11.23.2008

kitties!

Jimmy and I have been busy busy this week, what with preparing for the upcoming holidays (food to cook, goodies to bake, presents to finish, crafts to do, and lots of papers to write, for me) and, with kitten sitting! Maybe we are crazy, or he is, for letting me temporarily adopt two kittens, because I always want to keep them. Maybe we like to torture our two cats (I think that is what they think...) but they are coming around. We are on day 4 and we will have them until Friday or so. In the past few days, we've been slaves to the litter box and the various food and water bowls and feeding schedules-like getting two new infants overnight! Here they are, Oliver and Maddy:

Aren't they too cute?!

Before I get back to my paper grading and get on to getting dinner going, I have a quick share. The challenge over at Hero Arts this week was to use up some scraps on quick cards (what a genius idea for this busy time of year). I discovered, however, once I sat down to begin, that I don't really have many. Either I don't do enough stamping, or I throw away too many scraps. Actually though, I think it is just that, most of the time, once I sit down to work on something, I work and work at it until I am satisfied, so I don't have many pieces leftover. But I do share paper scraps and punched bits, and I had plenty of those! Keeping with the idea of the challenge, I didn't spend a lot of time on these, and admittedly, they are a bit sloppy, but I like them overall.

We had a fun outing downtown and to the farmer's market yesterday (it was the first time in weeks that it hasn't rained or that we weren't busy, so even though it was COLD, it was enjoyable), and I got some prints in the mail from out NY trip, so maybe some scrapbook pages are in order soon, as well as a little peek into my workspace (when I get time to make it look most presentable). Have a good last little bit of the weekend!

11.13.2008

Another technique...

Today is my day off, and, despite the fact that I have a huge stack of papers to grade and laundry to do, I wanted to play! I decided to try some distressing, inspired by the HA challenge, and to use some of the goodies in the November Studio Calico kit I won (Thanks again Jennifer!!). Here it is (see all the details here):
This is the first layout that I have done since beginning our wedding album, which I haven't even finished and I am surprisingly pleased with the way it turned out. It's a first step for me. You see, I am quite new to this. Well, I used to scrapbook. But I wouldn't call what I used to do the same thing as what I now know exists and what I imagine creating. And every time I think of starting a project, I get hung up on myself and can't do it. I get intimidated by other fabulous work I see out there, and even by myself, because I am not sure I can recreate my new-found cardmaking style, in a layout. I guess this is proof that I can...

...Full speed ahead!!

As I was starting to cleanup the mess I had made with the layout, I decided that I should just go ahead and make a matching card, using HA stamps, and that way I could enter it into this week's challenge. I did this card, and a matching scrapling, in about half and hour! Amazing! And what's more, I really really like them, nearly more than the original layout! Who knew?? Take a look:

11.12.2008

Technique Challenge...

...and a challenge it has been! This week over at the Hero Arts blog, Shari Carroll is leading a week full of techniques requested by the loyal followers. So far, she has featured ink, resist and distressing and I personally can't wait to see what else she has in store for this week! But, what is really cool about this week is that there are more videos than ever, which really help me to get a grip on a technique. Because of that, I was inspired to finally (try) to learn how to use distress inks. I went out and bought a few more, since all I owned was walnut stain, and also an applicator.

First I attempted to ink the paper using the applicator I had purchased. It turned out like this and I quickly abandoned this idea, realizing that I bought the wrong blenders (mine were for alcohol inks and the felt is far too thin for distress inks-they left awful scratchy marks from the velcro underneath; I will have to buy the foam ones...):

So then I decided I would try the technique where you apply ink to a surface and dip your paper in it. I couldn't really splurge on the craft mat she uses in the video, so I had to come up with an alternative... The first attempt was with wax paper. I thought the coating would be thick enough to resist the inks, but, alas, I was wrong. The paper soaked up the ink faster than I could apply it to the paper, and seeped through onto my table. It came out like this:
So then I thought, what about tinfoil? Worth a shot, right? This seemed to work a bit better, obviously, not as good as a craft mat (or, as I have seen suggested, a teflon baking mat) might be, but okay. Here are two attempts:
In this first one, I used clear embossing ink and clear powder, letting the white of the paper show through. But, either the ink was not wet enough or the powder not thick enough, and the distress inks seeped underneath my stamped image. I tried again:
This time, again, a little bit of seepage, not to mention that I burned the paper with my heat gun and the coloration was not to my liking (too much blue!) I decided that the tinfoil was working, but my embossing was not, so I switched to a thicker white pigment ink and then clear powder, which worked much better, especially if I worked a bit quicker. Here is the final result, in card form, which I am entering into this week's challenge:
So, an otherwise simple card design took me quite a few hours to achieve, but I am quite pleased with the results. Wish me luck in the challenge and to see more awesome entries, visit the Hero Arts flickr group here.

Stay tuned for some pics of my workspace (including my fabulous new chair, which I am far too excited about) and hopefully some creations with the Studio Calico November kit that came yesterday!! :)

11.09.2008

Just a quickie...

Just a quick post tonight to get a few things out before I get back to the books. I have a presentation to give tomorrow on a book I have not yet finished, as well as a meeting to discuss work on a paper I have not yet finished and I have another book, which I have yet to start, to read for Wednesday...I often feel like I am in a perpetual cycle of catching up, but that I never get there.

Despite having no real free time this weekend, I was able to get a few things in:
1. Made a really cute Christmas card in pink and green, kind of inspired by this one by Shari Carroll over at Hero Arts (of which, once my camera charges up, I will be able to take a picture). I had been planning a pink and green color scheme this year, and amassing the appropriate patterned papers before, and I finally got around to getting started. Also check out this card by Leslie Lightfoot over at HA also showcases this cool look. Keep your eyes peeled for my photo!
Note: Updated for photo on 11/11. :) And I swear the papers were straight when I took the photo...arrggh!

2. I made some delicious Almond Joy brownies using this recipe, from Katharine Hepburn's family, and adding coconut, almonds, and chocolate chunks--fantastic and so simple to make, I don't see any need to go back to a box! :)
3. Enjoyed some good laughs with a dose of Cranium, and realized that I needed it.

We didn't make it over to see our friends, who were expecting and just had their baby on Thursday!! (Congrats to Alex and Kathryn!), but we will get to see them soon, I hope.

That's it for now. Oh! I also won something!! The November Studio Calico kit in a giveaway on Jennifer McGuire's blog (thanks to her!), which will be arriving in a few days and hopefully I will have something fun to show with it, so check back.

Off to do some more reading and maybe have a mug of cocoa...

11.04.2008

a great big ball of fun!

As I get on my blog to post and am first drawn to read all the other blogs that I haven't in the past couple of weeks, I realize that I really am not a good blogger. At all. I didn't even think I had any readers. So, imagine my surprise when I received not one, but two comments this week!

The first was from an awesome, hilarious, and fabulously talented lady, Deborah Nolan, who requested the link the the blog I mentioned in my last post-here it is. For loads of neat stamping techniques and ideas, including the one that inspired my witch door hanger, visit Michelle Zindorf here.

The second came from an equally fabulous lady, Jenn Biederman, who, of all things, chose me as a recipient of the Arte y Pico award! This is an award whose name in Spanish means something like "Art and More" (my own translation), but really means that someone really thinks your art is great. Learn more about it at the Arte y Pico blog. Here it is:
Now, the rules state that you choose 5 recipients whose blogs "deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contrubuites to the blogger community, no matter of language" and you give the award to them. However, being that I am probably the least deserving recipient based on blog activity, and that I cannot think of any blogs that I read that have not already been recognized by the aforementioned ladies, I am not going to choose my recipients just yet. I will accept the award, lest I be seen as ungrateful, and keep my eyes peeled for new talent...be on the look-out!

As an addition to my Halloween witch, I have a couple of other crafty things to show today:
That creepy wreath I mentioned in the last post, here it is! (Hard to get a good shot of it any way I tried...)
Food name cards for the buffet, which we didn't end up using.
The invitations to our Halloween party.
And here's me and my goofy husband at the party: I was nurse Roberta, he was my geriatric patient, Richard Balzac, complete with diaper and all!

To wrap up this eternal post (hey, when you don't do it often, better make it good, no?)
, I have some photos of a project I am very proud of. Some friends of ours are expecting their first baby in a few short weeks and as a baby shower gift, I wanted to make a wall hanging to match their Pooh themed nursery. I even went as far as to order special Disney themed paper and stickers (who knew they even existed!?) and here is the result, with matching card:
That's finally it for now-hope all you Americans voted today. I am off to make dinner-turkey meatloaf- and see what's going on with the election...