Monday, December 27, 2010

Busy in my spare time

A big apology from me for the lack of chatter. I have been a bit busy in my spare time and I really thought I had posted more recently- sorry about that. Where did the time go? I had last week off from work and I got everything that needed to be done without any stress, OK maybe just a little. I don't know if I procrastinated because I knew I was going to be off but it was down to the wire for making my Christmas cards and cookies. I embossed and cuttlebugged like a mad woman the weekend before Christmas. I had the perfect setup in order to get all fifty of my cards completed. I used my Big Shot to die cut and then moved them over to the cuttlebug for embossing. It was a piece of cake since I didn't have to keep changing out the plates. I made all the cards the same except I changed out the color here and there.

Once the cards and cookies were done, it was onto a birthday gift for one of my dearest friends- Carol. She really likes purple so I knew I was going to make her a chunky tag in that color. I had been in cahoots with her husband Jean Paul to find me a picture of the two of them for this project. The first ones he gave me were a bit too large for the ornament plate so he shrunk them down and it meant another challenging time of trying to get them out of her house without her seeing them. Mission accomplished- she didn't have a clue. On my previous chunky tags I covered the 2x4 with pages from an old book but to make this one more personal I used sheets of music that were given to Carol from her sister-n-law who passed away last year. Being the generous person that she is, Carol had shared her precious treasures with me not realizing she would be getting them back in a different form. Once the paper was attached using Claudine Hellmuth's Studio gesso I distressed it with Dusty Concord and Bundled Sage. I then stamped the flourishes onto the block. Don't ask me why I don't stamp the paper prior to attaching it. I guess I need to see the block in 3D to know which flourishes to use and just where to place them. Since this was a gift I decided to use a sealant on it by covering it with Speedball Matte Medium. I think it gave it a chalky look and I 'm not sure I would go that route again.

Now the fun begins. The picture above is the front and it was embellished with a Tim H. ornament plate, some flowers and one of my homemade stick pins. The large flower was actually cream color but I sprayed it with Forever Violet Perfect Pearls Mist. You can see the other sides of the tag in the images below.

This side says it all of the wonderful friendship that has come to mean so much to me and more than she will ever know.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I still believe...

I think I was 9 or 10 when I finally found out that there was no Santa. I had my doubts, but this Christmas was the one that stole my childhood holiday magic. It was 1969 or 70 and my father was stationed in Alaska. We were on our own for Christmas that year- my mother, my little sister and myself. I had asked for a Barbie case that opened up and the beds would fall down from the wall and the other side of the case was a kitchen area. It was as big a small suitcase. I remember looking at it every day in the Sears catalog and hoping against all hope that Santa would bring me it for Christmas. We lived in a mobile home because my mother didn't like base housing so we would move the trailer to where ever dad got stationed. It was great because we always had the feeling of "our" home and it wasn't as unsettling when we had to move to a new place. Anywhoo, I almost forgot where I was going with the living arrangements, but being a small place without many places to hide Christmas presents, my mother's closet was about the only place and I knew it. I remember opening her closet a few days before Christmas and there was the most beautiful thing hid in between her dresses- my Barbie case. I had to hold myself back from opening it up and playing with it. If I got caught it might go back to where ever it came from. It was after all too early for Santa to bring, so I thought He might be bringing me something even more wonderful and this was going to be from my mom and dad. I think I checked that closet every day until Christmas just to admire my gift. My Aunt Mary lived in the same town (mom's sister) and on Christmas eve she didn't want to see us by ourselves so she sent my cousin and her boyfriend over to pick us up. I remember it being dark and a bit snowy. My cousin told us to lay down in the back seat and not peek while they loaded the presents into the trunk of the car- Right, who was she kidding. She was speaking to the Christmas present sleuth. Of course I had to peek to make sure the Barbie case made it to the trunk. The presents from Santa never got wrapped and I was surprised that my case still didn't have paper on it. The next morning there sat my Barbie case in front of the tree unwrapped. It had a tag that read "To Kim from Santa". I couldn't believe it. I was a bit disappointed because all the surprise had been taken out of Christmas morning. The disappointment was soon forgotten because I had the best time playing with a new Barbie and the case. The image of Santa may no longer be there but the spirit of him still lingers inside.

Today's card was made with the Christmas days from my childhood in mind. Very vintage and old looking. I think it is the champagne glass glitter from Stampin' Up that sets the tone. I also used one of their new punches- Decorative Label and the stamp set "Tags til Christmas" for the dec. 25th label. I just love this stamp set because each image has a coordinating punch. The paper is also from SU- Always Artichoke, Crumb Cake and Deck the Halls designer paper. I used one of Tim Holtz stamps- Christmas Miracle in Always Artichoke and distressed it with Vintage Photo and then some glass glitter around the edge. I also used his die-cut for the rosette. The little oval flourish is also from the same stamp set. The ribbon is vanilla seam binding from SU that I ran over a Distress ink pad. I think I used Antique Linen for that.

Here is a closeup of the rosette.

I hope you all are keeping Christmas in sense that it was meant to be and not driving yourselves crazy. We still don't have any snow so it doesn't quite feel like the season for me yet. Tim Holtz's twelve tags of Christmas is helping me get there as well as the Christmas music I listened to all day today.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One last tag...

OK this is the last of my tags and I hope it gets you into the Christmas spirit. I stamped the background with a large 6x6 music stamp that I had gotten quite a while ago from Cornish Heritage Farms, one of my favorites. Over the top of that I stamped the black flourish from Fancy Pants. The sentiment was a single unmounted that I picked up at a stamp convention so I have no idea who the manufacturer is-sorry. I punched it out with the Modern Label SU punch. The Hero Art poinsettias were distressed with Vintage Photo Ranger ink and then I brushed a bit of gold on them to tie into the gold on the little jingle bells in the center. Old St. Nick is a chipboard tag from K & Company- Christmas Cheer with gold embellishments added for a bit of bling. And there you have it- a very quick and easy tag. Now head into your stamping area and grab your supplies to create your very own.

The Christmas season has officially begun and the parties are right around the corner. Our small stamping group of ten friends is celebrating next Wednesday with a potluck. I really enjoy getting together with this group gals and with the surprise in store for us, I am sure it will be an eventful evening. For those of you who read my blog, I'm not giving away what Carol has planned. I can tell you her house is decorated beautifully for the season which will add to the occasion. Our larger stamping club party is later in the month which is also a potluck and we do a very fun gift exchange. It is amazing to see how aggressive a group of women can get over the packaging, because we have no idea what is inside. The prettiest package seems to really make the rounds.

I have three more parties in the following two weeks. One is for the hospital administration and physicians which is always a nice time at one of the local golf clubs. The other two are put on by the Radiologists for the employees (and guest) in Medical Imaging and the following week is from the Cardiologists for those who work in Cardiology and their guest. It just so happens that my department is part of both. One will be at another golf club and the other is at a banquet hall. These are rather large parties with at least 200 people at each and they have always provided an evening of good food, drink and celebration. Somewhere in there I have to find time to put up the tree and decorate the house. I probably should have done that this weekend not that I'm thinking of it. Oh well, I'm not going to stress over it because in the end it always seems to get done. The one lesson that I have learned as I get older is to let the little things go and only stress over major life issues- the aged heart and body just can't handle it any more.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christams Joy

As promised here is another Christmas tag. I used my cuttlebug Christmas Tree embossing folder for this one. Are you wondering how I didn't end up with the top of my tree at the edge of the tag? This is a little hint that I learned from Tim Holtz- cut a slit on the fold of the folder. Make sure you don't cut all the way across or you will end up with two pieces instead of a folder.I cut a slit just wide enough for the tag and then slid the tag in from the top down into the folder just to where I wanted the top of the tree. That Tim is one crafty guy- and someone who can afford to try these things if he ruins the first one.

After I embossed the tree, I used Brilliance Copper ink to color the tree. I then used Distress Ink Shabby Shutters to very carefully color the background with a blending tool. I then added some bling here and there and the ornaments were buttons that I cut off the backs and glued on. I proceeded to take it a step further and add some black to the trunk of the tree only to drop the brush on the background just under the sentiment. I found this little poinsettia stamp and thought it was perfect to try and hide my mistake. I had just one chance to perfectly align the stamped image over the black mark- sometimes things just work out. So I then added a few more here and there. The border at the top is a sticker that I added more bling to and then some lovely chocolate seam binding to top it off. As I was making this card, I wasn't happy at all with the way it was turning out, but in the end it turned out to be my favorite. It might have been all I had to do with salvaging it. Anyway I hope you like it.

I am sure everyone is getting ready for the big turkey day. I plan on cooking just a small turkey this year- enough to feed us and still have a few leftovers. I don't even think I am going to be doing any Black Friday shopping (on line that is) and there certainly isn't anything I could want bad enough to hit the actual stores. I may have to just spend some quiet time in my stamp studio, using up some of the stash I bought last year. Sounds like a plan to me.

I hope you all spend some time with family, thinking about what you are thankful for and realizing how fortunate you are for the things you have.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas tags...

I'm glad you stopped in today because over the next few posts I will be sharing with you some Christmas tags that I made. I don't know why I enjoy making them as much as I do. It may be the height of the tags that allows me to feel more creative. I think with the shorter cards, I feel limited- does that make sense? I guess I am a vertical kinda gal. The size of these tags is 3 1/8 x 6 1/4. I made the tags for a challenge over at Waltzingmouse. This one I called my Victorian Christmas tag because of the lace and the cuttlebug folder I used for the background which was then distressed with Ranger Antique Linen Distressed ink. The poinsettia in the upper left is from Hero Arts with a bit of gold ink brushed onto it. The rose was done in the same fashion with a small paint brush to add the gold just on the edges. The roses were a great find at a dollar store and came in a wide variety of colors- this rusty red is my favorite. The Christmas Tree is from a Fiskars punch and the black paper had been sprayed with the Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist. If you enlarge the image you might be able to see it a bit better. The Sentiment is a tag from K & Company which I just adore. The tiny little jingle bells I used on the flowers were from Hobby Lobby- too cute. The ribbon is black seam binding that I scrunched up after I attached it to add to the vintage feel. I don't know exactly how I am going to use these tags. Maybe I will put them in a shadow box.

It is cold and damp here tonight and I am in my jammies already with my slippers and a luscious soft scarf wrapped around my neck (no this isn't that kind of site, I'm just letting you know how cozy I am). I can hear the wind blowing outside as the rain is hitting the windows. I am imagining the rain as snow being pelted against the windows like the stormy winter nights I experienced as a child in the U.P. and it conjures up all kinds of wonderful memories. I miss those days when we would bunker down for 2 or 3 days to ride out the storms. I'm sure my father didn't enjoy it since he did all the snow removal and we probably drove my poor mother bonkers being cooped up inside for so long. Now, it would give me a good excuse to stamp all day- oh please, like a need an excuse. Oh well I'm sure the snow isn't far off. I hit the Yankee candle store last night for the buy 2 get 2 free so I am ready for a cozy winter.

I still have two more tags to share with you, so keep checking back for a bit of Christmas inspiration.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

My little Pretties

A few weeks ago I won this set of the new Perfect Pearl Mists from Ranger. I left a comment on their blog and they randomly picked three winners. Let me tell you that I was tad bit excited when I received the email that I had won. I had watched the Tim Holtz video on their blog showing how to use the mists before I tried them. As Tim states, these mists are made for darker papers and materials. I sprayed a few flowers and couldn't really see the color. Then I tried the mists on black card stock and it was amazing. I tried three of my favorite colors from the set and you can see the results below. If you click on the image you can see the names of the colors I used.

Since the mists didn't show up on my lighter colored flowers, I bought some of the new Inkadinkado spray ink in black. I had previously bought the raspberry shade and the flowers I sprayed were a nice vibrant solid color. I am hoping to spray a few flowers black and then add the mists on top for added color. I will let you know how they turn out.
It has been a crazy week for me as far as a sleeping schedule. I notice that I don't seem to do well with the time change the older I get. I do however do better with the fall time change than I do in the spring. That one kicks my butt for at least a week. On top of changing the clocks, we also had a major electrical power shutdown at work from 8:30 pm until 4:00 in the morning this week. Our equipment needs two hours once the power is back on before we can use it. Guess who was in at work turning things on so we were good to go by 6:30 am. You got it and then I stayed for a 12 hour shift. I was in bed by 7:00 that night only to wake up in the middle of the night for 2 hours. I did go back to bed for a few more hours, but I felt like a pot of coffee wasn't even going to help me navigate the day.

Tomorrow I am hoping to clean out the garage and the DH better be right there beside me helping me to pitch out a whole lot of junk, and I mean junk. Maybe I can fit some stamping in on Sunday.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A bit of early Christmas

It's time for another chunky tag and I can't begin to tell you how much fun I have making these. I could make these all day long. Now that would be a dream job! This time it's Christmas and I made it for the "Tag You're It" challenge over at Waltzingmouse. I started with a six inch 2x4 and I covered it in pages from an old book. I distressed it with ink after I adhered the pages and then I did a bit of subtle flourish stamping here and there. Nothing drastic, just for a bit of contrast and character. I was going for the "glitzy" look on this one so I got out the rhinestones and a pretty glass knob for the top. Hobby Lobby has a nice selection of knobs, especially when they are 50% off. I found this lovely Santa at the stamping convention in Novi. They don't have a brand name on them but it says they are printed in Germany.The Joy plate is from the Tim Holtz line and the flowers are Hero Arts. I did distress the flowers a bit to tone them down a touch. The poinsettias were the perfect flower to pull it all together.

You have got to try one of these. Just pick a theme and go to town. The sky's the limit and they look gorgeous sitting on a side table or shelf. I don't have much time to chat tonight, I just had to get this picture posted. I will let you know more later.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Rainbow Masquerade

I think she is ready for the masquerade ball, don't you? This pretty gal is called Rainbow Beauty from Loralie Art Stamps. After digging my heals in for many years, I finally got into the Copic Craze. I told myself I didn't want to get started with the Copic markers because of the expense and there were just too many colors. And knowing me, I wouldn't be able to have just a few of them- no sir. I guess they are sort of like potato chips, you can't have just one and before you know it, you have eaten half the bag. Well that is exactly what happened. I now have a very nice collection of Copic markers and worth every penny. Frankly it was a bit overwhelming for me. I couldn't even imagine which colors to start with. I tried to start with colors I liked but would buy three in a color family for blending. I then started to take classes at Mary Maxim our local stamp store and I would buy the colors needed for the project . We have a great teacher by the name of Cathy Groden who is Copic certified. The best thing is the classes are free and we just need to bring our own markers.

For the card we added a bit of glitter to her mask and tulle under her dress. The paper is from Graphic 45- another love of my life. The shadowing behind her is done with Prismacolor pencils- Jasmine and a bit of French Grey under her feet.

Below is another one of my Halloween creations. The bats were a find at JoAnns and are actually clothing patches. I didn't realize that until I peeled off the backing and realized they weren't sequin stickers. Sometimes I have to just sit and laugh at myself. Lord knows others are already doing so.
The flower is Prima with a Making Memories Spellbound brad in the center. I finished off the bottom with a MS Drippy Goo punch. The DS is DCWV under a piece that I embossed with the Skull Cuttlebug folder.

Well there you have it. Halloween almost here and gone. I have to try and pull my Halloween costume together this week. We have a neighborhood party each year. In years past we have gone to three different houses like a progression party, but the last two years we have all paid $40 a couple for liquor and to have a tent rented with tables and chairs and a DJ. The tent is set up on our neighbor's tennis court. It gets decorated to the nines and we all bring a dish to pass. Last year it was a beautiful warm evening. Let's hope this year is just as nice. My witches costume isn't the warmest.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It isn't my favorite color

Orange isn't my favorite color but you would have never guessed it by my projects of late. It must just be the fall season with the leaves changing colors and Halloween being right around the corner. My DH says this is the reason that I like to shop at Lowes rather than Home Depot. He said there is too much orange for my taste. He might be right for a change. I'll let him have this one.

I have received a lot of compliments on the chunky tag from my last post. I really had wicked fun (that one is for you Elliot) creating it because it was so personal and I love the way it looks in my foyer. I have created a few more but that is for another time.

Today's card was created using Tim's Patchwork texture fades embossing background and die cuts from K&Company called Handmade which I found on clearance at Michaels. I love crowns so of course that had to be a highlight of the card.

We had gorgeous weather this past weekend so we sat outside and soaked up the last of it. We went out for dinner and ate outside watching the sun set over the lake. There were a few white swans that decided to stop by and make the evening even more memorable. If I hadn't had known better I would have thought it was still August. And to top off the night we went to Michaels on the way home. The hubby had a coupon and so did I- double heaven.

I better get working on some Halloween cards since it is right around the corner. I still have to come up with ideas for costumes for DH and me for our neighborhood party. Any ideas, please send them my way.

~Have fun and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A "Chunky Tag"

Here is my take on "Chunky Tag" art. So what do you think? I have to confess that I didn't come up with this idea. I saw it here on Sherry Cheever's blog and knew I had to try my hand at one. The base of this beauty is a 2x4 scrap of wood. I cut panels from pages of an old book. This one happened to be an old medical dictionary. A bit of color with distressed inks, a blending tool and then some stamping. The base was now ready to alter, which for me is the fun part.

Most of the metal embellishments are from Tim Holtz. If you find it hard to alter- start by collecting some of his products and I guarantee it will just happen. His line of products are made to alter anything and I mean anything. The sky and your imagination are the limits.

The picture on the front is a picture of my mother, my grandmother and me when we arrived from Spain in 1961. My father was in the Air Force and I was born in Madrid. This was my first trip to the U.S. and the first time my grandmother got to hold me. The little picture above was one of my first passport pictures. I guess I was getting a bit bored with the whole process. This grandmother is my father's mother and she died when I was only two, so this project holds a very special place in my heart. It also represents an accumulation of several firsts.

This is the top which I thought was going to look fabulous with a crystal knob on top, but when I tried the one I had it just didn't look right. Once I put the black one on, it was a perfect fit and tied in with all the stamping.

Last year I took several old family photos and had them copied onto good quality paper. I had several copies made and put them in a drawer where I store my clip art images. Now when I do my altering I can use family photos instead of people I don't have a clue who they are. It gives my project a more personal and meaningful touch. I rubbed a bit of distress ink on the image and then I cut an oval to fit the Ornate Plate opening. Remember how I don't throw anything out? Well the oval was cut out of the plastic packaging from an embossing folder and then I used Ranger's Glossy Accents to adhere the picture to the plastic. How is that for being resourceful! I purposely didn't add any brads to the holes on the plate. I liked the look and thought it would lay flatter without them.

I plan on making a few more of these this weekend. My DH cut several pieces (10 to be exact) of wood for me from scraps he had. Some are 4 inches tall and a few are 6. He also cut several pieces of fancy trim that he had down in his work shop and I painted them all black. They will look like little shelves on the tag when it is finished. I can't wait to get started.

Have fun and enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Fall, or is it?

Happy Fall! You wouldn't guess it from today's post would ya. This card is screaming summer. Maybe because I'm not ready to give into fall yet. Don't get me wrong, I actually love fall- the colors, the smells, and the rituals of apple orchards and carving pumpkins, but I also like warm weather and my flower gardens. In Michigan you certainly can't have both.

The butterfly embellishment from K&Company Poppy Seed was my inspiration and the rest of the card came together from there. I fell in love with the colors and the little bit of glitter on the wings. The designer paper is also from K&Company called Floral Dreams which was cut out with spellbinders scallop octagons and then I added purple rhinestones. It looks a bit busy in the picture but the rhinestones actually sparkle to add glamour. I went on a little shopping spree last Saturday and found this new border punch by EK Success called Palm. Don't you just love it.

As I had mentioned in my last post, I said I would provide the information for making the simple basket. You can find it here at Gina K. designs Stamp TV. It is actually called a Flower Basket. On another note, I spent some time today cleaning up my stamp studio. I get a little crazy when it starts to get cluttered and I find myself working in a 2x2 foot section on my desk. That's when I know it is time to start putting things in their place. Over the summer, I had purchased a few new cuttlebug embossing folders and it was time to label them and put them into the cuttlebug binders/carrying cases. Now when I am not sure exactly what background I want, I can flip through and see what catches my fancy. Tomorrow I need to get some spools of ribbon onto dowel clothes pins and into my antique candy jars. You can see how I store them by going to my October 2009 post. I have so many spools stacked on top of one another that if one goes, they are going to go over like bowling pins. Can't have that in a tidy room now can we. Well you know what I will be up to tomorrow. I hope you find something just as fun to do.

Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A very simple basket

A tisket a tasket, a very simple basket. One of our stamp club members showed us how to make this very easy basket that could be whipped up for any occasion. The basket base is made from a 8.5"x 8.5" piece of card stock and a 11"x 1" piece for the handle. A bit extra is needed to decorate it in designer paper and card stock for layering. Several of the members made Halloween themed baskets which turned out very cute and festive. I on the other hand went for my favorite colors. I haven't yet decided what I am going to fill the basket with. The way things have been getting away from me, I'm just glad I completed the basket part. The idea of what to fill it with will come to me in the middle of the night I am sure. I used Stampin Up Cool Caribbean card stock which is no longer available but is one of my absolute favorite colors and I was really bummed when they decided not to carry it as one of the new colors. The designer paper is from K& Company-Floral Dreams. The flower is handmade one using a SU border punch and scallop circle. It is a combination of one from Deb Valder and Daniela Dobson. If you click on their names it will take you right to the tutorials. The teal resin flowers are fillers for decorative jars. The package also contained clear yellow ones. I found them in the flower section at Meijer just by chance. You know one of those great finds that you really weren't looking for but couldn't pass up. The tag is also from SU which was in the spring mini occasions catalog called Kisses as one of the Sending Love Notes selections and the sentiment is from Hero Arts. I was very tempted to dress this basket up a bit more, but sometimes I end up going overboard and then realize less is more. I decided to stop while I still could.

We are still having some nice weather here in Michigan but the days are sure getting shorter. They call it our Indian Summer. I was able to sit out in the sun today and soak up a few rays while I watched the birds come in to fill their bellies. The humming birds probably won't be around much longer before they have to head down south for the warmer weather, but the other birds will stay all winter- as long as I remember to feed them. I really enjoy sitting outside in our backyard and I appreciate the serenity it brings me. I don't know how people can live in concrete jungles like downtown New York; I never could figure that one out. I guess I am sort of a country bumpkin. The older I get; the further I want to be from the hustle and bustle. Well I can't think of anything else to share with you today. I had to make birthday cards for two of my childhood friends today and I will share those with you in my next post. I will also try to find a tutorial for the basket.

Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The end of the earth...

Well this is where I have been for the last week and a half. We decided at the last minute to take a trip up to my parent's cottage in the Upper Peninsula. Yep, all the way to the end of the earth in the Keweenaw Peninsula- about as far north as you can go without a passport. The cottage is about 20 miles south of Copper Harbor on an inland lake called Gratiot Lake. It sits in a valley and is completely surrounded by trees. All the way around except where there are cottages and the cottages are only on the west and north shores- the rest is all nature. The weather was beautiful during the day but very chilly at night which had already started to turn a few trees into their beautiful fall colors. It made for some great evenings around a roaring bonfire and yes there were smores. I especially look forward to the evenings up there because of the stars. I swear when you walk out of the cottage is it like you just stepped into a planetarium. The stars can be seen from the opposite shore all the way behind you where the tree line is. Being so far from any town the sky is pitch black so there are thousands of stars to be seen. I love laying back in a chair and watching the satellites and shooting stars. I try to get up at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning just to look at the stars. The mornings were just as beautiful with the mist on the lake from the cooler nights and warmer water. You can see a few of those pictures further down.
It was my son-n-law Brandon's birthday so I tried to keep it masculine when I made his card. I used Tim Holtz'z paper Vintage Shabby and a few strips of scraps to add some color. I layered the designer paper onto chocolate card stock but it looks a bit more rusty in the picture- turned out better in person. I had been looking for small sentiment stamps and I found a bunch at the convention in Novi last month. The happy birthday is one of them.

Onto some more vacation pictures. You can click on any of the pictures to get a larger view. See how the fall colors are already starting. You can even see the reflection in the water. Two ducks just happened to get in the photo. My dad and taken the DH and I for a nice slow boat ride around the entire lake. The sun was shining and it made for a perfect ride.

This is just a picture to show you the trees up behind my parent's cottage. Like I said the lake sits down in the valley and when the trees are in their peak fall colors, this hill is breathtaking. The sun was just starting to set so it dabbled the trees with a bit of sunshine. Notice how calm the water is in the evening.

I went out on the dock with my coffee and camera one morning and took this picture of a fisherman getting ready to head out to do some fishing. The misty morning is a favorite of mine.

There are a few family of loons on the lake and they put the finishing touch on a beautiful evening around the fire with their calls. There is nothing more relaxing than staring at a bonfire and listening to the loons. If this piece of heaven wont take away the stress then nothing will.

I also caught this fellow at the foot of the dock looking for his breakfast. I sure am glad I didn't have my toes in the water that morning.

We spent an evening picking apples in an old abandon copper mining town called Central. We used to do that as kids and I really cherish the memory of being able to do that again with my dad. I'm sure my mom was somewhere looking down on us. Back in the 1850's it was a roaring town of about 1250 people. My grandmother would spend her summers up there in her younger days. There are a few of the old houses still standing (barely) but guys use them as hunting camps for deer and bear season. Yes I did see the tell tale poop piles of bears. I felt safer since we had the dog, until I turned around and saw him sitting up at the road next to the car waiting to get in- some watch dog!

After picking apples we headed through the woods to Eagle Harbor. This is the Eagle Harbor Light House out on the point on Lake Superior. You can just see the white light coming around in the tower.

And here is another wider angle picture as the red light is coming around. Breath taking, isn't it? The long grey building on the left side of the picture is a hotel and dining called The Lake Breeze. My mother and grandmother used to work there in the summers when my mother was a teenager. My grandmother was the cook and my mother waited tables and helped with the rooms. My grandfather died in 1950 when my mother was only 14 so my grandmother had to work and she did what she did best-cook. She sure made a great pasty.

I really hate the drive up there. It takes us 10 hours in good weather but I am always thankful I did when I get home. There is no place like it. Everything is richer and more colorful and life seems to move a bit slower up there. Just the place I needed to be.

Have fun and enjoy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I have a Dream...

" I have a dream". A bit off track of the famous one, but still a dream. Mine would be to be able to create as my paid profession. I am always careful of what I dream of because I don't always think it comes in the form we had anticipated. My fear is that my dream of being able to stay home and play in my stamp room all day- every day, may come in the form of a lay-off. I have to say I would certainly like my dream to be of my own choice. I have always envied Tim Holtz for being able to do what he does. I guess that is most likely a dream of all us crafters. None the less it is still fun to dream.

I had a few of the designer paper scraps from Heidi Grace-Winnefred St. which I got on clearance at JoAnns last year. I have a special attachment to it because my grandmother's name was Winnifred- Grandma Winnie. She has been dead 20 years now but I still think about her often. Ok, back to the card. I wanted to use the tag which is from K& Company and I used a stamp set from Fiskars-Family. It had the perfect word to fit the tag and the beautiful flourish that filled the spellbinders scallop oval. I took a Sakura gel pen- Clear Star to certain parts of the flourish to give it some subtle bling. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see the metallic color at the tips. Some pretty seam binding, a Prima flower and some rhinestones finished off the card. The flower pattern in the bottom right corner of the paper created a perfect edge to put my rhinestones on a diagonal for bit of a different look. I kind of like it.

Not much happening this weekend. We had our neighbors over for a cookout before they move today. We certainly are going to miss them. They were a very nice couple and always included us when they had parties or a family get-together. They are moving less than an hour away so we will still be able to see them every once in awhile. Tomorrow night we are having some other friends over for a cookout that is long over due. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous so it should be a nice relaxing evening out on the patio with good friends and good wine.

Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Settling back in...

Life can finally start to slow down and we can settle back into a slower pace of life. Elliot moved back to school yesterday and with less angst on my part. Last year I felt the need to make sure he had all the comforts of home. I don't know who I was trying to comfort, him or me. This year as long as he had his clothes and essentials I was fine. He on the other had was ecstatic to be out on his own again. I spent the day getting the house back into shape and his room thoroughly cleaned. Even though I seldom go to that end of the hall, I no longer have to be hit by the smell of dirty clothes. I did what laundry he didn't take and I wondered if the child has any underwear or socks because I folded and put away dozens of them. I had forgotten his motto- why do laundry when you can just go out and buy more.

Today's card is a birthday card for my mother-n-law. I made the large yellow flower out of satin ribbon and a button. I just gathered the ribbon with a running stitch along the edge and then used hot glue to put the button in place. The white flourishes are from an EK-Success punch called Swirl Flourish and the border punch is MS optic dot. the designer paper is DCWV- Cafe Mediterranean. I stil haven't used any of the new products I purchased from the Novi stamping expo. They keep calling to me but I just can't seem to find the time- maybe tonight.

I think we have gone through our dog days of summer. The temperatures have settled back into the low 80's with low humidity. It is so nice to sleep with the windows open again. My flowers finally look great and I and I can actually sit out on the patio and admire them again. I love fall but I am certainly not looking forward to it this soon. I feel like I fell asleep and woke up three weeks later to the end of summer. The days have certainly gotten away from me. Hopefully mother nature still has a few nice weeks in store for us.

Take care and enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Forever Friends...

I think I'm back! I'm starting to find a little bit of the stamping mojo I seemed to have been missing as of late. It might just be the anticipation of the Novi stamping convention that is this coming weekend. I have my wish list of items that I am hoping to find and a list of things I already have. Mostly colors of mists, stickles and flowers that I don't want to duplicate. I definitely have enough stamps, so this will be a tool and embellishment expedition.

I just picked up this DCWV paper "Cafe Mediterranean" and the colors just flowed as I put it together. Help me out here- the butterfly at the top of the card; is he right side up? I couldn't quite figure out which way was up. I don't know, maybe it isn't even a butterfly.

I found a really good deal on this new MS border punch- "Optic Dot" at Michaels this weekend. For some reason it was marked ($7.99)50% off as was the corner and I was even able to use a 40% off coupon on the corner punch because the clerk said it wasn't clearance. The corner punch rang up at $4.99 and only $2.99 after the coupon. Of course I had to go back and see what else was on the rack that didn't really tickle my fancy at full price but for $4.99 would be a nice addition to my collection. I ended up only getting the "Rain Drop" edge and corner. The others just didn't do it for me, not even at that price. I have no idea why these were so cheap because they are the newer designs. As you can imagine I was in pure heaven.

Did you know that Paula Dean now has designer paper plates, napkins, placements, place cards and confetti. Before you know it she will have punches and paper. The light teal flowers that I used on my card come in a package of 300 for $1.49 but they were on sale for 30% off that at Michaels. Each one is four petals but putting two of them together makes a real cute full flower. You can see the embossing on the petals in the image below. I put a small Prima paper flower in the center. The lighter celery leaves are from Creative Impressions and I just love them. They are very airy and they shimmer so nicely. I didn't have any rhinestone flourishes so I made my own. Not quite as fancy but they work.

Not much else happening here. Again the weather man is teasing me with thunderstorms tomorrow. I am beginning to think he is enjoying this.

I will let you know if I find any of the "must haves" or "to-die-fors" this weekend at the convention. I am very disappointed that Ranger won't be there. That means it will be hard to find the new Tim Holtz items. I was hoping to save on shipping costs with buying direct- oh well!

Have fun and enjoy!