Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving, Thankfulness, and Thanks!

Tuesday of Thanksgiving week has me exhausted but so grateful for all of the blessings in my life!  I have a wonderful husband who loves his family and works so hard for us.  (I have been pulled into that crazy work too, but as so many are out of work, that is a blessing as well).  My beautiful, brilliant, caring child is safe and healthy.  My mom is independent, funny, generous, and close.  My home is cozy.  My country is free and full of opportunities.

Those are the big things, but there are so many things that make me so happy and thankful.  My daughter's school, while not free, is affordable and near our home and offers her a first class education.  She has friends and we have made a point to get to know the families of her friends.  They are kind to her and love her. 

Today was the Thanksgiving meal at my daughter's school.

This kicks off Thanksgiving week for our family.  We eat the non-traditional fried chicken after getting the lecture that we must eat quickly and get out for the next group to have time for their fried chicken feast.  The headmaster, though very caring toward the kids' minds and spirits, is a stickler for schedules!

As we enjoy the silly things, like paper turkey hats and 14 kinds of mashed potatoes, I cannot help but think of service men and women who are far away, without family, feasts, or fun.  Our family has just adopted a Marine.  I went shopping today for his first care package.  I cannot imagine what draws these young people to military service, but how thankful I am for them.

I am including a card I made during the last on-line swarm.  I think our first box will just be a "Thank You" kind of box.  I received the name of this Marine from one of the fabulous ladies on the Cricut Circle, Jennifer Bell.  The Circle is another one of those little things for which I am so thankful.  What a glorious group of women - creative, generous, funny, and caring!  How fortunate I feel to be a part of the Circle.

I am fast becoming an expert on what to send military service people in Afghanistan, mostly thanks to information from my post office, Jen, and the other ladies on the MB who have loved ones overseas.  One thing I have learned is that a box takes two weeks to get to the FPO so I can send this one now and then one in a couple of weeks for Christmas.  I love surprises, and I hope our Marine does too.

Speaking of surprises, I had blog awards given to me this week.  Caroline of Caroline's Craftograghy Blog has given me the Attittude Blog Award.  Wende at Passionately Paper , Rachel at Back Porch Creations, Maria at Stamp, Cut, Create!, Kristin at My Fantabulous Life, and Carolyn of Carolyn's Creative Corner have given me the Stylish Blogger Award.  A big thanks to those ladies for sharing the love!

 http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ci166mpqgP4/TOgycoBoa5I/AAAAAAAAAwo/tUhzWNKn7bA/s1600/Blog%2BAward.jpg       http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_wB2La4HNmDw/TOtRhtITJpI/AAAAAAAAAeA/QsAg4SQ5xOM/s1600/stylish_blogger_award.jpg 

I am so shocked that my new crafty buddies like my blog and so pleased!  I try to make it unique with some non-Cricut content, keeping with the theme of Roald Dahl's quote.  I like to give away all the secrets with size and technique.  I enjoy sharing a bit of my life mixed in with my crafting.  Whenever I can squeeze in a favorite recipe too, I do; I am such a foodie.  My love of sewing really influences my projects and the attention to detail that I learned through sewing has really helped my paper crafting.  I have loved the opportunities to share jewelry-making here too, after picking that up in the most hap-hazard way.  Blogging and crafting give me a much needed break from my job and house-hold responsibilities.

I would love to pass these awards on to some of my favorite blogs Laurens Creative, Sugar Peas Creation Station, Polish the Stars, Sour Kraut Krafts, Red Couch Recipes.  I am so thankful that we live at a time where technology is so easy and live in a place where it is so accessible.  We, as women, are more fortunate now than ever before in so many ways.  To think that women got the vote within my grandmother's life... it is amazing how far our culture has come.... again, how thankful for this I am!

At this time year, I always remind my friends of the little things we can do to show our gratitude.  Give blood if you can, give your change at the bell ringer stations, pick up a gift to donate to the elderly or to a needy child.  When we see a need we can meet, that is God speaking to us.  We are to serve as "the body of Christ" in fulfilling Jesus' words during the Sermon on the Mount, that needs will be met.  God meets the needs of others through us!

If you are feeling blue right now, I urge you to pick up Andy Andrews' The Noticer and to keep a gratitude journal.  As he says, "Sometimes all a person needs is a little perspective."

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  Eat extra pie for me.  I would love you to share with me what you are most grateful for this year!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Flower Fairies

This month's Circle Blog Challenge is called Home Sweet Home.  This is a home decor challenge requiring at least one Cricut Cartridge cut, the Cuttlebug, felt, and the color green.  The requirements immediately pointed me toward a project for my daughter's room!

This project started with one of my favorite craft instruction books, Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor.  I have made so many of the little fairies and characters in the book.  I think they are so much fun to give and to incorporate into mixed media projects.

I love making these little characters!   I made their little clothes by hand-sewing and loved doing the embroidery on the jackets!  These details make them so much fun to look at to me!

I found the text 'Far, Far Away' on a page in a paper stack I had in my stash and manually cut around it.  I popped it up with Ranger Pop It! pop dots, stacked to raise it 1/2" off the page.

I cut flowers  from Walk In My Garden, page 84 (cut at 1/2") and page 82 (cut at 1"), and  layered them with silk flowers.  I also cut assorted branches for the fairies to hold from Straight From the Nest, page 43 (cut at 3/4", 1", 2-1/2").  I added hand-cut, inked, and detailed little leaves to add a bit more detail.
I cut the grass layers from Straight From the Nest, page 41 (cut at 1-3/4").  I ran the top layers through the Cuttlebug to gain a little texture since these layers would be in the foreground.  I added hand-cut leaves to the grasses as well.
I decided to glue one of the characters inside the frame to take advantage of the shadow box.  I played a bit to find placement.
I finalized the picture, adding a lantern to one of the branches, cut from Pagoda, page 26 (2") and flowers from the same cart, pages 56 and 57 (1" and 1-1/4").
I put the backing and frame together to combine all the fairies!
My daughter checked in on me throughout this project and had already decided on a place to hang it in her room.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Light Up Christmas Frame!

Hi, everyone!  Today,  I have a project that I made for The BugBytes blog.  I am sharing it here too!

I created a light up photo frame for Christmas.  The idea of adding lights came a bit late in the project -- sometimes projects change while being crafted in my little world!

I started this project without the idea of adding lights.  I used the tree from Christmas (Solutions cart).  I cut two trees at 6-1/2" so I could put them together and lift up the branches on the top tree.  

I created a garland by stitching on lines of beads with metallic thread.  Unlike gluing, stitching a long line of beads will allow them to hang, like real garland!

For fun, and to remind me of the silliness of our family, I added a paper electrical cord and outlet.  Keeping the electrical cord visible and clear was the subject of repeated lectures growing up as my sweet paranoid mom dealt with the real tree that she always bought, despite her fear of it catching on fire. 

I decorated the tree with jewels, beads, and ornaments (cut at 3/4") and a topper (cut at 1-3/4") from the same Christmas cart.  I added a tree skirt that I hand-cut and folded.

...And then, an epiphany!  Why not add lights to make the tree really light up and play off the joke of the paper plug and outlet?!  I used a hole punch and Crop-A-Dile Big Bite for the holes in the center of the tree (a task which would have been much easier before the tree was decorated). 

I removed the glass from the inexpensive frame I purchased.  I cut a paper mat that I glued to the purchased frame's white mat with double-sided tape, allowing the beveled edges of the mat to show.  I printed off a copy of the picture I had chosen for this project and attached it from behind the mat with double-sided photo tape.  Using a mat knife, I cut a triangle out all the way through the picture and frame back so that I could feed the cords through from the back to the tree that will be on the front.

I applied the lights to the tree, keeping the cords on the back as flat as possible and adhering with tape.  I applied the tree to the frame with pop dots on the top and sides, attaching to the mat.  I glued the bottom flush, attaching to the wood frame. 

I found these lights at Meijer for under $4.

Like a kid, I had to photograph it with the lights off so I could see it glow!

I used Velcro to attach the battery unit to the back of the frame.

I added a few gifts that were simply rectangles, embellished with ribbon and bows I tied.  Some are popped up with pop dots to add a little dimension.

I hope you like my frame!  To carry on the theme, I created a tag using the same tree and photo, printing the tag on my computer, and cutting a window using Mini Monograms at 2-1/4" using the Centerpoint feature.

While working on this project, I had so many great childhood Christmas memories flood my mind!  My mom was a single parent throughout most of my childhood and financially struggled most Christmases, but we NEVER knew it.  She always made sure that we had wonderful experiences, beautiful gifts, and fabulous foods.  In her honor, and to indulge a bit in my memories, I thought I would share this recipe.  It is one of my Mom's standard recipes.  It is one that I started taking to my in-laws' Thanksgiving celebration a few years ago, and is now required!  Loaded with sugar and butter, it is only healthy for the spirit, not so much for the arteries!

My Mom's Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter
Mix and put in a buttered casserole.

Mix and sprinkle on top:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup melted butter

Bake 30 minutes at 350°.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Faster than a speeding bullet...It's not Superman...It's Santa!

Sometimes I just like to torture myself.  I just wanted a better Santa than I have found on the carts I have:  Winter Frolic, Paper Doll Dress Up, Joys of the Season... even 3 Birds on Parade has a Santa!  I wanted a 1970s Santa from my childhood.... so I looked to the Superman cartridge!

Using the Santa head from the Christmas solutions cart, and the body of Clark Kent on Superman, I created my 'Santy' ornament.

 I cut Clark Kent at 7".  Then I cut him apart and used the pieces as patterns for his jacket and pants.  I used a thick flocked paper that I have had enough trouble cutting on the Cricut that I chose to hand-cut all items from this material.  I cut his jacket, an extra arm (so I could pop it up), and pants.  I cut off his straight arm and then moved it slightly behind him and re-attached it. 

I used adhesive Velcro (loop side) to make his jacket trim.  I got to try out my Fiskars Non-Stick scissors.... WOW!  Those scissors are amazing.  I got them for under $10.  They held absolutely no adhesive residue after all those cuts.  If you have ever cut through that stuff, you know exactly how quickly the blades gum up.  These never once required a cleaning.  During the one time that I accidentally picked up my regular shears, and cut through the Velcro, I had to immediately clean them with alcohol... not these!

I used small brads for his buttons and cut little green mittens for his hands.  I inked to give him a little shape.

I cut his head from Christmas (solutions cart) at 1-3/4" and flipped it so he would look in the other direction.  Liquid Applique gave him his beard and mustache.  I used a Zig Millenium 01 pen to draw in his face.

I used the black shoes and pant legs from the original cut for his boots.  I applied Ranger Glossy Accents and directed heat on the boots with my embossing gun until the chemical boiled.  That is how I got this snowy residue on his boots!

I hand-cut a bag for his bundle of toys from glitter paper.  I traced the whole completed figure, cut it out, and glued it in place to finish the back.  I used Martha Stewart's tiny little hole punch and threaded the hole with gold metallic narrow cord.

This ornament, finally completed, makes me smile!   I love the way Clark has transformed!  It is my final challenge project on Doxieluv's Spectacular Circle Online Swarm.  Thank you for looking at my project!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We Have a Winner!!!

Stealing the idea from AllisonF, I had to wait for my Master of Ceremonies to wake up this morning.  Introducing.... Princess Piper!
Yes, that is a bowl of all the comments cut up and placed individually in a bowl for Her Majesty to draw from.  Who needs random.org when we have royalty?!

And the winner is....

Trinity said...those are sooo cute I would love to win these. I'm a follower now to. Trinity  November 7, 2010 8:09 PM (in case you can't read it!).  I just emailed her and will be posting it on the Circle MB to be sure she sees it.  Trinity, I will need your mailing address so look for my email so you can email me back!!!!! (or you can PM me on the Circle MB).
Have fun with your new embossing folders!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rock Princess gets a convertible... or Punch It, Martha!

Remember that old commercial with the little old ladies when one of them yells, "Punch it, Martha!" and off they speed?  I can't even remember what product was being advertised in the 80s when it aired, but we say that in the car all the time.

I got my Nifty Fifties cart a week or so ago and just did not know what I was going to do with it... nothing spoke to me!  Today's Circle On-Line Swarm project inspired me to use it; we are instructed to use metal and glitter so this car was it!  Once I saw the text "Punch it" on there, I had to smile!

I used car2 on page 46, cut at 4-3/4".  I cut the windshield twice:  clear hologram glitter paper and blue cardstock.  This allowed me to have a "space" to put the character.

I cut an extra steering wheel since I needed the character to sit behind it.
I used silver paper for the chrome.  The lights are white cardstock covered with glitter (fabulous Ranger Holographic Glitter that I received from a terrific RAK that Lizzieming on the Circle sent to me).  I used my Xyron to coat the shapes in adhesive before glittering.

The character is the moped driver from Rock Princess, page 32, cut at 4-1/2".  I cut off her body, chopped her hair a bit too, added to her glasses, and gave her a nose!

The "punch it" text that I mentioned, was cut at 1".  I added a smoke cloud... which was actually one of the clouds from Serenade, cut at 2-1/4".  The car and driver are popped up with pop dots.

Thanks for looking at my project!  Tomorrow (Sunday, November 14), my daughter and I will be having our drawing for the embossing folders that I mentioned in an earlier post.  You can check it out here. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!

In honor of Veterans Day, I made a little card for Challenge #1 on the Spectacular Circle On-Line Swarm!  This was a challenge to use stars on a project.

This card was made with images from Cricut Cartridges Stand And Salute and George And Basic Shapes.  I had a little fun with some non-traditional colors for this patriotic holiday! 

From Stand And Salute:
"Life" was cut at 2" and 2-1/2" (border cut).  "Liberty" was cut at 1-3/4" and 1-1/4" (border cut).

From George And Basic Shapes:
Stars were cut at 1", 1-3/4", and 2".

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! ~ Maya Angelou

If you are looking for a way to thank the Vets of our country, you may want to check out The Wounded Warrior Project .

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Autumn, Quilts, Pioneer Women, and Apple Crisp... yup, it's November!

I was asked by Bobbi Jo of the Sweet Sassy Diva blog to create a fall project.  That started me thinking about quilts!  In a Rube Goldberg sort of way where one pin knocks over a pail that scoots a ball that triggers a net, and so on, this is how my thinking started....  First to quilts, then leaves, and the woods...to the pioneer woman that I have been struggling to make, then to her bonnet, then to changing the way I want to incorporate her with the quilt...

I came up with a 70s-Holly-Hobbie-meets-Ma-Ingalls character, finally figuring out that bonnet, and I even got to do a little stitching on paper!
Since I was a quilter long before I was a papercrafter, stitching on fabric seems like such an obvious direction that I am not sure why I haven't really done it before now except that I don't care for stitching for stitching's sake; I think it needs a purpose for being a part of the project.  The quilt motif give it that!
 This figure is from Country Life, cut at 5".  Here you can see the figure I made as compared to the original Cricut artist's intended finished figure.
I used the dress on the original cut as the apron and fashioned my own longer version of a dress, adding a pleated hemline detail.  The flower at the hem is the flower that is on the original hat on the cart.  I used the original tie on her hat and attached it to my hand-cut bonnet.  I gave her a new hairdo!  I shifted her apron a bit and flipped her feet in the other direction.  I made her a little basket to carry, using a mesh texture rubber stamp to imitate the basket weave.
The background was the fun part and kind of had a life of its own.  I started with back cardstock and added torn brown cardstock to give her a ground on which to stand.  I added trees from the Cricut Heritage cart (page 25), cut at 2-1/2".  After gluing everything down, I sprayed it with Glimmer Mist.  My goal was to give make a frosty-early-morning scene.

I placed this scene over a small print to create a narrow border.   I created the pieced quilt-like border by cutting 1" squares from George & Basic Shapes.  I zigzagged the quilt border to the outdoor scene and placed corner squares, cut at 1/2" and glued into place to complete the border.
I finished the project by adding the figure with 1/4" pop dots to bring her up off the surface. 
I cut small leaves from Straight From the Nest (page 56), cut at 1".  I inked them and glued them in place, completing the project. 
 A few tips about sewing on paper if you have not tried it... use a 'sharp' rather than a 'ballpoint' needle.  Set your machine to make long stitches.  The paper is getting perforated with each stitch, and tiny stitches will make it very easy for your project to separate!  I used to use paper as a stabilizer on certain fabrics and loved this quality about it; not so much when the paper IS the finished product!  If you look at a machine needle under a microscope, it has a tiny bit of a hook.  That hook dulls easily -- sewing on paper dulls it even faster so be sure to change to a new needle before sewing on fabric again.  I use my regular sewing machine whether I am sewing vellum or denim, so no reason to get sucked into that "crafting" machine if you already have a working sewing machine!  Try to avoid gummy adhesives applied where you will be stitching.  If your needle does get coated, a bit of rubbing alcohol or Goo Gone cleans it right up!

So, you have read through, checking off autumn...quilts...pioneer woman.... what about the apple crisp, you say?  Well, how could it even be November without that???!!!

Food usually makes it into my mind as I craft and this project was no exception.  My favorite fall dessert is one from a long-gone Louisville restaurant, the Afro-German Tea Room.  Before going out of business, they shared this, the only recipe I will ever again use for apple crisp.  It would be cruel and unusual punishment not to share it with you...

 Afro-German Tea Room Apple Crisp

 Filling:  8 to 12 Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons dark rum (I sometimes use bourbon instead)
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:  1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups broken walnuts or pecans
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Peel and core apples.  Slice thin.  Combine with remaining filling ingredients.  
Pour into a large, heavily buttered casserole.

Cut flour and butter together with pastry cutter.  Add sugars, salt & walnuts.
Toss to combine evenly.  Spread a thick layer over apples
and bake at 350ยบ for 45 minutes until the top browns nicely
and the apples are syrupy.  Serve with whipped cream.

 Happy crafting and eat extra apple crisp for me!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Christmas Ornaments - Window and Dome

I have been working on Christmas ornaments with the Cricut.   I have been wanting to do more with the idea of 'looking through a window' in my scenes.  I have two to share!

This one I am submitting for the Circle Magazine ornament contest.

I was really inspired by Therese Leyden's 3D Paris Apartment  and decided to incorporate a Cricut 3D die cut chair and to create a couple of 3D items from 2D cuts.  This ornament hangs and is free-standing when on a table top.

I knew I wanted a window. I had initially thought of a dome window, but started thinking about a flat window after seeing an ornament in a store. I started with a CD jewel case, removing the black CD holder insert.

I wanted to use some wood veneer paper that I had purchased when I was experimenting with flowers for the necklace challenge. The wood is a bit of a challenge, requiring a multi-cut of 2, max pressure, speed 3, and blade set at 6 (no need for a deep blade housing). It has a tendency to chip off of the paper backing on small or intricate cuts so I knew I would not be able to use the chair's lacy back and opted for an upholstered look. The chair is from Summer in Paris, cut at 3". I used Glimmer Mist on the white paper side to color it. I assembled the chair, using my scoring tool in order to fold it into shape without breaking up the veneer. I glued flocked paper (that I had misted in pink) to the chair for upholstery.

I also cut the window panes out of the wood. These are are from French Manor (page 36), the layer cut only. I cut two at 4".

I found a Santa flying in front of the moon by finding a Google Image and printing it. I used double-sided tape to attach it to the inside of the jewel case, using the window pane die cuts to determine placement. On the outside of the case, I glued the panes, using E6000 glue (perfect for non-porous materials like plastic).

I cut the paper for the wall, cutting out the window. This was glued on using the same plastic adhesive. I found some coordinating papers for floorboard, top border, and drapes. I attached paper strips for the window sill and upper woodwork.

For the drapes, I accordion-folded the papers to simulate the pleats, cut the bottoms with pinking scissors, and anchored the tops and bottoms to squares cut to the finished size to keep the pleats tightly in place.

I cut a strip of metallic paper for the curtain rod. The star garland is from Joys of the Season, page 70, cut at 3/4".

The table is made from a bird cage base from Serenade. I cut it twice at 1-1/2", folding one in half and gluing it on top of the other.

I cut a semi circle top and glued it on. I used a bit of lace trim from my stash for the tablecloth. I cut the back and glued it on, then cut a scallop for the front.

The metal tree centerpiece is cut from Joys of the Season. I cut the tree from page 63 at 1-1/2" twice, folding one and applying it to the center of the other. This is assembled just like I assembled the table! I added pearls and a jewel at the top. It is attached with layered pop dots off the window.

I hand-cut the wrapped gift on the chair and glued it on. The gift bag is from Tags, Bags, Boxes, and More, page 115, cut at 1-1/2". I just added a little tissue paper and a ribbon. I attached it at an angle to the drapes using a pop dot. I created a third package by embossing dots on a striped paper using my Cuttlebug and the Swiss Dots folder, lightly rubbing over it with a stamp pad to accentuate the dots, then folding a box and tying with gold cord.

I like to have at least one or two special ornaments each year. I like them best when they have the year, or some other detail to represent the year. This is something I started doing for my daughter, going to the trouble to write out stories about the ornaments family members have given her. It is part of our tree-trimming and decorating to talk about who an ornament was from or what it represented.

I decided to add the year to this ornament. The numbers are from Plantin Schoolbook, cut at 3/4" with a shadow.

I finished the ornament by cutting a ribbon hanger and gluing it inside the jewel case. I covered the back of the case with paper and the sides with ribbon.

I still wanted to try one using a clear dome in which to create a scene.

Just for fun, I came up with this...

I found plastic ornaments that are sold as two half circles so that you can fill them and snap them together.  I am just using one of the halves here.  I used wire cutters to remove the plastic loop (intended as a hanger).

I started with black glitter paper.  I created a nativity scene using Cricut Winter Frolic, each cut at 1-1/2".  I glittered both layers of the star.  Mary's little dress was run through the Cuttlebug to get those little dots.  Each piece was applied using glue dots and foam dots, stacked to allow the figures to pop up at different heights.

I used an EK Success edge punch, trimmed close to the decoration, then applied it to the back of the circle, adjusting as needed.  I added gold beads to the decorative edge.

I used E6000 glue to adhere the dome to the glitter paper.

I decided that I wanted something to frame and complete the ornament.  I love the beautiful snowflakes on the Cricut Cartridge When It's Cold Outside.  The nativity cut is one of my favorites.  I cut it  at 8-1/2" in gold paper and also cut the backing out of black and adhered them together.

The dome perfectly fit over the Holy Family, allowing my little Winter Frolic nativity to replace it.  I added a gold cord for hanging and a sheer black polka dotted ribbon bow at the top.

Thank you for looking at my projects!  I would not even be thinking of Christmas yet if not for the ornament contest!  Yikes!

But wait! There's more! Click 'older posts' above!

But wait!  There's more!  Click 'older posts' above!