Friday, November 29, 2013

Almost Finished

"Cakes get done, people get finished."  I wonder what little quirky sayings my children will remember about me?  Wow, new world record for digressing.

Last Friday I was heading in to class, walking the long way around to avoid some stairs (giving my knees a rest) and I looked up at exactly the right time.  I usually take the stairs, so I get a different, less photogenic view.  When I looked up and saw the school from this angle, with the tree and the glow of the inside lights - I knew I had to back up a foot or two and get a quick Instagram. 

Sometimes it seems to take forever for Instagram to boot up.  Especially if one is running a little late or if it's chilly (definitely the later for me, I'm usually pretty good about being punctual).  So while I waited I was thinking about I only had 4 more classes in the semester.  That day and one more week.  This is the last math class that I'm taking.  Next semester I'll have one more class, but I'll only have 2 or 3 actual classes - after that we'll be set lose for student teaching.  It'll be a TON of work for certain, but a different kind of work.  More meaningful, more immediate, more urgent, with bigger stakes and more direct feedback.  I'm a little scared and VERY excited.  And yes, all these thoughts ran through my head waiting for Instagram to fire up.

And I wanted to take some time to document this - the excitement, anticipation, nervousness and immediacy - before it was in the past.  

I have a pile of glassine envelopes - I think I picked them up at this weird bulk paper goods place not too far from here.  I've had them forever, and used some and there, oh, and here, too!  (Isn't it great when you have evidence that actually used stuff you bought??)  I also bought a huge box of library cards from a teacher supply store.  I think there were 500 cards in the box and it cost about $11.  I've used a ton of them, too, but barely made a dent in the box.  They've been great for journaling, die cutting and even just making lists or quick notes.  Today I used them for hand journaling.  *Gasp*! I rarely hand journal, for a whole bunch of reasons, but the library cards are liberating, especially in the glassine envelopes - it's easy to start over, the handwriting doesn't have to be perfect since it's pretty well concealed, and I don't have to worry about keeping it short, since I can easily stack lots of the library cards in the pocket. That's a win/win to me.

 Some detail shots.  I don't necessarily think you want or need them, but I'm getting into the habit anyway.  

Some favorites right now:
  • Have I mentioned lately how much I ♥♥♥ aflairforbuttons at Etsy?  Oh, I have, haven't I?? Naughty blogger!
  • I just found the font Grand Hotel at  Wait.  Wasn't I just talking about them recently, too?  Hmmm.  I'm turning into my grandmother maybe. 
  • The "Math Notebook Washi" blends in too well, which is a crying shame.  It's beautiful.  Freckled Fawn is genius for making it. For me. Let's go with that. I like to feel special, and it's working. 
And there's no link for it, but I do like the swoopy way I did the stitching.  I don't know why I did it, or why I like it so much, but I do.  

And I wonder if I'm the only person who's guilty of using leftover tidbits from recent layouts, even it it might not actually work.  The little star (next to the heart)?  It's a leftover from a recent football layout.  The scalloped circle under the owl is a leftover scrap of paper from that same layout.  The scallop shape is one I just used in a Christmas project I'll share next week.  But when I knew I wanted a scalloped circle to ground the flair, I know exactly which one I wanted to use. And why. (It's the 5 scalloped circles from the Silhouette store.)  The little white tag and the red heart were also in my little bowl of leftover die cuts.  And the aqua blue thread was the thread on sewing machine.  It only just barely works, but it doesn't NOT work, so I wasn't going to go to the effort of changing it out.  I don't know if that's laziness or a sign that I've gone zen in my old age.

I hope that you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and are making it through Black Friday untrampled. 

Plan on stopping by Monday afternoon.  We did a fun project for the Silhouette blog and I'm really excited to see what the other girls came up with and I'll have some extra details and thoughts on here. 

See you then!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My day up on the SIlhouette blog

Which means I get to share here and add my 2¢.

So, I talk about most of the Silhouette-y stuff over at their blog, so I'm going to skip that stuff. ;)  Problem is, when I write the post for them I'm thinking "Oh, I want to talk about this on my blog.  And this, too!" But a week and a half later I can't remember doodley.


So, the one thing that I wanted to mention is that I used Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive for this technique and I really think it made a world of difference.  I can't think of another adhesive that would have been this quick and this rock solid.  I gently folded the leaves and had a blob of the Quick Dry on a piece of scrap paper and I just dipped them in and put them on the page.  I was able to scooch them around for maybe 10 or 20 seconds, but then after that they were pretty well stuck.  I was worried that the glue - which is white - would be super obvious.  But it dried clear.  You can see it if there are big globs of it, but fortunately I was tidy. ;)

The other thing that I want to point out is that I LOVE THIS TOOL:

It's the Silhouette Spatula and it's pretty amazing.  I don't get all goo goo about everything that comes my way, and in the interest of full disclosure: this was given to me by Silhouette. And I'm sooo glad they did!  Obviously it's main purpose is to lift things off the cutting mat.  And it does an excellent job at that.  It has saved me from ripping all kinds of intricate cuts.  I can't explain why it's so fantastic, but it is. There's something about the way it curves into a point - it allows you to work it under the thin, delicate parts of the design to gently pry it up.

But it's useful for other things, as well.  For instance, the leaves up there are fairly small.  I couldn't quite bend them easily with my chubby fingers.  I used the spatula tool and bent the leaves around it.  Made life so much easier.  AND, I've been working on another project that will go up next week and there's a TON of glitter involved.  TONS.  Ever notice that when you sprinkle glitter some of it that doesn't land in the glue sticks around? FOREVER? I'm finding this tool very handy for removing glitter that gets stuck in crevices.  I'll point this out when I have a decent example that I can share.  But it's just another reason why I love this tool.

So that's that.  I loved so many pictures from this afternoon, and I hope to do at least two more layouts.  I hope that I can squeeze them in before I love my autumn-mojo.  Does that happen to anyone else??  The two layouts that I want to do are story based and have nothing to do with the time of year, but naturally the color scheme will still reflect that.  But once the season passes, I find it harder and harder to get motivated to do "out of season" layouts. Hmmm.

I think I feel safe in saying that I won't be posting again before Thanksgiving, so I feel comfortable in wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Open on Sunday.

My store is closed 47 Sundays out of 52.  I can't complain.  As far as retail environments go, I'm blessed and I know it.  However, we're open, it's Sunday, and we didn't run an ad, so no one even knows we're here. We've had two customers so far.  I sort of brought something to do, but I couldn't drag it into a 5 hour task.

So here I am.

I made this layout a couple of weeks ago.  I had originally intended it to be a Silhouette blog post but I made layouts that I liked better and were more seasonally appropriate, so this one got benched.

Little shy on the journaling, eh?  I made this shortly after I got the high blood pressure diagnosis.  I had a pity party that lasted for a couple of days, before realizing how lucky I was.  That catching it allowed it to be treated.  And treatment means avoiding ugly surprises, like, oh...say...a stroke. And my treatment is so easy: I take a half of a diuretic pill every morning.  Whoopee.  I am glad that my gynecologist caught it and that my family doctor is testing the easiest treatment first and keeping an eye on me.  I'm watching my salt and caffeine intake and being more conscientious of my body cues.  So yes: Life if good.

I've said that I think the sports pages are challenging.  And they are.  But I also think that super girly pages are not my forte.  I don't think this is "super girly" but it has more pink and pastels than any layout I've done in the recent past.  It was challenging, but also fun to switch out of my color-scheme comfort zone.  The thing that I really like on this layout is the pink line around the edge.  I just used a fine tipped paint brush in Tattered Angles spray mist.  I am often too heavy handed when I try to outline things in pen, so I tend not to attempt that anymore.  But the paint brush was much easier for me to use without making a mess out of it.

Alrighty then! Happy Sunday to you all!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Because I'm feeling cheeky...

I thought I'd share a layout I made a while ago that didn't really..uh...go anywhere.
I probably shouldn't show you this very risque shot of my daughter holding a pair of underpants.  But she's 19 years old in this picture (and currently rounding the corner to 20!); she knows about the layout and that I'm going to share it; and lastly, the underwear was purchased from Target, on an endcap where literally thousands of people would have walked past it without having a single untoward thought.

The only point I want to make is this: I have never before used this selective colorization.  While I think (generally) that it can be very cheap and obvious (seriously, no more beautiful women in black and white holding a colorized rose: BLECH), in this case it really worked.  No one really looks their best at 7:30 Christmas morning, and while it doesn't really translate here, that Superman logo is glittery, and in the real life version of this, it looks fantastic.

Hey, thanks for stopping by - AGAIN. :)  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Spoils of "Another Happy Tuesday"

Hello folks! Today is NOT another happy Tuesday.  Heck, it's not even another happy Wednesday. It's more of a sip-your-coffee-and-keep-all-your-angry-thoughts-to-yourself kinda day.   But the good news is, I have a blog post to divert my attention! Yay for blog posts!

I started this layout over the weekend.  I've mentioned before how hard I find scrapping sports layouts.  I've also mentioned that I don't own and can't find a lot of blue that works with the royal blue in his uniform.   So I feel like I'm scrapbooking with one hand tied behind my back.

That said, I knew I wanted the word teamwork in the title, but I also had another die cut and I couldn't make it work.  I'm not in love with the finished page, but after several hours of shoving around titles and embellishments, this was a good compromise.

I'm also finding it difficult to find sports themed embellishments that aren't juvenile.  Even on my beloved Silhouette, the pickin's are slim.  So for this, it's stars (aren't all athletes stars? Even if only in their own minds...) and arrows (to show the forward momentum of the play) and a semi-generic GO! banner that I made.  (If you're interested in that file, let me know and I'll send it your way).  I worked in a little blue with the accents and figured green, brown and grey would work well enough, for the grass, mud and general overall grey quality of northeast Ohio during football season.

And the journaling tells why it was worth it for me to get the page done when I just wanted to abandon it and move onto something more scrap-friendly.  I love this picture.  On the way home from this game Ted and I were talking about the game and he asked it I saw that one play where Sushi was carrying him.  Uh. No.   I have no idea what you're talking about.  He went on excitedly, telling me about how in the one play when they were starting off at the 15 yard line he ran the ball and just as he was about to be tackled by South, Sushi was right there behind him and "he carried me for like 20 seconds!"  Later that today I was scrolling through my pictures and noticed this shot and sure enough, Ted's feet aren't on the ground, and sure enough it was Sushi (#71) and #70 who were hoisting him up by his jersey and carrying him - and the ball - down field.  Judging by the fact that my camera shoots 6 frames per second, he was only off the ground for about 2 seconds, but still: that's teamwork.

These are a few of my favorite things:
Flair: Minimal 1 flair at aflairforbuttons.
Wood veneer: Arrow Wood Chips from Freckled Fawn and they're colored with a dumb ole Sharpie and sanded a bit.
Enamel dots: Ombre Black Enamel Dew Drop Stickers, also from Freckled Fawn.
The washi at the top and bottom is also from Freckled Fawn.
The font on the main title is Blackout Midnight from Font Squirrel - and you know you want to check them out based on the name alone.

So that's that.  Things are probably going to be scarce here for a while.  It's Christmas in retailland, and theoretically we're coming up on final exam time for school, but I'm thinking that's not going to be a big deal this time around.  And no, you won't hear me complaining about that!

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to say "Heyyy" in the comment section.  Not gonna lie: I love a comment or 2 here and there. ☺

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another Happy Tuesday.

I have Tuesdays off, and I love days off.  Especially since this semester is so much easier than previous years - I feel like I can actually enjoy my away-from-work time.  I usually tutor on Tuesdays, but my tutee had a test today, so we met last night.  This means I don't even have to leave the apartment: Yay!  There's nothing wrong with going out and about, but when it's cold and grey and I'm broke, then staying home and watching Downton Abbey, scrapbooking, blogging and otherwise lounging about on my own terms is absolutely heavenly!

Ted turned 15th last month.  We had a great day - we went bowling, walked around the mall, visited the arcade and had dinner at a new pizza place that was really quite tasty. Afterward we came home and had some cake.  Once again, Kerig came through with the photos!  He did a great job - I love the fact that he thought to get a snap of Molly decorating the cake.

I love the way the layout came together.  Yes, it's even more Silhouette-y than usual, but it works.  I'm fond of the swirly border - both the pen on the right side and the cut on the left.  But it's the candles that make the happiest - they're tall and fun and I love the layers on layers in the flame. The "eat" button is from Kelly Purkey at Simon Says Stamp (as are the letter stickers for the word 'birthday") - and while I love her products and aesthetics, I do prefer the buttons from aflairforbuttons on Etsy.  Kelly's button is bigger, which isn't a plus for me - real estate on an 8.5x11 page is too precious, so even that tiny little bit can make a big difference.  But more than that, the bottom side of the button is concave, so adhering it is much trickier than the flat-backed variety at aflairforbuttons.  It's nit picking, really, but it matters to me.

Okay, it's off to the next phase of DAY OFF TUESDAY!  Thanks for stopping by! ☺

p.s. If you're so inclined, this is the featured layout on Silhouette's (FABULOUS & INSPIRATIONAL) blog, and stopping over there would fill you with great crafty ideas!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Halloween Prep, y'all.

(I don't know what exactly the "y'all" is about.  I'm feeling sort of punchy at the moment, I guess.)

A couple of weekends ago our big Sunday fun was carving pumpkins.  Here's a little full disclosure for you: I hadn't really planned on carving pumpkins this year.  The kids spend the week with their dad so it seems sort of silly to go to the expense for something they'd see twice.  Plus, they're getting to that age where holidays just aren't as big a deal as they used to be.  Or so I thought.  So when Molly asked if we were carving pumpkins I didn't think to consult Kerig, I just said no.  It was a decision I'd already made.  Although, Kerig had apparently made his own decision about the situation, and as soon as he heard me say no, he chimed in with "Yes, we are."  Well, okay then.  It hadn't occurred to me that maybe he was looking forward to this.  So I was happily overruled.

We went to the local pumpkin patch  nursery garden center and chose our pumpkins. Ted, Kerig and I chose moderate sized pumpkins - something big enough for carving room, but not so large as to be a pain in the neck to carry upstairs.  Molly, on the other hand, bought into BIGGER IS BETTER and picked out one of the biggest ones they had.

At home we washed them off, spread some newspaper, cranked Pandora's Halloween station and went to work.  Molly had already picked out her design from the pattern book that came with the tools - a ghoul at a graveyard spookily raising his hand.  Since I really wasn't super into it, I just went with a standard jack-o-lantern face, with rounded features.  Kerig contemplated his design for quite some time and settled in on a menacing jack-o-lantern face with sizable fangs.

Ted, however, was the man this year.  I don't think of Ted as being super artistic, but he's very good with the fixing/building/figuring out of things.  He decided that he wanted to do Snoopy asleep on his doghouse.  He asked to borrow my laptop and searched google images until he found something suitable to use as a guide.  And I'll be darned if he didn't make it work!

It's really nice having Kerig around.  He's quick to pick up a camera and he's good at it, too.  He stepped right in, made certain there was a picture of everyone working as well as final product shots, and lots of other details.  It was hard to not use all the pictures, but I managed to whittle it down to just 6 pictures and then printed them relatively small.

And then I carefully crammed them all onto one page:

Since I struggle when using more than one picture on a page, I feel rather triumphant that I was able to semi-effectively cram 6 pictures on here.  Go me!

Hey, so, uh, this was up on the Silhouette blog yesterday.  If you're so inclined, you can click this link and check it out again over there.  Cuz yeah. Why not?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lesson learned.

Good grief.  I'm really glad that I cleaned my desk off on Thursday.  This is a tale of before, during and after.  And I'll cut to the moral of the story: Don't be stupid, Stupid :P

So, this is a picture of my desk shortly after we got settled, taken in the beginning of July:

And that's basically the set up I've been running with. I took the Ott light off, because I just didn't need it.  I also don't ever put my laptop on top of the desk anymore.  Real estate is just too precious, so for entertainment I use my Kindle instead, and I put the laptop on a tall chair off to the side for my Silhouetting.

My desk is a vintage drafting table that I got about 18 years ago when we lived in Indiana.  My oldest had sort of taken it over and trashed it, and when we moved I reclaimed it and refinished it.  For weeks I couldn't walk past it without running my hand over the top and asking "Isn't she pretty?"  Yes.  I love it.

BUT, it's a drafting table.  It's meant to have a couple of sheets of paper on it.  NOT all the stuff that I had piled on top of it.  And, as a drafting table, the table can be raised and lowered and the top swings up - drafting is often done  with the table top angled up.  The combined affect of these facts is that the whole dern thing shifts around.

So I've put stuff across the back part, which has probably put more pressure there than it can handle. And over the last couple of weeks I've noticed the whole thing dropping down a little bit at a time.  So I asked Ted and Kerig to lift up the top, and I was going to put some old kid's building blocks under the legs so that top couldn't drop down again.  For whatever reason, I didn't think I needed to take everything off the top.  The good news is, I just cleaned my desk on Thursday so it was very close the way it looks in the picture up there.

The bad news is, this was a stupid decision on my part and everything ended up on the floor:

Oops.  Fortunately nothing broke.  And I would have preferred to just raise and reinforce the desk as we had originally planned.  But instead, I got to reorganize.  Never mind that I had just done this on Thursday.  I did decide that I needed to get a lot of weight off the back side of the desk, so now it looks like this:

One of the things that I love about my table is that it's tall enough for me to scrapbook standing up, which I prefer.  One of the benefits of scrapbooking standing up is that you don't have to have everything right there - walking four feet is no big deal when you're already up.  So tonight I just reevaluated what I needed at my fingertips. The black thing is a lazy Susan thingee (TJ Maxx $10 - l♥ve) and it has scissors (multiple pair, because they're so easy to lose), basic hand punches, tweezers, pokers (like for making a hole for brads), Zig glue pens, my Basic Grey file set and my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher.   The red box has current pictures and a my (teeny, tiny, minuscule) collection of acrylic stamps.  They don't need to be at my fingertips, but I hope to remember to use them if they're there.  The round silver thing is my small bucket of flair.  My Fridgebinz box of adhesive is a must-keep-close item for certain.  The white Making Memories thing has all kinds of pens, paint brushes, lens and stamp cleaners, my ATG gun, SEI buttons that rarely get used but make me happy, and then the little drawers hold extra blades for my trimmer, CM circle cutter blades, Tiny Attacher refills, o-rings and teeny bits.

This was not how I had planned to spend my evening.  But that's okay.  I've been meaning to make some adjustments and this helped that.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope to have some thing more directly scrapbook related soon. ☺
Have a great week!

And don't forget: Don't be stupid, Stupid ;)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cameo'd phone case

If you're an iphone user, you've never had to go out of your way to find a phone case that reflects who you are. It doesn't matter if you're at Target, Best Buy or your local she-she boutique: apple cases in dozens of cool/funky/beautiful/sparkly varieties are available to you.

If, however, you use an Android phone... Pffft.  You might be able to get something at your carrier's store.  And they *might* have an Otter Box at Best Buy.  But good luck with that.

I don't want this to dissolve into a my-phone-is-better-than-your-phone debate.  But apple has been very smart in keeping it's shell the same size across multiple generations: this makes it so much easier for third party companies to feel confident about making accessories.  Maybe one day Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc will take a page from Apple's book but I'm not going to hold my breath for that.  They don't make money from those types of accessory sales, so there's no real incentive...

So, what's a girl to do?

Answer: a girl with a Cameo has no problem.  Well, that's not entirely true.  Weeding through about a million shapes to decide which one represents you best poses the tiniest of problems.  Oh, soooo many choices: #firstworldproblems.

Here's what I chose to do with it:

I like owls.  In fact, I think I'm going to use them as my "theme" when (eek: if) I get my own classroom.  They're fun, and smart.

The case was a whopping $7.49 from Amazon.  The owl is from Echo Park and available in the Silhouette Store.  I used the word bubble collection - this worked great because for whatever reason I thought it was really important that the little hangy-downy piece be on the left side.  I honestly don't know why that mattered last night, but it did.  But the collection gives a good variety to choose from.  From there I just added my hokey sentiment using the DJ Groovy font.

I do want to mention that I needed to put down three or four layers of the wings, because the chest feathers showed through until I put multiple layers on.  I happen to like the extra texture it gives, but if that really bothered me it would be easy enough to subtract out the wing shape from the owl's body and then you could lay the wing down directly on the phone case - voila, no chest feathers to worry about!

And yes, I see that the bottom right side of the speech bubble is a little deformed.  The vinyl must've shifted as it went through the machine.  I didn't even notice it until I looked at the picture.  I'll probably fix that later today.  Or not.  Because sometimes imperfection bugs the criminey out of me and sometimes I like a little quirkiness.  We'll see. ;)

As always, thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a very crafty weekend!