Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bravo!

Hi again! :)

I had a great trip home to Cleveland last week.  I ended up getting to see a ton of family members, which always feels great.  When I was growing up, my entire extended family lived in Cleveland, and we were all very, very close.  Now that I've moved away and most of them are still back in Ohio, I often feel disconnected from everyone and worry that everyone's forgotten about me.  This trip helped a lot to fix those feelings. :)

The main reason for me taking this trip is that my little cousin Chrissy graduated High School.  I wasn't at the graduation party, but I wanted to make a special trip home to spend some quality "crazy cousins" time with her.

We had a blast and were super girly... We lunched, hit up the new Ulta in town, went accessory shopping, got mani/pedis and ate more frozen yogurt than is humanly possible.  All in two days. :)

Here's the card that I made to mark the occasion of her graduation.  Sometimes I really struggle with a card and have to re-start or practically disassemble everything and reassemble before I'm happy with it. That was NOT the case with this one.  It all came together so quickly and naturally!  I was shocked!

(I apologize that the background of these photos is a little distracting.  I was in a hurry and just placed the card on one of my mom's striped chairs, not thinking about it...)





I made use of the adorable bear from The Cat's Pajamas Bear Hugs set and fashioned him a tiny graduation cap out of cardstock.  A friend of mine who was over with me saw me struggling to fit "congrats grad!" on the card and thought up the idea to use "bravo" instead.  Perfect solution! :)




The card had a good amount of dimension, since I used lots of layers and embellishments and popped the bear up on foam dots.





That's it for today.  Leaving you all with a goofy pic of me and my "crazy cousin" Chrissy. :)  Isn't she a total doll face?  I'm so proud of her!




Until next time...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Princesses.

(Guiltily poking my head out...)

Hey... ;)

How can you be upset with a face like this?

Ok, so I know I shouldn't feel guilty about not updating my own blog, but I do.  And it's guilt and feeling overwhelmed that's kept me from posting for several weeks now.  So I'm here to own up and face the firing squad.  Please be gentle. :)

All kidding aside, where has the spring and summer gone?!!

I have a whole lot of personal stress coming up in the next two months.  September is always hard because it's the anniversary of my dad's death.  But on top of it this year, it's also my wedding anniversary (which just makes you feel lousy when you're getting a divorce) and the anniversary of my husband's and my separation (which in Maryland law means that divorce proceedings can start).  But before that, I first have to get through August.  Which includes seeing off my closest local friend to Boston, the 4-month anniversary of my brother's death (today), and a trip home to Cleveland, which will be bittersweet at best.  I'm hoping I feel up to creating and blogging during this time, because I have a feeling that I'm going to need to find an anchor to keep me sane.

I still have a backlog of projects to share, so I guess I'll start with the oldest and work my way forward. :)  Today's project is something I made in January.  That's just how lax I've been on blogging.  Don't judge. :)

Remember that friend I just mentioned that's moving away?  Well, he has the two most adorable nieces I've ever seen in my life that he thinks the world of.  He was taking a trip home and the nieces were meeting each other for the first time, so I put these frames together for them to send him home with.  I think they were well-received.  I apologize that the photos aren't spectacular (Holy bad contrast!), because my camera died the day I was photographing them.  This is just one of those cases where the project looked much better in person.  Ah, well.






I picked up some wooden frames and doctored them up with some pretty patterned paper.  I sanded and inked the edges to give them a little flair. Then I colored some fun images from the DoodleFactory Fairytale Collection and embellished like crazy.  I love making these kind of things (though, I have to admit that the whole time I was making these things I was feeling jealous that I didn't have kids to make them for... or even my own nieces!)!

I really am going to try to hop on here more regularly.  I have a busy busy week coming up.  I'm headed "home" to Cleveland to spend some time with family, and especially with a cousin who's starting college in the fall.  I'll try to post while I'm away -- we'll just have to see how much "free" time I have.  Otherwise, I'll get back with you guys when I get home!

Hope everyone's having a great summer!
Enjoy your day!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Get-Away, Got Away, Back in Business

Hi Friends! :)

Last weekend I flew the coop, so to speak.  I decided I had had enough of gardening and kittens and all other matter of wonderful but tiring things, so I took off to Dewey Beach, Delaware last weekend for a beach retreat with a few fine ladies.

It was only partially what I was expecting.  And by that, I mean it was insanely intense.  Lots of emotional sharing, lots of crying it out, some exasperated swearing... :)  Only vaguely like my normal every day life. :)  Aside from all that, though, there was lots of friendship, some beautiful sunshine, some (albeit slight) tanning on my part, a whole lot of wind, and of course... a couple of photos.














Beautiful place, I'll tell you.  But for me, any beach is.  I think I was born to just lay on the beach.  Is that a valid occupation? :)

Now that I'm back to reality (boo!), I of course have a card to share.  I figured since I just finished sharing some Mother's Day cards that I might as well move on to Father's Day in short order.  

I made this Father's Day card for my father-in-law a year ago and just never got a chance to share it.  The stamps are by Kim Hughes for CHF, but it just so happens that Paper Smooches just re-released the set.  So I'm actually kinda current, right?  How about that? :)


Hehehe!  I love that sleepy looking bear!


Had to get a close-up of the dimension.  I looooooove foam dots! :)



To make the card, I matted several yummy October Afternoon papers (from the Campfire collection) on white and kraft cardstock, popping some of them up on foam dots.  Then I colored my images with Copic markers, and popped them up on the card for a little dimension.  For the "woodgrain" look on the sign, I colored it all one lightish brown color to begin with, then kissed the edges with light, feathery strokes in different colored browns.  I added the sentiment in stickers, then added some liquid applique to the marshmallow and heated it to make it look puffy and toasted. :)  Then I added some Glossy Accents to the fire to really make it POP.  I finished off the card with two cute buttons and a bit of twine.

Supplies:
Stamps: "Happy Camper" by Paper Smooches
Papers: White cardstock, Navy cardstock, Kraft cardstock, DP by October Afternoon (Campfire)
Inks: Memento Black
Accessories: Copic Markers, White gel pen, Liquid Applique, Glossy Accents, Buttons by Papertrey Ink, Twine

Hope everyone has something fantastic planned for their Thursday.  It's the first nice day out this week, so I need to do some major work in the garden!

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Forgot One!

Hello, hello! :)

I'm leaving for a meditation/beach retreat tomorrow morning, but before I go, I have a lot to get done today.  I need to clean up the garden a bit and stake the peas, so they don't lie on the ground.  I have a hair appointment to cover all these pesky, annoying grays (most of which popped up in what I like to refer to as "the year from Hell"). Then I have some clean-up to do around the house, so I can come home to a peaceful place (no sense in going to a weekend retreat only to return to chaos, right?!).  But I knew that the first thing I wanted to do today was blog.  So here I am. :)

I have a backlog of things to share with you from the past several months (I *have* been creating a bit -- just not blogging!), and while I was looking though my folder to figure out what to share, I found one more Mother's Day card from last year that I neglected to post.  So I guess we'll start with that and move forward.

Yet another in my series of rolled rose Mother's Day cards...






Supplies:
Papers: White Cardstock, DP by My Mind's Eye and The Paper Loft
Ink: Tim Holtz Distress Ink, Colorbox Ink
Stickers: Carolee's Creations
Accessories: Hemp cord, Wide lace, MFT Label Die-namics and Rolled Flower Die-namics

The card is pretty self-explanatory, I think.  I cut out the rolled roses and labels using the Die-namics dies, trimmed the labels in white cardstock, and hand-cut the leaves for the roses.  I crumpled the roses and leaves to give them more of a worn look and inked the edges of the leaves.  I inked the edges of the background paper, tied some hemp cord and lace on as an accent, and popped on the labels and flowers.  I added the sticker sentiment, and...tah dah! :)

That's it for today.  I've got to get out to the garden before it gets unbearably hot out.  I hope you all have a really great day.  Say some prayers for my peas.  They have pea aphids that I'm trying to eradicate at the moment.  This is my first ever garden, so I'm learning as I go! :)

Until next time...


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes...

Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on?

Ok, confession time. Yes, I disappeared. For a year. That has to be a new record, even for me. I never *ever* expected to neglect the blog for this long -- it kind of just got away from me there. What started as being busy with spring yard work and house stuff turned into a crazy emotional year that had me grasping to keep my head above water even to be able to get out of bed in the morning. What am I talking about? Well, here's what the last year's involved for me:

The ugly: The big D word: divorce. Well, actually, separation, but divorce is pending, so... My husband told me he wanted a divorce way back when we first got to Maryland 2 years ago. It kind of came out of nowhere for me -- I thought that we had an okay marriage. Not perfect, but we had a lot of fun together and loved each other. For a full year we did marriage and individual counseling, and things were really starting to get better and then he hit me with it again this past July -- he still wanted a divorce. In September (after lots more trauma, counseling, tears, attempted negotiations, etc.) he moved out, throwing me in to a new life of singledom that I wasn't quite prepared for, to say the least. 




Also, about 5 weeks ago, my brother, Ronny passed away suddenly. I don't have much to say about that, other than what I said when I spoke at the funeral: I know that he had an amazing heart despite all his emotional and physical afflictions (he was schizophrenic and through a freak surgical accident became a quadriplegic when I was 10). And I wish that I had had more of a chance to get to know the "real" him and to connect with him on a deeper level before everything happened (He was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 3 and he was 16). I have some guilt over that last part -- that I wasn't able to be a better sister to him through all the trauma, but I'm working through that and do understand that circumstances made me need to detach myself quite a bit, just to be able to cope. But I know I'll see him again some day, and we'll be able to catch up where we left off. :)


The bad: Yet another (and hopefully the last!) back surgery. In November, I had my Spinal Cord Stimulator removed, because it never really was placed right and thus, never worked properly. That, I have to say, was one of the more difficult things I've been through. My husband had just moved out about 6 weeks prior, I was all alone, and I wasn't really prepared for what kind of loneliness would hit when I woke up in pain, and I had no one to take care of me. But, on a positive note, I made it through, and my back is much happier for having that garbage out of it. :)


The good: LOTS! It's been a traumatic year, but I have so much to be thankful for. For one, my friends have truly kept me sane. I have had several parties at my house this year, and when the last guest leaves, I always have this amazing encompassing feeling of being totally supported and lifted up. They've also been there especially through all the turmoil -- the emotional fallout from the separation, my surgery, etc. I have amazing friends. I'm a lucky girl. 


My mom and I went on an amazing vacation back in November -- The PaperCrafts Cruise. It was such an amazing get-away filled with lots of catching up (and drinking!) with mom, lots of papery goodness, and lots of sunshine. If only I could go a few times a year... yeah, that would make life more livable. :) On the cruise I got to meet Susan Opel and her sister Beth Opel, Teri Anderson and Kim Kesti. They are all such darling, fun, energetic women. I met several other stamping buddies whose work I had admired for a long time, too. Needless to say, I'm ready to go again! Let's start planning now!



I started doing some volunteer work. First, back in October I started volunteering for the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County. It's the only no-kill, cage-less animal shelter in my county and houses anywhere from a dozen to two dozen cats at any one time. I've done a bit of grant writing for them, some shelter upkeep and cat socializing, and I currently am fostering two 9-week old kittens for them. The kittens are the best. They are so cute and cuddly. About a week ago I almost lost my mind and gave them back to the shelter because the gray one still wasn't litter trained, but thankfully that finally resolved itself.



I'm also volunteering as a Patient Care volunteer for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. What that involves is basically walking around and looking for bored kids in the wards and playing with them. Pretty cool, right? It was a crazy competitive program -- I had to interview, have my references checked, go through a background check, and go for numerous medical exams and tests... but I made it!


And finally, I have been involved in lots and lots of home improvement. Right before I took off last year, we had our basement remodeled, so a lot of the year was spent putting that together and making it a comfortable space. Before my husband left last year, we also tore up a giant section of our lawn to put in perennial beds and a large-scale organic vegetable garden. That has taken up all my time this spring!  That whole area used to be all grass!  I've been so busy putting things back together, planting, weeding, learning... And it's all kind of hard on my back, so I've had to take lots of breaks. 




That about sums it up.  If I had to give this year a theme, I'd say it's been about re-finding and enjoying what makes me ME! :)  If you made it through all that, I'm amazed. If not, that's okay too. :) I Just felt like I didn't want to just ignore the last year entirely! :)


Now, since it's a papercrafting blog, how about a card? I have a lot of things to share with you, but I think I'll just start with a Mother's Day card. Since that's where I left off last year, maybe that will help us pretend that a whole year didn't just go by!





Supplies:
Stamp: Papertrey Ink
Paper: White Cardstock, DP by My Mind's Eye
Buttons: Oriental Trading Co., Lasting Impressions
Stickers: Heidi Grace
Word Cut-outs: Lasting Impressions
Accessories: Floss, Copic Markers

That's it for today!  I don't know how often I'll be able to blog, so I'm not going to commit myself to a schedule.  But I know that it's good for me -- a release of sorts.  Not to mention that it keeps me being crafty!  So I definitely intend to stick with it, even if I disappear now and again.  :)  

Hope you all have a beautiful day.  Until next time...

Monday, May 9, 2011

More Mother Love...

Hi bloggin' buddies! :)

Spring is the word of the week here in Maryland. We are having the most absolutely perfect weather. We generally sleep with the windows open here, and I can't tell you how much it delights me to wake to the sounds of birds chirping. I really can't think of much in the world that makes me more upbeat than a beautiful spring day.

This week, our rhododendron is finally in full bloom. I have to tell you, it is the largest rhododendron bush I have *ever* seen. Everything I've read said that rhododendrons only ever get 4-8 feet tall, but ours is pushing 10 or 11 feet! That has to set some kind of record, right?!







(In all honesty, it probably needs a bit -- or a lot-- of pruning, but I can't bear to cut it!).

Since I'm in a pink mood, I thought I'd also share another card that I put together for Mother's Day.

This card was for my mother-in-law. I again pulled out the MFT Die-namics (the rolled flower and the layered label) to make quick work of this card.



I inked the edges of all of the layered dies to make the colors pop a bit and pasted them and my rolled flowers on the card front. I finished it all off with a bit of waxed twine and some tiny letter stickers.





Thanks for stopping by! Hope spring is springing up near you too!

Enjoy your evening! :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day! :)

Hello out there!

Just popping in to wish all the wonderful women out there a very Happy Mother's Day! I hope that your loved ones are near by and that you get to spend a beautiful day loving them.

I couldn't be with my mom today, but I wanted to share the card I made for her with all of you.



I used the rolled flower die from MFT to cut out and assemble some pretty orange roses and popped them on a background of yellow and green papers, with a touch of lace. The last touch was a cute little sentiment pennant and some hand-cut leaves that I inked up a bit. Easy peasy. :)







I hope all the mothers out there have a beautiful day. Go pig out at brunch or something! :)

Love you mom! You're the bestest!

Enjoy your day. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a BEAUTIFUL Day!

Well, I don't know what the weather is like by you, but here in Maryland, it is the most perfectly superb beautiful spring day. I slept with the windows open last night and woke up to sunny rays floating over my bed and birds chirping in the distance. Divine. So I had every intention of trying to be outside a bit today.

Unfortunately, because of my back problems, my mind is usually way ahead of my body! :) I thought I could lay out some garden bed edging because how hard is that, really? Well, as it turns out, the answer is too hard for me. It's definitely a 2-person job, or at the very least a one-person who doesn't mind repetitive bending job. Plus, my back's been bothering me more recently for some reason, so I guess it was wishful thinking, any way. So that rules out my plans for the day, since my hubby is out of town.

Oh well.

So instead, I thought I'd relax a bit and come share a card I made a while back for my husband.

My husband almost exclusively gets robot-themed cards (don't know why -- they just remind me of him, I guess...), but this time I decided to change it up a bit with a stamp by Kim Hughes for the now out-of-business Cornish Heritage Farms.




Hehehe Who doesn't love a skate-boarding monster? ;)

Okay, I think I've resolved myself to being extra lazy today. How does that sound? ;) So thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a beautiful day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

One Last Card Set...

Hey there! :)

I'm about to run and pick up my mom from the airport, and I remembered that I still had one last set of cards to share with you. This is another set that I made for a NICU silent auction charity that my friend was involved in.

Once again, I was looking for something that I could produce quickly and easily. Which meant paper-piecing (since, for me, that is much quicker than coloring in large areas). I picked some fun patterned papers, paper-pieced to my hearts content, added some buttons and rub-ons, and voila!











Of course, the fact that I had such awesome images (DoodleFactory Classic Decor) to work with didn't hurt!

Sorry so short, but I don't want to leave my mom hanging!

Enjoy your evening, and thanks for stopping by! :)

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