Friday, December 31, 2010

Cousin Eddie or Nephew Nicky?

I love movies....all kinds of movies. We have quite a few Christmas movies in our collection, and we try to watch as many of them as possible over the holidays. One of my favorites is Christmas Vacation. The first time I watched it, I laughed so hard at Cousin Eddie's (Randy Quaid) outfit with that black dickie under his white sweater and his white shoes.

I write all this to prep you for the following photo of my fun-loving nephew Nick. Nick has such a wonderful sense of humor and often has us laughing so hard at his antics. This past weekend, we were at my sister-in-law's (Nick's mom) house celebrating Christmas and when Nick arrived, we all were laughing so hard at his attire because he dressed similar to Cousin Eddie.  Nick even had the moose-shaped glass exactly like the one Cousin Eddie used in the movie.  Isn't his outfit hysterical? (And, yes, that is me wearing my tuxedo t-shirt that I bought at the Tennessee Aquarium while on vacation there in October---I got to see my beloved penguins!!!)  Nick, we love you and so appreciate your wonderful sense of humor and the laughter you bring to our lives!!

As a side note, Nick is the father of my sweet great-niece Zoe featured with me in my avatar picture.  Zoe will soon be three, is very, very smart, and is just the cutest little girl with her curly, flaming red hair.  Here she is in her beautiful Christmas dress. 

I also had fun making several cards this past week that I'd like to share.  This first one I titled Classy Simone.  Simone is a Rubbernecker image, and I love coloring this classy-looking lady with my Copic markers.  For Mothermark's Teapot Tuesday challenge this past week, the inspiration piece was a pitcher with a red and purple hat on it.

My next card also features Rubbernecker images from the martini glass set and phrase set #2.  Kim Hughes challenged everyone to use silver in their design for the Ways to Use It challenge on Splitcoaststampers (SCS).  I used:

silver embossing powder
silver ribbon and cord
silver charm

I colored my olive with pencils. I used my paper piercer to pierce two holes on each side of the glass stem in order to thread my silver cord through and attach the silver charm.

For this Trendy Tree design, I used the colors Crumb Cake, Chocolate Chip, and Wild Wasabi as given to us by the Clean and Simple challenge hostess, Jenn (Miss Boo on SCS).   

Granddaughter Emma's birthday was this week, so I pulled out this darling Penny Black image for her birthday card.  I used Copic markers to color her.  The "love" hearts on the balloon kite string are from Stampin' Up's I Heart Hearts set.  Isn't this little girl adorable?  I just love her.

My other big event this week is that I am now an officially retired person!  Yup.  After 34 1/2 years working as a public servant, I took advantage of an early out retirement incentive.  I am looking forward to being able to keep up with posting to my blog in a timely manner, as well as visiting my friends' blogs that I haven't had much time for these past few months.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours with wishes for love, laughter, health, and happiness!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Two More Christmas Cards

I know some people get tired of seeing Christmas cards by the time Christmas rolls around, but I never tire of looking at them or making them.  They are one of my favorite types of cards to make.

Earlier this week, I made this card for Mothermark's Teapot Tuesday challenge.  We made cards for a fellow SCS friend, Kris, who has been having medical issues with her hands; she hasn't been able to stamp much lately.  Hopefully, her surgery will soon rectify that situation. 

I love this cute Charlie Brown-like tree from Stampin' Up's Holiday Happiness set.  I stamped the tree in versamark and then colored with my long-neglected chalks.  I made the bow using my Bow Easy.  The tiny black circles down the left side of the card were made with my double circle punch out of black and adhered to the white cardstock.

My next card was made for the Free for All challenge on SCS to make a Christmas card using the following items:

1. designer paper
2. one brad
3. at least one punch
4. ribbon

I wanted my white wide oval to lay flat, instead of on top of the cherry cobbler cardstock, so I first punched the wide oval out of white cardstock and then used that to punch the wide oval out of the cherry cobbler cardstock.

This little stocking is actually one of three on a Rubbernecker stamp. I just cut one of them out for my purposes today.

Here's wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday season and all the best in the New Year!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mittens, Mittens

That's definitely what we need to have in Michigan right now:  mittens!  It has been bitterly cold this week.

For this last CCEE Stampers challenge in December (we're taking a break for the holidays), I challenged my team mates to use a mitten(s) in their card/project design.

Aren't these mitten Nestabilities darling?  I had ordered the dies, but the company was currently out, so my good friend, Tosha, sent a bunch to me.  Thanks, Tosh!  I adhered styrofoam flakes (I rub two styrofoam balls together) for the fur on the mitten cuffs, as well as a snowflake punch centered with an olive brad.

The white background was embossed with the large polkadots embossing folder.  I cut 1/4" strips of red and olive cardstock and glued them on an angle over the white panel.   The sentiment is by Rubbernecker.

Please stop by our CCEE Stampers blog to check out the challenge details, play along with us, and see what my team mates, Shirley, Joanne, Tosha, Frances, and Cindy have made!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Several Things to Share

It's a cold, blustery day here today.  We've been under a winter storm since early morning and have received probably six inches of snow so far.  We've yet to see a snow plow to clear the roads, so I hope they do eventually show up so we have clear roads for travel to work in the morning.

Speaking of work, my countdown widget tells me I only have 17 calendar days left before I retire.  Taking away the weekends and the Christmas holiday, I actually have only 11 work days left.  It seems surreal that I am retiring, but I am looking forward to it and having more time to do the things I love.

Since I'm nestled all snuggly inside our warm home, I did take the opportunity to make a card in honor of the featured stamper, lisadd, on Splitcoaststampers, in between cleaning the house and getting the laundry done.  Lisa has a WONDERFUL gallery, and I have many of her cards favorited for inspiration.  I particularly like the simple elegance of Lisa's beautiful Krafty Enough? card.  And here's my card:

Things I changed:

1. stamps
2. colors
3. embossed deckle shape
I used a blender pen dipped in Perfect Plum ink to color my flowers, and a marker in Mellow Moss for the stem and leaves. After I stamped the floral image by Rubbernecker, I then took a blender pen to add shading to the image.  I sponged Certainly Celery on the deckled portion.

Yesterday, I posted some monogram gift cards I made.  Today, I was inspired to make two more cards for that little collection.  These were quick and easy! 

I love this flourished embossing folder by Cuttlebug.  I cut the designer paper (Stampin' Up) to fit the rectangle within the embossed flourish.  I heat embossed the JustRite monogrammed letter and cut the circle with my circle Nestability.

While I was in the midst of writing this post, I received a message from a dear stamping friend, Kathy (also known as 101Airborne on Splitcoaststampers, that she was awarding me the Stylish Blogger Award.  Kathy has a darling blog called Entering Kathyville and she is really terrific about being supportive of other stampers through her encouraging comments on cards.

Now, I'm suppose to tell 8 things about myself upon receiving this award. 

1.  I have held a job in one capacity or another since I was 14 years old and feel very blessed that I can retire at such a young age!!
2.  I have no respect for people who think they are better than others.
3.  I love birds, penguins, polkadots, music, movies, reading, designing greeting cards, and m&ms!
4.  I won a Carol Burnett Act Alike Award from my drama classmates when I was in high school.  I use to be able to do her Tarzan yell.
5. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a famous actress.
6.  I've always been a neat and clean freak, but find myself being kinder to myself and family by trying to relax some of my standards.  It isn't easy.
7.  I've been to Disney World every year for the past 15 years because it makes my husband happy.
8.  I use to love to golf, bowl, and play the piano until arthritis claimed my finger joints.

Thanks for the award and kind words, Kathy!  Thank, YOU, for stopping by and visiting my blog!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

I'd like to share what I've been busy with this past week in trying to get my Christmas cards done as well as making a few gift orders.  As usual, I'm way behind on finishing up with holiday preparations.  I wonder if I'll be more organized and on top of things once I retire, which will be later this month (only 18 calendar days to go!)

I came across this beautiful Christmas card Kathy, aka CAKath, made and knew instantly that I wanted to case her idea for several of my Christmas cards.  I wanted to make about 30 of these, but after I made 15 of these wreaths, I realized they were going to take more time than I had.  I also didn't have the wood grain stamp that Kathy used, so I improvised with my embossing folders.  I used two Spellbinder circle dies to make a base to adhere the fern leaves to.

My next card was inspired by the website Stef chose  for this Saturday's inspiration challenge called Shabby Apple.  When I saw this black and silver bracelet on the Shabby Apple website, I was inspired to use silver embossing on black cardstock for my Christmas card.  The poinsettia and sentiment are both by Rubbnecker.   I stamped the image and sentiment in versamark and heat embossed with silver.  I attached the two red gemstones, and I was done!  I believe this is the quickest card I've ever made, and I love it's elegance.

I was asked to make a "simple but elegant" monogram gift card set that would be mailable and free of embellishments. I chose to do them in burgundy and not quite navy.  I used JustRite stamps for the monogram and a few Stampin' Up sets (Heartfelt Thanks, Peaceful Wishes).  I also used a variety of Spellbinder dies, border punches, embossing folders, as well as heat embossing and emboss resist techniques.

Well, I hope you're having a terrific weekend and are in better shape for the holidays than I am!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Star Spinner

I challenged the CCEE Stampers team members to make a card/project based upon the Christmas song "Do You Hear What I Hear?" this week. 

I was inspired by the lyrics "a star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite" for my card.  I made it a spinner card so that the star spins (dances) across the card.

I stamped Stampin Up's Scenic Season in a mixture of Mellow Moss and Always Artichoke.  I then used a slightly wet watercolor brush dipped in my Always Artichoke reinker to add some further shading to the trees.  I used a Tim Holtz blending tool to create my night sky, using Broken China, Night of Navy, Elegant Eggplant, and black inks.  The stars are from Stampin' Up's Background Basics stamped in craft white.  The white ink faded quite a bit, so I touched up my stars with white acrylic paint.

We'd love it if you played along with us in this challenge.  You can get all the challenge details and see the cards my friends Shirley, Joanne, Cindy, Tosh, and Frances made on our CCEE Stampers blog.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Friends Bring Special Joy

I happened upon someone's blog the other day and am kicking myself for not having favorited it.  What I loved about the particular entries I read on her blog is that she is taking the time every day over the next month I believe it is, to find at least one joy in her day, to be thankful for it, and blog about it.  What a terrific idea!  I think it's important to look for all the good things in our lives because, goodness knows, there sure seems to be a lot of bad, negative stuff going on in this crazy world of ours.  And, if we're not careful, we can spend too much time focusing on the negative and allow it to tear us down.  So, without belaboring the issue further, this blog entry is to make note of two special events that brought joy to my heart and a smile to my face this weekend.

There's no greater joy for me when I stop to realize that someone has thought of me at some point in their day. Whether in thought, word, or deed, it always makes me feel so good, as I'm sure it does for you, too. Too often we let opportunities to bless someone else pass us by when all it can take is the kindest word or simplest gesture.

My friends have always been very important to me; I cherish and value them.  I've had the good fortune to acquire many cyber friends through my love of stamping.  There are a few whom I've actually met, but there are many more that I have not and hope to one day.  I'd like to acknowledge two dear on-line stamping friends who blessed me with their kindnesses this weekend.

When I got home last evening and picked up the mail, there was a small package from Hilda (aka Broom on Splitcoaststampers).  Hilda and I both live in Michigan, but we are a great distance apart in that she lives in the Upper Peninsula, and I live in the lower part of the Lower Peninsula.  We Michiganders lovingly refer to the Upper Peninsula citizenry as Yoopers, and they, in turn, call us Trolls because we live under the Mighty Mackinac Bridge.  Anywhoooo, I have had the good fortune to meet Hilda when we were at a Upper Peninsula stamping event.  She is a warm and friendly person, and fabulous stamper too boot!  Hilda knows I am retiring at the end of this year, so she sent me this "pre-retirement" card and gift:

I love penguins and hers is colored so beautifully and then covered with shiny stuff. Check out that beautifully brayered sky, too. All in all, a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaly CUTE card.  In addition to the card, she sent me this pretty Christmas penguin themed fashion scarf that is laying in front of her cute card.  Thank you so much, Hilda!

And then there's my friend Cindy, aka YLM on Splitcoaststampers (SCS), who has always been so encouraging and supportive of my stamping.  I'm always telling her that she has some of the best images for stamping and does that girl know how to put them to good use!  Whether she's in the mood for a cute or a beautiful design, her work always shines.  Well, earlier today, I went to check to see who the 200th featured stamper is on SCS.  Beth, the hostess of this challenge, came up with a great idea to let everyone choose any one of the previous 199 featured stampers to case.  My immediate thought was, "how will I ever choose one from all those amazing stampers?"  Apparently, Cindy was able to choose, and I was so surprised and delighted to see that she chose to case one of my cards when I was featured stamper #44!!!  She brought a true moment of joy to my heart and a smile to my face with her sweet words and her exceptionally cute casing of my card.  Here's Cindy's darling polar bear card.

Isn't that such a sweet and cute card?  A huge thank you, Cindy, for honoring me with your thoughts, your friendship, and your work!

I'll be continuing to look for the joys in my day every day! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mr. Stix the Snowman

I am the December CCEE challenge hostess, and this Thursday I've challenged the team to use a snowman in their design.  For mine, I used Mr. Stix by Rubbernecker and colored him with Copic markers.  Isn't he cute?

The background designer paper is the Winter Frost collection by Bo Bunny, and the blue snowflakes are rhinestones.

Please stop by our CCEE Stampers blog and see the terrific projects my friends Frances, Cindy, Joanne, and Shirt made.  Perhaps you'd like to play along with us, too!