Monday, December 31, 2012

Birthday Card for my Daughter

Since I first learned my daughter likes owls, she's been inundated with papercrafts featuring the feathered creatures.  I decided she needed a short break, so I reverted to her previous favorite--dragonflies.
I enjoy trying new techniques when I have a couple of extra minutes, so I decided to use a stamped acrylic overlay on this card.  (Truth be told, the glittered background paper I used was making a complete mess in my craft room, so I decided to put it under a protective cover.)  The script was stamped on the acrylic with Stazon metallic ink.  The frame was designed in Cricut Craft Room using shapes from Cricut Craft Room Basics stretched to fit the card base dimensions.  The dragonfly is from the Cricut cartridge Disney Pooh and Friends (who would have guessed?).  I cut the dragonfly base from vellum and the body accents from metallic cardstock.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Butterfly Birthday Card

This is a birthday card I made for my sister.  Now that she's also a Cricuteer I don't even try to impress her.  I just keep it simple and try to stay in my comfort zone so as to not embarrass myself.
I cut a frame from the Cricut cartridge Lyrical Letters and brushed on a layer of Ranger Perfect Pearls to dress it up.  I then glued it to a piece of patterned paper cut to the same size.  The butterfly is from the Cricut cartridge Lovely Floral.  I cut the base layer from light blue vellum and the top layer from shimmer cardstock.  The body was cut from black cardstock, embossed with the Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder, then sanded to show the detail.  To finish I added small gems to a couple of the flowers and glitter glue to the four holes in the wings.
I apologize upfront for any potential inaccuracies in my description.  It has been more than five minutes since I made this card and my memory isn't what it once was.  I really should post to my blog in a more timely fashion if only for my own peace of mind.  And a photography class wouldn't hurt, either.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Masculine Birthday Card

From reading other blogs and messageboards, I know I'm not the only crafter who struggles with ideas for men's cards.  This card was no exception.  It was one of those I'm-out-of-time-and-must-make-something desperate creations that came together better than I expected.
The embossing was done with the Tim Holtz Texture Fades folder Pocket Watches onto some Core'dinations cardstock, which was then sanded to reveal the core color.  I added some washi tape from Michaels' Recollections line to fill in the gap at the bottom since my card base was larger than the embossing folder. (I rarely plan ahead, so I often find myself "filling in the blanks" as I try to pull a project together.)  The sentiment was stamped on a label cut from a Spellbinders set, and I added brads to each corner as a final touch.
This card was made for my brother-in-law's birthday in November, and imagine my surprise when I saw it displayed in my very-talented sister's craft room at Thanksgiving.  That made my day!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Simple Nativity Display

Last week Provocraft offered free cuts from the Cricut cartridge Christmas Village. At the last minute I took advantage of this generous freebie.  And now, included with your admission fee, I give you a sneak peak at my nativity scene.  I can't stress this enough; with my blog you get what you pay for.
I was really just playing without much thought to details, but surprisingly I like the final product.  I plopped the pieces on the table randomly, certain I'd be tossing the whole lot into the trash, but when I got positive feedback from the family I left everything as-is.  I'm sure I would have made a few changes to the pieces and layout if time (and energy) permitted, but that never happens.
I have a lot to say about this cartridge.  I love the concept.  There are so few Christmas items that actually reflect the true meaning of the holiday, so I applaud Provocraft for creating a cartridge that depicts the birth of Jesus.  However, did anyone give thought to providing some instructions to help us see the designer's vision?  For example, the four images used to create the town of Bethlehem appear to be intended for an Advent calendar, but I only count eight windows.  Admittedly, my math skills are in rapid decline, but even with a calculator it didn't add up.  Also, in the case of the people and animals, the proportions seem a little off.  While I commend the designer for giving the baby Jesus a powerful presence, I'm not sure He should tower over His parents at such a young age.  Also, the shepherd was giving the baby Jesus a run for His money (size-wise, at least).  But then again, his sheep was the size of building so maybe where they come from there was something in the water.  (The sheep didn't make the final "cut".  He was scary.)  Mary was bigger than Joseph, and I'm not talking about her place in history.
If you choose to cut a similar decoration, I suggest you use a very heavy cardstock, or maybe even adhere your cardstock cutouts to thin chipboard for stability.  All I can say is that when I woke up this morning it appeared Bethlehem had been under siege while I slept.  Buildings were toppled, and one kind-hearted wise man was carrying his fallen comrade on the back of his camel.  The poor oversized shepherd, despite his hefty appearance, was no match for whatever enemy had attacked overnight.  It was a bloodbath.
The backdrop of Bethlehem was cut at 12 inches, and the characters were cut at 6 inches.  And believe it or not, I had relative sizing selected when I designed the pieces in Cricut Craft Room. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dorothy's (Grandmother's) Search for the Ruby Slippers

I've been raising children since 1978.  This means I've been responsible for children's Halloween finery for the past 34 years.  I honestly don't remember ever making a costume completely from scratch.  It seems you're never too old to try something new.

My youngest granddaughter (Chatty Cathy) wanted to dress as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz this Halloween.  Or so she said several weeks prior.  Knowing how kids are inclined to change their minds right up until dinner on Halloween night, I didn't rush to buy the supplies necessary to complete this costume.  I even went out of state for a couple of weeks with the realization that I would probably get home with just days left to pull together the final costume, whatever that might be.  I was willing to take my chances so as to not waste my time, money, and limited supply of energy.

When I arrived home the weekend before Halloween, I confirmed that yes, Chatty C did still want to be Dorothy.  While impressed with her ability to stick with a decision, I was a little concerned with whether or not I could construct the costume with relatively little time until D(orothy)-day.

I'm convinced there must have been a parade of Dorothys around town this Halloween because there was barely over one yard of Dorothy-worthy gingham left in our local fabric store.  Even though my pattern required 2 1/2 yards, I was sure my (now-dormant) sewing skills would help me stretch that yard into what I needed.  Or maybe I expected Jesus to multiply my fabric much the same as He did with the bread and fishes when faced with a multitude of hungry people.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to fit my pattern pieces onto that tiny piece of fabric, but I finally succeeded.  It was later in the construction process that I realized I had misread the instructions and was actually missing one pattern piece.  But I made it all work somehow.  (Desperation, perhaps?)

Then it was on to finding ruby slippers.  I was certain I could find a pair of shoes around the house that could be repurposed.  After all, I had multi-surface glitter paint and red glitter to sprinkle on top.  How hard could that be?

Turns out it was much more difficult (and time-consuming) than I imagined.  We had nothing on hand even remotely close to what I needed.  I decided to visit my local Goodwill store to look for a pair of size 4 girl's slip-on shoes.  No luck (and I wasn't being picky).  I drove to Walmart.  Surely they had something inexpensive I could use.  Not only didn't they have anything inexpensive (by my standards, at least) they didn't have a single pair of size 4s.  On my drive home I passed another Goodwill, where I found a pair of off-white girl's size 3 1/2 shoes.   I had no idea if they would fit, much less work for what I had planned.  But it was 2 p.m. on October 31st.  I had no choice.

I rushed home and got to work.  The glitter paint didn't provide much coverage, but seemed to work pretty well as a base for the red glitter.  After allowing 30 minutes for the base coat to dry, I coated the shoes with a spray-on adhesive and applied more glitter.  Another 30 minutes and I applied a spray-on fixative with the hope it would minimize the trail of glitter left in my house.

The shoes fit well enough for a couple of hours of community-sanctioned begging trick-or-treating, and the trail of loose glitter was quickly absorbed by the cracks and crevices of my home that hold the rest of the dirt and grime.  I thought Chatty C looked adorable.  And she was quite pleased with her costume.  All was well in my world.  And it only took 34 years to get here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Grandson's First Halloween Card

I'm pretty much a one-trick pony.  At bedtime my children (and grandchildren) heard countless renditions of "Jesus Loves Me" sung off-key.  Playtime usually consisted of endless rounds of "Peek-a-Boo".  It must have been a big bore for them all.

For a couple of weeks in October my newest grandson was subjected to more of the same.  The singing didn't go over very well.  Peek-a-Boo?  Now that was a hit.

I wanted to make his first Halloween card as soon as I returned home.  I always struggle to come up with crafty designs.  But this one designed itself (or at least that's where I'm laying the blame):

The pumpkin is from the Cricut cartridge Create a Critter.  The rectangular frame was designed using Cricut Craft Room Basics.
The ghost is from the Cricut cartridge 3 Birds on Parade.  "Peek-a" was cut from the Cricut Lite cartridge B is for Boy, and the three dots following were cut using the Martha Stewart Screw Punch.
I also used an EK Success punch for the spider and web.  The ghost border inside was cut using a Martha Stewart border punch.
Yes, the card requires an explanation and a well-placed hint on the pumpkin "door", but I was pretty pleased with myself.  Not so much for the card itself, but because I mailed it before Halloween.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet Birthday Surprises

Yesterday was my birthday.  At my age there wasn't much reason to celebrate.  Well, I suppose I could celebrate the fact that I did, in fact, wake up. 

My granddaughter had been hinting to me all week that my husband had done something special for my birthday while I was out of town.  She wisely informed me that it wasn't something big, just "really sweet".  It was obvious she was excited about whatever it was.

The morning got off to a rocky start due to what I'll call a "difference of opinion" between my husband and me.  And I wasn't thrilled to be crossing another year off my countdown to death.  I started to think the entire family would benefit if I just stayed in bed all day.  But even I get tired of being lazy after a while.  So I finally dragged my aching body to a semi-standing position and stumbled to the coffeemaker, where I found this:

"Awwww, how sweet!!!" you're probably thinking. 
Not me.  I felt violated.  Someone had been in my craftroom.  Using my stuff!  I felt the same anguish the Three Bears must have felt when Goldilocks invaded their home and ate their porridge. 
But once the shock wore off my heart started to melt.  My wonderful family had crafted.  For me!  They used punches, and stamps and cardstock, oh my!  Hubby even had one of the girls show him how to use my old red Sizzix machine so he could cut out "Happy Birthday".  (From what I was told it was the only die-cutting machine they didn't find too intimidating.)
The wall of Martha Stewart border punches was of particular fascination to my husband.  He had no idea how they worked so my granddaughter showed him how to punch a continuous border.  (If he ever listened when I talk to him he'd realize he's been given a full tutorial on every craft tool I've ever purchased.)  He even found my Mickey Mouse punch and used it for balloons (pretty clever!)  Then they inked and stamped... and stamped some more.
I recently wrote about my suspicions that my husband is a closet crafter.  These have now been confirmed. 
It took guts for him to mess around in my craft room.  But he had the good sense to stay away from my pretty paper.  Sometimes in spite of himself he actually hears something I say.

In the evening the four of us went out to dinner, then came home to enjoy cupcakes in all my favorite flavors.  For a few hours I was able to forget that I'm getting really old, and I simply enjoyed spending time with my husband and granddaughters.  And my cupcakes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Giraffe Wobble Card

 I'm running out of giraffe designs to use on Teresa's cards.  I found this one on the Cricut cartridge Life's a Party.  It's one of those cuts you might never notice.  You can find it on the card/shift creative feature from the Mother-to-Be hat, which is on page 59 of my handbook.  The handbook shows it as what I would call a "negative space design", in which you would actually discard the giraffe cuts and use the window shape that remains.  Instead I used Cricut Craft Room to hide the rectangular border (a step you could skip if you don't use a computer design program with your Cricut machine) so that only the giraffe pieces were cut.
Because the giraffe shape didn't have layering pieces, I decided to ink an embossing folder (from the Cuttlebug set Animal Print) and run the head and body through my Sizzix Big Shot for added color and dimension.   Admittedly this print probably belongs on a cheetah, but sometimes you have to work with what you have.  I'll obsess over acquiring a giraffe embossing folder later.
Since the head and body are two separate pieces, I thought it would be fun to put the head on a wobble spring (you can almost see the motion in the second photo).   I found a tutorial to make my own on Linda Kaiser's blog, The Paper Boutique (thanks, Linda!).   To complete the card I stamped "Happy Birthday" on a balloon shape, added some cording, and tied the balloon to the giraffe's tail.  A little ribbon along the bottom "tied" it all together.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two Weeks of Fun

I'm away from home for a couple of weeks.  I miss my husband and the girls terribly.  I can't spend time in my craft room with all my cool toys.  But here's what I get to play with while I'm here:

Yes, life is good.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Summer Fun Thank You Card

My sweet sister (who I hold totally responsible for my crafting obsession) and her husband always invite the extended family to share a week on the lake with them during the summer.  They also take us on fun (and sometimes death-defying) activities on their boat.  I made this card to show my appreciation for all they do for us.

The Cricut Lite cartridge Fun in the Sun had the perfect image for this thank you card, and will be put to good use (eventually) when I scrapbook all the wonderful memories.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Life's Little Surprises

No, this isn't about how a middle-aged woman found herself in round two of child-raising.  But it is about how these children make her life so much richer.

Lately, my fourteen-year-old granddaughter has been spilling her teenage drama to me.  It can be time-consuming, but not without its rewards.

Tonight was family night.  Dinner out, a trip to Costco (yeah, family night is exciting around here) and various others stops along the way.  I was telling the family how I would miss them all over the next couple of weeks while I'm away caring for my little grandson.  Teenage granddaughter says, "I'm gonna miss you, too, Nana".

It was the best surprise I've had all year.

Shared Passions

I think my husband wants to scrapbook.

To begin with, he seems to wander into my craft room on a regular basis.  I see the lust in his eyes.  And it isn't for me.  At first I thought he was just amazed at the sheer volume of stuff I have crammed into this tiny space.  But I'm starting to realize he's in awe of the possibilities of all these supplies.

Today I caught him rearranging a layout I had been working on.

I can't remember his exact words, so I'll paraphrase:  "I really like how you can use these design elements to showcase different aspects of the layout".  Yeah, that was stretching.  But he was having fun trying to use his artistic vision to better my scrapbook pages.  I found it annoying.

I enjoy playing tennis with my husband.  I even tolerate skiing with him when he's willing to stay on the green trails.  Lounging by the pool (or beach) together is Heaven.  But in my little 8x10 craft room, I prefer to work alone.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Disney Photo Flip Book

I was offered a free photo flip book and thought, "What the heck...fewer photos to scrap!"   The finished product with its plain clear cover was crying out for some embellishment.  My huge vinyl stash was also crying out for attention.  I was feeling lazy.  It was either this or housecleaning.
I sat at my computer (that's always easy) and designed a frame using Cricut Craft Room Basics (again, no need to leave my chair) and Mickey Font. 
From CCR Basics I chose a rectangle and circle (can't believe there's no basic oval in CCR Basics!) then resized and reshaped them to fit my cover.  The now-oval shape was placed in the center of the rectangle to create the cutout, the Mickey Font letters and date were lined up along the bottom of the opening, then everything was welded together.  After cutting the vinyl using the kiss-cut method, I used clear contact paper to transfer the overlay onto the photo book cover.   Could it have been made fancier?  Sure, but not by me.
As God is my witness, I'll use my vinyl stash one 4x6 piece at a time.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just Breathe

Let me preface this with the following statement:  I love my granddaughters dearly.  But sometimes a woman just needs a safe place to vent.  I hope this is mine.

My husband went to the bank on Friday and brought me back a little emergency cash.  Today I gave it to my granddaughter who was going to the fair with her friend.  While this was taking place, my husband was at the orthodontist with the other granddaughter (in comparison, the cost of the fair seems like small potatoes).  And it's only Monday.

I thought at this point in my life my husband and I would be free to spend weekends taking leisurely drives through the mountains, stopping at quaint cafes for lunch or dinner.  But instead, weekends are about activities for the kids, running errands, and/or family outings at kid-friendly restaurants.  For that matter, most of our week involves driving the kids to school and extracurricular activities, helping with homework, preparing meals for picky eaters, endless cleaning (kids are nasty little creatures) and doing mountains of laundry.  Most of our money goes to the necessities of life with children.  And my husband and I rarely see each other, much less have time alone together.  I long for a simpler life.  I long for romance.  I long for a good night's sleep.

For the past 34 years it seems every resource I have goes to one child or another.  It's exhausting.  What happened to my "golden years"?  I thought I had planned better than this.  Oh wait, I did.  My youngest child hasn't lived with me in a decade since she went away to college.  Ten more years and, God willing, the youngest granddaughter will be in college (can't wait to see those bills).  Maybe then I'll catch my breath.  If I live that long.  God willing.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Special Giraffe Card for Teresa

One of the reasons my daughter went into nursing was because she was heartbroken that her Aunt Teresa suffered unnecessary post-surgical complications that left her in a vegetative state.   By being the best nurse she could be, she hoped someday she might prevent another family from suffering a similar tragedy.  When my daughter found a cute giraffe outfit for her own baby boy, she wanted Teresa (who collected giraffe figurines for many years) to see her son wearing it.  Unable to travel to visit Teresa at the time, she took a photo and asked me to make a card incorporating the picture.

The giraffe cut is from the Cricut cartridge Sugar and Spice. The papers are from somewhere within my massive stash.  The envelope was made using the Martha Stewart Scoring Board.  But none of that matters.  The picture is the real treasure.

Always happy to show off my favorite grandson

Stamped sentiment

Sugar and Spice giraffe

Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Greatest Gift Ever, Available to All

Yeah, I'm preachin' today, but stick around.  You might just enjoy this video.  
I've always struggled with low self-esteem.  (Not to mention there's always someone around to knock me back down if my self-worth starts to climb.)  Even though I accepted the gift of salvation when I was a young girl, I always felt I took something that was really meant for everyone else.  Yes, low self-worth will do that to you.  
I don't cry easily.  This song makes me cry.  It helps me realize that God really did send His Son for someone as unworthy as me.   
I'm far from perfect (just ask my kids).  But that's okay.  God's not done with me yet. 
 Well done, Big Daddy Weave, well done.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fun at the Post Office

I recently read that the US Postal Service is working with businesses to increase junk mailings as a way to boost the bottom line.  I don't claim to know all the problems at the USPS or how to solve them.  But last week I gained a little insight.

I don't often make trips to the post office.  I would rather put on a bikini and stroll through the supermarket than stand in line anywhere.  Especially the post office.  I have never seen anyone there appear to be in anything resembling a hurry.  I move faster when I roll out of bed in the morning and shuffle to the bathroom.  But last week I had no choice.

I took my envelope inside and waited in line.  And waited.  And waited.  When the clerk finally decided to acknowledge me, I stated that I wanted to mail the item first class with insurance.  Without looking up she asked, "Anything LiquidFragileHazardous...", to which I replied, "No".  She then looked up at the standard sized envelope I was holding and looked at me with suspicion.  Seems I had some 'splainin' to do. "Nothing hazardous,' I said, "just a gift card.  I also need $50 insurance."

For a moment she didn't seem to know how to respond.  To me it seemed the obvious response would be, "Sure, that will be an extra $1.85". Maybe it's rare for someone to insure items in a standard envelope.  Maybe she was certain I was trying to perpetrate a fraud on the USPS for the princely sum of fifty dollars.  All I know is the woman didn't want to sell me insurance.

"Do you have a receipt for the gift card?"

"Nooooo..."  I said, finding it difficult to form the word with my jaw on the floor.  "I need a receipt???"  I've been around quite a while and insured many packages.  This was news to me.

"Yes.  Otherwise you could tell us it was worth any amount."

Yes.  I could also present you with a receipt for a gift card I've already used.  What does that prove?

She seemed to search for another excuse.  "Some companies will refund the money if the gift card is lost."  Okaaaaay...

"I guess I'll have to come back later with my receipt", I told her, all the while thinking,  I wonder what FedEx would charge to send this? 

A few days later I had an additional piece of mail to send to the same addressee.  I packaged them both in a slightly larger envelope and went to do my time stand in line at the same post office.  I took my young granddaughter with me.  Maybe I'd look more respectable and less like a scam artist if I had a cute little one in tow.

"May I help you?"  Crap!  It was the same woman!

I had my receipt with me, along with the packaging from the gift card that read "Gift cards cannot be replaced if lost or stolen" as "proof" that I was legitimately trying to purchase insurance.  You know, just in case.  But I already knew I wasn't giving them a penny more than absolutely necessary to get my envelope from point A to point B.  This time I had no plans to pay for insurance.  I was ready to take my chances.

"I'd like to send this first class", I said.

"Would you like to buy insurance?"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Birthday Card for a Teenage Girl

Hubby wins again. 

As I recently posted, he asked if I could make a second card for our granddaughter's 14th birthday since we had to postpone the celebration until the weekend.  Men.

I used the Create a Critter Cricut cartridge for the panda, chopsticks, and bamboo.  Since Life's a Party was this week's freebie in Cricut Craft Room, I decided to search there for a balloon to give it some credibility as a birthday card.  I found a group of balloons on the first key, third row, card/shift function, and I then used the "hide contour" feature to cut a single balloon (it's amazing the lengths to which I'll go to avoid getting out of my chair).  The grass was cut from a Fiskars border punch.  I used a Cuttlebug embossing folder to add texture to the panda's hat. The background patterned paper is from DCWV Mango Frost pad.
The panda has no food, but he got chopsticks anyway.   My granddaughter is the only family member coordinated enough to eat her Asian food with chopsticks, so I couldn't resist adding a little personal touch.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Birthday Card for 10-year-old Girl

I drew a complete blank trying to design a card for my 10-year-old granddaughter's birthday (nothing new there).  Ten is such a transitional age, stuck somewhere between princess dolls and boyfriends.  I pulled out one of my favorite Cricut cartridges, Paisley, because I knew I could find something cute and girly, but not too babyish for a girl about to start her final year of elementary school.  This little frog "jumped" out at me.  I used mushroom-patterned paper from a Heidi Grace pad for the background and glitter cardstock for the frog's shadow (a little bling never hurt anybody). I added sparkly trim and a flower brad.  Done.
It was simple and quick and finished on time.  She "ooh"ed and "aah"ed over it and that's what keeps me crafting.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Birthday Card for a Teenage Girl

As usual the birthday snuck up on me.  It was after dinner on the eve of the princess's birthday when it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't have a card for her.  And as always, everybody in the house was underfoot when I needed time to myself to make something.  (If I fall down the stairs and break my ankle, somehow nobody's around to help, but that's another story...)

I waited until the princess went to bed (which was waaaaay too late---for both of us) and started the agonizing process of "creating".  I'm sure it comes easy to some people.  I resent this.

I finally decided to go with what she loves...books and her Ipod.  Well, her favorite thing is talking but I'd rather focus on the constructive aspects of her life.  And the Ipod.

The book was cut from the Cricut Locker Talk cartridge and the MP3 player is from the Cricut Paisley cartridge.  I used a Nesting Lace Ovals die from Lifestyle Crafts to cut the scalloped green background, which I pop-dotted for dimension.  And then God smiled down on me and I found a stamp with the perfect sentiment to tie it all together.  3 a.m. and I was done and off to bed.

We aren't actually having her birthday celebration until the weekend, so my husband suggested I make a second card to give her then.  What's wrong with men?

"It's My Birthday" Ribbon

Last month I had purchased a "Birthday Girl" ribbon at Dollar Tree for my youngest granddaughter.  (The more attention she gets, the happier she is.)  As soon as I got it home I knew I had to buy another for my oldest granddaughter since her birthday happened to coincide with her first day of high school.  My grandchildren think I'm clueless, so I wanted to present it to her and suggest she wear it to high school orientation to let all her friends know it was her birthday.  Don't worry.  I knew it was lame.  I just wanted to see what reaction I'd get.

I forgot all about it until last night.  Birthday/Orientation was today.  Dollar Tree had no "Birthday Girl" ribbons.  So at midnight I found myself desperately trying to make something.

I found a tutorial on making rosettes using the Martha Stewart Scoring Board, so I was on my way.

I started with three pieces of 12 inch by 2 1/4 inch paper scored every 1/2 inch.  I folded accordian pleats into each, then attached them into a circle with hot glue.  I flattened the circle into a rosette shape and glued the center with hot glue (this stuff gets really hot).  I used a two-inch scalloped circle punch to cut a shape for the center of the rosette.  I found a punch-out in one of my paper pads that said "It's my birthday" and glued that to the center of the scallop (this is why I collect anything I can get my hands on---you never know when you'll need something random in the middle of the night).

In my growing stash of ribbon I found one with a birthday theme.  It was a little too white and shiny, so I used Tim Holtz Distress Stain in Antique Linen to give it a softer look that coordinated with the rosette paper.  I cut a couple of strips, trimmed the ends, and attached it to the back of the rosette with hot glue (by now my fingers were blistered and numb).  I then cut a three-inch scalloped circle, glued it to the back of the rosette, and attached a pin with hot glue (still fantasizing that my granddaughter might actually wear it).

It turned out big and gaudy, and it gave my granddaughter a laugh on the day she needed it most.  It's still sitting where she left it early this morning, and that's okay.  She started her first day of high school knowing she's important enough for her Nana to make an ugly ribbon just for kicks.  I'll never solve world hunger, but today I made a nervous teenager feel loved and that's good enough for me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Princess

Today is my granddaughter's 14th birthday.  It's also her first day of high school.   Where did the years go?

This child has been a wild one.  Not that she's a troublemaker---just "energetic".  From the time she was teeny-tiny I was convinced she would never learn to control herself.  She wanted to be in the middle of everything.  And boy, could she talk.  And talk.  And talk...  She never met a teacher she couldn't annoy.

Somewhere along the way she has become a wonderful young lady.  She still likes to talk.  But she also likes to help others.  She even occasionally shows me her thoughtful, appreciative side.  Not enough that I expect it, but when she thanks me for cooking dinner or doing her laundry it warms my heart like nothing else. 

I never planned to raise a second generation of children, but God always seems to know better than we do what we really need to make us happy (and keep us on our toes).  Thank you, God; You've really blessed me.  And You'll probably need to remind me of that before the week is over.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Another Cricut Card

Creating anything is a slow process for me, so while we wait for my creativity to kick in (or while I search the internet for ideas) here's another card I made a while back:

This is a Mother's Day card for my oldest daughter.  The cut is one of my all-time favorites from A Child's Year, which is one of my all-time favorite cartridges.  I think one of the things that draws me to this cartridge is the simplicity (silhouettes don't require endless layering) and I just happen to love children (yelling at them all day doesn't negate the warm, fuzzy feelings I have for them when they're asleep).

The decorative strip beneath the flowers is a Martha Stewart punch (I wish I could remember the name, or better yet I wish the manufacturers would label them!)   The envelope was made using the Martha Stewart Scoring Board and one of my endless sheets of random 12x12 paper.  I think I get more satisfaction from making envelopes from my neglected paper than I do from any of my other crafty endeavors (one sheet down, 249,999 to go...)

Thanks for stopping by!

Owl Family Card

It seems like a good time to take a break from whining and post something I created.  Of course I had to dig deep into my archives to find something...

The owl family is from the Cricut Lite cartridge Hoot 'n' Holler.  I made the card for my daughter's first Mother's Day, but it could also work to welcome a new baby.  When choosing colors for the owls, I decided to make Baby a mix of both Mom and Dad just like real life.  (Notice Mom can hardly keep her eyes open--again, just like real life.)

Okay, back to whining.  That's so much easier for me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Beginnings (And a Card)

Lately I don't know what's going on in my head.  It could be the effects of menopause, or maybe I haven't quite come to terms with the realities of my life.  Either way, I need a fresh start.  I can't run away from my life--and honestly, I don't think that's what I need or want--but something needs to change for my sake and the sake of everyone around me.  It's after midnight, so the only thing I can do tonight (except pray, which I've done and continue to do nonstop) is to find a project I haven't posted and share it with you.  Maybe it will remind me that there's a world outside my own head, and it isn't all bad.

(Image is from Cricut Cartridge A Child's Year)

Maybe this isn't the best project to remind me of the good things in life, or maybe it is the best thing for me right now.  It reminds me to appreciate the ones we love while we still can, because in a flash they can be taken from us.

I made this card a while back for my sister, Teresa, just to let her know I love her and am always thinking of her.  As I've shared with you before, she's been in a persistent vegetative state for over a decade now, but I still miss her constantly.  I remember how as a girl she always had a book in her hand, and when she wasn't reading it she was collecting four-leaf clovers and placing them between the pages.  She was a dreamer, but her dreams were cut short due to complications from a surgical procedure.  I want my memories of her to be a catalyst for me to make the most of my life, whatever it is that God has in store for me.

Life is often difficult.  We can make plans for our own lives (and we should), but ultimately we need to accept God's plan if we are to be happy.  Quite often they aren't the same.  It's impossible to sit here on this planet and understand how the disappointment and grief we feel in the present can be necessary in the big picture.  That's when we rely on a little thing called faith.  And a lot of prayer.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Another Shameless Post

I made this card a few months ago to congratulate my daughter and son-in-law on the birth of their son (who is now almost five months old--yes, I'm behind).  I really just wanted to show off the adorable photo of my newborn grandson, which I printed on vellum and added to the inside.

Average Card

Adorable Baby

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Being a Dad

Being a dad is exhausting.

Being a (grand)dad turns your hair gray.

I often complain about the challenges of raising my granddaughters.  My husband rarely does.  The word "saint" crosses my mind when I think of him (but never my lips--if he knew I felt this way he'd surely use it to his advantage).

When I met my husband, I was a single mother of a four-year-old daughter.  Although his friends cautioned him to think twice about getting involved, for some reason (that he probably regrets now) he did it anyway.  And he became the kind of father that every child deserves--loving, playful, moral, hard-working, and one who quickly forgot that he wasn't the birth father of his newly-adopted daughter.

He has always done whatever necessary to give us the best life possible, first with our own two daughters and now with our two granddaughters.  When I can't find the energy to play with the kids, he somehow does.  And he would do just about anything I asked of him (except eat onions and have long, meaningful conversations).  I'm a pretty lucky lady.  And I think our four girls know how fortunate they are to have him in their lives.

Happy Father's Day, Mark!


First graduation, May 2003

Ten days ago my oldest granddaughter graduated from middle school.  What a glorious day.

I never wanted a second set of kids to raise, but God sometimes blesses us in mysterious ways.  The past 13 1/2 years have tried my patience, my faith, my marriage, and my sanity.  But here I stand.  Hunched over & weak, yes, but still standing.

As I watched her walk across the stage, I couldn't have been more proud.  Her life has been filled with challenges (one of them being me), but she has surprised me with her resilience.  It can't be fun being raised by old people.  Parents, one generation removed, are bad enough.  Senior citizens (or those of us nearing that stage) are from another planet.  Or galaxy.  But she's a wonderful girl-- sweet, caring, smart, funny, and free-spirited.  As much as I grumble about raising her and her sister, I wouldn't change it for anything.  It has been my pleasure (most of the time), and my privilege. 

Seven more years and both girls will be out of the house.  I'm sure it will be bittersweet.  I just hope God doesn't decide to bless me again.  I can't do it a third time.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Something to Make Me Smile (and maybe you, too)

I haven't felt like posting in a while.  A really long while.  But today I came across this picture of my grandson, and it put a much-needed smile on my face.

Please, can I just get some sleep?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Anniversary Card for my Husband

In hindsight, it is a little girly.

It's the thought that counts.

In my defense, I had a fever of 102.  I've been sick for the past two weeks, so this was a last-minute thing.  Admittedly, it would have been last-minute no matter what the circumstances, but this time I have a legitimate excuse.  Also, my husband was in and out of my craft room every five minutes.  I'm not sure where he was hiding when the grandchild needed lunch, but as soon as the craft supplies came out so did he.  I can't help but think he knows I'm trying to make him something and he's like a kid anticipating Christmas.  He should know by now that I'm no Santa Claus.

Due to the lack of time (and privacy), I let the paper do the talking.  This is why I have hundreds of paper stacks.  If you have enough variety, you might just find what you need in a crunch.  Or maybe not. 

The patterned paper is from the Bella Bella stack by My Mind's Eye.  When I saw this stack in the store (and loved it enough to buy two), I never thought I'd use it for a masculine card.  But when you're feverish and coughing up internal organs, you sometimes use whatever's closest.  The sentiments are from an old vellum quote pack I've been hoarding.  And the twill ribbon, if I'm not mistaken, was salvaged from the wrappings of a household item I purchased.  To make the card as man-friendly as possible (given the bird and butterflies all over the front), I used a kraft paper base.  I'm not sure what possessed me to add the ribbon, but what's done is done.

Dinner out with my husband and two granddaughters and the romance was complete.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Along for the Ride

I brought tons of baggage into my marriage 29 years ago.  My long-suffering husband has carried it for me ever since.  He's a saint.  But if you tell him I said that, I'll deny it to the death.

We've been through some very difficult years with more ups and downs and twists and turns than our countless rides on Disney's Space Mountain.  Many times I didn't know how we would make it, but somehow I always knew we would.  Of course there were plenty of times I wasn't sure I wanted to and I'm pretty sure my husband felt the same.  But I think we both knew we were better together than we could ever be alone. 

Life is a journey, destination unknown.  Sometimes the ride is smooth, sometimes it rough, but if we're really lucky we'll have someone by our side to guide us when we lose our way.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful travel companion.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Mother's Love

Five years after her sudden death, I still miss my mother like crazy.  She would have turned 74 today.

I had this vinyl cutout on the wall in my old craftroom.  When I moved to a new space, I couldn't bear to take it down. Every time I see it, it reminds me of my mother.  She was never happier than when she could shower a child with love.

Happy birthday, Mama.  You are always in my heart and on my mind.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monkey Card for My New Grandson

I'm posting this in an attempt to get a jump on next Valentine's Day.  Okay, okay...I'm late posting for 2012.

Wanting to stake my claim as the favorite grandmother, or at least to make him think I have some redeeming value (unlike the opinion of the two granddaughters who live with me), I made this Valentine card for my brand new grandson. 

Once I learned my daughter would be having a boy, it seemed like the perfect excuse to buy the Cricut Lite cartridge B is for Boy.  The sock monkey alone is worth the price!  I also used it as an excuse to buy the Sugar and Spice cartridge and a few other unrelated items.  Don't judge me...

I used the Cuttlebug embossing folder Heart Blocks for the white background.  I cut the Love image from B is for Boy, then added glitter to the letters.  I added flocking to the monkey's body and hat.  Then I decided he needed googly eyes.  (Twelve-day-old babies really notice the details.)

I'm not sure my grandson even knows I'm alive, but my daughter said she and her husband really enjoyed the card.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Simple Birthday Card

I used the Cricut cartridge "Life's a Party" to create this simple card.  I added a few layers inside to dress it up a little (and to cover my mistakes).  On the inside I also used an EK Success edge punch, "Swiss Cheese", to mimic the cake design from the front.  (I had to look up the punch name on their website--HUGE mistake.  Have you ever seen how many cool punches they make???  I could go broke buying the ones I want!  Well, to be honest, with the lousy economy hitting me where it hurts I could actually go broke just buying one.)

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

16th Birthday Card for a Young Man

I made this card for my nephew to celebrate his 16th birthday (and the freedom that comes with it).  I should have sent my sister a "thinking of you" card since she'll never again have a peaceful night's sleep.

The phrase is from the "Car Decals" Cricut cartridge.  The car is from the "Going Places" Cricut cartridge.  The background is map-themed paper from my stash.  I promise the car isn't really pink--I'm not that mean.

I'm glad I have a couple more years before my granddaughter can drive.  When that day comes, I'll need a "get well soon" card sent to my room in the psychiatric ward.