Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Inspired Scrapper - Sketch Challenge

This week, The Inspired Scrapper offered a sketch challenge, using one of Becky Fleck's sketches from PageMaps. Here is the sketch -

and here is my version of it:

I had fun playing with this one - distressing and inking edges, stamping and embossing with utee (can you see the dots in the bottom left corner?), stitching and stapling - good times!

I squeaked in last minute with this layout - The Inspired Scrapper posts a new challenge tomorrow. Come by and check it out!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two Cards For Two Challenges...

To begin, I feel compelled to dedicate this post to Kat - thanks for calling me out! (*wink*).

Today's cards are in response to two sketch challenges - the card on the right is based on sketch #48 at Card Patterns and the card on the left is based on a sketch over at Mojo Monday . Both of these sites are great for the card maker who may be in need of a gentle prod to boost creativity and/or productivity.

Vancouver is enjoying a very mild winter right now and Spring is peeking out all around in the way of budding trees and shrubs, and once-dormant bulbs shooting their green tips up through the dirt. This is not good news for a city that is set to host the 2010 Winter Olympics in two weeks, but selfishly, this is great news for me! Aside from the fact that there are multitudes of reasons to love Spring, I’m just very glad that I can photograph my cards outside. I am still struggling to get good lighting with my indoor photography. Plus, I must confess that there is not a decent backdrop to be had inside my house because my housekeeper has been letting her duties slide badly these days (that would be me!). One of my favorite quotes of all times (from the fabulous Phyllis Diller) is a rather apropos way to wrap this post up...

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Womanly Needs...

'Womanly Needs' - this is a poem that I have read/seen before, but a friend on Facebook posted it today and it was good to read it again. I wanted to repost it here, so I did a Google search for the author. What I learned over at is that this is a poem that has often been attributed to Maya Angelou but is actually the work of Pamela Redmond Satran.

I find that I appreciate this poem much more today in my life versus several years ago when I first read it.

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE...enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ..a youth she's content to leave behind....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .....a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honoured...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...a feeling of control over her destiny...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD to fall in love without losing herself..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...when to try harder... and when to walk away

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...that her childhood may not have been perfect...but its over...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...where to it to her best friend's kitchen table...or a charming inn in the woods...when her soul needs soothing...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...what she can and can't accomplish in a day...a month...and a year...

For Today - January 14, 2010

For Today -

Outside my window...It's raining, it's pouring...huge puddles are forming!

I am thinking...That today is a perfect rainy day to be spending time at home with my almost 3 year old.

I am thankful...For good indoor lighting that helps banish a grey day.

From the kitchen...Peanut butter and stoned wheat thin cracker 'sandwiches' and hot, strong steeped tea.

I am usual at-home uniform - yoga pants, oversized t-shirt/sweater.

I am reading...a lot of kids books! Must get to library with an adult card!

I am hoping...that I have energy to spare at the end of the day instead of day to spare at the end of my energy!

I am head out with Cody for a walk/bike ride.

I am creating...a lot of cards lately. Hoping to do more altered projects/mini books.

I am hearing...Cody singing to himself while sitting on the toilet

Around the house....trucks, Lego, books, Crayola, 'hockey guys'...all the usual child detritus!

One of my favorite things...a happy day at home with my child/children.

A few plans for the rest of the week...organize/thin-out kids toys, make another trip to the library, and maybe even squeeze in a visit to Science World!

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing with you...

Cody playing peek-a-boo at the park, two rainy days ago.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thank Goodness For Challenges...

I can't believe how many cards I'm starting to accumulate! I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that one of my goals for this year (I didn't dare make any 'official' resolutions!) was to have a variety of cards on hand so that I would not be caught short without one at the last minute. Less than two weeks into the new year, I think I'm ahead of myself for once! There are SO many card challenge sites out there - it would be a full time commitment to even try to stay caught up with them, so instead, I'm taking my time and enjoying all the inspiration there is to be had.

Here is a breakdown of the challenges used with these cards - and again, I've got a three card to four challenge ratio.

The card on the left is based on sketch #149 over at CPS/Card Positioning Systems. The card at top middle is in response to a challenge over at Caardvarks, this time using a sketch designed for Caardvarks by Becky Fleck. This card also qualifies for a challenge at the 'new to me' challenge blog, "Just Us Girls" - aka 'JUGS'. I'm telling ya, it's fun blog hopping for nothing more than to come across unique, cheeky, and/or entertaining blog names! The JUGS 15 challenge was to use stitching on a project. I appreciated this challenge because not only do I love the effect of stitching on a card, but I don't do it nearly enough AND - it forced me to clear up yet some more space in my scrappin' lair, this time in front of and beneath my sewing machine, so thank you JUGS for a very beneficial challenge!

Lastly, the card on the right is in response to a 3D challenge at Our Creative Corner. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the four flowers across the middle of the card have three layers plus a rhinestone to top them off. I did this simply by using two sizes of circle punches to cut out additional flower centres from the patterned paper that I used for the card. I then layered them, adhering them with pop dots, and then finished the middles with self-adhesive rhinestone centres. Super quick, super easy.

The biggest challenge that I'm currently facing is how best to photograph my cards or other scrapbooking related projects. I get the best results if I can photograph them outside, but when we're in the throes of rainy season, the opportunities for almost anything photography related are few and far between. I would love to hear suggestions from any readers who are satisfied with their project presentation.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I've Always Been Game For A Challenge...

...and today I found not one, not two, but FOUR card challenges to participate in today - I'm a machine, I tell ya!

The card on the left is based on a sketch challenge over at Our Creative Corner. Then, over at Color Throwdown (fun name!), the challenge today was to use three colours - 'regal rose', 'chocolate chip', and 'dusty durango'. I just happened to have some papers in my stash with the perfect colours in them. I don't know the paper brand because, oddly, there is no manufacturer name on any of them, but they're all from the same line. They are also some of the oldest papers in my stash, so it was wildly gratifying to be able to use them for the Colour Throwdown challenge. All three cards are made with these papers, plus an old, nay, vintage, hoarded, and coveted piece of 'Chocolate Pinstripe' from Chatterbox. This CB paper is one of my Top 10 all-time favourite patterned papers ever! Goes with everything, and lends just the right touch of sophistication to any project! (Did that sound a lot like a 'plug'? Think maybe I can talk Chatterbox into tossing some free product my way?! What's that you say? Pushing my luck? Yeah. I knew it.)

The third challenge I participated in is from Papertake Weekly. The challenge there was based on 'New Beginnings' and there was room for interpretation according to the criteria, so for this challenge, I used a new corner/slot punch that I got awhile ago and never used. It was one of those purchases where I just had to have it after a demo in a LSS, but once I got it home...well, my time filled with other things, my interest waned, then my memory of what to actually do with it faded...eventually, my shiny new acquisition was tossed in amongst all the rest of the usual suspects, unused and forgotten. For some reason, when I visited Papertake Weekly and read 'New Beginnings', the idea of making myself finally use this punch just jumped into my head! Seems kind of random, but - I was game, so I went with it, and lo and behold - it's my new favorite tool-of-the-moment! So, thank you, Challengemeisters over at PW! I was truly inspired!

Now, onto the fourth and final challenge of the day. Prairie Papercrafts and Stamps is hosting a colour challenge as well, and coincidentally enough, the colours named for this challenge are chocolate and orange - very similar to the colours over at Color Throwdown, so - I stayed with the same paper line and made the card in the above picture on the right. Serendipitous the way it all came together, don'tcha think?!

I added the sentiment 'hello' to both of the larger cards, which keeps them in the 'all occasion' category and allows flexibility in usage. 'Hello' is great just on it's own of course, or you can start with 'Hello' and have the card open to read, 'and Happy Birthday to my best friend!', or, 'Hello', then, 'Thanks for all your help!', or, 'Hello', then, 'You annoy me. It's over.'. See what I mean? Truly 'all-occasion'. I then made up a wee little 3x3 card, sans sentiment, just to round out the photo a bit, in keeping with symmetry and spatial relationship. Huh?! Plus, I needed a card for my mom to say 'thank you' for allowing my husband and I ample usage of her car since we are officially a one-vehicle family but are living at least a two-vehicle lifestyle (AKA hockey/baseball/school/soccer/social life/etc. taxi drivers for our three busy children, as well as, oh, you know, things like going back and forth to work!)

So there you have it - three cards for four challenges. I'm going to call it a night! Happy Crafting, everybody!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another Day, Another Challenge...

Of the cardmaking kind this time, thankfully! I made these two cards in response to three challenges. Challenge #1, from 2 Sketches 4 you - make a card using the sketch provided in the post dated January 4. The card on the left represents this. Then, Challenge #2, from yesterday's challenge at 365 Cards - use metal on a card. The card on the right uses 2 black metal brads, as well as a heart that I first embossed on a piece of thin metal sheeting using my Cuttlebug and then punched out using one of my big Marvy Uchida punches. This card also fulfils another sketch challenge over at CPS - Card sketches. This is the second card that I've made from this sketch. Operation Write Home (OWH) had a call for Valentines cards that needed to be postmarked to them no later than January 6. I'm a day late, but I'm going to send these two cards to them anyways, along with some others that I've made. Maybe my parcel will get to them in time to make it into a Valentines shipment; otherwise, these cards can get included as general 'love' cards for shipping anytime.

Raising A Teenager Is Hard...

As a general, sweeping assumption, I tend to think that raising a teenaged daughter is harder than raising a teenaged son, although I've got twice the sons than daughters, so I'lI find out for myself soon enough...This morning was one of those mornings that leave me reeling - and all before 9 a.m.! It's amazing how much conflict and nastiness can be packed into such a short period of time. In my mind, I alternate between 'head in sand' and 'in your face' with my daughter. I alternate between 'leave her alone, she's not as bad as some kids' to 'never mind the lowest denominator, this still is not acceptable according to MY expectations and standards!'. Should I leave her alone? What will I come to regret more - too much attention or not enough attention? Is it all goingn to turn out okay in the end - or will it all go so terribly awry? I feel like it is such a delicate, precarious balance and I'm trying to find the balance without any reliable senses, or information. I know that there are books that I can read, but for every book touting one method, there's another book refuting it. I also think that it's all so subjective and individual. Or, perhaps there is a common, frequent, and/or underlying psychology to the teenage brain, the teenage experience, that lends itself to a method or school of thought that can be effectively applied to any/all teenagers...Another consideration is the specific dynamic that exists between MY teenager and myself - I recognize that the responsibility or ownership of this struggle that exists with my daughter is not squarely on her shoulders...What experiences/behaviours/tendencies of my own are affecting how I influence or respond to any given situation or moment with her? How much can I control? How much do I have to let go of? I feel like I'm caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place and I fear that there is no favourable outcome - at least, not one that's guaranteed. And I WANT a guarantee, damn it! This is my daughter, my first born baby - I don't feel like there is any room for error. I also fear that what right now seems like such a difficult time may only be the beginning. Perhaps I'm just run down and worn out in my thinking right now...I've also heard from some people that the age of 14 is pretty much the worst of the worst, and that a corner to turn is not too far off. I just don't know. What is the middle ground between the theory of 'tough love' versus 'unconditional love'? What is the likelihood of 'happy ending' versus 'worst case scenario'? The answers are nowhere to be found, at least, not right at this moment. For now, I think I will allow myself to pour a fresh, hot cup of tea and retreat into my scrapping space with my favorite blogs, websites,and my music. I'm done ruminating and perseverating, for the time being at least. Sometimes the harder you look for answers, the more elusive they seem. For now, for today, for at least this moment, I am going to let it go.

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
-- Havelock Ellis

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Obsession - Card Sketch Sites

I am currently having a love affair with card sketch sites. Up until recently, I've found using sketches in cardmaking or scrapbooking more challenging than helpful, but somewhere along the way, I turned a corner, gave sketches another shot, and am now obsessed!

This is a sketch from 365 Cards -

This is my version of the sketch -

(I sure wish I could take better indoor photos!)

This is a sketch from Card Positioning Systems (CPS) -

And, this is my take -

This card also includes requirements from today's post, Challenge #45, at The Corrosive Challenge blog, which is to use two favorite embellishments on your card or project. I used ribbon on this card, and rhinestones - two of my favorite go-to embellishments for cards.

I haven't made any 'official' resolutions this year, but one of my aims with paper crafting is to use what I've already got and start digging into my stash - a common sentiment, it seems, among us crafters! I have SO much patterned paper from over the years - boxes of it - so, I'd like to start using it up and making some space under my desktop/countertop where I store it all.

Another of my goals with my card making is to have cards ready and on hand for the numerous family birthdays throughout the year. It's not like I don't know that they're coming, and yet inevitably, I'm flying around last minute as we're about to head out the door for a celebration, frantically slapping together a card. That's just dumb! So, with these two cards, I'm ready for my father-in-law's/grandma-in-law's birthday brunch next weekend! We all have busy lives - isn't it rewarding when you can cross something off of your gigantic, never-ending to-do list - even if it's one of the little things? After all, every little thing counts, wouldn't you agree?


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