Friday, February 26, 2010

Drunken Stampers Fabric Challenge

Check it out! It's odd that I've been doing so much summer-related stuff since I'm not a fan of summer.

But, this week's Drunken Stampers challenge calls for fabric ... which for me apparently had to be a picnic table cover ... I hope you like this card and this extra-short message.

Just had to make the deadline.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pink is the new black

Pink has always been my favorite color. The pink phones, pink computers, pink purses, pink hand held game systems, pink MP3 players ... they're aimed directly at me.

Black is another wonderful color, as are brown and orange and turquoise and green and red and lavender and yellow and teal and silver and all the colors that Crayola puts in the Big Box.

Still, it's pink that turns my head and litters my life (and the life of My Guy).

This means that no one should be surprised at how much this tiny pink decorative tree pleases me. Especially with these St. Patrick's Day decorations. Because it seems that pink is the perfect color to highlight these green shamrocks and smiling Leprechaun.

The tree looked awesome with hot- and light-pink ornaments for Valentine's Day and come Springtime and Easter... WOOHOO! Can you imagine this tree covered little white Easter bunnies or multi-colored flowers for May Day?

So exciting!

Pleases me, too, realizing that all of these years it isn't pink that looks good with black and chocolate brown ... it's those colors that look better with PINK!

Now to find out what my pink-hating friends and co-workers have to say ...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunless day ideal for long-awaited project

As my previous post illustrates I'm somewhat fascinated with the ideas over at Wisdom of the Moon.

This weekend I've finally had time, and enough of the necessary supplies, to try out her Marble Suncatcher project.

Since I haven't worked a lot with glass I decided that I wouldn't attempt this project until I had the glue she recommended. I found that about two weeks ago and only last week remembered to stop by the Dollar Tree for flat-backed marbles.

I assumed that I had fishing wire (or something similar) in my jewelry-making boxes.

This assumption has led me to the opportunity to explain a part of the reason that I don't follow instructions perfectly most of the time: We live in a rural area. Not WAY out, but roughly an hour, round trip, to the nearest general shopping area where you're going to find the most basic craft supplies. Figure about two hours, round trip, to go to a craft or home improvement store.

I McGyver a lot, as you must guess. This project is no different. Unbelievably excited to get started on my own suncatcher, I decided that I didn't care if I didn't have the recommended string, I'd just use whatever would be strong enough.

In this case: Tiger tail, a coated wire that is plenty strong, but unquestionably more visible than fishing wire would have been.

Next, My Guy and I have numerous projects and possible projects and future ideas and "Ouu, lookies!" sitting around. We're not yet an upcoming episode of Hoarders ... but we don't have a helluva lot of space if a larger project needs to "set" for 24 hours.

If your house is like ours, just cut a couple of cardboard strips to use as "trays" so that you can create/move/set as needed.

Finally, I very much wanted to hang my suncatcher indoors AND outside once the weather will let me go near the muddy yard. My magnet and velcro bin at first didn't garner much that I could use. The marbles are much heavier than you think they're going to be.

Then I remembered THE magnets. The ones that My Guy, a tech person who works with tech people, gives to me from unsalvageable computers.

Keep a few of these magnets around, if you can find them, as they have lots of uses and another feature that can be helpful -- holes.

Computer magnets are themselves adhered to strangely-shaped metal chunks which have holes for screws. So, using this project as an example, string the suncatcher wire through the holes, adding strength to the also-glued wire and, once complete, the holes easily slip over a cup hook for outdoor hanging.

Indoors hang the suncatchers from the tops of mini blinds.

I'm laughing at the fact that there's no sun to help me show off the shininess of these marbles hanging in the window.

As many of you know my house is almost always awash in unbelievable amounts of sunshine (even when it's snowing we seem to be closer to the sun than other people).

Still, these add a lovely glint and color I'm dying to add all over my house, yard and office (the boss' office windows, anyway). YAY! :)

Now that I have the glue and the marbles, by the way, I'm digging in my cabinets for the perfect vessel to turn into a marble-covered candle holder. Yay again!

Wisdom of the Moon

Alright, I'll admit that the world of blogging still seems more than a bit odd to me. I'm impressed at how people share so much of themselves that it's easy to figure out which people you'd probably want as neighbors and who, well, you don't want to WISH bad on anyone, do you?

One of the Bloggers who I would happily live next door to is the writer and creator of Wisdom of the Moon.

I found her blog when I was searching for a pattern to create a reusable grocery bag. I'm a very low-skilled seamstress, on top of which I have a hard time comprehending what the hell I'm reading when it comes to instructions (no small wonder, then that I learn virtually everything by trial and error).

I need a LOT of photos and fairly detailed, step-by-step instructions. So, when I found her fabric grocery bag post I knew I had found a pattern to try.

As it turned out, I didn't try it immediately. First I saved it to my bookmarked sites for the day I had time to sew and looked around the remainder of her blog.

Between that first click and today we've enjoyed her Margarita Jello Shots and her homemade Granola. I've also discovered that knowing how to take a low-light photo is pretty much lost on me -- I really think I just prefer overexposed photos (read shiny!).

I finally got to make her grocery bags at Christmas -- as "Santa Bags" for my nieces. And I was correct, the grocery bag pattern linked above is EASY to follow and results in a wonderfully simple and usable item.

Now, if you're wondering why I'm posting this, it's for two reasons: First, my next post is about another project I stole from Wisdom of the Moon and, as almost everyone who knows me is aware, I prefer to support start-ups and locally-owned, non-chain businesses.

Wisdom of the Moon fits all of these criteria AND if you're looking for crafting ideas in a range of disciplines, this is a completely awesome place to go without spending a dime on subscription costs or destroying trees for printed materials.

I suspect if I did live next door to Wisdom of the Moon I'd be chided for my lack of responsible composting ... but I'm trying and learning as I go, I promise.

Spring Tease

This happens every year in Reno. In fact, it’s the only reliable weather-related event in our area: The Spring Tease.

Every year Renoites sigh with relief with the first series of days that reveal cloudless, deep blue skies. We open windows and turn off heaters.

We move chairs from the shed to the deck and pack away bags of snow melt.

We begin to smile and think of tomatoes and herbs and flowers. The tulips and daffodils and crocus know, too. They also begin reaching up to the sky.

Birds are less frequently at the feeders – they’re building nests and discovering delicious nibbles on the bushes and errant weeds.

But, we wonder: Is this real, or is it only the Spring Tease?

We know, those of us who have lived her for a few years, but we hope anyway.

Despite the breeze that seems cooler than on the previous day.

Despite the weatherman … the incessant and mean weatherman threatening us, “It’s not going to last.”

Finally, we give in a little and turn the heaters to 60 F … only to make sure pipes can’t freeze, though. Really, it's Spring, people.

Tomorrow we'll still put some coals on and barbecue wings. We'll still clean the fountain and fill it with water.

Sure, sure we'll do those things. Right after shoveling  the sidewalk and calling the boss to let her know we'll have to work from home because the driveway is blocked by a snow drift.

That's OK, too though. The boss is stuck in San Francisco ... she won't be back through the mountain pass until Tuesday.

I'm so glad Spring is here!

p.s. if you click on the bird feeder photo so that it enlarges, you can spy the one wild bird who decided the possibility of something to eat beat out the fear of The Woman With Camera.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mardi Gras!

Woohoo! Making a Mardi Gras card was a GREAT time! The challengers over at Drunken Stampers started things by giving us an awesome photo for inspiration.

And then I got to spend a week remembering the fantastic time I had there with my best friend, mom and other people for a bridal shower.

All of this led to the design of my card -- including the central character -- our dear friend from the inspiration photo.

First, she's sporting a bit of Glossy Accent to ensure her lips and eyes are as bright and brilliant as I'm sure all of ours were while enjoying cocktails in the French Quarter. Her outfit, barely held together with a single golden button (actually sewn on, to be sure it's secure), beautifully matches her beads and shoes.

The shoes, of course, are again reminiscent of our own trip there -- who the hell wears high heels with rhinestones on the uneven, alcohol-filled streets of New Orleans? A bunch of girls from Nevada, that's who.

Our classy gal has a flower in her hair, to remind us of the beautiful Garden District and is carrying an umbrella with a bit of ribbon because, well, it's a semi approximation of the souvenir and tattoo my mom brought home from Louisiana.

Finally, there's no reason to stand around on a plain old backdrop when you can lean against a giant liquor-filled Hurricane glass complete with glittery lines of condensation (or dribbles, depending on how late in the night it is).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The end of winter

We're not exactly experiencing a heatwave out here in Nevada, but yesterday and today have been a joy with windows open to nearly 70-degree breezes and sunny skies.

My Guy was even inspired to dig out the Mini Weber and throw on a couple of pork chops.

Our house smells like summer ... like a campfire in summer.

It's fantastic.

p.s. Montreal steak seasoning is an excellent way to season chops, too!

A geek's Valentine's Day

You must know the Simpson's episode in which Lisa Simpson gives a Valentine to Ralph ... "I choo, choo choose you."

Of course this causes Ralph to believe that he and Lisa are a couple and forces Lisa to tell poor Ralph ... well, it's just one of the saddest moments in all of Simpson-dom.

Luckily it also resulted in one of pop culture's most absolutely awesome Valentine's Day cards.

Several places on the net have available a printable version of the original card ... but today ... today My Guy is the proud recipient of a handmade pedestal-style Choo Choo Valentine (at least I THINK he's proud -- he might only be embarrassed).

My design uses the Cricut Everyday Paper Doll and Hello Kitty Greetings (cloud) cartridges. The card stock is textured DCWV and the conductor's face is from Peachy Keen Stamps (though I hope no one judges the stamp's quality by my somewhat inept use).

I've shown off the pedestal design before, click on the "paper" label on the right sidebar to see more, and can not recommend enough that you try this method.

But please don't ask for instructions for THIS card. I completely altered the measurements to make everything fit and will admit that this card only stands on its own through several minutes of careful balancing.

The payoff is that I got to give My Guy a Valentine that elicited a laugh instead of a probably insincere "Awwww" (it's not rude, he just isn't an Awwww kind of guy, unless he's being a smarty pants).

Friday, February 12, 2010

A tri-fold, step thing!

My first attempt at a tri-fold, step card which I ran across on a paper-crafting blog (craftiblog).

The holy-crap-that's-bright mat stack (DCWV Sweet) inspired most of the images and worked out beautifully as a child's birthday card!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Once Upon a Time

This is my entry for the Drunken Stampers' challenge. It's also my second card for this week's challenge -- A Valentine's Day card for your sweetie -- because the first one was yet another of my good ideas gone to hell.

I very much like this second card, but it does have one problem which I'll explain in a minute.

Since this week's challenge has a special added requirement of "metal" I thought I'd steal away DS's OK to use aluminum foil. After all I have some of that, do not have any other metal embellishments and I like to use stuff that kind of doesn't belong.

My first card, my poor, poor first card was a giant set of lips, set against a foil background with striped, glittered card stock showing through "Sealed with a Kiss" cut into the card front. Can you imagine it?

I liked it up to the exact freakin' moment I saw it on my monitor as a photo ... what in the name of ... that thing is UGLY. And ... what does it SAY? I couldn't read the words. Not to mention that my particular use of foil turned out looking so unprofessional ... I really should have gone right ahead and made the remainder of the card out of construction paper (a lovely product, but not ideal for a nice-looking card).

I was going to submit it anyway ... who has time to make multiple entries? As it turns out, I do. Because that thing is too ugly to show to anyone (except My Guy ... he gets to see all of my good ideas that end up spinning in toilet water).

This card, my much better looking submission is the lucky result of being willing to start again. It's also the result of using a 60-percent-off coupon at Michael's ... which means I GOT TO BUY ANOTHER GADGET! I'm the proud owner of a cute little Cuttlebug. Yay!

See the neat swirl in the text and the red heart? That's from the Cuttlebug. Why yes, those who are wondering, since getting the Cuttlebug home a few hours ago I've made swirly shiny paper and swirly blue paper and swirly foil and swirly ...

Oh, as for that problem I mentioned, the one I have with THIS card: That key is no cheap embellishment from the handicraft aisle at the local Dollar Tree.

It actually opens one of my antique padlocks, so this card is on the scrap pile after Sunday.

See? I use whatever stuff I can find.

p.s. don't worry about My Guy's card getting tossed I made his REAL card awhile back ... it's much less tasteful ... juvenile might be a better description ... I'll post it after I give it to him ...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Inside clothes. Outside clothes. A lesson.

PajamaJeans? Seriously?

A woman in New York, I believe, has invented PajamaJeans. If you haven't seen them already don't waste your time.

They're described by some news outlets (is this news?) as pajamas that look like jeans.

But, you know, why don't you just wear jeans? And when you're home ... jammie pants (mine are jammie pants).

Growing up my parents always dressed nicely when going anywhere but the back yard. Really nicely. So nicely that I'm sure today they are less than impressed with my, and my sister's, proclivity for t-shirts, jeans and jackets.

Still, this means I stand a bit to the side of actually being aware of and caring about outside/inside clothes. There's a damn difference, people.

Furry purple slippers and Helly Kitty-printed lounge pants. Inside.

Linen slacks and knee-high boots. Outside.

Still I went to see these inside Pajamas that no one would know were inside Pajamas so you could show off your fine fake Jeans outside.

Turns out there's two problems or one depending on how you look at it ...

These "Jeans" are a terrible shape for almost every woman. These "Pajamas" are too tight to actually be cozy.

Come on, people. Everyone knows that the only time you get a hall pass for wearing inside clothes out is on laundry day. And you better be carrying an enormous jug of detergent.

Lots and lots of Kahlua cakes

You've been dying to know what's happening at my house today. I know.

So, here's a little gift: A photo of a few of the more than three dozen mini Kahlua bundt cakes I made today.

All. Day.

Don't get any ideas, though. They're for a non-profit fundraiser. Awww. Darn.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Citrus cookies

Plans for our weekend included baking one batch each of orange, lime and lemon cookies based on Martha's Glazed Lemon Cookie recipe.

A problem arose however when Yours Truly decided to build a blog. Unfortunately even this simple bit of the web consumed a lot of time, so I only managed to finish a batch of lime cookies.

We've already given them a taste and Oh Boy!

They taste like summer! Bright and tangy and delicious. You have to try them! You'll need about five limes, otherwise all of the other ingredients are very basic (sugar, flour, baking soda).

I'll let you know how the orange and then the lemon work out. In the meantime you don't have to point out that the cookie in the photo looks like biscuits and gravy left out too long.

They're delicious lime cookies. I promise.

Best weekend mornings

What's your favorite hangin' out activity? I'd probably be healthier if my number one was something like mountain bike ride or canyon hike.

As it is, sitting at the coffee table with Looney Tunes on the TV, a brand new set of Legos at hand and a paint-it and take-it project is nearly perfect.

Yup. Just throw in My Guy, who is happy to sit alongside fiddling with toys and paints and a couple of Mimosas and it's sure to be a damn fine day.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Love tree topper

Occasionally I find things that are so completely, god-awfully awesome I have to own them. One is a Hello Kitty pink pre-lit mini Christmas tree.

In the future when I've got a good pic I'll post a better photo of the tree, but this topper is the story right now.

I decided to put up Valentine's Day decor on my office desk ... that's when I remembered this great tree that was stuffed in a hidden corner of the house ... and then realized this banner heart needed to adorn the top of the tree.

I used the Cricut Love Struck cartridge to create the dual-color heart banner and Storybook for the LOVE text. The heart banner is actually three layers with an invisible back layer in which I cut two slots for ribbon.

The ribbon, which you can see a bit of here, holds the heart on the tree.

Perhaps next week I'll get that full pic of the entire tree and V-Day decor ... honestly it makes me giggle every time I get to work ... all of that pink ... Pepto exploded on my desk!

Obsessed with Scrapbooking's pedestal cards

Head over to Obsessed with Scrapbooking for a tutorial to create these pedestal cards.

This card design is perfect for creating a combination greeting/gift ... they convey your message (like my message kissing up to my boss) AND can be placed as a decoration.

Plus, after watching Obsessed's tutorial, they're about the easiest thing you'll create this week.

Cricut tea boxes

Around our house we have Lipton and Davidson's teas (though it'd be great if nobody told Davidson's that we sully our mugs with Lipton as it's surely not wonderful and organic like theirs).

Davidson's Tea Company in Sparks, NV, sells many of its products as a sort of 'trial' version: Little boxes with eight tea bags.

And joy of joys, the Cricut Love Struck cartridge has a box that is THE perfect shape for creating a decorative outer box for Davidson's 'trial' sizes.

In this case I've made two boxes, lavender and pink, to hold Davidson's Children's Tea which I'm sending to my nieces.

I used one of the shadow hearts to create a two-sized frame for the cut-out heart on the box, added a few glitter dots and a bow. Woohoo! Cuteness for two cuties!

If you don't care about these awesome boxes, but you are a fan of good tea ... we recommend Davidson's Christmas, Licorice and Sun, Moon & Stars teas ... and the Bodom tea press (I told you I like gadgets ... I even have gadgets for my TEA).

Martha's roasted chicken tacos

While growing up my grandmother and a friend of hers threw back yard parties during which they served homemade foods and cocktails and played records on the hi-fi: I might never forget the Beer Barrel Polka or Mitch Miller's sing-a-longs.

One of the popular buffet-style meals, tacos, saw a table packed with hand-cut lettuce, high-fat ground beef browned with McCormick taco seasoning, shredded cheddar cheese, diced garden-fresh tomatoes and, of course, store-bought crisp taco shells.

While that old McCormick seasoning can add a delicious flavor to today's healthier ground turkey, a recipe in Martha Stewart's everyday FOOD (September 2009) and on-line here, is far better.

This roasted chicken-filled taco also includes fresh diced onion, hand-shredded cilantro, avocado and lime.

You'll love these because they're filling and delicious without leaving you feeling overstuffed and in need of a Tums (or a little plop-plop, fizz-fizz provided by Alka Seltzer -- as my grandmother preferred).

A Drunken Stampers Challenge

I've run across a few card-making challenges on various blogs, but didn't feel pushed to produce until I found the Drunken Stampers' blog and their first-ever challenge.

I'm an old-school crafter who loves new gadgets: This means that while I'd likely save my Cricut from a house fire before my purse ... there's still a bit of a design curve on which I am woefully lagging (who the hell knew you could buy tiny rhinestones with adhesive backs?).

So, here's my not nearly as skilled, after-deadline submission (I hadn't realized until too late that I'd need to POST a photo of my card ... not just e-mail it).

Stop by Drunken Stampers ... give 'em a big "Prost!" and join in the challenge fun.

Let's get started!

Hello everyone! I've finally started a blog! I hope that this will eventually become a central meeting place for all of us to discuss the projects on which we're working.

I'll be making an effort to ensure we don't use this blog as a place to discuss the "not when we're drinking" topics -- you know the ones. They're the subjects such as politics and religion that can be dangerous after a beer and simply annoying when trying to have a bit of fun playing with paper or yarn or dirt or a new recipe.

In case you missed it, the previous sentence also describes our main topics: Paper crafting, recipes and food, sewing and fabrics and gardening. However, in case you're not a family member or old friend, you should be prepared to see everything from car care to woodworking, from metalworking to recycling and who knows what else -- My Guy and I are not especially skilled at limiting our focus.

Alright *nervous sigh* I guess we're ready to go ... oh, except for one last thing ... in this initial post I'm trying to describe an overall direction and blog outline. In the future please expect a lot less seriousness, proper grammar and correctly-employed punctuation.