Thursday, December 5, 2013

Penguin Christmas Card

Last Christmas I helped my granddaughter make a last-minute card for her teacher, who loves penguins.  And by "helped" I mean that I made a last-minute card for her teacher. 

The penguin is from the Cricut cartridge Winter Frolic.  To create the snow, I cut a strip of white cardstock the same width as the red background and tore the upper edge to give it a fluffy, "snowy" look.  I then enhanced it with the Cuttlebug embossing folder D'vine Swirl.

Because I can never seem to get anything done in a timely manner, my holiday cards will always be posted a year late.  After all, who really wants to see a Christmas card on December 26th?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pretend Babies and Life Lessons

For a while my now-15-year-old granddaughter has being telling anyone who will listen just how much she wants a baby.  I can't possibly convey how alarming these comments are to me, a woman who already finds herself finishing out the last years of her life raising someone else's children.  I can't live forever.

A few days ago we learned she would soon be bringing home an electronic baby doll as part of a class at school. I've always thought this could be a real eye-opener to a teenager who thinks only of how cute babies are, and doesn't consider the never-ending (and I do mean never ending) work involved in raising children.

The baby was delivered early.  I thought I had a few more weeks until the big day, but due to circumstances beyond my control the baby arrived yesterday.  My family has being trying to find time to drive to the mountains and enjoy the fall scenery for several weeks, and finally we thought this weekend would be a good time.  Not so with the unexpected arrival of our great-grandchild. Already the new mother complains about any attempts we make to get her into the great outdoors; I can't imagine making her go hiking on a chilly Saturday with a newborn in tow. Some things just aren't worth the struggle.

Last night we went out to dinner as we usually do on Friday nights.  (No date nights for hubby and me--it's almost always a party of four, one kids' menu, please.)  I thought maybe the baby would cry all through dinner giving my granddaughter a taste (no pun intended) of trying to eat with one hand while soothing a screaming baby with the other and fending off angry looks from other diners.  That's always been my experience with small children.  But no, my new great-grandson never made a peep throughout the entire meal.  My granddaughter enjoyed her meal without interruption and with the use of both hands.

After dinner we did what we always do to round out a nice, romantic evening with the kids--we went to Costco.

We were quite the sight-- a haggard old couple followed by a teenage mom carrying her baby through the store, and an embarrassed younger sister hanging as far back as possible. A few unpleasant looks were thrown my way by the other patrons who didn't seem to notice this wasn't a real baby. (Being the "mother" of this teenager, I'm sure this unfortunate pregnancy was my fault, just as has been every other bad thing that's ever happened in the history of mankind.)  But the baby never cried or whimpered at all.  My granddaughter's arms got tired after a while, but since she wasn't doing the grocery shopping she had the freedom to find a comfy chair and sit a while.  So far I was seeing nothing that would discourage my granddaughter from jumping into motherhood prematurely. 

This morning when I had so hoped/needed/planned to be enjoying a crisp, autumn day surrounded by God's beautiful handiwork,  but stranded at home with my granddaughter and faux great-grandson, I listened with astonishment as my granddaughter took a leisurely 45 minute shower, using all the hot water that I had planned to use for my own shower, and preventing me from getting started on the 7 loads of laundry I had to do today.  And her baby slept through every single minute!  I haven't had an uninterrupted shower in over 35 years.

I seem to be the only person who has been taught a life lesson this weekend:  even fake babies have a way of interfering with my plans.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Birthday Card for a Young Man

My nephew was turning 18 and I couldn't come up with any ideas for his birthday card.  I knew I wanted to emphasize this milestone birthday, which eventually led me to the numbers theme.
Using Cricut Craft Room (CCR) and the free cuts available in Cricut Craft Room Basics, I welded numbers from 1 to 17 in different sizes and orientations to fit on a 5x7 card front.  It was a little tricky because after welding quite a few numbers together the program started to act a little unpredictable.  I think I saved my project and exited the program a time or two in order to get it to work correctly.   Also, to help me size my number shape to fit the card, I added a 5x7 rectangular shape from CCR Basics on a separate layer prior to beginning my number shape so that I would have a visual aid to help me plan my design.
After I was pleased with my number design (or when I began to fear that CCR would lose all functionality if I kept tweaking the numbers), I cut just the layer that held the number shape.  I wasn't satisfied with the color of the cardstock I had chosen so I used a brayer to roll ink onto a Darice embossing folder called Dot and ran it through my Sizzix Big Shot.  I cut the number 18 from the Cricut Cartridge Calligraphy Collection.
To assemble the card I glued the number shape onto a patterned cardstock rectangle from the DCWV Timeless Type stack, which I cut at 4 3/4 x 6 3/4.  I then wrapped hemp cord around the middle of the rectangle a few times and knotted it on the left side of the card front.  I adhered the number 18 to the right side using foam dots, then glued the card front to a 5x7 kraft paper card base. 
Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Precious Legacy

I've been struggling against God and His will for my life for a long time now.  I guess it's human nature, and contrary to popular opinion, I am human.  But I had other plans, and I couldn't convince Him to get on board.  Trust me---in these situations, it's a losing battle.  God always wins.

I love my granddaughters more than life itself.  But I always thought that when I finished the task of raising my own children (and it wasn't an easy one), I'd have many good years left to spend with my husband having all sorts of exciting adventures.  But before our baby finished high school, we found ourselves raising our first grandchild.  And then our second.  Fifteen years later, our lives are consumed with school, after-school activities, post-after-school activities, and all the expenses that go along with such an exciting lifestyle.

I've been known to grumble about these responsibilities (sometimes on this very blog!).  But once in a while, when I pull myself out of the black hole of despair and back to reality, I realize the task God gave me isn't without its rewards.  I have two beautiful, kindhearted, loving granddaughters who warm my heart and make me feel hopeful for the future.  They have persevered during some very difficult times and are becoming wonderful young women.  And somehow, my selfish outbursts during times of extreme distress don't seem to have harmed them.  They are thriving.

When I read stories in the Bible of all the great men and women who came before me, I feel shame.  My time on earth will only be remembered, briefly, by those in my very close circle of family and friends.  I won't go down in history as a remarkable person.  I doubt a Google search of my name will yield any results five years after I'm gone.  But if my greatest legacy is that I gave two precious children the best life possible, I can live with that. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Giraffe Card for Teresa

I've written several times about my sister, Teresa, her love of giraffes, and the tragedy that changed all our lives.  She recently had another birthday, which under the circumstances is both heartbreaking and a blessing.    As much as we hate to see her suffer, as long as she lives we have hope that God will give us a miracle and bring her back to us.

I thought I had used every giraffe image on every Cricut cartridge I own until I remembered Noah's ABC Animals, which I had only recently purchased (and by "recently" I mean within the past two years--not nearly enough time to have actually used it.).  It was nice to have something new that I hadn't sent to Teresa before.  I'll always make cards with giraffes for Teresa, at least until the day she wakes up and tells me "Enough with the giraffes!!!"  I long for that day.

In addition to using Noah's ABC Animals to cut the giraffe, I used a Spellbinders die from the Labels 25 set for the blue background.  Adding a little ink and twine made me feel like an artist.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hey, Dude

I'm starting to look like a dude.

I thought I hated it when I was called "ma'am", but I'm pretty sure the first time someone addresses me as "sir" will push me completely over the edge.

I've noticed a degree of masculinity creeping into my face and voice.  Even my body no longer has womanly contours.  And I seem to be developing a bad case of male-pattern baldness.  It's sad. Really, really sad.

Today my granddaughter came into the room and addressed me by her grandfather's name.  I corrected her, but she didn't even realize what she had done.  It just seemed so natural to her.

Old age sucks.  Becoming an old man isn't going to make it any easier.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Adventures through Corn Relish


I wanted a little more adventure in my life.  Since world travel is out, I thought I could use my cooking talents to add a little excitement to my daily existence.  Wrong.
My family says I'm a good cook.  I have no reason to think they're lying.  They've been exposed to "outside" food, so it isn't that they have nothing for comparison.  Yes, they could lie to prevent me from screaming, "Well, if I'm such a bad cook I just won't do it anymore!".  But think about it--if they hated my cooking, wouldn't they want me to stop?  So yes, I have some degree of talent in the kitchen. 

Why, then, won't they branch out a little and eat something besides tacos and spaghetti?
No matter what's on the menu, there is at least one out of three who won't eat something.  And I'm not talking about toddlers.  The youngest is in middle school and the oldest is...well, supposedly a grown man.  And I have a chef's knife.  A chef's knife!  By definition, that should mean I'm a chef.  Every chef I've ever seen gets to spread his wings and fly.  I'm still perched in my nest watching the world pass me by. (That sounds like the beginnings of a great poem.  I think I'll work on that later.)
We were walking through Costco after church this week at sample time.  (You know, mid-day when the store is packed with people looking for a free meal, one tiny paper cupful at a time.)  I usually try to avoid sample time because I hate crowds, especially those that knock over small children to get that one last mini cup of ravioli.  But it was necessary this week, and I'll admit I partook of a few offerings myself.  But what really got my goat was when my granddaugher and my picky husband both tried pretty much everything that was offered!  My husband actually came to tell me how good the hummus was.  Hummus!  I can't tell you how many partially-eaten containers of that very hummus I've thrown out because I'm the only person in the house who eats the stuff, and after a couple of weeks straight of trying to finish it by myself, even I get tired of eating it.  And don't get me started on the spring rolls...
Well, I decided after watching the two of them scarf down a variety of semi-exotic foods (by their standards, at least), I would once again try to expand their horizons by getting them to try something new at home.  I decided to start with corn relish.

I've made corn relish (or salsa, or salad--call it whatever you want if it will get someone in my house to taste it) several times in the past and couldn't get anyone to try just one little bite. Yesterday I decided to make crab cakes for dinner.  Ever since the first time I had crab cakes and corn relish in a restaurant (I have to eat out just to get a satisfying meal), I've been trying to perfect my own version (since I can't eat out every day).  I even decided to sort-of follow a recipe, figuring my family would be more willing to try it if they knew it was a socially-acceptable dish and not just something I made up.
Nobody even tried it.
What is the harm in tasting a new food?  Even I don't like everything.  But I'll try anything once (unless its primary ingredient is an insect).  I'm not a big fan of barbequed chicken.  But I fix it for my family once in a while and I eat it.  I'm not particularly fond of pulled pork sandwiches.  But a few times a year I'll buy a pork roast and go through the painstaking process of cooking and shredding it.  And I eat it. 
Tonight we had hot dogs. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Doll T shirt and Yudu Cardshop

As someone who can't resist a bargain or a new crafting toy (or a bargain on a new crafting toy), I recently purchased a Yudu Cardshop.  Okay, I confess, I purchased several of these.  I first purchased two from the website when they were on sale for $3.99 with free shipping.  As usual, I was less-than successful on my first few screenprinting attempts.  But that didn't stop me from purchasing 5 more of these from when they had a buy-one/get-four-free offer.  I'm not insane.  Well, at least my insanity played no part in my decision...

I reasoned that I could use the extra mats, screens and inks that came with the kits.  I also bought some multi-packs of ink (another buy-one/get-four deal), which came with emulsion remover.  I hoped that I could use the remover to reclaim the pre-burned screens that came with each Cardshop, and I would then have several to use with vinyl designs (instead of needing to burn emulsion-coated screens, which isn't possible with the smaller Yudu system without purchasing or making a light box).  Even after paying a rather high shipping rate, each item came to less than four dollars.  And I now have a lifetime supply.

After successfully cleaning one of the pre-burned screens, I cut a stencil from vinyl with my Cricut using the Mickey and Friends cartridge.  (There are several Youtube videos and blogs that explain how to use vinyl in screenprinting.)  The most difficult part of the experience for me was getting the vinyl to adhere to the screen completely.  Also, it was frustrating that each vinyl stencil can only be used once since water breaks the bond with the screen, and with each failed print it was necessary to cut another piece of vinyl. (Luckily, I have a lifetime supply of vinyl.)

I had heard from a couple of different sources that the inks can be washed out if done so prior to heat-setting.  This was just the information I needed to get the courage to try my first fabric project.  The project was a fail.  So was removal of the ink, even though I immediately put the shirt in cold water.  There was still a dark stain from the ink.  Not willing to give up, I then soaked it in Oxi-clean and ran it through a wash cycle.  Still there.  I finally soaked it in bleach for a full day, to no avail.  Eventually, I made a second attempt at printing and just made sure I lined up my design to cover the remains of the first one.  And this time it was a success.  The shirt has a slight pink tint and a few faint smudges, but overall I was pleased with the results. 

As a side note to further prove I have an obsessive need to collect a small stash of supplies for every type craft known to humankind, I finally used my heat-setting tool (that I just had to have a few years ago because everybody else was buying one) to affix a few crystals to the jeans that came with the t shirt.  Two crafts in one project.  Yeah, I'm ambitious like that.  
(As of today, is still offering the BOGO deal on the Yudu Cardshop and inks.  I am in no way affiliated with them except to the extent I shop the website way too often.)
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Scraplifted Halloween Card

Yes, I totally scraplifted this idea last year. 

I fell in love with Amy's card the minute I saw the little monsters peeking around the edges inside.  I had to make a few substitutions on my version, such as using an embossing plate to create the spiderweb background and replacing the twine embellishment with a spiderweb border (this was prior to my amassing a lifetime supply of baker's twine).  I couldn't find the stamps she used, but I found some little creatures I thought were cute and worked especially well for children's cards. And since I was too lazy to even come up with my own idea, it should surprise no one that I simply stamped my monsters in black ink and called it a day.
Amy has a great video tutorial on her blog if you'd like step-by-step instructions on how she created her card. 
Thanks for looking!



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mr. Potato Head Birthday Card

Since I haven't been crafting much lately, I dug around and found a picture of a card I made last year but never got around to posting.  When I simply can't come up with an idea for a masculine birthday card, I usually resort to something silly and childlike.  Since most of the men in my life act like children (at least once in a while), it's all good.
Mr. Potato Head is from the Cricut cartridge Toy Story.  The Cuttlebug Happy Birthday folder was used to emboss the black background.
Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcome, Sweet Pea

My daughter, along with her husband and young son, recently welcomed a daughter into the family.  I was so blessed to be asked to be there during such a special time, but since I was staying for ten days after the birth I was a little late getting the congratulatory card to the family.  (Yes, another more punctual person would have prepared it sometime during the nine months prior, but that isn't who I am.)
I used the Cricut cartridge New Arrival for the pea pod baby and the words "Sweet Pea".  I used a tiny flower with a liquid pearl center to adorn the baby's head (she's a dainty little girl, after all).  The name was created with the font from Cricut's Baby Steps cartridge.  I used a Martha Stewart border punch to create the lacy strip at the bottom, and then layered some washi tape onto it before adhering the name.
Please allow me to introduce baby Adaleigh, who looks so very much like her mother did many years ago:
Needless to say, we have all fallen madly in love with her.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ceiling Fan with Vinyl Accents

After months of incessant whining, it seems only fair I should post something craft-related for a change.  Unfortunately, I had to go way back in time to find something that I had actually completed.  We'll just call it a "vintage" creation.

A few years ago the ceiling fan in my granddaughter's bedroom stopped functioning.  (Yes, it took me that long to post this.)  Anyway, we took her shopping for a new one, but as usual, the price-gouging for child-themed products was alive and well.  I wasn't going to participate.

We found a basic white fan that was within our budget.  Not one to enjoy seeing a child's dreams crushed, I convinced my granddaughter that we could dress it up with my Cricut and vinyl.  I would let her choose the designs, and I promised it would be cuter than any of those we had seen in the store.  (Until they reach the teenage years, children are pretty easy to please.)

From the Cricut cartridge Create a Critter she chose five animals.  I measured the blades of the fan to determine what size to cut each critter and its accessory.  I then cut all the layers from vinyl and used clear Contact paper (instead of transfer tape) to layer the pieces and apply the finished designs to the fan.

I swear it didn't take me as long to complete the project as it did to post it to my blog.  A lot of life has happened since I took this picture.  The fan blades are caked with dust.  Light bulbs have been replaced.  My granddaughter graduated from elementary school.  But the vinyl is still going strong.

Update 8/30/2015:  My granddaughter recently removed the vinyl and it took the finish off the fan blades.  I was able to slap a couple coats of paint over the blades and make it almost as good as new, but I wanted to warn anyone who might stumble across this post.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Good Deeds with Bad Consequences

God help me, I'm one Facebook insult away from losing it.

As I've written about many times before, my husband and I have given up most of our dreams and aspirations (and our entire life savings, home equity and retirement funds) to raise two of our granddaughters.  The grandmother of the youngest seems to have given her family the impression that we wrenched the child out of her grasp and have been holding her hostage ever since.

About once every three months or so, usually around a holiday or birthday, Granny sends me a Facebook message asking if she can pick the child up for a day or two.  We almost always comply without hesitation.  There have been very few times we already had something planned, but in those cases I have always suggested the following weekend, and always make it clear that we can work out a different time if necessary.  Much more often though, Granny cancels because she doesn't have money to buy gifts for whatever holiday she's trying to celebrate.  And I'm left to make excuses to the child, and often to smooth over the disappointment.

Daddy pays no child support.  Never has.  Actually, many years ago we loaned him a large sum of money to "start a business", which nearly resulted in criminal charges against us.  Details are unimportant to the story, but it does lend credence to the saying "No good deed goes unpunished."  Daddy never arranges his own "playdates".  He lets Mama do all the work and he tags along.  And sometimes he brings his girlfriend-of-the-month.  Good parenting.

Granny likes to post on Facebook every time she has plans to pick up her granddaughter to show the world how wonderful and devoted she is to the child and how much her granddaughter loves and lives to spend time with her.  (Lots of embellishment goes on over at Facebook--or as I like to call it, "Fantasyland".)  Granny's sister seems to enjoy posting nasty comments about how "they" don't let her see Granddaughter often enough.; Granny loves her granddaughter so much she "deserves to see her more'; and how terrible it is that she isn't allowed to spend more time with her.  Somehow Sis has been led to believe that Granny isn't being allowed to see her granddaughter as often as she'd like, rather than the truth--that Granny sees her as often as she wants.  No more, no less. It's all very much like repeated slaps to the face.  I don't wish harm to come to anyone (most of the time), but if these people dropped off the face of the earth I doubt I'd lose any sleep over it. 

I don't even feel that I can defend myself against these unfair comments.  I don't want to create an unpleasant atmosphere.  But I'm sick of feeling attacked for doing nothing more than taking on the responsibilites of others and arranging "playdates" with those who couldn't be bothered to do the hard work associated with raising a child, and often having to be the voice of reason who encourages the child to go spend time with these people when she'd much rather be doing something else.

There's a remote island somewhere on this beautiful earth and it has my name on it.  I hope I find it.  Soon.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sometimes Nanas Get the Blues

A few days ago my daughter gave birth to her second child.  I gladly traveled a few hundred miles to stay with my 18-month-old grandson while his parents were at the hospital.  I don't see him nearly often enough, and it was definitely a nice diversion from the stresses at home.

Lately I've been suffering from severe depression and anxiety.  Though they've been long-term members of my psyche, only in recent months have they been keeping me awake at night.  Between the frequent nasty comments directed at my husband and me on Facebook (more about that never-ending drama here), the stress of living out of a suitcase for much of the summer, children constantly reminding me of my every real or perceived imperfection, and just the fact that I'm completely exhausted by life, it's hard to quiet the voices in my head long enough to fall asleep.

I took my grandson to meet his new baby sister shortly after her birth.  He wasn't as thrilled with her arrival as the rest of us were.  At first he simply seemed confused.  He had been hearing about this "baby" and "little sister" for what seemed like an eternity (and in reality, half his life), all the while his mama's stomach had been getting bigger and bigger and looked more and more like his favorite toy, a ball.  But now Mama was holding this tiny little thing instead of him, and it didn't look at all like a ball.  And come to think of it, she'd left him alone with this strange woman who looked only vaguely familiar. What in the world was going on??? 

What is that tiny creature Mama is holding?  Hey, wait!  That's my spot!  That's my Mama!  Yeah, that's right...put her in that little basket and let her cry a while.  Oh, no!  Why are they giving her back to Mama???  This can't be happening!  I'll show her!  I'll show them all!!!

My daughter tried to get her son to sit next to her on the bed.  He had been betrayed, left alone with a stranger, and he would have no part of this blatant pandering.  He turned and ran toward me.  I promise you, this has never happened before in the 18 months he's been here.  As a matter of fact, he usually runs in the opposite direction. 

No doubt, he was mad

At some point and with enough coaxing, his love for his Mama and his need to be near her got the better of him.  He climbed up for a quick hug and a sneak peak at Little Sister.  He wasn't impressed.  Besides, there were still lessons in loyalty to be taught.  He regained his composure and ran back to me.  It took all he had, but he managed to avoid climbing into Mama's arms and reclaiming his rightful place.  He finally gave her a perfunctory kiss and we headed home for the night.

At bedtime my anxiety got the best of me.  My heart was racing.  The pounding in my chest was unbearable.  I turned on my computer just to take my mind off my body, and then I heard my grandson crying.  I waited a few minutes to give him time to calm down and fall asleep, to no avail, then went upstairs to get him.  We rocked for a while.  He would close his eyes and start to drift off, then quickly glance up at me to be sure I was still there.  This had gone on for 15 minutes or so when I realized my breathing had slowed and my heart was no longer trying to escape the confines of my chest.  I was calm.  And then he was sound asleep.

It seems we both just needed reassurance that we were wanted and loved.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Poptarts and Water Bowls

I heard my husband go into the bathroom just outside my craft room door.  A short time later I heard the dog scratching at the bathroom door, most likely thinking, "Why is the master's husband doing his business in my water bowl???"

This scratching went on for several minutes.  I found it oddly rewarding.  Finally, after the 35 years I have spent dealing with kids of all ages rattling the locked bathroom door as if their needing a poptart constituted an emergency, my husband got a small taste of what I've been through.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bilingual Me

As I was enjoying one of the beautiful beaches in southern California on a recent vacation, a little girl of about 3 years old approached me and my granddaughter.  "What's your name?" she asked no one in particular.  My granddaughter quickly replied.   The little girl then looked directly at me and asked, "What's your  name?"  I answered.  To be polite, I then asked her name.  She gave me a confused look and said, "You must speak Spanish.  You're different!"

I've really got to work on my southern accent.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boy's Birthday Card

I think the most challenging cards to make are those for adolescent and teenage boys.  Having only girls myself, I'm not even sure what boys in that age range think is cool, or more importantly, uncool.  So I keep things pretty basic. 
This birthday card was made for my 12-year-old nephew using the Cricut cartridge Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art.  Because the cake cartridge designs are simpler than many other cartridges, I find they work great for making quick cards.  Fewer layers = less stress.
Thanks for looking!

Monday, April 1, 2013

30th Anniversary Mickey and Minnie Card


My husband and I took a short trip to Disneyworld to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  It wasn't the exotic, once-in-a-lifetime trip I had dreamed of taking for this momentous occasion, but it was a much-needed break from reality.   And that's what I needed more than anything.

Since my husband did all the legwork to make this trip possible, I wanted to do something special for him.  And it needed to be inexpensive.  So I compiled a slideshow of our thirty years together set to one of my favorite songs, God Gave Me You, by Dave Barnes.  I didn't have to spend a penny.  And that was a gift my hardworking husband could really appreciate--a free one.

The card theme was a no-brainer in light of our trip to Disney World:  Mickey and Minnie.  I wanted to celebrate the fact that we managed to stay together through thirty not-always-wonderful years, so I needed to incorporate that onto the card (the 30-years part, not the fact that they weren't all wonderful).  I had seen some really cool latching gatefold cards on Youtube, so I decided to use a two-part heart design in the center of the card as a latch.  I used memory thread to create the appearance that Mickey and Minnie were holding a celebratory banner.

The inside sentiment was printed using the Waltograph font, and included a reference to the rollercoaster ride we had lived the past 30 years.  This gave me the perfect excuse to use the Cuttlebug Wild Ride die for the rollercoaster on the back of the card.  I also found two pictures of our family at Epcot: one with our two daughters back in the 1980s and another with our two granddaughters a few years ago. Deja vu.

Mickey and Minnie were cut with my Cricut using the Mickey and Friends cartridge.  The hearts were cut using the free shapes from Cricut Craft Room Basics, which is available in the free online design program Cricut Craft Room.  Yes, I love freebies.


I'm already looking forward to the next 30 years.  Or at least the next trip to Disney World.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

God's Love

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace throught the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23-24

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

The first thing I noticed as I walked into church this morning was the cross that had been draped in white, symbolizing the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I can't count the number of times I've seen this on Easter morning, but it still brings tears to my eyes.  It should have been me on that cross.  But it wasn't. 

Thank you, Jesus. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Cards for Grandchildren

Ahhh, life was simpler when I only had granddaughters.  I just made two of everything.  I only had to agonize over design choices once, and there was none of that annoying "Hers is better/different/fancier than mine!"   But now that my daughter has blessed me with a grandson, I can't do everything in shades of pink.  Well, I could, but I'm pretty sure it would create animosity between my son-in-law and me.  Now I make everything in threes, but I alter colors to be more gender-friendly when necessary.  And making that one change is a small price to pay for such a precious addition to our family.

These Easter cards were made using the Cricut cartridges Create a Critter (bunny) and Holiday Cakes (Happy Easter).  I used my Xyron to apply adhesive to the front of each bunny, then I added flocking powder to give them a furry appearance.  The grass was cut using a Fiskars border punch.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thirty Years

On my wedding day I was young, naive and madly in love.   Over the past thirty years I've experienced the realities of marriage and motherhood.  The pain, the heartache, the disappointments, the unconditional love.  I can't imagine a different path.  If I could start over, I'd do it all again.  God didn't give me the perfect man.  He gave me the perfect man for me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bracelets from Grungeboard

I wanted to post something crafty today, but since I haven't made anything in a while I had to dust off this project from Christmas.
Christmas for our family this year was kind of "Little House on the Prairie".  There wasn't a huge pile of money sitting around, so after digging change out of the sofa cushions to buy the must-have items I had to get creative to keep the stack of presents from looking so..tiny.
I had seen this idea on the Martha Stewart Show a while back and tucked it away in the recesses of my mind.  Of course finding it there when I needed it wasn't easy.   So I went to and found the video.  Much easier.

My bracelets are a little different from those shown in the video, but the overall idea is the same.  Since I didn't have sturdy leather for the bands, I used Tim Holtz grungeboard instead.  After cutting the strips to size with a craft knife, I painted them to resemble leather using Martha Stewart satin finish craft paint in Chestnut Brown.  I had planned to add monogrammed metal elements to the front of each, but for various reasons that just didn't happen.  What I did instead was use a couple of oval shapes from a Tim Holtz grungeboard pack called Mixed Minis Plain, and to make them resemble metal I painted them with Martha Stewart metallic craft paint in Sterling.  I let everything dry for a few hours, then punched holes for the beads with my Martha Stewart screw punch.  I used the Making Memories Magnetic Stamp Set to emboss each girl's initial into one of the oval shapes, and then took a fine tip permanent marker and traced inside each letter to make them stand out.  I used some heavy coated thread from my jewelry-making stash to form the loop closure at one end, after which I continued threading in and out of the holes to attach the beads and oval shapes, and finally finished at the other end by adding a button.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Logan's First Birthday

My favorite grandson celebrated his first birthday last month.  I was thrilled when my daughter asked me to make the banner for his airplane-themed party.  She knew exactly what style banner she wanted, which definitely made it easier for me.  I'm more of a worker bee than a creative type. 

My daughter preferred that I not make an age-specific banner so that she could use it again another year.  Since I knew I needed a space between "happy" and "birthday" I designed a couple of different options, one being the star that says "1st" (what can I say?  I'm a rebel).   Because the pieces of the banner are joined with individual lengths of ribbon, it will be easy to remove the star and replace it with another piece if she decides to use it again.  

The airplanes are from the Cricut Lite cartridge B is for Boy.  Using the Cricut Craft Room design program, I took the letters from the cartridge Martha Stewart Elegant Cake Art  and stretched them to the proportions I needed to fill the rectangular flags I had cut with my paper trimmer.  The stars I used are free shapes from Cricut Craft Room Basics.

The night before the party we stayed up late cutting mats for about ten thousand photos showcasing Logan's first year.  Yes, I exaggerate, but not by much ;-)  My granddaughters and I worked hard assembling all the pictures.  My daughter spent most of the day and night cooking the most amazing food, which looked as beautiful as it tasted.  And finally, sometime well after midnight, we finished our tasks and went to bed.
The day of the party we woke up to snow.

My two granddaughters were excited to see the white stuff.  They were the only ones.  I was heartsick for my daughter.  I knew she had been looking forward to this day for so long, and she had worked so hard to get everything ready. We weren't sure what would happen.  How much more snow would accumulate?  Would anyone come?  As for me, I was disappointed that my sisters, who live a few hours away, might not be able to make the trip.
We set about decorating the neighborhood clubhouse anyway, uncertain what the day would bring and not willing to be unprepared should the weather improve before afternoon. 
Then the sun came out.  The snow melted.  The guests started to arrive.  And my sisters were able to get across the mountains safely and spend a couple of hours with us.  It was a wonderful day.

Don't be fooled; there were tons more photos of Logan on the walls. 

The excited guest of honor.

He thoughtfully opened each and every gift. 
At least that's how it appeared to this adoring grandmother.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Little Bird Birthday Card

Although this card is pretty simple, I actually like the way it turned out.  The bird is from the Cricut cartridge Birthday Cakes.  The blue background was made with the Martha Stewart Punch-Around-the-Page Cherish set, then embossed with the Darice embossing folder Damask.  I added a little brown flocking powder to the hat and used a googly eye to give the bird some personality. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Laughter from Above

God has a sense of humor.

After years of quiet isolation, I decided to venture into a "small group" at our very large church.  As much as I enjoy sitting at home being judged only by my granddaughter, it seemed like it was time to get out of the house and allow a few other people to form their own negative opinions about me.  I might not make much of a mark in this world, but I'm good for helping other people feel better about themselves.

My husband and I have tried a small group in the past, but with children in tow it never seemed to work out the way we needed.  The meetings were held in members' homes, and often lasted past the girls' bedtime.  Also, I hated dealing with my kids constantly coming into the room interrupting our conversation.  After a few months it started to feel like a chore instead of a time to connect with other adults and grow closer to God.  When I'm yelling at the kids and using bad language while driving home from Bible study, it's not a good sign.

Fast forward a few years.  My now-teenage granddaughter had been asked to help with childcare for a small group on Wednesday night.  My husband received an email from another small group leader asking if we'd be interested in joining them on Wednesday nights at the church.   And childcare for the youngest granddaughter would be provided in the church gym.  It seemed like a perfect fit.

Trying to mask my social phobia, I slapped on my best smile and walked into the room with  my husband.  Only a handful of people had arrived before us.  After a few introductions, we took our seats and watched as everyone slowly trickled in.  A disturbing pattern began to emerge.  These people were young.   My granddaughters are older than most of their children.  Heck, strictly from a biological standpoint I could be a great-grandmother.  (Note to the Princess:  If you ever want to kill me, making that happen in the next few years would be an effective method.) 

All these attractive young people were as nice as can be.   But we're at very different stages in our lives.  I've been at this for 35 years, and I've grown weary.  They can't yet accept that someday far in the future their little ones will actually leave for college.  I'm happily counting down, in single digits, the years left until I can kick my second set out of the nest.  Right now their parenting problems revolve around toddlers who are just starting to test the word "NO!", while I'm dealing with a teenager who knows everything and imparts her wisdom with a side of attitude.  I don't want to be the bitter old lady who laughs and says, "You just think you have problems now."   I also don't want to be in a group where I'm described as "the older lady".  As my husband astutely observed, putting me in a situation where I'm the oldest person in the room isn't good for anybody.

There was a real effort by several people at the end of the session to make this old couple feel welcome.  As I was chatting with one nice young lady, I mentioned that my granddaughter was babysitting at another group meeting.  "Oh, if you don't mind I'd love to get her name!  My babysitter is leaving for college soon!"  Reality hit like an asteroid.  My granddaughter is old enough to babysitter her children

I picked up my reading glasses and got out of there as fast as my old-lady legs could take me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Simple Birthday Card

The base of this card is kraft paper, one of my favorites when I don't want my card to look too girly.  Presents and balloons were cut using the Cricut cartridge Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art.  The banner was a ready-made embellishment from my stash.  I added more jute along the side to coordinate with the banner.  I actually did a little stitching around the edges of this one to help justify the purchase of my rarely-used mini sewing machine (I have a long way to go with that).
Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Grandson's 1st birthday card

My grandson recently celebrated his first birthday.  Since his daddy calls him "little monkey", he's inundated with monkey-themed papercrafts from me.   (Yes, I'm creatively challenged.  Give me a theme and I'll work it to death.)

I started with the monkey from the Cricut cartridge Birthday Bash (page 36 in my handbook).  Since he looks like he's either swinging at a pinata or about to get some street justice with his baseball bat, I decided alterations were in order. 
The monkey base before alteration

After removal of his weapon

I carefully cut the bat away and replaced it with heart-shaped balloons from the same cartridge (Kangaroo, layer 2, page 49 in my handbook).  I ditched the blindfold/facemask, too.  No longer wielding his weapon, it seemed out of place.  (BTW--Who decided it was a good idea to put a group of eager children in a circle around another blindfolded child who's swinging a big stick at a box of candy???)
Sorry for the hazy photo

The sentiment "Happy Birthday little Guy" and the number "1" are also from Birthday Bash (page 61, Squirrel key).

This is definitely one of my favorite cartridges.  Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine Card for my granddaughters

I made two of these cards last Valentine's Day for my granddaughters.  (FYI:  It's always a good idea to make identical items for competitive children.  They'll still complain that something about theirs isn't quite as good as the other.  You can't win.) 

The ladybug is from the Cricut cartridge Simply Charmed.  The inside sentiment is from the Cricut cartridge Holiday Cakes. (I've bought several of the Cake cartridges primarily for the wealth of sentiments they contain.)  For the life of me I can't remember where I got the small hearts on the inside, but they were probably left over from another project.  Waste not, want not.  Just be prepared for the clutter.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Miss You" Card for Teresa

When I buy Cricut cartridges I like to make sure they work before I forget I have them.  One that I recently bought was Birthday Bash, which had caught my attention because of this adorable roller-skating giraffe.  My sister, Teresa, collected giraffe figurines for many years, and I try to send her cards (usually with a giraffe image) as often as possible to let her know I'm thinking of her.   Since I had several new cartridges to test, it seemed like the perfect excuse to make a card for my sister.
In addition to the giraffe from Birthday Bash, I used Martha Stewart Elegant Cake Art for the sentiment "Miss You" and the clouds are from the lite cartridge Dino Play.
 Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Owl Birthday Card for my sister

I only recently learned my sister loves owls.  How did I not know that???  I guess that's what happens when you're separated from family by hundreds of miles.  So sad.
All the die cuts are from the Cricut Lite cartridge Hoot 'n' Holler.  The white background was embossed with the Darice embossing folder Flower.    

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Masculine Birthday Card with Airplane

This card was made for someone who loves to fly and was turning 30.  I wanted to acknowledge this milestone birthday in a subtle way, so I added the number to the tail of the plane.  The airplane is from the Cricut cartridge Wall Decor and More.  The background was cut from black Core'dinations cardstock, embossed with the Darice embossing folder Dots, then sanded to reveal the core.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Altered Boot Box

While cleaning out my closet (or more accurately, while reinstalling my closet rods after they fell under the weight of my clothing hoard) I found a pair of boots I purchased years ago, still unworn and in their box.  The boots themselves didn't excite me; if they did, they would probably have been worn by now.  But the box?  That's a different story.

The box was fairly sturdy and looked like a matchbox on steroids.  At first I couldn't think of a specific use for it, but I just thought it was too darned cool to throw away.  Stuck at home and bored to tears, I decided to turn the box into something pretty and useful.  Or at least useful.

The box was slightly larger than 12x12 so I wanted to find paper that would coordinate with the blue border on the box, thereby allowing me to use less paper and expend less energy.  I was able to use just three pieces of 12x12 paper--one covered most of the top, another was cut into three 4x12 pieces to cover the sides and back, and the third was used to cover the front and to fill in a few gaps.

I used Mod Podge to glue the paper to the box.  To make it look a little fancier (I didn't say fancy, just fancier) I brushed a small amount of gold Martha Stewart Craft Paint along the edges.  After allowing the paint and glue to dry throughly, I brushed Mod Podge over everything to seal it.  As a final touch I attached a metal label holder to the drawer front using my Crop-A-Dile. 

Because it is large enough to hold a 12x12 sheet of scrapbook paper, I decided it would be perfect to store my unfinished paper projects.  I can also set my current project on top of the box if I need to temporarily free up table space, and because it opens like a drawer I can still access the contents inside if necessary. 

I got to play and ended up with something useful.  And I reduced my paper stash by three sheets.  It was a very good day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bird and Banner Birthday Card

I recently purchased the Cricut cartridge Birthday Bash, which had been on my wishlist for quite a while.  I found this cute bird and banner on page 39 of my handbook.  The white background was die cut then embossed with the Darice embossing folder Dots.  

Sorry for the dark picture.  I guess if I'm going to photograph my projects late at night I either need a camera with a working flash or better lighting. 

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Birthday Card for my Husband

What can I say?  I'm out of ideas for masculine cards.  I had a background stamp I wanted to use and a new whimsical stamp set I was dying to try out, so this is what my husband got.  We've been married almost 30 years.  If he was expecting more it just proves he hasn't been paying attention.