10/28/11

Happy Halloween!

At last, Halloween cards….done! But before I get to those, I have a question for you all. Do you ever get all of the stamps, embellishments, punches, paper, etc. out and in plain sight, then put off doing anything with all of it because you think you have plenty of time? Until you realize that the occasion for which you are making these cards is only days away? Please tell me I am not the only one. A few weeks ago I got all of my Halloween stamps, punches, etc. put out on my work table (aka the Hot Mess from the last post) and couldn’t come up with a good idea. I wasn’t worried - I had weeks to formulate the perfect design. Weeks! Nearly forever!

Then procrastination set in. I spent hours surfing the blogs and galleries, searching for inspiration. I did find a couple of things I liked, pinned them to Pinterest and kept on looking. I even made a few cards I was pretty happy with, but kept on surfing. Then….Look a squirrel! I took my eyes off the prize and got sidetracked with another project, which hasn’t gone any further for lack of the perfect stamp. The stamp with which the project was made is only available online and, luckily for me, is out of stock. But that didn’t stop me from spending precious time searching through my collection and trying to make something else work. But not to worry, I still had plenty of time to get Halloween cards finished. At least that’s what I thought….and then I looked at the calendar. Uh oh. How did it get to be the 27th already?? It was just October 12 the other day! Damn squirrels.

So, that’s my justification as to why my cards are a little less spectacular than I had originally planned. But I’m happy with the way they turned out. Have a look and see what you think…

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The house was cut with the Silhouette, the cloud, moon, bat, and ghost are punches. I put some gold vellum behind the windows, sponged a bit of Memento London Fog on the cloud and popped the house up on foam tape. The inside of the card is below. Since I feel like I got a little lazy with the outsides I decided to trick out the insides a little more than usual. The verse (it’s on the inside of all of them) is from Lizzie Anne Designs.

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Spellbinders die - no, actually it is a free Silhouette design I found online and I created the oval on the Silhouette to match the inside of the cut out. Hero Arts stamp, Memory Box and some unknown patterned paper.

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Inside. The scrolly things at the top and bottom are another Spellbinder lookalike Silhouette design, cut in half. I have the actual die, but used these instead - one of the Fancy Tags, either Fancy Tags Two or Three.

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Black suede paper punched with Martha Stewart punches, another Silhouette design, Just Rite sentiment, Basic Grey paper from an older 6 x 6 paper pad.

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Just Rite image, colored with Copics. Yep, more Silhouette stuff.

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This one is mostly patterned paper. I added the scaredy cat (Silhouette), the bat and the bit at the bottom - the pretty clouds, moon, etc. are all printed on the paper. I have no idea from whence it came or who makes it.

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The witch is a dollar stamp from the big M from several years ago, layered onto an actual Spellbinders label die. Same punches and paper as the other card above.

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Nothing new and different here, but I do like this one a lot.

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Inside. The Silhouette shape cut in half again. Same sentiment.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings….it is late and I should know better than to try to write anything of value at this time of night, but I wanted to get this posted before Halloween was over!

Happy Haunting everyone!

10/20/11

A Hot Mess

Autumn seems to have arrived here in NC, at least temperature-wise. The leaves are slowly changing and since we had a fairly dry summer there may not be as much brilliant color this year. I do hope I’m wrong about that, the colorful trees are one of my favorite things about Autumn and one of the reasons we chose this area. This is what the trees in the backyard look like this afternoon. It was cloudy, windy, and quite cool out today.

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It’s pitiful. There’s one reddish leaf and way too much green.

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See that sad little red leaf?

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Enough leaf looking… on to the hot mess that is my craft room. I realized yesterday that Halloween was quickly approaching and I had yet to make the first card. So, I cranked up my Silhouette and got to work. I cut out some haunted houses, bats, scaredy cats, trees, and lots of frames and labels. And here they lie.

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Stamps everywhere… and a sewing machine in the midst of it all. Looking at the photos it doesn’t look all that messy but, trust me, it is. I tossed a bunch of the cut out pieces into that plastic bin behind the stamps in an attempt to straighten up a bit. It didn’t help much.

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This happens every year around the holidays because I keep my holiday stamps separate from the rest of my stamps and have to drag them out en masse in order to get holiday cards created. Hence they are spread all over creation, and that makes a slightly OCD person such as myself a little nuts.

I have to say that I am loving the Silhouette. With a good sharp blade and the right setting it cuts through paper like buttah. See that scrolly tree in the bottom right corner of the photo above? Yep - cut with my trusty Silhouette. It has some very fine detail and it cut it perfectly. Some designs cannot be made too small or it won’t cut them well, but the ones I have chosen so far have come out fine. Some of the labels in the first photo are exactly like Spellbinders Fancy Labels Two and I found the cut file - free! - online. They can be resized to any size needed and I can cut as many as 6 or seven at a time depending on the size of the label. That’s what I’m talking about! Mass production, baby!

An ever-so-slightly less chaotic mess even over here…

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A drawer of Halloween papers sitting atop one of my many paper trimmers, scraps of paper  here and there….. arrrgghhhhh! It has to stop. This is what I will be working on this weekend. I will be at Stamper’s Alley working tomorrow, but on Saturday I will attack this mess with gusto and maybe have some cards to show you next week. Oh, I did have a little helper…. but he spent most of his time sleeping on the job. It’s hard to get good help these days. Maybe I need to get better cat treats.

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That is Mr. Michael, taking a little cat nap. I disturbed him a bit with the Silhouette - that thing sounds like a cat caught in a lawnmower! - but he persevered and once the noise was over, he rolled over and went back to sleep.

Since Halloween is right around the corner and I was in a picture taking mood today, here’s a little treat for you. (If you are squeamish you might not want to look - you’ve been warned).

I noticed this guy on the table on our back porch. Isn’t he adorable?

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Thank goodness for a zoom lens is all I gotta say. These things creep me out big time. He’s lucky I didn’t squash him after I took his picture. Here’s a little close-up…what are those things on his head? Eyes? Eewww. Yep, he’s lucky I let him live. He may not get a second chance.

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Happy Halloween!

10/19/11

Adorable Owls

Recently I was in need of a couple of small gift boxes to hold a couple of pairs of earrings I had made for friends’ birthdays (yep, forgot to photograph the earrings). I have some of the silk pouch thingies and those work fine, but they were kind of big for such a small gift. Then I remembered seeing these adorable things:

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I found them on this blog. They are made using the Sizzix Pillow Box die and some punches. I have the die, and we all know I have some punches! So, I came up with these little guys:

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Aren’t they just too cute? They are much easier to make then they seem. I use a 3/4” punch for the circles, applied a bit of glue to the top half and glued them down. The wings are made using an oval punch and the beak is a long, skinny heart punch. The feet are actually flowers. The Sizzix die is hard to fold so the top and bottom are a wee bit crinkled (hers look a lot better!), but next time I will use my Silhouette to cut the pillow boxes. It puts perforations where the box folds and it is so much easier to assemble.

Here are the only punches I used for these:

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The one on the top left is 1-1/4” EK Success punch and the oval is a Stampin’ Up punch, but I also have some oval Nestabilities that would work just fine. The smaller round punch is also by EK and it is 3/4”. The heart is from eMaginations, a company that’s no longer in business, but it wouldn’t be hard to cut a beak without using a punch. I’m just lazy that way.

Thanks for stopping by!

10/17/11

Renuzit Fresh Accents Review and a Giveaway

I belong to an online product testing group which occasionally sends me products to test and review. Renuzit brand provided free samples of their new Fresh Accents air freshener so I could review them. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

I have tried these types of air fresheners before, although not the Renuzit brand, and I was not impressed. These changed my mind. The scents are wonderful! I received Winter Berry and Festive Snow. Yes, I know snow does not have a fragrance of its own, but this air freshener does. The Winter Berry has a delightful berry fragrance (imagine that!) and Festive Snow has a light pine/Christmas tree scent. I know what you’re thinking…pine tree? Like those little trees you hang in the car? Not by a long shot. This one smells like a fresh cut Christmas tree and the scent doesn’t hit you in the face when you walk into the room.

I put the Festive Snow in the bedroom and the Winter Berry in the bathroom a couple of weeks ago and I can still smell the fragrance when I walk into the room. It is a very subtle scent, not overpowering at all. They are attractive as well, they don’t look like a typical air freshener.

Here are a couple of photos of the new products from the Renuzit website. Aren’t they pretty?

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They are available in stores now so pick up a couple next time you go shopping and give them a try for yourself. Better yet - how about a free one? Renuzit sent me a couple of coupons (which I was tempted to keep for myself!) to give away, so leave me a comment on this post (not an email) telling me what your favorite scents of the holiday season are and I will choose 2 winners on Sunday, October 23.

10/16/11

Covered up with Cupcakes!

Yes, we are at it again. My daughter needed cupcakes for her boyfriend’s roommate’s birthday and I needed some for a girly get together - both of these events were this weekend. She wanted to make Chocolate Cherry Coke Cupcakes and I was just going to do Devil’s Food with vanilla buttercream. We made hers first and they were so good I decided to go with that recipe. No cake mix involved, we did it all from scratch. We used this recipe - Chocolate Cherry Coke Cupcakes. The recipe said that it made 24 cupcakes, but we actually got 30 from each batch, so we ended up with 60 cupcakes! 60! She took some to work, I took some to my party, she gave some to the roommate and we have some left. There goes my diet.

I would recommend skipping the glaze since ours ran off of the completely cooled cupcakes and didn’t add any Coke flavor anyway. Next time we will use Cherry Coke instead of regular Coke, too. Or even a Black Cherry Soda if we can find it. I wish we had Publix up here……sigh. They have the best Black Cherry Soda. Did you know they have an apple pie ice cream?? It is delicious!  But I digress.

Don’t they look scrumptious? She took this photo with her phone - I think it turned out really well.

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Here are mine. She used homemade whipped cream for the frosting and I used a cherry flavored buttercream. The cherry flavor was pretty subtle, next time I will add more cherry extract. I had no idea cherry extract even existed until I saw it in the grocery store last week. They also have orange, cinnamon sugar, banana, and several other flavors. Who knew?

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Those are maraschino cherries on top and a little of the juice has run down the frosting. There is some cherry pie filling inside of the cupcakes, too. They were all delicious! I can highly recommend the recipe, with the few changes I mentioned above. After we were through I found this recipe, too.

Vanilla Cherry Cola Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Thanks for stopping by and happy baking!

10/6/11

A card and a trip

My sister was kind enough to take me on a belated birthday trip to my hometown of St. Augustine last week and I have a few photos to share. I was born and raised there, my family has been there for hundreds of years (see the Minorcan sign photo - and yes, I am a Minorcan) and it will always be home to me. But first, a card.

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Yes, I have gotten a little obsessed with using the negative part of the dies, but it’s just so easy and makes such a pretty card. The butterfly is from Amuse and the tags are by Spellbinders (the small one, Grommet Tags) and My Favorite Things (it came in a set with some stamps). The verse is by Papertrey - I have almost worn that stamp out and used very few of the other ones in the set.

Here are a few photos from my trip and if you are interested, you can see more here.

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St. Augustine Beach. My toes were so happy to get in the sand and salt water. It was a beautiful evening, just a light breeze and very few people on the beach.

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The cross and statue at the Mission. I grew up 2 blocks from here and remember watching them assemble this huge monument! The Mission of Nombre de Dios traces its origins to the founding of the City of St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, in 1565. On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the Church. It was here that Menendez knelt to kiss a wooden cross presented to him by Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of his expedition. It was on these grounds that Fr. Lopez would celebrate the first parish Mass and begin the work at America’s first Mission. It was at this sacred spot that the Spanish settlers would begin the devotion to Our Lady of La Leche that continues into the present.

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Boats in the harbor at the Mission. I swear these are the same boats that have been anchored here for years. We took some peanuts in the shell and fed the squirrels. Oh look! A squirrel! They come right up and take the peanuts out of your hand - it’s wonderful!

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Claire’s stamp store - I miss it so much! It was good to see Claire again and I hope it won’t be another 6 years before I get to go back.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a wonderful week.