Sunday, December 23, 2012

christmas tradition

When Mike was little, one year I wrapped gifts in brown paper so we could decorate them using foam stamps and acrylic paint. The next year, as Mike and I stamped packages, Jim decided to paint pictures on packages. A tradition was born. Each year we paint packages for each other. I’ve saved them all, put into artist porfolio books. It’s fun looking back at what we’ve done the past ten years—especially how much Mike’s interests have changed as he’s grown.

Here are some from this year. Mike painted this beautiful cardinal.

Here’s one by Jim. Santa is taking a Sonic break.

I’ve got a snowman toasting a marshmallow; don’t get too close to that fire!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

two cats and an ape

Couple of cats pics from several weeks ago. Yes, I have a concrete carousel gorilla in my yard.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

it's been a while...

It's been ages since I've posted here - hopefully I can get back into regular postings. An update on my Scrabble charm fundraiser:  so far, I've donated $760 to the high school band program - woo hoo!

Craft show season is over, thankfully. Every year I ask myself why I do it. I put tons of time and money into making things and I really don't make that much money from it. I don't look forward to making mass quantities of anything. Set up and break down is a huge ordeal. Show fees keep going up. Maybe next year I'll make the break.....

Here's a picture of some button rings I made for craft shows. I also have button bracelets. I won't bore you with photos of snowman poop, post-it note holders, and other caca that I only make because it sells.

Isn't this metal hand wonderful? I can't remember where I got it. I know I've gotten a lot of cool metal items at Hobby Lobby, but it seems I've had this hand longer than Hobby Lobby has been open in our area.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

shameless begging for money

Our high school band needs money. These days, all school band programs need money. I offered to make custom Scrabble tile charms to sell as a fundraiser for the band, and thought I would expand the effort to my blog. I am donating all of my supplies for the charms and necklaces, so 100% of your payment goes to all the band programs (symphonic, orchestra, marching, percussion, jazz) and the color guard.

Here's the deal:  I will make you any custom Scrabble tile charm you want for $10 each, plus $2 to cover a padded envelope and US postage. If you're local, I can give it to you in person. The price includes a free necklace of your choice - there's ball chain (18"), black rubber cord (adjustable 17.5" to 19.5"), and ribbon/cord combo (adjustable 17" to 19"). In the ribbon/cord I have mostly red, but other colors are available; if you have a favorite color, ask me - I might have it. The ball chain can be cut shorter to use for key chains, etc.

They're great for necklaces, key chains, zipper pulls, purse and backpack charms, rearview mirror danglies, etc., etc. I can use any photo you have, or help you find pictures of anything - school logos, celebrities, famous paintings, Hello Kitty - the possibilites are endless. Personal pictures could include kids, bride, pets, memorial keepsake - anything. I can also add text to the photo - just as long as it's not too many characters.

I use genuine Scrabble tiles, and and the front is covered with a protective clear dome. I may or may not be able to use the letter of your choice ("J", for example, is probably not available because there's only one of them in a set of 100 Scrabble tiles). As you can see, the metal bail covers up part of the letter anyway.

You can email me a photo of any size, and I will resize it for you. Full resolution digital photos are actually best. So, send me an email and we'll hammer out all the details. What are you waiting for???!!!

p.s. I want to say thanks to my friend Lara who got me hooked on these Scrabble tiles!

p.p.s. Yes, that's poor little Addie looking miserable with her snow-covered face

Saturday, September 8, 2012

homework help

The kittens are three months old already. Here they are helping Mike with his homework. There's Addie close by on the left. Ricky isn't too far away.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

beautiful smile

This is my second ATC for the fortune swap. The sentiment seemed perfect for Olive from Little Miss Sunshine. I knew I wanted a bright blue background to contrast the yellow and red, but was having trouble coming up with something interesting. I settled on blue Pearl Ex with a border of Ranger Crackle medium.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

fortune turtle

A friend in Texas, Jan, is hosting an ATC swap where we use fortune cookie fortunes (actual ones). When I saw this fortune, I immediately thought of the sea turtle with its long lifespan. I had a ton of fun making this ATC. Lots of inking, and scrunching, and more inking. I used two Distress inks, but can't remember which ones. The blue one was either Stormy Sky or Faded Jeans. The green one was either Shabby Shutters or Peeled Paint. On the main panel, I put both colors of ink on one side of vellum, then embossed the turtle in gold on the other side (stamp is from SU set Nature Prints). Then I ripped, rolled and scrunched the edges of the vellum, put more ink on the edges, then added some Stickles (I believe in Crystal). Sewed on a few beads. The tiny dots on the background are from SU set Itty Bitty Backgrounds.

I've made two more ATC's for this swap, and I'll post them as soon as I can get some decent photos. We're supposed to get lots of rain in the next few days (yay - we really need the rain), so I'll take pics when there's a break in the weather.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

green and gold santa sled

Here is my second - and final - sled for the swap. Yay - love small swaps! Used a mold for the face. Didn't like the hat he was wearing so I pressed the top of his head back into the beard portion of the mold. As I mentioned before, these sleds are just a few inches long. Very fun size to work with. Photo below is a side view to show the chunkiness.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

sled of happiness

I'm in a swap where we alter sleds (I'm making two different ones). Dena got hold of a ton of little wood sleds (can't remember the details other than there were a couple of cases of them). They're pretty small - about 2" x 6".

This is my first effort. I gessoed it, then painted with light blue acrylic, and gave it a good sanding. Added some wood medallions (also painted and sanded). Stamped with my Studio G happiness stamp (featured in my first post in this happiness blog of mine) - using the Tim Holtz acrylic paint dauber I got from his class. I had Mike drill holes in the sled and the little guy's belly so I could screw him into place. Figured that would be a lot stronger than glue - which will be needed because whomever ends up with him will want to have fun posing him. I couldn't resist painting the bottoms of his feet red for just a tiny pop of color. This design is very simple, but somehow I spent many hours on this guy (and his twin brother - had to make a second one to keep). I noodled over many different ideas to add more... putting a tree on the sled, having him hold a snowflake, balancing miniature dishes on his hands and feet, painting the flowers red, etc., etc., but decided simple was best.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

cottage cheese?

Last Friday I brought a bunch of out-of-town friends (who came in for the Stampaway convention) to Your Stamping Cottage. There were eight of us shopping. What fun! It was Ramona's second-to-last day in business, so it was also sad for me. As soon as I walked out the door I started crying like a baby. This picture is me and Ramona doing our best "cheeeeese" smiles.

Monday, July 23, 2012

christmas in july class

I'm teaching a class on Wednesday, July 25, at Your Stamping Cottage - both 12:30pm and 6:30pm. Ramona wanted to do Christmas in July, and I wanted to do Fancy Folds - so I came up with a Fancy Folds Christmas. There's a card with a flipping panel, one using a new set of dies I got, one with a folded frame, and a simple step card (that I sent out to several people last Christmas). I'll also be providing written instructions for people to take home. Call Ramona to reserve your spot! 859-581-0690

On the subject of Your Stamping Cottage... Ramona is closing shop very soon. She wants to be able to spend more time with her family. I wish her the best of everything (enjoy that new grandbaby!), and want to thank her for the opportunity to be part of her stamping community. I have met the nicest bunch of people!!! Ramona may continue to have an occasional class at her house, and I may be able to continue giving classes there!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

more kitty pics

A couple of family members thought that in the previous kitten pictures they couldn't get a good idea of how tiny the kitties are. So here are two more photos of these little six-week-old furballs. Playing on my laptop while I'm trying to use it - silly kitties! And playing with Mike's shoe.

By the way, apparently we need an anatomy lesson. The kitty with more white on it has really big front paws compared to the other one, and I thought hmmm... usually kittens that are going to grow up to be big boy cats have big feet. So I did a little research on the internet, and boy kittens aren't always obvious until they're a little older than six weeks. We're pretty sure one is a girl and one is a boy. Name change time. Mike had orginally wanted to name a boy kitten Chairman Meow, but not he's not sure. So we have Lily and her no-name brother.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


We got two kittens yesterday! Mike's friend brought home a stray cat, and she had kittens on Memorial Day. They were having trouble finding homes for all of them, so we decided to take two of them. Cats are so easy to take care of - two really aren't much more trouble than one. We used to have four cats a long time ago. Then we got dogs. Now we have both!

They're adjusting very well. Still a little nervous, but are playing much more. They eat like crazy, and know how to use the litter box - yay! They don't let the dogs get too close, but they don't run away either, which is great. The dogs are doing surprisingly well - just a lot of curious sniffing. No barking or growling or nipping. The dogs do seem a little more clingy than normal - just some jealously over all the attention the new pets are getting.

Right away Mike named one of them Lily Potter (after Harry's mum). For the other one we think we might go with another flower - Daisy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

blue lake fine arts camp

If you have a kid who enjoys music, theater or dance, there is an absolutely wonderful camp in Michigan called Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Mike just spent nearly two weeks there. It was his second year. He loved it - played challenging music with a superb conductor, and made some great friends. He played clarinet - got fourth chair in the top band, the Wind Ensemble (the kids auditioned and were divided into four bands). 

The picture above is just after they performed their final piece - you can see how happy the conductor is!

Here I am hugging my boy when we picked him up. Two weeks seemed like forever.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


It’s been a while since I posted. We were on vacation in Calif. Went to see my family in the L.A. area, then it was off to Death Valley and Yosemite. I’ll post a few pictures soon.

In the meantime, a funny story… yesterday we went to Waffle House for breakfast. Mike got a large order of hash browns with chili, onions and cheese (“topped, smothered, and covered” in Waffle House language). He couldn’t finish them, so as the three of us chatted away at the end of the meal, I took a few bites of Mike’s leftovers. As we were getting ready to leave, Mike said “Did you eat from that side of the plate?”. “Uh, yessss, why…..?”. “I think you ate my rubber bands.” We looked all over—under the plate, on the floor, I looked in Mike’s hands to make sure he wasn’t playing a trick on me. No sign of the two little rubber bands he wears on his braces (that he takes out for meals). Ew. Gag. For quite some time after, I alternated between feeling queasy about my extra “food” and bursting into fits of giggles.

Monday, June 11, 2012

resist 2

These are the cards we're making in my upcoming Resist 2 class at Your Stamping Cottage on June 28 (12:30pm & 6:30pm). I'm going to have people make their own stamps to create the mosaic look.

The first card is made with an SU set called The Open Sea - kind like you're viewing the ship through a cracked spyglass. The next card I designed with a black and white background so people could color their flower any way they wanted. This flower, and another one they can choose, is from SU Fifth Avenue Floral. The last card is a wax paper resist. The stamp is from Rubber Nature, and the sentiment is from an SU set (can't remember which one).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

smile and show me your fish

First, a warning - if snakes skeeve you out, don't scroll down to the next photos. (I would expect the same courtesy if someone were to post a picture of a spider - or a clown... !)

The other day we went fishing in a small pond at a local park. The boys were going for bass, and I was catching bluegill (and just happened to get the one little bass in the photo). I had forgotton to bring the tub o'worms that I dug from the yard at home, but luckily I had also packed a cheesy mett - just in case we wanted to throw a hunk out for a catfish. Apparently bluegill love cheesy metts, and I did very well (although I was probably catching the same few fish over and over again).

As I was fishing I noticed a snake sticking his head out of the water right in front of me. He was adorable (I love snakes!). And he was hungry. As I pulled in fish next to him, he would try to catch them. And he caught this one in the photo. I was able to pull the fish out of the water and the snake let go. Fish seemed to be ok, and swam off. Jim later looked up snakes online, and this guy was a Northern Water Snake. Totally harmless.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

bookmark swap

I'm in a swap at Splitcoast - pick-a-theme bookmarks. How pick-a-theme (aka PAT) works: there are five people in a group, each person chooses a theme in which they'd like the other four people to create for them. I chose "dogs at play", so I'll receive four different dog bookmarks. It's fun to see how people interpret the theme in their own way.

Here are the ones I made. Click on the photo to see details better.

Steampunk: I used the Tim Holtz Steampunk stamp set, stamped the men on vellum; used some copper tape and made faux rivets (little blobs of glue under the tape); the embossed gears at the bottom were metal charms that I ran thru my Cuttlebug with a piece of craft metal (my poor Cuttlebug!).

Botanical: I used an older SU stamp set called Botanicals (of course!). Sewed some seam binding ribbon around the edges. You can't see it, but I also clear embossed a weedy stamp (not part of the set) around one section - just gives it a little texture and interest.

Lilacs: I tried a transfer (using an image I found online) onto fabric (where you stick the inkjet image down with gel medium, wait for it to almost dry, then rub off the paper). The lilacs - the most important part of the bookmark - turned out faded looking. I did a quick fix by going over them with a watercolor pencil. The little sticky-out bit of ribbon that says "joy" is actually a baby-theme ribbon I got in a grab bag that says "bundle of joy". Sewed the fabric onto the bookmark.

Shabby & chic: I'm not thrilled with this bookmark. I used an old SU set - I think called See with the Heart. Cut out the bits, sponged a little ink on them, used a shimmery paint on the flowers. Trimmed it up with some lace and pearls. This one is going to haunt me because the person I made it for always does amazing, artsy work.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

letter box

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll be teaching a class at Your Stamping Cottage on how to make a box that looks like a stack of envelopes. It's easier than it looks. Just a little time consuming. A while back I had some friends to the house to make this box and we had a great time. Brad had the terrific idea of using it as a gift card holder for a wedding gift - use the wedding colors inside the box, and address the envelope to the couple.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

handsome kid

Mike's band (all the kids who weren't seniors) played Pomp and Circumstance at the high school graduation ceremony over the weekend. He looks so handsome all dressed up. Love the floral tie we found at Goodwill.

I do have a few paper projects I'll post soon. My letter box class is coming up next week, and I've been working on card samples for a "Christmas in July" class at Your Stamping Cottage.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

that's a lotta fur for sure

It's time for the annual shaving of the beast. When we got Addie (from the shelter), she had short, wiry hair. Over the next few years she changed slowly. Her tail started getting fluffier. Then she grew a long patch of hair down her back, like a really long mohawk. Then she had long hair all over. She is very scraggly, and when it gets warm she looks very uncomfortable, so Jim started giving her the clipper treatment once a year. She still has long-ish hair, just more under control.

Here she is running around after her haircut.

Here's Ricky saying, "me too", I want some attention!

Monday, May 14, 2012

mother's day

Yesterday was Mother's Day. We talked to Jim's mom Joan - she's an amazing lady. She's 92, and just recently had to stop driving. Although she's not been in the best of health lately, she still has her sense of humor and warmth. We love her dearly.

My guys took me out to breakfast (before Jim had to go to work). And then I spent the rest of the day working on class samples and relaxing. Mike made me a wonderful gift. He took an old engineering book and turned it into this piece of art. I'm thinking I'll keep it laying down and use it as an ATC display - just tuck them between the pages. But it looks so pretty upright, I might just have to hang it on the wall.

Me, Mike and Addie, hanging out on Mother's Day:

Friday, May 11, 2012

fun with embossing

Playing around with some gifts from friends. Phyllis gave me this absolutely gorgeous stamp set from Artistic Outpost (I kind of won it for a silly comment I made on a photo....). Marian gave me some silver Cloisonne granules from Stampa Rosa - it's a chunkier embossing powder. She showed me a really cool technique - sprinkle some on your project and heat from underneath to create a spray of shiny dots (see close-up pic below). When Marian did it, she had a much more delicate look; on my first try I was more heavy-handed with the granules. I'll get better at it. It appears this particular product is no longer available for sale, but the larger granules reminded me of UTEE, so I tried the same technique with some gold UTEE I have and it worked just fine! (UTEE = Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel; readily available)

For these cards, I stamped the image with black StazOn onto a thick vellum, then added color to the back side - marker for the house and sponged Distress inks around. Then I sprinkled the embossing powder on the front side and heated from underneath (silver on right-hand card, gold on the left). The frames are cut with Nestabilities dies, and the punch is from Stampin' Up.

Monday, May 7, 2012

more music

Mike's jazz band played at a high school jazz festival recently. Awesome day - those kids sounded terrific. They also played at an awards ceremony at school (more on that later). What surprises me is how many kids switch instruments between symphonic band, jazz band and marching band. For example, my kid plays clarinet in the symphonic band, tenor sax in the jazz band, and in a couple of months he'll be in the marching band drum line. But that happens all the time... the bass clarinetist plays jazz flute, the flute player switches to jazz piano, another clarinet player marched tuba last season, and there are many more.... I think it's wonderful they have the opportunity to spread their wings musically in a public school. Yay, Mr. P.!

Mike's also in a clarinet choir at Northern Kentucky University. Beautiful music! And quite a diverse group - they range in age from 14 to 70.

OK, since I'm in mom bragging mode here. Mike has received some end-of-school-year awards. They had a ceremony at school last week. He was on the All-A Honor Roll. He also was awarded Outstanding Student in his Modern History class, and also in his English Honors class.

Also last week (whew, busy week!) was the band banquet. In addition to recognizing the kids for all the honor bands they took part in, or making all-state, etc., the teacher selected the Outstanding Bandsman for each grade. And Mike won for the Freshman class! We (as always) are so proud of him!

Edited to add: On the last day of school Mike came home with another certificate - Outstanding Student in his Honors Science class. There had been a mix-up with the awards, and his name was called with the Juniors.