough of my bubblegummin'.... This card is one of those that started out as one thing and evolved into something completely different (even the orientation of evidenced by the embossed swirls if you look closely, and which now kinda remind me of wind -- UGH! Sure wish I hadn't noticed that.). Now I'm actually very used to that sort of thing happening to me (being led down a bunny trail by my card...not having swirls turn into wind -lol), but this one just took on a life of its own -- and it wasn't making it easy for me. (I'm not even going to share with you the original sketch I was attempting to work with...well, not today anyway. The 'wound' is too fresh. lol) After I'd invested too much of my window of "free time" with this hi-jacked card, I felt obligated to go along for the ride, wherever it would take me. And this is where we ended up. (Note: Hubby was home almost all weekend, meaning I didn't have a chance to familiarize myself with my new lighting kit yet ;(, so this is just a scan.)

It would've been fun to have scented the card with something chocolatey (all winter long I drink hot chocolate like it's goin' outta style), or coffee beans (the intended recipient, LOVES coffee), but alas I haven't ordered any yet. There was a lot of talk about this hot new product on one of my CTMH e-groups this past week, and it's a really interesting concept...but as some ladies pointed out, it'd be very wise to first make sure each card's recipient isn't allergic to such scents. If so, it could be a tragic situation for the recipient...and a sure way to have your card tossed into the 'round file.' (If you haven't any idea what I'm talking about, you can check it out by clicking here.)

Anyway, back to the card that took far too long to make.... I wanted to use those beautiful BasicGrey Perhaps DPs that I love so much and found that CTMH's Vineyard Berry went perfectly with the ones I'd chosen for this card. I was also wanting to use my long-awaited Hot Stuff stamp set by My Favorite Things (seems like it was on backorder forever...well, maybe not quite as long as a football game, but you know what I mean -lol). To play off the steam/aroma 'vapors' coming off the cuppa, I went with the Cuttlebug D'vine Swirl embossing folder, sanding then adding some Vineyard Berry ink to the swirls. I used my Nestabilities to cut the circle which is being used as the backdrop for the focal image. It doesn't show up too well in the scan, but I dotted some Burgundy Stickles near the top edge of the cup and in the centers of the Primas, and I also added a couple of the purplish Dew Drops from the Paris collection to accentuate the sentiment. I had hoped for a wider ribbon, and instead of the Primas, I'd have much rather used something like a stick pin with some pretty beads on it going through the ribbon knot...but I don't have anything in the right colors, so it is what it is. Fortunately, though, Erika's not a stamper, so she likely won't even think about details like that. ;)

While not at all my original idea, I think it turned out okay. I'm pretty sure she'll like it (even though she'd probably like it more if it were scented like coffee and if the background swirls were going in the right direction! -lol).

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope to see you again soon! Until then, many blessings!

Supplies: Cardstock: Vineyard Berry, Colonial White (CTMH); Patterned Paper: Perhaps (BasicGrey); Stamps: Hot Stuff (MFT); Inks: Vineyard Berry, Cocoa, Brown Bag, Chocolate (CTMH); Other: Cuttlebug D'vine Swirl embossing folder (ProvoCraft); Nestabilities (Spellbinders); ivory grosgrain (CTMH), burgundy Stickles (Ranger), Paris Dew Drops (Robin's Nest), flowers (Prima), Liquid Glass (CTMH), stipple brush (CTMH), sandpaper

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Do You Ever Feel Invisible?

I hope not. But I do at times. I read this on a fellow CTMH consultant's blog today and thought I'd share it with you (and truth be told, I just wanted to have it handy so I could read it whenever I feel in need of some encouragement...or an attitude adjustment -lol). I have no idea whom the author is, but it's clear she's a mom, and likely, a very good mom. If you're a mom, I think you can probably relate to this...and I hope this touches you like it did me.

I'm Invisible

"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for Me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself.

I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women." -- author unknown

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope to see you again soon! Until then, many blessings!

Friday, February 1, 2008

An Old-Fashioned Thanks

Hey there! Can you believe it's February already?!?!? It's been a long and busy week, so I apologize for not getting this card posted until now. I actually made this card last Saturday using Jen del Muro's sketch challenge (her card was absolutely darling, so I had to give her sketch a try!). She does some really beautiful work -- you should check out her blog if you have time.

So...I first chose the pretty rose DP by Daisy D's and then really had to stretch to figure out what else to put with it. It has a lot more old-fashioned feel to it than I'm used to working with (and I had no other coordinating DPs to go with it), so this card was a real "challenge" for me in the truest sense of the word. lol Fortunately, though, CTMH's Hollyhock CS was a perfect match, and the Bamboo CS worked well with it too, so I was off to a pretty good start.

To keep with that old-fashioned feeling, I distressed the edges of all the White Daisy CS with Bamboo ink, crumpled the Hollyhock CS strip along the front, and used the pearl dots and Liquid Pearls to help bring out the 'pearly' look in the ribbon. I used the Nestabilities for the focal piece and stamped the roses on it using CTMH's Rose Splendor set. The sentiment is from My Favorite Things' Essential Sentiments.

It's not my usual card -- nor what I'd anticipated it would look like when I started out -- but I think it came out pretty, in a romantic sorta way. (Isn't it funny how some of these cards evolve and take on a life of their own as our creative juices get going? At least they do for me anyway. lol)

BTW, I also received my new lighting kit today (shhh, hubby doesn't know), so I'm hoping to have time to get acquainted with it over the weekend (if hubby disappears for long enough that is -lol)...and get some stamping in too! Sounds like fun to me!! ;D And I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well. ;)

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope to see you again soon! Until then, many blessings!

Supplies: Cardstock: White Daisy, Hollyhock, Bamboo (CTMH); DP: Nursery Pink Flowers (Daisy D's); Stamps: Rose Splendor (CTMH), Essential Sentiments (MFT); Inks: Bamboo, Hollyhock, Garden Green (CTMH); Nestabilities (Spellbinders); ribbon (Wright's); decorative pearls (Joy! Crafts); pop dots