Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Cards

Hello friends,

Well, I did it.  I got all my Christmas cards finished and in the mail.  Every year I tell myself I'll start earlier, but every year I find myself scrambling at the last minute.  Hopefully all of them will arrive by the day after Christmas, maybe some will get there Christmas eve!

Speaking of Christmas eve, what are your plans?  We are heading up to Little Bear Lodge.  In the town of Bradford they are having a Christmas Pageant.  I do not know if I've ever been to a Christmas pageant, but I'm going to try to talk the family into going.  Its outside and involves kids, caroling, hot chocolate and animals.  I'll be sure to take pictures.  I'm guessing it's going to be adorably small town.


Since we'll be away for Christmas, we went to Christmas eve service last night (12/22.)  I know, isn't that crazy that they offer Christmas eve service on Christmas eve, eve, eve?  It was really nice.   There is a lovely church in Lexington, Grace Chapel, that I've been checking out.  They did a very nice service, lots of traditional music and an uplifting message.  I counted over 50 musicians - it sounded awesome as they led us all in traditional and modern Christmas hymns and carols.  Of course it was a candlelight service and of course we ended with silent night.  It was really nice.  I wish I could go back Christmas eve!!!  I'll be definitely going back in the New Year.



So, back to the cards.  Below are all the various designs I made.  For those that know me, I do not like make 'assembly line' cards, so I pick a few designs and make 4 or 5 of each.  Which is your favorite?









I'll be back with two more Christmas cards and a project to show you on Saturday December 26th for the papertrey ink blog hop.  

I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Create along with us Papertrey ink

So one of the first Christmas cards I worked on this weekend was a card that was inspired by Papertrey Ink's December release.  Here is the card I made.

Below is my inspiration from Amy Scheffer.  You can see the details of her card on her blog.

http://pickledpaperdesigns.blogspot.com/


I hope you are enjoying pre-Christmas festivities.  We had a fun weekend up in NH at Little Bear Lodge, our little cabin in the woods.  Sarah, Ivan, Eric and Jessa all joined us.  We found a great tree (at a nice last minute price) and did some very simple decorations on the tree.  We have a pile of pinecones still to add, once they dry and open.  We can do that when we are up later this week.  The lights are on and some red berry garland. We also added a bunch of white crochet snowflakes.  It looks rustic and pretty with the burlap and fleece tree skirt.

Sarah decorated this adorable sled she found at a yard sale this summer and it looks great under the sign Bob had made for us.  Even though there is no snow (and no expectation for snow this week) Little Bear Lodge is all festive.


After decorating, I got busy making cards.  I'll post them over the next few days.  Today we got to go for our traditional long walk.  To go to the top of the hill and down to the road again is 4.2 miles. Today we didn't go all the way, we turned around early, but it was a good 3.5 miles.  We don't bring Joey, he's not up for those long walks anymore, but Tank enjoyed the brisk winter air.  Don't you love the New England stone walls that are just out in the woods?  It's kind of a neat and unique feature of a walk in the woods in these parts.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Preparing for Christmas

Hi friends,

Well, Christmas is one week away and I have lots to do.  I still haven't made my Christmas cards, much less got them ready for the mail and I have not started holiday baking yet either.  Thankfully I have all of next week off from work, so if I get busy, I still can do these things - but the cards may not get mailed till Tuesday.  Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I made a few Christmas themed cards a few weeks ago.  Let me show you those.

This first one is quite retro and fun.  I actually really like it and plan to make several more.

This one is a fun new image I found at a stamping store in NH.  There are two versions of this image on a card.  The first is a 'flat' image where I just color her outfit and face.

The second version is with the button.  In the store this looked super cool and fun, but now that I have the card in front of me, it looks weird to me.  It is a fun technique to add the 3 day element, but somehow I'm not a huge fan.  What do you think?
So, in addition to having some cards to make, I also have some baking to do.  I found the following fun Christmas food on pinterest.  I love chocolate covered pretzels, so I'm sure these will be delicious.  I also love that they are super easy.  

How do you make these?  Super easy.  I used Snyders butter pretzel squares.  Layer your cookie sheet with the pretzel squares.  Unwrap the rolos (this was the most time consuming part of the whole process) and put a rolo on top of each pretzel square.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes (250 degrees) then take them out and put your other pretzel square.  Smoosh it down.  After it's cooled, melt some white chocolate and dip the corner in.  Dip again in colored sprinkles.  Yum.

What else am I baking?  Betty Crocker Christmas cut-out cookies.  These will take much more time to make.  Make the dough, refrigerate it, bake the cookies, then frost them.  I usually set aside 2 days to finish these and every year I wonder if they are worth it, but I love them.  Best Christmas Cookies around.

If you want the recipe for these, here is the link.

Hopefully I'll get my cards & cookies made and my gifts all wrapped by Tuesday.  Then the rest of next week I can start reading some of the many books I've recently checked out of the library and relax a bit to start the Christmas vacation.  I have two work books ('Multipliers' and 'the Challenger Sale'), one social justice book ('Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria') and one self help book ('Thanks for the feedback') all on my shelf to read.  Oh and I have a few movies as well.   How about you?  What does your week before Christmas look like?

Stop back next week, if all goes as planned I'll have some cards and cookies to show you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Another Blue and Green Christmas Card

I was inspired to make two cards for the Papertrey Ink challenge so here is the second one.

This card uses soft stone card stock with white and shimmering white card stock with just an accent of Hawaiian Shores and Simply Chartreuse.  The stamps and dies are from Dawn McVey for PTI. This set is called Spruce and Sprigs.  At the bottom of the blogis the inspiration photo for the blog hop.






Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day.

Blue & Green Christmas Cards

Good morning friends,

I have two quick posts this morning to join the fun with Papertrey Ink and the November blog hop.

No time to chat today, I have visitors today (my mom and her husband Peter are with us this morning) and I have some pies to make for Thanksgiving.

My first card uses Betsy Veldmans Petite Places Holiday Lane.  What an adorable set of images in this set.




Below is the inspiration image I worked with.



Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fairy Garden and Mouse Town

Hi friends,

Do you ever give in to a total impulse buy?  I'm usually pretty good when I shop to not buy things on impulse.  I haven't always been that way, but as I got older I found I had bought things in my youth that either never got worn or used or added unnecessary clutter to my house.  So I started making shopping lists and I try to only buy things that are on my list. But every now and again I get caught up in a beautiful display and a hearts longing and I find myself at the check out with items in my cart that were not on my list.

That's where the fairy garden comes in.  But first, let me share a pretty card I made for a women I know who is undergoing cancer treatment.  I started up again with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) last year.  This  year I am serving as the treasurer.  Ruth trained me this summer and has been my 'go to person' since she has been the class administrator.  She had to step down from her BSF job because of cancer. As we met at the bank to transfer the account from her to the new admin,  I wanted to give her a little encouragement card.  Thankfully, she'll still plan to attend the class, so I can stay in touch.


So back to my impulse buy.  This fall, Bob and I visited the Warner NH Fall Foliage festival and while there, I purchased some really good jelly/jam from a local vendor.  Her products are often made with wine (red, white and sparkling) and they are very unique and delicious.  I wanted to get a few jams to have as gifts - in particular - one bottle of red wine jam for a thank you for hosting Thanksgiving for Bob's aunt.  So I went on-line to see where I could buy these Laurel Hill jams.  I found a garden center (http://www.bedfordfields.com/) that she listed on her website (http://www.laurelhilljams.com/)  A few Sundays ago, I stopped in to get my jam. They had several jars of jam and I had fun choosing a few to have on hand.  But then I made the mistake of looking around to see what else they had.  Even though it was November, not peak garden season - too late for gardening - too early for Christmas - they had lots of really nice things.  I went into the greenhouse area and discovered an entire room full of fairy garden supplies.  Now if you were like me, you are probably saying 'what's a fairy garden.'  Good question.   To quote from their website it is ' a fascinating hobby creating green places in small spaces.' 

Below are some samples of some indoor fairy gardens.  Of course I was intrigued.  Hobby, small spaces, green... all of that is right up my alley.   Combine that with whimsical and I was totally on-board. I spent a long time looking over all the samples and products for sale and selected two figurines to get started.

Being the major cheapskate that I am I then headed to Savers (the next day) and bought a mid-sized wood bowl and plate for $4.00.  I had Bob drill holes in the wood bowl and filled it with potting soil from the summer containers.  I found a $1.99 plant at Market Basket and split a few of the small houseplants I had at home and created my very own indoor fairy garden.

Voila!  Small, Green and Whimsical.   I love it and can't wait to continue to fine-tune this garden and make another.




I think the reason this fairy garden hobby is so appealing to me is that it makes me think it's 'Mouse Town for Adults.'  Mouse town was a very fun thing from my childhood.   Let me see if I can describe mouse town for you.   My husband says it's like a girl version of hot wheels, but I insist it's nothing like that.  Yes, mouse town took over the whole house (just like his hot wheel tracks did for him) but mouse town was so much more than that.  Mouse town was an experience that could not be contained - literally.  Mouse town was everywhere.

I heard that mouse town originated with a kitchen sponge that was cut into the shape of a mouse with a mouth, eyes and ears.  My sister started creating things for this mouse and it grew from there.  My memory of mouse town is that it was adorably eclectic.   My memory of the actual mouse was a delicately crafted figure made of  wool that walked on two legs and was male.   A little bit like this picture only with clothes on and more regal looking.

We would collect anything that was small and pretty and we would use these things to create mouse adventures.   Mouse town was like a dollhouse without a roof.  We had sofa's, chairs, tables, boats, skating rinks and ski hills.  Skating rinks were created with a shoe box top and pouring glue (and letting it dry) to make a slick surface. Ski hills were created by putting a white blanket on the stairs and a doll house living room chair attached with string to the chair banister. Ski's were probably crafted of tongue depressors attached using rubber bands.   If we could make it ourselves - we did, but we also loved doll furniture and spent hours in toy stores looking for things to add to mouse town. We had modern furniture (well, it was modern back then, now it would be retro 70's style) and old fashioned furniture (think wing back chairs in blue floral prints.)


We had various critters - but of course - mice were always in the mix.  The funny thing was everything wasn't proportioned correctly.  Often the mice would be too big to fit in the bed or chair, but we didn't care,

And we moved mouse town all over the house, yard and neighborhood.  Through mouse town, my sister and I let our imaginations go wild and our creative, problem solving brains get busy.  We also learned {sigh} about tragedy.  A memorable moment came when we took the mouse town crew down to the little stream at the bottom of the hill for a boating adventure.  I think the boat was made of cardboard and my sister released the mice (in the boat) at the starting place in the stream.    I was stationed a few feet away to help the boat safely dock at it's destination for a mouse town picnic, but sadly the mice never made it. The water was moving quickly and the boat went over the small waterfall and capsized.  Mr. Mouse (our favorite) sank to the bottom and got pulled away in the current further down the stream. My sister and I searched in vain for the fallen mouse, never to be seen again.  {tear.}

I have no photos of mouse town (remember folks this was the 70's - photo's were reserved for special occasions) but I do have fond memories of many a pajama clad day spent with my sister in the basement of our house (or back yard) creating adventures with some doll house furniture, some cardboard, some glue, some stuffed miniature critters and lots of imagination.

Do any of my blog followers remember mouse town?  Please comment (or e-mail me) with your mouse town memories so I can refresh my memory further!  Do any of you have a similar childhood memory of a favorite thing like Mouse Town?  Please do tell.  I love taking a walk down memory lane.  And stay tuned.  As my new 'adult mouse town' hobby kicks in, I may have more fairy gardens to show you.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Alpaca my scarf - Lawn Fawn

Hi friends,

Today is a totally crafty post.  Like many of you, I follow several crafter blogs and love getting ideas for fun card projects.  Back in September I saw a few really fun cards people made using a Lawn Fawn stamp set called Alpaca Love.  The stamp was so popular that Lawn Fawn sold out, but I added my name to the waiting list.  Last week, I got the e-mail that it was back in stock and in an impulse buy moment I ordered the stamp and die.  It was easy to justify since the stamp and die with shipping was only $12.00.

So, my stamp and die arrived and I started playing around with the set.  I saw a really fun card by Kelly Latevola.  I liked her card because she had the two alpaca's facing each other.  As I sat at my craft desk playing with the die and stamp I was baffled, how in the world did she get the alpacas to face each other.  I had only one stamp and the face faced to the right.

So I made my first card having the alpacas side by side.  But I didn't really love that card.  First, the flower soft I used was too thick.  Second, I liked the idea of the Alpaca's facing each other way better. I went to sleep pondering the dilemma.

And the next day it came to me.  I was watching a video from PTI on a new technique for adding pearl shimmer to a card and they were using VELLUM as a mask.  Vellum!  That's the answer to my dilemma.  So the next chance I got I headed up to the craft room and got busy.

This time I used flocking on the animals (much less bulky and still fluffy and textured.)  I did the die cut on vellum and flipped one Alpaca around.  At first I just had the vellum die cut Alpaca's attached directly to the card, but they looked too white and harsh.  So I modified it by adhering the vellum Alpaca's onto cream cardstock die cuts to soften the image.  I also bumped them out with dimensional adhesive.

VOILA.

My card.  I wanted to be sure that it looked like a girl and boy Alpaca so I added eyelashes & a bow to my female alapaca.  Aren't they the cutest thing?

Oh and I loved buying from Lawn Fawn.  My package arrived 1 day earlier than expected and inside was my order PLUS a few extras.  They sent me these cute little snowflakes, some twine, a few sheets of patterned paper and a hand written thank you on the business card.  Classy.  I'll be happy to shop with them again.





and in case you want to see revision 1 (before I made the changes) here it is below.  This one doesn't include the snowflakes (a nice little extra) and can you see how different the whites are on the alpacas?  It's not a big difference, but the little things make it even more special.


Below is Kelly's card that inspired me, and a link to her blog.



http://disp6194-kellyscraps.blogspot.com/2015/09/alpacas-in-love.html


I will continue to play with this set and hopefully post some more cards as the weather gets colder.

Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fall themed birthday card

Hi friends,

Just a quick post today to share a fall themed birthday card I made. My dear husband had a birthday last week and rather than go the masculine route or the romance route, I chose to go with a fall theme.


We didn't do anything special for his birthday, but it was nice to relax up at the cabin.  Well, we actually only relaxed on Friday and Saturday evening.  Saturday day-time Bob spent uncovering a mouse nest that we suspected was behind the broom closet up against the fireplace.  

Sarah and I wisely headed out to the farmers market to buy fixings for dinner.  Bob is very dramatic and vocal when he finds disgusting things and based on the SMELL that was coming from that closet, we knew there was something nasty behind that closet.  

The good news is the mouse poison is working. The bad news is we killed a mouse who then ran into his hidden nest, in the house and well, you get the rest.  Bob said it looked like a mouse condo back there that had been lived in for years.  Yuck.  The joys of living in the woods!

The way we did celebrate was with a yummy dinner.  The farmers market has local meat so I got some nice steaks for dinner.  Sarah made a very decadent cake for dessert; brown butter cake with roasted apples. Her recipe called for a pound of butter and one cup of walnuts.  It tasted like the crust of a cheesecake.  Yum and so pretty, but very rich and filling.



Oh and notice that beautiful wall hanging in the background?  My Aunt made that for us and mailed it to us this past summer.  It's perfect there above the fireplace mantel welcoming everyone to our little bear lodge. So many people have sent us cute little bear things.  It's fun having a theme for our lodge.

Thanks for visiting today. Make it a great day.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

PTI Blogger Challenge and Felicity

Hello friends,

Today's post includes my first Christmas card of the 2015 holiday season.  Papertrey ink has a monthly challenge.  The inspiration photo was beautiful green and red holiday colors and I had just received my PTI order on Wednesday so I decided to join in.

In addition, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about a TV series that I've been watching.  The show is called Felicity.  It originally aired from 1998-2002 and I watched it when it was first out and decided to re-watch it 10+ years later.

But first - my card.

This card uses PTI's new stamps and dies in the set called 'Spruce and Sprigs.'  I got both the stamps and the dies and thought this set would like nice using the PTI holiday paper I had on hand.  Below is the inspiration photo.

This year I'm hoping to start my Christmas cards now so I have them all done by early December.  The last few years I've been scrambling in December to get them all done and somehow it's not quite as much fun to make cards when you have a deadline.

So when I'm not making cards, I've been catching up on an old TV show I used to enjoy.  Currently I'm watching Felicity.  



I don't watch live TV but have a few shows I record on my DVR but I also love to watch old shows. Normally I get them from the library, but for the Felicity series I found these at my local SAVERS and bought them when I had a 30% coupon.  I like watching from a DVD set for several reasons. 

1 - No commercials to fast forward through.  
2 - I can watch multiple episodes in one week.  For shows that leave you hanging at the end of one episode I can watch the next episode immediately.

So, I'm really enjoying watching Felicity again.  It's so funny to see how much life has changed in 10 years.  Watching the characters call each other using 'land lines' is hysterical.  No texts, no facebook, no instagram, just conversations face to face and on the phone.  I also find it funny how difficult life was.  In one scene Felicity needs a book for a class.  She calls around to various stores and takes the subway to visit several bookstores all in vain - no book.  Now, it's just a quick search on Amazon, overnight shipping and BAM, no issue getting a book.  I also find it interesting how innocent everything is.  The college students in the show are not all sleeping with each other all over the place. I also love the plot lines from the show.  They tackle difficult situations like family abuse, date rape, gambling and basic relationship dramas.  I highly recommend you check it out.  I'm almost done with season 1 and will be on the look out for season 2 to stay connected.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Proposal

Hi friends,

I'm so excited to share with you all that my son Eric proposed to his long time girlfriend Jessa this past weekend.


I had hoped that he would propose this month so I made this congratulations card last Sunday in anticipation.

For those who know me well, you know I'm terrible at minding my own business and waiting patiently.  I knew Eric planned to propose this fall and it took all my self control to stay out of the whole thing.  I'm not sure I stayed out of it enough, but I was trying.

Eric had talked to Jessa's dad in August and ordered the ring in September.  Jessa's parents, my father, Marylu and Bob and I were all coming to visit him on Oct 16 & 17, so I was expecting news of this engagement last week.  I thought for sure he would propose earlier this month, but he waited till Friday, just before all the parental units arrived for the big moment.  It was very special and a surprise for all.  I'm so glad that my dad was able to share in the moment.  He thought he was just coming to Clemson to see his grandson and watch a football game.  He got that and more!

We had dinner reservations at 6:30 Friday night and the whole gang met near the restaurant.  They shared the news with all of us together and it was a fun surprise.   I'm so glad that my dad was able to share in the moment.  He thought he was just coming to Clemson to see his grandson and watch a football game.  He got that and more!   The proposal happened in the afternoon and the 'reveal' happened in the evening.  News spreads fast via social media so when we are at a coffee/ice cream shop after dinner, several screaming girls stormed our table with squeals of delight at Jessa's big news.

The proposal moment!

Eric and Jessa (soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Monroe) right after they shared the news with us!
Eric and her dad.... tears... of..... joy....
Eric looking quite proud of himself
Their friends hosted a party later Friday night at Eric's apartment
We had a really fun weekend at their campus.  Friday was our special surprise celebration, then Saturday was lunch at the Smokin Pig, then tailgating and the Clemson/BC game.  

Eric and I in front of 'the pig.'

We taught my dad how to play corn hole.
family selfie in front of the pig
The whole gang at the game.  Go Tigers.
At the tailgate
Marylu and my dad bundled up.  They aren't used to the cold!
Then on Sunday we went to NorthPoint Ministries in Atlanta.  I listen to Andy Stanley's podcast whenever I can and didn't want to miss the opportunity to attend his church.  Eric took us there (and then a quick meal) before we caught our flight home.
I embarrassed everyone asking for a picture at the church!
It was a really nice weekend, but I'm exhausted.  Have you ever needed a weekend to recover from your weekend?

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.